Showing posts from 2011

The Knitivity

I came across this photo which I had featured on my blog back in 2008, the figures were knitted by D.Linda and sil Rob made the crib which I hope has been finished completely by now!
I may not be on here for a few days ,I would like to wish all my readers, followers, commenters and those who 'pass through' a Very Happy and Peaceful Christmas and Good health and peace for 2012.

Winter Solstice at Newgrange

The 18th was the winter solstice and it dawned bright and (mostly) sunny in Newgrange Co Meath where the spring and winter solstice is witnessed entering a tunnel and illuminating the interior in a tomb whose origins have been lost in the mist of time (thought to predate the pyramids)
The full range of photos can be seen on the website here
You can also buy a DVD now on Amazon (link on the site)
For anyone visiting the Meath/Dublin area there are personally supervised tours of the historic Boyne valley website here
I have never visited it myself and it is on my list of places to see!

Christmas Sprouts

I went out to the allotment on Sat evening to gather the sprouts for our Christmas dinner and to send in a photo to matrons Christmas veggie blog
The plot looks cold and dismal now and my fingers nearly froze dislodging the sprouts! The pigeons have decimated the top growth on the stalks, definitely the culprits from the amount of droppings on the leaves and around the ground.The netting had blown off again and left the plants unprotected.
I left them as is so the birds can enjoy the remains!
I also brought home the herbs for cooking, rosemary for the garlic and rosemary roasted spuds
Sage and thyme for the stuffing
Parsley for everything else
I have one jar of the 3 I had made of piccalilli for those cold turkey days!I had made it from a mixture of all the allotment veg using a recipe of matrons
Do visit matrons blog to see the array of Christmas veggies,lots of ideas there for next winters plot!

Country House Christmas Party

We usually have an allotment Christmas get together, when we all dress up like normal people and try to chat about all sorts of things other than crops etc but the conversation invariably turns to the coming season!
Zwena always organizes it in her house but this year her sister Olwen kindly hosted it for us in her beautiful country house which is a guest house during the summer months.It is near the allotments also and about a ten minute walk from picturesque Blarney.
The Victorian figures in front of the amazing Christmas tree.

It was dark when we got there so I took this from a postcard, Maranatha House from the outside in the middle of a beautiful garden, if you would like to see more or even think about Country house living the web site is here
Mostly pictures for the rest of the post!

The conservatory is the breakfast room and these flamingoesque style napkins took my eye!Different coloured napkins to blend with the decor in the room.

The huge Christmas tree

Fire with cosy couches gath…

Christmas Cranberries

My cranberry sauce all done up in its Christmas wrapping to give as presents to family.I do not indulge in cranberry sauce although I may be tempted this year to sample.Some years ago I worked as a casual waitress in a hotel,being casual meant we were called in for functions like weddings and dinner dances which were big at the time.
Cranberry sauce was always put out on the tables at Christmas time and more often than not always came back untouched as our tastes were so much simpler then, gravy with everything!
If we did not have cranberry sauce then raspberry jam was put out instead and nobody ever said anything!I had the idea then that cranberry sauce was sweet and could never imagine eating it with my turkey!
The house is finally decorated for the festive season and the weather has even turned seasonal, snow ,frost and gales!This time last year we had the big white out down south, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that it is not going to happen this year!
I had a great response to…

Still Growing?!

I paid a quick visit to the plot today, mainly to take a photo of anything which would be edible for our Christmas dinner for inclusion on Matron's Christmas Food blog.
I took the top pic of our brussel sprouts which are to grace our plates on the big day, only when I got home and uploaded the pic did I see the the tell tale marks of poachers who are trying to deprive us of our dinner!It entails another trip to the plot to 'save the sprouts'!

Our herbs are waiting to be picked, the rosemary bush has really taken off and is putting on good growth. If we get severe frosts like last year I will have to remember to cover it as a lot of rosemary became frost victims last year.
Thyme and parsley for the stuffing behind the parsley, the parsley is also being nibbled I think!

I cut back all of the stalks on the rhubarb a few weeks ago and covered the crowns with plenty of manure, I was very surprised to see new growth springing up today. I recovered the crowns after taking the photo.

Christmas is in the Air!

