Posted in floods, Garden, Growing Food, midwinter garden, potager beds, vegetable garden

Preparedness

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Midwinter has passed, and with it, the counting down of the days towards the light.

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Visitors have now left and the cottage seems eerily quiet…somewhere in the stone walls I can hear a mouse scrambling about.

The cats are sleeping off their party food, including creamy custard from the sherry trifle, and are ensconced on top of the straw bales in the barn.

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This was my first opportunity to get out into the gardens and observe the flow of the water through the ponds after all the heavy rain of recent days.

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The weather has been very warm with heavy rain.

The temperature has stayed around and above 55F day and night.

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Despite the midwinter, there remains plenty of colour in the gardens.

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Dogwoods of red and lime green, willow and evergreens merge to make a colourful picture, especially in the winter.

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The weather experts are fore-casting possible snow and hard frost after Christmas and before New Year.

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The worst of the weather is yet to come, as so often is the case in December.

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The warm weather has seen the continued growth of Fungi, one of the beautiful aspects of decaying wood.DSC00261

I have watched the cost of food escalate this year, so am mindful that this is a good time to start preparing food-grow areas, such as raised beds.

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The small potager beds here at Bealtaine continue to give food through these darks days of winter.

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If you have not yet started a compost heap, then section off a corner of the garden for that too.

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There’s masses of leaves still on the ground, so just bagging these up will give you precious leaf mould in the growing season!

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I want to take this opportunity to say a huge “Thanks” to all of you who have posted cards, presents and donations over the past week.

I am overwhelmed by your love, kindness and generosity.

Bless you XXX

Posted in Autumn, Country Living, Garden, Growing Food, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Thoughts

A Special Delivery from the Postman!

My postman, Tom Benson, was clearing out the cowsheds on his farm in Keadue and kindly offered me an absolute mound of well-rotted cow manure, one of the best additions to the permaculture gardens at this time of the year.

It will boost the fertility in all areas of the land, especially the fruit and vegetable gardens.

The harvest next year will be a good one, for sure!

Spreading it on the earth before the soil cools is also a way of letting it get in around roots before the next growing season.

Never mind diamonds…this is a permaculture girl’s best friend!

And on the subject of diamonds…here’s my little Pumpkin Mouser Missy, sitting beside the pumpkins on the veranda.

These will soon be ready to bring into the pantry and store for the winter, ready for pies, soups and curries.

Grown only on home-made compost, these cabbages continue to develop good firm hearts, ideal for saukeraut and freezing.

The autumn is continuing to be a fair season, dry and mild.

Time to tidy sheds and treat all outside wood with a preservative.

Last night was a full moon and the land was illuminated beautifully.

Tonight promises the same.

I do so love the autumn!

Posted in celebrations, Country Living, Current Affairs, Life, Spring, Thoughts, Uncategorized

The USA, Iran and Nowruz

Today is the Ides of March. We are halfway through this month of Spring and the Winter now seems far behind us. There is still much to be done in the garden in preparation for the growing season. Seeds to be sown, plants to be divided and trees to be pruned. The list is as long as one wants to make it really!

The Laurel Arch has grown and spread. It could do with a hard pruning, but I may not get the time as other work is more pressing.  Whether it is cut or not will really only be noticeable to me!

I have lit the stove in the sitting room this evening and Jack stands in front of the fire, just staring into the flames. I wonder if dogs have thoughts and reminiscences?

There’s a long stretch in the days now, with dawn breaking around 7am and light fading in the evening at 6.30pm or so.  I love this time of the year as I am a morning person and have all my best thoughts and energy then.

Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between Winter  and  Summer.

In all that is written about Spring, the same themes are covered of rebirth, renewal and regrowth.

We are coming closer to the Vernal Equinox, which is around the 20th/21st of this month.

With all the talk of war between Iran and the USA, it is good to note that both countries share the same welcoming of Spring on the Vernal Equinox. 

The first day of spring (celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on 21 March or the previous or following day depending on where it is observed) is the beginning of the new year in the Iranian calendar. This is referred to as Nowruz, which means “New Day.” This is what Spring is for people all over the world, a new day, a new beginning and perhaps why we love to have a Spring Clean!

We have more in common as people on this lovely Earth than what we have dividing us!

The Ancient Greeks believed that spring was a time of renewal and fertility, represented by the Return of Persephone to her mother Demeter after her sojourn with Hades in the underworld.

If, like me, you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you will be welcoming Spring and celebrating the lengthening days!