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Tuesday 25 July 2023

Beach time....


I live between two beaches!  One has the roaring Atlantic shore and the other is a quieter sea water pool.  St Peter's Pool has a huge expanse exposed when the tide goes out.  It's so named as there was a St Peter's Kirk on a site nearby many centuries ago.  It then leads out into Deer Sound.  The shoreline can be treacherous, with deep mud and quicksand.  I just keep to the edge on my wanders.  So here are a few photos of a recent walk along this shore.

Leading to the shore...

Looking across to local farms

One of the views from the house is across St Peter's Pool and there are some lovely sunsets in summer ....

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Gardening on the edge.....


I thought gardening at Sandside was tough enough but there I at least had the shelter of the old stone dyke, and some shrubs. In my new house and "garden" life is a little tougher for any plant!  I had wanted to move to a smaller house and tiny garden.  Well I got the small house, but it sits in an acre plot.  This is mainly a VERY rough meadow - with vole tunnels through it, long clumpy grass, and a variety of tough wildflowers!

The previous inhabitants made a gravel garden around the house - inspired no doubt by Derek Jarman's garden at Dungeness   It has sedums and succulents, as well as sea campion, self heal, Welsh Poppies, columbines, teazels, and lots of plantain!  It actually needs quite a bit of weeding which has got a bit beyond me but it seems happy enough!

Across from the gravel garden is a small patch of mown grass - I had 7 Northern Marsh Orchids blooming this season which I was delighted with.  Then there are two beds of wildness, and the rest is truly feral!  In a more sheltered spot I have some pots of perennials and alpines.  Some more alpines and sedums on top of the gabions too.

I planted lots of wildflower seeds in the Spring, but it was a very cold spring and then a period of very dry weather so very little has germinated.  I am hopeful for next year!  Anyway, here are a few photos of the "garden". Suggestions for plants that withstand wind and very sandy soil welcome!

This is one of the wilder beds - as well as the ubiquitous daisies it also has cranesbill, some achillea/yarrow and I've planted more, also planted some verbascum.

The forget-me-nots have finished flowering as has the red campion.

The two feral beds are by the garden cabin. I am loving the teazels springing up everywhere.

Self seeded into the gravel garden too.  Sedums filling the gabions...

There are paths cut through the meadow, and cranesbill and daisies spill into these areas, along with hogweed (not the giant kind!)

Wildflower "self heal" is growing in abundance too.

Among the many grasses in the meadow there are damper bits and here grow clumps of flag iris.

And then there is a small seating area with pots and a feral border....

And pots with alpines...

And Reggie and the Alpines (good name for a rock group maybe?)

Then there are the alpines on the gabions....

And water in the garden - a pool for the insects and birds, plus any passing hedgehog

And the start of a tiny pond...

And finally!  Button in the catio!!

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Skyscape from the other evening from the house


Just a few snaps through from the house the other night.  There has been some magnificent evening light and sunsets recently.  I am so fortunate to still be able to view these from my window just as I could on Graemsay!  

Saturday 8 July 2023

A trip to the past....


It's said of Orkney, scratch the surface and it bleeds archaeology.  Which is pretty much true - as agriculture has been the mainstay of the islands, with no heaving industrialisation, the landscape has been pretty much undisturbed.  Sometimes farmers plough up some stones and find treasures, or they quietly cover them over again! But there's lots of archaeology already excavated (Skara Brae etc) and newer ones being excavated around the isles.  The "biggie" is the Ness of Brodgar which opened this week.  I haven't been for a visit yet.  But one dig that finished this week was of The Cairns in South Ronaldsay, a broch or round house.  This is quite near me (compared to when I was ots (a woman's jawbone in the skull of a fin whale among the most memorable to me).  But lots of information re everyday lifte of the folk who lived and farmed in the area.  The soil that has been dug out of the broch has been bagged and will be analysed, along with lots of other artefacts.

I'm no archaeologist so here is a link to their blog, and below are some pretty random photos I took on the day!

You can make out the curve in the walls in the photos

Animal bone finds...

Tools of the trade

You can make out a midden of shells middle left.  These are being carefully excavated, counted and assessed.  It's in this corner, I think that the whale skull and human jaw bone were found.

A post hole - this is probably from a later settlement outside the broch, robbing or using stone from the broch itself.

A clearer view showing the roundness of the walls

A saddle quernstone for grinding of grain

And here is a link to the 2023 excavation at the Ness of Brodgar in Stenness.