Monday, 24 May 2010

The New Levellers

The ratio of good WWOOF hosts to bad has improved – three to one now!

Our new hosts, Claire and Ali farm near Dunfermline, on a smallholding called Sheardrum. It’s a mile from the nearest road up a long, windy, and bumpy track and they’ve been here for about 11 years slowly converting derelict barns into habitable spaces – there’s still renovation work to do but its getting there and looking good. They farm a small number of Shetland sheep and a few Highland cattle – one of which gave birth on our first day here. There are lots of lambs gambolling about the place and four dogs of varying sizes and shapes: Sky – large and very hairy; Norman – stick obsessed; Mac – old doggy breath; Jake – number one top dog. All of the dogs have perfected the art of lying exactly in the place they are least needed at just the most awkward moment, very helpful! We’ve laughed a lot and also learnt a lot about sheep farming and good practice, and also about the flora of the area. There always seems to be interesting people dropping by for a cup of tea and a slice of cake, and we have been eating rather too well as usual. The quality and deliciousness of the food is definitely a good indicator of how good WWOOF hosts are.

We may also have solved the riddle of Tiny’s disappearance from Smiling Tree Farm, as he appears to have travelled to Sheardrum!

Our first three sun drenched sweaty days here have been spent preparing for the laying of a new lawn. We helped to build the brick edging which descends at a small but steady gradient away from the house, and which took us almost two days work to complete.

Then on Saturday we had a very long day levelling the ground (Laura earning the soubriquet ‘Level headed Laura’ due to her amazing eye for levels and skill with a rake) then laying the turf, finally finishing at around 9pm. A long day, but a very satisfying one. I (Matt) also helped Ali fetch the turf which involved driving a very heavily laden Landrover and trailer quite a long way – but the Police car that overtook us declined the opportunity of stopping our very slow progress, so we must have been legal… (just)!

A well deserved rest day on Sunday, and most of the day was spent taking it very easy, enjoying the sun. Then we became more adventurous; exploring the Black Devon River to an impressive and apparently little known waterfall, then gorge walking our way back to the farm. Now we have now been joined by a couple of German WWOOFers, Benni and Tania, we all worked today bashing thistles and mending rickety fences.

Question: Is the weather always this good in Scotland?

1 comment:

  1. You two make my heart happy :) Glad Scotland is gorgeous so far. Just got back from Geneva - sunbathed in a beautiful park, swam in the Rhone, drank lots of local rose. Trying to avoid noticing I'm back in Swindon. xx