Archive | April, 2014

Bealtaine thoughts.

30 Apr

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It seems appropriate that the rain arrived today on Bealtaine Eve. April was blissful with mild sunny weather almost all the way. However all the dry weather meant that the land was verging on dryness.  Fruit trees are laden with blossom…so nice to see.  The fresh new green lifts one’s heart. Green is after all the colour of the heart chakra.

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In days gone by Bealtaine was a time of hard work for country people. Turf had to be cut, crops planted and animals turned out to pasture. Fires were lit on hilltops in celebration and also as a protection ritual for people and animals.  People had a strong belief in evil spirits  and fairies coming to do mischief. A  Gorse bush would be placed above the door of the dwelling house for protection. Like Samhain this is the time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest.                                                                                                                                                   I must admit I did feel joy when the rain came today. Andy and I had just spent the morning planting out shrubs and perennial flowers and rain was just the ticket to water them in and get them off to a good start. No amount of watering is equal to a nice soft shower of Irish rain.

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So for now it only remains for me to wish a happy, fruitful Bealtaine and beyond to all who visit here.  Get out into Nature if you can and absorb the vibrancy of it. The energy is tangible and invigorating. Everything smells so fresh and new. Birds are singing and Bees are buzzing. Joy oh joy!  Happy Bealtaine and beyond to all who visit here.

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Sunny Easter days.

21 Apr

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The weather here has been great for weeks now. However the last week has seen temperatures rise to 18c. Perfect weather for being outdoors. The Daffodils are just finished blooming  but the Primroses are playing a blinder this year.

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Freddie loves the hot weather…his new fave place to sit is on this leatherette chair in the conservatory. It gets really hot when it’s sunny but he just loves it.

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The heat has ensured plants have put on a great growth spurt. Lots of things in flower a bit earlier than usual. Delighted that our Lemon is about to flower. Apparently the scent is lovely.

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Geraniums are also in flower… this one is  lemon scented.

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The Fig is also showing the promise of fruit…

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and the Grapevine has put on a lot of fresh growth.

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This Kiwi was planted in the conservatory by the previous owners. It was far too rampant so we dug it up and put it in a pot to see if it would resprout in the Spring.  As you can see it has sprung into life. It is now planted on the south facing wall of the shed where hopefully it will do well.

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Andy put up a trellis for it to climb onto and the overhang of the roof should give some extra protection. I’ll be well pleased if we get some Kiwis. All for me as Andy doesn’t like them.

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We had friends from Finland staying with us for a couple of days over the weekend and on Good Friday we went on a bog walk from Knockvicar Organic Garden to Cloonakilty Castle on the shore of Lough Key.

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Andy and Katri managed to get inside the castle…

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while Don and I relaxed in the sunshine. Restoration work was started on this castle a few years ago…there was even talk of a recording studio…but alas it has lain unfinished for several years now. A lovely place to explore though.

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On Easter Saturday we went to visit my friend Charlie in Manorhamilton. What could be better on a hot sunny day than sitting on the verandah with a friend gazing at beautiful Magnolias in bloom.

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Such beautiful flowers. I shall have to think about getting a Magnolia for our garden. Is it possible to be in love with a flower? I think I am!

Hope you too had a wonderful weekend.

Good things come to those who wait!

19 Apr

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The reality of climate change.

13 Apr

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A recent study released by the U.N on the topic of climate change is a most sobering document. Compiled over a period of 5 years by several hundred authors the report warns of rising seas, dwindling food supplies and the prediction that the poorest people in the world who have had virtually nothing  to do with causing global warming  will bear the brunt of the consequences.

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“The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants. That is killing some creatures or stunting their growth. Organic matter locked into frozen Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouses gases that will cause further warming.”

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“Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger.”

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The authors stress that climate change is not some problem far off in the future, it is happening now. We have all experienced changes in the weather in the last few years. Here in Ireland rain has changed from being mostly soft showers to monsoon like downpours. We have seen coastal erosion on an unprecedented scale this past Winter.  Severe winds earlier this year brought down 1% of Ireland’s trees. In a country with only about 11%  tree cover that’s a huge loss.

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The report cites a particular risk that in a hotter climate farmers will not be able to produce enough food to feed the ever increasing needs of our planet.  “When supply falls below demand, somebody doesn’t have enough food,” says Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton University climate scientist who was one of the contributors to the report. “When some people don’t have food. you get starvation. Yes. I’m worried.”

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We all have a responsibility to try our best to protect our beautiful planet. We really need to become self sufficient again. Each person with land or access to land has a duty to grow at least a portion of their food. Crops like Potatoes and Brassicas are so easy to grow. Salad crops can even be grown in containers, no land necessary. It pains me to go to the supermarket and see Spring Onions coming from countries like Chile or Kenya. I know people in these countries also have to make a  living but I’m sure they could grow crops to feed their families or sell locally instead of being at the mercy of corporations whose only desire is cheap labour and cheap produce.

Consumerism has to cease. How can we expect to continue to shop, shop, shop while our Planet pays the price. Andy and I rarely go to shopping centres. We buy nearly everything locally and clothes are nearly always secondhand. Even though our country is still in recession one can still get great quality clothing in the secondhand shops. Of course we grow what we can and will increase that each year.  I also think that being vegetarian is a more planet friendly choice. More tree cover would be far better for our country than land being used to grow meat. Animals themselves add to the pollution problem. Slurry runoff has contaminated a lot of Ireland’s waterways. I’ve nothing against animals, I love them and choose not to dine on them, but we have a huge amount of  animals being produced now. Far more than our country actually needs if we were just feeding ourselves. I know there will not be a huge conversion to a non meat diet but even a reduction would help the situation and probably improve people’s health too.

I could go on but I won’t. Most people at this point know the changes they can make to make a difference.

So come on!

Let’s work together to save our beautiful planet. For our own  sakes and for the people who come after us.

Thank you Stockholm!

6 Apr

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Last weekend saw us in Stockholm to celebrate Andy’s birthday. We both love Scandinavia and have previously visited Finland. Sweden is such a lovely country…interesting…clean and expensive!

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Andy’s birthday falls on March 29th and on that day we went to visit the ABBA Museum. The Museum opened last year and commemorates  super Swedish pop group ABBA who won the Eurovision song contest in 1974. It lived up to our expectations and provided several hours of good fun. The high point of our trip…not that there was a low point!

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The weather was beautiful while we were there. Beautiful blue skies, sunshine and warmth.

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Tree hugging in downtown Stockholm. So many trees here. It seems any spare land is planted with trees. About 50% of the entire country is covered in trees.

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On the Sunday we went to Djurgarden which is the world’s first national urban park. Over 2,500 hectares,  the park contains a mixture of cultural heritage and natural features.  Huge amounts of Oak planted here,  many are hundreds of years old.

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Interesting how this old Oak has been repaired…over the hole a mesh has been placed onto which Oak bark has been stuck on somehow. Ingenious!

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Vast areas of limestone rock  but somehow the trees receive enough nourishment to grow and prosper.

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Love the covered picnic tables! These would be great for our Irish climate.

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Many private houses within the park too. I guess a good bank account would be needed for one of these. This looks straight out of a fairytale.

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Perched on a stony outcrop is this old linseed oil mill. Said to be one of only five remaining in the world today.

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The city is full of public art…both modern and traditional.

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Love this one of two Bears.

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Plenty of naked men sculptures…

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and this strange one in the Old Town area.

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I could say so much more about Stockholm and show so many more pics but suffice to say we both loved it. It’s departing kiss to me was this liquorice ice cream I discovered at the airport. Delicious! I just love liquorice!

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