Rain, carrots and black caps!

The weather is still pretty grim, perfect conditions for ducks in fact, but not so for hens. They love nothing more than a nice bath – but not the watery kind! Dust bathing is their idea of heaven, but with all the rain, their regular bathing facilities have become more like mud baths! But as I mentioned a couple of blogs ago, after clearing the polytunnel out for the winter, it seems that I’ve inadvertently created the perfect indoor poultry pampering facilities! They make a bit of a mess, but if they can rid the place of any unwanted pests and maybe add a bit of fresh manure while they’re at it, then I think that’s a fair compromise!

hurried harvest!

Monday did in fact demonstrate that there still is a sun up there somewhere above the windswept greyness. The morning was lovely so I took the opportunity to harvest the carrots. Apparently they can be left in the ground, but last year we did that and they developed  black blemishes extending into the flesh of the root.  Consequently, I thought we’d harvest and store them somehow. Interestingly, the carrots which were planted earliest are again suffering to some extent with  blemishes, but the later crop are just fine and I suspect that maybe they could  overwinter in the ground. Ah well, another lesson learned for next year! Either way, I managed to fill two wheelbarrows which should see us through the winter months – assuming we can store them adequately. Thankfully, I managed to gather the carrot crop fairly swiftly as by lunchtime you’ve guessed it, the rain reappeared!

In the midst of all the November gloom however, there’s been a small wildlife highlight in the garden this week. A female black cap seems to have laid claim to one of our bird-feeders, so much so that she aggressively chases off any other hungry visitors. According to the bird book, the Black Cap isn’t very common in this part of the world so what’s she doing at Garybuie? I haven’t managed to spot a male so has she got left behind at migration time maybe? If that’s the case then I hope she survives the winter and meets up with a new partner next season. I realise it’s not too clear on the following pictures, but she does in fact have a prominent  russet-coloured cap on her head, a giveaway to her identification.

All alone

As I write this blog, the wind is howling and even the ducks are staying sheltered in the garden today, rather than venturing too far afield. Can’t say I blame them! I’m not looking forward to feeding time this afternoon, but rather to the end of the day when all birds are safely away for the night and we can enjoy a cup of tea and a good book! With shorter days now, reading plays a bigger part in our daily routine. I still seem to be on a vampire theme after Kevin discovered a new-to-me author in Portree library – Laurell K. Hamilton and her Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. That’s the only problem with a series, if I enjoy one, I have to read the whole lot! A couple of weeks ago I bought the latest J R Ward book, Covet –  A Novel of the Fallen Angels, which was great. Unfortunately,  I have to wait until May for  the release of her latest Black Dagger Brotherhood novel – my favourite series for some time. Kevin’s more of a World War man however, but isn’t averse to having a few Greeks and Spartans thrown into the mix!

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