Friday, 31 December 2010


Another [snowy] 2010 day with The Crofter his Dad and Lucy the Land-Rover.

To all those who read this little blog and to all those who don't, have a wonderfully Happy New Year. And may 2011 be fruitful, peaceful and bring you much contentment. And less snow please!

Best wishes from The Crofter -Paul, The Crofter's Dad - David, the Crofter's Mum - Sue and not forgetting Turks who seemed to be in at least half of the pictures this year!

Thursday, 30 December 2010


It's all mud down at The Croft. And muck. Yes, muck and mud and everyone is happy. Turk is showing off as usual. Little piggies are playing out while their sty is being cleaned. Preparations are afoot for New year celebrations and the like.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010


Gosh, that looks cold!
Why is this white?
Please can we come back inside?

Now at the last the snow has gone and all the animals are mighty pleased about it. Less so The Crofter who now has to deal with the sludge and mud. Such is the life of the North Tolsta Crofter at the end of 2010.

Sunday, 26 December 2010


Mr and Mrs VERY Happy Turk.
Mr Happy
Mrs Busy
Mr Grumpy
Christmas Day 2010.

Eh? Down at The Croft Mr Crofter was taking his on pantomime persona of Mr Grumpy and hid in the pig sty as he gave his girls and boys their morning feed. Then Mr Happy came along and the day looked better. Mrs Busy was really busy so soon we were on our way down to the beach. Bad idea!!

Anyway, it seemed Mr Grumpy became Mr Happy too later in the day you'll be pleased to hear :-)

Friday, 24 December 2010


The Crofter, cooking up a storm
The Crofters' dad, watering the snow !!!
The Crofters' mum, checking to see if The Crofter is in the paper [he wasn't]

You see, it's Christmas Eve and the snow still lies crisp and now uneven, frozen as it was again last night after a mild thaw yesterday. So I slide down the road to The Croft to pass my good tidings of the day to come but bumping into my good friend Clocks on the way. Exchanging best wishes I leave Clocks to his stroll to the Village Community Shop of which, of course you know, Mr Crofter is the chairman of the board - or something like that. Entering the house out of the bright sunshine that bounces off the glistening snow, I find Sue Crofter - aka Mum - reading the Stornoway Gazette. It only takes 5 mins or so - unless you take in the court proceedings [which I do as it happens]. Still, it what you do up here. Unless of course your doing something odd in the 'garden'. I say 'garden' but its covered in snow - which is just as well since the pigs come out when Mr Crofter is cleaning out their houses and have churned up the lawn so it looks like the Somme - under the snow. Out there Mr Crofter seems to be watering the snow. I check his eyes and they seem clear enough, there's no tell-tale dribble from the side of his mouth which might suggest insanity so I look around again and then see the duck pondette - which, now having had its ice block removed is being filled with liquid water.
Meanwhile Mr Crofter is somewhere. He was in the kitchen lurking over the Stanley with a suggestion of culinary expertise - but that was a sham as I notice he was just warming his hands.
I really don't blame him since it is Christmas Eve [did I mention that?] and there sh.., sorry muck to be shovelled from the byre to the muck heap and the stys to the muck heap. It's hard work and Mr Crofter and his pater get down to it creating a right old smell. I retreat to go home and meditate.

Mr Crofter and his wonderful family wish all their readers a very Happy Christmas. And so do I :-)

Thursday, 23 December 2010


Yes, yes, I went to The Croft this morning. Well, it was almost morning anyway. I'd been out working last night, off onto the other side of the island at night in less than ideal conditions. Then I didn't sleep so well. You know what it is; the job you've just done earlier in the night runs through your mind and when you eventually drop off to sleep you are awoken by a ghastly diaphanous apparition hovering over your minds eye in a particularly menacing way which, when you realise you've just been dreaming your pulse is racing and the likelihood of regaining sleep is about as unlikely as the council deciding to actually switch off the terribly wasteful street lights that light up the island like a Christmas tree.
Okay it was 11.30 am ish. With the emphasis on 'ish'. Mr Crofter was having a mug of builders' tea to prepare him for the journey to our small capital in t'land-rover to pick up some hay - assuming there is any to buy. The animals had been fed and watered, the teeth made and posted while the sun was shining. I took a snap, had a whinge and came home. As I do.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010



