Monday, December 29, 2014

Lovely morning with ice on the car

Awoke to a lovely morning sunrise and discovered ice crystals that looked like ferns on the car.

We still have roses in bloom at the front door too which is a first, usually they are well and truly blasted by gales by this time. John went home yesterday morning, he wasn't feeling great so its just the two of us again. I might ask the neighbor if he fancies coming over for New Years day dinner if he is alone too.

Its such a glorious day here I,m going to head out shortly and take some photos just waiting for my camera battery to charge up.

I got my bulbs planted yesterday along with two of the bigger plants I got for Christmas, some of the bulbs I planted earlier in the season sprouted so they will probably die off in the cold weather and not flower in springtime, either they weren't deep enough or the plants were fooled into believing spring had sprung really early.

I hope we get a spell of this dry weather as all the rain is depressing, I have another helper arriving on the fifth of January from Marthas Vineyard in the USA, he is a horticulturist whos family have a garden center over there.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas, what did you get up to.

The local shop owner Tike, gave me an unexpected present on Christmas Eve. I was in the shop stocking up with last minute bits and bobs and he told me he was really tired as he had been up all night with his wee bairns they had a tummy upset that kept them going to the loo. So I shook his hand and spent the next 12 hours on the loo myself. Looking on the possives it made more space for all the hundred weights of food we had in for the three of us.
I did really well in the way of presents, three bushes / , Rhus typhina or stags head, Acuba japonica "golden king" and  Mahonia japonica. One is early spring flowering one summer and one autumn/ winter. Also got a load of spring bulbs to go with the dozens I already put in the ground. They include crocuses tulips allium and bluebells. Also got a yachting book written by a friend of my parents who has a cottage on the island they live on and has clocked up 26,000 miles around the western isles in his wee 27 ft yacht. I,d be out planting the lot today but 1 it is raining 2 I can't move yet. Had to change my shirt mid afternoon as I had grown out of it.
After today the weather looks like it is improving so I shall spend today teasing John and the rest of the week working off the Christmas cheer. 
Nolaig Shona agus a bliana a bha ure.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gales, wind and more gales

Today is dreich driving rain in gale force W winds, good day to be indoors. Seas at the entrance to the bay are between 4.5 and 5.5 meters, the whole week looks windy. One tree down this morning thankfully it is just the wee Christmas tree on the front lawn, baubles scattered and the elaphunt lost an ear, the Santa hats on the other animals are fluttering horizontally and its a sort of dejected looking party of animals at the moment, the chance of a white Christmas is virtually nil however the mood indoors is better, nice fire blazing, cozy house with lots of festive cheer about. Had visitors last night and exchanged presents with them always nice to see kids faces when they open presents, the older you get the more satisfying it is to give, than receive, so Angie recons, so shes getting nowt :) hehehe.

I will have to go down and check Ron's boat is ok but am putting it off till the rain stops. John arrives tomorrow for a week or so and I have an American helper starting on the 5th of January so i,m hoping the weather is better, this guy is a qualified horticulturalist from Martha s vineyard  whose family have a garden center there, hope he is as good as Clement was around the place. I have plenty of bushes and plants that I'm hoping can be propagated from cuttings and transplants, it might be the wrong time of year but I shall pick his brains as to which ones should go where and I aim to make another big rockery and pond.  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pine cones, holly and a bit of creativity

Used some pine cones and holly from the garden to make a couple of festive decorations today.

Angie got the basket as a hamper full of goodies from her work.

Sewing basket put to a different use.

I got a hamper with 12 bottles of wine from a customer as well so we have lots of wine in now.
John is coming up next Tuesday, hopefully for a couple of weeks, it will be good to see what he thinks of all the work that has been done since he was here last, Angie took a walk round with me this morning and she was impressed.
George and Gail were heading through the Dennison canal today towards Hobart, I think I would have sailed round the Lanterns and Tasman Ireland instead, taking in the scenery round one of the roughest parts of coast imaginable especially since the weather is being so good to them but hey I didn't spend the last week or two rolling around and Googling for the best bays to anchor in is a bit different to actually being there lol. Fortescue bay looked amazing right enough.

