Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sunshine on Westray

It was a beautiful day in Westray today, even allowing for that Orkney rarity, a hard frost. The sun shone and what snow showers there were passed to the south-west and east.

Molly the sow, now painfully thin after feeding 13 piglets for eight weeks, was more than relieved to be moved to her own pen. I kept an eye on the little ones for much of the afternoon, but they seemed unfazed by the sudden departure of their mum/milk ration.

Molly will now have a few weeks of rest and food, then, once she's back to fighting weight we'll see if The Boss has a window in his diary and the whole thing starts again. It seems like a hard life for the old girl, but she thrives when she is in-pig and a sow at the top of her game should be able to produce two litters a year.

Away from the pigshed Sally and I enjoyed tea and cake on the patio, watching the sunshine shimmer on the sea between Westray and Rousay, chatting about the extension we will get built this year, working out who the occasional passers-by were before admitting it was a bit chilly and seeking the warmth of the kitchen.

Later I went through one of my favourite annual rituals. Unlike previous years where I've spent hours poring over catalogues, we put a list together and did the whole thing on line, Sal persuading me to try some new ones (bok choi) and some that haven't worked for the last couple of years (parsnips).

She'd obviously been doing some research as my Wolverhampton-born-and-bred wife had left in the Google search box 'how to grow yam'. She wonders why I laugh.


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Mocking one's wife's manner of speaking is hardly the recipe for a healthy marriage. I wonder if Jerusalem artichokes might grow successfully in Westray. I bought some last weekend in Ely and they were deliciously different.

andrea said...

Coming here was like a breath of fresh air for the oxygen deprived. Life in Olympia is a bit too intense.

I, Like The View said...

and what about regular artichokes? they don't need any tending, just let them grow like weeds at the back of the plot. . .

. . .I didn't realise that you could see the sea

*green with envy*

(oh, and what kind of cake was it?!)

Dave said...

ILTV: while I was on Westray, Malc dropped me off on the North Sea Coast, and I walked over to the Atlantic. I smile at Rog and his coast-to-coast cycle ride.

fiwa said...

We've had some beautiful, sunny days here recently too. But it's cooold! No chance of sitting outside yet.

I'm going to try to seriously grow some veggies this year - a new raised bed is just about ready. So far I've had good luck with Swiss Char - and it's so gorgeous it's almost as good as growing flowers. Good luck with your new choices - hope you love them.

elizabethm said...

I have had two years worth of failed parsnips, giving up now. Have had good pak choi though, any relation to bok?

zIggI said...

?? I don't know what's funny about it. I googled it and found it very interesting - I may even try it myself!

Malc said...


She's used to it by now. I'm surprised by what does grow this far north, but wind is a problem.


That'd be the Olympics the BBC tells us we're so interested in.


We're less than half-a mile from the Atlantic and the North Sea.


He's got it all wrong, hasn't he?


French beans and courgettes (zucchini) are easy to grow and produce a lot in not too much space.


Try spreading the parsnip seed on damp kitchen roll, cover with cling film and leave in an airing cupboard until the shoot shows. Then sew in the seed drill with tweezers. Never failed for me in Shrewsbury so it ought to be OK in North East Wales. Pak and Bok are the same thing, apparently.


I did wonder how the joke would translate outside the West Midlands. Wolverhampton folk are known (sometimes affectionately) as Yam-yams - it's the silly accent.