• Veg plot take 2

    Agricultre, VegetablesComments (1)

    On May 19, 2012 • By

    With the weather forecast to improve over the weekend, I took the opportunity to get some of my vegetables planted.  It’s been very cold here and nothing has grown in the past few weeks.  This is how I had left the veg plot:

    I got busy on my hands and knees for an hour or so, first into the ground were 20 Brussell Sprout plants.  It’s been recommended to me not to bother with seeds for some plants, because they won’t develop as they should.

    Next into the ground were the Leeks, and then the Lettucs (below).  I’ve had neck problems for the last week or two and it was starting to play up so I left it at this for the evening.

    I still have broccoli and cauliflower plants to get planted, probably at some point on Saturday, or Monday evening.  I’ll then get more of the seed into the ground.  The final thing I did was cover the plants with a fleece.  Hopefully this will protect them from the cold over the next week or so – as well as preventing pests from getting to them too.  And yes, I had to anchor the fleece down – it’s rather breezy here just now!


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  • Bud up to 4 months of age

    Agricultre, Dog, Personal FavouritesComments (0)

    On May 18, 2012 • By

    Bud arrived in mid-March, in place of my old dog, Jim (who I may write about at some point)

    He settled in quite quickly, here he is dozing in a basket of clean clothes!

    On his first walk in the croft.  In this photo, I think he looks like one of these toy dogs that does flips!

    Training him early to get used to the tractor!

    And the 4×4!

    But all this work makes Bud a sleepy boy!

    At least this time it was dirty clothes!

    He gets hungry too – this is him eating his first rabbit!

    My very own meerkat

    This was his first time on the beach

    Just Hangin’

    He disappeared on me one Sunday afternoon – found him sound asleep on my bed!

    Big Yawn

    Full of energy


    Trying to chew a whale bone in the front garden!

    For the time being, I will leave you with this picture of him feeling sorry for himself, after hurting his paw running around the kitchen!  There will be many more Bud pictures – I guarantee that!

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  • Peat-cutting in the 21st century

    Agricultre, Peats, Personal FavouritesComments (2)

    On May 18, 2012 • By

    Peat was traditionally the fuel that kept island homes warm throughout the long, cold winters.  Families, neighbours and, sometimes, whole villages, would go out to the moor together and cut their peats, using their taraisgeirs tar-ash-kerr (the much more interesting sounding Gaelic for peat iron) to cut each 12-inch square piece of peat by hand.  Things changed a lot in the early 90s, when lots of homes installed oil heating systems.  With heating oil costs having trebled (now around 60-65 pence per litre), many homes are going back to peats.

    Our family have always had  fire of some type, but for the last 5 years or so, we’ve switched to machine cut peats, rather than hand cut. My father used to be a fisherman but an accident on his boat in 2005, and also lack of time for many of us, mean that it is the preferred choice for us.

    Anyway, the reason for this post is that our peats were cut over the last 24 hours.  A man in Ness spends many of his evenings at this time of year out on the moor with his tractor, harvesting our winter fuel.

    Of course, it’s a Lamborghini that we use for our peats in Ness……

    The peat-cutting machine is mounted on the back of the tractor.  This picture was taken at the fank in North Dell, with the village in the background

    The chain/blade is angled downwards into the earth and works a bit like a chainsaw/conveyor belt.  The blade cuts into the ground and carries the peat up into the rest of the machine.

    The peat is the forced out of the other end of the machine, into long sausages – hence why we call them sausage peats!

    The peats will be left to dry for a few weeks, and I will blog again on the next stage, once we reach it.

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  • The vegetable plot

    Agricultre, VegetablesComments (1)

    On May 18, 2012 • By

    Last year was my first attempt to plant some vegetables.  I didn’t really know what I was doing and just bunged it all into the ground without much though or care.  This year, I decided to take things a little more seriously.  First of all, I ploughed the land, with my beloved Massey Ferguson 135

    I had a new companion with me for the ploughing, my new puppy Bud – who seemed quite at home next to me in the cab!

    Once the ploughing was done, it was time to get some shelter erected.  The Western Isles are well known for the strong winds here, and Ness is regularly top of the charts when it comes to wind-speeds, so a shelter is important if any veg are going to survive.  This is my brother Innes and Uisdean, a boy that comes to help me on the croft, sheltering from the snow and wind while erecting the first of the sides of the shelter.



    Next up was getting the land rotovated.  Fortunately there is a guy in Ness that has a nice, big, tractor-mounted rotovator, and he did the vegetable plot and the potatoes for the pricely sum of £7.  The earth was like sand once he’d finished


    I’ll use this as an excuse to post another picture of Bud, who travels in style, every time he comes in the croft with me


    Myself and my father finished off the shelter this week, and the first of the vegetables have been planted.  I am holding off from planting many just now, though, as the weather has been quite cold.  It’s due to change this weekend, so I’ll hopefully get some done early next week.  I think the plot is looking pretty darn good now though!

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  • Lambing 2012

    Agricultre, Personal Favourites, SheepComments (0)

    On May 18, 2012 • By

    I’ve blogged about this year’s lambing but it’s been given a page of it’s own, so go have a look.  It has some of the ups, and some of the downs – you have been warned.

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  • Seaweed Collection

    Agricultre, Personal Favourites, VegetablesComments (2)

    On May 18, 2012 • By

    This year, I decided to try and use seaweed on my potatoes & vegetables, after talking to one of my mates about it.  The seaweed washes up on Traigh Dhail (Dell beach), about a mile away from my house.  We both went down with our tractors and I took home two loads of seaweed.  I filmed it on my phone and you can see a wee video of how it was done here:  Collecting Seaweed

    His tractor has a grab, which allows the seaweed to be gathered in a matter of minutes.  It would take probably an hour to fill it by hand

    The seaweed has been sitting on the croft for nearly two months, allowing it to rot a bit.  Over the past 10 days, we have planted the potatoes, using the seaweed as fertiliser.  I will use some on my vegetable plot as well.

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  • An Adventurous Sheep

    On May 18, 2012 | Agricultre, Sheep | By

  • Goodbye facebook, hello world

    Agricultre, Personal FavouritesComments (7)

    On May 17, 2012 • By

    I have started up this blog to allow myself to document some of my work on my croft in Ness, Isle of Lewis.  I should explain that this blog name, ‘air an lot’, means ‘on the croft’ in Gaelic (I know some smart-alex will say croit is the Gaelic for croft but in Ness we use lot).  Anyway, I have been tweeting and posting on facebook for some time now about all the bits & bobs that I do on the croft but have been getting increasingly frustrated with the childish reaction of some people on facebook (and facebook themselves) so have decided to move the majority of it over here so that I can say what I want in peace!

    I am from a crofting family and have been working on the croft for as long as I can remember.  I was given my croft, 19 North Dell, as my 21st birthday present waaaay back in 2005.  I now have a flock of about 50 ewes, kune-kune pigs, 10 hens, 2 ducks (as well as 2 cats, 2 gerbils and a dog!).  I do all this while also working full-time and I find the crofting to be a great release from the stresses of day-to-day work.

    What I plan on doing here is post a lot of pictures and waffling a lot.  First of all, I plan on blogging (with lots of pictures) on how my lambing season went this year, documenting the bad along with the good.  It seems every second blog I come across is something similar to this, I shall try and be a little different though!

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