Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Not so much a blog as a weather report! Lots of fog, freezing the air and the ground, weakening the already weak sunshine. Creating a big fat inversion layer above Loch Lomond but allowing the grandeur of the mountains to rise above.

More news next time, we're just catching up with life and activities disrupted by the winter weather and preparing for the next lot. The fire's lit, we're warm and we're getting ready for Christmas. Best wishes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Frost and Fog on Snow and Ice

Morning sunrise, deep frost, nippy on the skin, beautiful to view. Then engulfed with fog which has ebbed and flowed across the landscape. As the blackbirds retrieve haw berries from the tree and the ground I wonder if its liking eating frozen peas, do they chew them somehow to extract the goodness? Wondering how that works. I've put more seed out for them. There's a weak sun trying to break through to warm a few parts of the ground but there are some areas which never catch the light at this time of year.

To the south and east we have blue sky, to the north and west there is deep fog, wonder which will win out today? Loch Lomond is immediately north of us and the moist air above the loch often creates a dense inversion layer, very pretty to view from the Dumpling (hill pictured below) when you see the hills in full sun rising out from the dense white/grey fog.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Yet more snow....

At 6.30am I woke to the sound of heavy rain on the window, and smiled at the thought of the slight warming outside which must have lead to this phenomenon. It didn't last long as next time we looked out of the window there were huge, fat snowflakes falling in swathes. Within a couple of hours we had fairly deep fresh snow, school was closed as none of the staff could get there and the roads were impassable for a period as the snow had fallen on top of ice which made the inclines too tricky. Another day at home - nice in so many ways but becoming a real problem for workers. The football goal with the extra bit of snow clinging to the net.

We topped up the bird feeders and sprinkled some seed on the top of the snow. The blackbirds were budging each other out of the way to get to the seed and we also had plenty of starlings, blue tits, robins and chaffinches.

We made our first ever Christmas pudding mix at the weekend and heaped it into 3 basins which have been steaming away all afternoon.
Molly made black banana loaf - a Nigel Slater recipe she was keen to try having seen it on tv last week. The 'black' being chips of chocolate. For some bizarre reason the children aren't keen on bananas but are quite happy to eat them in cake form.

I made sticky toffee puddings, one rather large one earmarked for a pre-Christmas family feast and four small ones for after dinner today.

We've been playing in the snow, Finlay is standing on the snow which has fallen from the roof. The late afternoon brought freezing fog but its great to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, however much we enjoyed all that baking.We've been to see our hens, who are not impressed at the limited amount of snow free space they can find under the hen cabin.

The new inhabitants on the farm, escaping from the fields for a while. We renovated a barn this summer so there is good space to accommodate the sheep this winter.

We've had a fine day, plenty of activity but it would be nice to get back to normal life!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Last Saturday night the first, and unusually early, snow arrived. Its truly beautiful and very very deep. As its immensely cold theres not much likelihood of the snow disappearing very soon. Bit tricky to get out and about.
Snow clinging to the branches of a corkscrew hazel, quite earie and its quite amazing that such a depth of snow can cling to skinny twigs.

The pitch of the house roof is a relatively steep 45degrees so, although the snow sits there initially, when the weight gets too much the whole lot slides in great avalanches with a humungous roar and tumbles onto the footpath. At some point on Sunday night after more heavy snow fell we were awoken by the biggest racket when a huge amount of snow came off the roof. Its exciting when you're safe and warm inside.

As school was closed a gang of us met in the local park. Great fun but pretty darn cold. There is a bit of tricky balance, its great having a bit of time off, walks out and fun in the snow, staying close to home and exploring the changed landscape...but catching up with work here and there is not ideal after day four of no school.

The beauty of Ben Lomond enhanced by the snowy scene. A complete blanket of white. The sound is also dulled and its enormously peaceful.
I'ld also just like to link here to Caireen's post at patchwork dress for some more local photos.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Autumn sunshine and a wonderful fine weekend at home. On Saturday morning when the clouds cleared from the sky there was a light covering of snow on the hills, a visible change in the season. The snow soon disappeared as the sun warmed the ground. A perfect couple of days for gardening, cutting the final sweet peas, picking the pumpkin from its exhausted plant, feeding the last caterpillar ravaged broccolli to the chooks. We also had an abundance of outdoor time and restorative fresh air and sunshine. Fabulous.The colours of the leaves have such immense variety, the changing light throughout the day always emphasises this wonder of nature. We made time to play.

Picked some thorle pippins.
And spent a bit of time hen watching.
These fellas are now 14 weeks old. We have 9 hens of varying older ages and 9 'new' ones, 5 cockerels, 4 hens. They are quite settled together and enjoying nestling into the edge of the pen to capture the warmth of the sun. The chicks came to us when they were a week old and were kept in a large cardboard box in the house initially to keep them warm. As they grew we made a new temporary house outside from a bed frame and chicken wire to acclimatise them gradually and then eventually they were introduced to the existing hens.

A couple of the cockerels facing each other out. Generally there has been great harmony amongst the growing chicks and even the merging of the two groups only exhibited a low amount of hen pecking/pecking order goings-on. I think from now the cockerels will show more natural competitive behaviour and will have to be seperated and removed.

As the afternoon progressed we took a bit of a walk locally, admired the view of Ben Lomond and then went up our local hill The Dumpling to watch the sun set and the full moon rise. A lovely end to a fine weekend.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


We found these wee fellows in some loose straw by the edge of a stack of bales this afternoon. There were two adults around as well so we are sincerely hoping we haven't overly disturbed them. The hay has been in the same place for quite a few weeks and is protected from the wet Autumn weather we've had this week. Although it seems a bit late for breeding apparently females can have two litters a year and these would be September babies. They must be over 2 weeks old as their eyes are open and their spines fully out (they are born with the spines under the skin to save the mother some pain!). Hedgehogs tend to go their own way at 4-5 weeks of age. There are loads of worms and insects around so we hope they and their parents are getting plenty of food. Hedgehogs go into hibernation when the temperature is cool enough rather than a specific time of year so all being well they've got plenty of time to grow and lay down fat stores before the weather turns chilly.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Village Flower Show

Friday evening and Saturday morning were a flurry of village show preparation activity. We're pretty last minute and certainly in the rush I suspected that I'd forgotton to put baking powder into the banana loaf , sure enough when the judges sliced the loaf in half it was obviously veeerrryyy dense. So no prizes there then! Although it has all been eaten, tasted great and was very popular at home. Thanks KC for your comment on the last post. I happily managed to get a third prize for the Victoria Sponge. Most of all I was excited to get the first prize for my 'basket of plenty' as shown above. 18 months ago we didn't even have anywhere to grow veg and, currently, we're close to self-sufficient in veggies.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Welcome Back

I made you a cake in honour of the East Cambusmoon return to blogworld. Partly inspired by the new BBC2 series The Great British Bake-Off, which was easy watching TV last evening, and partly by some thoughts of entering the Gartocharn Flower Show this weekend, I used Mary Berry's Victoria Sponge recipe from the TV programme and it turned out a treat. Now if I get my act together and make another one for the show I realise that putting cream into the middle is not going to cut it with the judges on Saturday, apparently thats a big no-no, but today is the last day of our school holidays, we've had a bundle of people around and this sumptuous wonder is just about gone. The man of the house suggested more jam would be appropriate....but he caveated his comments in advance with plenty of praise. Hereabouts its traditional to use raspberry jam - is that the same everywhere? Here is another new project for us - 9 chicks, this photo was taken when they were about 3 weeks old. More of them another time.
Thanks for those of you who keep checking back in with this blog. Your patience has been appreciated.