|I don't take my dog by rail, but I do often take him to work. He's well versed in flowers after all.|
A happy good day to you. Its been a pondersome week in the McFlowers household, so you'll excuse the reflective thoughts, but you might be surprised that I do have them. I've been pondering the fate of my blog and haivers once we've flitted 'sooth' and things like 'taking your dog on a train' becomes an actual option.
Regarding the blog, do I keep going, do I stop, do I restart a new blog or do I just abandon all heart and give your poor eyeballs a rest? I just don't know. Now those of you who are fortunate enough to have only recently discovered my haivers, may not know that this blog use to have a different name. It use to be called 'The Wind and the Willows', no offence to the original fine book by Kenneth Grahame, but I use to work in a willow plot and its a tad windy up here. Hence the play of words. So in a ponderous mood, I took myself and the hounds up to the plots where I spent many a long hour for 4 years doing researching the botanical, environmental and practical merits of willow (Salix sp.), all 13 hybrid clones of them, were indeed a viable SRC biomass fuel crop for Orkney.
|SRC willow bundles and crop in Orkney.|
|SRC willow Kirkwall, Muddisdale.|
So those of us who have solid fuel stoves would also do well to grow some around the edges of our plots to supplement the fuel we use quite nicely. I think realistically that's how it will work best in Orkney where wood is so scarce, its like, erm, well, wood really. And, to be honest in many other gardens I think the addition of a wood patch/willow or other suited species coppice would really help reduce our dependency on external fuels if you have a stove. Its also a rather brilliant windbreak and establishes quickly in even the windiest of spots. OK so the yields aren't as good as some more sheltered mainland areas, but lets face facts, Orkney isn't exactly forested is it? So a quick growing wood crop which is good for birds, wildlife and warms your toes, gets my vote for small scale production. Peedie of course concurs, he's a solid botanical research sort (in more ways than one) but he doesn't like to talk about his ACTUAL research much, people tend to glaze over when he talks about plants (again) and how fabulous they are (again). I know that feeling well!
|Three year old SRC in Orkney, around 5m tall.|
Its also quite nice to be able walk about thinking and also to get under a canopy too. Doesn't happen here that much. Whilst I pondered on and said hello to all 13 hybrids, yes by name, I still rather remarkably know them all, the hounds plodded about. Peedie (a much experienced SRC biomass research hound) was not as excited as Haggis, this being his first time to a full sized research plot. However, they both agreed that whilst they liked the taller willow, it was much easier to chase rabbits and voles in the newly cut back plots and oyster catchers and bark at noisy skylarks.
|Hounds of biomass research, chasing rabbits and the indigenous Orkney vole.|
They chased and I pondered some more. I began writing this blog, on finding out I was diagnosed with dyslexia, it was a bit of 'therapy' during my thesis writing (yes it exists, not for the faint hearted but an excellent sleep antidote) to help me just write and to come to terms with things I'd not quite fathomed, like why I haivered (yes really) and why I couldn't really read very well outloud, so I 'came clean'. Yes poor reader it was 'recommended' that I write to help get the word out, which as it proved was a great therapy for me, not so good I'm afraid for your eyeballs. So whilst it began as a 'Wind and the Willows' it mutated happily into 'The Wind and the Wellies' as more of our home life was nattered about and wellies feature as prominently as the wind here.
Seemed to make sense, as chooks and cooking and other life surprises emerged, happily chittering about them on here has become a way of life. So does that stop when we move? Does the blogging stop when we move? I hope not. Its become a nice way of documenting things and a lovely way to connect with people.
|Einstien and the lasses|
Like I say its been a reflective week and often I get the chance to go and say hello to my chooks, who now live over in a large garden in the west mainland of Orkney with a friend.
|The flock and a runner duck, runner not rubber.|
There is no garden at the current wee house (which I know is a travesty, but needs must when young ladies need access to school buses). I also do a fair bit of gardening through work so it wasn't all sacrifice. However the chooks did go and live elsewhere and whilst I know they are happy, I miss them and try and peek at them (like a mad chicken stalker lady) once a week or so. Einstien (probably the daftest cockeral in the world) still guards his ladies, and tips his head in a wee nod when I pop by.
As you can see they're very happy, they've inherited an Indian Runner duck as a chum and clearly like a good game of footy too. I'm glad to see them so happy, whilst we'll have new chooks when we relocate, these are staying here, happy in their lovely home. And I know one day we'll get back to our own version of 'Free range living' which is just great. Whilst I'll miss Orkney dreadfully, and our adventures, I'm looking forward to hens and a garden and beaches and all the things we have here, just closer to family and some old friends.
Enough of these haivers and my revisiting old haunts and chooks, my main thread of thought, was regarding keeping the blog?
I'm swapping one set of coastline for another. One part of windy Scotland for another equally windy region. One set of living for another, which will have an ample garden for frolicks and exploits, a kitchen to cook in and a fire to feed with wood. And of course, there will always be wellies.
As we've just put in an offer on a wee hoose, in the East Neuk of Fife, (home to fine beaches, food (the best fish and chips in the UK) and many bonnie gardens) I hope the answer is yes you'll join us on that particular adventure too when it gets finalised? I hope you might.
In the mean time, its a packing and working and decluttering frenzy here. Who'd have known I was so good at yielding a cloot when I needed too? And I could actually take the lid off a tub of brasso if needed? Not me. But I won't be adding handle polishing to my CV anytime soon, its hard work!
|A handle from an old 14 drawer dresser rescued from The Commercial Hotel, Stromness which might have been a 'sweetie' cupboard a long time ago in a sweet making shop.|
|Newly polished handle, awaiting removal so I can sand the drawers (did I say there are 14 of them?) - I may be some time.|
And, so if none of you object, I've a mind too, if I may, to keep on going and keep on haivering? There is likely to be more gardening right enough, but the same amount of stomping on beaches and frenzied scoffing I'm sure.
I've met some fabulous friends doing this haivering malarkay and quite frankly I'd like to keep them.
Anyways, as if I'd be able to stop.
Haivering that is.