At 300 meters, the columnar dolerite cliffs at Cape Pillar and Tasman Island are among the highest in the world. Dolerite is a rare rock type on mainland Australia. With good weather and low swell it would have been possible to get close and an easy view from the ocean, Cathedral Rock, Totem Pole, Candlestick, and Tasmans Arch and the Tasman Lighthouse, it was one of the most isolated lighthouses in Australia. It was built in 1906, automated in 1976 and demanned in 1977. I have a thing about Lighthouses, I used to chat with some of the keepers in Scottish Lighthouses I would be sailing past in the puffer before they unmanned them all, on a bad night it was great to talk to someone ashore.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bastard Trumpeter

No I dont have a crazed Pikie playing a bugle outside my bedroom window I was just chatting to George my bro in law who has arrived in WineGlass bay in Tasmania and mentioned a fish they have there which is prized table fodder called the Bastard Trumpeter. It came up in conversation as he was thinking of having a bit of a fish over the stern and I said he should target this species. Imagine in a restaurant, asking the waiter "Do you have Bastard Trumpeter"  and getting the reply "No we only have F$$%%ing Snapper" giggling here Gawd I,m easy amused ehh.

The Bastard Himself
The bay they are anchored in is one of the top ten beaches in the World, when I read this I wondered if the person making up the list had visited the beaches on the West side of Tiree and Harris before making up the short list, probably not but hey the bay there does look stunning with the mountains to the North and not a house in sight, rather jealous here. I have taken on a new job, Chief Weather and Location Analyst for the SV Southern Belle, looks like Google maps is the closest I will get to Tassy this year.

My Helper Clement heads off today, he was a great hand in the garden and welcome back anytime. I shall miss the company but think I will do without assistance now until March at the earliest. Talking about helpers George has a crewman with him and his wife, for this leg of the journey, he is Leona,s boyfriend Bruce, Leona visited here soon after we bought the place and named the garden pond "Lake Maquire" she would notice some difference with the place now.  Lake Maquire even has a croc.

We spent an hour or two yesterday morning raking all the sawdust, pine cones and branches etc off the area near my compost bins and I aim to get a big bag of wildflower seeds and spread them so that area can be like a wildflower meadow and only get cut once a year. I shall have to check what time of the year is best to spread the seed and imagine I shall have to go round with the fork to make holes for the seeds first. No doubt the birds will be following me too. Its 0830 here and still not daylight yet, roll on Springtime.

Monday, December 15, 2014

disaster with a hot chocolate

I was home alone last night, Angie was in Inverness and my helper was in Galway dressed up as Santa doing the rounds of every pub that sold Guiness I think, anyway I was sitting in the dark watching the x factor finals (music competition) and decided to have a hot chocolate, it was the last one and I was making it in the semi dark, I thought, thats weird, as I topped the mug up with milk usually the milk carton has a blue top not an orange one. I had put fresh orange juice on the last spoonful of hot chocolate lol.

Clement was going to leave on Thursday but said on the way back he might go a day earlier to buy Christmas presents, since the weather looks bad for Tuesday and Wednesday I said maybe he might go on Tuesday and have a couple of days before he goes back to France, It has been good having him help me but I dont have any indoor work left.

