Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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.

The Fairy Glen

July 11, 2016

We’ve just had a week off from a busy bed and breakfast season, enjoying instead a visit by our eldest son and his family. The weather wasn’t great but we got out every day, one of those days visiting the Fairy Glen.

Fairy Glen

Many of our visitors spend time in the Fairy Glen although none have managed to glimpse any fairies. The twins however….

Fairies

It’s Gertrude’s fault!

February 16, 2016

Now I should have LOADS of pictures to show you after our trip south, enjoying a holiday with family at Centre Parcs in Penrith. The problem however, is that I neglected to pack my CAMERA! Can you believe it? I blame Gertrude, the storm that is. She swept across Skye the night before we travelled and in her rush, decided to uproot one of our large conifers out back. Uproot and leave reclining gracefully on the power cables! Fortunately, the power guys were on the ball arriving on the scene within the hour, calling in the tree-cutters, felling the tree, cutting it into logs and stacking them, clearing up loose debris and restoring power by mid afternoon! That’s what I call customer service! Anyway, in all the excitement, my camera was forgotten.
En route south, we stayed overnight in Falkirk and visited the Kelpies there. Of course no camera, so I’m relying on the Helix Park website to provide a photo of the breath-taking, 90 feet high sculpture. We could have stayed there all day, seeing how the appearance of the steel-clad beasts constantly changed in the shifting light. We will return!

Kelpies

As for Centre Parcs, we had a great time – mainly in the pool, where there were waves, rapids, slides and flumes galore! I’ll tell you something, Granny and Grandad Skye slept VERY well! The weather was kind too so the kiddies got lots of cycling in although poor Patrick was under the weather so couldn’t make the most of it. Here he seems to be using Jedi mind control to work the pedals, rather than his weary legs!

Patrick

Even the twins’ legs gave out eventually, needing a ride home at the end of a long day…

twins

Thankfully our daughter-in-law, Sarah, was more reliable than me in the photographic department!

On our return to Skye, the bathroom – yes, the saga continues – is almost complete. In the photos it looks complete but we still await a diamond bit and a plumber to return from holiday, cut the marble and plumb in the basin. ‘Smoked Trout’ is the paint colour. Who comes up with these names?!!

bathroom

bathroom

bathroom

Gradual return to normality

September 22, 2015

We’re in the final couple of weeks of our B and B season and I’m looking forward to cooking the last breakfast I can tell you! It’s been another successful season and evening meals have proved to be more popular than we thought for the first year.
Out of the whole season, last week was probably the most hectic, on a social level at least. We started the proceedings with a flight south to celebrate Kevin’s mum’s 80th, grabbing the chance to see our grandchildren too.

Twins

Patrick

The party was a great success, although I have no photographic evidence as I forgot completely about my camera whilst catching up with relatives who we’ve not seen in 20 years!
Garybuie was in safe hands during our two-day flying visit as our first WWOOFers stepped in to help. Lorenzo and Giulia from Italy learned their baby-sitting duties fast and did a great job. We spent more time with them on our return and they dug up our main crop potatoes (the haulms were dying back early this year) doing a thorough job of weeding the cleared plot while Kevin and I collected some bags of manure from new horsey neighbours in the glen. We then had another birthday to celebrate – Lorenzo’s. And just add to the excitement, my cousin phoned on his birthday morning to say that they were camping on Skye and en route to Garybuie! Anyway, the more the merrier for Lorenzo’s birthday dinner…

Lorenzo & Giulia

Lorenzo

We all enjoyed some birthday cake and Lorenzo finished it off for breakfast!!! Cake for breakfast in Italy is quite normal apparently. I think I’ll stick to porridge!
Our young Italian friends left the following morning, slowly making their way home to university life. My cousin stayed a couple of days longer, helping us celebrate ANOTHER birthday – dad’s this time. They had an interesting wee run-around hidden in the back of their camper; a forty-year-old Honda 90cc bike. For some strange reason, Wallace and Grommet came to mind…

Julie & Geoff

Julie & Geoff

Good and bad things on our return

March 3, 2015

We managed to avoid any snow on our return journey north but for the last couple of days, we’ve awoken to varying amounts of the stuff. This morning big, fat flakes fell to earth and it looked as though they meant business but by the time I took a shot of The View this afternoon, the snow line had retreated to higher levels.

The View

It’s good to be back at Garybuie and even though it’s been a pretty action packed week with our grandchildren, Granddad Skye seemingly involved in most of the action…

twins

twins

… we feel as though our batteries are suitably re-charged for the start of our new season, just one month away.

