Posts Tagged ‘ducks’

Moving forwards…

March 19, 2015

…to spring, hopefully. It was another beautiful day on Skye yesterday, albeit a wee bit hazy.

the view

Everybody’s just been happy doing what they do. Sitting on the shed roof checking up on what I’m doing in the kitchen…

Puff and Biggles

…taking a dip…


…or a snooze…


…or just watching the world go by.


The guinea Fowl are enjoying widespread foraging in this dry weather. (They are also starting to arrange themselves into pairs ready for the spring season)

guinea fowl

It’s foraging nearer to home however for our young Silkie family. I love seeing them all together!


BB however has other things on her mind – or under breast to be more accurate! Here she is in a dark corner, happily sitting on 6 eggs. (Not her own of course but don’t tell her!)


As of yesterday, someone else decided to sit too – Polly Bluetail. Here she is giving me that warning look through the a wee gap in her nest box!

Polly bluetail

Today I closed the hens’ Winter Spa’, a decision which didn’t go down well I can tell you! I told them that I didn’t give two hoots, as I need to get the place ready for planting. The displaced soon had plenty to do though, ‘helping’ Kevin as he cleared some of the rough ground outside the old church in preparation for quail summer housing.


Something afoot

November 15, 2014

Today has been a BEAUTIFUL day! Yesterday evening we were treated to a wonderful sunset…


…and this evening we had a fabulous reflected sunset on the Ridge, with autumn showing off all her vibrant colours.

The view

We’ve both been working in the garden all day today, tidying the place up for the winter and putting the finishing touches to a new residence. Huff and his ladies are going to get new neighbours. “Hope they’re not noisy neighbours.” he said. Hmmmm. Fortunately, our friends who have recently moved back south to England gifted us with their wonderful fruit cage. It’s come in very handy to create a perfect temporary extension to the over-by coop.

New neighbours

The imminent new neighbours need to be restricted in their movements for six weeks, until they get used to their new home, then the fruit cage will be moved to its permanent position in the veg patch. I guess you’ll just have to watch this space to see who moves in!

An update on Garybuie’s gang

October 17, 2014

As promised a couple of days ago, here’s an update of avian antics on our wee patch of Skye. After freeing Dotty, one of the musco-teers, from her confinement after she’d ventured just too far from the homestead, she upped and disappeared the following day! Kevin has searched but there’s been no sign of her since. Either she’s come to a violent end or she’ll return in a couple of weeks with yet more ducklings in tow. So now we’re down to two musco-teers and one of them, Mrs Under-by, who raised her family under the chicken coop you may remember, has now gone broody INSIDE the coop!

Mrs Under-by

I’ve removed her eggs but she’s still sitting and each evening I remove her too, putting her in the main duck house, hoping to break the broodiness. At least BB finally gave up on her nest in the duck house after being transported home every evening.


silkie eggThelma and Louise, BB’s Silkie offspring, have come into lay but unfortunately have followed their mother’s example by laying in the duck house too! Hopefully they won’t go broody.

Most of the hens are undergoing their annual moult and look a bonnie mess, even Big Fella has lost his magnificence!

Big Fella

There is someone who’s looking good however; Brenda.

Broody Brenda

She’s still spending life quietly but obviously that’s doing the trick as her limp is far less pronounced and she’s looking in generally good condition. What a star!

There are some new faces around the place at the moment as the cows have come to make their annual visit to the field behind us. They come to check that I’m doing things right at cleaning-out time, congregating by the fence watching my every move with those long-lashed eyes.


They seem a lot less frisky than last year’s herd – and no bull – so hopefully Chance won’t get trampled this time around! Don’t you just love a cow’s nose…

cow's nose

Shades of blue

August 21, 2014

Not much time for blogging these days with our busiest season ever taking up much of my time. I still make time to pay brief visits to my favourite blogs however and yesterday I enjoyed seeing Cecilia’s beautiful white hydrangeas. So, I thought that I’d show you our blue ones!