Check out this guys photos some of the Mongolia ones are great and the zoo ones really show how fed up the animals are

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Storm force winds

This is today's weather here in Galway bay, my parents will be getting it worse still as the low pressure system is passing over them in Scotland, from reports online it looks like electricity is out for most of the Highlands and Islands which could explain why I can't get through on the phone.
Gale warning with dangerous seas. Small craft advisory. Use extreme caution. Very large long period swell. Seas: WNW 7.6 to 9.9 meters at 17 seconds. Winds: WNW 32 to 43 knots. 
Yep just checked and the weather off the west coast Scotland is Gale warning with dangerous seas. Small craft advisory. Use extreme caution. Very large long period swell. Seas: W 8.3 to 11 meters at 17 seconds. Winds: W 35 to 48 knots. 11 meter seas hmmm no thanks. The Irish Government is still blindly charging ahead with plans to plant hundreds of turbines in the midlands here in the hope that the UK will buy wind power from them when they will be getting it free from Scottish turbines? 

Over a hundred thousand people on the streets of Dublin protesting against water charges and government policy today, and that's on a weekday. Something is very broken. 

Clement and I managed to get a couple of hours chopping and stacking logs this morning before it started hailstoneing and we did some painting indoors for the rest of the day. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Tasmanian adventure

I,m a bit jealous of my brother and sister in law as they are off on another adventure on their yacht, this time they are sailing round Tasmania for the next few months. They also have a blog at and Gail takes the blogging under her wing on their travels. I will be looking forward to the photos as I have traveled by boat the NSW coast and the North of Tasmania including three, five week stints in Bass strait attending a dredger.

Bass strait is about 240 km wide at its narrowest and contains over 50 islands of which two are inhabited and the waters here are notoriously rough. Flinders island in the late 18th century, was frequented by sealers and Aboriginal women, the majority of whom had been kidnapped from their mainland tribes. Seal stocks soon collapsed, causing the last sealing permit to be issued in 1828. Many sealers' families chose to stay in the Furneaux Group, subsisting on cattle grazing and muttonbirding.
From 1830, the remnants of the Tasmanian Aboriginal population were exiled to Settlement Point (or Wybalenna, meaning Black Man's House) on Flinders Island. These 160 survivors were deemed to be safe from white settlers here, but conditions were poor, and the relocation scheme was short-lived. In 1847, after a campaign by the Aboriginal population against their Commandant, Henry Jeanneret, which involved a petition to Queen Victoria, the remaining 47 Aboriginals were again relocated, this time to Oyster Cove Station, an ex-convict settlement 56 kilometres south of Tasmania's capital, Hobart,where Truganini, the last full-blood Tasmanian Aborigine, died in 1876.
From the late 19th century freehold land was given out, but it was not until the 1950s that a proper settlement scheme was initiated, mainly drawing settlers from mainland Tasmania and central New South Wales to Flinders Island's eastern shore.

I will be keeping track of their progress thanks to a website called  all you do is look for the link to the yacht Southern Belle and its shows their position on google maps and any recent posts they make, at the moment they are in a marina waiting for a thunderstorm to pass before they head off. modern technology is great ehh imagine how Captain Cooks wife (Elizabeth BATTS) would have liked to know where her hubby was.
In 1798, Matthew Flinders and George Bass were the first Europeans to circumnavigated Tasmania. It has been done by canoe in 2009 by three women paddlers. 
The boat below is Southern Belle.

 Happy sailing George and Gail, hope you have fair weather and full sails.

Splitting maul

I got myself a splitting maul today from a stall at Maam Cross pony sales, and a jockey wheel for the trailer. What a difference there is chopping firewood with the maul instead of an axe, up to now I have been using an axe, for those of you unsure what the difference is

The top one is a maul. What a difference there is using the correct tool for the job, the maul doesn't get stuck in the logs like the axe does and it is heavier so there is less grunt required to shatter the wood, i wish I had invested in one this time last year.

My helper Clement is away into Galway tonight, ohh to be young again lol, I will probably watch some Danish detective movie and be in bed before ten, sober as a judge.

The front lawn has a Christmas tree with lights that do their thing for six hours then turn themselves off for 18 hrs, actually there are two trees outside bedecked with lights if you count a holly bush as a tree. It looks very festive as I have put Santa hats on some of my carvings too lol, I,m just a big kid at heart.