Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Its not all over yet

It’s not over yet- that is spring we are talking about.

In England spring started early this year with plenty of flowers and insects about in February and March, even some butterflies made an early appearance. Birds were in full song and lambs had been born. Even the weather was good.

We moved to Shetland on the 17 April when only the ranks of daffodils along the road side were indicators of the oncoming spring. Gradually the dark nights receded; the weather began to get warmer and the sun more evident. Spring is around a month or so later than in Sheffield so it has some way to go before it merges with summer.

Lambs were just starting to be born, our friends in Sandwick had just gone on standby for lambing and it wasn't long after we arrived that they had to start getting up around 3.30am to help the lambs arrive safely.
You cannot get away from sheep they are everywhere on Shetland, its ideal country. When lambs arrive they normally come in pairs or sometimes they may have three, but a sheep at Quendale farm had five lambs – it must be a record.

Having seen lambs some people cannot eat the meat. Shetland lamb is superb and very tasty and in a few months we will be buying a whole sheep, which has been cut up ready to store and keep you supplied over the winter.

Shetland has more cows than when we first started coming up in the late 1980’s and these too started to have calves, even small Shetland foals could be seen in the fields. Birds that had been away from Shetland for the winter started to arrive back.

 In April, wheatears became a frequent sight, and then in May Artic terns and Skuas arrived back on breeding grounds. Starling and sparrows started to display and the air was full on Skylark song. Primroses added a splash of colour along the roads and daisy fields look more like snow, such is the abundance.
We will hope to move into our new house in early August, providing the home report comes back OK. 

We will then have to arrange for our things to come out of storage and be transported up from Sheffield. At least they shouldn’t have any problems with access as the new place is near the main road. If we had chosen one of the other houses we viewed then it might have been a problem with narrow roads and tight bends.

Along we the house we have just found out we have a peat bank somewhere up on the hill, luckily the peat has already been cut for the year and we will be ok for the year. Whether or not we have the energy or will to cut more next year we will have to see.

Peat has a sweet smell, but needs time to dry out after cutting, you have to stack it then bag it, before transporting so it is very time consuming. In the meantime is great to have a walk on the beach with no one else around.

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