Archive | June, 2014

Welcoming the rain.

27 Jun

039  Our period of sunny weather came to an end earlier this week.  People complain and wish for the good weather to stay. I however was happy to see the Summer rain arrive. It is after all what keeps Ireland fresh and lush and green. Forty shades of brown just does’nt have the same appeal to it. 017 I remember the Summer of  ’95, one of the hottest on record for these parts. Andy and I came over from England… we had been together only a short time and it was his first visit to Ireland.  It was hot in England too but I was shocked when I came home and saw the green fields turned to brown.  Yes the heat was lovely but farmers had major problems that year feeding and watering animals and vegetable crops did not do so well either. Hose pipe bans were in effect and rain barrels were long empty. 020 Yes I welcome the life giving water from the sky that makes everything feel fresh and new and combined with the heat of the land gives a huge spurt of growth to everything. 013   I am happy to to see our water barrels filled again  as I always like to water the polytunnel and the house plants with rain water. I remember years ago the old people always said that rain water was the best to wash one’s hair in. My maternal grandfather  Fred always went out to the rain barrel every morning to wash his face. Winter or Summer…hot or cold…this was his way. He would make a cup by putting his big work worn hands together and splash the water onto his face. I loved to watch this ritual. 010

And as sure as night follows day the sun will once again make itself visible. It’s still there behind the cloud waiting for the curtains to part when it will take centre stage once again. Sunshine  returning after a spell of rain is always so welcome. We gain a renewed appreciation for it.

037

Even as I sit here writing the sun is peeping occasionally from behind the clouds… the rain has stopped…I’m off to immerse myself in the fresh green Nature…and if it happens to rain today I shall welcome it with joy in my heart.

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”    Roger Miller

Advertisements

Setting Solstice Sun.

22 Jun

027

“If I had to choose a religion. the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.”      Napoleon Bonaparte

028

“There are three things that cannot be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”    Buddha

030

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”    F. Scott Fitzgerald

023

“The summer night is like a perfection of thought.” Wallace Stevens.

Summer days.

16 Jun

002

Summer’s here and how lovely it is. Lots of Strawberries from the polytunnel…eaten with sourdough pancakes and chocolate sauce for breakfast.

035

Lots of Broad Beans from Autumn sown seeds in the polytunnel. This was from only a few plants. Next crop of these will be outdoors as they take up valuable space under cover for far too long.

034

A very sociable time podding them round the kitchen table…with a nice cup of tea of course. The mug with the B is mine and the hands are my Mothers. She is visiting with us at the moment to celebrate her birthday. She was 78 on Saturday.

043

Everything in the garden and indeed the whole countryside is looking very lush right now. Perfection in Nature as we head towards Solstice and the longest day.

044

Speaking of perfection…isn’t the blue of this Iris just perfection itself. Love this colour! So vibrant!

040

Clematis Annabel flowers near the back door.

042

This Tree Lupin is much loved by the bees. I’m chuffed with this as it’s one I grew from a seed. They do grow fast once they get going.

041

Myself and the Bees are also fond of this tall Valerian which self seeds everywhere. It has a lovely subtle sweet scent. Don’t know if it has the same herbal properties as the lower growing Valerian…anyone out there know?

045

As we bask in the warm embrace of Summer there’s much to do. Long days working outdoors…growing,  preserving and of course eating Nature’s bounty. Time too to enjoy the wonder and beauty of it all…

A tour round the production garden.

8 Jun

veg garden 023

The tunnel is chocabloc right now and the good weather is ensuring rampant growth.

veg garden 002

Lettuces I like to have lots of as we eat salad most days. There’s red ones…

veg garden 003

and green ones. Full Moon is coming up next Friday so it’s a good time to plant new seeds. I don’t follow the Moon calendar religiously but plants do seem to germinate more quickly and be somewhat stronger. If nothing else it’s a good way to divide up the work. Thursday is a leaf day so the new Lettuces and other leaf crops will go in then.

veg garden 015

These oriental salad leaves have gone crazy. Interplanted between the garlic I think I planted them a little too thickly. Still lots of pickings though to spice up our salads. I think I’ll plant some fresh supplies of this too.

veg garden 016

Strawberries have started to ripen.

veg garden 017

There’s great joy in heading to the house with that first precious handful. Slugs are a big problem this year. I’ve already used as much of the organic slug pellets as I used in the whole of last year’s growing season. Whole trays of seedlings have been devoured overnight. I was particularly peeved at the Icelandic Poppies which I’d overwintered in the conservatory. I potted them on, quite big plants at this point, only to discover the whole lot devoured next morning.

veg garden 006

Courgettes will be fruiting soon too. When we went out for my birthday meal Andy had raw courgette pasta with a pesto sauce. It was delicious. The pasta is made with a tool called a spiraliser and I am going to get one. The place we went to was in Westport, County Mayo. Called the Purple Root Cafe it is a raw, vegan cafe and the food is yummy. Highly recommend it if you’re going that way.

veg garden 005

Broad Beans are cropping now. Don’t think I’ll plant them in the tunnel again though. They are in the ground such a long time and become so gangly that they need staking. Outdoors for these next year.

veg garden 010

Outside the potatoes which were planted in pots in April are doing very well. These are Ratte, a French variety that has a lovely nutty flavour.

veg garden 011

The main crop of Setanta are now above ground. These are said to be a floury potato and are also blight resistant.

veg garden 008

Red Cabbage is starting to heart up nicely

veg garden 009

and the Tuscan Kale is doing well.

veg garden 012

It’s looking like a good fruit year. Apples and Plums have set lots of fruit. Home grown Plums are so different to what one buys in the shops, juicy and delicious. Actually I never buy shop Plums anymore as they are mostly inedible. I freeze a lot of Plums when we have them. Just split them, take out the stones, bag them up and into the freezer. Lovely for preserves and baking.

veg garden 013

There’s even a chance of Cherries this year. The big challenge here is to get them before the birds. Netting will be required I think.

veg garden 021

In the conservatory the Grapes are doing really well this year. This grape was here when we bought the place. It was much overgrown and produced little fruit. It has responded well to being severely pruned last year.

veg garden 022

So it’s looking like a good productive year here at Flynn’s Cottage. Hope your garden is doing well too.

Fracking Ireland…here it comes.

1 Jun

Shauna's Confirmation & garden pics 073

Earlier this week we heard the dreaded news that fracking is to go ahead in Ireland. Tamboran is to drill 3 test wells near Belcoo in County Fermanagh starting sometime this month.  This is in Northern Ireland which is under the jurisdiction of the UK government but I’m afraid pollution and destruction of our lands and water do not recognise political boundaries on a solid land mass. Isn’t it a sad situation that we have to fight our governments to try and protect our environment. Surely it is the job of government to protect the people it is meant to be serving rather than kow towing to the will of corporations.

Shauna's Confirmation & garden pics 067

Our beautiful Ireland is to be offered up on the altar of greed and money and damn the consequences. We must try and defend her otherwise we are complicit in these acts of vandalism.

In the words of Theodore Roosevelt:

“Here is your country. Cherish those natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of it’s beauty, it’s riches or it’s romance.”

It seems we will soon have to try and protect our cherished land.

%d bloggers like this: