Archive | March, 2013

No more Easter Bunny…bring back the Eostre Hare.

30 Mar

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The Hare has long been revered in Irish folklore. Witches were often said to shape shift into hares and the Celtic peoples forbade the eating of Hares and Rabbits.

What has the Hare got to do with Easter? In olden days what we know as Easter was a celebration of the lenghtening days and the return of fertility to the land. Eostre was the Moon Goddess worshipped at that time, it is said she took the form of a hare at the time of the full Moon. When Christianity came along this time became Easter and the Hare became the Easter Bunny. The Hare was discarded because of its witchy associations.

My Mother recalls my Grandfather telling stories about a local woman, in Tipperary, whom everyone called Kitty the Hare. Kitty was reputed to have been a witch. She changed into a hare and went about causing devilment and casting spells and curses. So it is reputed.

A story told to a folklore collector tells:

Long ago the people used to turn themselves into hares by witchcraft and go from house to house sucking the milk from the cows. These people could only be done away with by shooting them with a crooked sixpence. I know of a woman who turned herself into a hare. Her name was Mrs. Hutchinson, a Protestant woman from Ryeforth in Cavan. She went to my Grandfather’s, Ennie Goldrick RIP, and sucked the milk from his cows. Grandfather saw her, got his gun, loaded it with a crooked sixpence, fired at the Hare and hit it on the head. The Hare ran off and he followed it to a nearby house where he found a woman with bleeding from her head.”

This story was collected in Cavan in 1936.

The wonderful Hare in the photo was painted by local woman Jessie Skillen who lives in Ballinafad, Co. Sligo. Isn’t it great, I love it! When we are finished decorating it will hang in a prime position. You can check out Jessie’s  work on Facebook at Sylvan Hare Arts.

Hope you all have a wonderful Easter/Eostre. May the days become sunny and your gardens become fruitful once more.

Bridget x.

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Cold weather explorations.

26 Mar

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It’s so cold here at the moment that even the Hyacinths are huddling close together.  Three or four degrees celsius every day for the last week. That wouldn’t be too bad but there’s also a biting east wind which makes it feel so much chillier. At least we don’t have snow like the folks in England and Northern Ireland.

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Doggies are cuddling in together too.

The humans are feelings the stirrings of Spring and are keen to work outdoors. There is much to be done in the garden, pruning, making beds and of course keeping  up a good supply of logs for the stove. The Siberian wind makes it hard to stay outside for too long. We managed about 3 hours yesterday, less today.

Even though we are only 45 minutes drive away from our old place it is a completely new area to get to know. We are still close to Boyle and Carrick on Shannon but it’s nice to get to know the towns that  are new to us.

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Ballaghadreen is a town most people pass through on the way to Knock Airport. We went there yesterday to get some supplies. In the supermarket I was delighted to see lots of vegetarian staples on the shelves. Mung beans, chick peas

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and spices I would normally expect to pay a premium price for in the health food store.

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They even stock pure butter ghee. I’ve only ever been able to get this in Dublin.

Not a bad price either. The town of Ballaghaderreen has a large population of people from Pakistan living there hence the good supply of “ethnic foods.”  I love it!

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On the way home we stopped at the Douglas Hyde Interprative Centre which is on the main road from Ballaghaderreen to Frenchpark. Douglas Hyde was Ireland’s first president and this church, where his father was rector, now houses a museum. It doesn’t  open until May so I shall make sure to visit it then. Didn’t think to take a pic of the church itself.

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Douglas Hyde is buried here beneath this lovely celtic cross.

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On a building behind the church is this lovely old cast iron door. How Ireland has changed in the years since this door was made. If only these  old things could talk what treasures they would speak.

Back  home, indoors, for Butternut Squash and Carrot soup. It definitely is weather for soup.

Just a pic for Sunday.

24 Mar

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International Day of Forests and the Tree.

21 Mar

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Today is International Day of Forests and the Tree. Sadly,  I was not able to find any events marking this day in Ireland. At a time when many people are moaning about the Irish Governments plans to sell off the Forests of Ireland this was a great surprise to me.

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After last years fiasco during National Tree Week the Government seemingly are keeping a low profile this year. To fill you in on last year, Enda Kenny who is the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of our country, made a media event out of himself chopping down a tree in Charlestown, Co. Mayo. He also attended an industrial tree harvesting ceremony.  Clueless would be an understatement!!!

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Sadly the same man is still our Taoiseach. He is so keen to kowtow to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and their cronies that he is willing to sell of our Forests to pay the bankers. Amazingly there isn’t a huge public outcry nor indeed a great presence in our Forests to protest at this plan.

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If they go ahead and commit this deed it will put thousands of people out of work, close many sawmills and rid of country of a wonderful recreational resource. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

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Trees absorb pollution and clean the air that we breathe. They support biodiversity, give shelter to animal and human. Trees around your house reduce the wind chill factor by about 30%.  They provide fruit and nuts as well as prevent soil erosion.

