Tag Archives: ireland

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

Water, water everywhere…for now.

26 Jul

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After a great stretch of good weather Ireland is back to it’s more usual Summer weather.  Rain showers interspersed with sunny periods. Life is back to normal…gardens are watered from the sky and all is fresh and green again. It did amuse me that after 15 days without rain a drought was declared. In a country with such high rainfall I find that odd. How come we have such low reserves of water?

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I lived the first 10 years of my life living in a house that didn’t have piped water. We had a pump in the yard which supplied all our water. Beautiful clear spring water came from the pump after a few up and downs of the handle. As children it was our job to bring water into the house in buckets.  Most of our neighbours at that time would have been the same so we saw nothing wrong with it. It did however give me a deep appreciation of water. It is something I do not waste. It is a treasure without which life on this planet could not continue.

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Listening to the radio a few days ago Duncan Stewart…eco archicect, environmentalist and broadcaster…presented a few interesting statistics about water:

Ireland imports 4.5 billion cubic metres of bottled water every year. In a land of rivers and springs I find that very strange. Think of all the plastic bottles required. Of course plastic comes from oil so that’s a huge contribution to oil consumption.

70% of Irish food is imported. This has huge implications for water consumption as a lot of food is produced in water stressed regions of the world such as the Middle East and North Africa. Israeli food crops are often produced on settled territories  using water which  rightly belongs to Palestine. An ethical dilemma we must all judge with our buying choices.

A power shower uses 150 litres of water in 5 minutes. No comparison was given with an ordinary shower but I assume the difference would be substantial.

40% of our piped water is lost through leaks in the system. Surely it would make sense to rectify that before looking to other solutions?

There was a lot more in the discussion but those were the main ones that struck me.

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Something which has struck me recently is how the rain in Ireland has changed. From mostly soft light showers it has changed to heavy, monsoon like downpours. Climate change has given us even more rain! For me the irony is what happens to this large amount of water? Of course a certain amount falls on land and bodies of water but rain that falls on buildings is usually directed into the sewerage systems. What a waste! All that lovely water from the sky is immediately contaminated in the sewers. Surely it would make sense to collect this water for use in the public supply systems?

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Two nights ago in Dublin there was torrential rain. Houses and businesses were flooded because the sewer couldn’t cope with the extra water. At present there is a plan to build a huge water reservoir in the Midlands to supply our capital city with water.  There’s also been murmurings about bringing water from the Shannon. Meanwhile untold amounts of water are flowing into the sewers. Surely it would be more cost effective to divert this water into reservoirs or other storage systems.?

We are lucky enough to have our own well supplying the house here in Lurgan. However we also collect water from the roof in a series of barrels at every corner of the house. This water is used to water the garden and polytunnel. Washing up is only done once a day. Dishes are piled neatly and all washed up in one go in the evening.  I hate to see people washing a cup under a running tap. Wasteful!

In the middle of all this water dilemna we have our government debating whether they will allow hydraulic fracking to proceed in Ireland. A process that uses millions of litres of water for every frack.  Not to mention what to do with all the resulting polluted water. Crazy!!

Water is a finite resource…all the water that will ever be is already on the planet.

“I believe water will be the defining crisis of our century, the main vehicle through which climate change will be felt…from droughts, storms, and floods to degrading water quality. We’ll see major conflicts over water; water refugees. We inhabit a water planet, and unless we protect, manage, and restore that resource, the future will be a very different place from the one we imagine today.”

Alexandra Cousteau

“Water is the driving force in nature.” Leonardo da Vinci.

“We never know the worth of water till the well runs dry.” Thomas Fuller.

What’s wrong with daisies in the lawn?

4 Jul

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This is our lawn…just before cutting…full of daisies. I quite like them actually. We don’t spray our lawn with anything…never fertilise it…I think it makes a grand lawn.

Recently I started following a blog called http://www.naturegirlireland.blogspot.ie . It’s the blog of Mary Reynolds gold medal winning Chelsea gardener.

Mary did a post recently about lawns http://www.naturegirlireland.blogspot.ie/2013/03/glowing-green-fingers.html…I was shocked at some of the statistics quoted. No offence to American people who visit here but all of the stats are from America.

1. America has 40 million acres of lawn which use 238 gallons per person per day to keep.

2.American research (University of California, Irvine) demonstrated that carbon emissions would be far lower if lawnmowers were       eradicated.

