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The Woodlife Way

Handmade in the Highlands - Woodcrafts and B&B

Month: July 2015

A day out

A Day out.

We had some lovely guests staying for 2 nights, which left us free from our changeover routine, allowing us to sneak off to our first Highland games. It was the Durness Highland Gathering, a mere 30 miles around Loch Eriboll, a lovely route taking in some breathtaking, west coast, Highland scenery. We arrived only slightly late! Following the Pipers parade into the grounds. We also heard a corncrake on the way into the grounds!

Piper Piping

Piper Piping

The dog was very excited as it was his first experience of a crowd in Scotland. In fact not only a crowd, a very noisy crowd with really loud bags of sound he hadn’t heard before, and so many dogs! He decided to sing along too. Then to top it all off who does he meet but his girlfriend Tess, sitting outside the main arena watching all the fun and behaving so well. Tess had brought the B’s along to watch the fun too so a quick catch up all round. We were just as surprised as the dogs to bump into someone that we knew!

We carried on to Balnakeil Beach just 1 mile around the corner another first for us all, where Bru could have a run and a swim.

Balnakeil Beach

Balnakeil Beach

Then we headed back toward home as the bread needed to be made for tomorrows breakfast. We did stop and take in a lovely walk up our favourite hill on the way home. We even managed to get down the croft in the evening onto the beach for our evening walk just before sunset.

In fact that reminds me, we saw some strange jelly blobs which we have no idea what they are so I will put a photo in. Hundreds of them, Steve says they are Jelly babies! They were about 2inches across. If anyone knows please email us on thewoodlifeway@me.com

Blobs of what?

Blobs of what?

We don’t know if they were related to this?

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

Then home sew some more buttons, then sunset from the garden,

sunset

sunset

and Goodnight.

 

The Good, the bed and the lovely….

The Good, the bed and the lovely….

This week will go down in the history book for our Guest room venture. We had a really lovely couple arrive, (we won’t use their names’ without their permission) bringing the sunshine with them, then after the usual arrival banter and house tour they went off down the croft for a walk on the beach where mr guest proposed to mrs guest who accepted, so wow and wow. How lovely. They were so taken with this beautiful wild and natural landscape. We all had a lovely evening together Steve broke out his new bottle of Whisky which he was introduced to by previous fantastic guests a couple of weeks ago, who also had a wicked sense of humour. A local Whisky – Highland Park 12 yr old single malt.

(Steve says mmmm!)

Today we have built a new kingsize bed, for the second guest bedroom which is really an add on room, to allow us to cater for a group of three or four. Now all we need is the mattress to arrive a some point….!

The craft fair we attended at Bettyhill was our second, ever! So now having 2 under our belt we feel that we are experts! and as such we must therefore be in a position to offer advice and change the whole craft fair ambience.

Mmmm…….. well what we liked about the collective experience was the people, there was a definite feel good factor with both the crafter/stallholders and the customers.

The homemade cake and goodie stall was a definite hit too, and the refreshments being served looked absolutely delicious. There’s nothing more welcoming than a table full of homemade cakes. We are wondering whether a little acoustic music – maybe a guy with a pirate hat and a small spoon dulcimer might bring a little jolliness to the next event? We wonder if there might even be anyone wanting to pick up an instrument and join in too? Much pondering shall be done……. Updates as and when a decision reached. As always your thoughts and comments would be appreciated and welcome.

Our handmade Yew coasters have gone down very well indeed and it looks as though we will have to make some more this week. Get out the big saw for those if the weather permits… Summer?!

We wanted a way to display our new “Tree Charms” and have settled on a small hand sewn calico presentation bag, with a small strip of our Tartan as a flap keeper and to add the Scottish touch. The presentation bag makes a lovely gift – along with being a tidy and convenient way to travel the Charms and a place to hang a tag. We have designed a little tag too which has a link to this site where people are able to keep up with our new products if they wish.

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Tree Charm with new calico presentation bag and tag

Tree Charm with new calico presentation bag and tag

Now we just have to get the site sorted out so that it is easier for people to log in and sign up for updates. We are trying to add a captcha box to avoid the hundreds of spam emails we get when we allow log in.

