Click on pictures to see them in a photo stream : Comment moderation on due to excessive amounts of spam!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Lambs and more sunshine...



The farmer who keeps stock around Sandside has been lambing these last few weeks. I've felt a bit like Bo Peep lately as I have helped some "escaped" lambs.  Bless, they are not very bright!  At only a couple of hours old they seem to be able to find their way out of the lambing pen beside the ewe, through another gate, into the courtyard and into my garden.  But despite yelling and the ewe replying, can they find their way home? NO!

This weekend I found two lambs separated from their mother. One was trying to get through the gate into the old garden behind the byres (known as the Stack Yard as this was where the haystacks used to be kept). Anyway this is used for the ewes and lambs after coming out of the barn, it gives a bit of shelter and a time for the ewe and lambs to bond, get a bit of extra feed and anything else they might need.  There were several ewes and lambs in there so I popped this one over the fence.

The second lamb seemed to be in a separate pen in the old garden. So I phoned the farmer in case he had it there for a reason. Nothing worse than some "do-gooder" releasing a lamb that it's taken a while to catch! Anyway, no it shouldn't be there so I popped that one over the fence too. It's mother and sibling were nearby and were pleased to greet it.

I then noticed the other lamb I'd just put in was running around to all the ewes but they were head butting it way - a sign it wasn't theirs.  Ah... I thought..... I went off into the barn. Sure enough there was one not very happy ewe calling for her lamb which wasn't there.  So I go back into the old garden, and managed to grab the lonely lamb, climb back over the fence (not easy with a wriggling lamb!) - pause to get my breath back - several times, and eventually return lamby to the pen in the barn where a very anxious ewe was yelling!  Little lamb gets some warm milk and wags tail.....phew....

Thankfully after a day or so of getting "acclimatised" all the sheep go out into the field at the front of the house.  (This one was taken through the window hence the blobs).


The ewes always keep an eye on any movement - do I look like a wolf?


I just love watching the lambs and ewes. But particularly the lambs - once they get settled in they start running about together like children the world over, playing and getting into mischief!



Wee lambs!




Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Gardening with hens....




I am always greeted with enthusiasm when I venture into the garden with implements..... this means the hens can dine al fresco with any luck, as poor hapless worms have their worlds turned upside down....

The only problem is that the hens also love any new green shoots...fine if they'd stick to grass, but nooo.... tasty young lettuce leaves..... pea shoots......and oooh yummy soft fruit..... so after only managing to get SIX gooseberries off TWO bushes last year, stern measures have been taken. I've got a fruit cage.....(these will be the most expensive gooseberries ever at this rate!).

As you can see the hens had to supervise it's construction.


The cockerel is quickly bored by proceedings....


Um... I don't remember a one legged hen hopping about??! (don't worry she's just resting the other one...).


Though the girls do work too - I'll throw clods of earth to one side to shake off from the weeds later, and the chooks will have a good rootle around and do some of the work for me.


And they are not averse to having a peck at my boots either. Better not wiggle my toes!!


Anyway at least the gooseberry bushes are now safely behind wire mesh - I've left the top open for insects, though I'll probably close that later to stop the sparrows eating the fruit.  But I'm fortunate to have quite a few bees in the garden, this chap was enjoying the dandelions which are flowering at the moment.


And what of Princess Button I hear you ask??  Helping?  No chance!! Snoozing in the sunshine!


Tiring work this gardening....


Monday, 21 April 2014

Sunrise!



It's VERY unusual for me to see sunrise anytime but mid-winter, when it is at a reasonable time of 9am! Now the sun is rising about 5.45am. and I only get to see it thanks to Madam Button who sometimes feels the need to share the sunrise with me..... This one was taken a few days ago. After three days of glorious sunshine we have the haar (sea mist), though it's expected to clear later.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Sunshine and chocolate eggs....



