Archive | March, 2014

The Conservatory.

28 Mar

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Early morning sun casts dappled shade in a corner of the conservatory. conservatory 004

Olive, Fig and Lemon…newly repotted.

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Ganesh…remover of obstacles looks to the East.

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Buddha brings serenity.

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Tomato plants are looking good.

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Seating area sorted.

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Yes! We’ve finally got the conservatory sorted out. Up to now this has been a sort of dumping  area. Recycling stuff, tins of paint, building materials, all ended up here. Over the last few days we have had a big sort out. All the aforementioned are now in the newly tidied shed and the conservatory is at last how we want it. A useful,  usable space. A nice place to take a break or chill out in the Summer heat…hopefully!

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That’s me faffing about at the end…under Lettie’s watchful eye…as always. As you can see we’ve even found a place for the desk here.

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It’s the only place we could fit our big old American fridge. Not a modern reproduction but the real thing made in the US in 1957. We bought it in a second store when we first came back to Ireland in 1996. Someone loved it enough to bring it to Ireland with them.  I wonder if it was a returning emigrant or an American coming to live here? We shall never know but I often wonder.   Still works perfectly and a lot roomier than the new fridges.

Well it seems thats the house finished now! Time to get out there and get that garden sorted.

 

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Daffodil days.

21 Mar

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I love Daffodils!  For me they are a sign that Winter is gone…the sap is rising…and the garden is springing into life again. The power of the Sun is growing daily and soon we shall have longer evenings. The joy of a new season is upon us.

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Historically the Daffodil has been associated with bad luck…especially in matters of poultry rearing. It was said that if a single flower was picked and brought indoors…then only a single chick would emerge from a clutch of eggs.

Narcissus…another  name for Daffodils…meaning “narcissism” which comes from “narke”…the Ancient Greek word for deep sleep, stupor or numbness. Narke is of course also the root of the word “narcotic. The name is a reference to a toxic paralyzing alkaloid contained within the bulbs.

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“Daffodils that come before the Swallow dares, and takes the winds of March with beauty.”   William Shakespeare

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

17 Mar

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Don’t know if this is the man himself but it fits the popular image we all have of him. This is on a building in the grounds of  Dublin Castle. We went there last week to visit the Chester Beatty Museum.

Today as usual on Paddy’s Day we are at home working in the garden. We always plant some of our potatoes on this day. Ratte is the one we are planting today. Ratte is a lovely chestnut flavoured potato apparently much regarded by French chefs.

Best wishes to you all on this St. Patrick’s Day. Have a happy day!

Sadness in a place of beauty…

16 Mar

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A few days ago I was on the way to visit a friend when I decided to take a detour by Lough Gara. It was a day of very low cloud which meant everything was very still and quiet.

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It was hard to tell where the sky ended and the water began.

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Apart from an occasional car passing by and a few ducks quacking as they flew away the silence was beautiful. How often do we immerse ourselves in total silence these days. So soothing…

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Seeing a little lane off the car parking area I decided to explore a bit further.

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Soon my little adventure turned into a disturbing discovery. As I walked… an old TV…

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beer bottles and cans littered the lovely Hazel and Birch woodland.

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It saddens me to see our places of beauty ruined like this. Sad that people who are drawn here cannot take away their rubbish. They come for the solitude and beauty and destroy it with remnants of their enjoyment. Thoughtless!

The sad thing about this is that we now have plentiful recycling centres throughout the country. All electrical goods can be recycled free as can glass. Metal and other reusables can be taken to recycling centres where for the small sum of €3.50 one can get rid of a car load.  Sometimes I despair of people…

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Before leaving I walked again by the lakeside just to lift my mood  and reabsorb the positive vibes of the place. Next time I shall bring a bag and take away some of the rubbish.

Ever met a Scoodoo?

12 Mar

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This is a pile of twigs! Before your very eyes it will turn into a Scoodoo. If you want to know more about the tree spirits that are Scoodoos go to http://www.scoodoos.com. Under the tutelage of Ciaran Burke and his wife Hanna from Kilmovee, Co. Mayo we made our very own Scoodoo to go in the garden.

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First you get some fresh branches or long twigs. Don’t use dried out stuff as it will be too brittle. The longer the branches the bigger your Scoodoo will be. So….take some branches and start putting them into a tall 2 litre pot.

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Keep on adding branches until the pot is full.

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Then take a roll of florist’s wire…attach it securely close to the base of one of the branches.

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As you go up and around the branches start pulling the whole thing together with the wire. That’s Ciaran on the left helping Andy with our Scoodoo.

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As you get towards the end it will taper off to form a “nose.” Secure the wire well and there you have it…

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your very own Scoodoo. Well actually this one is ours but you know what I mean!

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Each one is different. These 2 ladies made a skinnier one with a long nose. As we all chatted the lady in blue revealed that she was a follower of my blog. I was chuffed!

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Voila! The finished Scoodoo.

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This is our Scoodoo relaxing at home in the conservatory. A condition of having a Scoodoo is that it is given a name ending in oo. Meet Woowoo who in the next few days will be allocated a space in our garden where Woowoo’s spirit will protect all the trees. Do you fancy a Scoodoo in your garden? Easy to make. Go on…I dare you.

To secure it in the garden just bang a stake into the earth and then slip your Scoodoo over it. Finito!

Swans by Lough Meelagh.

9 Mar

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What is it about Swans that we find so appealing? Their noble air and graceful movement enchant us.

To the Druids the Swan was said to represent the soul. It is said that they performed their rituals standing under an Oak tree clothed in a pure white cloak…the cloak being made from the skin and feathers of Swans. Their whiteness symbolising purity and perfection.

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Swans are said to mate for life and there is an old superstition that if you sow a Swan’s feather into your husband’s pillow it will ensure fidelity.

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“It doesn’t matter if you’re born in a duck yard, so long as you are hatched from a Swan’s egg.”   Hans Christian Anderson.

A favourite haunt.

3 Mar

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Yesterday was the start of National Tree Week in Ireland. To mark the day we went to Knockranny Woods just outside Keadue village. Sadly on this occasion Bards in the Woods were a small group but that made it none  less the enjoyable.

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The flooding from the wettest February on record has not yet receded here.

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No walking on the shore line today.

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Within the forest the stony paths were nice and dry making for a pleasant stroll amongst the trees.

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We spent some time at this clearing where stands my favourite tree in this forest…a majestic Beech.

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Nearby is another Beech of similar size but somehow I feel more drawn to the other tree. It always catches my eye and demands my attention.

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Looking across Lough Meelagh to Kilronan Mountain where the wind turbines turn slowly in the breeze.  Our old place in Arigna lies in the valley beyond the mountain. We could see these turbines from our backyard when we lived there. Just over a year since we moved but somehow it seems longer.

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As evening started to draw in we had a cup of tea and a chat at the picnic table here looking onto the lake. A lovely end to the afternoon.

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