Saturday, 22 December 2012

Storms and some gardening

  Well its been another busy week or so with not much in the way of wildlife apart from what's been around Ordaal. Last week was particularly cold with snow showers, sleet and freezing rain which made the roads rather icy in places......

 Down near the shore looking south west

   I had a number of jobs lined up to do around the house and outside. One job is to level out the two 'lawns' at the back of the house and cottage. When I say lawns, I don't think they were ever proper lawns, more likely rough grass and a vegetable garden. There a quite a few dips and hollows to fill in and level and then re-seed. To help me with all of this I recently made a heavy roller to go behind the quad. This was made using some angle and box section steel I bought in Lerwick and a 3'6" length of 10" plastic salmon cage pipe acquired from a local salmon farmer (thanks Christopher, I owe you one). I then placed a steel spindle in a sleeve through the centre and then filled it with concrete. I reckon the whole thing weighs around three and half to four hundred weight and I must admit I did think it would be too heavy, fortunately it works a treat and will get a lot of use.  Another job in the same area was to prepare the ground along the wall ready for planting the Rosa Rugosa.

The cottage garden looking north east

  Down in the field, I've put in the pond liner underlay and liner and weighted it down with lots of stones around the edges. I put it down just before a stormy night was forecast and had just finished as the wind and rain blew up. I checked it today (22th Dec) and there is already almost 2ft water in the deepest part. Once the level has been reached, I'll then tidy up around the edges and put some soil/peat in the bottom for any water plants to take hold.

 Over the night of the 14th/15th, there was a very high tide and a strong south easterly gale for a while. The forecast had been for a severe gale, however I don't think that past through Unst. We had gone down to Lerwick on the Friday afternoon as Sula was to be singing with the music and dance group 'Singing Saturdays' at the Garrison Theatre in Lerwick. Due to the forecast, we left here at around 2pm. Getting down to Ulsta to cross Yell Sound for 2.45pm, I then got a call to say the concert was cancelled due to travel difficulties - not from Unst at least. Unfortunately as I'd already paid for the s/c accommodation, we had to carry on or lose our money. The journey back was pretty horrible, driving rain - made even worse by having car trouble (it kept over heating, which meant I had to stop frequently to let the engine cool down).

  As I have just said, there had been a very high tide over the weekend and this had deposited a large amount of seaweed high and dry down at the shore. Seaweed makes a good fertilizer, so I've spent around a day in total collecting it up with the quad and trailer to use around the trees at a later date. Over at Haroldswick, both ends of the road around the bay have been blocked by stones and seaweed - in places it was 2ft high............

 There's a road under there somewhere - the north beach at Haroldswick.

Collecting seaweed at the Noost

  While collecting the seaweed, I came across hundreds of these jelly like larvae or eggs which were about the size of a 50p. I've no idea what they are and would love to find out...............

  On the wildlife front despite the weather, I had a hedgehog wandering around the garden the other day - quite a large one, not as I'd expect, an underweight youngster. Also a few days ago, some friends found a bat over at the Shore Station which was presumed to be a Leisler's. There's more info on the Nature in Shetland Facebook page here.

 One other job last week was to strip the wall paper in our sitting room and re-line and paint it. The rather over-powering orange coloured paper had been there for a while and had seen better days. It was while I was wall papering that I got 'the call' from Brydon. He was watching a Sea Eagle heading west along Balta Sound and I should be able to see it from the house. Sure enough, there it was in the distance over the Houb being mobbed by gulls. Good call Mr T, 113th species for the garden list !

  I think almost everyone would have heard about the Geminid meteor shower last week. Here on Unst the sky was fairly clear and it was quite cold, so I set the camera up to do some time lapse. Despite the camera taking over 500 images, I only captured one meteor trail and that was quite a faint one at that. After midnight, I had the constant problem of the cold air on the front of the camera lens turning in to ice. Despite not getting the pictures I'd hoped for, it was a pleasure to be outside on such a cracking night.

North west towards the village around midnight

  As I mentioned earlier, we've had some strong winds over the last week and these have kicked off again. The Northlink ferry hasn't been able to sail from Aberdeen for several days and Tesco's in Lerwick had to close off some of the fresh food isles as they'd run out of stock. Apparently there were nine lorries waiting in Aberdeen to make deliveries to Shetland but couldn't due to the ferry cancellations. Tesco's answer was to charter a Hercules aircraft to make a couple of trips and bring in the supplies. The height of the storm is due to be tomorrow morning when it's due to reach 'severe gale' - better make sure the chickens are in !

 Merry Christmas to all.


1 comment:

Tony Perry said...

Merry Christmas Rob to you and yours - hope the Tesco aircraft gets through!