Showing posts from 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all in Blogland, may it be a peaceful wherever you are.

A Robin's Winters' Tale

My first attempt at collages simply because there are so many photos to tell the tale!
Click on pic to enlarge and then click on individual photo to see what the robin is up to!
After the last freeze on the Tues it was sunny and I headed out to the plot, this tiny robin hopped along beside me to see where I was going.He hopped into the shed because during the summer there were usually crumbs etc to be found after the various picnics.I threw him the remains of my sandwich which he pecked at for a few minutes. I left him hopping around where I had dug out the parsnips as the ground was soft after all the frost had thawed.
Tues of this week was a different story, I made it out to the plot as I had no snow photos of the allotments.The robin met me in the car park and hopped ahead of me, stopping every now and then as if to say forget the photos and start digging!He knew exactly where I was headed and was there before me!He got into nearly every photo I took as I moved he moved in front of me…

Christmas in our House

I just finished icing the Christmas cakes.I made two cakes and two puddings, one of each is going to S.Billy and DIL Janice who are having us over for Christmas dinner.Getting out Christmas day is very dependent on the condition of the roads as I cannot imagine there will be any gritting or salting being done.
My Christmas tree surrounded by the Secret Santa bags. We do Secret Santa each year as with 8 children and their respective partners and 16 grandchildren the cost of buying presents was going through the roof! Each of us now buys for one child and one adult with a limit of 50e for a child and 30e for an adult, D.Michelle takes on the onerous task of picking the names and matching them each year.The road conditions have meant some have not been able to deliver their presents up to my house or collect as yet, so my sitting room is a bit cluttered!
My very uncoordinated Tree especially for niece Catherine!100 multicoloured lights which play a selection of 24 Christmassy tunes, bauble…

Winter Solstice 21st Dec

Tommorrow is the 21st Dec and the winter solstice will be beamed live from Newgrange in Co Meath,Ireland.
Usually it is dependent on the usual wintry clouds to be visible but this year with clear skies it will actually be dependent on people being able to access the megolithic tomb through the freezing conditions we are experiencing.
Tonight is supposed to be the coldest night of the big freeze,in fact it has been freezing here all day.Some parts of the country were minus 17% degrees last night!
Parts of Dublin are having heavy snowshowers and they will continue into tomorrow around parts of Leinster and north Munster.
Roads are treacherous as stocks of salt are so low only main routes are being treated until fresh stocks arrive from Egypt into Cork port on Wed.
Mayfield is frozen with only main roads getting any attention, footpaths and housing estates have been left under hard packed icy snow.

Last Sunny Day on the Plot

Last Tues was a beautiful sunny day, not very warm but more Spring like than wintry.
As I am writing this on Fri evening we are under 6ins of snow!
I needed to finish off some work on the plot which the last cold spell interrupted.It was quite pleasant from around 12.30 to around 3.30 pm but then I could feel the cold creeping into my bones, a couple of other hardy souls were doing likewise and we wished each other Happy Christmas as we knew we may not be out again with this next cold spell on the way.
I dug the rest of the parsnips, one very big one again not quite as big as the last monster and some normal sized ones.
I pulled some turnips and leeks and brought home the last of the lollo rosso lettuce from the greenhouse.
The sun disappeared behind the old orchard wall at 3.35 pm!It was more to the southwest instead of west which it does in the summer. Once the sun had gone the cold really set in and it was time to pack up and leave.
I extended the rhubarb bed as last season it was growi…

Birds& Baking

The frost and ice have left us for a short time it seems, they are forecasting a return to arctic temps for the end of next week but nobody has mentioned 'snow' as yet just mutterings of 'wintry precipitations!
Our allotment Christmas night was last night, Zwena holds this every year and opens up her home which she has beautifully decorated. We all dress up and sometimes it is hard to recognise a fellow allotmenteer minus wellies, old jackets and windswept hairstyle!Everyone brings some yummy home baking or something to share, I was late arriving last night so I didn't bother taking photos of the empty plates!Zwena had very kindly organised a little presentation for me for winning the RDS award ,there was much congratulations and good natured ribbing!
There was also a presentation for Michael who is leaving us after many years, he was one of the very first plotters before allotments became popular over here.Michael has always been available for advice and giving freebies…

December Header and a bit of a Rant

The Dec header photo is of my gardeners, taken way back in 2003.Look how small Aoife is on the right, she was about 3 years old then and she is now ten.Back then, if and when we got any snow to stay long enough on the ground we went out to take photos!This was a very surprising white Christmas morning when we woke up to snow on the ground and the children were amazed!
Has anyone else noticed the Advent calenders becoming TV character chocolate holders?
Advent calenders were supposed to count down the days of advent until Christmas day, now they are TV character themed and there is no hint of the importance of the Christmas message or why we celebrate Christmas as anything other than a shopping spree.

