Showing posts from January, 2009

1st February, La le Bride, St Bridgets Day,Imbolg

The first of February has many names mainly because it was such an important date for farmers and people growing crops to survive, as it was the first day of Spring and it was very important to gain favours with the Gods and Goddesses and Saints to help with the new crops and therefore a good harvest.
In ancient Ireland we had many pagan festivals which with the coming of Christianity were changed to saints feast days.
St Brigid is one such saint, she is reputed to be the daughter of a slave girl and a wealthy chieftain, she was fostered by a druid (ancient Irish priests)she became wise in all things and her advice and counselling was much sought after.
On her feast day butter was always freshly churned and bread baked for supper. After supper the family made St Brigid's crosses out of rushes gathered for this purpose.The crosses were then hung over the doors in the house, the dairy and the cow byre to gain her protection in the year ahead.
This is a close up of the simple cross made…


It is a great honour to receive an award for blogging from fellow bloggers.I love reading all my favourite blogs as often as I can and would love to award each and every one of you because you have all given me such enjoyment and friendship from all over the world. I have learned of customs and crafts and seen beautiful photos of neighbourhoods I would never have known about. Passing on awards and tags is time consuming especially if you are as slow as me!I know many of you have opted out of passing these on for the same reason so as the new gardening and growing season will be starting soon as of now this will also be an award and tag free zone.

My blog has received this award from Lynda on foodfunfarm in East Africa. Thanks Lynda, as I know you keep up with lots of blogs all over the world ,so to be singled out for one by you is a great honour. Lynda writes daily on farm life and shares some delicious recipes, I know as I have tried a few of them!

The following explains what this part…


While on Irish gardeners Forum on Tuesday night I followed a link for buying seeds and discovered I could buy seeds on Ebay!I browsed and found this Seedaholic ebay store with a huge amount of flower and vegetable seeds at very reasonable prices and they are based in Co Mayo in Ireland. What really took my attention was the amount of detail they gave about sowing, looking after the plants, harvesting and uses of the various plants.
I ordered 4 varieties at 1.00am on Wed morning and they arrived in the post this morning!! Beautifully packed with all their information typed out plus a separate sheet on how to look after and store seeds.
They have their own website which I will be visiting for seeds and information!This is the info that came with the Coriander seeds, all the seeds came with similiar detailed info!

Coriandrum sativum "Leisure"
Coriander, Cilantro, Chinese Parsley
Packet containing 2 grams,
Average contents 200 Seeds.
Hardy Annual, Herb



I went down to the shed today to open the door as it was sunny and bright. This is the sight that met me. I stared in disbelief trying to think what had happened to the trays of seed potatoes.Some trays had been pushed aside and others had chunks nibbled out of them. I can only think mice or worse , rats?! I have never had any type of foodstuff in the shed so how did they suddenly realise the seed potatoes were there for the taking?

A close up of some of the damage done. On closer inspection I would have to think a rat ( I am hoping singular)! I will have to replace the seeds so I went back to the Ravens Court garden centre and told them my tale of woe. It seems rats have been known to cause this type of damage to any type of stored crop. I was told the seed potatoes can be rescued by cutting off the damaged parts as long as there is an 'eye' in the remaining part.The thought of even handling them is not pretty. I bought more seeds but before I put them out I was advised to set…

Busy Hands

While blog surfing a couple of weeks ago I came across Rosehip who had a pattern for crochet flowers.I have been able to do basic crochet but have never followed a pattern. These looked so colourful I had a go and ended up making this buggy blanket for baby Callum.
This is a close up of the three colour flowers,there are plain squares in between and I also found a brilliant basic crochet tutorial on the purlbee.While waiting in the car to pick up the two girls after school I had my crochet with me. I would make up about 6 white centres and then do all the green sections and then the blue on them, so it meant I only needed to take one needle and one ball of wool.
I had lots of the fabric left over since I made the knitting bag for Linda, I got the idea to make a needle roll for my knitting needles.Since I went back to knitting, my needles are all over the place so now I just need to gather them all in to my patchwork needle roll.
There are two rows of elastic sewn in to slip the needles …

