Sunday, September 27, 2015

In Autumn


I've been meaning to stop by the peat bank for a long time now. It's actually been a couple of years since we last cut any peat. I think it would have been the summer of 2013. I knew there was still some down there, uncollected and I wanted to check it out.
Saturday afternoon was sunny and pleasantly warm, and James was up for an outing, but not too far, he said. A perfect opportunity for a trip down to the moor. 
There was some peat stacked up, and stray blocks lying around. James busied himself collecting them up and inspecting the bank. I guess we have enough for a few fires there, so we'll get them bagged up soon, and bring them home for the winter. 
It was such a glorious autumn afternoon and we spent ages exploring our wee bit of the moor - marvelling at all the mosses and plants growing there, and just enjoying the colours of the season.  "Why do we not come here all the time?" asked James. Indeed... I just hope he feels the same in a few years time when he's strong enough to wield that tarisker!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Visit

We loved having my sister and brother in law with us for a few days. They have been on a trip back to Scotland  from Canada, and I was so pleased that they were able to make it up to the island. 
There aren't too many photos, but there were lots of cups of tea, good food, and chat around the kitchen table - a few trips out, visiting a special place and just generally relaxing in each other's company.  It was just so nice to be with someone who has known me all my life - I needed that... We also made some exciting plans for a holiday in Canada next year. I think James is ready to go right now!

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Cleaning, shopping, cooking, making preparations, as we get ready for my sister and brother-in-law, who are visiting us at the croft for a few days. I'm really looking forward to seeing them. James even practiced his Hebridean welcome down at the harbour today. Hope you're all having a great weekend xxx

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A pink dress

So, I made my Dottie Angel frock. I'm quite pleased with it. It's not perfect by any means - its fair to say that this was a learning experience all round. For the fabric, I used an old duvet cover, which I picked up in the charity shop - very pink and flowery, and for the pockets, a pretty lilac piece that was in my stash - it may be Laura Ashley.

It seemed a straightforward enough make. I had read a lot of information online, from others who had made the dress, and noted that they made a few adaptations in the making of the dress. As this was my first time using a proper pattern, though, I decided to follow the pattern exactly. I took my time and read it through several times,before I cut. Even so, I made a few mistakes in the making, but if you  screw up your eyes, it looks almost passable. I saw a lot of online discussion on the use of bias tape on the seams, neck and armholes, but I really liked how that looked. My main trouble with the bias tape was sourcing in in the first place. It seemed impossible to find the right widths and colours here. I ended up ordering from the US, so had to wait for a couple of weeks until it was delivered. I know I could have made my own, but I just wanted to sit down and get on with the job, with the right equipment. Anyway - I'm quite pleased with how it eventually turned out. It reminds me of the big, comfortable pinnies that my grandmothers wore around the house, and I'm happy with that - big deep pockets to keep the crochet in too.

 I'm glad I made this rough draft, instead of cutting into some of my precious vintage, though, and I really enjoyed the process. Will I make it again? Yes, I will, but probably not until next spring. I am determined to improve my dressmaking skills, and am already planning an attempt at another pattern. Don't wait up though... xxx

Friday, September 11, 2015

Around the croft

Well - not much has been happening around here, this year, as you can well imagine. Yet - everything has changed. We sold all the livestock last year, when John became ill, and I re-homed our hens during the summer. I developed a mild intolerance to eggs all of a sudden, and also, James and I want to spend more of our holidays travelling, and visiting family, so it seemed the right decision all round.
I've had the vegetable beds removed, and the wilderness of weeds that had sprung up over the last couple of seasons hacked back. This will be cut regularly, and I hope that eventually it will resemble grass. It will never be a proper lawn, but close enough. there are some trees around the edges of the plot, and I want to have that as a woodland area, with bulbs,wildflowers, and some more trees. A nice seat here and there and it should be how I envision it. I have to say that taking out these beds was a very hard thing to do, when I think how hard John worked to put them in. I don't think he would be very pleased, to be honest, but they would have been almost impossible for me to get back into production, and to maintain them. Our needs have changed now, and we have to adapt to them.

As far as the croft land itself goes, I still have the one up at the house. My neighbour is using it, intermittently, for his sheep, and that suits me just now. Later, when I have more idea of what I am doing, (and who I am), I can decide how I am going to use it. The lease to the bottom croft - our original one, has been sold. This happened back in the spring, when John was still alive. It has gone to the son of a local crofting family. John was so happy that this young man was taking over, and getting started with his own croft.

Still - we are enjoying some early autumn colour in the garden just now - dahlias, lilies, crocosmia and a kind of spirea like shrub, which I don't know the name of. I also tried a couple of agapanthus in pots this year, and am pleased to see them flower this week. We have some salad too.

I''m beginning to have some thoughts on how to plan the space outside to suit our new circumstances. The Caravan of Delight will sadly be going. Not far - just up the road to a neighbours, but it needs to make room for a garden shed. It was a useful annexe to the house, but a shed will be even more so now. I am thinking I will put a few small raised beds over at the far end of  where the washing green is, and use the space around the polytunnel more. The polytunnel itself will be recovered soon.

This lovely sunny sheltered spot, where the henhouse used to sit, will be made into a proper seating area , and I plan to have more flower and herb beds around the perimeter. At the moment, I have a makeshift area for pots of lavender and my agapanthus, but I have big ideas for this space...

So changes are beginning to appear around this croft and garden. The focus now is on making life easier to manage, and to create a practical and beautiful space, if I can. Of course, the planning is easier than the doing, but for now, it's one step at a time. xxx


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