3. The EPA in the USA reckons that Americans use 800 million gallons of oil per year in lawnmowers.

4. Pesticide use is 20 times higher in residential gardens than on farms.

Now I’m sure if similar research was carried out in Ireland the stats would be just as bad. All the big supermarkets now carry all sorts of garden chemicals which people carry out in the same bags as their groceries. Weeds are not hoed on a sunny day anymore they are sprayed with weedkillers. The giveaway brown strip of grass along the road is a the telltale sign of  such activity.

On a recent sunny Sunday I was shocked to see a guy with a knapsack sprayer spraying his yard. Shocked because he was wearing no mask or protective clothing …and must shocking of all…a child of about 4 years was walking along beside him as he sprayed. No protection either of course.

Have people lost touch with Nature altogether I wonder? Do people not realise they are poisoning their land…themselves and their families and of course our struggling insects too.

The Earth cannot continue to tolerate what we are doing. It is starting to fight back.   Floods…melting ice caps…dying bees…all a result of human stupidity.

We must wake up and smell the flowers…before it’s too late.

It’s such a joy to go into our garden and hear the buzz of the bees…the song of the birds…the sight of insects flitting about.

Yes! We have daisies in the lawn. I love them!

 

A perfect Summer morning.

26 Jun

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I was up early this morning…woken by the birds and the bright sunshine. Even though it was perfectly still there were no midges about. The smell of new mown grass still perfumed the air.

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I love how the freshly cut grass makes everything look nice and fresh. The cut grass is a valuable resource for the garden…we use it for mulching around plants and also add some to the compost.

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The dew was still on the plants when I was rambling round the garden. With only light canvas shoes on I soon had wet feet from the dewy grass.

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Masses of perennial Geraniums in flower now. These were here when we moved. I do like them but they need breaking up with some other plants…contrasting colours. Any ideas anyone?  Lots of work to be done here next Winter methinks…of course shopping for plants to be done first. Lovely!

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I love the tiny little flowers on this Geranium.

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The bed I planted up last month has come on very well. Nothing grew for a while but then we had heavy rain and everything took off. That’s what makes Ireland so lush and green…the life giving rain. Ireland wouldn’t be Ireland with a hot sunny climate.

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In the new bed I notice the Tree Lupin is coming into flower. Nothing special about it…a fairly common plant. However…this one is special to me because I grew it from seed. I never tire of that feeling of watching something you’ve sown as a tiny seed grow into a mature plant. Magic!

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Lovely shadows created as the sun filters through the trees on the eastern boundary…

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and the pond is so still…even the little creatures that live here are still resting. If you look carefully you can see a Newt in the pic. Lots of them here.

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As I head indoors this freshly emerged Poppy catches my eye. Couldn’t miss this striking colour I suppose!

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Back indoors I have a cuppa whilst admiring this lovely bouquet I received yesterday from another cottage garden.

A perfect Summer morning at Flynn’s Cottage.

Climate change, unpacking boxes and favourite books.

9 May

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The weather is back to rain again so garden days are at a standstill for a little while. Really heavy rain last night…monsoon like…lots of flooding today. Apart from more rain in the last few years I also notice that the rain has changed…much heavier monsoon like sheeting rain. I suppose that’s climate change. There’s no denying it’s existence even here in Ireland.

Anyway the rainy days give us a chance to work indoors on the cottage renovations. The sitting room is finished now so with great joy we start unpacking things not seen since last September. The thing I missed the most in that time was books. I know everything can be looked up on Google now but for me nothing beats picking up a book.

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As each box is opened one is reacquinted with old friends. Alice in Wonderland my favourite book from childhood….

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an old herbal book given to me by a lady long left this world and from my school days a poetry book.

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Time to stop and read once more my favourite poem…ever. The Road Not Taken by the American poet Robert Frost.

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Herbal reference books and of course gardening books…all at my fintertips once again. These will be much used over the Summer as the garden work continues and herbal potions are made from hedgerow plants along the lane.

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Soon the shelves fill up with treasures collected over the years. Andy still has many of his childhood books…they are here too…. on the top shelf. Of course every new house needs some new things…one of the new things is the mandala on the top shelf. I just love it…it’s from my friend June over at www.celticmooncraft.blogspot.com . The triskele is a favourite emblem of mine…

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as is the trinity knot. This is on a piece of stained glass set into the sitting room door. The door was made by our friend Alan and the glass was made by a guy called Matt Black who used to have a shop in Drumshanbo. I really love to have things made by local people.  I picked up the porcelian handle in a charity shop for 2 euros. You can’t see it very well in this pic but it has an exotic bird on it.

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Yippee! The books are back…onto the next room…or…if the weather picks up again…some more garden work. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

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