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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Garden..... early Spring



I'm always optimistic about gardening at this time of year. Everything is beginning to grow again, and it a beautiful vibrant green.  Well most of it....  I've been getting a neighbour, S. to help do the heavy work in the garden so I can focus my energy on planting and nurturing. I don't have energy for both! A couple of borders have been widened this Spring and I've added some new perennials.  It all looks quite bare at the moment.  We'll see how things go.  Anyway here are some photos....  Oh and washing on the line. I LOVE when I can put washing on the line again!  OK to be honest many folk put it on the washing line through the winter too, but I don't have the time or energy to keep rushing out to take it in if it rains etc so I just do this in the summer months.


In Orkney we are about 6 weeks behind the South of the UK.  Though once then we have a very rapid growing season.  I can almost HEAR the lovage, in the photo above, growing!  Lots more to plant in these borders....  The stone wall gives some protection but in these borders, as they get a lot of salt spray over them, as well as battered by Winter gales, I tend to grow perennials that die right back in Winter...



I love this delicate Spring bulb.


And these are so lovely (photo is NOT!) - they open when the sun shines...


This is another new border.  This used to be the "midden" where household rubbish was thrown.  It was full of broken china!!  Bucket loads of broken china.  I've kept most of it with some ideas of how to "reuse" the fragments.


And my new toy - a cordless grass strimmer.  It's very lightweight and I can just do bits at a time. I'm loving it so far!


So, as things progress I'll share more photos.  Oh I dream of an abundant garden!  Many folk are successful in Orkney producing just that.  But it probably takes more time and effort plus LOTS of more shelter and TLC than I can give.  Still considering all this was just field grass when I moved in, it's coming along slowly....

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Of hens and cats.....




The hens love nothing more than to sunbathe and have a dust-bath!  Button just goes for the sun worshipping.... and in good weather, barn cat, Charlie, even comes out to say hi.

This handsome boy is Charlie.  He and Button do their best to avoid each other I think.... he's completely feral, though will sometimes come for a bit of a fuss at feeding time. I did try to have him in the house but he was terrified and prefers living in the barn. He's the same age as Button, 11.5 years old or thereabout.  And I got them both at the same time, but from different homes.



A hen strutting her stuff across the grass at the front of the house....


Button sunbathing!


Headless chickens?!  Two of the girls having a bit of a preen....


Hmm now I know why the onion sets keep getting disturbed! Button was lying on them just before I took this photo....


Two more of the girls sunbathing.  These two are sisters, Light Sussex breed. Quite old girls now but still laying eggs now and again.


Button....again!


And here is "Pecky Hen" who has learned some manners and is happy to be carried and made a fuss of.  You can just see my "black" eye!  It's much improved now, thankfully!


And Button....under the gooseberry bush in the shade after getting a little bit too hot I think!



And even on a grey, chilly day, the girls love to have a rootle about in the field.



And finally in the evening, most of the girls are present and correct at bedtime.... though two have gone broody!  No cockerel now so I remove all their eggs and make sure they get food and water in the morning.  Eventually they get bored and leave the nest.


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Sunset.....



Tonight the sunset is due at 9.21pm.  The days are really drawing out.  And on uncloudy nights we are almost at "simmerdim" - the time when it doesn't really get dark.  I love this time of year!  Here are a few photos from a gorgeous sunset last week. Above from just outside the "backdoor".  The Hamnavoe ferry arriving from Scrabster on Mainland Scotland to the Stromness harbour for the night.  The rectangular building in silhouette to the lef is the henny house.


The sun has dropped a bit lower now.  I know it's Spring once the sunset clears the end of Graemsay!


And a view from the "front" door!


Monday, 8 May 2017

Sunshine and mist!



After the snow we had some glorious sunny weather for a few days. But often with the sun comes the haar - the sea mist. I love the ethereal beauty of it.  Here are a few photos I took very quickly on my way down to the pier last week.  Above looking East towards Hoy, the Golden Marianna (our replacement ferry while our usual vessel is away having an "MOT") is disappearing into the mist. Hope it's not like "Brigadoon" - I need to get to town!!

Looking down the Flow - or not!


Again over East, over the top of Clett, the small croft house, with the Hoy Hills just poking above the mist.


Looking over towards Orphir - er I think! Sun shining high in the sky soon burned the mist off.


Graemsay Shore....


And Hoy High Lighthouse appearing from the mist..... Stromness is in there somewhere!!


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

I mentioned snow.....

Stromness at dusk
Well I wasn't here to see it but Irene Mathieson of Breckan kindly sent me some photos of what I was missing and said I could use them on my blog.  So, pull on a jersey and here they are!

Snow in April is referred to as "lambing snow" - for obvious reasons!  I do feel sorry for the lambs though as long as they get their mother's milk they keep warm enough, plus they huddle around her and she will seek shelter around the buildings.


And more sheep passing Irene's garden gate...



Looking across to Western Horn.....


And down towards Hoy Low lighthouse and across to the Orkney Mainland.




And again at dusk, looking over to Hoy.  This was taken from Irene's sitting room window. Quite a view!




Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Flying home!

Flying over Longhope (Walls) on the island of Hoy
Yes I've been "South" for a few days.  A wee visit to London to meet up with friends and visit some "sights" too.  Unfortunately I had a bit of an accident - fainted, landing on a marble floor, banging my head and nose.  Nothing broken but bruising coming along nicely!  Anyway it could have been far worse and it was towards the end of my holiday.

Flying home from Glasgow Airport the plane took a route via Hoy and Graemsay. Very decent of the pilot to do that to cheer me up - hahahaha as if!  I shouted to Button to put the kettle on as we flew over, she didn't of course!  Anyway - enjoy the photos.

Over the hills of Hoy - there had been 3 inches of snow while I was away!  Nearly all gone now.



The Old Man of Hoy (sea stack). Quite a challenging climb I believe.


Hoy Hills (Cuillags I think?)


Ward Hill and Moaness.


Flying over Graemsay - Ramray, Windywalls, Breckan and Fillets homes in this shot.....


And Hoy High lighthouse and Sandside!  All wave to Button!


And further down Scapa Flow as we approach the airport we flew over some oil rigs - not drilling here but in the Flow having work done on them and accommodations refurbished. It brings in revenue for the local council and also local businesses who supply them.


Hope you enjoyed your "fly past"!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Big skies, chilly days...



Spring is definitely here with lots of new growth, and the fields greening up again.  The days are definitely getting longer too, with lovely light evenings.  But the temperatures are still quite low, about 7 to 9 degrees C, and a ground frost some mornings too!  But the skies are always big.... so here are a few photos of some of the dramatic skies we have had recently.  Above, clouds over  a sea of "white horses" at Sandside beach.

A bank of cloud behind the Hoy hills and above this old croft house.


The sun is hiding behind the clouds ....somewhere....



The sky is gloomy behind this old croft on the hill......


The sun peeping out again....


Some blue sky appearing.....


I love the lines in this photo




Hoy is under a duvet!


Looking out West....


Snow showers over Hoy at Easter!


And hazy sunny breezy days.....


High tide at the lighthouse!


And a couple of completely gratuitous photos of Button enjoying the sunshine!