Hospice Christmas Tree

Today was the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at Marymount Hospice, some members of the family have attended each year since my late Mother was a patient there.Sadly this is the last year as the hospice is moving to the other side of the city to a large new greenfield site.
The hospital has been on this site overlooking the city for 140 years in the charge of the Sisters of Charity. The hospice has been in operation for a number of years but was only on one floor of the building as the remainder is St Patrick's hospital for older people.It is another northside institution moving to the other side of the city and the northside will soon be bereft of hospitals, a battle is ongoing at the moment to prevent St Mary's Orthopaedic hospital from the same fate.Its all part of the HSE 'centres of Excellence' moving all services to one location.Most of the staff of this hospital are from the locality and may not be in a position to commute across the city to work
The city in the…

Bakes and Buns

The baking humours are still on me and today was another cold day so baking in the kitchen seemed a good way to go.D.kathryn saw the Baily's cheesecake on a previous post and put in her order for one for the weekend.Something I should have mentioned with the recipe was because marshmallows are used instead of gelatine this is a very sweet dessert and the calories per slice are probably off the scale!
A second Christmas cake was mixed last night and went into the oven first thing this morning, and once the oven was on I just kept going.
My pastry is melt in the mouth and is from Catherine at over on Dispatches from the Deise blog who has lots of mouthwatering baking and cooking going on.
I lightly cooked the apples earlier in the day for the apple sponge and allowed them to go cold, the pastry was made and rested in the fridge until needed.I lined the pie tin and rolled out the scraps to line a 12 bun cake tin, waste not want not!
The apples are spread over the pastry base, I used all …

Birds of a Feather!

D.Aisling and myself modelling our new aprons and pot holders.
Last year I was involved in a gardening by Letter project organized by Anna on the flowergardengirl blog.There were 12 participants and each month we sent cards and gardening related gifts to Anna who then sent them on to that months recipient. I got my bumper parcel in Dec,there were hand made cards,packets of seed, handmade gifts and Anna had included a length of this material. I thought of it recently when searching around for something to do while housebound due to the weather.I was online blog hopping and I love blogs showing crafts, someone had been making aprons and I thought why not?!
Aisling had bought an apron recently for no other reason than there was a cupcake motif on it, but had become convinced that with 2 small children aprons were heaven sent for keeping clothes free of sticky hands etc!
I borrowed Aisling's apron for a pattern and made 2 aprons from the material with large front pockets.
There was some m…

Snow and Nice

Arctic weather conditions are still with us here in Ireland, with the north and east of the country are experiencing the worst of it.Here in Cork city we did eventually get some snow which has now frozen.I should have been out this morning but we are being warned to only make essential journeys as schools have been closed in and around the city.
Rome was built on 7 hills according to legend but Cork is all hills so we tend to come to a standstill when snow falls!
My snap dragons which I grew from seed and were late flowering are still in bloom at home and out on the plot, despite snow frost and ice!
While I was usurped from my computer I took up baking again and baked nearly every evening. This is a simple Cheesecake using marshmallows instead of gelatine.
Irish Coffee Cheesecake:
Base: 3 ozs Marge/butter
8 ozs digestive biscuits (crushed)
Melt the butter and mix in the crushed biscuits.Line the base of a greased dish with the mixture, put into fridge to set.
8 ozs of Marshmallows
3 fl ozs mil…

RDS Allotment Awards Photos

I got some photos of the awards winners at last! The basket of mouthwatering veg was a prop brought by the photographer and not grown by me, he also brought spades ,gloves etc.

All of the award winners, this is the first year of the awards so we are all inaugural winners!There was an award for novice gardeners,community gardens, allotment providers and experienced gardeners.Each category had 3 winners, receiving certificates and medals with the outright winner in each receiving a cheque also!
I am no longer at home in the mornings so the computer is only accessed in the evening when I have time and having a Spanish student who spends the evening on the computer has seriously curtailed my time online!I will be back to sole use of the computer after this week as he is returning home so I will have time to visit everybody again.
Gardening has also been curtailed due to the cold and frosty weather some parts of the country actually had snow yesterday! Leeks and turnips are being used and sti…

After the Frost

I have not spent much time on the plot in the last couple of weeks due mainly to the weather conditions but yesterday was sunny and not too cold so I was able to do some clearing of beds.I dug all of the carrots ,a bit late probably as there is some worm or slug damage to a lot of them . I also cleared all of the sprouts as they seem to be early this year and I was afraid they would be past their best for the Christmas dinner!
I spent last evening blanching and freezing the sprouts and some of the carrots with another session of carrots this morning.I must do an inventory of what is actually in the freezer for the winter.
I pulled 2 leeks as D.Aisling is making pots of Leek and potato soup at the moment.
The leek bed with the cleared carrot bed in the foreground. The beds further down were cleared by Kathryn and Gemma and covered with manure for the winter.It all looked a bit bleak yesterday.
The blackcurrant bush which I pruned a couple of weeks ago, I took put about a third of the old w…