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Showing posts from March, 2010

Soap and Swans

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I got a beautifully scented package in the post yesterday, Anna who had asked to me to do the guest post sent me some of her handmade soap. Anna is a very talented lady who does evening classes in gardening and crafts in Mullingar in Co Westmeath.Anna has another blog and the soap making is included in that.Last year when I had so much dried lavender I would have loved to make soap or bath bombs but could not find any similar classes down here, I may have to book a weekend in Mulligar for next season!
The soap on the left is seaweed soap, seaweed has amazing properties and for an island nation like ours surrounded by sea and coastline we do not utilise it enough.
The soap on the right is Gardeners soap, a handmade castille soap with Olive oil,coconut oil,rain water,calendula and orange peel.
The children are off school for the Easter break and today we went to visit one of my daughters in Castlemartyr in East Cork. We passed Loughderra lake and I had to stop to take some photos of the sw…

Dinosaur Days and Tomatoes

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I uploaded my pics in reverse order! Calendulla seedlings ,these are seeds I saved myself from last year, so I was delighted to see them coming up
I sowed a few of each tomato, these are 100's and 1000's a tiny cherry tomato they were the first up, I have taken off the lid now to stop them from getting spindly
Gardener's delight coming through. The Moneymaker and red peppers are the only ones not to show anything so far, I will give them another few days before resowing
I will have anthirriniums coming out my ears! These will have to be pricked out hopefully before the weekend.They will have to stay indoors even then as the weather is gone back to cold with snow showers around the country
I baked an apple sponge today, I bake every few days but forget to take a pic!This is a pastry base, with apples sliced and softened slightly in a saucepan,with a sponge top.The top is a basic queen cake mix of 4ozs marge,4ozs sugar, 2 eggs and 6 ozs flour.It has to be cooked at a slow oven t…

Winners and....winners

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I cannot upload a photo not even one! Blogger uploads and says click done and then the photo disappears into cyber space!
Update I have just uploaded one so I am now publishing in case it disappears again!
The Irish blog awards were announced on Sat night, the category I was short listed in was won by bicycletic an excellent blog and worthy winner. I also feel a winner as my blog was considered good enough to be nominated by Catherine and was short listed from hundreds!I have also visited the shortlisted blogs which were all excellent and Marie's
Beyond Breast Cancer is uplifting and reaches out to so many people.I was also honoured to be asked to write my very first guest post by Anna

My niece Catherine has just self published her first book and it is available to buy as of today.
Congratulations and well done Catherine! Catherine has set up a blog detailing the trials and tribulations and gives very sound advice to anyone considering going the same route,she has also set up a web pa…

Guest Post

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I was delighted to accept an invitation from Anna to do a guest post for her blog as they are starting work on new allotments for this season.It was my first guest post and I accepted with more than a little trepidation!
There is so much that could be said but not in one post so I stuck to the recycling and frugal approach! Anna has now posted it on her blog at The Urban Farmer,so pop over and read it Please.

Housekeeping on the Plot

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Some photos of the plot, I remembered to take the camera today!The rhubarb bed was extended last week and I bought 3 new plants.They are Timberly Early, 6 plants might seem like a lot but we all use rhubarb and love rhubarb crumbles with cream! The one I moved a couple of feet suffered no ill effects and is growing nicely
The work in the greenhouse, instead of pots which dry out quickly we are putting the tomato plants directly into the soil.I pulled back the membrane and gravel and the soil underneath was in very good condition. I cut down a scaffolding board and piled up a load of manure to top up, all it needs now is some compost and it is ready to grow. I will put in some spinach and lettuce while waiting for the tomatoes to go out.
I bought a new gooseberry bush to replace the one the sawfly decimated 2 years ago. We missed having gooseberries last year.
hard to see but this blueberry bush is covered in buds, the other two have some but are not as healthy looking as this one.The wh…

Home Front Seed Update

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Kevin and myself have spent hours on the plot over the weekend but I had forgotten my camera so no pics as yet, I am doing an update on all of the seeds growing at home.There are seeds on the bedroom windowsill, the plastic greenhouse and some which are hardening off. I am not planting any seeds too far ahead as they will be late if anything going out this year.It is reckoned growth is up to 4 weeks behind and having seedlings in pots too long is not a good idea unless they are meant to stay in pots and have ample room as such.First pic is Winter gem a cos lettuce, these will probably grow on in this tub and are doing well so far.
Hardening off onions,mange tout and dwarf green beans, I will keep an eye on the root systems and if they begin getting pot bound I will put them out on the plot with a fleece covering as we can have frost for a few weeks yet.
In the greenhouse Spring onions planted in bunches,cabbage and cauliflower seedlings. I watered them with a very weak solution of seawe…

Irish Blog Awards Finalist!!

