Wednesday, July 13, 2016

And then there was four.

This weeks flowers.
Over the past few weeks we have been keeping a careful eye on our Swallows nest in the wood barn, we were so happy to see the birds return from their migration.
We were sure that there were chicks in the nest and a week ago they popped their heads out, all five of them, within a couple of days they were too big to fit in the nest and balanced on the rim waiting for mum and dad to return with more food.
We have noticed that there is a mud ledge along side the nest,
I don't know if this is always done or not, however the chicks have treated it a perching platform.
And then there were four.
Two days ago the first one made it's maiden flight, returning a short while later, mum and dad are still feeding them. Today two have taken flight, soon they will all have gone. During this vulnerable time the cats have been confined to barracks, we would hate to see any of our fledglings met an untimely end. Hopefully in another couple of days the chicks will have flown the nest and will be safe, we are also hoping that mum and dad might have time for a second brood. There are plenty of midges for them to feed on with this mild and slightly damp weather.
The weather has been very mild but not much sign of the sun,
Some of the Delphiniums  became casualties of the wind.
we have also had strong winds and the garden flowers have taken a real battering.  Things have also put on a tremendous amount of growth, the grass can no longer be cut with a mower, it will all have to be strimmed  which takes  far longer than mowing. Garden shrubs have taken on the look of triffids,  they will all have to be severely cut back when I get time. Flowers seem to be blooming rather earlier than normal,
we already have the first Dahlias out
and also the Lucifer is well ahead of time.
The fruit just keeps on coming, but I have made my last pot of raspberry jam, the same goes for the gooseberries and the strawberries. A lot of the blackcurrants will not get picked,
10lb all ready for a customer.
we have sold quite a few pounds, also of raspberries and gooseberries, and I have an order for  redcurrants. We didn't set out to have fruit for sale, we thought those days were long gone since we'd sold the farm, however soft fruit has always grown very well in this part of Ireland. I will make a few bottles of Blackcurrant cordial, but the rest of the berries will be left for the birds.
Sale of the fruit has paid for this pan.
With all this fruit to process I treated myself to a new pan, it's nice and deep, just the job for bottling fruit.
The onions from the tunnel have now been harvested and they are big, not that we wanted big ones,
Nearly a pound over what we need.
an onion that weighs four ounces is fine, however the tunnel ones have each weighed in at over a pound, rather too  big,
there are about thirty of the giants, and we still have a bed of onions in the garden, we wont be short of them this year.
From the onion bed there was also an added bonus of yet more potatoes, around ten pounds, clearly we didn't do a good job of clearing that bed last year.


  1. Thankyou for sharing the Swallow Pictures, they are so cute. You have a lovely crop of fruit, very nice of you to leave a few for the birds x

    1. The swallow have now flown their nest so the poor cats are once again allowed out, they were climbing the walls! The fruit has been great this year, so nice to have plenty for us and plenty for sale.

  2. Wow - what a beautiful haul of fruit! Could you do a post on your fruit planting/care sometime? I´ve got 2 blueberries, 2 raspberries and 2 currants all in pots that will need a bed and trellis eventually, but I can´t quite pick a permanent spot.

    What about some caremelized onion marmelade?

    1. Hi Cole, I will email about planting soft fruit, however I see you have mentioned blueberries, they require a ericaceous soil or compost, have you done a soil test? We are growing our blueberries in large containers filled with the ericaceous compost as our ph is 7 whereas blueberries require a ph of 4-4.6

  3. Awww, those swallows are so cute, and you got some great photos of them. It's good that you've been able to sell a bit of surplus fruit, the extra pennies don't make us feel quite so guilty for splurging on a nice new pan.

    1. It was lovely being able to follow the swallows progress, today they have all flown the nest, parents as well so I'm not sure if we will get a second brood.

  4. Good Lordy, thats a whopper of an onion. Do they taste any different being larger? I so agree with CoCo - caramelized onion jam. Loads of it bottled up and sent to Oz. (HeHe)

    Very purdy little birdies. So interesting to observe, i bet.

    1. We are not that keen on caramelized things so I think we will give that a miss, anyway I don't need anymore jam, I have made enough to keep us going for the next year or two! The onions taste very sweet but we find that with most of the veg we grow, probably because we don't use any chemicals. If we find we have too many onions to store dry I will slice them and freeze, then I always have onions ready for use. It was lovely watching the birds develop.

  5. Such wonderful snaps of the swallows!! Although I can imagine how happy those cats were to get out once they had flown! Lauren xx