Author Archives: Frances

Fed Up

We are all very fed up of this terrible weather now.

We long for our freedom again – ie to go outside safely and, if possible, to stay dry too.  My kitchen is festooned with our waterproofs trying to dry.

Today, we managed to get the Icelandic boys up into the stable (they stayed in their field yesterday and refused to be fed) and they had a morning of rugs off, peace and quiet and unlimited hay. Then dry rugs back on and into their field. Meanwhile, Haakon and Iacs amused themselves around the house rattling the front door knob when they wanted treats.

I managed to drive around and dish out carrots (very quickly, though) to those that live outwith my croft.

I felt bad as I would’ve loved to have spent more time with the little ones.

I also noticed on my travels that one of Sóley-the-Foalie’s eyes was streaming but there was nothing I could do. Tomorrow, Floss and I will go with a headcollar and try to catch her, examine it, clean it up and put antibacterial eye-drops in.  There is absolutely no point trying this in a Force 11 gale.  Apparently the weather will calm down tomorrow.  I am fed up to the back teeth of this to be honest.

On my way home, I went to see what the waves were doing at Dale Beach.

The whole car shook with the full force of the wind so I didn’t stay long.

I was also covered in sea spray even from this distance.

Still, it looks fairly impressive.

Fair Shares

Yesterday, Floss declared that she was missing the Minions so came along for the ride clutching a bag of carrots.  Of course she was instantly Miss Popular.

Therefore, I used the opportunity to use my big camera.

Usually I am the one dishing out carrots while at the same time fending off Albie (he always says he has not had his share – such a liar) and I just can’t take photos as well.  I don’t have enough hands.

Newt was on very special form.  He has seen the error of his ways and the bouncy bottom is no more – or so he says.

Despite this lot standing away from the desperately starving, Flossie went around and gave everyone their fair share.

The wind was howling, but still stand-uppable in.  However, today has been fierce and dangerous so, apart from brief checking (thank you to my friends – you know who you are and I appreciate your help), no one got much. It really has not been safe to go outside.

This morning BeAnne vanished so I went outside shouting her name and found the “Wee Dug” howling to herself cowering behind a shed in the garden.  Now she only goes out on a lead. Having said that, she managed to squoze herself, with absolutely no one noticing, through the cat-flap to follow us when we were putting Haakon and Iacs back in their stable for the night (*** sigh ***)

Anyway, please enjoy the photos.


It was nice to have two spare hands.

And then Newt followed us home.

Anyway, it has been a good day to do the diaries – I have started on 1896 now. Kate and Alys are learning to ride bicycles – ooh, the excitement! – The Diaries of Aunt Kate

Old Men

It’s been harsh outside today. A RealFeel® (Oh, I can’t believe I actually used that word – it makes me shudder!) of about minus 3 – it’s the windchill factor making everything worse.

Iacs and Haakon are outside during the day and Haakon rattles the front door-knob for treats if he knows I am in. And yes, of course, I always open the door and reward his entrepreneurial spirit!

And if I hand out one treat, I end up handing out two!  All is fair in this house.

Anyway, it is not warm.  That’s all I know.

And there is more “weather” to come.

We are now in for almost 48 hours of strong wind plus intermittent rain but the wind direction is turning round so it should get warmer.

On a good note, though, this morning Efstur came in for his breakfast with his rug still on, which is a plus point for him.  It was rough last night.

Taktur’s rug blew off over his head. Floss found a soggy heap which is now hanging up to dry.  The difference in rugs is leg-straps.  Taktur’s rug doesn’t have any.  Oddly all my bigger and heavier rugs don’t come with them (just a fillet string that goes under the tail) so I will take them all to have leg straps sewn on.  In this kind of weather (high winds) they make the difference between staying or flying off.  So for tonight, Taktur is in a rain-sheet with leg straps. He still looks handsome.

Haakon has his dressing gown but it comes off at night.

Bibble just has his silly-frilly. It flies on its own!

So, bring on the next 48 hours.  I am not looking forward to the struggle. Meh!


Weathering the Storm

We are going hour-by-hour, making no major decisions, basically just getting through the next few days until this filthy weather subsides.  Today was not as bad as I thought it would be. First thing, we put Haakon and Iacs out into a small paddock and called the others (Taktur, Klængur , Kappi, Efstur and Dreki) up from their field where they had spent the night.

The younger horses were in the shed all morning with rugs off (thank you Efstur for trashing your’s) and lots of hay. Klængur hated it. He stood back, refused to eat and wanted out so we quickly put him outside in with Iacs and Haakon.

Klængur is a loner. He doesn’t like being hassled by youngsters and now I think about it, I have rarely seen him play.

So, because Klængur found being in the stable difficult, it just seemed kinder to take him out of the situation.

He was pleased to be reunited with his old friends and obviously took up carrot begging like a pro!

This afternoon, I threw everyone back out into their field, knowing they had a rest and a good pile of fibre/food to stoke their stomach heating boilers.  Medium weight rugs were put on Efstur (this is your absolute last chance!) and Taktur as the wind is moving round for a northerly gale so temperatures will plummet.  The old men are inside tonight. I thought about keeping Klængur in too, but ended up putting him out in the field as, like I said, he is not a stable kind of guy.

A funny boy really but I do understand how he feels.

Here we go again!

It is totally official. I am obssessed with the weather and now I think I have good reason – over four days of a storm, with gusts of Force 11 which is one off a hurricane.

I am not sure what to do, ie how to manage this. Today, I changed my mind while looking at four weather webpages and we battened down every hatch we could find.

For the old men, we decided they could go into the stable at night with a supply of hay.  During the day, they can come out and be around the house with Haakon wearing a rug, if required.  I want him to move about and have fresh air but not to have to stand outside in god-knows-what being miserable.  Floss and I will diligently poo-pick afterwards.

So is it better to:

  1.  have the youngsters outside with rugs in a sheltered field (hills) and some grazing giving them hay, as and when we can get down to them?  Thicker rugs will stay on better (they don’t have leg straps – just fillet strings behind the tail).Or:
  2. Have them up in a huge field with less shelter (go find a wall to stand behind it) with very little grazing, bringing them into the stable for hay for, say, a morning to rest and eat?  It is easier to change rugs daily like that as they will be nearer the stable.

Decisions, decisions.  Today, I went with Option 1 as it will be windy, rain but warm.  As the wind turns around, I might go for Option 2. Floss and I are going day-by-day as safety allows.

I have sorted my rugs into piles according to size and who needs to wear what.  There is even one for Dreki if he needs but I couldn’t feel a rib this morning.

Rugs are still drying from the last onslaught. Gah!

(Efstur’s wee pile)

We have 12 bales (£7.60 a bale – yes, you heard right) of hay cut from the Elysian Fields and then imported to Shetland on the golden wings of unicorns – words fail considering it was a good year for hay.  Hay prices always go up, they never come down.

So that’s me. I hope the electricity lasts. xx