There have been good and bad things to return to. Dad was most upset to find one of the hens dead whilst we were away. It was Nest Thief. At least Broody Brenda’s nest should be safe this year; I’d like to think that Brenda is much too nice a girl to have been involved in a murder! And just today, Kevin has had to dispatch one of the Guinea Gang who we noticed wasn’t well when we got home; slightly laboured breathing, loss of (dishevelled) plumage, sitting alone. I looked online for any hints as to what it could be but I’m none the wiser. Better to be safe than sorry, plus the fact that we don’t like to see any creature in obvious distress.

The good news however, is that Thelma and Louise have still got their two chicks. They finally ventured outside last week, although with the weather being so cold, they’ve returned indoors for most of the time. They are VERY careful mothers!

Silkies

And look at this, here’s aunt BB in the foreground, sharing a mealworm treat!

Silkies

In our years of raising chickens, never has a mother hen allowed any other hen near her chicks. The Silkies have a different attitude however; all just one, big happy family – including Wee Man!

Looking back

December 31, 2014

It’s weird isn’t it? All year long I think that we’re just doing the same old, same old, which in a sense we are; daily routines are the same, seasonal activities too. But within that daily and seasonal rhythm, many changes have occurred. Of course the weather alone is responsible for many of those changes and our regular shot of THE VIEW demonstrates that to a certain extent.

The View

The view

the view

the view

the view

The view

The view

the view

The View

Of course our other view can sometimes take our breath away too.

sunset

sunset

This year there have been a couple of structural changes around the place; a new conservatory replacing the old…

demolishion

conservatory

…and a new cover for the polytunnel. (The hens are VERY pleased – no leaks in their winter spa!)

polytunnel

It’s the animals however, who contribute most changes within a year. There have been some new permanent residents arrive at Garybuie this year. The Three Musco-teers…

The Three Musco-teers

…and latterly, the Guinea-gang.

guineas

There were plenty of non-permanent additions too. BB became a mum for the first time…

silkie family

…and helped to increase our Silkie breeding stock by two! Thelma and Louise.

silkies

Later, she raised six ‘regular’ chicks. Trusty old Brenda raised an early brood of four chicks and the Nest Thief reared 7. We thought that poor Brenda was doomed after being hit by a car but after some R and R, she seems back to her usual self.

brenda

And how can we forget what was probably the highlight of the year? FORTY-TWO Muscovy ducklings and all within the space of a week!

ducklings

muscovy ducklings

We were fortunate this year as we only lost a handful of young birds. Unfortunately, we also lost Dotty, one of the Musco-teers, who was determined to make a nest across the river, never to return. However, our big loss this year was Hamie.

Hamie

Overall, we’ve had a great year at Garybuie, certainly more positives than negatives. A great growing year for the fruit and veg, more success than failure on the poultry front and our best season yet with the Bed and Breakfast side of things, meeting many lovely people from all over the world. We have taken some time out from our wee patch of Skye this year, visiting Glasgow’s artistic attributes for the first time…

Some furniture designs by C.R. MacIntosh

Some furniture designs by C.R. MacIntosh

Druids, mistletoe

'A Funeral Service in the Highlands' James Guthrie, 1881-82

‘A Funeral Service in the Highlands’
James Guthrie, 1881-82

…and the prehistoric sites of Orkney. Beginning 5,000 years ago in neo-lithic times…

Skara Brae

Ring of Brodgar

…moving on to the brochs of the Iron Age…

Broch of gurness

…through to the Vikings…

St Magnus cathedral

…and the second World War – with everything that came in between!

Created by prisoners of war

Created by prisoners of war

Further time out took us south to see our rapidly growing grandchildren.

Holly and Jake

Patrick

Finally, I’d like to share a touching moment with you. Two of our guests this year, Hans-Georg and Barbara, commissioned a pet portrait for Barbara’s dad as a Christmas gift. Just after Christmas, Hans-Georg sent me this photo of when dad opened his gift. Apparently he was delighted. It was a very kind gesture to let me share in the moment – a lovely gift for me in fact!

Sammy for Xmas

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Down South

October 30, 2014

Somebody out there might be wondering why there have been no new posts on Garybuie’s blog recently. Well, we’re currently south of the border visiting family, checking up especially on how our grandchildren are growing.
Patrick has apparently grown this much…

Patrick

Patrick

Patrick

The twins too are able to do so much more.

