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On the Croft - May/June 2021

I don't know about you but, for me, the last two months have absolutely flown by - to the extent that I was sure I'd done a blog post for May until realising, about two weeks ago, that the last one was for April! Where does the time go?!!

It has been wonderful seeing all the signs of late-spring and early-summer arrive - primroses, daffodils and beautiful bluebells springing up along the verges and migratory birds such as swallows returning to the isle. After a gap of three years, I'm really excited to announce that this year the swallows have built a nest in my garage again.....which was joined a couple of weeks later by another nest - the first time ever I've had two pairs of swallows nesting in there!

With June comes the 'simmer dim', as it's known here in Shetland - the period of near-24hr daylight. The photo on the left was taken at midnight and the one on the right at 0300hrs - you can see just how much light there is in the sky!

Saucepan continues to be a great help in the garden - digging with the fork and carrying buckets! In fact, he loves gardening so much that he's been teaching the others - showing Tiny Lamb and Fuzzy Felt how to carry a bucket and then helping Violet to stack little plant pots, before demonstrating to her how he uses the 'leg assist' technique for picking up larger plant pots!

Back in May it was the Eurovision Song Contest so, just for fun, the caddy lambs decided they would put together their own group and be Fair Isle's entry for the EWE-rovision Song Contest - I hope this gives you a giggle!

At the beginning of June I started doing beach clean-ups as part of 'The Clean Up Challenge', which asked people to do as many clean-ups as possible in a two week period and then to weigh the amount of plastic rubbish at the end. My friend Janette Budge, who is a very talented knitter, designer and knitting teacher from Shetland, was visiting Fair Isle for a few days and joined in too! From six beach cleans the total collected was 15kg of plastic waste - can you believe that? Obviously a high percentage of that is rubbish that has been brought in with the tides, rather than simply discarded here, but it was still sad to realise what a problem it is even somewhere as 'unspoilt' as Fair Isle. I have carried on doing at least one beach clean a week since the challenge ended, so it is good to feel I am doing a bit to help and I've spotted a starfish and sea urchin while I've been combing the shore, as well as odd plastic items!

Clipping has been the main job on the croft for me these last few weeks, as all 76 sheep need to be clipped by hand. We've had quite a lot of wet weather, which puts paid to clipping, so I'm only about halfway through the flock but at least the rain has been helping the grass and vegetables grow. I don't think Koala was very impressed with Ludo's haircut in the first photo and, for those people who think clipping must be very stressful for the sheep, the second photo shows Biscuit, who fell asleep when I was clipping her - Wellington wondered what was going on!

Lastly, but certainly by no means least, one of the most exciting things has been the arrival of my wool from Uist Wool! I can't tell you how exciting it was to open all the boxes and get my hands on these beautiful skeins. I have four shades - three natural colours and a very limited edition marl which blends all three natural colours. The skeins come in 100g of DK weight wool and will soon be listed for sale in my online shop.

Till next time,

Keep Safe

Rachel xx

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So funny to see the sheep falling asleep in the middle of the clipping process! They are so relaxed, that's why your yarn looks so gorgeous! I hope it will be easily available outside the UK.

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Thank you Rachel. I understand this dreadful situation proves a nightmare for many UK vendors, to the point that many are indeed not shipping to EU countries any longer. Fingers crossed shipping to the EU will be facilitated again soon.

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