Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

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)

 

 

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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!)

A brief 2018 re-cap and looking forward…

January 17, 2019

I’ll begin by wishing you a belated Happy New Year and hoping that this won’t be the only post from Garybuie for 2019! This feels a bit deja vue-ish I have to admit, but I always start out with good intentions and then proceed to get swallowed up by major refurbishment projects, followed by┬áincreasingly busy B&B seasons. However, the D.I.Y issues were completed before Christmas this year, so I now have until the 1st April to re-charge my batteries, with a couple of time-saving plans thrown into the B&B mix!

2018 was another busy year in terms of visitors, April now being the only month when our three rooms aren’t filled pretty much every day. We also had a successful chicken breeding program, using both our incubator as well as the services of our ever helpful Silkies! Bruce was responsible for most of our season’s chicks, although in other respects he wasn’t the best of cockerels. He wasn’t great at getting his girls to bed so many of them tended to stay out partying well beyond bedtime, perching on top of bushes blethering and being completely uncooperative when we came to usher them coop-wards.

 

 

So, it was time to go online for eggs to incubate, this time Blue-Laced Wyandottes, with a view to rearing a more authoritative rooster! You can see our lacey youngsters below, perching with some pals.

Lord Lacey (A.K.A. Denis – more on that another day!) is now our resident cockerel, besides Wee Man of course, and so far his behaviour and crowd control are impeccable!

Probably the most time-consuming aspect of running the Bed and Breakfast is the laundry. Many of our guests are ferry passengers staying just one night before their sailing. Consequently, we calculated that laundry duties probably take an average of two hours per day, sometimes still pressing bed linen as the new day’s guests are arriving. We have a neighbour who runs a guest house/self-catering cottage and she sends her laundry out. She invited me to ‘piggy-back’ on her laundry service to see what we thought. What we thought was…WONDERFUL! The particular service didn’t cater for smaller B&Bs, but this year they are, so for this season I have my own contract with them – YIPEEEE! It’s amazing what a difference those couple of extra hours make. Not only is there more time to keep on top of outdoor chores, but it also means that we can occasionally get out for one of our three-hour-holidays, on the bike with some butties! And no matter what you may have read about crowds on Skye, there are still places where you won’t see a soul…

Another very special outing was aboard Red Moon, a boat that can be chartered for sailings around Skye. We climbed aboard in 2017 for Kevin’s birthday treat and enjoyed it so much that we did it again last summer, the weather being so much better on that occasion. To be fair it’s not a three-hour-holiday as we needed to take a night off, when, after stepping on deck, we sailed and spent a night at anchor, enjoying wonderful views, food and company! Anyway, here’s just a brief glimpse of Red Moon, as really she deserves a post all of her own!

Late Spring and early summer saw some fabulous weather; dare I say that it was too hot sometimes? Yes, I dare! I’m not a hot-house plant by any means! We even had a Spanish guest who was complaining (lightheartedly!) that it was too hot and that all the travel books had advised to bring plenty of warm/waterproof clothing. Consequently, he didn’t have enough tee-shirts!

Needless to say, the minute school holidays started, and our family came to stay for a week, the weather changed and didn’t change back! At least our granddaughter, Holly, was happy to be dancing in the Rain!

 

And the kids could hide under the trees for their picnic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we still managed to get out and about, poking around in rock pools and finding fossils and dinosaur footprints!

 

 

 

 

 

And when the season was over, the big project this year was the installation, after a sixteen year wait (!), of a new kitchen! Like everything at Garybuie, stripping things back ALWAYS reveals some flaw or other. On this occasion, it was historical water damage to the floor. It was worrying to say the least when the joiner had to keep removing more and more of the flooring before he could make any progress!

 

Anyway, in then it was well worth the wait and I’m looking forward to cooking all those breakfasts when the new season begins!

 

And now that all the work is complete, there’s time to catch-up on other winter tasks…

…Dottie likes to supervise my paintings…


…Hamish likes to check on any parcel deliveries…

…and Patches is in charge of temperature control!

We headed south for Christmas, enjoying the company of our family and all the gifts from Santa…


…and in particular a special gift in the shape of Sean, our fourth grandchild, who arrived in early December! His brother, Patrick, seems quite happy with his arrival so far!

And so, the new season begins

April 21, 2018

We got of to a bit of a false start this season because of Easter being so early. Nature was still sleeping. We had B and B guests over the holiday, but then all went quiet. Anyway, things start to pick up again this weekend and not just on the tourism front.

Now we at least have some cheery blooms to welcome our guests…

…as well as a freshly painted home.

Poor Kevin hates heights! We really should get a little man in!

 

Spring is also making its presence felt in the garden. After expelling the hens from their winter spa, who were none too happy about it as usual, the polytunnel is now shipshape with some early veggies now in place.

 

Some seedlings however, need the slightly kinder environment of the conservatory to encourage them to make an appearance.

