Friday, 20 October 2017

Another Day Out To More Places In Ireland.

I noticed this place when we went to Limerick to visit St John's Castle.  So last Saturday we decided to check out Askeaton.  It's a small town in county Limerick.  Here's some shots for you.
An old Saddlers' shop.  On a further inspection by  looking in the shop window, it was empty, sadly! 
 An impressive looking forged gate to and impressive Georgian style house.  Probably a mill owners house me thinks?

 A weir next to the ruined Friary.

Mass  Dial.
The grave yard overlooking the Friary.

 Old  derelict Corn store at Abbey Mills.  It never ceases to amaze me the amount of derelict buildings there are in Ireland.  Surely ("don't call me Shirley" Airplane  film joke) the building could me made into apartments?
 This looks like the monks and nuns productive kitchen garden.  No doubt they would have grown food, made beer and Mead and grew medicinal herbs and flowers to cure the sick.  It was a Franciscan Friary so they would have been very kind and offered rest and comfort for the weary traveler and sanctuary to heal the body and the soul.  Even today the Franciscans have soup kitchens in big cities like Dublin.  I believe the ruin is part of an old church.
 They were obviously incredibly skilled stonemasons in the 13th century.  


Swans on the river Deel overlooking Desmond castle.  

Its free to visit the Friary and good way to explore the many fascinating old places in Ireland.   It reminded me of our visit many moons a go to Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire.  

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

After The Hurricane.

Two brushes resting in town after sweeping some leaves.  Notice the ingenious home made handle.

I went to inspect my poly-tunnel and noticed our winter Japanese onion had shoots pushing through the earth.  My tunnel survived Storm Darwin and now Ophelia.  I think its storm Brian next to look forward too at the weekend.

Monday night in our front room.  No electricity, candles, cider punch and a pizza cooking on the stove.  It reminded me of one of my mother's sayings she use to say:  " It's like Christmas Day in the Workhouse."

How did the people long a go.  Cope without electricity to pump water in the well, watch the television, light the house, cook your tea, work the broadband...?

Here's an appropriate theme by the great Neil Young.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Flipping Heck. Here Comes Storm Ophelia.

One thing I never get use to living in the countryside next to the sea, is the gales.  Especially when they come at night and you curl in a ball praying to God that everything will be OK.  Hurrican Ophelia is said to be hitting Ireland and dear old Blighty tomorrow.  Its supposed to have been graded to category three.   The school bus is not running and we always think of people sleeping rough or travelling on planes, trains, over land and sea.  

We will probably have no ESB (electricity) because nobody ever gets around to burying the electricity cables underground.  Fences posts will need replacing and old corrugated roofs and old sheds will need replacing.  Trees will block roads and tides will flood towns.  Sheep and donkeys and cattle will find shelter behind an hedge or in a dip and sit on the grass to keep it dry for their dinner tomorrow.  

All you can do is batten down the hatches and reach for a bottle from the top shelf and try to read and pray and hope no animals or humans are killed.  At least we know these days when a storm is coming.  If I don't answer any comments or put any on your blog its because we have no electricity due to the storm and not because somebody is too tight to put ten bob in the leccy meter.   I will go and get the candles ready and check the torch is working. Keep safe and don't go outside.  Try and read a book. Speak soon.

Here's a good poem that's very appropiate for the wind.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Gardening Inspiration On A Day Out In The City.

We went back to Cork yesterday for another hospital appointment for my brother.  We dropped him off for his treatment and spent a few hours wandering round the streets of Cork city.

It was the usual looking at the architecture, people watching and shopping.  I saw my first Christmas pudding yesterday and this curious sign.
What are Winter Wishes?

 Then we chanced to walk past an old derelict site that's been transformed and made into a garden.

 A beacon of light and hope for all who have mental health issues.    The community garden has been made on derelict land.  I noticed  the land is sold.  I hope they find a new site for another community garden in the city.  Mental Health Awareness is represented by a green ribbon.  In the 19th century green was used to label people who were considered "insane".  It was also the symbol of the Levellers in the English Civil war.

