Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Out of kilter

 Even the plants don't know what season it is.         

  Primroses the 1st February, at least a month early.

Roses out on the first of January.

 At least the Mahonia has got it more or less right.

As have the snowdrops.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Out and about, four years on.

 Time goes so fast the older you get but we still keep doing the same things, I guess we are just too old to change.

We go to the coast as often as possible, sometimes just to see the waves,  also to collect the most valuable compost, seaweed.

 We keep finding new ruins or rather old ruins,
and interesting grave yards.

 Some dating back over a thousand years.

 The last month we have come under attack from a mink, he slaughtered all of our laying hens plus two ducks, injuring another four. They have survived and are now recovering. The mink had to go so we bought a trap, he was caught on the second night and dispatched. We have now replaced some of the hens, this time with blackrocks, very handsome birds, hopefully they will be in lay in the next week or so as it comes hard paying seven euros a dozen for eggs.

The garden is now waking up, rather early, just hoping we don't get any bad weather. Snow drops and Hellebores  are in flower,  the rhubarb is nearly ready for the first picking. Garlic and broad beans are growing well in the tunnel, and the first of the mangetout peas planted into seed trays also tomato seed has been planted, I hope we haven't started things too early.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

If you go down to the woods today.

You're sure of a big surprise! no, not teddy bears, but the little people.
Fairy's have suddenly taken over the Demesne  (park)
Fairy seat.
and a whole village of fairy have appeared as if by magic.
This park is a lovely area, with mainly large old beech trees,
They even  have to go to school.
just the right place for the little people to take over.

What worries can fairy's have?
Even the bank has gold dust.

And a local pub.
This tree seems to have two families living in it.
A well to make a wish come true.
The fairy's suspension bridge.

A robin keeps an eye on things.

Running through the park is the Suck river,

the start of which is very close to our cottage.

Looks as though someone took a bite out of this.
Somewhere in this park there is a grave of an elephant named Cindy, however we couldn't find it. Another time maybe.
We still have plenty of colour in the garden as this bunch of flowers show, not bad for the end of October.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Before and after the storm.

Anticipating a spell of bad weather in the form of hurricane Ophelia we decided to take advantage of the calm before the storm and once again headed in the general direction of the coast, however we decided to take a road that we didn't know.
When I say road it was more like a country lane.
Before long we found ourselves climbing, the road was getting steeper and even narrower that it was at the bottom, we weren't  even sure that it would lead anywhere but we were more or less headed in the right direction to the coast and the scenery was spectacular.

Unfortunately it was a bit dull, the sun wasn't playing ball but I still got some nice shots.
One thing I am very good at is spotting plants, this trip was no different, I had spotted a black thing growing on the grass verge, Simon couldn't see it until he nearly stepped on it.
He recognized it as a club fungi. Once we got home I looked it up, it seems that club fungus is a very large family, and without doing a spore count it's hard to tell which one it was, besides we had not picked any. My best guess is that it was a Black Earth Tongue. It's the first time I have seen this particular fungus, so I was happy to add it to my list of spotted plants.
Eventually we found ourselves on the outskirts of a town, although we didn't immediately recognize it. It turned out that we were in Ballina, a place that we thought we knew well, just not the mountain end of it.
Rosserk Abbey. 1460.
Wanting to get a glimpse of the coast we headed out to Rosserk Abbey to eat our picnic, this is a place that we know well and have photographed many times, so I only took a couple of shots of the Abbey. Although our trip to Ballina took twice as long as our normal route it was a detour that was worth while.
We escaped the worst of the storm, no loss of electricity or internet, other people have not been so lucky. Three people were killed and there are still over 100.000 homes without power, there are also many people with no water. Despite the warnings given about the storm there were still some idiots that thought it would be fun to go swimming, luckily they didn't get into difficulties.
Today as the sun was shining we once again headed for the coast, this time to get seaweed, we knew there would be plenty after the storm and we weren't wrong.
It was the easiest harvesting ever.
Twelve bags were filled in ten minutes.
As it was such a nice day we headed further along the coast, expecting to see lots of big waves,
however it was fairly calm,
with just a few larger breakers.
It seemed that we weren't the only ones who enjoy seeing waves,

a cow decided that her field wasn't interesting enough and took herself for a walk along the old lime stone pavement, I hope she got back to her field alright as the lime stone is quite slippery.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Ireland's glorious past.

Unlike the UK, Ireland has very few quaint houses or villages. With the exception of the landed gentry, houses were of very poor standard, often built of mud or turf which doesn't stand the test of time. However, Ireland is full of ruined abbeys, friary's  monasteries and castles.
We must have viewed Roscommon Castle hundreds of times from the road, but never had time to stop and view it properly. Last week we made time as we had to go to Roscommon to get bread.
It is even more imposing than we had thought set in fourteen acres of grounds,
complete with a natural lake,

home to many waterbirds, and a swallow hole.
The castle itself is Norman, built in 1269 by Feidhlim O'Connor , king of Connaught.
We were very impressed with the ruins, and also with the access to it. Someone has put great thought into making the whole area wheelchair friendly
unlike Roscommon Abbey.

This is in fact a ruin of a Dominican Friary, built around 1290-1300.
Effigy  of the King of Connault.
What makes this particular Friary so interesting is the Royal effigy of O'Connor which is one of only two Royal effigy's in Ireland.
It's just a shame that it is impossible to get to if you are a wheelchair user.
The main purpose for our visit to Roscommon was to buy the next three weeks bread.
Molloys bakery has been in existence for nearly a hundred years and we can truly say it's the best bread either of us have had since childhood. We used to make all our own bread but were finding that the flour was too variable, sometimes the loaf would be spot on, other times it would be only OK, so when a friend recommended this bakery to us we tried it and have stuck with it. We have to go to Tesco every few weeks to stock up with Organic butter, so we kill two birds with one stone, besides exploring a place we haven't been to before.
Most of our apples have now been picked, we had a good crop of Russets, and even the Bramley tree decided to give us fruit. As Russets don't store well we have been making
Dorset Spiced Apple cake, if you can resist eating it the same day as it's cooked it improves,
the flavour becomes more intense and it remains a very moist cake. Apple crumble has also been on the menu, made with oats and flour the crumble is moreish.
Things are beginning to quieten down in the garden, we have probably had the last of the beans and peas, and are now onto winter veg.
P.S.B making up for lost time.
One thing we forgot to plant at the right time was purple sprouting broccoli, so we took a chance and sowed in the tunnel, it is now two foot high, I just hope it's not too warm in there for it and that it will still sprout.
My last two pieces of pottery started life as mugs, but then I changed my mind and they will be soup bowls, I have made two matching mugs as well but as yet they have't been carved or the handles affixed, next week hopefully.