No, I haven't been down t'Croft today. The sun was shining brightly this morning, the snow lie round about and I took off over the peats where none had trod in the pristine landscape. I have never had such a wonderful walk near the village. I sang - albeit tunelessly - In the bleak mid-winter and the dog -Ghriet - who was accompanying me on this trek looked at me with pity. I didn't care. Winter solstice had passed, the days are getting shorter, the low sun was on my back and there was no wind.
The ground glistened in the soft sunlight and we strode along the old peat track past the water-tower, alongside the loch through the gate and down towards our peat bank. Over the top we went sometimes breaking through the crisp crust of frozen snow and came back along the other loch towards the village fank and hence back home. What a wonderful stroll and we never saw a soul.
The Crofter didn't come for a walk. No doubt he was wrestling with frozen water troughs and truculent piggies. As he was the other day. Again.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


Eve awaits action at the Croft in her Glastonbury Carnival hat
The Crofter's dad strolls in the sunshine
The Crofter's dad starts work - the Crofter is nowhere to be seen!

Gosh the day dawned bright. But keen as mustard - the proper Colman's type and everything - Eve and I leapt out of bed dressed quickly and shot and slid down the road to The Croft. Twas mighty quiet there. Turks - a few of the remaining turks that is - were keeping in the warm of their housey. Piggies were still sleeping and cows were quiet too. No sign of The Crofter either - but since he'd been out for an iron-bru or two with a pal the night before that wasn't too much of a surprise. Flush with bright sunshine and early-morning energy, Eve and I burst into tuneless song with a few verses of carols we knew.
Still no sign of The Crofter.
So we stood and waited until The Crofter's dad strolled purposefully down t'road to The Croft, clad in his yellow wellies and Roger-rabbit hat.
Then all of a sudden The Crofter was there trying to look like he'd been up for hours and whinging about the racket!!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Thursday, 16 December 2010


Friday on the croft may well look like this; minus some turkeys that is :-(
There's a whole day's work ahead.

The snow went and now cometh again. The Crofter called in earlier to roast his toes in front of our fire then reversed all the way back [200 mtrs!] to his croft in the snow using the old [actually, newer Land-Rover]. As you do.
As I look out of the window the snow lies around about all crisp and uneven. No doubt the sheeps will be asleep but chilly as the wind howls.

For those Leicafile forum-ites, this was 20ish mins in 1:50 Rodinal semi agitating in-between me washing a vandyke print, warming my toes and drinking camomile tea. Classic movie copy-film in a nice camera - sharp as you like. As I like anyway.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Not a good time for the young pigs
The coow gets some hay from The Crofter.
Last days
I really quite hate this time of year down at the Croft as it seems that creatures great and small are reaching their live-by date. First it was the sheeps, then CJ the bull and now the Turks and pigs are enjoying their last few days - at least I hope they are enjoying them. I know, I know, if it wasn't for the eating of them they wouldn't be there! In all honesty I think I'd prefer the animals not to be there rather than cutting their little lives so short so the meat is tender - or whatever it is supposed to be.

At least the coows [the ones that are left] have a nice byre to sleep in on new hay.

Friday, 3 December 2010


I haven't been down to see the Crofter today since I'm still getting over seeing CJ in bits. There's a mighty lot of meat in a bull I can tell you and it reeks like a butchers down there now - once you get over the smell of the piggy sty that is.

I'm a vegi and not about to change that whatever people say . It's compassion for the animals , the ethics, and the lack of global sustainability with raising animals for food that informs my choice.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


So that's sheeps, all in bags
Oh dear, poor little thing

...and if you cut across here...

Mr Crofter was busy today. The little blacks sheeps came back from the abattoir in partial kit form and he spent the day making them into things to cook. These little Hebridean sheeps may look like the size of a large rabbit but I'm told they are extremely tasty. I'll take their word for it since I'm a vegi.

There was a veritable production line going with Mr Crofter cutting big lumps off, Dad Crofter sorting the small bits ready for the burgers he's going to make and Mum bagging the whole lot up. I saw enough after one sheeps and there were four more to do !!

Thursday, 25 November 2010


Its not always dark, cold, wet and windy round these parts although you'd be forgiven for thinking that today. Just the other day I took myself off to the Crofter to see what mayhem was happening armed to the teeth with a large and unwieldy plate camera and an old Kodak 35mm jobbie. The sun was really bright, no wind to speak of and warm, or warmish as well. Mr Crofter et al were engaged in moving little woolly beasts for here to there in order that Mr Sheeps - he of no-horns and white wool - can have his way with the ladies of the black wool. And I believe the boys of the black-wool get to have a look in too with some girlies.

