Archive | nature RSS feed for this section

Looking forward……

20 Jan

022

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.

044

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.

027

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.

006

 

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.

003

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!

035

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.

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

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…

Early morning in an Irish country garden.

31 May

Shauna's Confirmation & garden pics 067

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.

Shauna's Confirmation & garden pics 061

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…

Shauna's Confirmation & garden pics 074

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…

Shauna's Confirmation & garden pics 069

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

Shauna's Confirmation & garden pics 071

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

Shauna's Confirmation & garden pics 072

I can see little flower buds on the Water Lily.

Shauna's Confirmation & garden pics 060

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.

Shauna's Confirmation & garden pics 068

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

074

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.

075

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.

076

 

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

Scoodoos and lough gara 044

 

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.

Scoodoos and lough gara 045

 

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

Scoodoos and lough gara 046

 

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…

Scoodoos and lough gara 053

 

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

Scoodoos and lough gara 047

 

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

Scoodoos and lough gara 048

 

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

Scoodoos and lough gara 049

 

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…

Scoodoos and lough gara 042

 

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

019

 

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.

021

 

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.

020

 

“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

031

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.

023

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

025

No walking on the shore line today.

028

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

029

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

030

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.

027

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.

034

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.

Return of the Light.

1 Feb

010

Spring is here!  Time to come out of hibernation and become busy outdoors again. However even though plants are budding and evenings are getting longer, I fear it will be a little while yet before we can do any outdoor garden work.  The land is wet, very wet, not as wet as Somerset in south west England though. Many homes and even whole farms have been flooded there since before Christmas. So horrible for people and animals.

031

Here in Ireland St. Brigid’s Day is set to be marked by yet another storm. A day of high winds, rain and even the possibility of snow if the Met Office get it right.

lurgan 050

For us February 1st…Imbolc…marks one year here at Flynn’s Cottage. The cottage has been through a lot of changes in the last year. The biggest job was removing all the decoupage from the walls. What a task! It seemed to go on forever. We were so glad when that last wall was done. It now feels like our home rather than a cottage that came into our possession just one year ago. The process of turning a house into a home is complete. We had planned a day out tomorrow to celebrate our first year but we shall see what the weather is doing before making the final decision.

013

“It’s Spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want. but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”    Mark Twain

Happy 1st of February…Imbolc…Spring to all who visit here. May it truly arrive soon.

Counting our blessings.

22 Jan

029

 

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.

010

 

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

031

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?

041

 

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.

006

 

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.

035

 

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.

%d bloggers like this: