The Woodlife Way

Handmade in the Highlands - Woodcrafts and B&B

Category: Flora (page 1 of 6)

The longest day 2017

The longest day 2017

Wow, the longest day already and temperatures are starting to soar. With many friends living in the south having a hard time with temperatures passing the 30C mark and today is set to be even hotter.

Our guests headed of west yesterday to explore the Loch Hope, Loch Erribol and Durness area. We headed east to Duncansby head, The truest North-eastern tip of the UK, temperatures there I would estimate at around 15C with a fresh cool breeze making it perfect for a stroll. With those awe inspiring views of the towering Duncansby Sea stacks which makes you feel the size of a grain of sand.

Sometimes these very special places help us connect with our living, breathing, evolving planet that we call home. Nowhere is the saying “leave only footprints” more apparent than in these last untouched un-spoilt wildernesses.

The Fulmar filled crags were alive with frantic activity and the air filled with excited cries of the seabirds breeding site.

It is a spectacular sight with so many different species all going about their chores of survival. The top cliff ledges filled with Fulmar, the bottom ledges belong to the amazing Guilimot, the Arctic Skua patrolling the air just ahead of the cliff edge, and the amazing little Puffins and Pufflings in the grassy burrows among the thrift. What an absoloutely perfect day.

Many recent sightings of cetacean including Orca kept me at the cliff edge for a while although I was not long enough, no tick there.

We have had so many wonderful guests already this season, however so many of them stay for only 1 night and our time with them is brief. Some of our guests stay in touch with us which is really lovely. Some guests share the experiences of their stay in our area, We have permission to share with you some drone footage which hovers over our house and croft, and also flies all along the our beautiful beach, and along the neighbouring strath, we hope you enjoy it. I cannot upload video here so you will need to CLICK THE LINK TO WATCH VIDEO. Drone footage and photo’s

We also have permission to share one of our lovely guests beautifully engaging blogs of her experience of the North Coast 500 trip, which includes her stay with us. (day 3 into day 4) We hope you enjoy it, maybe like or comment on her page if you do. Thank you so much Sarah for your very kind words, we look forward to your return.x

I couldn’t find a link to the whole trip so here is a link to our part of the journey Sarah Mason Photography North coast 500 blog day 4 and if you click around you will find the rest of the trip with much information for anyone contemplating the NC500

We hope you enjoy our photo blog below which will bring us up to present day. It is currently June 21st, 17C outside, seals are on the sandbanks, cows are out the back, Steve took some photos of the Deer passing our bedroom window this morning at sunrise.

Rainbow over the house and landing in the Kyle.

Heartening to see that some of our smallest trees survived their first winter on the croft unprotected.Some of the birds from Duncansby.

Bruiser enjoying his walk

Calves coming up the driveway, Bruiser did try and give them a ball

Steve didn’t like my Robin

This made my Robin sad

To top it all off a fantastic spontaneous visit from Steve’s parents, Carolyne and Peter.

Cheers

Another major event is the arrival of a companion for Saffy, her name is Gucci and she is adorable. They deserve their own blog post so I will try and put one together soooooon!

 

 

A productive period, an unusually wordy blog!

We have both rooms full at the moment, (a lovely family, with family connections from Talmine)  they are leaving today for Skye. We hope that they have a fantastic trip along the best part of the North coast 5oo route.
Breakfast room set for four people. With home made bread, home made bread pudding and flapjacks. 5 cereals, 2 fruit juices, yoghurts, cereal bars, fresh fruit. Cheese and crackers. Coffee and Tea. All by a log fire with views from the windows of snowy mountains and the sea. Not so bad.

Breakfast room set for 4

We then have sat sun mon free (from B&B) for crofting and crafting, I think!
We have been very productive though, as well as having the rooms booked, we have added some new products to our crafts and made lots of new stock, we sold so many items that we had to replenish, we only had 1 board of buttons left and had sold out of Knitting Jennies.
We now have some of our key rings for sale in Tommy’s Talmine Stores and post Office in….. yep you guessed it Talmine. Which must be the most picturesque location for a post office ever. I am happy for you to challenge my claim if you have one that you think could knock it off of our top spot and  we can put it to a vote? .Although even if you did find a competitor you would still need to compete with Tommy’s legendary sense of humour which we think makes the posting of a simple letter an event.
We spent a couple of nights away in a beautiful airbnb in rural Nairnshire, which was absolutely perfect.
This is a view from the door. Click on the photo for more information and booking site.

This was our weekend away view.

Back home,we have put some shelving in my shed which has enabled me to tidy and organise it into a productive workspace, Jobs like that are so rewarding because they make everyday life easier when you can just get at the tools you need without having to move all the tools from the day before etc.
We (Steve) has put 2 new wheels on the Buggy (croft tractor), with a tractor style tread which we hope will cope with our terrain as the golf grass tyres would definitely have had a melt down.
We laid some more track and gateway stone reinforcement. Now the prancing pony doesn’t need to get her feet muddy when changing fields. We have repaired (to a fashion) the fences in the Bull pen as this is where we will be introducing Gucci (She will be latest addition to our little clan) to Saffy. Gucci is a beautiful 14.2 coloured cob and Saffy is to date unmeasured assumed 15.2 ish coloured cob. Gucci is Piebald and Saffy is Skewbald.  Fingers crossed they will like each other and settle quickly, or at the very least not hate each other and get hurt. I am so nervous about it! same field or adjoining fields???  Both are barefoot so that is a bonus and about the same height and size. Happy horse photos for the next post I hope.! We made 50 personalised key rings for a beautiful holiday accommodation site in Germany, our first major pyrography job.
Here is Steve’s drawing of a Highland coo which we are using for a Highland keepsake keyring.

Steve’s Highland Coo

Very first Hairy coo keyring.

Very first Hairy Coo Keyring taking pride of place on our buggy Keys. On a very lovely little Beech piece Thank you Daniel

Daniel has been brilliant supplying us with some lovely pieces of wood please phone him 07771403961 for firewood Logs if you don’t have a Facebook page. Alternatively you could pop into The Altnaharra Hotel for a meal cooked by Daniel. We looked at many and this was the style we found that worked best with pyrography.

Then my Scotish thistle.

Scottish Thistle, Pyrography styleNo, we won’t give up our day jobs yet!

 

Tomorrow we have Tess coming (black lab) for a visit which will amuse Bruiser. More croft work and hopefully some cutting and sanding of wood in the garden for new stock. There is some beautifully marked Laburnham that we are very exited about which is currentl dark bark edge, very green and creamy stripped with a dark brown heart. I have cut a few from the very small button sized pieces and they are stable so I will attempt some of the larger branches this week.

Laburnham

Then a bit of roofing to make safe, and some walling to attend to. Oh and some trees need some extra protection as the deer have found and started on them. I had planned to make some paper this week for the feature button backing as we are running very low on them. But I am adopting the very Highland term of  “do it tomorrow”. There are some more photo’s but we haven’t got them into the computer yet so this is a very unusually wordy blog!

A perfectly magical Birthday trip out.

 

Just at the end of our road, our first photo stop on The Kyle-of-Tongue causeway. A beautiful scene with the sun still low, lighting the snow on Ben Loyal.

Snow on Ben Loyal and the sun warming out morning, a great start to a special day

 

This is my photo of Snow covered Ben Hope with Bruiser watching  Steve on the Kyle slipway taking the previous photo (above) of Ben Loyal.

 

The gorse is in bloom framing the shot.

Beautiful fresh frost on the winter grasses, we stopped here because Bruiser was squeaking so loudly at the Deer he watching through the window. He likes to get out of the car and sit and watch them for a bit. (yes very spoilt dog) .

Glistening Cold and frosted grasses.

This my idea of a perfect road. Small unobtrusive and empty. Definitely on of our favourites, and to tell the truth there are very few roads to choose from here in the Highlands, and most look like this.

The road to Altnaharra with Snow topped Ben Klibreck in the background

Our first sightings of Snowdrops this year. these are in the grounds of Dunrobin Castle where we went by kind invitation to pick up a Yew branch, we are very excited to start work on this beautiful wood which has a rich auburn centre and stunning growth rings, I hope we do it justice.

A trip to Dunrobin would not be complete without taking in this beautiful little Station scene. (it is a request stop) The new season castle opening times begin on the 1st April. I would suggest allowing a full day as there is so much to see and here.

Dunrobin Castle Station. This was built as, and remains the private railway station of the Sutherland family. However everyone can use the ScotRail trains which serve the station. Dunrobin castle is just a short 5 minute walk down a magnificent Tree lined drive from the station.

We drove home via the Loch Brora road, the sun lit our route and added some magical scenes on the water. This is an amazing capture by Steve, the photo is un-edited and created completely by nature.

Tree Magic! An amazing image of a tree and a sun flare on the shores of Loch Brora.

 

We love the swirling pattern caused by the waterfall on this long exposure shot.

The sun setting on the last stretch of the return home led tome great reds in our last photo’s of the day. With the Snow on Ben Klibreck completing the scene.

Between Altnarra and Lairg, in the shadow of Ben Klibreck is this lovely little waterfall – a perfect place for Steve to practice his long exposure photography.

And to complete a wonderful 2017 birthday, A bedtime Aurora. Both Steve and I had an Aurora end to our birthdays this year.

This was a lovely end to a fantastic day. A birthday aurora at bedtime. Perfect.

Winter sun

A beautiful sunny day again today. The sun is melting the hard frost from yesterday, the snow is almost melted from the mountain tops, the primroses are starting to appear! but it’s not over yet – is it? I for one certainly have a feeling that the bulk of snow hasn’t arrived yet. We did have a fair amount in january that only hung around for a couple of days. I am personally hoping for snowfall in the last days of February (for my Birthday!). Hopefully warming up again before lambing.

Sun shining through the last of the ice today 12th February.

Sun through Ice

Sunrising at Talmine Harbour 30th January

sunrise at Talmine Harbour

 

The Little stone bridge and just a slight covering of snow left on Ben Hope in the background. Today 12th February.

Little stone bridge

I really like this photo and would love to have it printed on Canvas, If anyone would like a print please email us

 

The dog watching Steve taking the photo. Just because he likes to be a part of everything.

The dog watching Steve taking the photo.

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Catch up post. Mainly photo story.

I was so pleased to be invited to help (with the fleeces) In the clipping shed. The sheep were very pleased to be unloading the weight.

The clipping shed

The clipping shed

The clipping shed

The clipping shed

The clipping shed

The clipping shed

At the clipping shed

A short break at the clipping shed, Riona with her adorable Bo (Highland calf) and Bert (Bo’s very own pet lamb).

In the evenings I have been attempting to card and spin the wool. I have made a drop spindle and am at present getting the fleece to resemble thread! I learnt from youtube video’s and no 2 are the same so trial and much error! Time is the main factor.

We have had many visits from family and friends, sadly I have written the photos to our other hard drive and need to upload these before 7am (data allowance) So I will attempt another family and friends blog sooooooon!!

Here are some summer into Autumn photos.

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

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First snow of Winter 2016

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

 

 

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Amazing guests

These guys are professional photographers, check out their work. http://simonemondino.it

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Some things I love about the Highlands

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The terrible two. Our lovely friends black labrador over for a visit.

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Relics

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One of our favourite ruins

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Our lovely new fence on the croft. Thank you Tommy,

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On the beach at the bottom of the croft.

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beach Ben Loyal and Ben Hope

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

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From the back bedroom window.

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Dunrobin castle.

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Seals on the sandbank

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Devils bit scabious sowing it’s seeds

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

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local wildlife

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fallen from the nest but mum still fed and looked after it.

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from the front bedroom window

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most nights this week from the back bedroom window. The Aurora Borealis.

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A trip down the west coast

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First snow of 2016

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

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Walking in the Highlands of Scotland

Currently we are working flat out on the croft. We are building drystone walls, repairing tracks, fencing, planting trees etc. The daylight hours are short so sun up to sundown there is no time to waste having a break, drink, rest take photo’s etc. Another subject for the next blog. We are currently creating a track down our croft , which anyone who has visited will be aware REALLY needed attention!

Saffie is enjoying the company

Saffy is enjoying the company

 

 

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