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Thursday, 22 August 2019

Puffins....




We don't get puffins nesting on Graemsay, no cliffs... but we do see them flying past.  However over on the island of Westray is a wonderful location to see LOTS of puffins. They nest just a few yards offshore on a sea stack during the breeding season and are easily viewed without disturbance.  They tend to be out at sea fishing during the day but in the evening they come back to their burrows. 

Photographer David, at the Hall of Einar on Westray has taken some wonderful photos and videos of them.

Here's a link to a one minute film, with links to others too.


Wednesday, 21 August 2019

August skies and other randomness


Above the light and colour of late summer over the now cut silage fields....

Grey and misty over West Mainland of Orkney.... (and the grass needs cutting).


Same view on a sunny day.... with the Hamnavoe sailing into Stromness


Blue Skies looking across Sandside Bay towards Garson.


Across the old Lighthouse pier towards Stromness....


The sandy beach at ..... Sandside! Hoy hills in the background.


Sunset....




A full moon and ..... an alien ship?  Nah!  Just neighbours baling silage.....


And Charlie, my shy feral barn cat.... he's the same age as Button (about 14) but is rarely seen by anyone other than me. This particular day he sat on my foot!


"oooh go on, tickle my tummy, you know you want to!" Hahaha oh yeah right - not!


As soon as I weed a patch of earth the hens appear for a dust bath!


A moth - known as "Red Carpet" - nope no idea why...


And my garden sculpture is being swallowed up by daisies!


Sunday, 18 August 2019

Summer moves on.....



The last couple of weeks have seen very changeable weather with a lot of rain too.  But nothing as bad as further south in parts of Scotland and England so we have been fortunate in that way. But the sun has shone too and there have been some lovely sunsets....

And a couple of pictures when I was too lazy to get up off the sofa. And yes I know the windows need cleaning!



Misty days too.  You can *just* see the Hoy Hills (well one of them) above the mist.


Button enjoys sitting outside among the daisies in the evening.


These daisies are lovely and spread everywhere, flowering in late summer.




And a grass border on the old byre!


These swallows and some other nests fledged a couple of weeks ago and are now zooming around the garden and fields around Sandside.  Lots of them!  Though sadly fewer than last year...


And empty nest now in one of the other byres. And yes there is woodworm in  loft!


Meanwhile in the garden - these two sisters are mostly together all the time.  Gimpy hen ( as she has a limp) and Wheezy hen (because - yup she wheezes).  Both are about 9 years old.  Wheezy hen seems to be going into a bit of a decline and now sleeps on a lower perch.  Her sister always joins her, while the other hens are on the higher perches.  Bless them.


You can never have a sneaky cup of tea or snack alone in the garden.... Sadly the golden hen on the far right died this week.  One day she was fine, next she was poorly and the next gone.  She was quite an old hen too though I forget her age.  Bless her.... she's buried in the garden under a geranium...


RIP little hen....


I've remembered what these pom pom thistles are called - Echinops! Also known as globe thistle.


The North facing border, this is always quite damp so lots of ladies mantle for ground cover, aconites do well here (monkshood), and crocosmia.  An elderly Elder, as well as a few young trees - Alder, Rowan and a sycamore in there somewhere. And a wonderful tall grass at the end.


These girls missed out on my lunch in the garden so are knocking on the door for their share!



Another day another sunset....


And while trying to stake up this allium I managed to dislodge it from the ground so have given it a chance to bloom in the kitchen.  This is one of my favourites.  I love all the little stars!



Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Here come the girls!


It was shearing time for the ewes a couple of weeks back so they were brought from up the way and taken past Sandside up to Windbreck......  I had to keep out of sight so I didn't scare them....

Here they come, spilling across the grass (they don't do any damage!)


They have someone running up front with a feed bucket calling them....


And making sure they keep the momentum and there are no stragglers.....!


School holidays are busy if you live on a farm!



Monday, 5 August 2019

Graemsay Quarry



Photos from a couple of weeks ago at the Graemsay quarry.... here be dragons... well damselflies....  In the past stone from the quarry was used for houses, roads, walls etc.  Some of the mound of stone that was left is still used, but the quarry pool itself is left to the wildlife (and the odd swimming dog!)




Looking towards Hoy High across the heathland.  You can just make out the chimneys of Sandside.  Orphir coast line across the water...


The old Manse and Stromness in the background.


Self-heal....


Forget me nots?


Wild Thyme


Sunday, 4 August 2019

Back to sunshine.....


The sun came out after the mist, of course.  Though we had a couple of grey days first.  But it was great to get some fresh air (the mist made everything very muggy and humid) and to see the landscape again.

Waiting for the boat to town.  Lovely calm seas....


Cattle enjoying grazing....


I love the reflection of the lighthouse....


And here comes the boat....


Meanwhile the plants (and "weeds" alike have loved the humid damp days of mist.  Everything is looking abundant....

I love the drops of moisture from the mist on the leaves of the verbascum


Hardy geraniums doing well....


Malva is covered in an abundance of flowers....



First year for the sidalcea which is also doing well.  Though probably needs some support next year...


One of the daisy family and it's huge!  Delighted with this...


Monks hood, lovage, monkey flower and more of the above yellow daisies....



Penstemon - planted this year.... hoping it likes this location!


And a late Allium.  Love this one.


And of course the farmers are keen to get on with summer work, cutting fields of grass for silage and hay.  The mist does them no favours at all.  But once the sun shines there is the sound of tractors and machinery in the fields once again.