Birchwood Croft

Our 35 acre croft backs onto the Monadhliath mountains in the Highlands; which includes a small herd of Shetland cattle, and usually a variety of sheep, chickens and pigs.

When we bought the croft there were no boundary fences, no outbuildings and no house. Over time the place has developed into a full working croft with fences, sheds (never enough), machinery, and thankfully a house (14 months in a caravan was enough, never again thank you). Having a croft means you quickly become knowledgeable about a lot of things and always seek out people who can teach you more (why learn from your own mistakes when you can learn from others).

The antics of the croft usually kick off when Tim, my husband, is away at work (off shore) leaving me to manage everything on my own (really, I am not making it up or being over dramatic, I have the pictures to prove it). In the past we both worked full time in paid employment with the croft ‘on the side’. The term ‘on-the-side’ can be misleading, it is a fair amount of work that goes on and there is never enough time to do the jobs you want to do. This changed with the arrival of the Mini Crofter (how we work things, not the level of work needed on the croft) and the fun of overseeing the croft suddenly had the additional challenges of working the croft with the Mini-Crofter (such as selling lambs at the mart with a baby in a sling because what else was I supposed to do…).

Having briefly returned to work after a year off on maternity leave, I am now on a career break (thank you boss). While some ask me what I’m going to be doing with all my spare time (!), it can create some challenges being a sole Crofting Wifie with not just a Mini Crofter in tow (especially lambing and calving), but now a Micro Crofter as well. However, now that I can focus fully on the croft, more work can be put into it. But with work, comes exhaustion. And with that I get writer’s block so please do not be offended if I suddenly have a bit of a gap between posts.

When the Crofter is away, I had to learn to accept all forms of help (from collecting animal feed that has been delivered to the wrong address to babysitting so I can load animals to a trailer) and with that I have several good friends, neighbours, and some wise local farmers who have all stepped in when I do need an extra pair of hands. Coronavirus has added a new twist to the mix. The workload is the same, while here, it seems in some ways that very little has changed. Other then the Crofter is now away for a lot longer spells (quarantining due to travel) and therefore the blogs have more recently been fewer. Don’t worry, we are all still here, just the time to think on my own is few and far between (all parents of a four year old will know exactly what I mean). 

With the croft we are able to sell on some of the produce, the main thing being beef and preserves, but also pork and lamb/hogget. The ‘Produce’ page gives an up to date price list of availability.

 

Beth Rose

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