Christmas preparations are underway, I don't put up the tree or decorations for another week at least but so far I have one cake made (awaiting decoration).
I mixed 2 plum puddings this evening, well I put the ingredients together and D. Michelle did the time honoured chore of mixing the puddings and making a wish , she mixed with serious intent so I wonder what she was wishing for?!
I used a Rachel Allen recipe which I had saved from a magazine at some stage, lashings of Guinness and whiskey!
The mixed puddings are 'standing' in the bowl and will be divided into 2 smaller bowls and steamed tomorrow.
I also made 7 small jars of Cranberry sauce, bought the cranberries and added brandy,orange juice and cinnamon to the mix, the smell around the kitchen was divine.I will post a photo when I get suitable seasonal labels and covers for the jars.
Photo is of my open fire burning turf and logs, smelling beautifully too while throwing out heat!
I had a gas fire in place for years but af…

Self Published (Niece not me)!

Gardening has come to a full stop thanks to the weather, reading is the new spare time occupation. My niece Catherine Ryan Howard who I have mentioned before when she self published her first book Mousetrapped, which was about her work experience in Walt Disney World in Florida.
Catherine has now published her first novel Results Not Typical.It would not be my usual choice of reading material but I got hooked on it fairly quickly and thoroughly enjoyed the plot and sub plots, well done Catherine!
I am surprised the various slimming companies who sell motivation and of course their own 'slimming products' allowed it !!

Backpacked is also self published and is Catherine's account of a very reluctant back packing trip across Central America, not fiction she really did do it!

Catherine researched her self publishing and made her books as good to look at and handle as any books available through the major publishers.The pitfalls and problems overcome plus advice were then self publ…

CEJA, European Council of Young Farmers

Matteo Bartolini from CEJA on Vimeo.

You never know who is reading blogs! I am sure many of you have been approached from time to time to feature various items/companies/products etc. I don't as a rule get involved with these requests but this one definitely appealed to me.
I received an email from John Mortell ,communications officer with CEJA...whose them you might ask?!
The European Council of Young farmers in Brussels.
They are trying to encourage and help young farmers across Europe to stay on the land, not to just eke out a living but to increase the value of their farms and produce.
They have a Vimeo video channel,there are just 3 videos at the moment, this young farmer is Italian and there is a French and Belgian farmer also featured.
This appealed to me because he is growing truffles of all things, watch and learn!

Sunday Miscellany

I have spent a couple of hours browsing through my favourite blogs, something I have not had too much time to do recently. It was nice to catch up on everyones news and doings!
My computer slows down considerably in the afternoons and evenings which may be attributable to my internet provider so Sunday mornings when I can, seems to be the best time to be online it is slowing down now even as I type!
I am also having trouble yet again with leaving comments on blogs. I know by not staying logged on to Google seems to correct this but I now have my email on my phone and I am always 'on' so this may be the cause this time around. I have to go through the various options on each blog to leave a comment if Google does not recognise me?!

Anyway, enough moaning!
The photo was taken through my kitchen window earlier today when the birds were nearly pushing each other off the feeder, usually as soon as I go to the window they fly off but thankfully not today.
I had got up early intending to …

Vive Le France!

Bonjour! I have just returned from a short holiday to France, I did not think it was safe to advertise the fact before going as you never know who reads blogs!
My eldest daughter Deirdre,partner and daughter Niamh have lived in the S.W of France in the Carcassonne area for the last 3 years and this is the first time I have visited.

Flying out from Dublin over the bay,I am not sure exactly what the beach is called but it looks beautiful basking in the autumn sunshine.

Outside my daughter's house grapevines in the field next door, the grapes have been harvested and the autumn colour is visible everywhere.Its a big wine making region, Limoux is the nearest big town and Blanquette is the regional wine,it is a sparkling wine and they say the forerunner of Champagne!

The small village where they live, there is not even a shop there just quaint houses and winding narrow streets.Not much in the way of flowers at this time of year, but I saw kiwis growing over an archway into a house, orange t…

Hen Party!

A post all about the hens and the ravages they have wrought in the garden!
Pic of them congregated on the windowsill, they are inclined to gather here or at the patio door if they want to be fed.Sometimes they turn over the feed bin and I don't refill it fast enough for them so they draw my attention like this!
A couple of times one of them has actually turned it over on top of herself getting trapped in the process and the other 3 come down to the window or patio door and keep pecking until I go out and free the luckless hen that is under the bin!

Pic taken in April when the first 2 hens arrived, note the lovely sward of green grass and the precise edging of bark mulch?

Pic taken today!
They have turned the whole area into a quagmire of mud and matter.I had to move the coop down the garden, note the sorry looking tin tub and the small brown window trough.
With 20/20 hindsight I should have had normal grass well rooted before getting the hens as I put down rolls of grass wh…