Archive for the ‘pets’ Category

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 increasingly 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!


Seasonal weather and greetings!

December 23, 2014

Obviously, Mother Nature has heard that variety is the spice of life. She’s certainly gifted us with her whole catalogue of winter weather over the past couple of weeks; light rain, heavy rain, rain with and without gale force wind, calm frosty days, crystal clear days, mild and murky days, snow, and ferocious hailstone. Some days we can see the Ridge…

The Ridge

…and some days we can’t.

The view

All of the animals deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at them, each in their own way.

There are pools for bathing.


Perches to reach with your newly grown primary feathers.

Mrs Under-by

There is grassland to forage. (And running to be done if you’re Kevin. Obviously the Guinea has spotted him in the distance!)

Guinea gang

Or one can get up close and personal in the hope of a wee treat!

guinea gang

The hens don’t like to get wet, so spend a lot of their time in the Winter Spa They also tend to be ushered to bed as soon as decently possible by Big ‘Don’t even think about wetting MY feathers’ Fella!

Big Fella

There are one or two hens however, who seem to feel that a good downpour enhances one’s hair-do!


Of course, both cats choose to spend the bulk of their time indoors. Needless to say, Patches does it with style!!


So finally, whatever your weather, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy Christmas!

Time to chill

December 1, 2014

December; time to chill…



Motley crew

July 13, 2014

Before the arrival of the Three Musco-teers, all of our Muscovy ducklings were pretty much identical. With some new genes on the scene however, this year’s offspring are a real motley crew…

motley crew

motley crew

Less of a motley crew and more of a spot-the-odd-one-out gang are doing really well and Nest Thief seems to be very happy with motherhood.



Broody Brenda is still a regular visitor to the kitchen door, demanding a grain hand-out for her family. We need eyes in the back of our heads though or any leftover cat food rapidly disappears. Yesterday both Patches and one of the chicks looked equally disappointed that the dish was empty!

empty dish

Life and death

June 7, 2014


Death, of course, is part of life. That doesn’t mean that it’s any easier to accept. But in the case of Hamie, accept is what we had to do and this morning when we had the vet put her out of her misery. She never recovered from whatever happened in the polytunnel, her breathing becoming more laboured with time as well as developing a food obsession. It turns out that she was seriously diabetic and was also retaining fluid which was putting a strain on her heart. Hamie wasn’t Hamie any more, showing no interest in life. She had just about turned eleven years old and has never had a day’s sickness. We both thought that she would have become a grand and crotchety old lady.. It wasn’t to be.



Returning home with our girl however, as if just to cheer us up, we were greeted with eight new lives! This is the polytunnel coop musco-teer.

latest new family

First thing this morning, I checked the rescued Muscovy eggs in the incubator. They’ve been in there for a few days now but the eggs were unchanged. So I turned off the incubator. Ten minutes later, whilst I was preparing breakfast, Kevin started to clear the eggs out and the exclaimed, “They’re alive!” One egg had pipped and it was cheeping at him! Incubator back on, water added for humidity and it wasn’t long before there were three successfully rescued muscovy ducklings playing football with the other eggs!


It is now 6.15p.m. and we’ve introduced the three newcomers to Puff, Biggles and the musco-teer. It looks very much as though they are accepted although I think that they will have to spend a restful night before joining the ‘big’ guys permanently. At the moment they are under the infra-red lamp in the duck house. When all the others retire for the night, we shall let them join the group. Fingers crossed! As I write, a fourth duckling has pipped in the incubator, so who knows what I’ll find tomorrow!

keeping warm

A good day all round

March 26, 2014

THE VIEW – early evening

the view

It’s been a glorious spring day today reaching a temperature of 13.5 degrees C in the shade! A big thank you to those of you who have passed on their good wishes for Hamie. Her breathing still leaves a lot to be desired but she’s nibbled her way through a couple of haddock fillets and a wee bit of cat milk over the last 24 hours. She’s considerably stronger today although she tires easily. Even so, she’s enjoyed the day as much as the rest of us, soaking up the sunshine and fresh air. A day like today makes everyone feel good so why not a poorly puss too?


