Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So Many Changes!

We spent Thanksgiving in MO… which of course means BABY TIME!!  With the trip to Scotland and “The Pilgrimage” to Minnesota & Wisconsin, I hadn’t seen them in TEN weeks.  Oh my, I was having bad withdrawals!  That is the longest I’ve gone without seeing them… I’m usually up there every month.
It was a beautiful day, so we took them out to my parents’ front yard for a photo shoot.

Little Bird is still the baby roadrunner.  That leaf she is carrying was a ‘gift’ to put in my hair.  LOL

I’m not sure what Little Hoss found so interesting but he was certainly studying something!

And then ‘Bird’ decided the front porch needed some decorating.  She quite purposefully marched up and set to work.

You can run… but you can’t hide!

Sissy has plans to make the porch beautiful and there is nothing you can do about it! 

With much effort Little Bird dragged the flowers until they were arranged to her satisfaction! 

Poor Little Hoss was a bit dazed by the all the fuss.  They had looked fine to him the way they were! 

But he pitched in to help… after all; there was dirt to play in!

But a dude can only handle so much flower arranging before he tries to beat feet back inside to watch the game with Dad and Grandpa!

Linked to the photo challenge "People"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


You will never get to see this. 

You will never be able to show this to your children or grandchildren.

The earth will never again rumble with the sound of its foot steps.

On Thursday, 10 Nov 2011 the Western Black Rhino was declared extinct.

They are gone and we can never, ever bring them back.

And that is just wrong.

On The Road: Dornoch to Drumnadrochit

The next morning our Royal Coach arrived to pick us up… and we were off with Dave for another day of adventure!

More lovely scenery!

More golden hayfields.

More moody skies.

But every view was beautiful and we didn’t tire of seeing them.

These harbor seals were basking near the road and we pulled over to see them.  We’d seen grey seals at Colonsay so it was fun to see these different ones. 

There seemed to be more stone bridges in this area too (tho there were quite a few on Skye). 

This is Tarbat Ness lighthouse.  It was built in 1830 by Robert Stevenson – grandfather of Robert Lewis Stevenson.  It’s the third largest in Scotland at 174 feet. 

This is the rugged coast line it protects ships from. 

The harbor at Portmahomack.  It is a lovely little village built around the harbor. 

And it has some crafty folks who are into ‘funky junk’ creations!  I LOVE this chair.  Since I obviously can’t have it… I plan on trying to recreate it.

And this cute bench that was sitting nearby.  Too cute!!

From the van, Dave asked a fisherman a question about the harbor… and that ended up with us being invited into the fisherman’s home of a ‘cuppa’ and a gift of a lobster he had caught.  By the end of the visit we had not only a lobster for an upcoming dinner I was cooking… but 2 big stone crabs and a new friend! 

And this is Mardi, his sweet bull terrier.  We had a little bonding time!  LOL

We finished our day viewing Plodda Falls.  It is a bit over 150 feet high.  This is near but not quite ‘at’ the bottom.  See the viewing platform at the top?

This is what it looks like from there looking down! 

Some small falls leading to the big one.

Our final stop was our B&B – Drumbuie Farm in Drumnadrochit (that is actually easy to say!  Drum – na – drocket).  We had this bright cheerful room. 

The next morning we had breakfast in the beautiful sun room.  That glimmer of water you see shining thru the window is… Loch Ness! 

Time to do some monster hunting!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Royal Treatment at Dornoch Castle

When I planned our lodgings for the trip, I wanted to do a few unique one too.  And this was one of them… we stayed in a castle!  The Dornoch Castle has been turned into a very nice hotel.  Some rooms are quite modern and some are true castle.  This was a splurge… I booked the best room.

See that first window over the hedge?  It was ours!

It looks like a proper castle. 

Our room – or should I perhaps say ‘a portion of our room’!  The ceiling was 16 feet tall and the walls are the original stone castle walls. 

The bed was hand carved. 