The only thing was that the girls were on one croft and white-woolie on the other. To sort this conundrum necessitated a walk on the road since the old track that connected the crofts is now partially blocked at some point. Mr Crofter has no sheep dog - which really isn't much loss since most of the ones I see round these parts spend too much time chasing cars, smelling ones' bits, sleeping or fighting other dogs ! So Mr Crofter resorted to carrying the bucket of food trick and soon the pretty little black woolly ladies were following him up the road and into the croft where white-woolly was waiting.
Of course there was the usual too and froeing, gate opening and shutting and sheeps all over the place but soon they were where they were supposed to be and white-woolely had already decided that Christmas for him had come early Something that turk- back at the Croft - was not keen to hear.
The Kodak Retinette 35mm with Polypanf movie film was used in earnest. The plate camer got used later!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


The Birds
Looking to where CJ was
CJ has gone. Gone to the great sausage makers in the sky no doubt [actually, he'll be back in partial kit form in two weeks when The Crofter will set to and butcher him to get him in the freezer!]. He was a fine bull but a stroppy one as it happens. Still, I'm always sad to see them go and I know the Crofters were too.
The birds didn't care. They just sat and waiting for a moment when the piggies had left some scraps that they could scavenge.

Monday, 15 November 2010


Mr Crofter has been busy. He's always busy - especially when his faithfull helpers/parents are away on the mainland. Now they are back he's still busy. Busy putting the new [new to him that is] doors on Lucy the Land Rover. And mending the wipey things.

Friday, 5 November 2010


The Crofter now appears on his own calendar and is available here !Support independent publishing: Buy this calendar on Lulu. or here

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


The Crofter feeds himself well - as he should since he grows most of his food. In the morning a good hearty breakfast of cereal and builders tea will see him through the morning till tea-break.
In reflective mood, the Crofter wonders what the day ahead will bring him.

Monday, 1 November 2010


Dad Crofter, on the croft before the holiday

Mater and Pater Crofter are away enjoying themselves on the mainland at the moment leaving The Crofter all by himself - bar the turkeys, chickens etc etc.
He's coping - I went down to see him yesterday and he has not disappeared under piles of 'stuff' or been eaten by one of his more adventurous animals. Nevertheless, we are having Sir up for dinner this week to ensure he gets his fill of veg.

Monday, 25 October 2010


The kindly Crofter fills the pond-ette

.... and duck takes a bath
Sometime a bath is just what you need. Even if the water Mr Crofter has kindly filled the newly made pond-ette with is cold. And the wind colder.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


There's always something to do whatever the weather. Dad Crofter is out feeding the pigs with not a moment to look at the wonderful light shining on Broadbay behind him!

Monday, 18 October 2010


A few more stars of the North-Tolsta fank. What a good day was had - if you wern't involved with the sheeps dipping that is.

Saturday, 16 October 2010


Lucy gets a tickling

Mr Crofter has a new vehicle to trash. When I say 'new' what i really mean is 'new to him' since the blimin thing was made in 1970 - older than the Great Man imself. It is, as the last one was , a Land Rover. A sort of green-welly version of the Massey Ferguson so loved hereabouts. Unlike the last one, this one works properly despite its age - or will do once the Crofter sorts the door that threatens to fall off and when he finds out how to use the plethora of gear levers that populate the otherwise spartan cab. But it has got a galvanised chassis which I am told 'is a good thing' up here in these salty climes. I'll take his word for it since the old non galvanised chassis rover and the one before that are not at all healthy in the chassis department.!
Please welcome Lucy into the Crofter family.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


It's never dull down on the Croft. I'm wandering down the road - in the middle of the road, just because I can - and I hear the familiar crakin thud of sheeps head against sheeps head. Again and again. Although there's something different this time the rhythm strange. Arrhythmic perhaps. Junior sheeps is getting a right seeing to by the older fellas. They are all rams you see and the lady sheeps were put a little too close for ignoring at this time of year so the 'boys' thought it was Saturday night in Stornoway time. No sooner had two rams collided when the third one bashed in - often into random fallen bodies. I hate seeing this despite having seen it several times before. Mr Crofter ventured into the ring and had a few stern words to say, but they weren't listening. Couldn't care less what Mr Crofter had to say. So Junior was separated from the other two and put in another field. That calmed things down a bit. At least until the other two started at it later on. I came home