Monday, June 6, 2016

June is busting out all over.

Roses, Dianthus, Sweet Rocket, and Delphiniums. 
It's summer, and it's hot. Today the temperature is 33c- 91f in the sun, inside temperature is 23.9c-75f, this could be some sort of record for Ireland, I can't remember it being this hot in the past.
As it is so hot we have now transferred our Hubbard chicks into their garden house and run, although they are only nineteen days old and we would normally be keeping them on heat until three weeks old.
Although a little bemused they quickly set about exploring their run. Should the weather change back to what we are used to we can always run a electric cable and set up heating for them, but there is no sign of the weather changing so I doubt this will prove necessary.
Almost white.
For me outside work has come to a halt, although I have two dozen plants waiting to be planted they will have to wait until it's cooler and we have had some rain, these are plants that we ordered from a great organic nursery in Clare, we had bought six plants from them at the plant sale a couple of weeks ago at Strokestown House. When we  got home I looked up the nursery and found an Aladdin's cave of plants, they grow over six hundred different herbaceous plants, the farm is on the side of a mountain and the plants are given no protection so are well acclimatised to Irish conditions. If I had room I could have bought far more than I did, there is something for every type of soil conditions, but we have no intentions of expanding our flower beds.
Busy bee/
 The garden seems to be fairing well,
the flowers gardens are a riot of colour and the first roses came into bloom on the 1st of June.
Trollius, it must have hitched a ride.
There are also a couple of plants that have appeared from nowhere! I suspect they have come in as seeds on plants that I have bought, one is Trollius, not a plant that I would have bought, but it's pretty so it can stay.
This was shown as a blue flower in the catalogue.
One disappointment is my Camassia, it was shown in the catalogue as a vibrant blue, which is why I bought it, it has turned out to be white, still pretty, but not what I had wanted or expected, had I realised it was white I would have planted it in another bed, as the bed where it is is supposed to be blues, purples and pinks, this is also where the trollies has turned up so a little rearranging come the Autumn I think.
The alliums are looking good.

Shame they hang their heads down, they are so pretty and the bees love them.
The veg is also fine, I suspect that all our top dressing with mulch is helping to retain the moisture in the soil, my planters and window boxes however are suffering from lack of water, we really can't spare any water from our collection system unless we get some rain, we are now collecting all our grey water and this will be used for the tubs and planters. the tunnel also is holding up well, again probally due to all the composted material we have added to the beds.
Tomato plants are all in flower
and we have our first cucumber ready, I'm sure it's much earlier than normal.
I'm still doing the pottery course once a week, I have never known three hours to go so quickly, my last couple of pieces have now been fired,

one of the mugs I made especially for Simon for his birthday, I had no intention of making two, but Jacqui says you always make two mugs in case one doesn't work out. The other item is a funky duck. I have also made a Troika inspired vase, but that has not been glazed or fired yet, I now have to think of another project to start on at the next lesson.
We detoured a little over the mountains and came across Lock Talt on our way to Ballina
This looks manmade, possibly a passage tomb.
There is one thing that I do miss about Spain, fresh fish and seafood, although we live on an Ireland it is very hard to get good fish or seafood, the stuff sold in supermarkets is not of good quality, in fact the last time we bought so called 'fresh fish' from a supermarket I ended up with an upset stomach, it was Mackerel, always a dodgy one if it's not completely fresh and shell fish is virtually unheard of in our local supermarket , the fish stalls that visit towns once weekly are little better. Our local German supermarket did have some very good King Prawns in their freezer cabinet earlier in the year, but like many things in these cheaper places they don't restock. I was desperate for some good shell fish, I guess this comes from having been brought up in a fishing town, I could easily give up meat, but fish never. So I set about tracking some seafood. Ballina in Mayo immediately sprung to mind, the town was a place that I used to deliver to and I remembered that I used to buy our fish there every week. Unfortunately Ballina is around eighty kms from us, a long way to get dinner!
You can still see the ridges from some long ago farm.
However, it was a nice day for a trip out and after phoning the fish merchant to check that he did have what I wanted we made the trip.
 I came away with a couple of kg of Dublin bay prawns,
a very nice looking Brill, some fresh Hake
and a large bag of fresh cockles. On chatting to the fish merchant he  informed us that he operated an overnight courier service for his fish, right throughout Ireland, at only six euro for this service, for us, it's  a no brainer. The next time we need fish and I crave my shell fish we will order on line and have it delivered. Although we quite often go mussel picking we have yet to find the cockle beds although we know that they are close to where we get the mussels. All this shell fish is for me, the other half loves fish but not shell fish, but he is still willing to gather them with me. It made for a lovely trip out across the mountains, I wish the coast was a little closer to us, never mind you can't have everything.
With all this fine weather the turf cutters have been busy, even up in the mountains.
The turf should be good this year with all the dry weather.
Early purple orchid.


  1. Your fish / shellfish situation is just like everything else these days - sellers find it more economical to sell via the internet, and it gets them in touch with more (and more loyal) customers more easily. I don't normally buy food products via the internet though. I like to see and smell the produce before I buy!

    1. It has always been a desert in the west of Ireland for fish, we used to live in a costal county yet it's capital town didn't have a fish shop. The one we went to last week has no competition, the nearest rival would be around a 100k away! I wouldn't normally buy via the internet but we do know this fish shop from years ago so are quite happy to use his courier service.

  2. How odd that fish/shellfish is so hard to find in Ireland of all places! I´m always tempted to try something unfamiliar at the fishmongers because everything is so shiny and pretty, but fish is so expensive and so easy to ruin, I restrain myself.

    Your flower garden is lovely!

    1. A lot of the fish and shellfish from Ireland is sent to Spain! I guess the general rule with cooking fish is to keep it moist, if it's a flat fish just fry in butter for a few minutes a side, flaky fish such as fresh cod, not bacalao is ideal for poaching in tin foil or just steaming again in tin foil or clingfilm.,

  3. Your flower garden and blog pictures are a credit to you. Long may this fabulous weather continue.

    1. Thanks Dave but we do need rain or at least my flower containers do.

  4. You've got such a lot of colour in the garden, the plants will be loving this weather. Glad you managed to track down some fish and shellfish, it's something we don't eat very much of as the family aren't keen but I do enjoy it every so often.

    1. I am so pleased with the garden Jo, it's what I would call a proper cottage garden with all the old fashioned type flowers and roses, it's taken nearly five years but is now just about complete. I like fish but love shell fish, I would eat seafood in preference to meat every day given the chance.

  5. Cukes? Already? So jealous. Ours here in Illinois won't be ready for another month. Glad you've got warmer weather there this summer. Last year when I was there studying at NUIG it stayed cool and rainy all through July.Of course we had the same thing here!

    1. I'm sure the cues are much earlier than last year, yes it was a very wet and cold summer last year yet the tomatoes were better than the year before which was a good sunny and mainly dry one.

  6. Glad you have your fish and shellfish fix! I love cockles so much, we used to eat them as a snack sat in front of the TV after school (not every day of course!). I am impressed with the mugs, very nice. Beautiful flowers as always, hope you get some rain soon xxx Lauren

  7. Thanks Lauren, at last we have had a couple of hours of rain, surprising what a difference a drop of rain can make.