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Friday, 30 September 2011

Not more chicks.....sigh.....

I have this chicken problem.....sigh...... I may be able to class myself as a chicken farmer soon! I began the summer with 8 hens and a cockerel. Up to now there have been numerous clutches of eggs hatching out so I am up to about 40 birds..... and today...... another hen has hatched a brood - probably about 10!! You can see them in the photo above - day old!  They were hidden in one of the outbuildings..... She's a very protective mother so was pecking my boots with her sharp pecky beak while I took this snap.......sigh.......  Hey Ho!  At least I am getting about 3 eggs a day from the other hens - now I've found their stash..... however...... while rummaging in the barn for any other broody hens I found one of them tucked into a corner - out of my I fear this won't be the last batch!

Next year I'm hoping to organise nesting boxes around the barns so that I might be able to collect the eggs more easily and this population explosion won't happen again........

My week  didn't begin particularly well as I seemed to have an ear infection and that coupled with a flu vaccine had my immune system on overdrive and me feeling rather "wabbit" - no that isn't a reference to Bugs Bunny or Woger Wabbit (Roger Rabbit) but a lovely Scots word meaning "tired" or "exhausted". The ear infection gave me vertigo when I laid down, but fortunately I was OK as long as I sat or stood up! It seems to be clearing now thankfully.

Yesterday I had a nice surprise. Some visitors came to the island who had family links with the Sutherland family who had lived at Sandside since the early 1800s and stayed till the mid 1950s. They also brought along family trees and some old photos which was great. Particularly as they are descended from the branch of the Sutherland family I have little information on.  So we had a good blether (chat), and they were shown around the island and wandered on the beach to find "groatie buckies" (tiny cowrie shells), and had their photos taken outside the house etc.

Here are three photos - this is labelled as Isaac Mowat, in which case his bride is Clara Sutherland on Sandside beach.

Clara as a young girl with her twin Jane-Anne Sutherland (I think). Jane-Anne ran the post office at Sandside for many years. She lived here with her brother John Daniel (Dannie) and his wife Eliza Williamson until the early 1950s when Dannie died and the family left the farm.

Here is Dannie with his wife Eliza

But this is the side of the family I know quite well (figurateively speaking anyway!). The visitors left me with lots of photos and info about the other branch of the family so a project for the winter for me to match them with the Sutherland family tree! 

Back to the present - the weather has been unseasonably warm this week. Not the high temps of the South of England, but definitely WARM for Orkney and no wind.  Apparently in the town the Rooks are roosting again! They think it's Spring! Well the wind will no doubt get up in a few days again and put them off THAT idea.

Today I'd decided to go over to town to do some stocking up of store cupboards. However our wee ferry has some engine problems and today was only doing a couple of runs to get the children to and from school in Stromness, so I cancelled my trip to the town.

Instead I made use of my time by making several batches of roast potatoes ready for the freezer using any baking dish I could find. I have lots of "tatties" (potatoes) from the garden and I just love them roasted. I often buy "Aunt Bessie's roast potatoes" from the supermarket. But I'm not taken in by the jolly "aunt" label and know full well that these are mass produced in a factory! So thought I'd try my own. I love a few roast tatties with my dinner during the week and it seems very decadent to make them fresh just for me.

So as another week draws to a close I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend with some pottering in the garden (if the weather holds!).


  1. What a wonderful treat to have some visitors from the past!

  2. Well they were visitors of the present (they weren't that old!) but they had lots of links with the past and also had childhood memories of quite a few years ago visiting relatives on the island. So it was lovely - and great to get some of the old photos and hear of more connections.

  3. A very interesting post, you
    must have loved meeting these
    people, who could shed some light
    on times past. Hope you are
    feeling better.

  4. Pat - yes feeling much better thanks. Yes it was lovely meeting the folk. I just love hearing about the many connections with the house.

  5. Over here (Saskatchewan, Canada) I haven't actually seen birds nesting again at this time of year, but I've heard the waterfowl are raising a third brood, which means a longer-than-usual fall (autumn; not sure everyone everywhere says "fall" as we do for the season). And so far that's correct; normally it's quite cold by now, but we've had lovely warm days and the perennials in my flower bed are still green and growing. Usually by now everything's frozen black. Interesting to see this is happening in faraway places, too.