Spring on Orkney is such a lovely season … and this year it has been delightful. OK we have had dull days, but not many wet ones. And lots of sunshine, though admittedly a chill wind has blown rather too often.
Daffodils announce that spring is well on the way – it is the custom here to plant them all along the roadsides, in great swathes to lighten everyone’s heart. We planted a load a couple of years ago, but need to get out there and put lots more in come the autumn, there just aren’t enough. You need lots and lots and lots!
They are followed by dandelions (or as my daughters used to call them, Liony-dans),
which grow wild all around the garden and I think they are just so pretty but Mark gets frustrated as no sooner has he cut the grass than they spring up again to mock his efforts. Now the bluebells are out- and pink ones and white ones as well. So charming.
The rhubarb is ready to be picked – I have to restrain myself as it is an enormous plant and if I cook and freeze too much I end up throwing it away the following year when the new crop starts!! Rhubarb grows brilliantly here and I can’t give it away as everyone has their own crop.
We managed to get the rosa rugosa cut back before the birds started thinking naughty thoughts and building nests – as a friend of mine remarked, the garden becomes a pornotholgical drama at this time of year. The males fighting, the females watching and then having their fun with the winner ! The noise can be incredible – the geese have mostly gone now, but it’s amazing the racket a group of sparrows can make, and then you have a flock of oyster catchers come shrieking past.
Last year we had a pair of herons nesting and we are hoping they will come back. A hare has taken up residence locally and we see him occasionally (well it might be her of course …).
The first of the lambs are out in the fields … little tiny ones and sometimes you see them just born and still very wobbly. It’s not going to be long before the kai (that’s cattle to you and me) are let out and the fields will be full of cows with their calves, usually with a splendid bull in attendance. They love being let out and if you are lucky enough to see them heading out for the first time you will see these large and ponderous beasts positively skipping for joy!
It’s not all joy though – it’s a time of year when the farmers get out the fertiliser (aka slurry) and generously cover the fields. Luckily the farmer owning the land next to us is always nice enough not to do it if I have the washing out.
As many of you know, I try and always dry my washing with a modern mix of solar and wind power – i.e. I hang it on the line. I have to pick my moments, as it has been really rather too windy lately. Even 10 pegs wouldn’t keep things on the line and out of the burn, and it’s more than my life is worth to have to confess to Mark that he needs to put his wellies on and go paddling (again!).
It’s also a source of amusement to visitors that I keep a rock in the bottom of the laundry basket, or that’s liable to get blown away as well.
It all seems designed to put a spring in your step and raise the spirits.