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Birthday Musings from the Great Wall of China, the Camino and the Northern Lights

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So another birthday reached, maybe not regarded  as a milestone  one but, every year is a milestone now as they seem to come around quicker and quicker!                                                   I began thinking of a bucket list a few years ago, having been lucky enough to have travelled a bit I had seen a few places,such as Venice and New York where we visited ground Zero which at that point was still a hole in the ground, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
 One evening I opened FaceBook and there was an advert for trekking the Great Wall of China, something which I had always found fascinating from the time I could read about it, so I signed up, began training and duly set off with an organised group called Earths Edge on my birthday 2 years ago to undertake the adventure of a lifetime
Earlier this year I set off on another undertaking, walking the Camino in northern Spain, photo, I am standing on the steps of the cathedral de Santiago with my certificates and my pilgr…

A long Hot Summer

Saving some Summer Goodness

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I don't grow Beetroot anymore as I no longer have the space to do so but, I would buy fresh at a Farmer's Market or where I know its local and organic.
Saturday was one of those days I saw a bunch of Beetroot and decided I would pickle some.
We are currently having a heatwave with near drought conditions and water rationing, YES, in Ireland!
 Vegetables are in short supply and may even get scarce unless we get rain. Potatoes have failed in some places due to lack of rain at a very crucial period in their growth.
Anyway, back to my Beetroot. I have been doing a very short term pickle recently, just roasting the beets, slicing them into jars, pouring in red wine vinegar, and keep in the fridge for a week or two.
 This time, to make store cupboard pickle I Googled for a simple ,quick recipe which I found. I think its from a Blog so if anyone reading this thinks it looks familiar or knows the Blogger please credit in the comments and I will add as I screenshot it and now cannot …

Family Occasion

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A much anticipated family occasion took place recently, the wedding of my grandson Stephen to Hayley in the UK, almost the entire family decamped to Kenilworth for a few days of laughter and merriment.
 The sun shone on the wedding party for the whole day, which was wonderful as it was all planned outdoors in the hotel gardens!






Stephen and Hayley are the proud parents of my great grand daughter Aoibhin, a thoroughly mischevious, adorable funny little Miss
 here she is twirling the train of her Mom's dress around her, literally running rings around her.
It was a beautiful family weekend as both families were staying in the hotel together and we got to know each other and have some great memories of a wonderful weekend.
We had time to tour the locality over the few days and Kenilworth is an old English town steeped in history. Thatched cottages,and typical English  cottage gardens were photographed and enjoyed.
 Kenilworth Castle is an amazing ruin, it is closely associated with Qu…

Gardeners Green Soup

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Well, post number 2, if I get one post up per week it would get things moving  with some continuity once again. The annual Mallow Homes and Gardens show took place last weekend which I attended with two of my grandchildren Jack & Heidi. the weather was a little unkind and some of the time we spent indoors was at the Taste of North Cork. these are a group of artisan producers who showed on the day but I was quite taken by Nibbles Food Emporium, award winning bakery based in Millstreet, Co Cork.  The Gardners Green soup with Bluebell falls goats Cheese crostini was intriguing, Chef Eleanor Leahy runs the business, is quite interested in foraging and using natural ingredients in her restaurant. The thing that struck me about the ingredients for this soup is, the greens are free and widely available  if picked at the right time,when young and tender. We often mention the Hungry gap, that lean time between the end of last years crops and the beginning of the new seasons, this is probab…

Back Growing

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I can’t believe it’s been nearly 4 years since I last uploaded a Blog post!  Blogger became more complicated, smartphones became the norm, Face Book became the media of choice to share news etc.  Son Billy had to travel more for work and also took up marathon running, 17 clocked up to date. It was usually late in the evening by the time I got to the allotment and between being ate by small flies and not liking being alone there I didn’t continue. I did garden at home but that was mainly flowers. I actually didn’t even think of the Blog for months, lately I have logged on and caught up on some blogs and am delighted to see some of the same familiar names. This year I also felt the need to grow again, albeit in very small amounts just for myself and because my garden at home is not suitable for veggie growing I have utilized various sized bags and began my hashtag #backyardandbalconybags The photo shows what is known as a Skippo bag for lifting waste etc. I used home made compost and s…

Between the Showers

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There was nothing done on the plot since Friday due to the worsening weather over the weekend.The greenhouse needed watering so I went out this evening. I intended pulling the remainder of the beetroot and the carrots and clearing the bed for the winter.The carrots had been very slow germinating and I thought not a great return from them, until I removed the Enviromesh which has sheltered them all summer.
The beetroot has been fantastic  all year, all from one sowing ,I have been using the thinnings as baby beetroot in Balsamic vinegar but they have now grown tennis ball size, I think they like being under the mesh the same as the carrots.
 I had pulled some carrots  to thin them out and I didn't think they were doing at all well, did I get a shock?!
 I began pulling them but then found that some were in bunches and it would be better to thin them out and leave the others grow on a bit longer.There is a bunch of baby carrots, a bunch of full grown carrots and a bunch of the purpl…