Nya små liv.

Så här såg gårdagen ut på den strand där vi åt lunch, strosade och njöt av det fina vädret.quendalebeach15

På vägen dit såg vi att hagarna börjar fyllas med nya små liv. Officiellt har inte lamningen kommit igång men vissa får tjuvstartar! De allra tidigaste lammen kom faktiskt för flera veckor sedan. Det är inte alls önskvärt har vi förstått för de föds ju och vistas utomhus och vädret kan ju lämna en del att önska. Lamningen kommer att dra igång för fullt om ca två veckor och då kommer hagarna att vara fulla med dessa fantastiskt söta lamm.

shetlandlamb01

På vägen hem såg vi kor och några ganska nya kalvar i en hage. När vi stannade för att titta och fotografera såg vi att en ko rörde sig lite oroligt. Närmare inspektion genom kikaren avslöjade att hon höll på att föda. Två små klövar stack ut. Vi väntade och såg mer och mer av frambenen komma fram och till sist huvudet. När huvudet väl var framme gick resten ganska fort. Vips låg kalven på gräset.

calfbirth06

En fantastisk avslutning på en härlig dag.

When Dad Died…

…a couple of years ago, I was home for his last week in this life. He had lived alone for a year and did a commendable job with clearing-out Mom’s things; she having passed away a year before. Having always said he loved life, it was now Dad’s turn to leave us. I think, as circumstances were, he was confused, sad, frustrated and scared that last week.

Once, the minister was there doing his job; seeing if he could be of help. I overheard him saying that things will be all right and Dad replying in a very horse voice, “I truly hope so”.

Thinking back, Dad had lived a hard life. Beaten as a child by a dominant father, struggling as a boy through the Great Depression and being bullied, having barely gotten through school. The last year, as I would call him every week, he would talk about things. Things that was personal and fond to him. Like being on the Gerber Farm.

Dad talked about being at the Gerber Farm and how much he enjoyed it. John and Ida Gerber owned the farm and had one son, Frank. The farm was somewhere near Alliance, Oh. Dad was there between 12 and 16 years of age (during the 1930’s) and would live several weeks during the year with the Gerbers, sort of to ease the situation at his own home. As he talked, he seemed to think of them as second parents. He was just like a member of the family, went to church with them, had dinners and it was a get-away for him and, perhaps, a pleasant alternative from his life with his real family.

Sometimes, he would be with them even on holidays and school breaks but most of the time it was summers and as a helper. He would take a trolley or train from Massillon to Alliance or that Dad’s father, Albertum (Burt), would arrange alternate ways.

As he spoke of the Gerbers, he had a nice sparkle in his eye, one of remembrance. He said he would really want to go back up there to see what the place looked like, just one more time.

He had a good relationship with these people, except Frank who would play tricks on this “helper”. John and Ida would give Dad clothes to wear and, as Dad said, they took the time to teach him important things, both with being a farm helper and about life in general. Dad was responsible with keeping the barn clean and keeping things straight. John had often told Dad that he did a good job and was a very good worker.

Once, when Dad arrived to the farm, John Gerber had bought 100 baby chicks, or “peeps” for one dollar. He gave these to Dad to do with, as he wanted. Well, Dad liked the peeps and had no idea about what to do with them. People nearby knew about his peeps and asked Dad what he was going to do with them? Dad didn’t know other than that he had to take care of them, and that’s what he was going to do.

Because of his other chores, Ida said she could take care of them for Dad but would want pay for her work. Dad said that was O.K. and laughed at this, because he didn’t have any money and so the deal wouldn’t be any problem.

Ida took care of the chicks as they grew. She fed them. After a time, when the chicks were older, she killed them, picked the feathers off, sold some but prepared the rest as meals for themselves. She sat down with Dad and, in black and white, showed him all the costs. She tallied the initial investment, her labour, the cost of feed and a pen for them as well as what she had sold. Dad got a very good lesson in business economy from this.

When it was all counted up after expenditures, Dad had made a profit of four and a half dollars. Dad smiled and said, “it was a chunk of money for those times.”

dad_img-copyAs a father with a family, Dad always had his heart “ out in the country”. Whether it was the houses we lived in, the baling of hay as boys at “the old farmhouse”, Kidron auctions, tomato gardens, new mown hay or smell of manure being spread on the fields at springtime, the country never left Dad. It was that single sparkle that fathers keep in their shirt pockets, when real life can be cruel; when life doesn’t turn out like one wishes.

