Archive for the ‘Daily life in the glen’ Category

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

 

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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!

 

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.

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!)

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.)

Spring

April 9, 2016

Admittedly, THE VIEW today didn’t look particularly spring-like…

THE VIEW

…and even the few daffodils that we have, were bowing their heads in the rain.daffodil

Even so, it’s a new season and there are new lives at Garybuie. The first arrivals were six Cuckoo Maran chicks.

Maran chicks

Our laying hens are dwindling in numbers through natural wastage so we thought we’d get some new blood by buying some eggs online. We bought a dozen but struggled throughout the incubation with humidity levels. Whether that affected the hatch rate I don’t know, but the outcome was disappointing. It looks like three of them could be female. (Darker head colour in the Cuckoo Maran)

Over the last couple of days Thelma, the Silkie, hatched four Silkie chicks. These chicks are destined for a new home when they’ve grown; a birthday present for a young lassie.

Thelma and chicks

There are other birds awaiting their own spring arrivals, including BB and Louise who are in the same ‘maternity wing’ as Thelma!

L to R, Thelma, BB and Louise

L to R, Thelma, BB and Louise

Polly Blue-tail made her nest a bit too early I think as a particularly cold snap has seemingly thwarted her efforts, as she’s already a week overdue. Mrs Under-by however, began a week or so later, opting for the main coop this time rather than the Guineafowl house!

mrs under-by

And let’s not forget the other young lives at Garybuie, Hamish and Dottie, who are now discovering the great outdoors!

Hamish

Dottie

Always up to mischief, outdoors or in!

Hamish and Dottie


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