Archive | November, 2013

These Springlike Winter days.

25 Nov



Just a month to Christmas and the Winter Solstice and the weather is just amazing. The misty mornings open out to nice mild days…ideal for working out of doors. It gets cold and dark early but then it is meant to be Winter!



Periwinkle is still blooming in sheltered spots.

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We have been busy with various outdoor jobs. Mulching to clear the beds for planting anew next Spring is ongoing.

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Lots of cardboard covered with ample amounts of mushroom compost should clear the ground nicely.


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This might seem like a very thick mulch but the compost settles a lot. By Spring this will be ideal for planting into…nice black heat retaining compost…hopefully weed excluding too!



Andy has been busy coppicing the boundary hedges. They had’nt been cut for years so were long and gangly and bare at the bottom. We will interplant with more plants to make a good thick hedge here. The lower height allows us to borrow from the landscape of the Ash forest behind.



All the plants in the hedgerow are Ash and Hawthorn…both suitable for burning green. They both burn very hot too. Andy has been chopping it all into fire sized logs on his new log splitter. He insists on making those funny faces…beyond my control!!  In the shed behind you can see the new shredder.



This will be used to turn this lot into mulch for beds and for making pathways.  There’s still about another hundred feet of hedging to be done so lots to keep us busy for some time.



After a day’s work it’s nice to retreat to the cosiness of the kitchen where the stove is kept ticking over all day. The kettle is always full and on the point of boiling for cuppas for ourselves and anyone who may drop in. Visitors are always a good excuse to retreat into the warmth of the house.

Looking forward to many more of these Spring like Winter days…they may make for a very short Winter. Fingers crossed!



The daily walk.

21 Nov



The great thing about having dogs is that they make you take exercise. If they are not taken for at least one walk a day your life will be made hell by the dirty looks from the creatures. We have 55 acres of forest behind our house…not ours I might add…and lucky for us we have the owners permission to walk there. Five of these acres are used as a research area so they have nice paths through the trees and the trees are brashed. Brashed is when the bottom branches are taken off the trees.

Sometimes we go to the forest through the gate at the bottom of the garden…



other times we head out through the Ash tree plantation to the west of our house. The dogs run ahead excitedly but come back if I am dallying.



Out onto the lane where a short time ago we were picking Blackberries galore. The dogs weren’t impressed with the fruit picking…they just want to walk…and sniff and investigate.



On to the wooden bridge and into the forest.



Looking back up through the trees the cottage and polytunnel can be glimpsed.



On we go…



until we come to the boundary between the forest and the next door farm. Along this boundary is a wonderful line of Beech trees…



probably planted by the gentry who once counted these lands among their estates. The once beautiful hunting lodge called Bella now derelict.


Inquisitive cattle stand and stare.



Fallen Beech leaves make a soft carpet to walk on.



Lettie wants to go back in the forest.



Lots of fungi growing amongst the Spruce trees here. Unfortunately these are False Chanterelles. Pity!



They are pretty though.

Time for home. It will all be done again tomorrow but no matter how often I walk here it always feels nice and fresh and new. So many paths to explore. Scents to enjoy. Birdsong to listen too. Wood to collect to keep the home fire burning bright.

The beauty and bounty of Nature right on our doorstep.


Images of Derry.

18 Nov



Last weekend saw myself and 2 friends from Ballaghaderreen Art Group in Derry for the Pride of Place Awards. We didn’t win a prize on the night but were delighted to be nominated by Roscommon County Council. We went up by bus on Saturday morning and returned on Sunday evening. The awards ceremony was on Saturday night…a wonderful evening full of entertainment and a gala dinner for 700 people. There was of course a lovely vegetarian option. Derry knows how to please it’s visitors…that’s for sure.


The City Walls are they most dominant feature of the city. They have been here for 400 years and are about 8 metres wide. On Sunday morning we walked the walls…as most visitors to the city do…it is a must.


Great views of the city from the walls. This is the Bogside…scene of much upheavel during the so-called Troubles. Thankfully all is peaceful now…



though it takes longer for some people to accept.



Lots of lovely discoveries to be made on the wall walk. St. Augustine’s Church was my personal favourite. Founded in the late 6th century there has been a church on this site ever since.





This lovely plaque is set into the footpath just inside the gate.



The church is open for visitors but as a service was just starting we stayed outside.



The graveyard is lovely…beautiful trees and very old graves here. I love reading old headstones…they can tell a lot about a place.



The inner city wall supports more stone slabs.


In memory of the long departed.



Back on the walls again…still the old sentry post stands here…



while cannons keep a peaceful watch now.



This is the Guildhall where we went to a craft fair on Sunday afternoon.



The Peace Bridge over the River Foyle was opened 2 years ago.



Wonderful mosaic in the Millennium Forum Building.






such vibrant colours.



There’s so much to see in this wonderful city I can only give you a small taster here. Best of all though is the people…so friendly…welcoming and helpful. Taxis are cheap…3 or 4 pounds will take you anywhere in the city. It’s certainly a place I will return to in the not too distant future.







Sombre Sunday.

10 Nov

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A sombre day as we see images of distraught people and destruction in The Phillipines due to the most powerful storm ever recorded.  Is this Mother Earth’s call to us to stop abusing and destroying our Planet? Who will listen to her call? Or is it too late for us to change?

It is also Remembrance Sunday. The day when the dead of two World Wars are remembered.  As one watches world leaders lay wreaths one wonders why nothing changes…why the war mongers continue to prosper and create misery around the world?  Setting human against human…religion against religion. What purpose of it all?

First frost.

4 Nov



So calm and white and bright.



The death knell tolls…



until the reemergence next Spring.



So still and calm this morning.



Tinselled Rubus.



Frosted baubles on the Guelder Rose.



Frozen pond.



Temporary exhibition…soon to be melted away by the rising Sun.

A sunny November morning.

1 Nov


The Sun is getting lower in the sky now casting shadows deeper into the cottage. So nice to be greeted by early morning sunshine on the table.


Strange shadow play on the conservatory wall. Seeds for next year drying on the table. Gardeners are always thinking ahead to the next season.


Still a bit misty outside.


Out into the garden. The Sun is at the south east but shortly the whole garden will light up as the Sun comes round to the south. Still lots of leaves to be collected.


Such a stunningly beautiful morning!  More like Summer than November 1st. Been a while since I walked the garden in my dressing gown at this time of year. That’s the good thing about living in the sticks…no one peering over the hedge…ever!


Back to the conservatory for more shadow play.


By December 21st the Sun should be just skimming the top of the trees in the forest behind us and casting shadow and light even deeper into the cottage.  As this is our first Winter here we are seeing all this for the first time.


Seeds to be potted on are highlighted too. Canterbury Bells and Dianthus planted in the Autumn to give a head start next year.


Lettie catching a few early morning rays…


while Freddie is needing some TLC. He had his little op a few days ago and has to wear this silly lampshade so he doesn’t go near his stitches.

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