A Game of Toads …

Don’t run over that random stone in the road!
Chances are, that in some areas over the last few weeks, it has been Bufo bufo aka The Common Toad AND more likely than not, the random stone, wasn’t one Toad, but Two!
The much smaller Male Toad, on top of the larger Female Toad.
And this is known as travelling in Amplexus.
Basically, it is mating time and they are en-route to their breeding ground.
You will even get Triple Amplexus, two males.
And on the odd occasion, the Female may well have picked herself up & kissed a Frog.

The breeding ground, can vary, Garden Pond, Lake, Woodland Pond, Roadside Ditch etc
If you see the surface bubbling away, then you may be lucky to see dozens of Toads underneath, in Amplexus and Spawning away.
You may hear them too, but for that fantastic sound, then nighttime is the best.
We have a few Amphibians in the garden here at Tulloch and you can here them at night, but, the best sound comes from the Forest Pond, on a still night, it is incredible to hear Bufo bufo echoing across The Glen.

Over this last month, we have seen many on our travels, I never tire of this time, Nature and Spring are waking up.
I will give them a helping hand across the road if I think they are in great danger.
Oh and remember to keep your Dogs away from them!
Sharing a few Toady images for you
– Karen – x

_KAP0057

Lurking Under The Surface

_KAP0173

Watching For His Mate

_KAP0145

Triple Amplexus and a Passer By

_KAP0045

Just Hanging Around

_KAP0025

Nearly At The Pond

_KAP0055

In Amplexus

_KAP0007

Watch Where You Step!

_KAP0038

At The Roadside

 

A Squirrel In The Chicken Coop…

A quiet Sunday and McTufty decided it was time for lunch, which meant time to visit Tulloch.
Because it was quiet, McTufty took a good look around, including going into the Chicken Coop!
McTufty fancied a change for lunch, so wanting a lazy Sunday, opted for ground feeding & Sunflower Hearts instead of Peanuts.
But, McTufty wasn’t the only one!
The Chickens had made the same plans.
A new and unusual friendship was soon formed…

_kap0104

Venturing In …

_kap0105

And Taking A Look Around

_kap0107

Who’d live in a house like this?

_kap0122

Lunch on the ground

_kap0130

McTufty Keeping A Low Profile, Hoping The Chickens Wouldn’t Notice

_kap0132

You’re A Funny Looking Chicken!

_kap0146

Lets Lunch Together & Have a Wee Blether

chickno1

Time To Say Farewell for Today…

_kap0111

…And With A Swish of the Tail, McTufty Was Gone

Going Through Changes …

Christmas and the eve of New Years Eve has given me some time for reflection, the changes life has brought in 2018 and the changes which lie ahead for 2019.
And Christmas is a quiet affair this time, just doesn’t feel like Christmas to be honest. The absence of my dear Father is probably greater than ever.
Boxing Day Morning, took a phone call from one of our closest friends, who sadly broke the news to me of another old friend who passed away on Christmas Eve, he was just 46 years old, could have knocked me over with a feather and my thoughts are with his family.
2018, I will not be sorry to see you go, though yet I hang onto you, for you are the last time I spoke to Dad.

And there have been other big changes too!
When I hit half a century in August, it was also the start of another new era…
I now have a new camera (Hope you are sitting down), am now shooting with an Olympus! (For those interested – OM-D E-M1 Mark II)

No, I did not think that I would be saying that either, but there you go.
To cut a long story short, I haven’t totally said goodbye to Nikon, have still got one body & lenses, but the D5 & the D800 have gone to new homes.
I was in two minds about all this, but am absolutely loving using The Olympus (McOly), once I got my head around the menu system (Still doing that ha ha), it is a breath of fresh air and a joy to use and you may not realise, but you’ve been looking at Olympus images for the last couple of months now.
I scoffed when my Camera Dealer was prepared to bet me that I would leave Nikon within 6 months, he wasn’t far wrong and am looking forward to shooting more with it.
I will then see what happens when Olympus upgrade & Nikon release the Z8!

Nature has changed this year at Tulloch too, Curlews were drastically down in numbers this time and there are less Deer this season, as yet not the usual amount of visitors round Tulloch Garden, hopefully we will see some once proper winter arrives, just so mild the now.
We are usually so lucky to have thousands of Geese flying over, now they’ve been flying south of Kindrogan summit, with only the odd skein passing over us.
Fieldfares arrived early, then them too absent again.
One solitary Brambling feeding here for 10 days now and one Siskin, who, is a few weeks early.
Pleased to report that some healthy looking Greenfinch have reappeared, though some Chaffinch now seem to be carrying a similar illness to Trichomonosis and here is some  Info from BTO
Christmas Day afternoon, about dusk, feeding & bedding up the Tulloch Menagerie , when a Woodcock flew low over the house & paddock, fantastic!

