Well we finally got our first week of nice May weather. I declared the loch open as I usually do with the first swim of the year. Boy it was refreshing, well actually freezing! There’s no where else I’d rather be when the sun is shining loch side.
We had visitors camping for a few days. My cousin was over from Canada with his friends Aaron and Jolene and his sister and niece from Fife. They set up camp by the Loch and I made the customary barbecue. The meat came from The Old Piggery, a farm outside Alyth that sells their meat straight from the farm. They deliver once a week on a Thursday. The burgers and sausages were fantastic, really tasty and meaty – the burger not shrinking to nothingness when cooked. I like to know where my meat comes from and that it’s had as nice a life as possible before ending up on our loch side barbecue. I’ve got the mince in the freezer for another day – mince is always handy when I can’t really be bothered cooking. It’s easy to knock up a Bolognese or a chilli with a few choice herbs n spices and a tin of tomatoes from the cupboard.
Conall had 7 friends out to camp on Friday night. Myself and Craig only cramped Conall’s style for a wee while as Seren wanted to go down to hang out with his friends. She was well looked after by the girls. Conall, taking after me of course, was out for a swim with Robbie. Nobody else was that keen and I don’t really blame them.
We then welcomed more friends out for a boating session. It’s great being out exploring the loch in canoes. The photo below shows them canoeing past the small island, the site of a former Crannog. I found this out on a visit to the The Scottish Crannog Centre on Loch Tay . Next adventure is to go to the island on Clunie Loch along the road. I’ve never been there. Dad and Craig walked over to it on the ice a few years back and lived to tell the tell.
Craig has been out in the tractor cutting all the grass around the trees. It’s all looking very neat and tidy. He noticed a bird following him around the whole time and it wasn’t until he moved the seat that he noticed a bird’s nest underneath it with eggs in it. Thankfully when he checked later the mother bird was back sitting on her eggs. Now her chicks have hatched, I didn’t disturb them for long when taking this picture.
Late spring is time for the ‘bud rub’. Bud rubbing is a technique used to stop new year’s lateral growth. Just one of the many ways we ensure all trees are more Xmas tree like! By removing the lateral bud from last year’s top whorl-the set of branches nearest the top of the tree, we can keep that year’s growth focussed on the internal branch and stop the tree from creeping out and make sure the energy is put in to growing the tree internally. Just one of the many ‘tricks’ growers use to make sure you have that real Xmas tree look. With up to 20,000 trees to be done it’s one of the first big jobs of the growing season! All hands on deck for this job with Willie up from London.