Sunday, 9 June 2013

Weekend of walking, wandering and watering

So as weekend's go, it gone well, how about yours? Mine's started with taking the cellist to the ferry as she's off to New York (not all by boat) for a school trip. Since then, with the cellist off gallivanting, we're home alone. So, as normal, we had a plod up the hill, we do this before breakfast so we feel noble and well aired. Down there in that wee village, is my peedie cottage........its where the dreadfully behaved diva like beast 'Darwin' the campervan also lives. He's off to the garage tomorrow for major investigation and potentially some rather expensive surgery.....hopefully he'll live without too much fussing.
As Darwin's sulking most of the time, we tend to spend our time walking, this weekend we had a trip to the local woods, Binscarth, Finstown. Yes we DO have a woodland, whilst its small, its perfectly formed. What you're not seeing are the cows watching us walk through this field.........lots of them. That was interesting.
I love this walk, I really wish we'd do it more often. However, Peedie is not a fan of leaves in his undercarriage. Haggis, has no problems with leafy undercarriages, so into the woods we went.
 As always in woodlands, it pays to check out where that bubbly noise is coming from, a bonnie wee burn staved our drooth.
And so into the forest. Whilst its not exactly large enough to get lost in, its a fine enough walk, lovely to be under trees and take a rest from the big Orkney skies, just for a while. And, listen to the birds.
 As always I'm off looking at trees and flowers and alike, Peedie leads the way.
 Now five or ten minutes into this walk the lanes open up and the landscape changes along an old bridle path. You're never far from those big skies in Orkney. So we explore a little more.....
The gorse Ulex europaeus, is in full bloom, buzzing with bees. It is told that there is never a month without gorse, or whin as its also known, in flower. That's certainly true. But in May/June its just breath taking to see the depth and the abundance of the flowers.
We slowly amble back through the woodland and onwards to home, its time for chores. Actually, its time for some gardening. Now living in a house with no back garden and a single divan sized front patch, you'd think wouldn't need much looking after. Well, in part, that's true. However, the front is also blessed with an 'attack rose'. And, today it attacked me for the last time. Its very good at catching me, just around the middle and telling me I'm needing to shed my winter belly. Well no more mocking attack rose. 
Its a rampant beast, with no manners and a dandelion for company.  With bright red flowers, I'm of a mind its something like 'Paul's scarlet' climbing rose. What it is, whether its called Paul or not, is vicious.
So out came the secateurs......finally. Then the saw. The dogs, looked on unfettered, even when it bit me. Even when there was blood, barely visible among the celtish freckles. Some would say without quick action, I might have bled to death. However, the dogs and the rose looked on regardless. Neither seemed to be very perplexed at my plight, so I soldiered on and finished the job. I'm THAT dedicated. And, ended up with several more war wounds. I'm glad that job is done. I've been putting it off for ages.
And, so that attack rose was tamed, for now. Just in time as well, as the garden guru chap was gallivanting for the weekend (again), and I had to go water the plants at work. My life is REALLY this exciting, I can tell you're riveted between the walking and the pruning, sometimes there's watering. So we headed off in the car, its being a goodly long walk to town. Haggis doesn't much like the car, he prefers running.
And, neither dogs are a fan of gardening. So I plodded off alone to tackle the watering. A nice surprise hit my nose when I entered a previously slumbering tunnel, now festooned with sweet smelling heavenly sweet peas....their fragrance was just intoxicating. While I know many garden without poly tunnels are just coming into life too but with the addition of one of these, they really do extend the season significantly here. And that's always welcomed in our climate.
And, I indulged in the first of the seasons strawberries. OK, I know, they're NOT my strawberries, but I only had two. Just two, honest injun, I'm a polite stand in water'r. I know that the garden guru would understand at two strawberries disappearance, however if I'd eaten the whole tunnels worth, I'm sure I would get my marching orders.
And, I know that I'd get my polytunnel watering license revoked, so I exercised caution and stepped away from the strawberries. But, they were so good, so sweet and so wonderful especially off the plant. The first of the season strawberries always are the best, aren't they?
Orkney strawberries, ready to eat in early June.
And, because we were good and we'd done our chores we headed home, and, um, did MORE chores. I'd decided to make chilli sauce from my birthday chillis. To say it was HOT would be a slight understatement. Its needs more work. So we laid that aside and got on with this evenings dinner.
Crazy crazy hot chilli sauce. A work in progress.
Being home alone means I get to do what I want, when I want and eat what I want, as I like. So tonight I indulged a bit. I had pan seared smoked scallops with a bit of rice and salad. If you're interested you can read more about those over here on 'This wee lass eats'
Pan seared Orkney smoked scallops.
So fuelled up again, it was time to finish the jobs for the day. Having been attacked by that rose several times, I'd decided to play it safe and move the tomatoes into their final home for the summer. I grow these on the windowsills (inside) and this year I'm growing some at work as well. We'll see which do best but the windowsill tomatoes always work well.
There they are all snuggled up indoors beside the pasta, which is quite fitting as mostly they'll all end up as pasta sauce for the cellist later this year. Its tradition, don't you know.


  1. How lovely to get to spend a cheery virtual weekend with you! Glad the rose got its comeuppance - that'll learn it, as we say down here! Those sweet peas look gorgeous too - doesn't seem two minutes ago you were watering them as seedlings! xx

    1. Ah how lovely to see you and yes these were but 'peedie loons and quines' when last you were here. Was that really two months ago.......

      The rose needs to learn not to attack my poor hands, arms and belly.


  2. School trips have improved since my day! Hope she has a fantastic time. I remember you always growing tomatoes and basil on your windowsills and I'm thinking I should give this a try. Even down here in SW England I struggle with outside tomatoes. And chillis and peppers have to be grown inside otherwise they just don't ripen. I really enjoyed reading about your weekend, and your photos are beautiful as ever. Orkney is stunning, absolutely stunning. Hope you have a lovely week.

  3. That certainly looks like a very real woodland, one which the Shetlanders would be keen to have. Phew, glad you didn't bleed to death or have to join Darwin for major surgery. Did I ever tell you that I was a car surgeon until the age of thirty when I suddenly got fed up getting my hands dirty.

  4. Fay, you need some proper gauntlets. How can you tackle an attack rose with bare arms and expect to come away alive? You were lucky.

  5. Well, I think you won the War of the Rose, so wear the wounds with pride!! What a lovely walk, I do love the contrast in landscape. I think polytunnels are magical. I have strawberry and sweet pea envy!