For myself, I miss Dad! I miss chatting with him over the phone. I miss listening to him reminisce. I miss his subtle humor. I miss his postcards; his Christmas cards, his letters, his bundles of paper, his awkward handwriting. I miss…

He’s resting with Mom at Stanwood cemetery now. But, more so, I truly hope things “became all right” for him and he’s elsewhere…on a farm…enjoying it…and finally living his dream.

PS– Written because we watched a cow give birth to its calf on a farm in Quendale today! The familiar smell of spring work in the air, too.

Easter on Shetland…

…doesn’t seem that exciting. Scottish bank holidays, when stores, banks and other businesses are closed for a holiday, doesn’t include Easter on its list. Places are open this weekend.

But, Easter is a little special! Especially when it’s sunny and only a light breeze. People are out working in their gardens or some have started to prepare their boats for the coming summer. Lambing has started and small white miniature sheep on spinky, shaky little legs are being welcomed to this island. It’s an “easy” day, today, and even the seals are getting an early tan, as they sun bathe.

Wishing all our readers a HAPPY EASTER, plain and simple!

sandwickseals01

    Photo: “Easter Seals” sun bathing on the Sandwick pier

flowers

    Photo: Flower bed/garden outside the flat (Oh, No! Another flower picture!)

Det blommar igen…

Mitt i Lerwick finns en liten park som just nu blommar för fullt. Hur många lökar det finns där vet jag inte men det måste vara tusentals. Allt från små blå pärlhyacinter till fullstora hyacinter i alla möjliga färger.flowers06

flowers08Här finns naturligtvis påskliljor och andra blommor och buskar.

flowers07

Efter promenaden i det otroligt färgglada blomhavet i parken gick vi ner till centrum till ett av våra favorit “hang outs” Karibuni. Karibuni är ett litet mat/kaffe ställe med Shetlands bästa kaffe.

karibuni01

Väl hemma i Gulberwick igen lade vi märke till att en del påskliljor är så trångbodda att de försöker smita ut.

flowers17

Med andra ord, våren har kommit till Shetland med stormsteg… Men vädret är lika opålitligt som vanligt, en solig dag följs av en blåsig, regnig eller dimmig. Men när solen skiner är det jättehärligt!

Shetland Birds…

…is a subject I haven’t touched upon with during this great adventure. Naturally, with many years in the Swedish sub-arctic, the environment and coastal character of Shetland, as well as being a bump along migratory routes, provides a new perspective with my ornithological hobby.

Today was one of those “dry” days allowing us to head out and get some fresh air. While Brita walked her beaches, I used binoculars and a field book to catch-up on my birds. Time to get in tune for spring and migratory birds.

maywickvy01-copyPhoto: Maywick Beach

I could easily write a list of the birds seen today, but to make this fun for readers, allow me to report on today’s birding results…in QUIZ form. Please jot down your answers with a method of your own choosing and have fun!
The answers are found at the end. This is an “open book” quiz. Good Luck!

birds02
Photo 1: Beautiful Clangula hyemalis were playing in the Atlantic, today. What are there names in English or Swedish?

    What is the English or Swedish name for the following…
    A. Bucephala clangula
    B. Anas crecca
    C. Gavia immer
    D. Anas platyrhynchos
    E. Cygnus Cygnus
    F. Haematopus ostralegus
    G. Sturnus vulgaris
    H. Phalacrocorax aristotelis
    I. Anas acuta
    J. Arenaria interpres

birds01
Photo 2: These birds can often be found on fields and are called Anser anser. What is their name in English or Swedish?

All winter we have had Vanellus vanellus and Numenius arquata, which made the months seem like spring for us. I can report that last week I saw what I think was a Sterna hirundo, but feel unsure since I didn’t have my binoculars and it may be a bit early for them. We are anxiously awaiting the return of Fratercula arctica.

Answers:
a. Goldeneye/Knipa b. Teal/Kricka c. Great Northern Diver/ Islom d. Mallard/Gräsand e. Whooper Swan/Sångsvan f. Oystercatcher/Strandskata g. Starling/Stare h.Shag/Toppskarv i. Pintail/Sjärtand j.Turnstone/Roskarl photo 1: Long-tailed Duck/Alfågel photo 2: Greyleg Goose/ Grågås