We’d like to introduce you to the newest boat in our fleet. Meet Iolaire (pronounced yawl’-a-rah), which means “eagle” in Gaelic. She is a Scottish sixern, a Shetland Island fishing boat. The sixern is descended from the Norse seksæring, meaning six-oared boat – ancestor of the schooner.
Iolaire only has four oars and is a standing lug-rigged schooner. Her masts are nearly equal in height and both are removable for easy storage.
Built in 1984 for Dr. Kenneth Leighton, author of Oar and Sail (Creekstone Press, 1999), she was also once owned by Maynard Bray’s grandson. We found her in Vermont and she made her way to us this fall.
Our hope is that she’ll be a more stable small boat that we can launch once the big schooner is at anchor – for those who didn’t get enough sailing during the day.
The sun was bright and high in the sky as I turned the compost pile today. I find few things more satisfying for releasing aggression (not that I have any, of course) than turning a pile of garden refuse, kitchen waste and office paper into food for the garden. As I stuck my pitchfork into the pile, I heard a squeak… and froze. Pulling a little dried grass away from the surface, I found a tiny, eyes-not-yet-opened… baby rat. And after another shuffle of a little more grass, it’s brothers or sisters. Four of them. All blindly scrambling for warmth into each other and trying to avoid the sudden light into their little burrow. Do I need to say out loud how cute they were?
So it’s official. I’m a hypocrite. I could. Not. Kill. The Babies. And yet, I will absolutely eat meat that is packaged in one way, shape or form. Hey, even local meat has to come in a package. Even my own chickens. Can’t kill ’em. Would if I HAD to, but don’t, so can’t bring myself to do it.
The worst part is that two days later I go out to check on the hens and the coop. I putz around in the coop for awhile, cleaning, tucking up the hawk netting and checking their water. There were seven eggs in the coop and I figured I’d wait an hour or two to make sure no one else wanted to lay. Less than two hours later I head back to the coop only to discover no eggs, no trace of eggs. None. The hens didn’t get them because I can’t see one single trace of egg yolk or shell. But rats could have rolled them through the big hole I discover in a corner of hay. What do I do? March straight up to the shed for the rat poison to kill the suckers dead for getting my eggs.
Okay, so I’m a Gemini and the twins are alive and well