Wednesday, July 26, 2017

More hours please.

I'm sure one day I will catch myself coming back, where does time go? It's a week since my last post yet it seems only a few hours ago.
In this time the rockery has been re-made, all the dreaded mares tail and silver weed removed and the rockery replanted,
the plants will now need sometime to re-establish, but even so, it looks much better. We did have a water feature when we first did the pond but we found that it did  not work satisfactorily, and  the water level in the pound could not be maintained, so we have abandoned the original set up and ordered a solar powered pump which operates a small fountain.
A work in progress.
I ordered it on Sunday and it was delivered today,( well done Amazon) the OH is now installing it, but needless to say the sun has now gone and we are back to rainy weather, so until we have four hours of sunshine to power the solar, the feature will not operate.
Three Doctors appointments have taken up another three hours of our time, and I now have to use the nebuliser four times a day which means another two hours per day wasted.
Ragwort. It might be a noxious weed, but it's still pretty.
However, there is always time to enjoy the lovely countryside around us and the late summer wild flowers which makes the countryside so colourful.
Greater willow herb.
So many wild flowers are worthy of a place in the garden,
Rosebay willow herb can be controlled by not allowing it to set seed, but it makes a colourful addition to the garden,

Purple loosestrife it a great addition near the pond, it would also look lovely in a flower bed but as our soil is very free draining I'm not too sure how well it would survive,
even bush vetch could be used scrambling in a hedge, it gives a lovely burst of colour as well as fixing nitrogen, and of course,
Honeysuckle, there are so many cultivars but I still think that the wild one takes a lot of beating.
Meanwhile the onions have now been
tied and stringed, the larger ones will be processed  and the de-hydrated mainly because the larger ones are too big for our use for one day, and it's never a good idea to save a cut onion, so dehydration seems the way to go.
Once again the garlic is a silly size, it seems year on year the  bulbs gain an ounce, I know last year the average size was 4.3 oz.
this year the average is 5.4oz. Weeds are growing a pace, I swear that as soon as one is pulled another two grow to take it's place.
 We are also back to making yoghurt, the Dr. had put me on a high dose of antibiotics, of which my stomach does not approve,  my body say's I need yoghurt, so the incubator has been brought out to make it. We have not hatched any eggs this year, there has just not been sufficient time, but at least the incubator has other uses. It's eight years plus since I had to take antibiotics, lets hope it's another eight years before I take them again.
The second peach tree fruits are still not quite ripe, this might be because both tunnel doors have been left open to avoid too much humidity which would affect the tomatoes, however the size of the peaches is astounding, they are double that of the other trees even though they are the same variety. I' looking forward to trying them to see if the flavour is any different.
The flower gardens are now moving towards the late summer flowers,
and the perpetual Sweet peas  are flowering and great excitement for me,
the  Acanthus  (Bear's Breeches) has given us it's first flower, it has taken three years to establish, but worth the wait,
Gladioli are just starting to flower, and the Dahlias are in full flower, giving lots of cut flowers for the house,
Clematis are also giving a second flowering, there is also another flower which has thrived against a fence, unfortunately I have no idea what it is other than it must be a member of the legume family, it is very pretty, but without knowing what it is I can't split it or take cuttings. I will have to ask our plant expert Saffron when we see her at the weekend, and at last the Chinese lantern plant
( Physalis alkekengi) has given me some colour, again this has taken a couple of years to get going, it is in the new tunnel.
We have also had a lovely trip into Connemara.
A babbling brook in Connemara. 
Fantastic scenery.
Up hills and down dales.
One of the many lakes.

The Fjord at Leenane.
Leenane which is in fact in Co. Galway. We have been there before but only remembered it when we got there! One of those senior moments I guess. It is a lovely place to spend a few hours, it has several restaurants and craft shops, the last time we went we had taken a picnic with us, but this time we decided we would have a lunch out, we opted for the Blackberry CafĂ©, this turned out to definitely be a good choice for me, there was so much seafood to choose from. The staff were great, and it was no problem to get me and the wheel chair in despite there being no disabled ramps.
I chose the fresh Calamari cooked in breadcrumbs and can truthfully say it was the best I had ever had even though we had lived in Spain for eight years.
Simon went for the seafood chowder, with fresh soda bread.

Yet another Irish craft beer, it was very good.

Leenane village is the place where 'The Field' was filmed although we had not realised that until a friend told me today. We did not go into the craft shops, which was probally a very good thing, but, maybe next time?
It might be newly built but it still looks a dream cottage.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Too darned hot!