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I could not believe my eyes reading Catherine's comment on my previous post,Catherine had nominated my blog in the Specialist category of the Irish Blog Awards.I had linked to the site and after reading some of the nominated blogs I did not think mine would feature anywhere in the running.
I am stunned and excited to be one of the six finalists in this category!
There are 22 categories covering every topic under the sun, they are funny, informed and thought provoking.I don't know how the panel of judges can whittle them down or decide between them, not an easy task!
None of these awards would be possible without very generous sponsors and
the Specialist category is sponsored by IQ content
IQ Content have sponsored the Best Specialist Blog category again this year. iQ Content is an Irish company, based in Dublin, working for clients from across Europe. We are passionate about helping to create better websites. We do this in four ways:

1. Expertise: we provide expert advice in the ke…

St Patrick's Day on the plot

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Today was warm and dry after a wet night ,everyone who took part in our parades were delighted with the weather. I did not attend the parade in Cork where over 60,000 attended one of our biggest parades yet. The theme this year was our maritime history as Cork has been a major port for hundreds of years.There were pirates and strange creatures in abundance and our Grand Marshal was Lisa Cummins a local lady who swam the English Channel both ways!It also celebrated our diverse cultures with participants from all over the globe.
I went out to the plot at 12 and came home at 5 tired and sore but pleased with my days endeavours.
The rabbits are checking out the allotments already ,2 of them hopped across the path as I was leaving, this one just turned his back I think he thought if he could not see me I could not see him!
I set 4 rows of centurion onions, 2 at each edge of the bed with room in the centre for carrots and parsnips which will be going in by the week end.The idea is to confuse t…

Happy St Patrick's Day

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A secret woodland location? No, this is on the corner of a busy roadway in Ballincollig, it was once a village but is now a satellite town to Cork city.This was a corner of waste ground traversed by pathways from people taking shortcuts across it.I noticed the crocus last year and made a mental note to watch out for the flowers this year.i am not sure who is responsible for the transformation maybe the Tidy Towns committee or the Council, whoever it is should be praised and commended for creating this woodland garden.The hundreds of daffodils in the background are slow opening this year
Houses can be seen in the background, the plot is quite small and the phrase 'small but perfectly formed' comes to mind
One of the busy roads that border two sides of the woodland area.
Some of it is bounded by this natural fencing which stops people from walking across but does not take from the over all simplicity of the area
A close up of a crocus. These will naturalise and increase each year an…

Mother's Day

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Tomorrow is Mother's Day here in Ireland, we share the date with the UK as other countries have it on the first Sunday in May.Flowers,cards and chocs will be sold out in most stores before closing time this evening.My first daffodils have obliged me by blooming for the day!The really cold spring has slowed up the blooms on the daffodils this year.
Some catkins on the contorted willow in the front garden at home
This clump of daffs is also in the front garden and have been like this for over a week, refusing to leave the cover of their buds to come out in the cold!
The mange tout is growing strongly and getting bushy, putting them out in the greenhouse has worked wonders as they were getting too spindly indoors.
The white onions are coming on and a space is reserved for them on the allotment in the next week or so
The cauliflower and cabbages have also come on since I transplanted the seedlings into 3" pots.
The dwarf beans are just up on the bedroom windowsill and the purplette sa…

A Fruitful Day

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I went out to the allotment to spend a couple of hours before I picked the girls up from school.It was a beautiful sunny day and the temps must have been a balmy 12%!I had read Blackvillage blog about covering the strawberry bed with weed block fabric so set to work. I had planted a row of strawberries last week but dug them up and covered the bed, I cut crosses in the fabric for planting through, one row are second year plants and I also planted a row of the new runners which had over wintered in the greenhouse.We will know the age of our plants at least as 3 years is the optimum for harvesting a good crop.
A view across to the end row of plots, which are all being readied for the new season
The day was so nice I collected the girls from school and we went back to the plot to continue on the fruit bed. I had this thornless blackberry languishing in the greenhouse over winter but it does not seem to have done it any harm!
Two Autumn fruiting raspberries were also in the greenhouse but ne…