Meant to post this a few days ago now. Sorry! Also, no pictures for now since I’m lazy and about half of them are on another wwoofer’s camera. ~Jane.
So we’ve been in Dufftown for about a week now. We probably should have posted a blog update before now seeing as we have internet access at the house, but oh well! We’ve been spending most of our time at the Walled Garden feeding rabbits, geese, ducks, chickens, pigs, quails, peacocks, turkeys, puppies and rheas. So, lots of animals. Also, quite a bit of weeding, painting and building of rabbit hutches. It’s been fun, most of the animals are kind of crazy, especially the rheas which are kind of like smaller ostriches that are entirely white and from Latin America. They also have very human-like blue-grey eyes and these weird ears that take up most of the sides of their heads. They are potentially the strangest and cutest creatures which I have seen, they also remind me of velociraptors a great deal and it is very concerning when they’re behind you. I’ve already been pecked by the male (they’re a pair, Tom and Barbara).
There’s also a totally adorable litter of puppies at the garden which will be slowly going to their homes over the course of the next week or so. Out of the five, Meadow Root hasn’t been sold. She’s also the best one of the litter. If there weren’t a months-long confinement/quarantine period for her to enter the States, I would probably be going broke to take her home (these are purebred working Spaniels, so pricey). Still, I get to play with her every day until I leave!
We’ve also been working on building rabbit hutches for the three rabbits at the garden and the two guinea pigs and a quail that keep them company. These aren’t just hutches, they’re like little rabbit bunkers. I can easily stand on one without any give from the wood. I also painted one of the doors in the bothy kitchen at the garden so that we have a blackboard to write down things that need doing and keep track of anything that is needed at the garden.
This coming week, we’ll be doing a great deal of upkeep in the garden since there is going to be an open house day this coming weekend at the Drummuir Castle (the garden is land leased from the estate) and also Biodiversity Day. No idea what that means in terms of work though. We’ll also have to do the clean-up from the Biodiversity Day and a week later, we’ll be setting up for a wedding that will be happening at the garden. Actually, we’ll be missing the wedding by a day or two since we’ll be heading for London.
We’ll also be missing the Dufftown Highland Games, although we did manage to make it to the one in Tomintoul. I don’t think that I have ever seen so much tartan clothing in my life. We watched the hammer throw competition which was pretty crazy. The light hammers are about 16 lbs. and there are heavier ones, but I didn’t catch the weight on them. There was also a Highland dancing competition and a youth bagpipes competition going on at the same time. It was a pretty crazy concentration of Scottish Highland pride and culture. We also got to see one of the big professional pipe bands which was really fun. After a few hours we ended up leaving and going to tour The Glenlivet Distillery down the road from Tomintoul. It was a pretty great tour that went through the whole process and some of the history of the distillery and the region. Also, of course, the tasting at the end was great though we were only allowed to try one of three whiskies. Since we went with another couple from the garden, we ended up getting some different ones and exchanging the tasting glasses. I’ve hated whisky up until this point (I blame James and his peaty Laphroaig) but I’ve since come around to it after trying the 18 year Glenlivet.
We also went to the Glenfiddich Distillery the next day for their tour and tasting where we got to taste the 12, 15 and 18 year whiskies. So I definitely don’t hate whisky anymore. Though, I suppose it isn’t the greatest to decide that I like something after trying two of the more expensive whiskies out there. The 12 year Glenfiddich is about £20 (~$32) per bottle. As a student, that’s a bit pricey. Still, James has accomplished his goal of finding me some whisky which I actually like. I still hate rye across the board though. That I’m pretty sure of. We’re likely to still see one more distillery, Strathisla which is in Keith where we will be leaving from to go to London. So three distilleries in as many weeks. We are truly in the scotch whisky capital.
Later on I walked from the house to Giant’s Seat and the trail loop from it back to Dufftown. It’s mainly pictures, so that will go up later. For the record the “Giant’s Chair” looks more like a bunch of rock and probably requires far more whisky to be in your system to see it than I had in mine.
Actually, I might make the next post all pictures.