 

Of course spring is not just about the appearance of all things green. Yesterday, our first chicks of the season arrived. BB, the bantam Silkie, has done us proud by hatching four youngsters. As usual, we exchanged her own eggs for those of our larger, table birds.

 

 

Silkies are wonderful mothers and BB has decided to keep her new family indoors for now, which is probably very wise as there’s quite a stiff breeze out there.

In a few days, we’re expecting our second batch of chicks, this time from eggs which we’re incubating ourselves. So, watch this space as they say!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s resolution?

January 21, 2018

Can’t say that I’ve been particularly on top of the whole blogging malarkey for the past couple of years, but all being well, with reductions in our poultry stocks and plans afoot to save time on the B and B front, I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things. Not every day and possibly not every week but hey, baby steps are good! So, a belated Happy New Year to anyone checking in!

Of course we’re closed for business at this time of year although the weather has been pretty grim these past few months so who would want to be here on holiday here anyway? This past week has been quite nice though, albeit in a chilly sort of way…

…so much so, that Wee Man and his Silkie girls have refused point blank to come outdoors – unless I tempt them with a few mealworms for afternoon tea that is!

The main flock have been keen to find any spot in the sunshine…

And here’s an introduction to a special new resident, The Bruce, our new cockerel. He’s a Silver-Laced Wyandotte and we hand reared him last summer to step into Big Fella’s shoes – or spurs maybe? (God rest his wee chicken soul.)

Markie or Silkan?

July 31, 2017

That is, what do you call a cross between a Maran and a Silkie? Since the demise of poor Big Fella earlier this year, Wee Man has stepped up (literally!) to the task of head cockerel. He hasn’t managed to woo all of the marans, but some of the slightly smaller birds have succumbed to his charms!

Between them, BB, Thelma & Louise have managed to rear three chicks, hardly a great success but probably more than we expected. We were interested to see which chacteristics would be dominant. At eight weeks old their inherited features are quite clear; bantam, Maran feathering/colour, 4 toes (Maran) and surprisingly, some definite Silkie ‘bonnets’!

Wee Man’s days as head honcho will soon be in jeopardy and will hopefully not involve too much aggression. We have two candidates waiting in the wings; a couple of handsome Blue-laced Wyandottes which we reared ourselves. They are a lovely pair, gentle and friendly. They are eighteen weeks old tomorrow and are currently trying to perfect their crowing technique!

Broody cat

April 29, 2017

After our poor results last time, Dottie has decided to help out with the incubation process!

Maybe she’s just canny; she’s well aware that each of those round things contain a potential wee snack!

Big changes at Garybuie

April 10, 2017

2016 was a very difficult year.

Some of you may remember that my dad came to live with us five years ago. Over the past couple of years his health began to fail and he became gradually more dependent last year. The season was also our busiest yet and so some changes were needed. Although it saddened us greatly, we decided to go back in time to a ‘chicken only’ policy. No ducks. No guinea fowl. Also, we now only have one vegetable plot rather than the two, although we do have the polytunnel still.

Our shrunken veg plot & fruit cage.

Our laying hens were getting old too so we replnished our stock by incubating fertile Cuckoo Maran eggs from the internet. I like marans; they are good dual purpose birds, good foragers and endearing personalities!

Some of our new layers.

Of course just as we get organized with our new poultry regime, Big Fella bows out! Wee man is determined to fill his spurs…

…although being a bantam means that he isn’t always ‘up to the job’ so to speak!

We did get more fertile eggs last mont in the hope of producing a new cockerel for later in the season, but out of a dozen eggs, only TWO hatched!!!

Blue-laced Wyandotte chicks

I’m currently awaiting more eggs from the internet. Lets hope that the postal guys handle them with care!

The silkies went broody quite early and as we still had eggs fertilized by Big Fella, all three girls were sitting happily – BB first by a couple of weeks. Soon after she hatched our first four chicks of the season, one dying after a few days, Thelma and Louise abandonned their nests and went into ‘Auntie Mode’!!! So now we have three chicks with three mums…

By the autumn of last year, Dad had come to need pretty much round the clock care and his wee appartment next door was fast becoming unsafe as he became less steady on his feet and more confused. Consequently, in November, he went into local residential care.

Our B and B season is now underway and looking like another busy one. At least we should be less thinly spread.

A silver lining…

March 8, 2017

…or is that four silver linings? More like wee fluffy rain clouds really, but after the loss of Big Fella, BB cheered us up with the arrival of her first brood of the year.

And do you think that maybe our next rooster is waiting in this box? I ordered Wyandotte fertilized eggs online, a breed that sounds perfect for our needs.

Meanwhile, with no competition, Wee Man thinks it’s his birthday, surrounded by our new layers! Of course he can’t reach ‘the task’ with some of the bigger girls! We reared our new Cuckoo Maran girls last season to replace our old, decreasing stock.


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