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Saturday, 1 August 2015

Did you miss me??!


I've been off on my holidays!  Above is a photo from a rooftop cafe in St Peter Port, Guernsey, in the Channel Islands.  Afraid there won't be any more pix - this was a visit to family.In particular to welcome Olly the newest member of the family, at just a few weeks old.  I'm a great-auntie several times over now!  I also got time to play with his "Big Brother" Charlie who turns 6 this week.  It was a chance to catch up with the rest of the family, including a brief chat with my great-niece, Mischa who is now a teenager and towers above me! Ha!

My "Big Sister" S has lived in Guernsey for over 30 years so I've explored most of it over various visits. Now it's nice just to potter along the shore, go for coffee and cake in cafes, and meet the family.

There was time for a bit of shopping......though I didn't buy THESE shoes!  Surprisingly I could walk in them, but I was on tip toe!  Don't think they'd be much good for a dance in the hall. Hee hee!


And I'd never have kept up with Charlie in the playground (erm I couldn't even with flat shoes!)


St Peter Port has a large harbour, and there were lots of boats in the marina.


In the distance is Elizabeth Castle, a great place to visit


And lost of shops along the sea front


As you can see the weather was mixed.  But it was MUCH warmer than back in Orkney so I was quite happy with that!

It was then onto London for a reunion with some friends and more family (my brave and beautiful niece, Rachel, with her husband, Andy, and their wee girlie, Romilly who is growing fast).

I even had an initiation into visiting a "nail bar". These are very popular in most towns and cities in the UK!  I just went for something straightforward as I knew it wouldn't last an hour of gardening upon my return!! Ha! I was right!


Didn't even last till the party night..... but more of that in my next post!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Button and flowers....



Sorry, but I just love seeing the flowers in my garden!  It's fairly buzzing with bees and insects now, and the swallows swoop low to catch them too!  I haven't been able to do as much weeding this last week as I've had a sore back.  But everything is so exuberant after such a slow start.



This is a new bed, doing well in it's first year!  The lupins were from the garden of a friend so were quite large and well established.  The fennel has been there a while too. But all the rest are new this year.  This was the old strawberry patch.



Ahem, see what I mean about being a bit out of control!


Ooooh but I love the scabious! It's SO pretty and delicate!


And the big blousy poppies



And Jacob's ladder in blue AND white.


And a few photos of Madam Button.... here she is on a mission - time for lunch!


And here she is on the compost heap, heat from below and heat from above!  And yes she IS sticking her tongue out at us!  Ha!


And on the bench.  She's modelling a new tail (not really but there's a bit of old pipe on the bench that appears to be her tail!)


And this year is a good year for the rhubarb!  I have half a freezer full! No time to make jam or chutney at the moment...hopefully soon....


Monday, 6 July 2015

Chooks...and Charlie Boy




Well Tallulah hatched a chick last week!  Clever girl.  Tallulah is a black Shetland hen that I got last year.  So this is her very first chick and she is VERY proud.  Though I do get a bit alarmed when she rushes into the henny house for breakfast leaving the chick rather vulnerable to predation from the crows.  I have to stand guard till she reappears.  Sigh.....   She also chose to take her chick BACK to the henny house only hours after it hatched.  Not usually what hens do, they prefer to keep them apart from the flock, who can turn on chicks, or trample them.  Anyway the chick seems to be surviving despite her rather novel parenting methods!

























It's a bit chaotic at breakfast time so the photos are the best I can do when lots of hens are milling about!

Here is Tallulah taking her chick to somewhere more sheltered among the pile of stones here.  She has a small "cave" she and the wee chick can nestle into.




This was a few days earlier when the chick was REALLY fluffy!




Meanwhile the Broon (brown) hen has been looking after her chick well and it (no idea whether it's a he or she!) now has quite a few feathers.  Um...looks a bit moth eaten at the moment but I'm sure it will look fine when older!




















