Storm Gerrit was named after the Dutch weatherman Gerrit Hiemstra who retired this year after 24 years of presenting the Dutch weather.

Storm Gerrit
January 2024

It’s been pretty wet and windy during December and especially just after Christmas when Storm Gerrit caused major disruption in parts of Scotland. In Glendevon we had about an inch of snow which quickly turned into a horrible slush. The conditions were so bad that when my husband went to lock the neighbour’s chickens in for the night, he hardly managed to stay on the single track path, even with our 4x4 with snow function and winter tyres. Thankfully all went well and he didn’t end up in the ditch.

The poor beech tree which split in half after losing an entire limb during a storm has been examined by a tree surgeon and sadly the entire tree has to be felled for safety reasons. It will leave a big gap on the side of the path but there are a lot of beech saplings nearby, so we can plant a new young tree in its place.

Our new woodland-to-be ‘Lothlorien’ and ‘The Shire’ are filling up nicely as more small trees and tree saplings are being donated by customers. It just feels so good to be able to plant little trees and when a donated sapling is too small I’ll look after it until it’s big enough to be planted too. My window sill in the outdoor seating area is taken over by these tiny saplings which look more like sticks than a miniature tree at this time of year.

The chickens were all confused by the ‘white stuff’ covering their run and didn’t dare to go out for a while until it started melting and the usual ‘green stuff’ (aka grass) reappeared again. We now have 15 birds in total: Harvey the rooster, 6 white ones, 2 black ones, 2 speckled black ones and 4 brown ones. We hatched several eggs last summer and the girls are now at the age that they have started laying and..... they lay green eggs! Certain chicken breeds lay different coloured eggs: brown, white, very dark brown, blue and green all of which look the same on the inside of course. Harvey, the father, came from a green egg (he’s a pure blood Cream Legbar, very posh) and his daughters inevitably inherited the green egg gene, so now it feels like Easter every day when I collect the eggs!

Harvey must have made an impression on the girls because all of them want to sleep as close to him as possible, so ‘The Cathedral’ (our larger coop which only was meant to house 9 chickens) is now filled to the rafters with 11 girls + Harvey sleeping there at night, but the other three cannot find a space and have to sleep in the newly refurbished smaller coop (fits 6 chickens) where they feel rather sorry for themselves. Mind you, all 14 girls want to lay their egg in the smaller coop’s nest box. What are they like; a mind of their own!

Don’t forget this year the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is on 26 – 28th January 2024 and all you need to do is count birds landing in your garden (or park) for one hour and submit it to the RSPB. This data is used by scientists to track changes in bird populations in the UK. Citizen science is invaluable as green organisations get a lot more information from a much wider area than before the internet existed.

Here is all the information you need to participate:

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