Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring is Springing.

These tulips are wine glass shaped and the colour of red wine as well.
Leafs unfurling, more flowers appearing daily, swallows swooping and the cuckoo cucking, spring is here. New life all around, we have had our first hatch of Quail,
Day old Hubbard chicks.
we now have eighteen Hubbard day old chicks which we picked up from the hatchery in Monaghan on Wednesday, the chicks will be ready for the table in about three months and are always worthwhile doing. It was a beautiful day, but rather too hot for the six hour round trip, we are getting too old for these long drives, however, if we wish to produce our own eating chicken this is what we have to do. We always pick up chicks for other people as well to make the trip worthwhile.
I'd love to live here.
On the way back we stopped for a rest and a picnic of home made scotch eggs, and a welcome cup of tea beside a lovely lake
where we were greeted by a pair of ducks., we are normally very good at naming the species, but this time we were stumped, we suspect they have hybridised from someone's domestic ducks, there were several properties with lake frontage. What a beautiful spot to live.
Our first asparagus.
We have had our first feast of home grown asparagus, it was lovely and so different from the shop bought, worthwhile the three year wait. There is lots more to come, but I don't think we will get fed up with it.
A few of our runner ducks, not the eggs that I'm incubating.
With the hatching season now in full swing I decided it was time to invest in a second incubator, we have duck eggs to hatch as well as hens and it's a long wait to set more eggs with just one incubator. The next couple of months will be busy with ducklings and chicks hatching,  rearing them all takes time, plus weeding and successional veg planting, then comes the harvesting. Life would be easy if we used supermarkets, but not so much fun, and we like good food.
Lovely pink and white with a variegated leaf.
There are still different types of daffodils coming into bloom and  the tulips have started,
Yes, this is a tulip!
I'm always surprised when things start to blossom,
My favourite one this year, so far.
I select them, I plant them and then forget what and where I have planted, so the garden is always a surprise.
A beautiful colour.
I had forgotten how many different types of tulips I had planted,
it's great to go into the garden and find something new showing colour.
I discovered more Fritillaries in bloom today as I wandered around. It's a good job that I'm more organised when it comes to the vegetable garden.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Cuckoos have arrived.

It has been a very warm April, the swallows arrived last week and today we heard the first cuckoo, a day earlier than last year but not as early as 2013. Once again there are reports of Hoopoe's in Ireland, they were one of my favourite birds when we lived in Spain, I would love to see them again.
The blackthorn seemed to have come out overnight, the hedgerows are now white with blossom,
                                                       such a dainty bloom.
The small birds are now all into nest building.
One determined little bird.
When we groom the dogs we always throw out the hair in the hope that some bird will find it useful to line their nest, this week I spotted a coaltit taking advantage of the silky hair from our golden Labrador, it was quite a large clump of hair but this little bird was determined it was going to take it all, it was fascinating to watch this little bird folding and rearranging the hair so it could fly of with it all in one go, it would have been easier if it had just come back several times, as it was it took it over twenty minutes to gather it all together, plenty of time to get the camera, change the battery and photograph it at work.
Yesterday there was a big fire on the Mooreland close to where we live, our garden was full of smoke although the nearest the fire came to us was nearly a mile away, today we had a drive round to see how much damage had been done, we estimate that around six hundred acres has gone up in flames, this includes some lovey trees. It has been very dry this month, but almost certainly this fire was the work of arsonists, luckily no one lost their home although it did get up to the back garden of one of the houses. Fortunately it did not spread to an area of ancient woodland that we have close by, this woodland is home to red squirrels and pine martens,
                                             as well as bluebells and wood anemones.
Everything in the garden and tunnel is romping ahead,
I hope they flower soon, there is no more room to earth up.
the early potatoes in the tunnel have been earthed up three time now, hopefully there will be a good crop  from them.
The spinach is doing well , we have had our first feast from it and the salad bowl lettuce is ready for picking,
Broad beans are blooming.
broad beans are blooming, attracting lots of hoverflies and a few bumble bees, it  is also looking good for a heavy crop of gooseberries.
Lots of new leafs.
The lemon tree seems to like it's new home in the front porch, it has made lots of new leaf growth
Plenty of blossom.
and has lots of blossom, the perfume is lovely. As this tree is being grown inside it has to be hand pollinated which has now been done to the open flowers but there are more to come. Even our fig tree has little figlets on it, we might even get a crop.
All for ten euro.
I spotted a set of slate table mats and coasters in a local charity shop last week, I knew I would have a use for them, but not as table mats. We left them and went for a coffee, yes, we can get a good cup of coffee in our local town. It was then that I knew why I wanted them. To paint suitable garden signs on. Ok, so they serve no purpose, but they are a bit of fun, and it's much nicer to make your own signs than to buy them from a garden centre.
First one is painted. Just for a bit of fun.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sunny days.

The weather has been brilliant the last week, very warm and sunny, it feels like summer rather than spring. We saw the first swallows yesterday but so far no sound of the cuckoo. Everything is growing so fast in the garden you can almost see the plants emerging. Easter was spent mainly in the garden, the main crop potatoes are now planted, the first earlies are well up and have had their first earthing up,
First asparagus shoots.
even the asparagus has pushed it's first shoots up. Sunday we went to a plant swap, exchanging two types of seed potatoes, spare strawberry plants and  sweet pea plants for  more snowdrops, 'now in the green', Verbascum (mullein) and a twisted willow tree. It was a well attended event, with lots of like minded people there.
Over the weekend I found time to make our hot cross buns
and scotch eggs,
they made a very nice evening meal served with purple sprouting broccoli and asparagus, not ours I'm afraid, that will be a couple more weeks before it's ready.
Most of this seasons seeds are now planted, either in the garden or in modules for the more tender things, ready to plant out when there is no longer danger of frost.
The flower gardens are looking very colourful now with most of the spring bulbs blooming, it wont be long before the first  summer flowers appear, they all seen to have survived the winter. A few more photos of the spring flowers.
A very pretty bulb but I can't remember it's name.
A special dwarf tulip. it's highly perfumed.
Toad lily, it's beautiful and has a wonderful scent.
Tete a Tete.
Fritillary's in bloom.
More daffodils.
Hellebores and blue anemones.
Yet more perfume.
A blue version of the bulb I can't remember the name of.
Just coming into bloom.
Our eldest and youngest, Freddy the kitten on top, Tommy being sat upon, he's twelve.

Part of the rockery.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Apologies to anyone who tried to leave a comment on my last post, there appears to be a gremlin at work, my replies are also being eaten. Hopefully the problem will resolve it's self soon.