Thursday, September 1, 2016

Wild colour.

Rowan berries. (Native).
The summer is slowly fading, what summer you might ask, in fact it hasn't been too bad, and far dryer in July and August than last year.
Bell heather.(ling)(Native)

Wild Golden rod.(Native)
Purple loosestrife.( Native)
Wild fuchsia.
Mountain Ash (Rowan)
Reed mace. (Native)
The hedgerows are filling with late summer flowers and of course blackberries.

In the last week we have found an excuse to visit Co. Sligo not once but twice,the first time to collect seaweed for next year fertility and the second visit was to one of Sligo's open gardens. This was a garden that we had missed last year and is the far side of Sligo on the Leitrim boarder. However, although well set out the garden has an air of neglect about it, it felt as though it's owner had lost interest, at this time of year when gardens are full of colour this garden was sadly lacking. However it was not a wasted visit, the gardens was close to 'The Crafters Basket' a great craft shop that caters for most needle crafts, it even stock pure wool, something that's hard to find nowadays. I had planned on re-doing an antique chair seat in tapestry or cross stitch but got somewhat side-lined by one of the shops owners, she introduced me to Bargello or Florentine stitch, so I have now decided to make a cushion cover using the Bargello method. It should keep me occupied for a few weeks during the winter.

Sligo has several ranges of mountains,
our first trip took us across the Ox Mountains, always a lovely trip,
the second trip took us close to the Dartry mountains
which run through the boarders of Leitrim and Sligo.
Apart from our two days of playing hooky from the holding  the usual work has been done, grass mowed and strimmed, some fruit bushes pruned, and most importantly the summer fruiting raspberries have been dealt with, all the old canes have been removed leaving just the new canes for next years fruit.
Chop up the marrow into sugar cube size
A couple of courgettes had pretensions of becoming marrows so I have made some marrow and ginger jam.
Chop up 100gms of blanched and peeled ginger. Put in pan with marrow and sugar, equal amount of sugar to marrow, juice and zest of two lemons for every two pounds of marrow. leave overnight, then cook as normal jam.
This is a jam that is one of our favourites, we both are ginger fans.
Seven pots of various sizes marrow and ginger jam.
It's not the easiest of jams to get a good set, but it is possible. The secret I think is letting the cubed marrow soak overnight in the sugar, this releases all the moisture that you have to boil off, and the cubes of marrow retain their texture. Lovely on toast as a change from marmalade.
Butterflies love the Phlox.
The butterflies have been very late this year, but at last we are seeing them daily providing it's not raining.

Heleniums and Japanese Anemones.

Echinacea and Bergamot.

Cardoon, butterflies love this as well.

Leycesteria Formosa.
Our late summer flowers seem to attract them, especially the Phlox and the Buddleias, and the bees seem to love the Obedient flowers ( Physostegia virginiana).
My experiment with the runner beans did very little to improve them, so I have given up any idea of preserving them. Fortunately a couple of our egg customers like runner beans and don't grow them so we are able to more or less keep up with the glut, we have also found that our rabbits like them so not too many will be wasted.
The Calabreese is giving us lots of heads, the plants should develop side spears which we will have for the winter,
Just a handful of French beans.
and at last we have had the first picking of French beans, why they got planted outside can only be out down to a senior moment.
The Cape Gooseberries are now ripening, we have had our first taste, and they should keep us going through to January.
Finally a couple of shots of contented sheep and cattle, who wouldn't be content with lovely views and the beach just a few feet away.
She looks content.
The sheep were very curious, but posed for a photo shoot.


  1. What a lovely head of broccoli, yum yum. I like when you go wandering. Im armchair travelling. The award for most unusual jam goes to you for marrow and ginger.

  2. We have a lot of broccoli coming, it always does well for us. Marrow and Ginger is a popular jam back in the UK, not too sure about Ireland though.

  3. It is beginning to feel a bit Autumnal here, I love making preserves yours sounds nice. Love the photo of the sheep.

    1. The sheep were very interested in us, I couldn't resist taking a photo of them. I think I have at last finished making jam, preserving fruit and making pickles for this year, in any case, I have now run out of jars and storage space.

  4. That's a great photo of the sheep, they are such curious animals. I keep hearing people mention autumn but I'm not ready to let go of summer yet. I haven't seen many butterflies at all this year but my sedum is just coming in to flower so I'm hoping it will attract some, it was constantly covered in them last year.

    1. I do miss having sheep, however I don't miss them thinking up new ways to commit suicide. We had a few early butterflies and then nothing for weeks, there seems to be a lot around now.

  5. The butterflies haven't turned up at all for us, other than the whites looking for ways to get to our brassicas. I'm hoping that it is just a blip and they will be back next year.

  6. It's been a very strange year all round Sue.

  7. Such gorgeous photos! Take me there!!! I love Sligo. What an excellent idea to use up marrows, I love ginger too x