Author Archives: Gus the Estate Head Gardener

About Gus the Estate Head Gardener

I’m the person responsible for both the grounds and the livestock which are raised here. I live with Bree (my wife) in one of the cottages that has been here for centuries.

I actually enjoy Winters here as my work load is considerably reduced as I let the younger staff members handle the needed work which leaves me time for reading, ice skating and skiing, not to mention just being with my wife. Bliss!

A Kinrowan Estate story: Riddles (A Letter to Elizabeth)

Dear Elizabeth, You asked me about the power of rhymes as I mentioned they’re common in Swedish children’s songs, and indeed there is power in the old rhymes, spells that they be, which even most hedgewitches forget, but not our … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Riddles (A Letter to Elizabeth)

A Kinrowan Estate story: Jack O’Lanterns

Botanically speaking, pumpkins are just large gourds (cucurbits) of which we raise many types here as they’re an intrinsic part of the Winter fare here being served up baked (butternut squash particularly is good this way), in pies and tossed … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Jack O’Lanterns

A Kinrowan Estate Story: All Hallows‘ Eve

All Hallow’s Eve is just a fortnight away, and the Staff is deep in preparations. Mind you, a lot of those are just fun and games: putting up decorations and scurrying around with secret costume plans. Some of the more … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate Story: All Hallows‘ Eve

A Kinrowan Estate Story: A Punjabi Meal

Chandra came to the Estate several springs back with the intent of being here for a single growing season. I hired her as she had a deft hand with transplanting seedlings, something harder than it looks to do properly, and … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate Story: A Punjabi Meal

A Kinrowan Estate story: Why Contradances?

Dear Justina, You were asking quite some time back about how a remote Scottish Estate came to have contradances. It was nearly a month before Iain got back to me after I asked how contradances came to be here and … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Why Contradances?

A Kinrowan Estate story: Cranachan

Good Evening Ekaterina, Ingrid sends her love and hopes your trip to Canada is going well. Mrs. Ware cooked the traditional Scottish dessert that you love earlier tonight — cranachan which you know is made with oats, cream, whisky and … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Cranachan

A Kinrowan Estate story: Summer afternoon (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, So, Spring is waning fast, but summer’s not an event that just happens — it sneaks up on us like a barn own gliding past in the night. No, now we’re in the golden eternity, that endless perfect afternoon … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Summer afternoon (A Letter to Anna)

A Kinrowan Estate Story: Strawberry Ice Cream

During the early Victorian Era, the Head Gardener at the time, Jacob Niles, persuaded the Steward, Allison MacPhee, to invest in a conservatory. According to the Journals kept by him and the Steward, the deciding factor was that it could … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate Story: Strawberry Ice Cream

A Kinrowan Estate story: Béla

I noticed that Béla was enjoying a meal of  goulash and dark beer, something that the Kitchen being fond of him cooks him frequently. (I’ve had that goulash — it’s as good as any I’ve had in Hungarian eateries!) Like … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Tagged , | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Béla

A Kinrowan Estate story: A Cookbook (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, I’m going to pitch a book for that culinary folklore seminar you’re teaching next Winter here for those visiting food writers, as I really tkink it’ll be a good addition to that endeavour. One of Several Annies, Iain’s … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: A Cookbook (A Letter to Anna)

A Kinrowan Estate story: Bonfires

Nothing warms my heart and body as much as a bonfire does. Oh I know that I could be inside with my wife Bree enjoying the warmth of the fireplaces in our Cottage , but I love, particularly as Autumn gives way to Winter, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Bonfires

A Kinrowan Estate story: Hedge Witches (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, As you well know, I, unlike you, was schooled in the university of the land. I don’t regret it but it was a very good thing that I apprenticed to Macpherson, the Head Gardener before me, as the … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Hedge Witches (A Letter to Anna)