She was unaware of her three curious visitors whilst taking an afternoon nap in the dry leaves by the fruit cage!


A week of ups and downs

March 22, 2014

the view

Apologies for being a wee bit remiss with blogging duties recently, but the last week has been quite eventful and not all in a good way. One of the ‘ups’ of the week has been that our new conservatory is now up and decorated! It’s lovely, so bright, clean and with a glass roof this time around, it’s pleasant to sit and watch the clouds drifting above.



Of course things rarely run smoothly and after a night of particularly foul weather, two substantial leaks developed. The conservatory chaps returned the following day however and all seems to be well at the moment. One leak came through the central ‘gubbins’ at the round end of the structure. That problem was solved by applying more sealant to the multiple joints. That’s great of course but it IS a wee bit of a concern to think that building costing several thousand pounds is relying on a tube of sealant! The other leak came in above the French doors which you can see in the second picture. Fortunately the water didn’t come down on my newly applied wallpaper but managed to soak the carpet on the other side! Anyway, the upshot is that on removing the old lead flashing, a considerable amount of the old cement also had to be removed (we’re still waiting for the replacement cement) and a crack was revealed under an upstairs windowsill. The main man deduced that that was the root of the problem and he sealed it with some lead-based filler until the cement man makes an appearance! With the rain showing no sign of a let-up however, who knows when that will be!

Some good news on the animal front! BB has decided to live up to the Silkie P.R. of being great broody hens. She decided to stay put on her nest a week ago.


Unfortunately, she’s being a bit too literal with the staying-put thing and makes no attempt to leave the nest for life’s essentials! I have read about this in our collection of poultry books but so far, our broody hens have always known what to do. So now, every morning, we lift her from the nest and put her outside to eat. drink, poo, dust bathe and whatever else a chicken can do in fifteen minutes! Then we put her back on the nest where she settles once more. Weird.

Now here’s a rare and happy picture before some more bad news. Hamie and Patches almost nose to nose on the rug! Usually for Hamie, being in the same ROOM as Patches is close enough, thank you very much!
Hamie and Patches

But now the bad news. Yesterday evening, we had to make a dash to the vet’s with our beautiful Hamie, who started to breathe rapidly and shallowly. The vet couldn’t see anything obvious, her temperature, heart-rate and colour were good. He suggested that possibly she had got something lodged in her wind-pipe and these things usually resolve themselves. Antibiotic/anti-inflammatory injection and home we came. This morning though, she was nowhere in sight and Kevin found her under one of the upturned duck ponds. Her breathing was worse so off once more to the vet. After X-rays, some fluid in one lung and some bruising has shown up, probably consistent with an impact of some kind. Anyway, as I write, she is currently on diuretics and the vet is keeping her under observation until Monday. Strangely, yesterday evening when Kevin went to close the ‘Winter Spa for Chickens’, there had been some obvious kerfuffle in there as the drinker and feeder had been knocked over. Maybe she’d got into a tussle with an intruder and she’s taken a blow to the ribs. We’ll never know but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for our girl. She’s in the right place.

The Tale of Boris and the Cat-Flap

February 11, 2014

Today we’ve returned to our more usual view. Better for the soul I think, well, mine at least!

The view

Now here’s a funny thing. A week or so ago, I promised to tell you the tale of Boris and the cat-flap. However, when I was beginning my ‘Glasgow’ post yesterday, I noticed that the cat-flap story was still only in draft form! Presumably I’d had a head full of feathers that day! So, I shall endeavour once more to tell you The Tale of Boris and the Cat-Flap! I have no photographs of this incident, so the tale is illustrated in a less technical fashion!

Some early followers of Garybuie’s blog may remember Boris. He was getting on in years when we brought him to Skye and resembled a cuddly, well-worn pyjama case! He had been a stray and as a consequence, his main concern was where his next meal was coming from. Even though he had a new home and plenty to eat, his enduring hobby was theft of neighbours’ cats’ food. When we moved to Skye there were fewer neighbouring cats – as well as longer distances to reach them – but he still retained his cat-burglar status, as well a stealing from Hamie and Wallace when they arrived on the scene. NOT a slim cat!


