Primroses arrive to celebrate the opening

The first wild flower I have seen this year is the primrose flowering by the hydro burn. It marks the start of a carpet of flowers which will reveal themselves over the next few months . Looking at my records I can see that this first flower sighting is almost on exactly the same date as last year's.

It is a welcome sign that spring is on the way and a perfect way to mark the opening of the Galley on the Hill next Tuesday 22nd March. We look forward to seeing you, call 01687 462917 to arrange a visit.

the first wild flower of 2016, a primrose

the first wild flower of 2016, a primrose

The Power of Seaweed

The silver lining to all our recent storms is the enormous amount of seaweed that is washed up on our beaches, which makes the perfect compost for the garden. As we don't keep any large animals and the chickens do not produce enough manure (although when I am cleaning their coop this is hard to believe), seaweed is our easiest option. It is best to collect it above the current high tide mark after heavy rain as then most of the salt has been rinsed out.

We usually spend a pleasant hour stuffing recycled sacks full of seaweed, preferably once it has been broken down by the action of the waves. Then we wait for a calm spell, this can be a long wait! Finally comes a quick beach raid with the big dinghy to haul it back to the pier. Once there it goes by barrow or quad bike up to the house. Sometimes I use it as a mulch around soft fruit bushes or on my asparagus bed. Other times I add it to the compost heap where it mixes well with the chicken bedding and droppings to make excellent compost to dig in during the spring. 

seaweed collected on the beach

Recipe for March - Granny's shortbread

This recipe produces a shortbread with lots of texture, chewy on the inside and crisp and crumbly on the outside. It is really a cross between shortbread and flapjack.

Ingredients for one 8 inch (20 cm) round sandwich tin

100g each of softened butter, caster sugar, plain flour and porridge oats


  • Cream the butter and sugar until soft.
  • Add the flour and porridge oats, mix well until fully combined, it will still be crumbly.
  • Press down with the back of a tablespoon until level in the tin and mark the out edge with the back of a fork.
  • Bake gas mark 3 or 160 C for 25 - 30 minutes until light brown and smelling fantastic.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar. 
  • Loosen carefully around the edge and mark the pieces with a knife. leave to cool in the tin.