A Kinrowan Estate story: All Hallows’ Eve

Gus, here. All Hallow’s Eve is less than three weeks away, and the Staff is deep in preparations. Mind you, a lot of those are just fun and games: putting up decorations and scurrying around with secret costume plans. Some of … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: All Hallows’ Eve

A Kinrowan Estate story: Estate Gardener

Though I’m called the Estate Gardener, my job covers far more than that, as it’s been enlarged many times over the centuries. So let me detail what I do. Of course I’m responsible for both the edible gardening and the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Estate Gardener

A Kinrowan Estate story: Elven Contradance Band

It was one of the oddest contradance bands I had the privilege to call for, as it was comprised solely of musicians from across the Border. Now the Elves tell us next to nothing about their culture, so what we … Continue reading

Posted in Stories, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Elven Contradance Band

A Kinrowan Estate story: Our Greensward

One part of the greensward is set aside for a cricket field. We just refurbished this area last year as it was showing its age after nearly a decade sin E the last spruce up. Yes, I know that Scots aren’t … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Our Greensward

A Kinrowan Estate story: A Unified Theory of Libraries (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, I overheard an interesting conversation in the Library this evening. Mackenzie was lecturing the Several Annies on the history of private libraries such as ours down the centuries in the British Isles. (He claimed that ours is the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: A Unified Theory of Libraries (A Letter to Anna)

A Kinrowan Estate story: An Estate Ramble

It’s early one morning, barely past dawn, when I head down to the Kitchen for an early breakfast of tea and a buttermilk biscuit (as the Americans called them) with cheddar cheese and ham in it. After that, I pack … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: An Estate Ramble

A Kinrowan Estate story: Yurts (A Letter to Anna)

G’Morning Anna, Some time ago I remember you asking about how the yurts out towards the north meadow came to be. It’s an interesting story, as they were here a decade before I arrived here thirty years ago this year. … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Yurts (A Letter to Anna)

A Kinrowan Estate story: Leylines

The Kinrowan Estate has myriad ley lines, minor and major ones alike. I’m not sure if they are the reason that the Estate was originally settled but it certainly explains the long, eldritch history of the Estate. So let me … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Leylines

A Kinrowan Estate story: Cranachan (A Letter to Ekaterina)

Evening Ekaterina, Ingrid sends her love and hopes your trip to Canada is going well.  We both look forward to your tales of the Ukrainian community that took root in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba provinces. Mrs. Ware cooked the traditional Scottish dessert that … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Cranachan (A Letter to Ekaterina)

A Kinrowan Estate story: A Hidden Dragon

The dragon was carved of a local stone in multiple pieces by a local firm after consultation with an artist who sketched out the dragon. It didn’t look like the Welsh national symbol but rather was more akin to a … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: A Hidden Dragon

A Kinrowan Estate story: Getting Ready for All Hallows Eve

All Hallow’s Eve is only few days away, and the Staff is deep in preparations. Mind you, a lot of those are just fun and games: putting up decorations and scurrying around with secret costume plans. Some of the more inventive … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Getting Ready for All Hallows Eve

A Kinrowan Estate story: Guy Fawkes Day (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, It’s nigh unto Guy Fawkes Day and Iain’s Library apprentices got the jones to put on a full-blown celebration, which The Steward agreed to fund, provided that Iain gave them a full lesson on what Guy Fawkes Day really means in … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Stories, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Guy Fawkes Day (A Letter to Anna)

A Kinrowan Estate story: A Pudding Contest

Her name was Bronwyn ap Tewdwr and she was our guest judge for the annual pudding contest. ‘A pudding contest?’ you ask. And I say, ‘Why not?’ Real pudding, like real ale, is a long way from the packaged puddings … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: A Pudding Contest

A Kinrowan Estate story: You’re Invited to A Pig Roast

You’re invited to our first pig roast of the year which is coming up this weekend. Needless to say, you need a pig. Figure two pounds of meat per person. More if you’re feeding them all day long, as properly … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: You’re Invited to A Pig Roast

