Farm Diversification at its Best

On the cusp of the changing seasons

the island’s summer frock is gradually being cast aside as the landscape is emerging swathed in the golden hues of barley ripening, and the pinks and purples of wild heather clad hillsides in full bloom, as the colours of autumn take hold.

It has been a weekend of impromptu social gatherings

as we happily got swept along into a time of celebrations, as one of our lovely regulars was over for a big birthday.

Late on Friday afternoon, blue sunny skies darkened as the heavens opened, the Happy Farmer’s shed, his new ‘mancave’, provided the perfect venue for a socially distanced gathering. Whisky and prosecco were poured, not in the same glass, to begin the celebrations.

As the rain pounded on the tin roof, we sat among shelves filled with pottery and glazes. Beside kilns, ready to power into life, as pieces lay, thick with their heavy lime green glazed coating, ready to be loaded for firing. An eclectic mix that added to the fun of a birthday weekend. A spontaneous gathering in an old agricultural shed.

An agricultural shed bursting with diversification projects

seeing ideas flowing from ‘grass roots’ to fully fledged ‘fruition’ as we continue our journey with the ‘Persabus Dream’. The shed is the hub, the centre of activity, of life on the farm.

At one end machinery lies in a maze of bits, gradually being reassembled, and welded back together. Like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, as the Happy Farmer lovingly works on restoring ‘old Lizzie’. Breathing new life into his childhood tractor from yesteryear.

Work benches are scattered with tools. A mass of tiny shelves and drawers bursting with everything the Happy Farmer could possibly need, and more, as designs and projects get underway. It is a hive of restoration and repairs. A place for servicing the farm’s machinery, sheltering it from the elements.

Above us, in the heady heights of a mezzanine loft, lies a ‘guddle’ of old pieces from yesteryear. Pieces waiting to be reclaimed, reused, upcycled, or recycled. The old farming ways still lie in the heart of the Happy Farmer. What might seem like old junk to the passing eye, is a treasure waiting to be unveiled in his twinkling wise eyes.

Huge cabinet freezers, alongside concrete walls, house a plentiful supply of food for the farmhouse.

A pristine laundry room enclosed behind pine and glass doors at another end. Home to industrial washing and drying machines. Shelves of bedding, cleaners, dusters, and mops, complete with the sweet scent of freshly laundered sheets, washing powders and conditioners.

At the ‘shop front’, the jewellery workshop and bench, where Charlotte works her magic, creating beautiful bespoke pieces of fine jewellery.

There is the ‘behind the scenes’ pottery workshop of moulds, plaster, slip pumps and casting drain tables, kilns and bisque.

Finally, poised, invitingly in the middle of all this activity is a green leather chesterfield. Sat in a cosy corner, it provides a birds eye view of all the proceedings in the Happy Farmer’s ‘emporium’. Perfectly situated for impromptu get-togethers and gatherings such as these. Allowing the Happy Farmer’s guests to enjoy a seat at the heart of the industry that has become Persabus over the Happy Farmer’s time.

Laughter and chat drowning out the heavy pitter patter of the rain drops on the tin roof

A shed built originally for housing machinery and livestock has become so much more in the changing days of agriculture. The shed has become a celebration of farm diversification at its absolute best, as it takes on the Happy Farmer’s never ending, constantly evolving building and renovation projects.

In these changing times, of the ‘new normal’, it has become the heart of socially distanced gatherings. Allowing the Happy Farmer to multitask, with his bar stool at the workshop bench. A time for mixing work and play.

The big birthday weekend was a spectacular success

A celebration which included huge platters of seafood. Distillery lunches at Ardnahoe. Tastings at Bunnahabhain.

There was an epic trek from the east coast to the west, on the Isle of Jura, with a picnic packed specially by The Bowmore Hotel, and bottles of prosecco carried effortlessly on the shoulders of Victoria’s friends to surprise her when she reached the white sandy bay of Glenbatrick.

Paddle boarding was on offer In the warm shallows of Small Isles Bay before the ferry led them back over to Islay to savour toasted marshmallows on a campfire built from driftwood in the bay at Bunnahabhain, whilst the birthday girl tried out her new snorkel and flippers.

Of course, in the smaller details, for those in ‘the know’, no trip to Bunnahabhain would be complete, could possibly be ‘complete’, without a cheeky passing ‘wee sweetie’ stop at the infamous Persabus Farm on the way past.

Late into the sunny Sunday afternoon, and on into the evening, the garden was calling, as once again we toasted the birthday girl.

What is not to love about a birthday spent on a Hebridean island?

A celebration spent indulging in some ‘Islay time’….

with a heady mix of ‘Jura time’ thrown in for good measure.

With the distilleries, the beaches, the welcoming, friendly locals, the seafood, the beautiful wild walks through the untamed wilderness, the wild swims, and then, the Happy Farmer’s shed, and to top it all off, the ‘melt in the mouth’ venison pie, with new potatoes and home grown veg, for Sunday supper.

When it comes to celebrating these islands have it all…and more

We look forward to celebrating with you soon.

A warm welcome at Persabus awaits.

Happy birthday Victoria from all of us. Thank you for including us in a fabulous weekend of happy celebrations.

Until next time….

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