Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Around the Croft



And so the sun moves Southwards on our horizon, as we slide towards Winter, and the first frosts already sparkle on the peatstack.  It has been a while since we meandered around the croft - let me show you what has been going on.


We have a dozen sheep now - although not all of them were keen to be in the photo shoot.  We have adopted a new croft mark, which will make it easier to identify our girls at the fank. Lambing was sucessful, thankfully, and we have a couple of potential additions to the breeding stock. The lambs are weaned now and away to the moor, while the ewes are off to a different part of the hillside for a well deserved rest and some fresh grazing.  In about a month's time, they will be brought back down in time for tupping, and the cycle begins again.



The cows are doing well - waiting patiently here while John opens up their new salad bar.  They are both going to spend some time with a very handsome Highland bull on Friday, and when they come back, they will be joined by 3 new Dexter girls - 2 in calf heifers - one with a calf at foot. John is away on the mainland picking them up as I type - very, very excited. The AI project is still simmering away - hopeful for next spring/summer.


Our main project this year has been the vegetable garden. The pigs were still with us until the end of June, so by the time we got a couple of raised beds organised, it was already well into the Summer before anything was planted. Nevertheless, we stuck in some seeds, and the last couple of trays of plants lingering at the crofter's co-op, and I have to say i am thrilled at the results.  Unlike the rest of the country, we had a wonderful Summer - warm and sunny.  If it rained - it fell gently through the night - there were no midges - everything we planted grew. Chard, spinach, radishes, salads, fennel, turnips, carrots, kale, cabbage,Brussels sprouts, courgettes and leeks have all come away nicely.  We have now built 4 raised beds, and started work on developing an ornamental border around the edge of the plot.  We have planted some native trees and a couple of fruit bushes, but we will work more on the fruit garden over the Winter if we can. There is room for another raised bed, and a parcel of spring flowering bulbs is winging it's way towards us right now.


We harvested a fine crop of garlic down at the growing shed, and this years bulbs are already planted in one of the new beds.  Probably a bit early, but our season is so short, so it won't harm them to grow on for a month longer. These Summer cabbages (Greyhound) have been fantastic and we have eaten them almost every day for 2 months, without tiring of their fresh green taste.  It is just so good to be able to put home grown veg back on the table - now I feel this is really home.


Hens are still laying - although not always in the right place, and there has been a lot of time spent searching out the latest nesting spot.

And that's it for our croft tour - working quietly away and marvelling at how things seem to get done  - always work in progress -  just as it should be.

I will be back in a few days to introduce our new ladies. Tioraidh an drasda ♥

25 comments:

  1. I do so enjoy seeing the painted sheep :) It's a fashion statement! I hope you are enjoying the fall so far.

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  2. I enjoyed my tour a lot, thank you! Your place really looks wonderful and you can see just how hard you have been working. Can't wait to meet the newest members.

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  3. Thankgoodness somebody had a decent summer!! The veg patch looks amazing and the chooks look just lovely.

    Hugs to you

    San xx

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  4. so terribly fun to take your tour. your sheep are so lovely and white, well except for the marking. :) so encouraged that your veggies grew well this year; your crop looks fantastic. it's so nice to have you back writing again. it feels like a friend has returned.

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  5. i always love popping by here and having a wee visit with you. sending you my love x x x

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  6. Thank you for the tour - your veggie garden looks wonderful - you can't beat homegrown. So pleased you had a good summer - I hope we are going to have one as last year's was non-existent.

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  7. I love how there is always something new going on with you at the croft. Hope your new ladies settle in well, will you be trying your hand at milking? Your veggie patch looks fantastic. I certainly won't be showing any pictures of mine this year!!

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  8. Oh Jacqui you have a little slice of heaven! I loved the tour! The livestock and garden...just perfect!

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  9. Thank you for the tour. I'm glad you've had a good season, a reward for all your hard work. x

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  10. What beautiful sheep (I'd love a flock!) and amazing veggies : )

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  11. All looking fantastic, love your veggie plot - reaping the rewards of hard work. Is your polytunnel up yet?

    Wonderful to read about your expanding livestock and the sheep look well, have you spun any of their wool yet?

    Dawn x

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    1. Hi Dawn, I kept some from the one I sheared all by myself - lol. I just used the hand spindle though xx

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  12. Oh my goodness Jacqui! I've loved catching up with you. Great veggies, I am *green* (lol) with envy he he :) xx

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  13. My kids love the picture of the rooster and I love the enchanting sunlight glinting off the top of the peat ... totally in love with your croft. Much love X

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  14. thanks for the update and the tour! Very much enjoyed getting caught up and really loved all the pictures. Wonderful veggies-I'm inspired! So glad you had such lovely summer weather to enjoy.

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  15. Your sheep look so clean and new!!!!!

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  16. wow! you certainly have been busy. I appreciate your comment about finally feeling at home with home grown back on the table. We are thinking of (hoping to) move next spring, and I can only hope it all happens in time for us to get a garden (no matter how small) in the ground. I can't imagine a year without being able to run out and gather some part of our dinner from the yard. i'm already lamenting not being able to plant garlic this fall. but looking ahead towards positive change...
    glad to see you're well.
    Alyssa

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    1. Hi Alyssa - good luck with the move. Hope you can make some gardening plans for next year - i was really surprised at how much i missed popping out and returning with dinner xxx

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  17. Beautiful abundance. What a lovely, productive life you live... and I love the addition of purple sheep. I'm sure that's going to yield something wonderful. :) It's great to be visiting your croft again...

    Blessings, Debbie

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  18. Love the photo of the rooster ! And am very impressed with the vegetable production in the raised beds. Don't you suffer badly with the wind? I follow a couple of blogs on Orkney and one keen gardener ( The Wind and the Wellies) has given up completely as the conditions have meant vegetable production is almost impossible. Are you in a sheltered spot on the island?

    PS LOVE your blog. I haven't commented before but have been following for AGES. You are living the life I would like

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    1. Hi - thank you - what a lovely comment.
      I know Fay from Wind in the wellies(in a virtual sense). I think her garden is in a far more exposed place than mine. it remains to be seen, though, as this is my first season growing in this spot. We are not particularly sheltered, mind you, but there is a willow belt and we have built the wooden edge of the bed a bit higher than normal. There is a plan to erect a 50/50 sheep netting windbreak this week too.
      xx

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  19. Thank you for the tour, your veggie garden looks great, wished I had a lot of space to plant, at the moment I am planting as much as I can into our little courtyard garden. Lovely post as always, you are very inspiring.

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