Archive | January, 2014

Counting our blessings.

22 Jan



January has brought us mostly very mild Winter weather. Some gorgeous red sky mornings. Hopefully we will slide easily into Spring without any dramatic weather occurences. Last year we had that east wind that went on for most of March. That really delayed the start of the gardening year.



There’s also been a fair bit of  so welcome Winter sunshine…


still low enough in the sky to light up the usually shady forest floor. We walk here in this forest behind the house every day with the pooches. They love it…darting about here and there with noses to the ground. Lots of evidence of Foxes and Badgers about so it’s doggie heaven I guess. Sometimes Lettie will roll in Fox or Badger poo. She thinks it’s Chanel No 5 but I’m afraid we disagree. This behaviour is always rewarded by a bath before she’s allowed indoors again. Then it’s dirty looks for the evening. Freddie never does this. Is it something that only female Dogs do? Do your Dogs do it…males or females?



Andy has been taking advantage of the good weather by keeping the wood shed full and crown lifting some of the trees. The one he is working on here is an Ash. Crown lifting lets in a lot more light beneath the trees allowing more planting beneath and circulation of air. Of course Ash can be burned green so limbs cut from these trees are cut into logs straight away for the stoves.



I have been mostly working indoors as I had a chest infection earlier in the month. With the help of a homoepathic remedy and some herbal medicine I am now feeling better. All the marmalade is now made…bedrooms are decorated. I am so looking forward to working on the garden this coming year. Last year we did some gardening but it was mainly renovating the house that took our energy. With the house now almost finished this will be…hopefully…a year of making this garden our own.



Of course all work and no play is no fun. Not good for the soul. We need to take time to stop and observe the beauty of the stark Winter landscape. Just as beautiful as the green of Summer to me.

This is the beautiful Fin Lough near Knockvicar where I stopped a few days ago on the way to visit friends. A beautiful still blue sky day. The sort of day that makes you feel so lucky to be alive…on this beautiful Planet. A day to breathe in the crisp air and count our blessings.



12 Jan



It’s a wet Sunday here in Ireland today. Just thought I’d post a few pics of Summer flowers to cheer us up as we wait for the gardening season to start. I find this time of year the longest part of Winter.  Up to Christmas we are busy with fairs and preparations for the festive season. Then suddenly it’s January and all is quiet…far to wet to work in the garden…a little early for planting seeds.



What to do? We have been busy finishing things off in the house. The spare bedroom and our own bedroom are now decorated. The larder was painted and sorted as of yesterday. Today I processed the first of the Seville Oranges…a year’s supply of  marmalade by the end of the coming week.



There are still a few things to be done in the conservatory.  Andy is putting a stove in there this week then a rejig of furniture and that will be done. There’s lots to be done outdoors but mostly fair weather jobs.

As I see plants budding my desire is to  get out there and get my hands in the soil once again.

But for now I must wait…


9 Jan



Jack Frost came in the night.



Leaving crunchy grass under foot.



Skeletal plants rigid and white.



Polytunnel plastic now opaque.



While in the pond all is still…as far as our eye can see anyway.


9 Jan


What is it about mist that’s so enchanting?


I love how it slowly, silently,  envelops everything.


It gives an aura of mystery and magic.


Bringing with it stillness and a deep quiet. The magic of the mist.

Rainy January days.

6 Jan


Today is the last day of Christmas…Women’s Christmas or the feast of the Epiphany as it’s also known. The day when the 3 Wise Men brought their gifts to the baby Jesus. I didn’t have any women getting together event so I just went into town and had a peruse of the shops…bought myself a couple of sweatshirts. So much tat the shops get in for the sales…the Earth’s resources being wasted on useless unnecessary stuff.


We try to avoid buying anything we don’t have a use for…as the great designer William Morris said “Do not have anything in your home which you do not find to be useful or beautiful”…or something like that.

I find it hard to get back into work mode after Christmas. The weather does’nt help. Since mid December storms have been raging out in the Atlantic. They have been coming ashore with great force.  England and Ireland have suffered badly from high winds and flooding. Thankfully we have had no damage here. The land is sodden though so no work can be done in the garden. It’s not advisable to work on the soil if the mud sticks to your boots…you would just be causing compaction.


Water barrels are full to overflowing but I fear we won’t be watering for some time! In Mid and Eastern America I know temperatures are set to plummet. Lots of heavy snowfalls too. I guess all this extra precipitation is down to global warming. Not a lot we can do about it now as the Planet is well beyond the tipping point. We must endure this climate we have all created by our own greed and consumerism…and still it continues. Very hard to change the lifestyle we have all become accustomed to I suppose.


The days right now are grey and the air is moisture laden. The rain we get has changed somewhat from the soft rain Ireland is so famous for. Monsoon type showers are what we get now…really heavy rain. I’ve noticed this change for a few years now. It’s like the clouds have a lot more moisture to get rid of. We have’nt had any frost to speak of yet so when it dries I can get back to mulching the beds.


Despite spending a lot of time indoors right now there is still lots to do. We have been painting our bedroom and the Seville Oranges are waiting to be turned into marmalade. These fruits are organic from the Farmer’s Market in Boyle. Our friends Anne and Simon picked them up for us on Saturday. At €2.50 a kilo I thought they were a bargain. I will process them a kilo at a time. That should give us about 28 pounds of Marmalade. Lots for us for the year and maybe a few for friends too.


To finish on an amusing note I give you this pic of Andy and the dogs. He bent down to get Lettie a little tummy rub…the bould Freddie…never one to miss an opportunity…jumped off the trunk and onto Andy’s back. Cheeky monkey!

New Year ahead…old year remembered.

1 Jan

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As we celebrate the arrival of 2014 I’m in the mood to have a look back at 2013.

The high point for Andy and I was moving into our new house last February.

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A few days after we got there there was a snowfall. The netted area was where the previous owners had their chicken run…this is now where the polytunnel and raised beds are.




March saw my Mother here for the first visit to the new house. She prefers it to our old place in Arigna as there are no hills making it easier for walking. She will be 78 in June and still grows nearly all her own veg.



Freddie looking cute!



Lumberjacks and blue skies in April.



May saw the start of our lovely Summer weather.  We also made our first Hugelkultur beds…very successful they have been too.



On what was to be one of the hottest days of the year our polytunnel arrived and was erected in three hours. It was about 27c that day. Beautiful!



Water Lily.



Beautiful Summer Butterflies and flowers.



Berried Guelder Rose by the pond in August.



A lovely visit to Sue and the  donkeys at the sanctuary in Castlebaldwin.



Mid September we visited the wonderful Terra Nova garden in Kilmallock, Co. Limerick. We intend to return there in Summer 2014 to see the garden in it’s full glory.



By October most of the renovations were done and the finishing touches could be added. So nice to finally get all our stuff out of the boxes again.



Beautiful Autumn colours…

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and Sunday afternoons walking in woodlands with good friends made the shortening days so pleasant.



A beautiful December sunrise.

We are so looking forward to the coming year here. Lots of work to be done on the garden and who knows what else the year will hold for us. All good things I hope.

As I bid you adieu for now it only remains to wish each and every one of you a peaceful…happy and prosperous year ahead. Thank you much for your ongoing support.

Happy New Year!





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