J > Here’s Lur with our grandson Enaut (now nearly two years old), waiting for Catherine and I to finish fiddling with phones and set off for our walk up round the old castle ground up at the top of the hill, here in San Martín de Unx. But first we need to put shoes on Enaut!
This is how we dry lemon verbena. We select long green stems (no brownish hardwood) with tender leaves, and load them into a dehydrator, if necessary cutting up the stems to the length of the unit. We set the controls to 45degC (definitely not more than 50degC) and the timer for 12-14 hrs (usually overnight). The leaves should be just crisp – not even slightly leathery – and the stems will just withstand a little bending. Run the tips of thumb and two fingers along the lengths of the stems, stripping off the leaves into a bowl : and then fill air-tight jars over the bowl, to avoid bits going everywhere. It’s important to get the dried leaves sealed in the jars whilst they are still warm – before they get a chance to re-hydrate with moisture in the air. With the leaves stored in a cool dark cupboard, unopened, these leaves will keep for nine months to a year without significant loss or spoiling of flavour.
This past week we went away for mini-break in the nearby islands of Barra and Vatersay : across the sea lunchtime on Wednesday, back on Thursday evening. Micro-break would be more accurate! It was the first time we’ve taken the motorhome on a ferry since it first arrived in Uist in May. In fact it’s the first time we’ve been by ferry to another island of the Outer Hebrides, outside the causeway-linked islands of Uist, for about five years, and Barra for maybe seven years! And Vatersay? – Never!
She was the first lamb born in 2018 – and the only pet lamb that year. Her father, Foss Scott – who we have come to know well and love, was sold, late last summer, to a younger couple recently moved here and building up a working croft, just a mile or so away. Scott won’t be replaced. So, alas, there will be no more lambs born to the An Gàrradh Mòr flock, and so Maisie is almost certain to be the final pet lamb we’ll have the care of
J & D > A few days ago we went for an evening walk in Eriskay. Starting at our croft store in Bun a Mhullin, we walked east to where the blacktop stops, and then continued eastwards along the old pony track to a ruined crofting township in the far north east of the island. Ròisinis was finally abandoned in the early 1970s : by then there was mains electricity, mains water, even the telephone had reached Ròisinis ; but what the township lacked was a road suitable for motor vehicles.
Suddenly, a previously un-thought-of explanation jumped into thought, and I rearranged the connecting leads to bypass the back row of solar panels entirely. A-ha – as I anticipated! With four panels completely disconnected from the installation, output did not go down – it went up!