Seed potatoes

This morning dawned sunny and bright and more importantly DRY!I got my seed potatoes, they had just been delivered to the garden centre so are freshly packed.These are British Queens, a second early. We decided last year not to grow main crop this year, firstly because they have a chance of getting blight and secondly we don't have enough space to be taken up with them,at least when the second earlys are taken up there is still time for another crop to go in.
I need to track down an organic early too, I was looking for 'Coleen' but it is hard to get at the moment.
I have been saving egg boxes all winter for chitting the pops. Here they are sitting all nice and cosy in their nests! Chitting means encouraging them to sprout, they are put in with the most 'eyes'facing up, in a few weeks they should be sending up green shoots. Some say to rub off all but 2 or 3 of the biggest shoots before planting.
This is the recycling end of the shed, to the left of the photo are…

Seed Success!

Yesterday there was just a hint of something in the seed trays , this morning they are definitely there!They were sown on 12th January and have been on a bedroom windowsill.That is 10 days from sowing to growing. Not all of the tomatoes have germinated fully as yet, maybe they will, maybe they won't.The tally so far is, 16 Marmand,8 Tigerella, 17 Gardener's delight, Golden Sunrise 3, the surprise is only 1 Moneymaker has appeared.
I am also very pleased with my Lupin seeds, this is the first time I have saved any seeds and was a bit dubious about whether they would come up or not.There are 9 of them in the tray. These are seeds from a lovely deep red Lupin I have for a number of years I don't know if they will come true to that or what, oh well another learning curve!

I saw this in B&Q the other day and invested 34.40e in it. It looks lovely in the picture!

Well I am pleased to say it does exactly as it says on the box!I have it in a back bedroom at the moment where it ge…

Look Who is here

Saturday 17th January we braced ourselves for the worst storms for years.The west coast suffered the brunt of the Atlantic gales,there was lightening damage and wind gusts of up to 170 miles an hour were recorded off the north west of the country. Since then we have had snow, frost, icy roads and torrential rain and flooding.its not weather for being outside unless it is absolutely necessary!
Then Saturday morning at 9.35am baby Callum William decided he would bring a little sunshine into our dismal day.He weighed in at 7lb 1 oz, a baby brother for Alex and grandchild no 14.He came home on Monday and has almost succeeded in organising the entire household to his routine!
There are 2 more grandchildren on the way (that I know about) the next one is due in 5 weeks and another in July, please God.

Auspicious Root day

Yesterday was a root day by the Biodynamic Calender as Heavenly Healer advised, it dawned bright and sunny though cold.We get these mild days which lull us into a false sense of Spring but it was bucketing rain by 2 pm! I took myself out to the allotment which was deserted but plots have been dug and tidied so other hardy souls have been visiting also.
I had to replace the onion sets which had either failed or been dug up, there were quite a lot, I reckon I replaced about 30 sets.The photo is of the garlic which is growing and is a welcome sight of new green on the plot

Buds have formed on the blackcurrant bush already ( photo)and also on the 3 blueberry bushes but their photo was a bit blurred so I didn't upload it.

The polythene cover had either blown partially off the potato bed or been shifted by small animals trying to get at the decomposing fruit and veg underneath. I brought out more compostables from home and more cardboard to completely cover the area, I also wet it and rec…

More Seeds

First something totally unrelated to seed sowing.I just had to take this photo of Sam yesterday sitting on the fire hearth. It was the only sliver of sunlight coming into the room and he was taking full advantage of it!
The seeds which I ordered from the Organic Seed company arrived this morning! I ordered them online on Sunday evening, that is fast delivery. I have two more tomato varieties,
Berner Rose :Salad tomato with a pink skin, for indoors or outdoors 2.30e
IncasF1,early maturing plum tomato 2.70e

Parsnip: Halblange White 2.30e
Carrot: Nantes 11 early carrot 2.30e
Salad onion: red salad onion again unusual, can be left bulk up for pickling 2.60e
Peas Karina: Second early peas giving up to 10 peas per pod. 2.80e
The Organic centre supply unusual and heritage varieties and ones which are not commercially available. All of their seeds are certified organic.
I am looking forward to sowing and as soon as I get my trays sorted out for the indoor sowing. The parsnips will be going in early t…

Seed Sowing!!