I will leave it here for now, with a song choice to match and I wish for better changes for us all in 2019, walk your life & make it count.
I’ll be seeing you next year – Karen – x

Kelly & Ozzy Osbourne – Changes

_KAP0144

The Dunnock & The Holly

_KAP0027

Sunrise

_KAP0088

Floods

 

Adapting …

Forgive me Father, as it has been 3 months since my last confession.
And again, I do not know where this year is going!
So much has been going on, but as the year matures and comes into its last quarter, I sincerely hope that the sadness & woe that we have known up to now does too.

We had an array of visitors in July, best friend Dawn came to stay with us, as did our Facebook Giveaway winners Jill & Tim and on Sunday 19th we waved Hans & Tinka off. They had been staying with us for a week and we could not have wished for more beautiful and perfect guests. Every minute spent with them was a blessing and they entered our lives at the perfect time, to show us that goodness can exist in abundance. The world certainly is a more beautiful place with people like Hans & Tinka in it and we wish nothing but the very best for them.
Come August, we would also wave goodbye to our Airbnb era too, which has been an amazing experience and how apt, that our last guests were return ones, Paula & Ed, who we are luckily enough to class as friends now and I hope we get to visit them in Jerusalem someday soon.
There had been more than one reason for finishing Airbnb and one of those reasons was, to make the room available for a new house guest!
I would like you to give a right warm Scottish welcome to my Mother, who has made the huge move to Scotland and for now lives with us here at Tulloch.
This of course, means the end of an era at Settrington Estate, which was my childhood home, the place my Father Keepered at for over 50 years and the place that I too would also become a Gamekeeper and follow in Fathers footsteps. Sadly all gone now and I do reckon that Father would be very saddened by it all to say the least. (How I miss you Father).
We had another very sad goodbye also, Alistair’s Father has also passed away.
We really could not make this year up!
Alistair has done amazingly well, I am concerned about him, but am also so proud of him, his work load is immense and he just keeps on going, he has to of course, I will be pleased for him when things begin to ease up.
And then there was me hitting half a century.
I think that is more than enough for these last 3 months.
Lots more too of course and could obviously say much more, but thought best to try and keep a long story short.
We are all trying to adapt to these big life changes.
– Karen – x

I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden …

Monday – Barclay was at his Spa Day today and returned pm looking & smelling lovely, shame it doesn’t last long.

Some nice visitors and a surprise visit from Scotland For All. Good chat and I await to see if TWSG warrants a mention with them.

Tuesday am, Windy and cool again. The gallery signs ended up staying down as they constantly blew down!
Straw & Hay just refused to be swept up this morning.

Was in a miserable mood this morning, which was no good for me or the animals and because it affects them, that made me more miserable.

Pet Lamb managed to seize the opportunity and get into the house, so him and Barclay ran amok and our Dutch guests continued to have breakfast and seemed oblivious to it all. I had warned them it was a mad house!

We had (Please note I said HAD), a lovely climbing Rose on the Kitchen wall. Pet Lamb had been having the odd nibble, but nothing too damaging, but, along came McKenzie and he decided he was partial to it as well. Thing was, his nibbles lot bigger than Pet Lambs! Then, today an eating competition of said Rose began between them, which resulted in McKenzie getting the very last flower from it!
We are now just left with bare wall & few twigs!

Lovely visit from a friend this afternoon, who spoilt me with a bouquet of stunning Peonies and some delicious local Strawberries. Felt very blessed.

Wednesday, I do believe Pet Lamb has gone off Parsnip!! Was doing Grocery Shop, so ordered him some Kale. McKenzie on the other hand, was very keen for Parsnip.

Thursday am, stepped out with Morning Coffee to destruction! Gates half knocked over, wooden stag planter was knocked over and beheaded and a chewed up wicker bird feeder (Sorry Dawn)

Sky engineer came this afternoon. Barclay went crazy! Pet Lamb chased him out of the paddock & McKenzie left a fresh pile of manure near his van, then Bruce decided to go for a full spur attack! This all happened within about 10min and I’m sure he thought he was visiting the Beverly Hillbillies or something!

The longest day, but I was in bed by 8pm.
Our recent guests had suggested I look into Mindfulness, they thought it would be beneficial for me.
I mentioned this in a Facebook post and got great support & advice about it.

Friday morning, woken by the Farmer and the Poodle!