From flora to fauna, the Muscovy ducklings are pretty much all grown up now. Twelve of them are lucky enough to have found new homes but of course the remainder will have a somewhat shorter life. We’re planning on doing evening meals next year for our guests so I guess that duck will find itself somewhere on the menu! The wee chicks in the foreground of the next picture are BB’s. She’s down to five now as one developed breathing problems and couldn’t keep up. She’s such a happy girl though, spending most of her time with them foraging in the field behind us.

Muscovie ducklings


Hot, lazy days

July 25, 2014

It’s been a hot week. VERY hot. 30 degrees hot – on Skye? The sky has been blue for ever seemingly and ‘The View’ has been the same every day, so just to vary it a wee bitty, here it is from a different position. This is in the field behind Garybuie which our neighbouring crofter cut for silage a couple of days ago.

cut for silage

After the cut grass had been removed, the remaining stubble is perfect for foraging beaks and bills. It didn’t take long for the Muscovy gang to find their way out there!


Lazing around in the garden seems to have been the main occupation during the heat wave however, keeping cool or surveying the surroundings.

Brenda's brood

Puff and Biggles


cool feet


Dotty, one of the musco-teers, has re-grown her primary feathers and is taking short flights just to test them out. She’s enjoying herself immensely I think and seems to be very pleased with herself!


Bleak Sunday and some home improvements

January 27, 2014

Trying to do anything on the internet yesterday was snail-like. It happens every so often so apart from dealing with the essentials, it’s better for the blood pressure to leave matters such as shopping online or blogging until another day. So here I am on another day telling you yesterday’s news! As you can see from THE VIEW, it was a particularly bleak Sunday. There were (very) occasional sunny intervals but strong winds and fierce hail showers dominated. I did manage to get out for my daily walk in the glen but it wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience. Of course Kevin went out running in the surrounding hills (daft or what?), so shirking a walk would have been a bit feeble on my part!


During one of the sunny intervals I noticed the new girls investigating the wee bridge…

Three Musco-teers

… I wonder if we’ll end up with all five Muscovy females perched on the handrail some day! The three (so far nameless) girls seem to be feeling quite at home with the other muscovies now and mill around in a friendly fashion with Huff et al in their new, open-plan accommodation…


There’s been a minor modification to the Silkies’ home too. Well, just their front door. It usually remains closed during the day to keep all the other hens – and cats – out. However, it shouldn’t be long before BB comes into lay and she’s going to need to get back to her nest. So, Kevin fixed an old cat-flap into the door and we just fasten that open during the day. We suspect that it’s too small for most of the other hens. Wee man likes to go to bed first and we’ve caught him investigating this new, miniature front door, but he still hasn’t mustered the courage to walk through it!

cat flap

Hamie has tried it of course and is probably excited about resuming her peaceful siestas in the Silkies’ abode! I shall tell you a story about this particular cat-flap one day. One day when the flippin’ internet is functioning at a less annoying speed!

And finally, just to share a wee spot of brightness on our bleak Sunday, look what’s popped up in the garden!


Settling in

January 22, 2014

As you can see, not much change in THE VIEW, yesterday, still grey with some heavy clouds. Still, it was mostly dry yesterday which was good although it was a fairly strong wind which made it unpleasantly chilly. I had intended to post this yesterday but accessing the internet at a reasonable speed was like pulling teeth, so here we are, a day late!

The view

I mainly wanted to give you an update on our New Girls who seem to be settling in just fine. To be fair, they did set off over the hills and far away on their first day, but they were easy to guide back and have remained reasonably close since. At least being white means that they’re easy enough to spot as they trundle back and forth in the field behind Garybuie. Making friends is a different matter; they seem to be content enough to be around the other ducks with no apparent aggravation – at least not that we’ve seen!