And there was a real fireplace all ready to be lit.

And we lit it!!!  There was both wood and coal to put on it.

In this castle room, even the antlers were “royal” (meaning the stag had 12 or more points).

There was a beautiful antique dressing table, with an outlet right there to use your computer (one must have all the modern conveniences… right?). 

Yes… darling Henri came home with us.  (But seriously… I think the owners could have donated more than .50 P (.50c) of the 12 pound, 50 cost to the children charity!!!!  Don’t be such tightwads!!!)

There was a lovely hospitality table laid out for us.  Tea, coffee, hot chocolate (with a note that if we wanted real milk/cream to call the front desk…we did and it was delivered within 3 minutes!).  An assortment of biscuits (cookies).  Plus a decanter of sherry and a bottle of champagne.  All good stuff too! 

With a lovely sitting area with comfy antique chairs to enjoy it in.

Which the guys promptly did!!!  (We invited Dave to check out any of the rooms we stayed in so they would know how they were). 

After Dave left, Himself and I dressed for dinner and went down to the hotel restaurant.

My entrĂ©e was venison loin.  Perfectly prepared.

Himself had ‘seared Scottish beef fillet’… again perfectly prepared.

Then we headed back to our room, where Himself stoked the fire to burn briskly…  Which we needed to since the hotel - like EVERY other place we stayed - turned off the heat at about 11pm and didn't turn it back on until about 7 am (or later!).  BRRRRRRRR!!! 

… and we settled into one of the few truly comfortable beds on the trip!  (Gotta love camera timers!)

Yes… it feels good to be The Queen occasionally…

Thursday, November 24, 2011

On The Road: Durness to Dornoch

After another hardy breakfast (if you love a big delicious breakfast… Scotland is the country for you!) we left for our drive back south.  The wind had died down to its normal brisk self and we had the same rain-no rain-rain pattern. 

Dave didn’t take us down the major roads… we went down the lovely winding single track roads every chance we had. 

I was surprised to see many lenticular clouds over the water.  Usually they form over mountains.  These are the ones that have caused many a UFO sighting!  LOL  I found out after we got home that “These clouds have also been known to form in cases where a mountain does not exist, but rather as the result of shear winds created by a front.”  

That explains it!  They were the result of our gale winds! 

Harvest was in full swing and we saw many fields of hay being baled for winter.

This is a boat house on some small loch.  We saw several buildings with grass roofs in this area.

Never got tired of the beautiful stone dykes.  And I miss seeing them now that we are home.

This is a commercial fish farm. 

One of the things I really, really hoped to see was one of the famous Red Deer stags (think the stag in the Hartford Insurance logo).  

And I did!  

My yells of “Whoa, whoa, whoa!  STOP!!!”  about scared Deane and Dave to death.  (You’d be surprised how fast a van can get stopped!)   
Here’s what I was so excited about!

He never did run.  I got off a lot of shots of him and we drove on with him and his family still browsing in the gorse. 

The next stop was at the lovely “Falls of Shin”.

They are famous because they are a great place to see salmon leaping up heading to their spawning grounds.  We saw several but the only ones I was able to get a picture of were…

…these!  Isn’t that a great mosaic? 

One of our last stops for the day was at Dunrobin castle.  It is one the oldest continually occupied castle in Britain – having been lived in since the early 1300s.  It is owned by the Earl of Sutherland.  It has 189 rooms!!!  Part of the castle is open to the public and part is still lived in by the Countess of Sutherland.   

(See that speck of red in the courtyard between the archway and the clock tower?  That is Himself!) 

No excuses for being late!

I’m standing along the back wall of the castle.  It is 5 tall stories high at this point (and there are some floors below where I’m standing too).

What a lovely view.  That’s the North Sea beyond the gardens.  Farther down the coast we could look back and see the castle from many miles away.

The gardens were perfect.   

From there we headed to another castle.  This one was our lodging for the night!