Monday 19 April 2010

April At Last

April is my favourite month at Seafield. The days are stretching, there is warmth in the sun and not a midge to be seen. The garden is full of possibility and devoid of weeds and I am full of energy and optimism that this will be the year that I manage to keep the wilderness at bay. The daffodils and tulips are out at last, the pond is full of frog and toad spawn and new lambs have appeared in the fields. The farmers are glad to see the grass beginning to grow while I am wondering how long I can get away with not cutting the lawn.

This year I have joined ArtMap Argyll which runs an open studio event in August. The group organised some weekend workshops run by members of the group and, inspired by the recent Mastercrafts series on tv, I thought I’d try stonecarving. Two days of chipping away at a block of stone has made me think that basketmaking is a relatively easy craft It gave me new respect for those who created the carved stones now displayed in Kilmory Chapel, at the end of the Achnamara peninsula. This is where the famous MacMillan Cross has been placed to save it from erosion by the elements.

The fishing season is well under way with good catches being reported on Barnluasgan Loch despite the cold start to the season. There is a new boat on Seafield Loch which can be hired from Lochgilphead Angling Club, as can the boats on Loch Linnhe, Loch Coille Bharr and Barnluasgan. Even if you don’t catch anything, it is a pleasant way to spend a few hours and you can do some wildlife spotting or simply enjoy the peace and quiet.

The opreys have returned to their nest. Most years, they manage to raise two chicks and can often be seen fishing over Loch Sween. Watching an osprey catch a fish in its talons is an impressive sight.

A pine marten appeared on the conservatory windowsill again tonight. If it was not for their voracious appetite for poultry, we would be happy to encourage it.

Spring is also bringing the addition of another pair of beavers to the Knapdale Beaver Project. The two beavers, remnants of the ill fated importation of beavers from Norway in November 2008, will be released onto the un-named loch known locally as the Lily Loch, close to Lochan Buic, better known as Seafield Loch. An artificial lodge has been created to provide initial shelter for the animals before they burrow or build their own lodge - when they decide where they want to be. Fences have been put up to stop them travelling south which would bring them onto Seafield Farm, but there are no obstacles to prevent them moving west and north. This brings the total number of beavers to eight; three pairs and two young. This is too small a group for a viable trial but enough to cause considerable damage to the local native woodland which has been restored and protected at considerable expense over recent years.