Posts Tagged ‘Hamie’

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 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!



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…


That’s no hen!


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

Open for business

April 2, 2014


the view

We are now officially open for business and the weather at the moment is certainly very holiday-like! No guests yet though but our first booking is on Saturday. It’s unusual to get people just turning up on the doorstep at this time of year. But we’re ready if anyone does! I can’t wait to serve breakfast in the new conservatory…


I have to confess that I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with the windows! Everything is so shiny and new that I can’t abide a blemish! I’m not a lover of cleaning windows but last week I gave them all a good wash ‘n’ polish and then can you believe it, an over-night shower deposited Saharan sand all over them!!! Winds are coming from the south-east currently, picking up sand on their way. As long as the winds don’t become gale force as I certainly don’t want any accompanying camels! Anyway, they are all shiny once more, so clean rain only please Mother Nature!

Because the weather has been so lovely, we had our first we trip out on the bike this year on Sunday. I’m surprised that there’s actually anything left of the machine after all Kevin’s over-wintering polishing! Anyway, we travelled around the north end of the island, a lovely circular route. Although it was sunny, it was quite hazy. A day for nature’s muted palette. This is Duntulm at the northerly point of Skye…


We didn’t see any visitors but we did encounter an unusual pedestrian!


Other good weather news is that after recovering the polytunnel, I finally got around to getting it ship-shape for spring. No more Chicken-Spa, much to their annoyance!


Spuds are chitting, there are lettuce and brassica seedlings coming on nicely and some garlic on the go.


And yet more spring news: after assistance throughout her ‘confinement’ BB the Silkie is currently hatching her eggs! Hopefully, I shall have some cute pictures for you tomorrow! Also, it’s with a huge sigh of relief to report that Hamie is now much better. She’s not back to her tree-climbing self yet but she’s eating well and breathing easier. Fingers crossed.


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!

“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


Cats don’t need cushions!

April 18, 2013

Since Pusscat came to join us a few weeks ago, there has been some minor re-shuffling of who sits where. To be fair, the old fella’s been quite obliging and soon learned the seating arrangements of the established feline residents. When we claim our own preferred seats of an evening, the cats take up theirs; Hamie on Kevin’s lap and Patches on the rug in front of ‘The Beast’.

Kevin’s lap was hastily abandoned when Pusscat decided to occupy the empty space between us, Hamie moving into a fireside chair instead from where she could direct some serious black looks! (Thinking about it, I guess she can’t really give any other colour of look!) but last night, after much deliberation, she finally succumbed to her favourite spot…

Hamie returns

You may notice in the background that Patches is having problems all of her own! ‘The Beast’ is not in use now that spring has arrived (!), so the rug doesn’t have quite the same appeal. She’s now decided to take up residence on the other chair but just can’t seem to get comfortable!

“What’s this thing taking up valuable relaxing space?”…

No space

“Don’t you realise that I’m not a kitten ANY MORE? A girl needs room to manoeuver!”


“Oh well, I suppose this will just have to do! Cushions, who needs ’em!”

O.K. Patches, we get the message!

All finished, but does herself approve?

November 13, 2012

The glen certainly has a bleak, damp look about it still.

So, with winter’s reduced outdoor chores, I’m happy to stay inside armed with my paint brush and my latest Playaway book, ‘The Woodcutter’ by Reginald Hill. This is certainly a more absorbing story than the last one (although that was entertaining) and has me gripped!

Wolf Hadden’s life was a fairytale – successful businessman and adored husband. but a knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison, Wolf retreats int silence. Seven years later Wolf begins to talk to the prison psychiatrist and receives parole to return home. But there’s a mysterious period in Wolf’s past when he was known as the Woodcutter. Now the Woodcutter is back, looking for truth and revenge.”

Anyway, accompanied by some great story-telling, my portrait of Hamie is now complete and I have to say that I’m more pleased with this painting than anything else which I’ve done for quite some time –  and Kevin likes it too! (On the strength of  this one piece of work, he has now decided that I should take up a winter career of painting pet portraits! I guess it’s nice to have one fan at least!) However, it doesn’t matter what we think of it, does herself approve?  Well Hamie?

“Thank you for asking! It has to be said that it’s been a long time coming and I can’t believe that you succumbed to the inferior charms of those two queue-jumping felines! Of course I appreciate that you probably wished to practice with some mediocre moggies before tackling a subject with the poise and sophistication which oneself possesses in such abundance. I forgive you therefore, as on this occasion you really have saved the best until last – I think you even managed to catch one’s best side! (Although really, I would challenge you to find any of one’s sides which isn’t just purrrfect!) Just a thought, but for a small fee of let’s say, a dish of lightly poached white fish, I may be prepared to teach that Patchy wee Pest how to strike a more demure pose than her usual flat on her back with her legs in the air kind of approach. Sooo undignified.”

P.S. I’m also reading a ‘proper’ book at the moment; ‘The Things that Keep us Here’, a first novel by Carla Buckley. It’s your survival against all odds story after avian flu mutates and the ever feared pandemic takes place. An easy read but entertaining nonetheless.

Hey, that’s my box!

November 10, 2012

 ” I’ll tell you what,” says Hamie, “this driech November weather isn’t much fun for a girl. I mean, it’s so muddy out there (I blame those flat-footed, waddling things personally) that even life’s essential outdoor activities result in one’s paws getting in a dreadful state, the endless washing of them being quite exhausting! And that’s not the only problem. That young whippersnapper doesn’t appear to like the wet either. The young today, where’s their sense of adventure for goodness sake? Go climb a tree, pester the mice in the log-pile, STAY OUT OF MY SPACE! I mean honestly, I just find myself able to sneak into the out-of-bounds bedroom to attend to one’s paws and other damp bits and who decides to do the same thing? Really, one can only remain civil for so long and then action must be taken! Like invading her BOX!”

“Hey, that’s MY box!”

” And what are you going to do about it small-fry?”

“Well maybe I’ll just poke you out…

…or creep in behind you and PUSH you out!”

“Not on your nellie you patchy wee pest!”


“On second thoughts, you can keep the thing; far to cramped and rustic for such a purrrfectly, pulchritudinous pussy as oneself dear girl. Come back tomorrow for another lesson in WHO’S BOSS!”

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