And suddenly before I know it the very first volunteers arrived for the season. We spent some pretty chilly days at our new tree nursery site keeping warm by making a start at digging over the ploughed ground picking out stones, twigs and roots and creating raised beds ready for the first seed to be planted! Off we went for a change of scenery and to fix up the busy path down to the Singing Sands as the little bridges needed some planks and wire replacing and repairs was needed on the stile.
We managed to squeeze in the Whale and Dolphin Conservation training to carry out Shorewatches keeping track of any cetacean activities, boats and weather conditions. When the weather has allowed we have seen plenty of seals lounging on sunny rocks and a few porpoises! Porpoises and Bottlenose Dolphins can be seen in Scottish waters all year round.
Onto the next week and back to finish of digging over ground at the tree nursery site, attacked many brambles in various locations with many more to go, weeded and tidied the herb garden…..
And then took control of another very overgrown escalonia hedge in the Lodge gardens, heres a before and after….
and some shots in-beween with some very happy faces to be finished!
No rest for the wicked as we were back planting in the very first tree seeds in our freshly dug beds, the tree nursery has officially begun! Exciting to get past the planning stage and actually making it happen….
Fencing around the area is the next important job to keep our seeds safer from a lively dog, child, adult or rabbit!
To finish off the month nicely we went and for more digging but in a new location. We dug some trial drainage ditches on the Sgurr path. Before we dig any more we’ll wait for the next big downpour (surprisingly when you want it to rain it doesn’t drip a drop!) and see if it is making any difference to the path which has been eroding quite seriously over the last few years, this project is definitely going to be continued…. hopefully with not such boisterous boys – a health and safety nightmare with this three around!!
All things have been quiet on here since the end of the volunteer season. I went into hibernation for a month to recover from a busy season and then have been focused on working towards setting up our new tree nursery!! We have been awarded funds from Awards for All, The Pebble Trust, Nature Save Trust and The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation! An enormous thank you to our funders to allow this project to go ahead. We are hoping to grow all our own trees to restock the productive conifers being harvested as part of our newly revived Woodfuel business and also to grow and create areas with more native species. As you can read from the last post the end of the season was spent wondering around identifying, picking and stratifying native tree seeds from all over the island to store them over the winter so we had something to plant in this spring!
As with all projects they all end up running a bit behind schedule, especially here on Eigg as I have been busy ordering polytunnels, tools and equipment but items are out of stock, delivery all the way to Eigg has its complications and then you have to wait until there is enough space on the boat especially for large bulky orders like ours….
In light of this we have had to prepare an area of ground separate from the polytunnel site to get the seeds into the ground as they had all started germinating in the last week. I looked at everything the previous week and there was not any sign of movement and then this week everything has burst out of their seeds and sprouting sprouts everywhere. I fear we may have lost some seeds like the Rowan as we have tried to transplant them but they were to small and delicate unfortunately and have shrivelled up! All a steep learning curve and I certainly won’t let that happen again next year as I spent hours upon hours separating the Rowan seed from the berry, won’t repeat that mistake again but will no doubt make plenty more next year! We have got plenty other seed that looks more successful from Elder, Hazel, Beech, White Beam, Oak, Horse Chestnut, Field Maple and still to plant the Birch and Alder.
The first of the ground prep….