Several years ago, I was awakened pre-dawn by some fairly loud, irregular thumping noises. I lay for a while trying to decide what could possibly be causing it. Kevin was fast asleep and it seemed a shame to wake him. Did I dare deal with this noisy intruder alone? What if it was someone noisily filling his swag-bag with our treasured possessions? I dismissed that idea as such incidents are virtually unheard of on Skye. That thought made me feel somewhat braver. What if it was some kind of wild, highland beast beating up our feline friends? An illusive Haggis perhaps? Either way, I had to get up and deal with this seemingly clog-dancing thug and rescue the cats. The thudding continued as I crept down the hall and opened the door into the dining room. There, sitting stock-still with a look of sheer bewilderment on her face was Hamie!

surprised cat!

She was transfixed by what she was witnessing through the door to the sitting-room. The intruder had apparently not heard my approach, which was hardly surprising with all the noise he was making! Creeping forward slowly to join Hamie, I too stood stock-still when I saw the culprit! Then I laughed! (Well, we both did!) There, in the middle of the sitting-room floor was Boris who appeared to be wearing some kind of ill-fitting, Edwardian corset! He sat there, defeated and on closer inspection it turned out that the corset was in fact the cat-flap!

Boris + catflap

His face was a picture, a cross between total resignation and a look that said, ” Well DO something instead of laughing at a chap’s predicament!” I just picked him up using the top lip of the flap and he just slithered out in an undignified heap! He was NOT amused! (Of course Hamie and I were!)

It would seem that the cat-flap had eventually become too tight for Boris’s expanding girth, finally giving up and removing itself from the door along with its feline captive. Presumably, all the thumping sounds had been Boris rolling around trying to escape the clutches of this new, unwanted plastic peril!

So THAT’S why we had a spare cat-flap to use on the old church door!

A couple of oddities

May 7, 2013


Pusscat definitely has the wrong name and I’ve been meaning to tell you for a while. I think that ‘Ten-to’ would be more appropriate. What do you think?


He certainly looks neat when he’s sitting but his feet remain at ten-to-two when he walks! Kinda like Charlie Chaplin.

As for oddity number two, we seem to have a duckling discrepancy! Spot the odd one out. All four hatched at the same time and all four came from Aylesbury eggs but three of them are growing much faster than the fourth. At first we thought it was just a sickly wee thing, although it’s happy to run around with the others – even though it tires more quickly – and eats and drinks plenty. Then Kevin came up with a good point: has Huff, the Muscovy, seduced Lucky or Chance? It’s not just that the duckling is small, but its whole posture is different. Like a Muscovy duckling in fact!

Spot the odd one out

MacRae’s the regular Don Juan around here but has Huff taken a leaf out of his book? We haven’t notice any covert couplings but he is more of the strong silent type!

Patches – self-appointed carer of ducklings

May 2, 2013

“What?” says Patches, ” I’m just checking that they’re O.K.”


“Someone has to keep an eye on the youngsters…”



“…making sure that they get enough to eat and drink.” (“Speaking of eating, I guess that they’re very tender at this age… Hmmm.”)


And when the cat’s away, the ducklings will play! They hurtle around the  floor and like nothing better than a quick dip in the cats’ drinking bowl to cool off!cooling off

In a different direction altogether, I haven’t shown you any paintings for a wee while. Of course I have less time to spend with my brushes now that the bed and breakfast season has begun. However, we’re not at full speed yet, so there’s an odd hour here and there to indulge myself! I’ve been on the farmyard recently, guess whose farm that is? Cecilia’s of course, over the ocean in Illinois.

DaisyThis first one is ‘Daisy’ and she’s painted in ink/watercolour, although because of the very strong light and shade, I think that she would have looked better using the Inktense Pencils which I used on the following painting, which I’ve called ‘Blethering’, as they produce much stronger colour.


But now I’ve returned to pet portraits, Pusscat being my current model. For this portrait I’m using coloured pencil on pastel paper – good for all that white fur!


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