The Poodle has found the pony muck and began to eat it!
The tame sheep was butting the doors wanting to be in the house. I gave him some kale to pacify him, he just came back for more!
Car wouldn’t start.
Everything was in absolute chaos.
I text Alistair two say about car and that I was so done in, then went to beat the hell out of some butter & sugar, which would result in a sunken Lemon cake!
Then, I heard a “Good Morning” echo through the hoose.
Alistair had actually driven back up to Tulloch to see to the car and see that I was okay.
Now love shows itself in many forms and this was one of those forms.
Was cross with Alistair for making the journey, but yet was so happy to see him.
I was stood in what looked like a bomb site, whilst emptying Kitchen Bin, bag had split over the floor, baking ingredients everywhere, I spilt me coffee and had me arm stuck in fleece pocket instead of sleeve.
Alistair was laughing and just laughed & laughed.
It was a priceless moment and his wee surprise visit made my day.

As did the dozen or so bikers who would shortly follow to visit TWSG … AND … they thought the Lemon Cake was delicious!

Found a poor dead Blue tit fledgling on the lawn this morning.

I hadn’t told Alistair, but McKenzie likes to play with the hosepipe and there has been a couple of rips appear in it. Today whilst hosing the yard, the almighty of bangs. The hosepipe had exploded! I do not know who got the biggest fright, sheep, pony or me! But do know that I was the one who was soaked! Said hosepipe is now in several bits.
This is a mad house!

img_5051

Loch McBasil

img_5053

Seat in Tulloch Meadow

img_5054

Feeling blessed with my beautiful peonies

img_5057

Before…

img_5056

…After Sheep & Pony attack!

img_5055

McKenzie got the last flower!

Half a year gone ….

And you are gone.

Over half way through June.
The year is going by far too quickly.

We have two lots of House Martins nesting, on a night in bed you can hear them chattering, tis lovely.
Swallows diving in and out of the stable, but nae as many as last season.

It has been hot, can you believe way too hot, then Thursday Storm Hector paid us a wee visit and yesterday was torrential downpour, the yard was about flooded!

And we now have a Pony living at Tulloch! Two mugs broken and a Garden Parasol demolished this last week! And as I’m sat typing this, Alistair reckons he’s messed up the Sky dish too!
He is a proper Thelwell character!
Am hoping that all the animals will get on together (Eventually)

I can’t say I’ve had time to enjoy this Spring. Work is nonstop and that is why I have now blocked off Airbnb and am taking no more bookings. Still too soon to say if I am finishing it forever, but certainly come August I am done for now.
Exhausted and really struggling to cope, never mind not getting any Photography done and I need to be and WANT to be.
And The Wee Scottish Gallery is coming into its own, yet lots more to do there too.
Just work, work, work, hence behind on this journal too, it HAS to change.
On a positive note, oh boy, the sleep, the Gravity Blanket is awesome!

And talking of Photography, am (Can you believe), looking at trying something other than Nikon!
I think I have decided to trade in one of the McNikons!!
More on that if/when etc

Mum came up for flying visit this weekend, waved her off again this morning, far too short.
But, your ashes are now with me Father and I do so hope that you can hear me talking to you.

I want to wish you Happy Fathers Day Dad and to tell you that I miss you every day, as does Mum.

There is a huge void in our life’s, which try as we might, it will never be filled.

Life is changing again but more on that on a future post.
Just want to talk to you again
Karen x

Basil Fawlty …

Saturday 5th May and another beautiful day break, alas, short lived.

Good Gallery day and the new Galley in the Gallery was launched.

Come 3pm, it was between now and 6pm that tonight’s guests were due to check in. Just before 6pm, Phone rang, due guests …. “Would 7 or later be okay, we’d like to do more sightseeing”! I am ashamed to say that I turned into Basil Fawlty within a split second! And the French girl soon felt my wrath down the phone! We were meant to be going out tonight to the Kirky Bar for Gary’s official opening night. When they arrived, they also wanted to use the kitchen and wanted to checkout before 7am. Basil Fawlty part two came on!

I have been contemplating finishing Airbnb, well, am certainly cutting down bookings and on a whole, we have been blessed with guests, but ones like these really do make me question it and as I said in my review of them, a hotel would have been a better option for them. By the girls own admission, she just hadn’t read the house manual or my welcome message.

Sunday 6th May – What a cold dull one! Then after mid afternoon, the skies cleared and the sun burst. It almost became too warm! Time for a glass of Prosecco (Or two) and to soak up some free vitamin D. Stunning sunset, even our Russian guests took a walk down the glen to view it.

Monday 5th May – Woke at 12.30am, paddled round the house, eventually returning to bed, only then to be rudely woken by the Poodle!

Disappointed to see the sunshine had gone, was colder again and then there was a downpour! Typical Bank Holiday and reckoned it would be a quiet gallery day. Come lunch, out came the sun and what a beautiful afternoon and I was (Pleased to say), wrong about a quiet gallery day, help was needed! Also pleased to say, that the Tulloch menagerie behaved themselves with visitors today.

No idea what’s up with 4G, lack of it is driving me mad!

First Wasp of the season today.

The Galley

The Galley in the Gallery

Chickens Enjoying the Sunshine

Tulloch Sunset