Winter

1st June 2019
Its been a busy winter here on the croft but we're feeling full of energy and excited for the season ahead -the first we'll all be here together. We've been busy making some changes to the Bothy over the Winter, giving the walls a much needed lick of paint and replacing the flue on the wood burning stove as well as adding wee touches here and there. We hope our guests will love it.

We're now fully booked at the Bothy for Summer 2019. We are currently taking bookings from October 2019 onwards with 7 night stays, arriving and departing on Saturdays.

It was a very mild Winter but we had a few magical snow days with lots of sledging back in January. Making sledge runs has since been added to our list of croft jobs. We usually lament the lack of flat ground here, but occasionally having a steep croft turns out to be a bonus!

This weekend, the last of March, the weather has been the best we've seen so far this year and Spring has begun to slowly arrive on the Croft. We've had a large flock (hundreds) of Redwings hanging around and the sound of them chattering away has brought us us all here happiness. They've been joined by a wheezing Greenfinch, regular Skeins of Whooper swans and migrating geese, and our first Swallow of the year (31st of March). Celandines are popping up everywhere and the sun felt warm today whilst we painted the new hen house (more on that later!). Our friends were lucky to see a Pine Marten AND a Long Eared Owl on the croft this weekend too - we haven't seen either in over three and a half years here!

We are getting excited for the arrival to the croft in May of four hens - two Browns and two Light Sussex. So many friends have helped us get their house ready. Our friend Ed helped Phil with the design and building the frame, Thomas our superstar Italian workawayer (no longer a workawayer really, now our friend) returned and helped get the posts in and clear the ground (as well as helping us with loads of other jobs) and Scott helped put the roof together and make it watertight. Massive thanks to everyone who helped us. A bit of paint today whilst the sun was shining and we are almost ready for them coming.... expect to see lots of hen photos from us soon. We hope they get on with the ducks, and don't destroy our fish box nursery!

Other winter jobs have included the ongoing tasks of cutting and stacking logs and kindling for firewood, digging drains and the processing of innumerable seeds and young trees.

Back in January we harvested our first Willow crop. The quality and quantity of each variety ranged widely but was overall quite small. Our harvest will hopefully increase in the coming years as the plants establish themselves. We've planted more varieties this winter and it will be interesting to see which really thrive here. I love sorting the Willow into bundles after drying. Working with willow is new for me and I struggle to get my hands on enough material to practise regularly. I've found the tricky bit is selecting the right stems for the job, and soaking them for the right amount of time. Its not easy - our house is filled with ugly baskets! Most of my attempts end up in the wood burner. The colours of the willow are beautiful and the smell when you work it (or even walk past a finished item) is the best smell on earth. A lot of the material from this years harvest was too thick and branched to use for basketry, but I was very lucky recently to learn new uses for the thicker stuff, making platters and bird feeders with a local basketmaker Monique Bervoets
Our friend Megan has opened a shop in Broadford, Búth na h-abhainn (River Shop) selling all of our favourite things like cakes, coffee and ice-cream. Its a gift shop too with really lovely cards and gift wrap. I visited on the first day, and was transported back to my past life in the Pharmacy in Huntly eating Rizza's Rum and Raisin Ice Cream. We wish Megan and her team so much success and will pop in whenever we are in Broadford.

We're also really excited about getting out on the water this Summer with Kate and Will of the SCOTLAND STAND UP PADDLE BOARD COMPANY based in Plockton. We wish them lots of success. You can find more info on their Facebook page.

This blog by the Boys Eat Scotland is fantastic for anyone visiting Skye and looking to sample food produced locally. We always love a trip to Mrs Macks in Torrin for local food and you can also contact our local estate, Eilean Iarmain, to order local venison.

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