We had weekend of all things horticulture with the annual Plockton District Autumn Horticulture Show so it was an early Saturday start pulling cabbages out, picking dahlias, making flower arrangements and prepping vegetables for presentation. Its was a rush to get everything ready and get down to the show to help setup before the judging started. Boom! Plockton here we come with excitement to be entering our first show. We seem to have done well on first sight with our massive cabbages. The day flew by with James flying selling raffle tickets and finding out all the local secrets, Cat taking photographs of all the impressive entries and Jane presenting the awards for the winner of each cup.



Sunday was a day of planning and clearing up after the show after a long night we’re straight off down to the hall to put away the rest of the marquee and head off to take down the show signs that we had placed on various roadsides in the area. As we hit Achmore we remembered that there was a book launch and sculpture show on in the village hall so we popped in to have a look. WOW! The walls were crawling with these amazing climbing people sculpted in clay and the book was written by the wife and daughter of the artist about there amazing two year family cycling trip from Alaska to Patagonia!  We talked over several cups of tea, bought the book and exchanged numbers. These are are kind of people we what to know. Then it was time to head off to grab the rest of the signs.

Monday comes around fast and we start with a 8am meeting into what needs to happen this week. We make a proper list of the many jobs around the property and start to form a plan. After tea and breakfast James moves the chicken hut from the end of the garage and gets the digger out now its finally fixed. He starts be begging to clear the earth behind the end of the garage and as he starts to level it becomes clear that it could be a very is a useful space. Around here one project always leads to another and so all this clearing next to the garage means that we now need to begin thinking about where the extra soil is going.  Wherever that is going it will first need a lot of work to riddle the bracken root out. After lunch James check the otter camera that he placed down near the newest pond on Jimmy’s walk. We hit the jackpot! We have otters, but the camera wasn’t at the best angle so James adjusted it to see if we can get a better shot. Back to digging and moving rock, there is plenty of stone in all this dirt which will help begin the stone wall bending around the corner from the back of the veg patch toward the lower barn. In the late afternoon James began to prep the ground area where the hut will go.

Tuesday and we are praying for the ground to dry so that the grass can be cut. While waiting for the morning sun dry things our it seemed like a good time to pull some of the plants in the polly tunnel beds and get the veg garden back under control for next year. The weather just seemed to be drying out the grass so James jumped on the mower and got the lower lawn cut and Cat then went off to do the paths through the meadows and the arboretum while it was dry. The next big job of the day is to start clearing the ponticum from around the back of the barn now that the area next to it has been excavated.

Wednesday is time to move dirt and make a raised corner bed in the front corner by the entrance to the veg garden. Both Jane and Cat clear root and weed from the pile as James drives back and forth with the digger. It starts off a mess and is slow progress but by lunch we have the pile together with a little shaping and tapping down its ready. The plan is to plant it out with lavender which is a midge deterrent, looks good and will ad to the wind defence that we are trying to create around the veg plot. After lunch James continues to clear the ground around the platform working out how to get the tea hut in place, looks like wood chips are the solution but just waiting for mypex before we can start that process. Looking around the property it’s becoming clear that what we need most is clear signs and one path to lead people around where we what them to go as to many people are exploring the deer tracks.

Thursday all three of us focused on removing a good 6 feet depth of ponticum from behind the barn and clearing the ground around the base of the building. We found several lengths of the old guttering hidden in the dirt and brush which we will save to see if it can be reused. The midges were terrible and we were all pleased when the job was done. Cat stripped back and prepped the big raised bed with seaweed and more soil for planting out the purple sprouting broccoli that we have seeded in the greenhouse. We then turned our attention to the hut area and continuing with the ground prep and James worked on the new path that will remove the need for walking on the edge of the meadow and will mean that we can start to push back the bracken which has been slowly creeping in from the edges of the meadow and making the area smaller.

Clearing behind the top barn

Friday we got Jane set up with the chipper and started dragging over the ponticum that was removed from behind the house and has had a week to start drying out. It makes for great chipping material as it is an acid plant which helps to keep down weeds. The first day of hot sun and clear skies so James decides it is a great time to start painting the roof of the garage with a protective tar paint. This is going well till around 3 in the afternoon when the clouds roll in and the temperature drops. Did a big tidy up at the end of the day so we can start next week in an organised fashion.