I've lost the label from this rose, it's one of the David Austen roses.
Is climate change just a myth, if you listen to the ginger incumbent in the White House and believe what he says, then yes, it is a myth. Never mind what the thermometer might say, he is right, he knows he's right. God save us all if we listen to him or his appointees. I however will believe what I can see and feel, it's now seven pm, the sun has disappeared but the temperature is still 22.6 or 72+ in old money. It's been yet another scorcher of a day, not what I signed up for when we moved back from Spain to escape the summers, maybe Iceland would have been a better choice. I might hate it, but the garden loves all the heat,
Much easier to pick of the berries if you're sitting down.
we have given up picking the blackcurrants, the last bush to be done gave us 7kg from just two thirds of the bush. We have made around eighteen lt. of Ribena, hopefully we wont run out this year. Only four of the blackcurrant bushes got picked, three have been left, the birds are welcome to them, for years we have always cheated,
we prune the bushes and then pick off the fruits at our leisure, although all the books tell you this is the wrong time to prune , it's always worked for us, maybe too well. Simon is experimenting with drying blackcurrants in the de-hydrator, it will be interesting to see how they turn out.
The last seven pounds, or 3.5kg.
The redcurrants also cropped very well, we have had ten kg. from four bushes, fortunately I have a good sale for redcurrants and sold the lot, we didn't need any for ourselves this year.
The first three.
The newest Peach tree has now been picked, the nursery said not to expect any fruit this year,
well it gave us thirty five beautiful peaches, we have saved some for eating, the rest are now boiling away in kilner jars for winter deserts. The older tree is in the old tunnel and about a week behind, this tree seems to have about the same number of fruits.
The flower gardens have also been enjoying this new Mediterranean climate, in fact everything enjoys it except me.
Gertrude Jekyll.
The roses started early and are still going strong,
the Bergamot looks wonderful,
I moved the Inula to give it more breathing room and it has responded well to the transfer.
Lucifer and Linaria look lovely together,
and I have never seen so many flowers on the Hypericums, they also started early and have kept going.
The Hydrangeas are also looking really good.
 Yesterday for me was a very special day,
Common lizard, not so common for me.
I saw my first ever lizard in Ireland, it stayed where it was for some time, allowing me time to get the camera, although the photo's not great, I took it through the shut French doors, I didn't want to disturb it. It's one of several things I do miss about Spain, we had so many different types of lizards, frogs, toads and Salamanders.
I can never resist  brightly coloured flowers, this lovey dense red Achillea was a must, it looks good in the newest bed.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer abundance.

The soft fruit harvest has been very good this year despite the Gooseberry sawfly  stripping the gooseberries and redcurrant bushes leafs,
the gooseberries gave us around twenty kg of lovely fruit, we have sold around half ,
Last of the Gooseberries.
the rest has been made into jam or just frozen for winter deserts. The Red currants have given us around six kg so far with around another four remaining to be picked, most of these have been sold to a friend who will eat red currant jelly with everything, even with a salad. We don't need any of the fruit this year as we still have several pots of jelly left from last year.
The raspberries keep on coming.
We have lost count on the raspberries, there has been two big pickings one of six kg and the other one weighed in at seven kg, plus what we have picked just to eat for desert, this is one fruit that we keep mainly for ourselves, we have sold a couple of kgs' but it is just about our most favourite fruit so lots of jam has been made plus bags of frozen  berries for the winter month. Next to be harvested will be the black currants, some will be made into jam but mostly they will be used to make Ribena, vitamin C  in a bottle.
The peaches should be ready in about a week,  they are looking very good, what we can't eat fresh will be bottled. The winter store cupboard is filing up.
First of the Sweetpeas.
Both Sweet Peas
First Dahlias of the year.
and Dahlias are now flowering so lots of flowers for the house, and we have had our first picking of garden peas, the French beans are flowering, so they wont be long. So far the potatoes seem to be doing well, no sign so far of slug damage so maybe the nematodes have done their thing, I shouldn't speak too soon but so far there has been no sign of the dreaded blight although there have been plenty of warnings on the local radio station.
I survived the coronary angiogram and it appears that all is well with my heart, nice to know that something is working as it should, however the angiogram is the most unpleasant procedure I have ever had, if I ever have to have another one they will have to sedate me or knock me on the head.
Hopefully I can now stay away from hospitals until my next check up in October.
The last few days have been spent re-making the rockery, it had become very overgrown with silver weed and the dreaded mares tail, we re-discovered the water pump, so once again the pond has trickling water,
Misty is fascinated with the water.
Misty, Freddie's sister is totally fascinated with this trickle of water, and for some reason prefers to drink from it rather than her own bowl of water. The work on the rockery is not quite finished yet, but Simon has incorporated stepping stones into the rockery so it should be easier to weed without stepping on plants.
There is now lots of Ladies bedstraw growing in the hedgerows.
Golden Rubus, now in flower.