Saturday 23 May 2020

A Spring Storm On Skye - Part Two

The pending storm that I wrote about yesterday mostly blew-through last evening and night. It was a rough night. It brought to mind Ted Hughes' fantastic poem - 'Wind' - which starts: 'This house has been far out at sea all night, The woods crashing through darkness...' 

This morning, the rain still beats against the windows, but the tearing, roaring wind has died to little more than huffs and groans. 

Outside - all looks much the same, if rather wet and bedraggled. There's no trees or even branches down - locally at least. The allotment has survived reasonably unscathed, though the runner beans have lost quite a few leaves. If any fail, I have some spares, still in pots, in the cold frame. 

So there ends a further short chapter in Skye's wonderful variety of weather. It's never dull here!

The Roskhill trees lost a lot of leaves, but no branches

The 'earthed-up plastic bottles all survived, and protected my young sprouts and kale

The runner beans look a bit shocked.

Friday 22 May 2020

A Spring Storm On Skye

A Met Office yellow warning for heavy rain and high winds is in place for the Western Isles. As we get a lot of rain and high winds quite often, getting a yellow warning is a bit 'special'. Up to 100mm of rain and peak wind gust speeds up to 75mph are forecast. The worst will be here overnight tonight - but at about mid-day today, rain is already lashing against my study window, and tree branches are waving-about pretty wildly.

How will the garden cope? Well, I have issued frogman suits and aqua-lungs to all the runner bean plants, and built scaffolding round the plastic bottle 'greenhouses' that protect my young brassica plants. The recently-emerged midges are out of sight, no doubt wearing galoshes and sou'westers and clinging to undersides of leaves by their teeth and fingernails.

Looking over the rain-soaked garden, I am always impressed by the amazing flexibility of the shrubs and larger plants as they are constantly blown almost inside-out by the gusty winds. Our local deciduous trees usually struggle a bit in weather like this. They have been through it all before of course, but they are still likely to lose some twiggy branches and quite a few of their new leaves will be on the ground by the morning. And how do the birds still manage to fly??? Salt-spray from the nearby rough sea can also cause damage. I have seen trees with almost all their leaves burned-brown by salt, but this early in the year, if this happens, there is time for them to have a 'second spring' and put out a second growth of green.

Joking aside, I am fairly confident that my allotment will cope OK, as nothing has grown big enough yet to be too exposed - though if my plastic bottles get blown-off my young brassicas, I would fear for the ability of the young plants to take the strain of the wind. I'll be out there in my waterproofs soon, to temporarily part-bury the bottles in the hope that that will keep them in place.

Here is a couple of photos of the allotment that I took yesterday, during the calm before the storm. If there is anything new to photograph tomorrow, I will add a new post here to show the aftermath.

Monday 18 May 2020

More Garden Pics

Since we are still not allowed to go anywhere much, I'm restricted to taking photos in the garden.

Here's a few from today...

This is Sue's domain - a tiny part of the front garden

At last we have bluebells!
This is in what I call 'the wild garden',
below the allotment

The bottled brassicas are doing really well

The runner beans are getting established
and excitedly waving their leaves in the breeze

Sue's untidy strawberry bed
looks like it could produce a bumper crop

Aliens at Summer Cottage!

The aliens are in fact flower buds
of huge, delicate-looking poppies

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Allotment Update - Lockdown Restrictions Eased

As a follow-up to my last post about the baby plantlets emerging from the allotment soil, today I offer a few quick pictures of the pot-grown seedlings now released from their captivity in the shed and cold frame, and planted out in their rightful beds with strict instructions to make the most of the current sunny weather and get on with the growing.

The brussels sprouts and kale are currently enjoying the high life in temporary personal greenhouses. Not only does the plastic protection shelter them from the wind while they establish themselves in the soil, but the barrier also defeats any efforts by the cabbage root-fly to get up close to the plants and lay her eggs.

I have noticed that the emerging potatoes have been nipped by the frost. My fingers are crossed that the same fate does not take a toll of my runner beans.

Bottle garden?

The runner beans have some climbing to do...

... and in the wild garden, we at last have bluebells!

Tuesday 12 May 2020

A Cacophony Of Cuckoos - And A Bit About Babies

03.57 was the time showing on the bedside clock when a cuckoo launched into 'song' this morning.  The racket clearly woke a nearby song-thrush, who panicked, obviously thinking it was morning already, and began his 'wake-up everybody' serenade. A nearby crow squawked a few guttural croaks, which I am quite sure were bird-language for, 'shut up and go back to sleep'.

As it happens, I sleep through much of the cuckoo calling these days. One bird has been with us since about 18th May, and for a while roamed-around the area, cuckooing here and there. But there are several more cuckoos with us now. Today for a while we had two of them calling almost in sync - so it was 'cuck cuck-coo-coo' for a bit. Almost tuneful.

As to the babies ...

It's excitement time on the allotment. We have baby plants! This is not the strapping young seedlings in pots, that are now beginning to look like it is nearly time for them to be planted out. This is baby plants growing in the soil. 

Most exciting of all are the carrots. They take an age to germinate, and when they finally pop up, they are so teeny - almost invisible - before magic takes over, and they zoom into a growth spurt to produce their most wonderful tasting orange roots. There's nothing quite like fresh young carrots, except maybe fresh new potatoes... or maybe fresh baby sprouts... 

We like our veg! 

Baby sprouts always look limp.
On the right are the kale
Runner beans 'hardening off'. They'll be in the soil tomorrow.
Potatoes!. More are up - just not showing in this picture
Broad beans (nearest) and peas under their support sticks
.. and carrots...!!!