Jonathan: A really great meal last night – all of our own growing. A casserole with goose breasts, parsnip, carrot and the last green peppers, with a little blackcurrant wine. Slow gentle cook in the Aga. Eaten with the wood glowing deep red on the stove. Perfect!
Denise: Today the wind has shifted to the north, and that always means clear skies and a stream of air that is razor sharp – cold, but also so clear that the sun can be dazzling bright, even in winter. Yesterday, when the sun was at its highest (admittedly not very high!) we were both out in the garden, me second-digging to find remaining potatoes, J working on new fences. These will run across the garden from the front corners of the house, so as to create two realms: a front ‘public’ garden and a private back garden. The back will also become more sheltered, and we should be able to confine Tilly when we need to! J stayed out until it started to get dusky and cold – although he did spend a good while talking with our neighbour Domhnall Iain! – but by then I was glad to get indoors to the warm and press on with some spinning and knitting.
Jonathan: Early this morning Denise and enjoyed a romantic dawn on the beach at Smercleit Toabh a Deas (South Smerclete) – about a mile to the west, the very SW point of South Uist. The sun came up over Beinn Sciathan on Eriskay the countless islets and skerries of the Sound of Barra were thrown sharply into sillouhette. We left Tilly to tire herself out, rushing hither and thither in search of something smelly or to chase. We enjoyed the soft sea air, the call of the many sea birds, the tumble of the waves on the Atlantic shore …
… and pressed on regardless with gathering seaweed for our compost heap and mulching the soft fruit. Denise selected the seaweed and loaded the wheelbarrows, I took them up to the trailer and loaded that up. After half an hour the trailer was as full as it could take without risk of bursting a tyre, Tilly was called back (she came with a great lump of fresh fat, recently cut from a home-butchered beef or mutton carcase I suspect) and then back to the walled garden.
After a cup of fresh coffee and toast, we reversed the operation, with me emptying the trailer into barrows, Denise taking them to the compost heap.
This was the second trailer load – we did the same thing yesterday. That’s well over a tonne of weed taken together. We’ll make a similar trip each week – weather permitting and if enough weed has accumulated – right through to Easter. A fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of a Hebridean winter: Keep warm, keep fit, grow food!