Jake

Holly

Holly and Jake

Holly and Jake

Back to the blog

July 9, 2014

Garybuie’s blog has taken a back seat for the past week as Kevin’s mum & aunt have been visiting. We all had a relaxing time together and the weather was fairly kind although it was breezy on and off with the odd shower thrown in for good measure. A tip for visiting Skye: Always wear layers, the top one being waterproof! Now although both ladies are Yorkshire lasses, ‘Calendar Girls’ they certainly weren’t – more like a ‘Pack-a-mac Pair’!

pack-a-mac pair

pack-a-mac pair

Of course nothing else around the place had the week off. Veggies and ducklings are a-growing at a great rate and today we had a lovely surprise when Nest Thief emerged from amidst the tall grass and wild flowers with seven chicks!

nest thief

Needless to say that everyone had to come and inspect the new arrivals!

visiting the newcomers

A jumbled week

April 12, 2014

tulipsThe horizontal rain has returned so no VIEW today. I haven’t the heart to show a non-view of the ridge again, so this is an indoor spring-like shot instead!
What a week! Last Sunday, we were expecting our first guests of the season; four guys who made their reservation back in December. What we didn’t expect were four guys on motorbikes, one of them being Kevin’s uncle who we’ve not seen for about twenty-five years! So our Bed and Breakfast involved dinner too on Sunday, but only after Kevin got to go out and drive around the island with the surprise guests. They got drenched!

kevin

bikers

Recovery after late-night socialising was difficult as we’ve had guests for most of the week. It’s so difficult to get back into the breakfast routines after a six-month break but I’m sure that we’ll regain the hang of it soon! After our surprise start to the season, the whole week seems to have been a catalogue of unexpected (some unwanted) events. The first one was when I decided to finally use the compost from the wormery. I’d planned to use it in the polytunnel but my plans were soon dashed when we removed the top few inches containing the worms to discover that the ‘compost’ appeared to consist mainly of un-composted eggshells! It was impossible to separate the shells and we had to throw the whole lot into the outdoor compost heap, in the hope that creatures other than worms will be able to tackle them.

compost disaster

I guess that B and B quantities of eggshells are just to much to handle! So, this season a maximum of a dozen eggs, finely crushed, per week methinks!

Thanks to the return of wind and rain, problems with the conservatory added to the week’s jumble of events. One of our leaks had returned. Nothing major but undesirable none the less. Obviously with the idea of killing two birds with one stone, the conservatory chaps arrived the following day to fix the leak and to plaster where the old lead flashing had been removed. Of course we have had two weeks of fine, spring weather but no, how about plastering when the forecast was anything but spring-like! Hence, later that day, slithering plaster…

slithering plaster

slithering plaster

The glass of the roof is a special, self-clean, tinted kind. Water only, NO chemicals. And what came leeching out of the cement but the chemical anti-frost additives. So poor Kevin had to get onto the roof (in wind and rain) to GENTLY wipe off any staining, rinsing off with a watering can. It was suggested that we tuck old sheets under the flashing to protect the glass. Of course heavy planks of wood had to be added or the sheets would have no doubt ended up at the end of the glen! Lovely. Thankfully, we have no guests booked in over the weekend and hopefully the slithering plaster matter will be resolved. And the leak. Again.

There have been animal problems too. Kevin disposed of one of BB’s chicks today as it had developed splayed legs and couldn’t stand. The other three are doing just fine although BB hasn’t ventured outside with them so far. Who can blame her in this weather! Can you see wee Three Lives peeping out from under mum?

BB and chicks

No eggs are being laid in the wee box in the polytunnel coop and it’s easy to see why. The Musco-teers detected something not quite right…

musco-teers

That’s no hen!

Hamie

Hamie has decided that it’s the perfect place convalesce! There has been some laying going on in the ‘over-by’ coop however, which we opened up for that very purpose. Both Broody Brenda and the Nest Thief, among others, are laying in there and I’m hoping that Brenda will sit first. That way, we can then reduce the size of the pop-hole so that the Nest Thief can’t fit!

And finally, here’s one for Matt and Sarah…

wee garden

Home again, home again…

October 21, 2013

We arrived back at Garybuie yesterday after our family holiday in the Yorkshire Dales. Unfortunately, having a head full of feathers – too long living with chickens and ducks I guess – I managed to leave my camera in our youngest son’s car early on in the proceedings. He left as eldest son arrived so I’ve been camera-less for most of the week! Andy has now posted my essential bloggers’ tool back to Skye but until it arrives, wee Patrick remains locked inside, un-viewed! Fortunately, Matt took some pictures on his mobile phone – we can only talk on ours! – and emailed them to me so at least we have a few pictures of things to do with twins in the Yorkshire Dales!

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