Ups and downs of 2011

It’s only when I look at Garybuie’s blog spanning over the last twelve months that I realise what a busy year it has been. Admittedly, there are probably only two life-changing events in there; dad moving in with us and the announcement  of expected twin grandchildren, but between the bed & breakfast side of things and shall we say our more ‘pastoral’ pastimes, we haven’t had much spare time! So here’s a pictorial recap of the ups and downs of 2011…

We’ve had some lovely guests this year, some of them passionate about Scotland, whether it be someone like Ellen from Australia who waited until her 88th year to visit the place with her daughter Heather…

…or a particularly enthusiastic Spaniard, determined to eat all Scottish food and even wear a kilt…

Many guests enjoyed meeting some of Garybuie’s residents…

There were mixed fortunes both in vegetable and livestock production. May was unusually wet, greatly slowing down plant growth – apart from the omnipresent weeds of course! Even so, some crops were exceptionally good in 2011, particularly broad beans, peas, spinach and beetroot.

On the chick rearing front, the year saw a significant increase in non-viable embryos, which we put down to an aging hen population. Probably the two most unusual chicks we’ve ever reared were Clueless and Hopeless, both incapable of foraging, only recognising food if it was presented in a dish, even one belonging to a cat! At least they were good entertainment for our guests!

As for the ducks, we successfully reared some of our Aylesbury/Cherry Valley crosses, but the muscovies were a different matter. After each female having her own nest, Biggles hatched 8 ducklings, whereupon Puff promptly abandoned her clutch to share on parenting duties! Enter THE KILLER CROW! One of the big ‘downs’ of the year, a Hooded Crow decided that Garybuie was the perfect fly-by diner, devouring several chicks – large and small – and four Muscovy ducklings. After a worrying few weeks of introducing various nets, flapping bags on sticks and enough tape strung in the surrounding trees to give the place that whole crime scene look – which I guess it was! – the killer gave up and all remaining birds survived. A good thing really as Puff and Biggles went for brood number two, this time sharing a nest and producing fourteen ducklings, all of them surviving!

September was the month of those earlier mentioned life-changing events. The announcement of an early spring 2012 arrival of the twins by Matt and Sarah and the arrival of my dad, here to stay at Garybuie.

In answer to our poor chick production, more new arrivals were the Thurso Threesome back in November. They replaced some of the older birds, have settled in well and will hopefully help better fill our freezer next winter!

Of course, one of the saddest events of the year was the death of Boris, a great character and a cat who knew how to relax…

But the year has ended on a happy note with both our sons and daughters-in-law spending the Christmas week with us. A perfect opportunity in fact for sharing the fruits of our labours with home-cured ham, muscovy duck and veg straight from the garden among other things!

And finally, my favourite picture this year…

Synchronized buzzard alert!

 Wishing you a very happy New Year!

P.S. hopefully – if I’ve done it right – if you click onto the pictures, that SHOULD (!) take you to the original post!


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2 Responses to “Ups and downs of 2011”

  1. Teri Says:

    I’m happy my 2011 included meeting you and Kevin. Thanks for our wonderful stay!

    • garybuie01 Says:

      And thank YOU Teri! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading about your Scottish travels in 2011 – you’ve taught me a thing or two!

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