A Tour of the Garden

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After last year’s mixed results on the vegetable front I’m giving it another go this year so here’s a photo tour of the garden as it is.

Standing on the drive with the Loch behind you this is the view up into the back garden and vegetable patch.

The path along the back of the house. The retaining walls are a mix of rocks taken out of the ground and the concrete floor from the old conservatory.

The terrace beds that Rob dug out a couple of years ago. Each time I work them over i take out another bucket full of stones!

The plastic greenhouse now has things growing in it. I’ve planted beetroot and kale behind it.

Pumpkin, peas and beans in the to bed; potatoes in the middle; carrots, onions, parsnip and spinach at the bottom.

One of the best things about the allotment is the view

A closer look inside the greenhouse

The chicken run taking shape with the new coop inside it.

One of three wood poles. This one is by the door.

Rob’s kayak parked ready to go to work in the morning.

I’ll miss our pallet walkway when we replace it with something more permanent.

Christmas Comes Early

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Well, hello there!

A couple of people have commented of late about my lack of posts. I suppose life up here is becoming ‘normal’ for us and I don’t think ‘normal’ is interesting to read about. Maybe I’m wrong. Anyhow, I’m going to treat this post like one of those round robin letters you get at Christmas that includes all the updates the writer can think of so that we are all up to date.

The weather these past few weeks has been lovely, and that always lifts the spirits. I know from last year, that it is important to enjoy every ray of sunshine because once the rain starts it may not stop again until winter! Mum and dad were up in April when we had the last of the snow and since then it has been warm and sunny. I’ve been out in the garden a lot getting the beds ready and planting vegetables. Let’s see what grows this year! While preparing the bed to plant some peas this week I managed to dig up a few potatoes that we missed last harvest, so we had those for tea tonight.

Rob out for a quick swim

The new poly tunnel/greenhouse is working it’s magic: there is evidence of courgettes where last year we had none. Other seedlings are beginning to sprout. As for the seeds planted outdoors: as yet there’s nothing to report. I’m actually surprised that anything managed to grow at all, given the amount of rocks and stones I’ve taken out of the ground during my preparations this year.

Scruff and Muff

The removed stones are being put to good use by improving the drainage in our new hen enclosure we are preparing. The coop is bought and treated ready to put together and the wider enclosure is about half way made. I’m off to Dingwall tomorrow to attend a course by the Scottish Crofting Association called ‘Backyard Poultry Keeping’.

My cousin Stephen was over in Inverness for the weekend while mum and dad were here

We do have two other new members of the family: a couple of young cats that were looking for a new home. Muff and Scruff came to live with us at Easter and have settled in well. The dog is still intrigued by their presence and follows them around despite several swipes a day. It’s a bit like the game ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf?’ – Scout creeps along behind the cats and when they turn round she freezes.

Rob and I are both back at work and getting into a routine for the summer months. I work on a Sunday. Monday and Tuesday. The rest of the week is filled with household stuff, sewing club, walking group, gardening, dog walking, crochet, reading and socialising. I’m probably repeating myself here but after everyone’s concerns about the seclusion and solitude of moving to the Highlands I have to report that life is far from that. Socially I think we are busier than ever before making new friends and enjoying visits from old ones!

While the weather has been good Robert has been able to kayak to work. He was featured on the Castle Facebook page last week much to our amusement. He keeps trying his hand at fishing but is yet to land the big one (or any one for that matter!)

The good weather has also helped our conservatory roof seal at last. We may well be watertight before the winter sets in! The room is far from finished (we have bare plasterboard on the walls and insulation blocks wedged into the ceiling) but we have moved in and are using it as a room anyway. I love it. I can sit here all day and stare at the ever changing view. Sometimes its the clouds or light, at others its the patterns on the water but there’s always something different to look at. Now that it’s getting light so early in the morning and dark so late it’s tempting to just sit in here all day.

I’m really pleased with how the room gets warm but not a stifling heat often associated with conservatories. On really hot days it’s nice to come inside out of the sun and stay pleasantly warm. It will be amazing when it’s finished!

 

 

 

Green in the Garden. 

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After my first foray into the garden last week I found myself back there today working alongside Robert to put up the poly tunnel/greenhouse that was kindly gifted to us by a neighbour. 

We have talked about this for over a year now and had it on site in the box for a few weeks. With a good forecast for today and neither of us working, we decided to just get on with it. 

All my years putting up tents with the scouts put me in good stead for frame erection and Rob was on hand to tighten the nuts and bolts. Our only concern is exposure to high winds but we can strap it down and intend to move the shed (tomorrow’s​ job!) which will offer it some protection. 

Bad for the waistline

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 When we first talked about moving to the Highlands many people expressed concern that I might find the isolation quite difficult. Well I’m happy to report that any solitary moments we get are more than welcome due to the seemingly constant social events that occur in this rural community. And all of them involve cake!

In the past eight days there has been only one evening without cake, and as a person with very little willpower it’s having a detrimental effect on my waistline. 

I’ll have to make bigger dresses!

Reaping the Rewards

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I’m not much of a gardener, but I keep giving it a go and with the improving weather I was found outside last week beginning to prepare the ground for another year. I love the idea of growing my own vegetables, but in reality it’s more or less a full time job! 

However, as we’re living the dream up here, the dream includes home made. 

In actual fact I had a lovely morning digging over some of the beds and collecting in what was left of our harvest. I managed to collect a couple of broccoli florets, a small bowl of pea-sized sprouts and a tray full of potatoes. Not bad. Perhaps this little effort gardening can produce results after all! 

Our winter harvest

Happy Face, Sad Face

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Here’s just a quick update on where we’re up to with the conservatory project: as you can probably guess from the post title it’s still a bit two steps forward one step back.

Despite the roof being on for nearly three months we are still experiencing water leakage. Is getting less and less, but now that the window joints are sealed and the lead flashing is all in place we are at a bit of a loss as to where it’s coming in. We find ourselves both waiting for and dreading rainy days to see if our repairs have worked and trying not to get too despondent when we hear the first drip of the day.

However, we are carrying on where we can. We put our learning heads on a couple of weeks ago and plumbed in the radiators. We got an actual real plumber to come in and check out work before opening the valves. We now have some heat in the room! Well, at least in one of the radiators: the plumber is coming back to help us sort out the other one.

Robert has also cracked on with insulating and plasterboarding the walls. The finished room is beginning to take shape: as soon as the roof is sorted. When I look out and see the view I know it will all be worthwhile.

Out and About

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Out and About

A couple of days ago I posted a photo taken on one of my walks on Facebook. It got such a positive response that I thought I’d share it on here too. 

In this season of hibernation having the dog is a definite blessing for me; without her I doubt I would ever leave the house at all. As it is I have to go out every day whatever the weather – and recently we’ve had wind, rain, sunshine and snow! 

The blessing is that it’s never as bad out as it seems and I get to enjoy some breathtaking scenery.