The real thing

April 30, 2019

Chose some unsuspecting Dutch guests as guinea pigs for our new Outlander breakfast the other day. It was a hit apparently!

Outlander breakfast
The ‘Nettle Rolls’ were in fact spinach rolls because it was too early in the season for the nettles. However, the nettles are now growing vigorously, so today I did some harvesting and made our first batch of THE REAL THING! So, here’s a pictorial guide as to how they were made…

Essential tools! (plus wellies!)

Essential ingredients – just the topmost leaves.

Blanch for 2-3 mins, drain, refresh, wring dry and chop.

Roll prepared dough into 12 inch square, brush with butter, cover with nettles, finely grated lemon rind and chopped mixed nuts. Roll into a sausage shape.

Cut the roll into 12 rounds. Place on parchment in tray, cover with cling film and allow to rise somewhere warm until doubled in size. Brush with melted butter then bake at 180 C for about 20 mins. 

Et voila!

 

We have some unsuspecting American guests for breakfast tomorrow, so who knows…

P.S. It’s a sweet dough, very similar to Chelsea buns

 

Chilly day out

April 14, 2019

The Bed and Breakfast thing is really frustrating this early in the season. We’re all fired up, smiles and tourist information at the ready, only to receive a trickle of guests. It’s good in one way as it means that it’s a gentle reintroduction to our breakfast routines, not to mention finding our way around the new kitchen! On the other hand, it’s all a bit of an anticlimax. So, with the weather being blue-sky beautiful yesterday, Kevin suggested that we took a wee trip out on the Bike.

A trip which involved a ferry ride from Armadale to the mainland, with some lunch en route and a pootle around the coastline just south of Mallaig, the ferry port. It has to be said there was a fairly stiff breeze which tried its best to penetrate our biking togs but nonetheless, we arrived at Armadale feeling fairly comfortable.

Securing bikes before sailing

 

To cut a long story short, the ferry was delayed due to some plastic having got wrapped around one of the propellers. We soon discovered that no matter where we stood, the wind managed to find us and make a thoroughly good job of chilling us down while we waited for the next ferry, a tub of a thing which appeared to have all indoor seating situated in a very efficient wind tunnel! Needless to say, by the time we reached our destination for lunch, we were almost as blue as the sea!

Anyway, lunch and several cups of tea later, we were sufficiently thawed to continue our exploration of the coast, although with thanks to the ferry delay, we had less time than planned before our return sailing. But my, what a beautiful coastline…

 

At least there was a conveniently positioned container to shelter behind while we waited for the return ferry! Very cold, but still a lovely day out. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to return, with a picnic maybe, when the weather is warmer!

The Outlander effect

March 24, 2019

Many of our Bed and Breakfasts guests are fans of the Outlander series, quite a few of them visiting film location sites during their Scottish holiday. In fact, Diana Gabaldon, the author of the series, recently received a major award from the Scottish Tourist Board for her significant contribution to Scottish Tourism. So I thought it would be fun to add an Outlander breakfast option to our menu!

 

CODDLED EGGS SERVED WITH CRISPY BACON AND TOASTED NETTLE ROLL

 

The recipe is taken from  the ‘Outlander Kitchen’, compiled by Theresa Carle-Sanders. This early in the year, there’s not a nettle to be found, so I substituted spinach but come the spring, (PLEASE come spring!), I shall be out there with my rubber gloves, harvesting the abundant nettle crop around Garybuie. They will certainly be a very locally produced breakfast ingredient!

 

It will be interesting to see if the new breakfast will be as successful as the series! If not then never mind, at least the egg coddlers make a pretty collection!

 

Not so bird-brained after all?

March 18, 2019

Stupid, foolish and scatter-brained, or maybe just a head full of feathers? As far as our Silkies go, I’m not so sure. You may remember that all three of our girls went broody at the same time, Thelma abandoning her nest after a couple of days, even though she sat tight alongside BB and Louise until hatching.

Last year, we noticed that Louise was having trouble with her sight; bumping into tufts of grass and tall weeds, needing to see the jug of grain/mealworms up close at treat-time. The bridge between her home in the old church and the main garden proved in fact, to be a bridge too far. She stayed within the environs of the church therefore, with occasional visits from Thelma and Wee man – rarely grumpy, granny BB!

A bridge too far

So, I’m wondering, is Thelma aware of her sister’s problem? Could she sense that she would be of more use to the newly hatched chicks if she stuck around to get to know them? You may remember that BB stole Louise’s chicks on the first day and six non-bantam chicks are a real handful for a wee silkie mum. Did Thelma anticipate this? You may think that I’m crediting Thelma with far too much of the grey matter, but there are stories out there of animals sensing ill health or vulnerability of other beasties, even of a different species! A certain dog named Boo, over on The Farmy in Illinois is just such a caring canine, relishing taking care of orphan lambs, piglets and kittens.

At four weeks old the chicks are becoming very adventurous, needing as may pairs of eyes as possible to keep them out of danger. So whether I’m right or wrong, Thelma has certainly turned out to be a godsend for BB, even if it’s just to cover the youngsters should they need a nap!

So, although Louise looks a wee bit lost on her doorstep, no doubt wondering where her babies are, all is well come bedtime as she still gets a couple of her offspring who snuggle beneath her for the night!

P.S. It has to be said that at this age, chicks are at their least appealing! A bit like gangly teenagers really; legs and necks too long and their clothes not fitting too well!

 

Fifty shades of grey?

