A little of this and too much of that!

Nature photography
Photographing pyramidal orchids – definitely not enough of this!

I thought it would be a little presumptuous to peer over the blogging garden wall and announce – “I’m back – remember me?”
particularly as I couldn’t invite you in for tea and cakes.

It is hard to believe that the Croft Garden blog has been left dormant and neglected for almost 18 months. Initally my muse was locked up in the wardrobe, then sent on a gap year, but recently the demands to be heard have become so irritating that I had to give in. The story of my lost year is predictably somewhat mundane and very Hebridean. Alas I have no thrilling traveller’s tales, no emotional account of being cast into the “outer darkness of despair” or melodrama involving villans, lost loves or buried treasure.

Last year (2019) we had decided to make some changes to the way we managed the croft, which required replacing almost all the old stock fencing, adding some new fences, gates and most importantly a cattle grid. The latter was an expensive option, but vital for my santity as I was becoming exponentally more irritated with having to get up on dark wet winter mornings to drive stray cattle off my fields, because someone had left the gate open. Believe me discovering 50 heiffers in the garden is not a pleasant experience.

Garden extension
Let’s start here

As I did not want to look out of my window on a garden bounded by a stock fence, we decided to extended the garden area and our wooden boundary fence to include the side and front of the house that had been open to the headland field. The bonus to this plan was that it would make the garden rabbit proof. No more bunnies digging holes in my flower beds.

Alas it all went down hill from here. The air source heat pump, which provides the power for our boiler, went into terminal decline. In true Hebridean fashion, it took 6 weeks for the electrician and plumber to decide that it needed a new part, discover this model was now out of production and needed a new unit. It then took me 4 months to find a contractor to quote to install a new unit and inform me that we needed a new boiler. The good news – they could do the job in October and it would take 5 days. Fine, by mid-November the heating was working and we had not water. Bliss. The installation did take 5 days plus 3 weeks and a few days to sort out why that had ordered the wrong parts and forgotten about the room thermostats!

This minor domestic farce was enriched by the announcement that the new windows scheduled to be fitted in May would now not be installed until August, because there were so many tourists filling the hotels and B&Bs and blocking the ferry bookings, that then builders were unable to travel to the Uists. At this point, any notion of Hebridean Zen took off on the breeze. We decided that we would redecorate the house, replace all the things we hated (including the horrible square skirting board and internal doors), finally make a decision about new window blinds and other things which I have forgotten about. By March 2020 we are ready for our planned Spring holiday in wildest Argyll which coincided with lockdown!

This summer there has been more time to spend in the garden. not only to do a little more work in the garden around the house, but also to restore a semblance of order to my negelcted vegetable beds. Perhaps best of all, the movement restrictions have given me more time to enjoy the wild flowers that are the glory of this croft.

Ragged Robin, Amphibious Bistort, Common Spotted Orchid, Lady’s Bedstraw and Tufted Vetch,

17 thoughts on “A little of this and too much of that!

  1. Luffy

    Welcome back! Sounds like life has been happening to you 😊. But also lots of progress, which is a good thing. I don’t know how any of us find the time to write with busy lives, I really don’t. Loving the wild flowers. Such a treasure to have 👍

    • I pleased I decided to revive the blog, but it’s not a bad idea to have a rest from time to time. Island life is by its nature busy – mainly chasing contractors.

      • Luffy

        I hear that 👍🙂

  2. Yes, we believe you, and you have been excused, although quite what you thought you were doing locking your muse in the wardrobe, I don’t know! I am surprised she is not traumatised by the experience…
    Good to know your plot is now safe from heifers and rabbits, assuming you have made sure the latter cannot burrow under your nice new fence. Have you got any plans for your newly enclosed garden space yet?
    Hope you are both keeping well and safe

    • My muse is a robust character and is busy buzzing round my head with demands to be let loose. She is risking another session in the wardrobe unless she gives me enough peace to get on with some paperwork.
      We’ve been working on the new beds to the front and side of the house this summer. Not much to see yet as they’ve been mulched for the winter.

      • I have visions of you sitting there at your desk with a mound of papers in your in tray with the wardrobe vibrating behnd you as your muse strains at the door…

  3. Saila

    So nice to hear from you, albeit the news is not so good. But all’s well that ends well, luckily thing did get sorted in the end, and heating too before the winter.

    • Thank you. Most things get resolved eventually. Island life can be a little frustrating at times, but being part of a small close-knit community means that there is always help at hand.

  4. Hello again Christine and great to see that you’ve picked up the WP baton again – not surprising you had a break with everything going on – Canadian geese and occasionally lambs are the worst we’ve ever
    r had in the garden – 50 heifers doesn’t bear thinking about! Loved the wildflower pics and particularly liked “amphibious bistort” … conjures up an image of what it gets up to. But I’m guessing it’s a great flower for the bumbles?
    Anyway it looks like you have a great time ahead with reworking the plantings over the next year,
    best wishes

    • Hi Julian, as the earth turns life goes on and whatever the difficulties there are still the seasonal chores to get on with. However, they keep us fit, especially chasing the Hebridean lambs which seem to be able to wriggle under the smalled gap in the fence!

  5. Spending more time in the garden has held my sanity together this summer, it’s going to be a bit harder in the months to come. Glad all is now well and that you’ve emerged from the wardrobe, welcome back!
    When the sky is that blue up there and the sea so calm it must be utter bliss.

    • Gardening and engaging with nature has kept many of us sane and healthy.
      Life is heaven with blue skies and calm seas, but on dreich days I have to tell myself not be a whimp and get out and get on with the chores and that doesn’t include lurking in the greenhouse! So as its stopped raining it’s time to get the wellies on.

  6. Your back! Just as I find you! Hurray!

    • Thank you for such a warm welcome. I’m pleased I decided to come back and I’ll try to get back into the blogging habit. Apart from writing I’m having a lovely time reading everyones posts and looking at their gardens.

  7. Nice blog

  8. Welcome back, you must be exhausted :-). If it is any consolation, with the exception of tourists blocking the ferries, your refurbishment/tradesmen experience sounds very much like Cumbria.
    I have new fence envy . . .

    • Things are settling down a little with the completion of all the major projects and I never want to build another fence – well not this year.
      It was beautifully quiet here until the restrictions were removed from the ferries in July. At least the campervan invasion has not been as bad here as on NW coast of the Highlands, and Harris and Lewis have been busy too.

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