Posts Tagged ‘muscovies’

Can you spot the odd one out?

June 4, 2016

odd one out

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

New kids on the block

March 1, 2016

We’ve had several days of crisp, winter weather. Good to be alive weather.

the glen

So good in fact, that someone has decided that it’s time to start a family. Unfortunately, Thelma, the silkie, had been using that very duck-box to lay her eggs and wasn’t too pleased that Polly Blue-tail had taken over!

Polly and Thelma

On this particular occasion, Thelma ended up depositing her egg right there on the straw whereas the following day, she climbed into the box with Polly! Needless to say, she wasn’t well received and Kevin ended up playing referee, returning Thelma to her own house and locking her in for a while!

But the real news this week is the arrival of two new kids on the block! Hamish…

Hamish

…and Dottie.

Dottie

As the song says, “There maybe trouble ahead…”

And finally, ‘The man with the Diamond Drill Bit’ arrived, our marble wash stand top was successfully drilled and we now have a functional wash basin! (Kevin played plumber’s mate with his essential cold water spray!)

bathrooom

Back home – where flights are cancelled!

October 26, 2015

We’re home now after our wee jaunt to the Isle of Mull. We’ve been catching up over the weekend with all things Garybuie and of course Yohan, our WWOOFer. He did an excellent job of looking after the place and left today, leaving us home alone.
Yesterday, the rain poured with varying gusto so I decided to open up the Winter Spa for our feathered friends.

guineafowl

It was much appreciated – especially the unexpected salad bar!

winter spa

Today has seen a huge improvement on the weather front and everyone has had a happy, relaxed look about them; preening or just enjoying the sunshine…

preening

muscovy

…or water sports!

muscovy

Flights are cancelled at the moment for the adult muscovies as they have undergone their annual moult. However, primary feathers are beginning to grow back in as you can see with Biggles, so normal service should resume soon!

Biggles

The young muscovies however have a full set of flight gear – it’s just that they’re not quite sure what to do with it as yet!

flight gear

To finish this post, here are a few random shots from Mull…

Towards Iona

Towards Iona

Tobermory harbour

Tobermory harbour

Calgary - the original!

Calgary – the original!

Lochbuie

Lochbuie

Lochbuie

Lochbuie

Inquisitive Highlander

Inquisitive Highlander

Loch Spelve

Loch Spelve

Loch Spelve

Loch Spelve

old wrecks

Not quite Goldilocks…

October 3, 2015

…who as we all know, carefully tested everything in the Three Bears’ home until she found perfection.

Polly Blue-tail

We don’t have a Goldilocks but we do have a Polly Blue-tail who has been testing various nesting sites over the past couple of weeks; her own house, the Guineas’ house, the shed and finally the silkies’ home. But even there, she built FIVE nests before deciding on the perfect one in which to lay!

nesting

She will NOT be allowed to rear a third brood!

More than we could chew

August 12, 2015

The View – a different perspective…

The View

I’m sad to have to report that once our quail endeavours were fully up and running, we soon realised that we had bitten off more than we could chew. It turned out to be a very high maintenance venture, with runs having to be moved/cleaned out every other day. And for insufficient financial return. Our days at this time of year are already full and we took a step too far with this project. So, the quail are no more. Of course the wee birds haven’t gone to waste, filling a space in the freezer, labelled (in my mind at least) ‘Romantic meals for Two’. We have an abundance of preserved eggs too. Hey ho.

So, let’s get all the bad news out-of-the-way in one go; one of the female guineas got knocked down. Some drivers in the glen can be heavy-footed and she didn’t manage to move fast enough. It was an outright death thank goodness, I don’t think she would have known much about it. Her mate called for her for a couple of days then promptly stole someone else’s wife!

Guinea fowl

The grey guinea, who out of season is on the periphery of the flock, now has TWO husbands – the widower and her ousted partner who still hangs around! Sometimes I’ve spotted the ousted one with the lone, bottom-of-the-ladder female instead but preen him as she might, he doesn’t stay.

Enough of the gloom and doom. Polly Blue-tail hatched five ducklings a couple of weeks ago and Mrs Under-by hatched nine yesterday but kept them well guarded.

Mrs Under-by

BB has produced her third family of the season; five ‘regular’ chicks…

BB

…meanwhile, the inseparable sisters, Thelma and Louise, are sitting on their third set of eggs this year. Maybe they like to chat through the wall?

Thelma and Louise

After the quail disappointment, we decided to put Kevin’s specially constructed brooder to good use by incubating some of our own hen eggs. You just can’t have enough home-grown chicken!

brooder

Annnnnd in the middle of all the summer chaos, I got two portrait commissions from some early season guests – Dottie…

Dottie

…and Poppy.

Poppy

Never a dull moment then!

Still here!

July 2, 2015

Dinner guests Good grief! It’s AGES since I posted on Garybuie’s blog but worry ye not (on the off chance that you were!), we’re still here, just busy, busy with guests, gardens, birds and dinners! Skye is heaving with visitors so we are full every night and many of our guests have been taking us up on the offer of dinner.
Besides spending more time in the kitchen, outdoor tasks are also at their peak. The weather is awful; damp and dreary, cold too until the last few days. We may have reached mid-summer but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Of course our daylight hours are abundant and Pusscat seemingly disapproves, trying his best to seek SOME darkness to facilitate his naps. At least I have an eye mask to help!

Pusscat

Anyway, as it’s been so long, I decided that a pictorial ‘catch-up’ would be easier, so here goes!

The quail are OUT!

Quail

quail

quail

Aunts Puff and Biggles took over ‘child-minding’ duties of Polly Blue-tail’s offspring…

Puff, Biggles, ducklings

…whereas Mrs Under-by’s three remaining ducklings have been learning all about adult conversation…

muscovies

…and are seemingly unimpressed by it!

muscovies

Broody Brenda decided to sit…

Brenda

…and the Plymouth Rock decided to join her!

Brenda

Brenda appeared with the first three chicks of the joint hatch…

Brenda

…followed a couple of days later by the Plymouth rock and seven more. They’re still all sharing the same coop.

Plymouth Rock

Feeding time is certainly more chaotic with such a motley crew.

Feeding time

And as for the Guinea Fowl, after having most of their eggs stolen by our local, dastardly crow, they have finally made a nest out of his sight – which they’re all sharing – and we’re now getting a great supply of eggs! They do enjoy our rare days of sunshine taking a bath…

Guinea Fowl

…or squawking up a tree!

Guinea Fowl

As a culinary conclusion, we’ve enjoyed our first quail and have sold our first eggs!

Roasted quail

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!

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.

BB

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.

cows

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

The new camera arrives

October 8, 2014

new camera My new camera arrived yesterday. A shiny purple one (I am a 70’s girl after all!). Last evening we had a very gentle, soothing sunset. No brash colours shouting, “Hey, look at me, aren’t I specTACular!”

gentle sunset

gentle sunset

This afternoon however, there was lots of colour in The View…

the view

…and this was taken just two hours later, the Ridge reflecting one of those more ‘In Your Face’ sunsets!

the view

My new Purple Pal has got all kinds of new settings for me to get my head around, but I think that they could be fun! BB certainly looks impressed with her ’19th Centuary’ sepia portrait, complete with hat!

BB

And Huff, I think, looks particularly distinguished with his Victorian look!

Huff

Choosing red as the only colour makes us focus on Biggles’ face rather than her semi-naked undercarriage! The poor lass is losing feathers by the handful, or maybe that should be bill-full, at the moment.

Biggles

My bonnie girls, Puff and Biggles.

Puff and Biggles


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