This is the collection of seeds I bought in B&Q today, Tomato Collection,Herb Collection, Parsley and Beetroot.I was on Irish gardeners forum and there were posts about sowing tomatoes already!I have sown them in individual trays which were saved over the winter.Don't forget to put drainage holes in them, one method on Scarecrows Blog here The method I used is here small trays are great for small amounts of seeds as I know from experience?, setting them in a large tray and even though marked the names always became lost or mixed up!
The seed trays are now on a bedroom window, the covers are ones bought in previous years but because they don't fit tightly they will allow some air to circulate.There were packets of Tigerella, Marmande,Gardener's Delight,Moneymaker and Golden Sunrise, so it is a good selection of various types so if they all germinate we will have fun trying them out.
The trays lined up on the window, notice the rain running down outside!The plant labels …

Cactus and Cochineal

I decided to do a post on Lanzarote today just to remind me what sunshine looks like! Needless to say it is windy ( galeforce) and wet here in Ireland.The photos are of the Cactus garden in Gautiza in Lanzarote and the surrounding cactus growing area.The cactus garden was designed by Cesar Manrique, the artist and architect who was born on Lanzarote. He helped to protect the island from the ravages in the name of tourism through which other islands and parts of mainland Spain became high rise horrors during the 70's and 80's as they catered for the mass market tourism boom.
A view of the inside of the cactus garden which was designed from an old quarry, Cesar believed in working with the landscape and using what was there.There are about 1,000 species of cactus here, all shapes and sizes from flowery to furry!
The planting was done by Estanislao Gonzales Ferrer, an eminent botanist who collected species from the Canary Islands, America and Madagascar.There is a huge metal cactu…

Miscellaneous Meanderings

It is too cold to spend any length of time outside and I am still feeling the after effects of the flu which by the way is supposed to have come our way from Brisbane, Australia!
Speaking of down under I visited Stewart's blog today ( see side bar link to My veggie patch)He has a number of comments some children answered when they were asked " what does love mean" , it makes some hilarious reading and this is my favourite
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love" Rebecca, age 8.
So if your day needs a smile pay Stewart a visit to read the other equally funny but very thoughtful comments.
Reading up on Scarecrows blog last year she had been saving plastic containers for seed sowing and had a gadget to make drainage holes in them.I have stockpiled over the winter and mentioned to Ed I needed something to make …

Sunny Sunday on the plot

We were out on the plot on Sunday which was a lovely Spring like day but now the temperatures have plummeted, some parts of the country are 4 or 5% below freezing which is very unusual for Ireland.The no dig method is being tried out on the very end of the plot where we have had nothing growing for the 2 years we have had the allotment. First photo shows the stages recommended. First the ground was covered with well rotted manure.I had to leave that over Christmas for no other reason than I could not get out there.I saved all the left over veg, peelings and also put on the remains ( leaves)of the sprout plants,the stalks of the beans and any yellowing leaves from the broccoli. Then covered it with cardboard and finally black plastic all held down with rocks.
It will be left like this until it is time to set the potatoes. In theory when the plastic is lifted off the very nice worms will have mixed in all the rotted compost and cardboard. I need to read up a bit more on it so watch this …

Springing up all over

Fame! remember the leg warmers? Well they are alive and still in vogue, this is one of the horses near the allotment.I had to take a photo of them, I asked the girl who was grooming him why he was wearing them and she said they kick their shins so these were to protect them. Most of them wear dull grey ones but these are really cute!
My cavalier king charles spaniel Sam, looking very cold and bored wondering why I was out in the front garden taking photos on a cold windy day!He hates anyone pointing a camera at him and keeps looking away.
This is what I was taking photos of, tiny catkins on the contorted hazel tree.
Daffodils and crocus peeping above ground in the flower bed at the back
daffodils appearing in the flower bed at the front of the house. It is really a sign that Spring is on the way and this cold dismal winter will be over. It has not been too bad so far, we have not had any rain for weeks1