All posts by admin

Bees : a lot to learn

We are very much at the beginning of our journey to learn more about bees : both the wild ones, and how to keep Honey bees here.
As we are in a big planting phase, it is important to keep in mind our future plans as we go, so we are learning lots.
Here are a few resources we have picked up so far.
Some of us are interested in Bees : wild ones, keeping for honey, as pollinators, and also planting for attracting. (personally I am at the beginning of the learning curve, so really hoping there are others with experience here to share)
Here are a few resources that can help us learn more. Scottish Native Honey Bee Society : new organisation to encourage the keeping of the Scottish Native Honey Bee Apis mellifera mellifera. (in early 1900’s most of these were decimated by a disease and to populate hives subspecies from Europe were brought in to the UK. There are increasing efforts to re-populate Scotland with the Native Honey bee, and local bee keepers are aiming to be in the forefront of this.
Other than the obvious attraction they are also usually more docile than other strains, and they are far hardier for our varied climate. Scottish Beekeepers Society
has lots of information, membership includes insurance for public liability etc, separate members area on website. Oban Beekeepers group
monthly meetings in the winter and summer activities for beginners and experienced. Secretary is Nigel Mitchell * Lochaber Beekeepers group – a course happening there starting in May

Identifying British Bumble bees Bombus spp



2015 Egg production figures

Farm Handbook makes interesting reading

Egg production figures for 2015

Total for UK 10,008,000,000  and still most in cages

type : 1965 : 2010 : 2015
Cage : 53% : 50% : 52%
Barn : 37% : 5% : 2%
Free R: 10% : 42% : 44%
Organic: – : 3% : 2%

If you seriously want to change things, and reduce the number of hens in cages – stop eating processed food, because that is where most is used – ready meals, biscuits, cakes, bread, you name it, you likely eat caged eggs sometime in the week.

We cannot produce Ten Thousand Million Eggs from free range birds in the UK – we do not have the land or the expertise.

Reducing the amount of processed food would also improve our nations health – double win.

Farm Management Handbook – Poultry

Avian Influenza H5N8 Lockdown ALL UK – 6 Dec for 30 days

LOCKDOWN OF ALL poultry – Avian Influenza Prevention Zone declared in response to spread of H5N8 in Europe.…/avian-influenza-protection-measures
how to make things work –

Bird flu now only 30 miles from Britain

The Scottish Government and DEFRA has declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone requiring that all poultry and captive birds must be kept indoors, or otherwise kept separate from wild birds.
“We have declared a 30-day Prevention Zone as a precautionary measure to protect Scotland’s valuable poultry industry, particularly in the weeks before Christmas. It is important to stress that there has been no cases of this strain detected in the UK” 0 this is the same in England too

One of our feathered farm friends

This wee fella follows us around as we work.. quite the model 🙂

He loves the Robin Mix feed we put out for the wild birds here. .
(and sell too – 2 kg and 12.75 kg bags) High in protein rich Sunflower Hearts and Mealworms with two types of high energy Suet, perfect for feeding all year round.


Black Rock pullets for sale

Free range raised pullets for excellent hardy laying hens – the Muirfield Black Rock is the best bird for our climate. Raising them outside gets them fit, well feathered, and ready to lay lots of good brown eggs. Being good rangers the hens take best advantage of their surroundings to improve the flavour and quality of the eggs.
Black Rock; Brown Rock; Grey Rock; Light Sussex

Alexander Technique teacher here in November – book now

Erica Donnison will be back with us from the 14 – 18 November : She is both our Alexander technique teacher as well as being a Tellington Ttouch teacher for horses & riders. – please let me know what days suit you best.

She will be teaching AT on Monday; Tuesday; Thursday and Friday – and TT at Tullich on Wednesday.
Alexander Technique is such a powerful technique, yet so gentle.
Over the last 10 years we and others in the local area have found benefits for

  • stress
  • back pain
  • fibromyalgia / ME
  • hypertension
  • musical performance
  • teaching performance
  • physical occupations
  • theatre performance
  • sports performance – especially running & riding
  • arthritis
  • post operative recovery
  • effective use

Alexander technique helps you understand how you are using your body, gives you strategies to undo harmful bad habits, and replace them with good use that helps to prevent us putting the stresses and strains that then become pain and incapacity.




Wood Heat poem from Tree farm by John Estabrook

Beech wood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year.
Chestnut’s only good, they say
If for long it’s laid away.
But ash wood new or ash wood old
Is fit for a queen with a crown of gold.

Birch and fir logs burn too fast,
Blaze up bright and do not last.
Is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould –
E’en the very flames are cold;
But ash wood green and ash wood brown
Is fit for a queen with a golden crown.

Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
Apple wood will scent your room
With an incense like perfume.
Oaken logs if dry and old
Keep away the winter cold.
But ash wood wet and ash wood dry
A king shall warm his slippers by.

Oak logs will warm you well,
If they’re warm and dry.
Larch logs of pine wood smell
But sparks will fly.
Beech logs for Christmas time;
Yew logs heat well.
Scotch logs it’s a crime
For anyone to sell.
Birch logs will burn too fast,
Chestnut scarce at all.
Hawthorn logs are good to last,
If cut in the fall.
Holly logs will burn like wax,
You should burn them green.
Elm logs like smouldering flax;
No flames to be seen.
Pear logs and apple logs,
They will scent your room.
Cherry logs across the dogs
Smell like flowers in bloom.
But ash logs all smooth and gray,
Burn them green or old,
Buy up all that come you way,
They’re worth their weight in gold.

Fleeces for sale 2016 / 2017

A few of our fleeces for sale
Pure Jacob Fleece raw: whole fleece, 900gr, lightly scoured, little vegetable matter, lovely mix of dark and white, 900gr

Jacob Fleece for Craft work : peg loom, spinning, felting
Jacob Fleece craft work peg loom spinning felting
Jacob Fleece for Craft work : peg loom, spinning, felting
Jacob Fleece for Craft work : peg loom, spinning, felting
Jacob Fleece for Craft work : peg loom, spinning, felting




A lovely mix of the Brown and White colours in this pure Jacob fleece, lightly scoured, very little vegetable matter, no grey, a few parts will need a bit more carding for spinning than some of our best fleeces, perfectly good for felting and peg loom weaving. 1.45 kg

A bigger fleece, more white than most, lovely long staple, a little bit of grey, lightly scoured, very little vegetable matter, 1.8kg