 Nasturtiums growing happily and a bench made from old pallets.  
Exotic looking plants and the green ribbon symbol.   

If there was such a garden down in West Cork.  I would gladly volunteer and do some gardening for them and give them some of my plants.  Do you know of any other gardening projects worth supporting?  I know the RHS always want garden volunteers and they rent allotments.  

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Strawberries For Sale In October And An Electric Shredder For The Smallholding.

We went To Cork on Monday with my brother for an hospital appointment and we killed two birds with one stone and did some shopping as well.

I was amazed to see strawberries for sale in October!  I bet they are from somewhere foreign like Dunmanway.  That's my attempt at humour.  Dunmanway is a West Cork town.  
 We drove to Mahon Point  shopping centre and we had a look round B & Q.  I have been doing quite a bit of shrub pruning over the last few days.  We get ten months growth here next to the Gulf Stream.  Plus it rains a lot too.  Not forgetting the copious amounts of farm yard manure that gets placed around our plants.  So I saw this  elctric 2500W impact shredder (that's what it says on the box)  for the kings ransom of 77 Euros.  Which converts back to 68 Pounds Sterling.  Or a night on the lash for one self.
A wheelbarrow full of shrub shreddings waiting to be added to my compost heap.  I found it very good when I worked the shredder for 4 hours yesterday.  It shreds up to 44 mm no trouble.  Which is about one and a half inches.  Anything bigger jams the shredder.  So I cut the thicker lengths and use them for pea sticks and for markers for my potato rows before I earth them up in early summer.  

I think the shredder is a bargain and I reckon that its half paid for already.  Especially if we had taken the branches to a recycling centre and paid to get rid of them.  You can't use them when its raining or your prunings are wet.

Do you have a garden shredder?  Please tell us about it.  How long should I leave the shreddings in my compost heap before I can mulch with them?  

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

A Poly-tunnel Raised Bed Made For Absolutely Nothing.

I made a raised bed for my polytunnel on Sunday.  It cost me the grand sum of nothing.  Yes folks, nowt!

Seeing that its you.  I will tell you how I did maketh this wonderful construction.  Get one door frame from a skip or if you're Blue Peter: "Here's one I made earlier."  I got ours from the farmhouse renovations we had done this summer.  

Then I did carry it to the poly-tunnel and lay it prostrate on the ground.  Then I filled it with fym (cow poo) with my trusty wheel barrow and four prong pike.  The great thing about it being open at one end.  I could drive (push) my wheelbarrow into the raised bed area.  Then I looked around the smallholding and found two lonesome standard concrete building blocks.  So I carried them one at a time and lay them at the opening.  The gap in the middle will be good for drainage and we can place weeding buckets etc...  

I am very pleased with my efforts and once again it goes to show you don't need to spend much (or even any) money to grow things...  Perhaps I should get my raised bed patented?  Maybe I will be awarded an OBE or a CDM (Cadbury's Dairy Milk) for my services to horticulture?  Seriously. Do you have any cheap ways to grow your vegetables?  See you soon.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Planting Broad Beans With A Dylan Thomas Poem In My Head

That's me planting my broad bean plants the other day.  Its amazing to see what a rootball they have when you plant the bean in compost.  

The Dylan Thomas poem: "The Force That Through The Green Fuse Drives The Flower"' started to play in my head.  I think if you studied your plants in your garden you would never stop being amazed of the force of nature.  How does a little seed or bean know how to germinate and produce roots and shoots and food for us all?

I watched Gardener's World last night and they show the predacious fungi and soil eating creatures in garden soil under a microscope.  Its incredible what creatures live in our soil.  I have been spreading fym this morning and thinking that you should feed the soil and feed the plants.  Do your plants never cease to amaze you.  

Here's the Dylan Thomas poem.