Archive | April, 2013

Foodie Penpals.

29 Apr


Last month I joined Foodie Penpals which is run by Carol Anne Grady over at . It’s always nice to receive a parcel in the post, even nicer if it has some edible treats. The scheme matches people to receive a food parcel. You figure out what the person might like be emailing them and getting to know their likes, dislikes and any dietary restrictions. There’s a financial limit of £10 or €10.


My parcel arrived last Thursday and it could’nt have been better timed. We were both working at home decorating our newly renovated sitting room, the cupboard was running a little low on treats and neither of us wanted to go to the shops. The parcel which was sent by Cerys from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire was a delight. .


A mix of sweet and savoury treats to enjoy. I was so impressed Kerys had included my favourite sweet from my childhood, Black Jacks, love ’em. Aniseed flavoured, chewy,  black,  toffee like sweets. They did’nt last long, set to them straight away.


For our work break we had the chocolate drinks along with the Strawberry/Vanilla choc chunk biscuits.  Divine! Even more so beause our cookie jar was empty.


A large chocolate bar with hazelnuts also disappeared that night as we watched a bit of TV after a hard days work. Lots of whole nuts in there which we both love.


Also in the package were some pretzels, cupcake cases, some lovely sugar decorations and flower wafers. Also some Aromat seasoning which is said to make steamed vegetables taste divine.  The cupcake cases and decorations I will use next month to make treats for my neices birthdays which are on the 12th and 17th.

Hopefully the recipient of my parcel was as pleased as I was. Looking forward to next month’s already. If you would like to join check out  the website mentioned above if you live in Europe. For people in US and Canada the address is .

You can check out Kerys’s blog at .


Just a pic for Sunday.

28 Apr

Bulgaria May 2012 027

SOS….Save our Seeds.

26 Apr


Last night as I was perusing through Facebook, as one does, I came across a post on pending EU legislation that would make it illegal for seed to be sold that wasn’t  on an approved list. It would also be illegal to grow or swap seeds not on the list. Not always believing what I read on Facebook I did a bit of frantic follow up research and sadly I have to report that it’s true.


“EU is preparing legislation that will make it illegal to grow crops that are not on a list of approved seeds. A list that currently is 60% dominated by big corporations like Monsanto, AsrtraZenecar and others. The pros list are basically only hybrids, which means you can not take next year’s seed from this crop. Furthermore, it will not only be forbidden to sell other seeds than those already mentioned but also to grow, “File sharing” in the area of seeds will become a criminal act.” (Section of the Avaaz petition against this legislation).

Please sign the petition. This is a devestating piece of legislation for anyone who cares about food sovereignity, growing or having access to non GM food. For have no doubt, that’s what this is about, the domination of corporations over our food choices.

If this is passed it will make criminals of all who wish to grow home saved seeds. It will be a criminal act to swap saved seeds with your friends and neighbours.

Please sign the petition. Write to the European Commisioners. This legislation goes before the Commissioners on May 6th. Not much time!!

Are we past the tipping point?

23 Apr


What is the tipping point  you may well ask? The tipping point is the point at which 50% of the world’s ecosystems have been interfered with. Research published by Anthony D Bannosky et al, University of California in 2012, says that in that year the figure was 43%. So yes, with the way exploitation of the Earth has escalated it is likely that we are now beyond the 50% point.


To me that is a rather shocking thing. What does it really mean though? Are we on the road to doom and destruction?  The Earth is a powerful living entity, not solely for the benefit of the humans being allowed to live there. It is for all the living creatures. Each have full entitlement to live peacefully and breathe clean fresh air. Perhaps even that very air is under threat. So many trees being felled on the Planet right now. Even here in Ireland the Government is debating whether or not to sell off our publicly owned forests.


