Another couple of days of bleak weather. No one has fished from Applecross this year and the incentive is pretty low at the moment. The forecast for later next week seems to be a bit better but not looking forward to sorting out some of the gear. It has been two months since I have seen some of my creels and I will be expecting a lot of tangles.
The highlight of the last couple of days has been the successful baking of my first ever loaf. The fact that it has already been eaten and the second one is now in the oven means we are under way. I am going to keep it simple and stick to the ‘easy white’ for a while although Marion was saying to go straight to the pies at the back as they were special. I have to say that I enjoy the simpler things more and more, feeding the hens and getting their eggs, seaweed for the garden, growing vegetables and cutting wood, all simple but far more rewarding than making money. Must be an age thing but also speaking to people from the city who visit here you realise that being so close to nature is priceless. Without being condescending you know that city and town dwellers are one step away from the environment. In Applecross you know the weather ,the forecast, tide, the seasonal variations, mainly because so much depends on what you do. I am hoping to start beekeeping this spring and there are a few of us being trained up by Tim this winter. He has retired to Coilligillie recently and is hoping to breed disease free bees for keepers on the West coast. I have been in touch with a beekeeper on Colonsay and ordered 3 nuclei assuming the winter is not too hard on his stocks. It will be great having Tim around to help us through our mistakes as he is just short of completing his master beekeeping exam. Hopefully there will be half a dozen hives starting up in the next couple of years and that can only be good news for any one connected to the land. It has been noticed that in the past few years pollination has been very poor, for example the quality of the hazel nuts has meant they are not worth gathering.
Dan and Alistair used to keep bees up at the Walled Garden and gathered vast quantities of honey, up to half a hundred weight in some of the hives in a good year. I do not think that we can expect these amounts mainly due to the decline in crofting. Sheep being on the Inbye all year round and the resulting disappearance of many of the native meadow flowers and clover will mean food sources will be more restricted now.