A Kinrowan Estate story: Dolmens

I was passing by the Robert Graves Memorial Reading Room when Iain was lecturing the Several Annies on a subject that was dear to his heart:  ‘There are a number of  dolmens — ceremonial standing stones — scattered about the … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Dolmens

A Kinrowan Estate story: Chicken Pot Pie

Making chicken pies starts with slaughtering enough chickens to feed thirty or so hungry folk. A chicken dressed out yields two pounds of meat which is enough for four to six people depending on what else gets added in. All … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Chicken Pot Pie

A Kinrowan Estate story: Rebekah And the matter of Jewish baked goodies

If we’ve left the impression in these posts about the Kinrowan Estate that the Several Annies, the Library Apprentices here, are the ones that are the learners and we who teach them are just the teachers, then we’ve given you … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Rebekah And the matter of Jewish baked goodies

A Kinrowan Estate story: A Troll under The Bridge: The Design Process (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, Imagine an old forest witch, a crone with a cackle and gnarled hands. Well Justina did one of those when she was here the first time. Alas the Troll proved more elusive in design. Much more elusive. And … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: A Troll under The Bridge: The Design Process (A Letter to Anna)

A Kinrowan Estate story: Gutmansdottir and The Wild Wood

Gutmansdottir was her family name and the only name she went by. She said she was a botanist and was interested in studying our Wild Wood, the area of the Estate that’s  virtually unchanged for over a thousand-years, if not a … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Gutmansdottir and The Wild Wood

A Kinrowan Estate story: Chasing Fireflies

Come on in, you’re just in time! We haven’t started yet… don’t just stand there in the doorway, come in, come in! We have a contradance planned for tonight. I’m Kate, one of the assistant cooks here, but I’m also … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Chasing Fireflies

A Kinrowan Estate story: A One-Armed Queen

Dear Nick,  A storyteller regaled us in the Pub late one night. She showed up on a spring night so horrible that no visitors from the nearby Estates was to be seen here. So it was with some surprise that … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: A One-Armed Queen

A Kinrowan Estate story: Foxes

Though fox hunting by the gentry was common in Scotland for centuries, this Estate never allowed them to be hunted here, so the Estate foxes have thrived. Even when we had a Gameskeeper here, before we abolished that position and … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Foxes

A Kinrowan Estate story: Finnan hadddie

There are certain winter foods that I look forward to every year and which the Kinrowan kitchen serves just often enough that hardly anyone wearies of them. One such food is finnan haddie. It’s a traditional Scottish fish dish made … Continue reading

Posted in Food and Drink, Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Finnan hadddie

A Kinrowan Estate story: Skating and Other Pleasures

One of the great pleasures of winter at this Scottish estate is ice skating and other ice-related activities. That’s all done on the Mill Pond, made possible by the restoration of the mill dam for generating low head hydro power … Continue reading

Posted in Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Skating and Other Pleasures

A Kinrowan Estate story: Greening the Estate (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, It’s over the past fortnight that the greening of the Estate takes place and that means I’ve been very busy gathering such things as holly, winter berry, pine boughs, pine cones, and setting up the Several Annies and … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Greening the Estate (A Letter to Anna)

A Kinrowan Estate story: Gingerbread

I hope you’re enjoying the still-hot-from-the-oven gingerbread with a scoop of Madagascar vanilla ice cream on it. Bet you another piece that you don’t know the history of this culinary treat, do you? Thought so. So do take another piece … Continue reading

Posted in Food and Drink, Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Gingerbread

A Kinrowan Estate story: Our Stockpots

There’s always a need for a bowl of hot stockpot soup no matter what the hour, be it the Eventide meal or for a break from watching the ewes during lambing season all night long (a task I gratefully now … Continue reading

Posted in Food and Drink, Stories | Comments Off on A Kinrowan Estate story: Our Stockpots