Thursday, September 12, 2013

Storing the harvests. An Irish Funeral.

The last few days have been even busier than normal. On Sunday our computer contacted a very bad virus and required immediate medical attention and a two day spell in intensive care. Our computer man lives an hours drive away in a very pretty village so we thought we would take advantage of the trip to do more exploring and maybe do a bit more Blackberry picking, we took  a picnic lunch with us as we anticipated being out sometime.
We quickly found a wonderful spot, absolutely laden with fruit, a tiny lane that is very infrequently used judging by the grass growing in the middle of the lane. Lots of birds and
Speckled Wood butterflies, we filled our bags and then dined alfresco, it was another sunny day and we have to take advantage of these in Ireland.
 Seeing a sign for a 5th century Abbey, we then took a slight detour, in fact nothing of the original  Abbey remains except the ring fort that it had been built on, but there is the ruin of an 13th century  Abbey church on the same site, in fact built within the boundary of the Ring Fort,

the church had some lovely carvings and the remains of what must have been a very beautiful window.
 We also spotted the ruin of what might have been a small castle or a large Manor House, close to the banks of the River Suck, it would have been an imposing building in it's heyday.
On returning home we found that we had picked  over twelve pounds of berries, I wanted some to make more Bramble Jelly and the rest to make Blackberry Cordial. Having  previously read up on the nutritional value of Blackberries it turns out that they are every bit as good as all these so called super fruits! The only difference is they are free, they just need picking and processing. We have picked over thirty two pounds of Blackberries this year, certainly a record for us.

The last batch of Bramble jelly has now been made, the remaining fruit is in the freezer waiting for kind friends to drink some beer and pass on their empty bottles to us. Thanks in anticipation, Matt and Liz!! 
Marrow and Ginger Jam, more Bramble Jelly and the first bottled Pears.
Thanks to a friend I have been able to make four and a bit pots of Marrow and Ginger jam, our courgettes have done nothing this year except produce male flowers, but our friend had too many, one of which became a Marrow. Lidl has had organic fruit and veg on offer this week, I could not resist buying the Organic Pears for bottling, and also Peppers, which I have frozen, we did grow peppers last year but they were not too successful so we decided against growing them again.
Also on the go is Bread and Butter Pickle, a lovely cucumber and onion sweet pickle, I have done about half of it so far, but our week has been busy.
 Tuesday we had to pick up our repaired computer, so another two hour round trip. On arriving home we were given the sad news that our only neighbour had died, she was a lovely old lady, eighty eight years young, always with a twinkle in her eye and a great sense of humour, we will miss her evening visits and our visits to her. She was the first person to visit us when we moved here. It was clear from her lovely Grandson that we would be expected to attend all the stages of an Irish Funeral. This is not a simple matter as it is in the UK or even Spain. Firstly there is the paying respect to the family and the deceased, either at their home or at the Funeral home, wherever the departed is resting, the coffins are often open, as was the case with Babs, our neighbour. Everyone in the neighbourhood attended, even if they had never met her, this is expected, it is the loss a member of the community. Judging by the queue to view we think there must have been between two and three thousand people. Next comes the actual removal of the deceased to the church, in this case six miles away and well over an hour later than had been planned. This is the start of the religious ceremony. The following day, today comes the Mass, in this case the Mass of the Resurrection, it was a beautiful service, so much lighter and happier than ones I have attended in the past in the UK which were always so gloomy and mournful. Then comes the internment, so it was back to the town where the Churchyard is. Churches here seldom have the Churchyards attached to the church, I don't know why, I shall have to ask. Then comes the wake, again, nothing mournful, just lovely anecdotes about a super old lady.
On a lighter note , this week I received seeds from a blogging friend in the USA, Sweet Annie and  Nepeta, now we can get Nepeta here but not the true cat nip one, I had spotted a photo on her blog of her cats going crazy over the stems of this plant, she makes cat beds  and stuffs them with this herb,  she offered to harvest some seeds for me. They were packaged well, inside a cardboard envelope and that was inside a lovely card, I left the card on our table for a few moments, only  to find our cats in total ecstasy over it,
Sparkie our kitten was foaming at the mouth. I hope these seeds grow well for us, we will have some super happy cats next year. Many thanks Carole. Her blog can be found Via:
This bed is only just over a couple of months old, amazing growth.


  1. Hello Anne,
    I am catching up on your blog and enjoying it so much. I can't wait to see what you do with the straw house. I have always thought that they were a well thought out idea. any people are doing that here now. I do like the idea of clover or flowers on top. It makes use of good space.
    The pictures of the Abbey were wonderful. 12 pounds of berries wow. I also made bread and butter pickles and have fridge dill pickles done too. Today or tomorrow I plan to make pickled beets.
    It was so interesting to hear about a true Irish Funeral. I am sorry for your loss of your neighbor. They are not that way here. The old ways did not cross the water. Just a wake and Church.
    I am picking hops now and wonder how yours did this year. I could send you over what I think may be hop seeds and you could try mine. Are you going to use them for beer or just a covering. I make dream pillows out of them and this year will sell some in packs for people to make their own.
    My best to you and your family and many thanks for mentioning me in your blog.

  2. I also use hops for dream pillows but our plants are struggling a bit, I have very mixed feelings about Irish funerals, the five daughters looked exhausted and that was at the first stage, there were just so many people viewing.

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