Monday, 28 April 2014
The picture above is of our wee "relief" ferry being towed into Stromness Harbour tonight after breaking down on the final run from the island of Hoy. Hopefully it is something minor and will be back in service tomorrow. There are a number of children who need to get to the school as it's exam time as well as folk needing to get to work. The boat towing it is a local work-boat. Can't wait for our "proper" ferry to come back into service - it's currently away having the marine equivalent of an "MOT/Service".....
It's been a busy Sunday but a lovely day nonetheless. I had to work this morning which wasn't too onerous as I woke to yet another foggy day. I think we've had fog for the last five or six days. SO bored with it now!
So...the day started like this....
and moved onto this.... (oh do take time to admire my willow trees - they have to put up with so much! Wind, salt, sand! They bravely withstand it all).
And then this....
And finally the sun came out. The hens knocked on the door to tell me to come out to play! Can you spot the difference in the colour of the stone around the door? This is because from the time the house was built (about 1860) to about 1910 the house had an external stone staircase. Although it's long gone now the marks still remain on the house....
The lambs took some time for a snooze too.... it's busy being a lamb and bouncing around all the time....
In the afternoon after a wander round the island chatting to folk, and visiting Irene and Squeak up at Breckan, I went out to do some more work in the garden. I'm not physically able to do much digging so progress is very slow. Just about a yard or two a day but progress IS being made! This is part of the vegetable patch, ready soon for sowing of beans (broad and dwarf runner) and some salad leaves. I'm cutting back this year as I'm not really able to keep on top of the weeds and manage the garden AND keep everything safe from the hens. Oh and not those stones are not dug up - they are used to weight down the netting I use to deter pesky hens....hee hee!
And the borders are coming to life again! Cornflowers, crocosmia, lovage, columbines and Welsh poppies are already well advanced. The daffodils are still giving some lovely Spring colour too.
Here are some cowslips ready to flower.....
I'm not sure what this wee flower is, it's so delicate and pretty and is from some bulbs I planted in the Autumn....
And these are the leaves on the willow tree. This variety has lovely grey leaves. It's so pretty and grows very quickly. A bonus in Orkney!
And right outside the house under the sitting room window are some bluebells which have been here for many many years, long before I lived here. They bloom every year.
And then this evening the sun had a final dance with the clouds disappearing for the night. Some back soon Sun!
I love this shot through the old roof....
And a spotlight for a pretty cloud!
Well a little sore from gardening but a lovely afternoon outdoors was well worth it!
Sunday, 27 April 2014
Every year community groups around Orkney get together to clean up all the beaches around the islands. This event happens in Spring and is called "Bag the Bruck" - bruck being - er - rubbish. So over the last couple of weeks various folk have been cleaning beaches and collecting "bruck" in bags to be shipped off Graemsay to the Mainland. As you can see above quite a good bit was collected and this is only part of it!
Here's some more!!
Irene from Breckan and I did our bit too. Neither of us are fit enough to scramble around rocky inaccessible shoreline, so we did the beaches at Sandside, collecting old plastic, bits of rope, and other bruck. It was a glorious sunny warm day and was lovely to be out. There wasn't a huge amount to collect from the beaches as most folk when out walking will collect anything they find and take home.
And in case you think we are an untidy lot on Graemsay - all the bruck is washed ashore by the tide, mostly during winter storms!
It may only be a small bag but we did our bit and are proud of that!
Saturday, 26 April 2014
I've just been playing with some settings on my camera. Here are a few in black and white mode. I like taking pictures where all colour is lost and it's shades of grey (or black). Somehow it focuses the mind on the image rather than being distracted (sometimes) by colour.... so here are a few of them. Of course I had to start with my black and white cat, Button!
Black and white photos really emphasise the clouds, and the contours of the landscape
and gives a sense of stepping back in time..... this old rusty piece of farm machinery by the old stone building is teetering on the edge of the coastal erosion.....
Um... Button sweetie, I wouldn't sit there for too long or you might get a bump on the head from a rusty bit of metal! (actually it's not as precarious as it looks!)
This wall is close to tumbling down too, it has sea shells at the bottom. I thought they had been swept up from the shore but apparently, according to visiting archaeologists, it's part of an old midden (rubbish tip) for these old farm buildings which were once inhabited in the 19th century.
The old tumble down buildings set against a bright sky.....
Here is the old sail house, having lost it's roof long a go in the 1950's when a hurricane hit Orkney (more of that another time).... I love standing in this building as it still gives some shelter from the elements and I can watch the sun setting, and the birds on the shore....
And the final view looking back down the old pier, build in the 1860s.....
Hope you enjoyed our usual walk on the shell beack but with a different "view" this time!
Friday, 25 April 2014
The weather can certainly be described as "changeable" lately. The last few days we've had thick fog... I find that the most depressing. It feels like the sky is pressing down on my head. Today it's cleared a little but now we have "low cloud". The Hoy hills have disappeared from view! Bah!! Go away misty days!!
And then we get windy days where the white horses ride the waves..... NOT a day to be out and about. Has me wondering how many lambs I can pack into the conservatory..... Button says NONE!
And then there are the gloriously sunny days where the warm sun reminds me that the season is turning..... Fancy a swim anyone?
No thanks, says Button....
And then there is the most beautiful sunset. The sun tracking across the sky, a little further every day. Sigh - on days like that it's easy to answer "So, why did you move to Graemsay?"....... more of that in a few days time....coming up to my 14th anniversary on the island.... FOURTEEN??? how did THAT happen so quickly?
Thursday, 24 April 2014
I love sunsets..... in case you hadn't already realised! I especailly love Spring sunsets as the sun tracks across the sky. So full of the promise of warm days.
And as it's Spring - here are some lovely primroses, known locally as "mayflo'ors".
Such cheerful wee flowers....
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
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!
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
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....