Getting along

The weird thing is that Huff seems to pay them little attention, spending most of his time wandering around the place policing MacRae, who unusually is on his best behaviour these days! We can’t work it out. The girls speak his language when all said and done so is the Daft Drake confused, thinking that they belong to MacRae because they’re white?

huff and white ducks

Anyway, in an attempt to encourage a sense of belonging, Kevin has now removed a panel from the dividing wall between the new and older muscovies, although the gap is covered by chicken wire so that they can see each other but remain be separated. Keeping them separate for a wee while longer is probably a good idea as Biggles in particular can be a grumpy madam when she chooses! When they are more integrated during daytime activities, we’ll remove the dividing wall completely so that Huff’s house will be almost double the size. Of course MacRae, Lucky and Chance weren’t particularly enamoured with their new home, but are gradually getting used to it!

huff's house

Returning indoors, I completed my kitten portrait. I found the picture here, a lovely cat blog which I often visit if I want to feel all warm and fuzzy! Next up is my still life for the SAA 2014 challenge. I’m off now to consult my collection of art books to see how I might tackle it!

white kitten

2013 in review and wishes for the New Year

December 31, 2013

Well, the end of another year and I thought I’d draw it to a close with a few pictures taken over the past couple of days when there’s been another (WOW!) wee respite in the turbulent weather conditions. Puff and Biggles managed to perch on their bridge without being blown off…

Puff and Biggles

…and Huff seemed content with dabbling in the drainage ditch beneath them (not enough thrust in his engine to join them!)


Brenda and BB spent most of the afternoon yesterday partaking of some chicken-gossip…

Brenda and BB

…whereas it was the perfect weather for strutting some stuff by Big Fella…

Big Fella

…and Wee Man.

Wee Man

and we even managed to end the last day of 2013 with just a hint of a reflected sunset on the Ridge.

The Ridge

So, it just leaves me to wish you all the very best for 2014 from the both of us and to round off, WordPress have done a wee summary of Garybuie’s blog over the past 12 months – if you’re into that kind of thing!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,200 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

EVENTFUL – active, busy,dramatic,fateful, full,lively, memorable,notable

December 12, 2013

Those words, taken from the Collins English Thesaurus, sum up the past week or so here at Garybuie. To be fair, things started out uneventful, commonplace, ordinary, unexceptional, unremarkable, insignificant. After collecting my larch branches and delving into the loft for the Christmas decorations, I got on with making Garybuie feel a wee bit more festive because the weather was SO gloomy. It didn’t take long for Pusscat and Hamie to find their ‘Waiting for Santa’ spots!

festive fireplace

Events became more lively last Wednesday. Gales had been forecast and on this particular occasion the Met. Office got things right. (Unfortunately) We laid in bed listening to the gathering storm and eventually, I fell asleep only to be woken later by Kevin half-whispering, “Christine, Christine…I need you to wake up. Part of the conservatory roof has blown off and I need help”. That got me fully awake and moving! The sound in the conservatory was awful. With the wind inside and out, all the roof panels were vibrating, sounding like some kind of ominous drum roll. We headed over to the old church to find some plywood, followed closely by Pusscat who was almost howling in distress. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining although the lightening show was quite something. Armed with stepladder, wood and nails, we started to board up the gap on the inside; me holding the wood in place, Kevin busy with the saw and hammer. The wind played a tug of war with the ply, determined to pull it from my grasp but finally, we were wind and water-tight once more, miraculously just before the heavens opened. This all took place at 4 a.m. and we slithered back under the duvet at 5.30. As you can see, our nocturnal efforts aren’t overly attractive but it will suffice for now. Luckily the escaped panel hadn’t disappeared up the glen but had wedged itself in the shrubbery, so Kevin managed to replace it the following morning.

roof repairs

Winds of 102 mph had been recorded on Skye that night, not the strongest we’ve experienced, in 2005 (I think) 143mph was recorded, just before the anemometer disintegrated! It was scary at the time, probably more so because it was during the night, but mainly because the wind being both indoors and out seemed to be doubling its strength and I felt as though sooner rather than later, the whole roof would have been torn off. But then I thought, Get a grip woman, this is NOTHING compared to what all those thousands of poor souls have suffered in the Phillipines. How does a roof panel compare with the complete loss of your home and family members too?

