Sunday, 11 September 2011

Pondering the wind........and coffee

A brilliant cartoon by Alex Leonard of The Giddy Limit,
(Thank you Alex for your permission to include a few brilliant cartoons on here, now and again!)
Now, we've got a weather 'alert' like many folk in the UK for bad weather gales and severe gales from the south west (the end of a hurricane Katia, approaching from America), although does look like it may be worse on the mainland than it will be here. But, with weather who knows what will happen it might arrive, it might not, doesn't hurt to be a bit prepared. It can of course get a bit windy here, just a tad, I do wibble on about that alot! And, our house is not unlike the one in the cartoon - brilliant view, but quite exposed and by the sea. Orkney is a relatively flat landscape, which allows the wind to do its best! We had a 50MPH recently a real rocks in the pocket kinda day and that did a fair bit of damage outside to the garden, but we're due something similar again, deep joy. With that in mind, I may hang the laundry indoors today...............or be brave and put it out in the manner of an extreme weather outdoor laundy expert? Might end up over the fence or with me a like that though............ I've added a weather widget - looked like the wind might not get bad at all.....however you never know!

A brilliant view of extreme laundry in Orkney, a cartoon by Alex Leonard of The Giddy Limit

In our main town (Kirkwall) I've noticed lately alot of leaves lying on the ground, battered and brown, the sycamores are beginning to shed thier leaves. This isn't a colourful autumnal frenzy here - the cycle goes, big wind in septmember, some leaves blown off, others brown, going crispy, bigger wind later in the month, more leaves off, all leaves brown and crispy, bigger wind..............repeat as necessary until no leaves remain. I main sound cynical, but its generally a bit like that. Occasional things do get to go a bit 'autumnal', alot of the Rosaceae shurbs and trees appear to manage it up here (Rowan, Rosa rugosa, Whitebeam, etc). I might get a peek at a bit of 'autumn' then, normally I'll head away for a bit 'sooth' to peek at a bit more!

With that in mind, I'm pondering, we did the big 'clear up' yesterday and battoned down most of outside (just in case). But, I'm pondering the willow hedge and whilst I don't want to cut it back at this time of year, cutting back at this time of year aint great here, the wind does alot of damage to undormant shoots - I'm thinking that maybe to save more of it blowing over (5 over so far) therefore I might have to? I'm really undecided, but I might 'need' to do it, if I do I'll cut it down by 1/3 now and then more next April after the wind damage and new undamaged regrowth become apparant. I might sound a bit reticent about this but it happens every year, its horrible, die-back induced by the wind can be 10cm to over 1m on a shoot, but you bite your lip and deal with it.

Ponder, ponder, more coffee ponder.

A brilliant windy view out the windae by Alex Leonard of The Giddy Limit,

If I'm out there - I'm pondering lifting the rosemary, sage and the thyme - or at least lifting the first two and  harvesting the thyme. If my choice is lift them and perhaps keep them going indoors or let the wind 'harvest them' and send a bundle of my home grown pot pourri of herbs garni to Iceland or Norway (depandant on the wind direction?!). Whilst I've no issue with sending herbs to those kind folk in those regions, I'd rather harvest and use them myself! And, if I'm out there then the caldendula flowers probably need to be cut and put on the big wooden platter in the downstairs sunny room to dry on the table in the warmth of the house. When dry these are great as a saffron substitute and recently I've read of a way to infuse oil with their petals and make salves (a great hand cream) and a rather natty gardening hand scrub which I'd like to try.

Ponder, ponder, more coffee.

Finally, if it gets really bad I'll have to figure a plan for the chickens, don't want them flying away do I? I had wondered of adopting a strategy similar to this hilarious one (!?) lets hope it doesn't get that bad......for me and any folk affected. Keep tied down and a few rocks in your pockets if its windy with you!

A brilliant extreme hardy farming in the wind cartoon by Alex Leonard of The Giddy Limit,
 As for me I'm off to tog up and go out there and lift/chop a few things, coffees drunk!

More from the brilliant Alex and the Giddy Limit, a brilliant Orkney cartoon about life up here...... at


  1. Washing oot on a Sunday? Think black shame o yourself woman!
    Only joking :). The breeze is certainly lifting a bit here - still some bits and pieces to tidy up. I have done most of my growing in an old roofless building, so it is reasonably safe. I will keep the hens in their hut tomorrow.
    Take care x

  2. A wee blaw'll do you no harm up there. I reckon you're already well-equipped to deal with it. Experience pays off in the end! Good luck!

  3. Ah ya barefoot lassie, it's a bit mair relaxed up here :) batten everything down! In the hosts though we wouldn't have hung it out...........(well we weren't sure)

    Yer actual, practises does make perfect :-) a blaw ,ll do naw harm at a'

  4. intrigued re using calendula as saffron substitute. Look forward to your recipes re salves and creams. Meanwhile the wind could well be strong enough to blow the feathers off a chicken - have seen knitted coats for other such unfortunate birds.

  5. The weather was bad enough two Sundays ago and the weathermen just called that blustery! Hope its not too bad this time.
    Hope you get through it without more garden damage and without having to retrieve your hens from abroad.
    I used to love wild weather until we bought an old house with a high roof LOL.

  6. Sorry, barefoot that should read in the uists, we'd not have hung it out!

    Patio there are lots of recipes on Internet, they call it poor mans saffron. I will check with chooks what colours they'd like....I'll pop a few recipes up, a book I've ot just now has them in, practical self sufficiency, by dick and James strawbridge (DK isbn, 978-1-4053-441-8)

    Julie the weather was dreadful then! Wild weather is noisy! Will tell chooks to keep passports handy

  7. I was thinking of you in all this wind, and wondering how you were faring. I can sympathise as we live near the moors in Yorkshire and it can get pretty fierce, but we used to live even higher, looking down on the Bronte Parsonage. I remember pegging out the washing once, when it was cold enough to freeze my curses on my tongue, and the washing blew horizontal and froze that way. It looked just like one of the Alex cartoons!
    Jane Gray

  8. Jane, freezing the curses on your tongue, now there's a brilliant expression!

    Frozen horizontal washing, sounds, um, fierce!

    Having harvested all the above mentioned I'm now dealing with a mini harvest of petals, herbs and mountains of flat leaf parsley! I hear you can make parsley pesto. Ta for thinking of us x quiet out there still.

    I do love Alex's take on the weather here. When the met office is your most checked website, you know you live by the weather!

  9. And here in the Central Belt the hurricane's due in three hours, but there's no hint of a wind you have to bend to....yet. Willows: I think they get wind-blasted everywhere - better a pruned branch than a splintered mess.

  10. Yikes! Hope you don't have to tie the chickens down... No idea what you should do about the willow, you being the willow expert and all, but all sounds very problematic. I presume once they are better established they will have enough root strength to withstand the wind? Hold on to your hat... And your herbs...

  11. The cartoons make the point so well! Thinking of you this morning--I hope the storm is ending, willows in ground, hens still in the neighborhood!

  12. Well, to be fair it's been so still here midges were out in dreadful force!

    Linnew - I love his cartoons!

    Janet held onto everything! Willow remains uncut, hardly wind...

    Kininvie I hope you are ok? Looks like it's been wild by you.....

  13. I always forget how worse you have it with the weather where you are.
    Sending you warm wishes.