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Looking forward……

20 Jan

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Andy was here today so I ventured out for my first snow walk after being housebound for a week with a lung infection. I am still on antibiotics until Friday but I really feel back to normal again. Today the sky was overcast and really very dark all day. It looked like more snow was coming but it never happened and there was actually a good thaw today.

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I don’t fall into illness mode easily and do not spend time lying in bed. Instead I use the time indoors to get houseworky tasks done.  Friends sourced some organic Seville oranges at the bargain price of 2 euros per kilo. Four kilos of them have now been turned into delicious marmalade. It is a long process but so worth the effort. Home made marmalade is just a different experience to the mass produced stuff. One batch turned a dark brown colour just like Oxford marmalade.

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A little gardening was also done today. These scented Tulips were half price in the January sale at a local garden centre and couldn’t be resisted. A little late being planted but now in pots in the polytunnel they will soon catch up. I really want a lot more scent in the garden so that is one of the aspects I shall be focusing on this year. More beds for planting vegetables is also high on the to be done list.

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Still lots of greens in the tunnel. Rocket, Purslane and Spinach are a welcome addition to meals. The Spring Onions are a bit small yet but will grow quickly when the weather warms and the days grow longer.

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The Sun is still low enough in the sky to create interesting morning shadows however this evening there was still some light at 5.30. So looking forward to Spring and the year ahead. A few trips planned but not to be revealed as yet!

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The view down the lane is bleak today but before long everything will be clothed in green again. Looking forward to that time. For me Winter is something that has to be tolerated to get to the glory days of Spring and Summer again. That is my time!

 

 

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.

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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

Summer days.

16 Jun

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Clematis Annabel flowers near the back door.

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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.

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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?

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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…

Early morning in an Irish country garden.

31 May

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It is early morning…6.3o to be precise…a bit earlier than usual for me to be up and about but I didn’t sleep very well. Probably due to being on antibiotics and steroids for an upper respiratory tract infection. Hopefully the drugs will do the trick and in a few days I shall be tickety boo again.

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The only sound to be heard is the early morning birdsong. All the different voices merge together beautifully like a well rehearsed choir. So uplifting…

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A wheelbarrow full of grass clippings sits as testament to yesterdays unfinished jobs. The first chore today will be to mulch amongst the Blackcurrants with cardboard and these grass clippings.  But thats for later…

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By the pond Flag Irises are just showing their yellow flowers…

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and the Newts are up and about.  Must be hundreds of Newts in the pond. I wonder if Newts ever sleep?

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I can see little flower buds on the Water Lily.

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Everything feels so alive and vibrant. The growth is so strong that the scene changes from one day to the next. A  privilege to be able to observe it…I am thankful.

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As the Sun starts to emerge it is time to go indoors and get the kettle on for coffee.

A new day has begun…

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.

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.

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.

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