Have yourself a merry little christmas .....

It's Christmas Eve, can you believe it, whoohooo !!!!

Yesterday me and John spent the afternoon making mince pies and decorating christmas cakes.
I have been sooo busy this month that i have been terrible at updating my blog. Hopefully in the new year i will make a point of posting more often, and more going on as we up the veggie growing and crafts :)

Christmas Is coming !!

Finally I am feeling justified in beginning decorating for christmas :)
Up here in Orkney you are pretty limited to where you buy your tree. Last year the trees arrived on the islands 3 weeks before Xmas which we thought was too early to get our tree, consequently when we went back the following weekend they were almost all gone. This year we will be getting our tree the Saturday they arrive which is next weekend !! 4weeks before Xmas !! we may need to store the tree in a bucket outside for a few days at least, as we are supposed to be going to hopefully buy a carpet this weekend and laying it in the front room :) Anyway here are some pics of the fab Xmas display they have upstairs in shearers each year, it feels very festive up there with lots of fab goodies, and old paraphernalia.

First snow of the year

Can you believe it, still in October and already we have had snow. This was the scene to greet us when arose this morning. Well actually at half past four this morning when I was awake from it was pitch back, but this was how it looked at around eight o'clock.
It almost made me feel festive, but not enough to get out the Xmas Cd's. Although I did find some Xmas crochet projects on Ravelry for future reference :)

A hat of my very own

In between forum swaps and D.I.Y, I managed to actually crochet something for myself. In fact the first item I have crocheted just for me. It is made with a lovely new wool, light weight and chunky, feather light to wear, which is good as I am not a hat person, they generally make me feel claustrophobic, but a necessity up here when the wind blows.

Also managed to catch a couple of rare photos of mad Milly, usually she is camera shy and too quick.
Like butter wouldn't melt.

Sunriiiise, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset

Today I can not get this particular song from Fiddler on the Roof, out of my head. As the nights are drawing in it is too dark in the mornings before John goes to work for him to let the chooks out, so this morning it was down to me. As i came around the corner and into the run, this is the scene which greeted me. I can not capture the depth of the colours with my camera, but they were stunning. It is almost a year since we moved to Orkney, and in that time we have had chance to experience the seasons like never before. When own south in central heated houses and places of work, it is easy to let the seasons slip by without thought, marked only by Christmas celebrations and summer holidays. But up here you can not ignore them.

We arrived in October and November last year when autumn was well under way and the land around us was well into slumber, with no leaves on our trees, and the grass and plants dying back for the winter. Winds were strong and whipped through you.

On into winter with snow that froze and stayed with us for weeks, cold and biting winds, temperamental central heating and ice on the inside of windows.

Spring came and so did the bulbs, huge amounts of daffodils and bluebells in the garden and the rest of mainland. Warm days between the cold, giving glimpses of the summer to come.

Into summer, a short season here but welcomed. long long days with no night and the inability to sleep, a time to be busy busy busy using the daylight while available.

And back now again to Autumn, wind scorched leaves whipped from the trees before they have chance to turn brown.

Indeed we are on the down slope to Samhain (halloween) and winter, and the death of another year. Autumn Equinox also known as Mabon or Alban Elfed, has passed a couple of weeks ago, and it is a time to take stock of what has been achieved and harvested over the passed year.
We have survived our first year here, make or break for any southerner coming to Orkney, and we have no plans to give up and go yet, still loving it :)

We have harvested our first crops, both ones we have grown ourselves and ones picked from the trees and bushes in our garden which already grow here. some of these have been turned into preserves for the months ahead.
Now is the time to slow down like the plants and trees in the garden, and the hedgehog who has taken up residence. To cut back ready for the onset of winter. And only a thought for the spring ahead in the choosing of next year's seeds.
So as the nights draw in, the fires are lit, and the blankets come out.
The dark clear nights here create natural planetariums to prove there is beauty in the dark as well as the light.
Say goodbye to summer, and with a glass of something mulled, all hail the coming winter.

Autumn swaps and xmas cakes

Been a busy few weeks here, John getting the living room finished for me moving on to the decorating, the ceiling is painted now, but has taken me 4 coats of paint, now on to the walls :)
Also managed to find time to take part in an autumn themed swap on the forum I am a member of. For the swap I made an apple tea cosy, which I am rather please with as it is the first piece of complicated crochet I have done. From my swap partner I recieve this fab pin cushion and needle case, arn't they cute? The forum is fab, full of people who love making an growing things etc if anyone is interested the forum link is http://creativeliving.10.forumer.com/index.php?sid=d1a35df8e7a3898edaeff7254f35552e
I have also made my first christmas cake of the year, I am making several this year. This recipe is the one I have been making a few years now as I like it (no candied peel, uggh) and has pecans and brandy in yumm.
Also set away some hyacynths for christmas, something I have not attempted before, and found these lovely bulbs in a yummy colour, like sugared almonds. i have set away three in this cut glass bowl I found for 50p in the charity shop, and another two in hyacynth vases i found for 50p each.

Christmas is coming !!!

September is here and time to start thinking about Christmas/Yule !!!
Today was the start of the preparation with home made mincemeat. I am on a quest tom make a mincemeat that I actually like, as I do not like shop bought at all. Come to think of it I don't like Xmas cake, or pud or stollen either :)
So far I have made suet-free mincemeat with currents and without currents to see if that is what I don't like, also there is no mixed peel in as it is horrid bitter stuff, yuk.


After really regretting not harvesting the onions on Sunday when it was sunny and dry, I am now forced to go out between thunder storms to pull up our onions. They have done well this year especially the red onions (red baron), we also grew Ailsa craig for our white onions. Trouble is I am now having to lay them out in batches on the kitchen table as our kitchen is currently in the newly built sunlounge and gets all the sun (albeit between the rain).

A complete change in the weather this week, today we have sunny spells, showers, thunder, hailstones and high winds, nothing like a bit of changeable Orkney weather to keep you on your toes. But it also means I don't need to cook in the sunlounge with my sunglasses and straw hat on now :)

Summer's End

Another month gone and another update. So many visitors here this summer, no time to post, but that should change now the bad weather is upon us. Autumn has definitely arrived here on Orkney. No sign of the swallows flying in the yard all weekend so they must have flown away till next year,half the leaves have been blown off the trees, and the brambles are ripening.
Hard to believe only a few weeks ago we were on the beach at Evie with the boys. Although it looks peaceful and tranquil in the pics, only a few minutes earlier a tornado had flown over very low and spooked the geese in the field behind us :)


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