February 28, 2019

It’s certainly the perfect description of Skye’s appearance today. Not a grey, miserable kind of day. A calm, restful, utterly peaceful kind of day.

 

The light was soft and not a whisper of wind. Birdsong was clear and far reaching. Grey waves under a grey sky, rolling softly on to the shore.

 

We had no power in the glen today because of maintenance work, so decided to have a day out to Talisker bay. We had the place to ourselves. The kind of gentle day which is good for the soul.

Chick-napping!

February 18, 2019

BB and Louise hatched three chicks each on Saturday. A motley crew for sure!

 

 

 

 

But can you believe it, that rascally BB has kidnapped Louise’s chicks! Louise doesn’t seem overly perturbed and calls her chicks to food, which they readily respond to.

But cuddling up with mum appears to be not an option! Things might change as the chicks start to grow because as you know, these are not bantam Silkie chicks but BIG GUYS, so BB will soon be unable to cover all six. Maybe poor Louise will get a look in then, or even Thelma, who is still waiting in the wings, just dying to be of help!

 

Silkie chicks

(Thelma is on the right)

 

 

No staying power

February 4, 2019

That would be Thelma. To be fair, she was a wee bit of a fidgety-britches on the nest and, as was semi-expected, she’s abandoned the eggs. Curiously though, she’s still staying with the other girls but next to them, rather than in the nest-box.

 

Maybe she just fancies being an auntie this time around, instead of the whole mother thing. If so, she’ll certainly provide a valued extra pair of eyes when the chicks hatch. We had a big problem with theft-by-crow last year.

While the snow has been around, she’s had Wee man to cuddle up to in the straw. He really dislikes walking on the snow (never used to bother him) so refuses to come out in a morning! Wuss! Anyway, most of the snow has gone now, washed away by the rain, so it’s just Thelma and the girls once more.

You can just about see Garybuie in this shot, at the end of the fence-line, between the trees.

Red Moon

January 29, 2019

I mentioned a special trip that we took last summer aboard Red Moon, and I said at the time that she deserved a post all of her own! So here we are! If you’re planning a visit to Skye this year, or even if you live on, or nearby the island, with maybe something to celebrate, then you could enjoy a wonderful experience aboard Red Moon, with very special hosts, Scott and Mary. They are a professional yacht crew, with many years experience, and are passionate about sharing their love of the scenery, history and wildlife of this small part of the world.


They provide bespoke cruises; anything from a lunch cruise, a night at anchor or a lengthier cruise around Skye, the Small Isles and Scottish West Coast. Red Moon is a vessel which is lovingly maintained, both outside and in. Inside she is furnished both practically and tastefully.

The first time we stepped aboard, was in 2017, to celebrate Kevin’s birthday. We chose the ‘Night at Anchor’ short cruise, departing from Kyle of Lochalse , (just over the bridge from Skye), mid afternoon and sailing to a sheltered bay on the west coast of the mainland. The weather wasn’t great so we couldn’t eat outdoors, but the stylish,  pristine galley was a lovely venue to sample Mary’s superb cuisine. She takes great pride in providing dishes using fresh, mainly locally sourced ingredients, which she obviously prepares with great care. We stayed in the bay overnight, returning to Kyle by lunchtime the following day after a delicious breakfast.


Our second cruise however, the weather was clear and hot. Kevin even braved the chilly waters! Scott took us ashore for some pre-dinner beach combing and on this occasion, conditions were perfect for some alfresco dining!

We were anchored in Loch Kishorn, just off the West Coast, our view towards the mountains, which embrace the Pass of the Cows, the spectacular route to Applecross which we regularly recommend to guests at Garybuie.

WOW!

 

A truly wonderful experience, with delightful scenery, accommodation, food – and of course, company!

Our return the following day was equally stunning, seeing the Skye Bridge from a totally different perspective than our more usual view atop four (or two!) wheels!

Never before…

January 26, 2019

…have we had three Silkies sitting in a row!

 

 

BB, Thelma and Louise all appear to have gone broody at the same time, although Thelma is a wee bit fidgety, so only time will tell! We don’t usually allow the girls to settle so early, just in case the weather turns inclement. But this year we have some exciting travel plans in October, so we need all hatching and dispatching completed before then, returning to minimum bird numbers for our ‘chicken sitters’! There’s more than enough room in the Silkies’ home for the new families if it does turn cold. As usual, we’ve exchanged their wee eggs for regular sized hens’ eggs, so assuming that Denis is doing his job, we’ll have some good sized meat birds for the freezer.

As I’ve been neglectful of Garybuie’s blog, it’s been AGES since I shared ‘The View’. Well, the other day I was out for a walk in the glen and on returning home, there was a weird kind of light over the ridge. Like a very diffused spotlight.

Kind of eerie don’t you think?

Lord Lacey A.K.A Denis

January 22, 2019

So, here’s a formal introduction to Lord Lacey, a handsome chap indeed.

 

 

But here’s the thing; never before have we had a cockerel with EYEBROWS! Now some of you may be reminded of Mr Spock but we feel that his magnificent appendages are more akin to the hirsute brow of a high ranking labour politician during the latter half of the 20th century – Denis Healy! To be fair, mention his name in this country and probably the first thing to come to mind would be his eyebrows, as opposed to any major political achievement! (Or it could indeed be his famous “Silly Billy” moment but we won’t go into that on this occasion!)

 

 

So anyway, what do you think?

 

Well, we just can’t help it but Lord Lacey has become a Denis instead! (He doesn’t seem to mind!)


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