Of course, although the following days remained eventful, the events were somewhat calmer! First of all, after the storm it snowed! It didn’t hang around for long though and we soon returned to a gloomy wetness.

gloomy glen

I busied myself making Christmas cards and then off we went to Inverness, Christmas shopping. We haven’t been for a couple of years, getting gifts online instead. It was quite nice though to see the decorations and hear the carol singers, as well as being able to get ‘up close and personal’ with potential gifts! We stayed overnight and then it was great to escape the crowds, noise and traffic, returning to the peace of the glen!


Inverness 2

The only problem with buying gifts is that they all need wrapping and parcelling up to send to family and I’m glad to say that I’m almost done with my Santa’s little helper role for this year! Of course all the usual chores still need to be done albeit at a slower pace than in the summer. The hens spend a lot of time in their Winter Spa hiding fro the rain, whereas the ducks are having a grand old time out in the field, digging up all the juicy morsels which present themselves when the ground is so wet. I took Max, our neighbour’s dog, out today and spent a few minutes checking in with the cockerel who moved from Garybuie to start a new life with some new ladies!

new life

It’s not just the blog which has been neglected this past week or so, but my painting has too. Anyway, there are the beginnings of a new portrait and hopefully I shall be able to spend some time on it at the weekend. Now this is one cute pair and I know that many of you will recognize the duo!

Boo and marmalade

“Weather for ducks? I don’t think so!”

August 31, 2013

That was certainly Huff’s opinion yesterday after some torrential downpours.  He always looks thoroughly miserable in the rain and yet for some reason chooses to stand out in the open rather than finding shelter under a bush! Looking for sympathy I guess.


All the other ducks are quite happy; the Aylesburys love to get out into the field and forage for worms I suspect, the Muscovy ducklings are young and carefree and Puff and Biggles are warm and dry on their shared nest.

puff and Biggles

Some regular visitors to the back door mat are Brenda and her chicks, either looking for shelter or a quick snack of grain. They very often just sit on the step and have a preen and maybe forty winks. The chicks are seven weeks old now and Brenda usually abandons her offspring around about 5 weeks. Perhaps she particularly likes their company of this threesome, or maybe she’d rather share the polytunnel coop with them rather than go back up her tree! Unfortunately, when they do visit, they have no regard for other residents who are trying to get to their lunch!!!

Let me in!

Here’s something that made me smile the other day. This is a shot of the recently refurbished bird dwelling in the old church. You can see some of our mixed bunch of chicks on the left and the wee ducklings (only 3 now) under the lamp on the right…


Now look more closely in the nesting box on the ‘mezzanine’ level – it’s certainly no Silkie!

no silkie

This is Hamie’s latest favourite spot and she actually spent the night in there earlier in the week. We knew nothing about it until Kevin went to open the church door the following morning! Of course it’s the perfect place for a girl; no other cats to bother her, nice and cosy and a window to watch the world through. We are however checking that she doesn’t get to stay in there overnight again, just in case she fancies a midnight snack!

One good thing about the showery weather is that once I’ve taken advantage of the sunny spells to get any outdoor tasks completed (which doesn’t mean that I always manage to stay dry I have to say – soaked right through to my underwear yesterday whilst cleaning ducks out!), then I can sometimes manage a couple of hours in the conservatory, painting. Recently I completed a portrait of two cats, Melody and Harmony, for a guest from Australia who stayed with us earlier in the season. I used colour pencils and it was probably my biggest challenge so far as they are seriously multi-coloured moggies!

Melody and Hamony

Now I am revisiting a canine subject who some of you might recognise – not yet perhaps! His original portrait got lost somewhere between the Old World and the New so I just HAVE to capture his wise old face once more!

Big Dog


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