Well it’s almost a full year since I sent it off for spinning, but at long last the wool skeins have now arrived! All the wool is worsted spun from selected first clips, and very dark and lustrous. Most is DK weight, some we ordered as Aran weight. About half of the DK will go to pay for Hebridean lambs we bought last year. We really could do with either more sheep or access to more wool to buy! ‘Trouble up’ mill’ meant they didn’t start our wool until a month or more ago, by which time we were actually … Continue reading →
We’ve talked it over many times – each time coming to a firm conclusion the opposite or at least diffent to the last time. But now we are definitely and finally decided. More or less as soon as Jonathan is home for good in a week or so’s time, he’ll start work on a new studio/shop for the Hebridean Woolshed. The scandinavian log-style garden cabin we put up (it cost us about £1250 all told!) back in 2003 as a general-purpose garden shop really just isn’t up to the job: not big enough, no enough protection from the weather, from … Continue reading →
Jonathan: Last summer – before starting work here in England – I worked with a small team of volunteers doing a very detailed survey of the huge Hallan cemetery near Daliburgh. With the help of Sandy (chief instigator of the project) I surveyed the position of all graves – with headstones and without – together with boundary walls, roads, buildings etc. That formed the framework of a database of all the graves and their occupants going back many generations. Believe it or not, this information was until now stored mostly in the heads of successive sextons. That reflects the importance … Continue reading →
Early in my week at home in Uist recently I was supposed to be taking the five Hebridean wedders/wethers to the abbatoir near Lochmaddy. The day before Denise and I agreed that the young ram lamb would have to go too, as we had no means to manage him properly. I got everything ready the day before to transport them early in the morning. Morning came and Denise and I went over to the croft to drive the sheep into the fold and extract the sheep we’d be taking off. The sheep had other ideas! It became apparent that during … Continue reading →
Back at the blogging keyboard for the first time for at least a fortnight. A week at home – scarcely time to think let alone distil those thoughts; then back at work in England and increasingly an environment that denies me the very things that inspire me … But now various threads are coming together, a sense of direction is restored, and here I am … And I think it’s been much the same for Denise, too.
Denise: I’ve now got more details on the wool yarn and needles required for the Eriskay knitting. Needles are very fine – 2 25 and made of rosewood at £18 a pair; and the yarn is an extremely fine multi-ply. However this is an important investment in a potentially high-value new area of work, and it is good to be learning something new. … Continue reading →
Today I sold our motorhome.Continue reading →
Denise had a visit from the Comhairle’s (council’s) environmental health officer – a complaint about the geese again. They’ve been ‘camping’ overnight outside someones gate and leaving a bit of a mess! Strictly the geese are doing what they are entitled to do, but it doesn’t make for good neighbourly relations. I’ve been on the phone to the council and to my neighbour about this, and we’ve agreed that he should show ‘calculated aggression’ towards the geese to make them feel it is not a nice place to be (not something I can do myself – the geese would never … Continue reading →
Denise: Noticed a notice about a course on Eriskay knitting. The island had its own tradition of family patterns, and there’s very few who know how to knit them, especially the most authentic patterns. Norma Neil from Askernish is going to present the course, with the support of a native of Eriskay. I’ve signed up for it, and got the information on what yarns and needles I’ll need.
Time to cull some geese for the freezer. I need to cut numbers from 24 down to about 9 – 3 ganders each with two females. First priority for culling were the couple of noisy chinese geese and the youngster they’d raised this year (not actually there’s – I put a fertile egg under the goose!). Also an infertile older grey-back goos, and a young chinese gander raised in an incubator and on the grass at home. I managed all of these except the chinese goose: generally I walked them until the one I wanted was isolated from the others … Continue reading →
A huge crop of black-currants this year, so no difficulty justifying making lots into wine! That was some weeks ago, and in the last couple of days I’d noticed the fermentation had ground to a virtual halt and the demijohn was clearing. Time to rack off. 2 full size and 1 half-size, and as Jonathan at home, it goes all the more smoothly with two pairs of hands – and two glasses. We used the half-size demijohn to top up the big ones, and of course what was left just wasn’t worth keeping. The black-currants make up for no blackberries … Continue reading →
Bee inspection day today. Lovely and sunny and warm and only the lightest of breeze, so ideal. Both hives were kitted out with queen excluder and a single super. Loads of honey in the supers (almost full) and a good amount in the brood chamber too. It was clear that the original hive (which I’d removed the queen from) was the stronger of the two, and though I couldn’t find a new queen or any grubs (but a worrying number of drones) it could just be that it is late in the year and after a spell of bad weather … Continue reading →