A Trip to Skye, Forgetting Where I Was Going, the North 500, and a Buttery

A Report on My Recent Two-Week Trek Around the North of Scotland

Skye has some of the most dramatic scenery I’ve ever seen. The ancient, volcanic Cuillin Hills rise 3,000 feet out of the ocean and The Old Man of Storr towers above the northern Skye roads.

I spent three days on the island (known best through “The Skye Boat Song”) driving the single track roads and stopping to watch wildlife. The most beautiful sight from those three days was an albatross gliding in the arc of a rainbow over the Atlantic Ocean. The powerful bird glided for a few minutes, only flapping its wings once, facing the wind head on.

My two favorite photos from Skye feature sheep in front of the Cuillin Hills. The sheep grazed with the cattle near Glenbrittle Beach, and there was no fence to prevent them from wandering over to the car park. The first picture gives a sense of place for where that sheep lives: at the foot of the Cuillin Hills. The second picture shows the ewe square and balanced, head up beautifully, as if she were performing for a judge.

****************************** Continue reading


Scotland at Last and an Accidental Trip to Inverness

Sunrise at West Sands, St Andrews.

I drove north across the border of England and Scotland a couple of weeks ago, and it was a milestone moment.

My family is from Scotland and I’ve grown up with movies, music and food from here. I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and through several twists and turns didn’t until now. Being here means a lot.

So I’ve enjoyed Scotland, and have so far visited Dumfries, St Andrews (where my grandparents met), and Edinburgh, and — accidentally — Inverness.  Continue reading


Post originally posted on my pleonast.com blog and on my notes page on Facebook. I am posting a modified version here because it is an essential piece of why “Roots Run Deep.” It was written during the summer of 2011 when I stayed home on the farm after graduating from Purdue and before heading to Penn State because the timing didn’t work out for any internships or full-time jobs. 

Australian Shepherd and Hay BaleMy dog has been following me wherever I go during chores. Part of it is probably because I feed her, but even if she isn’t done eating, she’ll leave her pan of food in the barn and follow me out to the cow pasture. She stays by me while I’m watering the stock, and when I’m walking back and forth from the barn, she stays behind me or to my right side. She’s hardly ever gone to my left, even though I’ve experimented and tried to get her to go to the left. In those instances, she just stays behind. Continue reading