We look forward very much to this time. Once we get to 24th December we just want to chill out. It is time to rest, plan for nothing much but the turkey, relax and then near the end of the celebrations start to make a plan.But Rona being Rona it seldom allows that. This year no different. Big generator issues and the pressure was on to get everything sorted in the genny shed before Christmas day. The last thing I need is the genny to pack in on the very day. But thankfully it did not this year, so far so good.
BUT, the mice did eat through the hot water supply to the Mission House cottage, on the Saturday before the Wednesday ferry with guests coming.
No problem just another issue to deal with, I was lucky there were isolation valves for these pipes, no draining just shut off and replace (plusa bit of decorating).
Also a major decision was made in October, after feeding sheep for 7 months last year there was no point in trying to keep going with them. So they had to go. Yes, I guess they could survive no problem on our heather but competing with 150 deer on Rona and costing so much on feed, No, time to go. But getting a weather window at this time to get them away was proving a problem. However on the Friday before Christmas week, the wind disappeared.
The plan was made, the sheep were offered around and Luckily for us we had a local sale.
We had to sort the sheep, separate and get the older Ewes ready for off.
It was quite a sad day the day we sorted the older Ewes out ready for off. Many had been with us too long and were at the end of their breeding life but the economics were such.
Dan, Stardust Boat Trips had moved sheep before so we got together with our boat and between us we transported the 20 ewes to Portree.
With the help of our very good supporter over the years, Callie Maclean, we moved the sheep quickly to their new home. It is good when everything falls into place.
Then without taking a breath it was back to the lead up to Christmas.
The weather was good so jobs got done but with so much to do, it is tough knowing where to start. A hind was hanging in the larder and needed butchering. So fitting all the jobs in was the priority.
So sad to be in the larder all day on a day like this, but needs must. We need to achieve our cull and the economics of selling one or two carcasses to the Game Dealer from here do not make sense. Butchering and selling local is best.
In amongst all of that I have a new hobby, swimming. Not the best time of year to start but with encouragement from Immerse Hebridies Challenge FB page I have taken up swimming, always late afternoon and I really like it. Yes it is cool to say the least but the cold water helps the cramps I get in my legs after stalking the hills here for many years. It has made a huge difference to that.
Everyone wonders why you would go swimming in the winter, I cannot explain but it is a bit like a drug when you start, you cannot do without the chill, many do it and I would never have thought I would join them, but enough about swimming.
The weather was kind for our festive visitors, the ferry got over, the guests are in and on Christmas Eve we ventured over to Dry Harbour to have a bonfire, food and some libations. Our cottage guests have been regular visitors (Covid allowing lately) over the years and were keen to be here at Christmas/New Year time again.
We had a good evening despite our clothes stinking of woodsmoke!! Such is the breeze around here but we must do it again.
Christmas Day, a blue skye clear cool day, one of the best.
Here we are now at the 28th December, still swimming but another clear, cool day on Rona. So sorry it is not going to last.
My son, his wife and my four grandchildren arrived on Thursday, been flat out ever since so it has taken a wee while to get this post up. The last one I did was so behind the news that I binned it. But I’m keen to get this one up.
So a Happy New year and best wishes to all the folk that follow my blog, hopefully this year we can keep it more up to date.
All the Best, Bill.