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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Well it’s been a while since I’ve written anything on this blog. Almost 6 months, 11th of July was the last post I did. Changes were happening in my life and I just wasn’t in the mood for writing.
The biggest change has been that Andy and I are no longer together. We have been living separately since last August. We are still good friends and look out for each other, we even spent Christmas together. After 20 years together I suppose we had both changed and living together wasn’t as free and easy as it once was.
Of course many of you will have been through the same thing and know that life goes on. There is always that period of adjustment though. Naturally! Uncoupling isn’t an easy thing to do.
I am still living in the cottage and Andy is living in a rented cottage which is about 20 minutes drive from here. We see each other every week and I’m glad to say there is no bitterness between us. He still cuts the wood and other jobs around the place.
I enter 2015 on calm waters and look forward to the year ahead. Who knows what it may bring! I am looking forward to working in the garden again, not that I ever stopped!
Snowdrops are already visible and of course everything is stirring back to life beneath the surface of the Earth. So looking forward to the Spring flowers. Especially the Daffodils, I just love them.
It has been an incredibly mild Winter here in Ireland. Very few frosty nights, the coldest one was a few nights ago, the mercury dropped to -3c. Some days there is a definite feel of Spring in the air but of course February and March are the worst of the Winter months here. Sometimes there is an east wind which goes on for weeks. Maybe this year will skip that! Wishful thinking…
I always feel relieved when the shortest day is over. I imagine the evenings are already a bit brighter. The days of long shadows are nearly over as the Sun once again rises higher in the sky.
Before I finish I would like to thank all the people who sent me messages in the past months wondering if I was ok. Sorry for not replying but that was the space I was in. It was so nice to know that there are so many genuine and caring people following this blog.
Thank you all so much.
Much love and good wishes for a happy 2015 to you all!
Snowdrops in bloom…a sign that Spring is really here. An exciting time when the possibilities of the year ahead open up in front of us. A time for sowing seeds and watching the new growth enliven our gardens and the wider landscape once again. The longer days fill our hearts and souls with joy and enthusiasm.
The botanical name for the common Snowdrop is Galanthus nivalis. Galanthus is of Greek origin and means milk white flower. Nivalis is a Latin word meaning resembling snow.
Superstition says it is unlucky to bring those pretty flowers indoors.
Rhubarb has also poked it’s head above ground. Hard to believe those little buds will turn into those gigantic stalks and leaves. In gardening books it is always classified as a vegetable but for me a plant that can be used to make delicious tarts, crumbles and jams is definitely a fruit.
Apparently Rhubarb grows all year round in warm climates. It’s only the cold Winters of our temperate climate which make it retreat underground.
In the polytunnel the Swiss Chard is still producing lots of leaves…
and Winter Purslane sends forth it’s little leaves full of Vitamin C. At this time of year I really crave salads and dream of Summer days when they will be plentiful again. I look forward to the joy of watching those first heads of Summer Lettuce grow.
Periwinkle didn’t die back at all this year and is already producing its pretty little blue flowers.
By the front door multi coloured Primulas are bright and cheerful. These will be planted out in the garden after flowering and will hopefully form clumps and continue to flower for many more years.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
As the berries on the Guelder Rose and other trees and shrubs redden we have a growing awareness of Autumn in the air. I can’t really explain it but it’s tangible that we are between seasons. It’s the slight chill in the air morning and evening, the ripening of seeds and berries, the drawing in of the evenings, the need to light a fire at night once again. Yes…Summer is slipping from our grasp…reluctant as we are to let her go…it is beyond our control.
Here in Lurgan work has been continuing on the house. The new solid fuel stove which will provide hot water and heat the radiators is fitted. Actually all the plumbing is done…finished last Thursday…we lit the stove on that day to check that everything was working ok. Apart from one airlock everything was fine. It will be lovely on cold Winter days to have this cranking out the heat. Nice as the Rayburn was we didn’t want to have an oil cooker. Not for us.
New windows bring extra light into the north side of the house. This one looks out onto the pond.
As I work away finishing things off ready for painting I listen to the radio. Such turmoil in the world…over 400 people killed in Egypt…car bombs in Iraq…robberies and killings here in Ireland. Test fracking going on in southern England. Sometimes I despair of what’s going on on our Planet. Gmo’s infiltrating our food supply. Where will it all end. I read the other day that Monsanto only serves organic food in it’s worker’s cafes. Confidence in your products? They still have to come outside and breathe the polluted air they and their like have created. Maybe I’ll turn that radio off…some music instead I think.
In the garden there is still lots of colour. I love Fuschias…apparently there are over 2 thousand varieties…so easy to propagate too. Just take a hardwood cutting in Autumn and leave in the polytunnel or coldframe to overwinter…viola!…a new plant next Spring.
Lots of Shasta Daisies too. They have been somewhat battered by the heavy rains. These will have to be divided over Winter as they have formed into a huge clump.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Kale are well established now. The kale will be used over Winter and the PSB will be a welcome vegetable next Spring.
Leeks are also coming on nicely. These beds are very fertile as they were made using soil from the old chicken run.
In the polytunnel we now have lots of crops. Courgettes…salad crops…Beetroot…Beans and lots of Basil and other herbs means we have something from the garden for nearly every meal.
We’re really pleased with how crops have done as the polytunnel was only erected June 9th. Of course the polytunnel is sited where the chicken run was so plenty of manure incorporated into the soil here. I just can’t imagine not having a polytunnel or not growing vegetables or flowers. It’s a huge part of my life going out there and getting my hands in the soil. Eating something I’ve grown just fills me with a sense of achievement. No high powered job for me…this will do fine.
The first of the Blackcurrants have been dug up and rehomed today. I am thankful for the late Spring which allows these to be transplanted so late in the season. These will be planted quickly and hopefully will take off straight away. I like Blackcurrants as much as anyone but I think the previous inhabitants of this place must have had an obsession with them. Any gaps were filled with a Blackcurrant. Under trees, among the shrubs and flowers, Blackcurrants everywhere. I counted over 50 plants… far too many.
This bed will be emptied too. A big clump of Rubus tricolor and a Golden Ivy, nothing else. Not for me! Lots of plants from this to swop for new garden treasures. I guess if we all liked the same things the world would be a pretty boring place.
Have spent most of the last few days in the garden. Pruning, planning and digging out stuff. The weather has been lovely… not stop sunshine. Half the conifers at the boundary line have been cut, the rest will go next week. When we bought the house it was with the understanding that these trees which were shading the bottom part of the garden would be cut. We get to have the timber too. It will need seasoning before being used in the stoves over Winter.
Lettie kept herself occupied for hours today watching some little creature which was in the undergrowth…
whilst Freddie slept in a sunny spot in the conservatory.