I knew at the beginning of the year that I wanted to let go of the blog. I am in a different place now and I need the space to work through a great many things. I intend to keep the archives up for a time, although I have removed the comment function.
If you have landed here - welcome and feel free to dip in to what was our life - once upon a time...
J xxx

Friday, November 21, 2014

Around the Croft


It's been so long since I posted a croft update - two whole seasons have come and gone and here we are heading into Winter already. Even James remarked this evening on what a quick year it has been.  This year has been so different for us, with John's cancer diagnosis and treatment, and all our focus has been on just getting through.

The work still goes on though - and I've had to keep a lot of plates spinning over the last 6 months. I've managed - just, and I've had help from friends and neighbours too. But, there's no getting away from it - changes have had to be made to suit our current circumstances.

The livestock have been sold. The sheep went to the August sales, and the cattle were bought by a lovely man who is building up a new Dexter herd. We were sad to see them go, but it really was the best decision for me - and for them too. My step-daughter was here to lend a hand, as well as some of our neighbours, and we soon had them loaded and on their way.

Their new owner is delighted with them, and, reassuringly sent this picture of them enjoying the lush pastures. I have to say, too, that during the recent gales and storms here, it was a real relief not to have to worry about them.

The sheep and lambs went to the mainland too, but we still have a flock on the croft. One of our neighbour's is using our top field for tupping. The ram is fitted with a harness containing a coloured marker. When he has had his wicked way with a ewe, the evidence will be clearly visible ;) A different colour is used each week, until all the sheep have been covered. It's a good way to work out when the lambing season will begin and end.

The garden was badly neglected this year. There have been some small harvests - and I still have chard and broccoli on the go, but there have been a few steps backwards this year. Never mind - the garden will still be there next season.

I'm still picking sweet tomatoes, though - very pleased about that.

I planted a lot of spring bulbs outside, but I am going to do tulips in pots this year. The ground is just too wet for them, so I will bring them on and then plant the pot out. I've brought a few plants and cuttings in to overwinter in the polytunnel. You can see the broad bean plants, still in their root-trainers, where they gave been since last Spring. When I, at last, got a chance to plant them out in June, I found they had rooted solidly into the ground. Obviously they didn't do terribly well in that restricted space, but I managed to get a few pods, which have been saved for next year's seed.

All summer, I have been steeping herbs and fruit in vodka. Now they have been strained out and the liquor added to a sugar syrup. By Christmas time, they will be just perfect for tippling. I have fennel, elderflower and raspberry. 

So that's my quick roundup of crofting matters for now. I'm sure there has been more, and certainly there have been ideas and plans for the future discussed, but so much is on hold while we wait to see how John's treatment has worked out. Next week we travel to the hospital on the mainland to see the neurosurgeon and oncologist, so we should have a clearer idea of where we are then. xx


  1. Thanks San - much appreciated xx

  2. I think of you and your family often.....

  3. Hope all goes well next week. You will be in my prayers.

  4. Even with what you have had thrown your way this year you have still accomplished more in your garden than I have Jacqui, not a tomato to be seen down here! Well done you. Will keep everything crossed for good news next week x

  5. Nice to see you here. How clever and funny about the ram's harness! Wishing wellness for you and yours.

  6. What a lovely post, firmly rooted in all that is important and enjoyable about life. The very best of luck to you for next week.

  7. wishing you and John the best and as always praying.

  8. thinking of you, good luck next week.

    barbara c.

  9. Also been thinking of you and peeking at your site for updates. Thank you again for checking in and sharing-your family is in my thoughts.

  10. Fingers crossed all the way from Canada! :)

  11. I am sorry you have had to sell your livestock that must have been hard for you all. Thinking of you over the coming week.

  12. Continued good wishes to you and yours, dear Jacqui.

    Thank you for taking time to send out this post to us. Yes, 2014 is a year that has moved at quite a different pace, and has been filled with the unpredictable.


  13. Thank you for sharing the difficult things of life.

  14. From Margie in toronto - thank you for taking the time to stay in touch - I check in often to see how you are doing. Best of luck for next week - I hope you both get some encouraging news to end this very difficult year.

  15. Great to see an update from you. What beautiful marigolds and tomatoes - life just keeps coming on through. Wishing you all the very best for this week. I'm doing a giveaway on my blog if you have time and inclination. Take care. Xox

  16. So glad to hear you live in a community that helps each other. I'm finding that same comfort here, in the new cottage.

  17. Sorry to hear your news..The Pirate is halfway through his treatment. We've reached the stage of hope It has been "zapped" and just plug on with the Making certain its gone Therapy. Hope you both get there too..and I say both as really John's treatment affects you both. Look after yourself too.
    We've just had a brief visit to Lewis to see friends...sorry we couldn't call..maybe next time!

  18. So much has been going on in your life and you remain strong and positive. You are truly an inspiration to your readers. It looks like your community is doing a wonderful job of being there for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you, as always. xo

    ~ Wendy


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