And yes each hen has just one chick.  It's my "one child" policy. Ha!  Population control to stop getting over- run with chooks.  I take all the eggs away but leave one, which I mark with crosses.  If a hen chooses to brood that one, it can.  All the rest are put to much better use!  Hee hee.

Charlie is always ready to greet me at breakfast time too.  He stays well away from nasty pecky clucky hens!  So far (fingers crossed) neither he nor Button have got one of the chicks.  The hens are VERY protective of their chicks and aggressive to both cats.


He's happier a safe distance from pecky beaks!


He enjoys a roll in the sunshine too!


Charlie is the dominant cat as far as Button is concerned.  He tends to chase her, and I think he is possibly responsible for one or two injuries she's received.  Usually she keeps her distance if she see Charlie around.  Or tries to hide or runs away!

Meanwhile the girls are sunbathing!


Oh and Miss Button is snoozing on the windowsill in the sun till everything calms down again.


And the young heifers in the field also enjoy the sun on their backs!


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Misty days...



Quite often in an Orkney summer after a sunny period we get the haar, the sea mist coming in.  Here are a few photos taken on Friday when it was mostly a lovely sunny day, with the mist drifting in and out, before finally settling "in".  Saturday was wet and breezy, but today has been glorious again, though the sea mist is rolling in again now as I type.


Above, the mist hiding the Hoy hills and rolling across the fields below Windbreck on Graemsay. The sleeping dragon of Hoy is hidden behind the mist across Sandside Bay. The Manse is getting lost in the mist too, but the Community Hall (green and white building) is still in the sunshine.


And across the bay to Garson and the farm of Fillets, the sun is still shining too.



And Sandside is still in the sunshine....


But Hoy High lighthouse is disappearing!


As is Stromness



And now it's drifting across the bay....


But still Sandside is in the sun!


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Buttercups and sunshine....



It's July and summer is here!  Well, it was this morning!  There are rain showers this evening, but fortunately I had my camera with me when I was out and about so here are some pictures of Graemsay in the sun!  The buttercups are looking beautiful at the moment. Probably as a result of a very wet Spring and so-far-Summer! Click on the picture above to make it bigger (and the others).  You can see Sandside and behind it the Hamnavoe ferry setting off for Scrabster, and on the right, the Graemsay ferry heading into Stromness.  And - um - this is the "main road" on Graemsay that we are on. Single track with no passing places!

And here is a field of buttercups, looking across to Sandside bay


And the coos and calves in this field are enjoying the sunshine on their backs and finally being able to eat grass again. Many of the cattle have had to be kept in as the ground was too wet to put them out. It's been pretty desperate with some farmers running low on feed for their stock in the byres.  But most are now able to put animals back onto the land.


And this looks over to the old croft house of Moan, and in the haze is Orphir on the other side of water.


Meanwhile many of the plants in my walled garden are enjoying the warmer days too. I mostly plant perennials in the garden as shrubs just don't seem happy weathering the winter storms.  And who can blame them!  Here are a couple of photos of the borders.  Still taking time for the colour to appear on some of the plants.




In the corner here is a table with containers full of seeds, including carrots!  I'm testing the theory that carrot fly can't fly this high...though they may be jet propelled with the wind!


So first we have the columbines (aquilegia). I love these in all their many varieties..... These remind me of Victorian ladies in their bonnets...


This lady is wearing a VERY posh bonnet!  Er....some wee flies seem to approve too!


Perhaps Madam would prefer it in blue and white? It seems to attract fewer flies?!


And these pom pom ones are rather jolly (Columbines again)





And speaking of pom poms  -scabious!  Just starting to come out... I have several...


I'd like to say today ended with a beautiful sunset, but it won't (sunset not for another hour-ish yet) as there is grey cloud.  However, here is one I took earlier (ahem), yesterday I think....




So I hope you enjoyed your wander in the sunshine, and the flowers in my garden.  Hopefully there will be MORE over the summer!