J & D > It was back in 2017 that we first made use of material from our Phormium plants [Phormium Tenax – New Zealand Flax] for dyeing wool. The results were impressive – as regards quantity of material available, yield of colour, usefulness of colour, ease of use, and – if tentatively, the all-important colour-fastness, too. But we weren’t sure, then, which part of the plant contained the greatest concentration of colour.
J & D > It was a long and tedious winter : cold – but never frozen ; windy – but never wrecking ; and never worse than wringing wet. A non-descript, irritating sort of winter.
Thank heavens Spring arrived early, this year!
May is living up to its reputation for fine weather : perhaps it’s not so warm, this year, but it’s certainly sunny. Most evenings we take a stroll up the lane to the hill gate and onto the common grazings ; thence, right along an old track that leads to the shore of Loch a’ Choire [Loch of the Corrie]. Despite its wild appearance the landscape and natural vegetation is much altered through countless generations of human activity. However, after many decades – arguably a century – of neglect, this landscape is gradually re-wilding, a process that’s accelarated in recent decades. Year by year there’s a greater abundance and variety of species to find – if you know what to look for, from the littlest in flora to the largest of fauna.
D > Here’s me watering the tomatoes in Greenhouse 4. Do you notice anything different? Clue : it isn’t the sunshine, or my shorts – though both are remarkable enough for April. The timber ‘exoskeleton’ around Greenhouse 4 was 15 years old, and had deteriorated a lot in the last couple of years. Rot had set in where timbers had been in contact, and moisture was trapped between them.
J > Mr MacGregor is so fierce that he chased away the previous Gander-in-Chief, Mr Jackson, and his wife – his own parents. Mrs MacGregor is quite different. She was hatched in an incubator from eggs bought on eBay. She has a lovely nature, and still eats from my hand, and lets me pick her up and give her a cuddle – she wraps her neck around mine. Mr MacGregor doesn’t like it, but he’s reasonable enough to understand that when it comes to the crunch, the Gander-in-Chief is none other than Mr Bridge!
J > When spring tides and high pressure co-incide, low tides are exceptionally low, and it becomes possible, briefly, to walk around headlands – amongst the sands and rockpools that are ordinarily submerged even at low tide, instead of taking the grassy otter-paths across the headlands. At such times there appears, in the Sound of Eriskay – the mile-wide channel of the sea between Eriskay and South Uist, a sand bank that extends from the south end of the causeway towards a navigation beacon that is close to the shore of our croft, below Carrick.