Sprouting Times

Tarzan style cries have been yodelling across the yard as the Happy Farmer has taken on the last remaining wilderness at Persabus. This week has seen him wrestling his way through a thick jungle of undergrowth within the four walls of the original old stone barn. Sky high fuchsia bushes, with thick, woody, broad roots anchored around old stone slabs and concrete troughs. Nettles of monumental proportions, their tendrils wrapped firmly around discarded ‘treasures’ of bygone times.
Tractor and ropes at the ready, it has not been a job for the faint-hearted, but the transformation has been the start of another exciting journey for us at Persabus. The last of the old stone byres in the yard and the atmosphere in those stone walls just grabs you. Already we can feel the energy of the dances and partying to come in our whisky barn, as we look to celebrate in true Persabus style, once the hard work has cleared the way and new life is breathed back into this gorgeous space.
As the Happy Farmer toiled away all week, his hat was glued firmly on his head. Just as plants began to sprout in his vegetable patch, there was apparently a lot of ‘sprouting’ going on under that cap of his too. Please do not try putting ‘miracle grow’ under your own cap, but please do scroll down for a bit of the Happy Farmer’s wonderful sense of humour and enjoy his sporty new lockdown hairstyle. It will not just be the Persabus sheep getting sheared this summer if this new growth continues. As one jungle is cut down another appears from under his cap.
At the farmhouse door, manoeuvring my way through the assault course of wellies lying idly discarded in an unkempt pile and the family are all well and truly home, managing to all get here safely just before the lockdown came. Whilst they may have grown up in years old habits die hard, and for once it is an absolute pleasure to have their trail of boots and various debris scattered around the hall, spilling over the doorstep. It is a sign of happy times amidst the madness. It is not often we are all together at home these days and whilst everyone is working in their own little ‘zone’ online during the day, it is also a time for gathering around the farmhouse kitchen table and enjoying hearty meals and good craic as everyone mucks in. Delicious food arriving on the table each night as there is no shortage of cooks, and in youngest’s case, fantastic baking has been flowing from the Aga, with peanut butter brownies that simply melt in the mouth, then there’s the Happy Farmer’s contribution of pancakes at morning coffee time. Suddenly food is indeed incredibly comforting.
For my part it has also been a week of madly battling with the weeds under blue skies as I’ve sweated it out in scorching hot sunshine. A mad, frantic tussle, discovering muscles I never knew existed as I have wrestled to get the flower beds tweaked, tidied and into some form of order before the rain comes. Happy childhood memories springing to mind as I remember travelling home through the welsh valleys on a scorching hot day in my grandparents’ car. My glamorous grandmother sat in the front seat, with her beautiful jewellery and manicured nails, in a lovely frock, lamenting. My grandfather sat behind the steering wheel, a huge satisfied grin on his face. Every window open wide as the strong smell of horse manure filled the car. Holidays in Wales gave my grandfather the perfect opportunity to fill his car boot. In his eyes it was worth a scalding from my gran, knowing his roses would thrive beautifully all summer long. This week I too was gathering the horse manure from the fields in the gorgeously hot sunshine to feed the Persabus roses. I am finding gardening is my way of trying to live with all that is happening in the world around me. Something I have slight control over when I find myself in a world that feels out of control. As we face uncertainty everywhere and live in a strange, isolated bubble.

Lengthy walks along the coast as the sun sets. The Sound of Islay like a mill pond. Seals bobbing up to the surface to play. Eider ducks dancing along the shoreline. A graceful swan sleeping on her nest. The male swan keeping a watchful caring eye over his sleeping beauty as she nurtures their eggs. Life goes on.
Social distancing continues. Archie bread delivered supplies to the farm. A much-needed link between the mainland and our tiny island. We are grateful to the people who continue to operate essential services bringing supplies as safely as possible to our vulnerable community. The Happy Farmer seated on a large rock on one side of the road, whilst Archie perched on a rock on the other side, and the two were able to catch up on all that is happening in this crazy world.
We miss you all. Stay safe.
Until next time…

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