Thursday, 22 September 2011


Autumn moved in as silently and quickly as the swifts who have just flown away.

There has been so much to do, so much to prepare for winter and the rumours whisper that it will be another hard winter which arrives early.

There seems little we can do about our farmhouse; the matter was passed on to higher echelons and we can only hope that the issues are settled quickly.

The farmhouse roof groans a little with despair. It tries to hold on to life just as the leaves of the trees hold on to their summer vivacity then stung by the sharp drop in temperature, they reach the point of senescence, begin to wither and fall. Their death throes a blaze of colour, each leaf burns with the brilliance of a roaring fire.

They begin to fall and the ground becomes thickly carpeted and crispy underfoot. The air has a hint of honey and pine with an after scent of mushrooms.

The earth becomes denuded after the grains are harvested and the land ploughed. There is a rich tapestry of deep brown, purple heather, silver birch turned to gold, bronzed oaks, vivid reds of the little mountain rowans.
The land dons it's Autumn mantle to acknowledge the chill.

I had good fortune after offering to lend a hand to one of the local shepherds - he was working alone on the hill at the front, sorting out a flock of around 500 tough and tiny horned sheep, all wild and leaping over the sheep hurdles like salmon leaping in the river.
We worked steadily, ignoring the thumps and bashes of sharp horns on legs and arms, ignored the hail shower which stung, soaked us then moved on.

The shepherd very gently checked each and every sheep, he spoke quietly to them, checked their mouths and ears, their general well being. We dosed them all to prevent some of the myriad diseases sheep are susceptible to catching. Tiny hooves were inspected.

After many hours, the sheep were moved to different pastures, shepherd and helper ready for a hot toddy and hot bath. It was a good days work but did not feel like work.

From our viewpoint high on the hill, we could see the countryside in all it's glory, a huge and fat rainbow hugged the hills and briefly embraced our farm.

For a while, worries were forgotten, anxieties replaced with hope.

The pine trees which had been slaughtered by the savage winds and lay dying were briefly brought back to life by the rainbow's embrace.

I felt an energy in the air, one which fired energy into my tired soul and provided fuel to fight on for the tiny scrap of Scotland which is our home and life. The farm illuminated by a rainbow.

A farm washed clean. The dark negative influences of the past purged by the purity of the environment.

The change has begun.


  1. Wonderful - your writing has improved so much over the years! The photos are stunning :) I am so impressed, this was really moving...
    Don't you love the fall though? My favourite season.
    Thanks for the beautiful post!

  2. Evocative writing - thanks for posting. Beautiful photos.

  3. Beautiful writing and pictures. I hope you are OK xx

  4. Beautifully written, GO. Good to see you back, fingers crossed.

  5. Wonderful thought provoking post, bring forth images of a tiny bit of heaven on earth.

  6. Welcome back, we missed you. Lovely post, beautifully written.

  7. Like others have said, very beautifully and poignantly written - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out well for you and the farm! :D

  8. Intriguing. I grew up on a farm and well remember the back aching work all mixed up in the mouth dropping beauty of it.