I hope you all had a lovely weekend, whether you choose to celebrate Easter, or Spring (um Autumn on the other side of the globe!), or just like eating chocolate eggs :-)

We have had a glorious few days of sunshine here in Orkney, and WARMTH in the sun!  And almost NO wind...

Today I sat on the bench outside the front door and enjoyed tea and chocolate while basking in the Spring sunshine....bliss.....

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Spring sunset...



Ah yes the sun is moving across the sky once again.  Above was the sunset in the last few days, and here it was on the shortest day - well and truly sunk behind the Hoy hills!  Whoo Hoo Spring is here!


Sunrise in Orkney now is 05.58 (London 0605), and sunset time is 20.26 (London 1955).  Bring on the daylight I say!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Graemsay Spring....



We've had a fairly dry spell till the last few days then we had heavy rain, light showers, hail, gales.... and today it's back to blue skies, and barely a breeze, though still a bit chilly.  So here are some photos taken over the last few days to show Spring has arrived...sort of....

Above is the view from my bedroom window. I have managed the first cut of the grass, the "daffs" (daffodils) are out and the willows have catkins and new leaves. The sea is a lovely blue and the Hoy Dragon is quietly puffing some clouds of smoke over her head....

I love the catkins on my willow trees....they are so pretty and look so delicate. Indeed the wind does tend knock them off pretty easily. Nevertheless the bees have been buzzing around them which is A Good Sign.


And quickly they get leaves.....bright green and fresh looking. Eventually they turn a beautiful silver grey for the summer.....


They are so exuberant though once they get going with catkins and leaves...



And the rosa rugosa is sprouting....all over the place!


And I mentioned the first mow of the season....


The perennials in the border are coming to life again now. The forget-me-nots are already in bloom. These travelled all the way from Kent...


And of course in Spring on Graemsay there are..... Lambs!!  These are some of the first of the season....


One or two need a little extra food...... I love "helping"!  Though I'm a fair weather helper and left the hard work to the farmer in the gales!


Ah yes the changeable weather.... at least I could see the rain approaching and get indoors....


The poor sheep and lambs were out in it!  This is a nursery pen where the ewes go when they have first had their lambs in the shed. After a day or two when everything seems OK they go out into the big field proper. But it's easier to catch both ewes and lambs in this smaller space. They get extra feed here too....


But a few minutes later it's back to blue skies again....


And the "Hamnavoe" sailing off with her Viking to the North of Scotland (Scrabster)....


Easter is on the way and along with Spring flowers, lambs, chocolate (of course!), there will be tourists beginning to visit Orkney once again.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Betty's Reading Room



I had a friend from London staying recently so took the time to go on a few "jaunts". The weather wasn't too bad, though was chilly and breezy.  So I was delighted to take A. on my first visit to "Betty's Reading Room" in Tingwall on the Orkney Mainland.

There's a clip from the BBC News website which explains how and why the reading room was set up : click here

I have to say, having visited - I want to move in!!  It's a magical place, created as a memorial to a friend who had died suddenly.  There was no fire burning on the day we visited but we were still drawn to the place and wanted to linger.  I hope these pictures give you a flavour of the place and do take time to visit if you're in Orkney.  As I say it's near the Tingwall ramp for the ferry, just tucked round a corner from the car park.

Comfy sofas to sit upon while reading....


Fairy lights, lots of books.... no not a ghost. A. moved, so is unrecognisable which means I might get away with this photo!


Everything can be borrowed, or books taken or added to. There used to be a collection box, but sadly, even in Orkney, money was taken. So now folk are asked to pop some money in the first collection box they see when leaving the Reading Room. A lovely idea....



Much loved objects in the window. Big Ted has a view!




Gorgeous stained glass window.


Hares are a theme. I love hares....


And another one...


This is Betty...... I'm sure wherever she is she's looking down on the room with a smile on her face.


Outside a sculpture by local artist, Frances Pelly, a mermaid....


And this is the wee cottage.... as I said.... I want to move in!