Such a crazy idea! Humans and  Trees share an important resource…oxygen. Now I know that trees aren’t the only source of oxygen on our Planet but they do create a huge amount of it. Opinions differ as to exactly how much. It’s simple….Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Humans breathe out carbon dioxide and breathe in oxygen. Seems pretty fatal for the human race then to be cutting Trees at a time when the Planet’s population is growing rapidly.

Birr Castle 019

Water is another resource that is being abused on our Planet. Hydraulic fracturing is seen as the saviour of our fuel shortage situation. However fracking  as well as rupturing the Earth in the search for gas uses vast amounts of water. This water is made toxic by chemicals used in the process as well as naturally occuring chemicals from the Earth. Water is not a renewable resource….All the water that will ever be is already on our Planet. Should be a no brainer that we protect and cherish it.

Birr Castle 014

However it seems that corporations are now more powerful than our governments…and to them profit is the only endgame. It is a well known truth that there are now more lobbyists than politicians in Washington. I’m sure it is similar here in Ireland now.


So what are we to do? Are we to flow along helplessly on this tide of greed and exploitation? No!! We have the power to make a difference. We need to become passionate about our Earth. Stand up against what you believe to be wrong. No, you don’t have to go on the streets protesting. We each need to start in our own homes and gardens/farms/balconies/ growbags. Whatever we can each do may seem very little but if we all work together we can surely turn the tide. Grow what you can in whatever space you have. If you must buy everything try and buy organic, go to independent shops instead of corporation owned supermarkets. Use your money as a weapon. It’s what the corporations understand. That’s the only hurt they feel…the financial kind.  Don’t let shopping be your pastime, even here in Ireland now the shopping centres thrive at the expense of independent retailers. Let Nature be your recreation. Go to the Woods, the fields, the allottments, the parks. It’s healthier than the malls… cheaper too. We need Nature, Nature needs us. Lets get to know her…love her…defend her…before we are tipped into the abyss of no return.

On Earth Day…Commandments for the Earth.

22 Apr

This is a post from my Arignagardener blog from Earth Day one year ago. On Earth Day 2013 the situation is even more dire. Ireland is still under threat of fracking plus now there’s also the possibility of our public access forests being sold off to pay more money to corrupt bankers. I read that the CEO of Nestle DOES NOT believe water to be a human right. We can see where that’s going. What’s next? Air and light to be privatised!! Our supplies of unpolluted foods are under threat from companies such as Monsanto and Bayer who want to patent all of our seeds. If you haven’t  started already do save seeds this year…from organic sources of course. Most of all enjoy the beauty of our beautiful Earth, whilst respecting and cherishing all of it’s life forms.
Happy Earth Day,
Bridget x.


1.  Thou shalt love and honour the Earth for it blesses thy life and governs thy survival.


2.  Thou shalt keep each day sacred to the Earth and celebrate the turning of the seasons.


3.  Thou shalt not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.


4.  Thou shalt give thanks for thy food, to the creatures and plants that nourish thee.

5.  Thou shalt limit thy offspring for multitudes of people are a burden onto the Earth.


6.  Thou shalt not kill, nor waste Earth’s riches upon weapons of war.


7.  Thou shalt not pursue profit at the Earth’s expense but strive to restore it’s damaged majesty.


8.  Thou shalt not hide from thyself or others the consequences of thy actions upon the Earth.


9.  Thou shalt not steal from future generations by impoverishing or poisoning the Earth.


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Just a pic for Sunday.

21 Apr


Tree Surgeons, a new ceiling and a Kiwi.

17 Apr


We are very glad that our new garden has quite a few established trees. Trees add height and a feeling of maturity  to a garden while also providing a haven for wildlife. They take up water and give shelter too. In the garden are several Birches,  Alders, Beech, Willow, Flowering Cherry plus several fruit trees, Plum and Apple I think. There are also 4 Poplar trees. Actually I’ll rephrase that. There are 3 Poplar trees.


