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Tuesday, 1 September 2009

September already......

........ like many of you, I've no idea where the summer months went. Fortunately, in Orkney, we have had glorious weather, with just a few wet days in August (sorry those of you who have suffered the weather for the last few months....). But just remember when Winter comes along in Orkney, we only have about six hours of daylight (if we're lucky).

And there was almost certainly a whisper of Winter at the weekend. A friend had let me stay in her cottage in "the country" on the Orkney Mainland at the weekend. It was in a beautiful spot in Stenness, with cows (and the bull) staring at me through the windows - I think they wanted to come in out of the howling wind and rain. Saturday was so miserable. However Sunday dawned bright and sunny again, and the shadow of Winter was banished for a time.

The cottage I stayed in on the Orkney Mainland was opposite the Graemsay Hoy High lighthouse - and I lay in bed and watched the reflection of the light flashing on and off on the bedroom wall. That did feel strange!

The weather has remained glorious this week too. (Sorry I have the British obsession with the weather...).

My vegetable garden has been delivering bountiful supplies for the last few weeks. I am like any new convert and am to be found haranguing anybody with a bit of ground to plant some veggies - "Peas are easy, you could get a good crop - use that bucket over there"...... oh dear...... This picture shows the latest crop of broad beans, peas and my FIRST courgette! I did a happy dance when I saw the courgette.

At the weekend I visited several folk who have successfully grown fruit and veggies in exposed locations or near to the shore. A friend in Evie (Orkney Mainland) has a lovely crop of apples (as seen in the photo) , pears, and plums. I'm inspired to try espaliers for apples in my walled garden next year.

I also discovered a wonderful new taste in something called "crumpled cress". It's full name is "wrinkled crinkled crumple cress" apparently! It has a very tangy taste, even better than water cress. So that is on the list for next year. As is spinach - though not sure how it will do outdoors, but I can but try.

The hens are also laying well, they have forgiven me for shutting them out of the garden, and seem to live in the willow trees outside the walled garden for most of the day. Today they were hunting for grubs and insects - they have clearly been taking lessons from Police Forensic TV programmes with the "searching in a line" tactic!

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