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Beautiful to look at and relaxing and refreshing for body and soul to walk amongst trees. Why oh why would a country rid itself of one of it’s best natural resources?

Happy International Day of Forests.

Bridget x.

An at home St. Patrick’s Day.

18 Mar

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Yesterday was a beautiful if cold day. We decided to have a stay at home day. I have seen so many St. Patrick’s Day parades that I didn’t feel as if I missed out. The morning was beautifully sunny and we spent the some of the time enjoying the heat of the sun in the micro climate in the conservatory. That’s my Mum in the pic, she is staying with us for a couple of weeks.

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After lunch we decided to restock the wood pile in the shed.

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Yes! That’s my Mum, Lizzie, 77 this year, chopping the logs.

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Andy did some chopping too.

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Lizzie and I piled the logs in the wheelbarrow….

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and I wheeled them up to the shed.

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A cold week is forecast, 4-5 degrees C, so it’s nice to have a store of chopped logs.

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After all that it was time for tea and cake. I didn’t bake it myself but it was locally made, bought from Patricia’s Homebakes in the local town of Boyle. I haven’t sussed baking in the Rayburn yet.  The cake was Coffee and Walnut and it was delicious!

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In the evening we had a nice walk through the forest behind the house, back by the road and up the lane to the house. A nice circular route.

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Still time to enjoy a swing before heading indoors and watching the Dublin parade on the telly. A full enjoyable day without moving from home.

A Woodland Burial.

13 Mar

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Have you decided what will happen to your earthly remains when your soul leaves this planet? Maybe some of you will think this morbid but it’s one thing that’s a definite for every living thing on this planet.  We will all leave…sooner or later.

I have always thought that I would like to lie under a nice tree and fertilise it’s growth.

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Today while flicking through Facebook I came across this poem. I think it’s brilliant.

WOODLAND BURIAL by Pam Ayres.

Don’t lay me down in some gloomy churchyard shaded by a wall

Where the dust of ancient bones has spread dryness over all.

Lay me in some leafy loam where, sheltered from the cold

Little seeds investigate and tender leaves unfold.

There  kindly and affectionately plant a native tree

To grow resplendent before God and hold some part of me.

The roots will not disturb me as they wend their peaceful way

To build the fine and bountiful, from closure and decay.

To seek their small requirements so that when their work is done

I’ll be tall and standing strongly in the beauty of the Sun.

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In light of our governments plan to sell of our forests to pay for the debts of the banks which have been foisted on the Irish people maybe we should pledge our bodies to growing new forests for the people of Ireland.  No! I jest you not,  selling the Irish forests, which belong to the people of Ireland is currently being seen as  a viable proposition to pay the fat cat bankers as demanded by the IMF( International Monetary Fund).

To me it’s too much of a coincidence that this comes as our new friends in China want more beef and the EU drop milk quotas in the near future. Lots of land wanted for all this production.  A sacrifice too far methinks.

Why not try and do something to stop this. In the UK a similar plan was abandoned because of public outcry. Lobby your local TDs and other so called public representatives. Get out there and use OUR woodlands…while they’re still there. Take your friends and children…they will love it.  If you would like to join with others take a look at www.bardsinthewoods.com . Wonderful walks, poems and picnics in beautiful places. 

Our woodlands need us now…and into the future too.

Bridget x

There is an online petition which goes to the President, Michael D Higgins and the Irish Government. Please sign and share. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/help-save-irelands-forestry/ .

The Garden.

10 Mar

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To finish the tour I will show you the garden  today. Much work to be done here. Even though the the house was lived in up to the time we bought it it seems that interest in the garden had been lost. The land including the lane amounts to three quarters of an acre. Plenty for us now as we don’t have any animals apart from our two dogs. It is nicely laid out in beds and there is a good flow to the garden.

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The old chicken run will be taken down as we don’t plan to get chickens. I’ve been through the pain of losing them to Fox  and Mink too many times. Actually the last inhabitants here were taken by Foxy Loxy.  This is where we are planning to put veg beds, should be nice and fertile from the chooks. Looks like it was used for growing some time ago as the outline of the bed is still visible. The conifers behind are on our neighbours land and they are being cut down in the near future.

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Lots of  Blackcurrants  and other fruits here. They need pruning but I wonder if it’s too late now? I don’t want to cut off the fruit buds. Maybe I should leave them until after fruiting.  What do you think?

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There is a good composting  area with lots of compost in there ready to go. Yippee!!

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In the back garden there is a pond, don’t know what the plants are, time will tell. Lots of Frogs in there at the moment havin their annual orgy.

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At the bottom of the back garden is Ivy House, the previous owner was a woodworker and he made the plaque with the name. This is the guest accommodation…eventually…at the moment it is full of our boxes. Alongside this is a workshop.

So as you can see there’s lots of work. The plan is to tidy up for now, see what comes up and then make any changes in the Autumn. Well that’s the plan anyway…lets see what happens!!

Bridget x.

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