This is the 4th one which was fifty feet tall and dangerously close to the house. Poplar are notorious for being shallow rooted and fairly short lived. It was too tall and to close to the house for Andy to fell safely so the Tree Surgeon was called in. He had all the proper safety gear and the whole job only took about 45 minutes. That included the cutting up of the tree into manageable chunks.


I was amazed at how quickly he climbed to the top of the tree. I have no head for heights and felt a bit dizzy looking up at him.


Yes! That is a chainsaw dangling behind him. It was running all the time. He cut all the small branches as he climbed up then started on the crown of the tree.


He used the stump of the first big branch as a seat while he cut the rest of the crown.

It was a lovely day yesterday, if a bit windy. The tree was swaying back and forth as he worked away, this didn’t bother him at all.


I was so glad to see him safely descend the tree again.


If you look beyond the table you can see the pile of wood from the tree. Never looks as much as you think it’s going to be. Poplar is not great for burning, doesn’t  give great heat,  but we will chop it up and store it in the shed to season. Mixed with some Ash it will be very welcome fuel in the Winter months.


Meanwhile in the house Andy finished putting up the new ceiling in the sitting room today. I did all the filling in on the wall, tomorrow I will sand this off ready for painting while Andy puts on the skirting boards.


We are delighted that the ceiling is finished. It took a bit longer than anticipated but was worth all the effort.


In the conservatory the Kiwi which was already here has it’s new leaves. It looks very healthy. I would be delighted if we got some fruits. I love the soft downy feel of the leaves. Anyone know where the fruit buds come on a kiwi? I haven’t  had one before so know little about their habit.

From bygone days…

15 Apr


A neighbour visited last night and brought with him some old photos of people in the locality. These would all have been taken in the fifties in and around Frenchpark. How things change, black and white photographs, everyone sitting in line for the photo very formally. No instant look at the photos either like we can now. These would have been taken into town on the weekly visit, left at the shop and picked up the following week.


The woman sitting on the ledge here was our visitors Mother. I think the machine behind the horse was for turning hay. As a small child I remember my Grandfather using one of these in the seemingly long hot days of Summer. Were the days really like that then or is the child’s view through rose tinted spectacles? I wonder…


Three pretty girls all dressed up in their Sunday best. Everyone had what was called their “good clothes” which they wore to Mass and all day on Sunday. For the men it was always a suit and tie, for the women a pretty dress and coat or a skirt suit which for some reason, in Tipperary anyway, was always called a costume. I wonder if these three were headed off to Mass or on a day out somewhere. Of course visiting friends and relations was always done on a Sunday too so maybe they were going visiting.


This picture is a bit blurred bit it gives an idea of the typical Grandmother figure of the time. Always dressed in black, a figure to be respected by all. This woman had the reputation of always having a smile on her face, she must have been happy with her lot.


Last but not least another one of smiling Granny. I wonder if these two lived in the same house or was it visiting day? A happy day anyway.

I love these old photos, they bring one back to a time long gone, a time when as a very small child I probably had little appreciation of what we actually had back then. Makes me sound ancient but I’m not, to me anyway, I was born in 1958. My Grannies, both of them also wore the black. One of them died in 1981 the other in 1983. Of course not everything was perfect in those days. Years later we realise that sexual abuse was rampant in the church. Unmarried Mothers, as they were called, were often ostracised by their families, sent away, often never to return. At that time everything was swept under the carpet but thankfully the truth came out in recent years.

Many thanks to our friend Hubert for giving permission to share these photographs on my blog.



The Sunday pic.

14 Apr



12 Apr


Check out this cheeky chappie.When it was sunny he had been in the habit of jumping up on the beds and onto the windowsill. We foiled him recently by putting wire around the beds when they were planted up. Not to be denied his sunshine he perched on top of the water feature to get the sunshine. Inventive and determined…that’s our Freddie. I would loved to have flicked the switch to turn on the water. That’s nasty isn’t it! Would have been funny though!

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