All Change

Croft Garden Cottage website

The more eagle-eyed amongst the regular visitors to the Croft Garden blog may have noticed that I have changed the page format and style, and some of you may have though that this was long overdue. My sentiments entirely, and I spent most of last year notquite getting round to it, which also applies to writing posts too! Whether it is an improvement is debatable, but then I’m always more interested in the content of a blog rather than the wrapping.

Unfortunately when you start making changes it can have a domino effect. Anyone who has a website will doubtless have their mailbox filled with offers from all and sundry to improve it and put you at the top of the Google rankings etc., ad nauseam! Normally they get treated with the contempt they deserved, get branded as junk and ignored. However, I did feel that it was about time I gave the Croft Garden Cottage website a critical audit. I decided that it was looking a bit “last season” and more important that the back office need an up-date in the cyber security department.

In theory, this should have been a fairly simple task, but I decided that it would be a good idea to up-date some of the photographs. This brings me to my first confession: my files of photographs are largely unedited, somewhat short of labels and cover the last 5 years! I have made a start on imposing some order on the chaos, instigated a new labelling system and I’m slowly sorting out the good from the indifferent and the “atrocious why did I keep them”. To be positive amongst the dross there is a well documented history of the garden and some photographs to remind me of all the glorious plants which didn’t survive! I have set myself the target of completing the equivalent of cleaning the Augean stables by Easter and firmly resolved that all photographs have to be edited and labelled as soon as they are downloaded from the memory card. Seems to be a better idea than giving up chocolate for Lent.

Alchemilla mollis
Alchemilla mollis rescued from the archive

As I have intimated that I build my own websites this brings me to my next confession. Some people give their grey matter a workout by doing crosswords, Sudoku or playing chess or bridge,  alas I am an irredeemable nerd. So if you had visions of me spending the long dark winter months struggling with the elements and doing good works, sitting reading improving literature, making gallons of soup or alternatively immersed in Scandinavian hygge, your illusions are about to be shattered. I am usually to be found at my desk battling with complex databases of information on the species biodiversity of the Outer Hebrides or writing computer code that turns all this information into websites. So I confess that the croft gardener has a nerdy alter ego. Well it’s not as bad as Jekyll and Hyde or even Superwoman and I do like a little hygge on a cold night.

If you are curious the Outer Hebrides Biological Recording website will explain how we, and some of our friends, spend our time when not gardening.

15 thoughts on “All Change

  1. Very nice. It is a good clean look. Your Hebridensis website is interesting too. As an ex-GIS nerd I looked for mapped info straightaway. Where is the best place to find distributions etc?

    • Thank you. The NBN Atlas provides distribution maps for UK species, there is one for Scotland too, but it doesn’t work very well. We had distribution maps on all our sites, but NBN changed their software and the new version is not very good. I hope that they will get thier act together soon so that I can put the maps of species distribution within the islands back on the websites.

  2. Oh gosh, how I understand! Sometimes I wish I had gone for a WordPress hosted blog as my fiddling inevitably leads to something far more complex than ever I thought. But it’s fun (if somewhat nerve racking) to learn and the outcome for you has been well worth the effort! Someday I will get up there and see the cottage for real. That I am looking forward to.

    • Sometimes I’m tempted to fiddle with the WordPress code, but the templates are easy to use even if they don’t give you mucg flexibility. I treat writing computer code as a puzzle, it can be frustrating at times, but it is rewarding when it works. I may not produce the most elegant code in the world, but only the super nerds and hackers read the backend!
      I thought about you the other night when there was an awful racket from the roof, I was convined I’d go out the next day and find the sheets blown all over the croft. Fortunately it was just a piece of gutter flashing!
      I do hope that you get to the islands one day (and come and see the gardens), the islands are lovely and very special.

  3. I wish you’d clean my Augean stables, my photographs badly need sorting out. I waste hours trying to find the ones I need to use. I like your new look. Giving my blog a new look is totally beyond me. Thank goodness WordPress is foolproof so even computer illiterates like me can use it.

    • I became so tired of wasting time hunting for photographs that desperate measures were needed. I hope I can maintain the momentum now I’ve finally made a start. However, a result by Christmas is optimistic even with the chocolate bribe!

  4. Oh deary me, that means I must be stuck in the dark ages with my 2010 theme, which has not been retouched since I started blogging in 2012…:( Does that make me a boring fuddy duddy, I wonder? Yours certainly looks fresh and clean but still recognisable – have you actually changed the theme, or just ‘fiddled’? Thre will come a time when memory (WordPress, not mine) will be insufficient and I will need to decide how to progress from that as none of the options are ideal. I am already paying for extra storage, but I can’t increase it any more on this plan. I know what you mean about photos – when I have changed my laptops I have transferred photos to an external hard drive, but so many of them are just fleeting moments that don’t need to be recorded in perpetuity – clearing them is a job for colder and wetter and darker days ps thanks for admitting to the nerdiness – it adds another dimension to the Christine we know! 🙂

    • I changed to the gateway theme and just used the standard options to change the colours etc. I’m not sure what you do when you run out of space -archive the old one and start again? Deleting awful photos is amazingly therapeutic but I do wonder why I kept some of them!

      • It is still easy to find where things are on your homepage, which is helpful as some homepages can be a little confusing. I would be reluctant to upgrade to a custom domain as I have heard mixed reports of doing so, and it would have to be the Premium one to get more storage. I could of course continue with (Still) Rambling in the Garden…

        • I stick to the free themes mainly because if I’m going to have to pay I might as well do it myself! I like suggestion of Still Rambling, but it would be nice to see you continuing as you are. I know you are a prolific blogger and so must have a 100s of photographs in your media file. This is probably a silly question, but do you optimise your images to reduce the file size? 🤔

          • Not sure how to optimise images, I am afraid, although I am sure it will be easy – so feel free to tell me the best way. I know you can change it on the camera (even a compact one) although would have read up on how, but I want to make sure the quality of the photo is still decent. When I first bought extra storage I got a bit complacent but then realised that many of pictures were 3 or 4MB; by cropping them (even just a tiny bit) I could reduce this to about 1+MB but it still adds up. So yes please, do advise

          • Help is at hand – I’m working on some options that might help you solve the problem.

          • That’s kind, Christine. I do my editing (mostly cropping) in Picasa and resize as required to sit aesthetically on the page while writing the post

  5. Ali

    I love that you are a geek as well as a gardener! What a useful combination.

    • Most of us are multi-skilled and talented, it is just embarassing when one of them is geekiness!

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