Wee Sweet Faces

Following each of our trips to Scotland, I like to create a coffee table photo book as a way to both commemorate our adventures and to share the highlights of our trips with others. Today I thought it would be fun to share with you a page from the book I am currently working on. It’s just a little snapshot of some of the wee sweet feathered and furry faces we met when we were there this past May. Cuties all of them. 🙂

Have a terrific week, everyone. I’ll see you again soon.

The Legend of Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace always makes me think of the scene in Anne of Green Gables when Diana Barry tucks a sprig of the summer flower into her best friend Anne’s hair. She tells Anne, “This is the very last of the Queen Anne’s Lace of the summer.” She then says, ” Don’t worry about your hair. No one even notices it anymore.” Her tender gesture and reassurance speaks to the sweet and inseparable bond of friendship between the girls.

I think Queen Anne’s Lace is one of the prettiest wildflowers of summer. Every year I look forward to the sight of the dainty and delicate white flowers that decorate roadsides and fields.

Queen Anne’s Lace is also known as wild carrot.

I recently read the story about how Queen Anne’s Lace got its name. Legend says that Queen Anne, b.1574 (wife of King James I of England and Scotland) was tatting with her friends when one of them challenged her to create a piece of lace that was as beautiful as a flower. Anne accepted the challenge but while working, she pricked her finger with her needle and a drop of her blood fell onto the lace. It is said, therefore, that the purple-red flower in the center of Queen Anne’s Lace represents the droplet of her blood.

Can you see the purple flower in the center?

Another version of the tale says that the story refers not to Anne, wife of King James I, but to Queen Anne of Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Ireland), b.1665. Either way-the 1574 Anne or the 1665 Anne-it’s a good story.

Queen Anne’s Lace growing in the field across from my home.

An Unusual Surprise

The last thing one would expect to see in Scotland (outside of a zoo) are Mandarin ducks. But Mandarin ducks we did see!

A couple months ago, we were walking through Milton Woods (near Farr), along the grassy bank above the River Nairn, when Mr. C spotted some unusual water fowl swimming below. Not sure what type of birds they were, he attempted to snap some photos. Unfortunately, they caught sight of him and were frightened and flew away. This photo was the best one he got.

It wasn’t until a bit later when I was looking through our photos that I realized what we had seen. How fantastic! Mandarin ducks! In Scotland!

According to BBC Scotland, the birds were introduced to the UK from the Far East in the mid-eighteenth century. Over time, some have managed to escape captivity and have bred and established colonies. There are over 7,000 Mandarin ducks in Britain but apparently very few have made it all the way to Scotland. Which makes what we saw even more special.

Mandarin ducks. In Scotland. Who knew?

A Silent Eloquence

One of my heart’s desires on our recent trip to Scotland was to find a bluebell wood. I worried that we might have been too late, but was absolutely delighted to find them still in bloom. These photos were taken in a wood next to Boleskine Burial Ground on Loch Ness.

It’s the little things.

A fine and subtle spirit dwells
In every little flower,
Each one its own sweet feeling breathes
With more or less of power.
There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell,
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell.

∼from “The Bluebell” by Anne Bronte

It’s Gorse, of Course

Look, it’s a Scottish golf gorse! Ba-dum-ch.

That one comes at you straight from Mr. C. Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen. He’ll be here all week. 😀

Also called ‘whin’, common flowering gorse is a large, spiny, evergreen shrub that bursts onto the scene in late winter/early spring. Though it is not uncommon to spot gorse blooms in Scotland year round, April and May is when this plant really explodes in bright yellow splendor.

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The Beautiful Gardens at Greywalls Hotel

People who are acquainted with me and my husband know that we are quite fond of gardens.  For those that don’t know us, I must confess that we (or is it just him?) are also a bit…well…ambitious.  You know the phrase “go big or go home”?  Sometimes I think we invented that phrase.

Nearly ten years ago, my adoring husband with the aid of his trusty Kubota, took down a large, somewhat problematic tree behind our house.  The removal of the tree and its massive root ball left us with a rather unsightly, gaping hole.  Ever the visionary (and enjoyer of manly projects), my husband had the brilliant idea to construct a pond/rock garden where the tree had previously stood.  But in typical “go big or go home” fashion, the project did not end there.  For one pond quickly became two.  Then three.  Then four.  What we have today, nearly a decade later, are three smaller ponds that connect via rocky streams into a larger pond.  What my husband has built is quite extraordinary.  I’m a lucky lady, indeed.20171104_121108

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