We have started working on a new Buttons and Charms with a wood of which we hadn’t tried before. We happened upon a pile of Rose pruning’s, in a car park so we gave it a go. We love them and will upload some photo’s as soon as we can. The great thing about them was how quickly they dried, for us to sand and wax. They are really beautiful white at the moment but of course that could change once they are exposed to the sun and air. We will have to wait and see.

 

 

We have met and befriended some lovely people since we have been here, and we have mentioned before (Tess’s owners) we will call them the B’s. Mrs B visited us this week with Tess and we went for a wildflower walk down the croft, She brought with her the most beautiful display of flowers from her garden. Honeysuckle is one of my favourite wildflowers. Thank you so much B.

Beautiful flowers from our lovely friends garden.

Beautiful flowers from our lovely friends garden.

Another bonus on our croft walk was a brilliant aerial display involving at least 4 Ravens 2 Peregrine falcons and a whole flock of Starlings. It looked as though the falcons were in pursuit of the starlings and then the Ravens swooped in and then we couldn’t quite tell who was pursuing who, we could still see them all when we got back up here to the garden.

Apart from the Orchids every step of the way, the other new appearances were bog asphodel

bBog Asphodel

Bog Asphodel

and self heal which I have since researched and found that it is a very useful plant indeed. I now need to find out how to encourage it to spread!.

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Self Heal

self heal

self heal

We have just 17 days before our family visitors C and P arrive for our holiday. During this holiday/ party we also look forward to some of our good friends from our previous world making the 800-ish mile trip too. Very exciting.

Night Owls

Our internet data allowance is all gone and we are only able to go online between 11pm and 7am until 20th July when our new monthly allowance starts.

Hence our Night owl status!

We have had to email all of our guests to let them know this, in case it affects their plans.

It’s been a while since our last post, we have been choc-o-bloc with the guest room and the buttons have had a pretty good month too. It really has been a struggle to keep up with all the tasks.

We have met more wonderful guests whom I hope we will stay in contact with and meet again.

We have also achieved “super host” status through our booking site airbnb which is great, means we are doing something right and our guests are appreciating it too. We would also like to thank all of our lovely guests for leaving such great reviews.

We have had our second outing into the local crafting community in our neighbouring village of Bettyhill. We had a great time and met lots more local crafters, Spinners, weavers, jewelry makers, A “Jumping Goat” cheese maker!, wood turners, Tree and plant grower. Etc. We bought some Sea Buckthorn plants to put on the croft as we have found they make really interesting buttons and tree charms.

 

The wild orchids have absolutely flourished this last month. There are areas which are just covered , as far as you can see – Northern marsh Orchid, the Common and Heath Spotted, the Fragrant and the fantastic Butterfly Orchids.

 

There have been many more days than expected where we can’t actually see past the garden wall through the mist. It has hung around for a whole evening and through to the next afternoon this is a first for us.

There have been some lovely red skies in the evenings too. It seems as though our family and friends down south are having quite a summer of it, ours has not quite kicked in yet.

I don’t want to speak too soon, but so far there have been almost no small flying insects around! In fact since we have lived here we have not had any bother with them yet! Even less horse flies (cleggs) than down south and almost no wasps, which really were pests further down the country. We are still regularly lighting fires, which we hadn’t expected to be doing in July.

 

We are happy to report that 2 of the 3 Osprey chicks have successfully fledged at Loch of the Lowes yesterday, just one left to take its maiden flight. It will probably fledge today I will check just before I publish this if I remember!

We are starting to get excited about our holiday with family in August now. Trying not to plan anything as it is so easy to just say, “we can do that when we are on holiday” to every task that needs doing!

Steve is very much looking forward to an odd G&T in the afternoon I am sure, I am looking forward to having some spare time to watch some Otters and maybe get some paints out!

The wood has arrived for us to build our second bed , so the one that we built out of pallets (double) will be taken down and replaced with a builders board and fence post king-size then all of the linen will be interchangeable etc.

Also looking forward to making our own pasta for the first time and hopefully always.

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