We had a spell of clear skies coinciding with some solar activity. One display was bright enough to see with the naked eye, as we did driving down the Sound of Mull taking a friend home to Salen after Film Club. I had left my camera running at home, so I did get some photographs of it, which were sadly out of focus - above!
Clear skies in the day time too, and some cold frosty weather followed the snow at the end of January. Ice on the puddles and slippery roads when out.
We always enjoy the appearance of the Starlings. They are not here every day but they do appear regularly and it is lovely to see. They roost in the big shed and quite often fly into the trees around the house, so noisy. They even murmurate - even though there aren't clouds of them. It is lovely to watch them fly off the wires and out over the fields before coming back to land on the wires again.
Daughter is mid interview process for university so this week Farmer and I have been driving her around the UK for interviews. One was at Brighton on Wednesday so we all headed to the beach after she had finished, in the hope that we might see a few more Starlings doing a murmuration near Brighton Pier. We were lucky! And watched them build in number and watched their flight shimmy and flow in different shapes up and down and around the pier. It was absolutely stunning. I will do a separate blog post with some of the photographs from there.
On the farm, there is lots of fencing going on - repairing old fences, taking out rotten posts and replacing them, hoping to increase the life expectancy of the fences for a few more years yet. An increasing awareness of the effects of chemical poisoning has meant that some of the treatments to protect the wood from rot or pests are now banned - which means that fencing posts don't last as long as they might have done 30 years ago. It is great for the environment and for us humans, but means we have to replace fence posts a bit more regularly. We have had RM fencing for us. She lives locally and works her own croft as well as helping on other farms, shepherding, fencing and shearing. The handsome tup (ram) in the photograph further down the blog is hers, she has lent him to us for the last 2 tupping seasons!
The Herdwicks are down in the field below the house. Lachlan the Herdwick tup stands each morning by the gate into their field, as if saying he would far rather be with them than with the other tups.
Sea Bone by Matt Baker.
One of the advantages of the showery days are the beautiful rainbows we see. This one photographed on my phone shows the Alexander's Belt really well, the dark light between the 2 arcs.
At this time of year the tups associate humans with food and are far braver than usual.
I am not for a minute saying that Farmer feeds them by hand or anything like that.