Tuesday, 9 May 2017

" Four Legs Good. Two Leg Bad." New Arrivals Down On The Smallholding.

We haven't had any livestock on the smallholding for a while.  Cattle prices are crazy at the moment. It's only a few days from the single farm payment application form-deadline.  So farmers are mad for cattle and sheep to make up their numbers before the 15th of May.  We decided to buy some sheep.  Five Suffolk cross ewes and six lambs to be precise.

Some photographs for the sheep.  You can see the bay (Bantry) in the background.

"I'm the king of the castle, bucket."
Makes you want to play "Sheep" by Pink Floyd doesn't it?

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Weeding Thoughts?

Apparently the term "weed" has no botanical significance.  It's a plant in the wrong place.  I am lucky really that I have any pernicious weeds like Japanese Knot-weed or Ground Elder.  Both introduced from foreign shores.  Apparently Mr and Mrs Roman Empire are said to have introduced Ground Elder to northern Britain because there weren't much fresh greens in those days, yawn!  

Japanese Knot-weed is said to have come with the Rhododendrons from Asia and purposely planted in the sixties for ornamental purposes.  The Edwardians planted it for game cover.  Is there an organic cure to eradicate it?  I have even read that it can be fed to livestock.  Don't fancy it though, do you? We are just troubled with Montbretia, Creeping Buttercup, Brambles, Chickweed, Docks...?

I have been weeding with hand, bucket and trowel all week, weeding the paths and flower and veg gardens.  I was wondering  (weeding) if somebody could invent an organic spray weedkiller?  

Do you use weedkiller?  We some times spray the rushes in the fields.  But we wouldn't use chemicals near the veg plot. I have read that Glyphosphates are rendered harmless when they make contact with the soil, but I don't like them do you?

We don't use weed killers.  Not even on the paths around the houses.  I know the Victorian  gardeners at Heligan use to spread  and sweep sand on to the paths.  The sea salt kept the weeds away.  

I have read about vinegar being used for a natural weedkiller.  A lot of the commercial vegetable growers use weedkillers.  I was once in a farm centre in West Cork and a man asked for weedkiller to put on the weeds on his potato rows.  Would you use weed killer?  Am I being paranoid and could I be saving myself a lot of work?  

Please share your thoughts on using weed killers.  

In the words of Mrs Merton:  "Lets have a heated debate!"

Seriously: what do you think about using weedkiller?

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A Bank Holiday Monday Trip To Valentia Island County Kerry.

Hi every body.  We went to Valentia Island in Kerry yesterday.  It was a lovely day with a lovely South Westerly breeze from the Gulf stream.  

We found the Tetrapod trackway and walked down the steep stone stone slope to the find the tracks.  They only discovered them in 1992.  

 Tetra Pod tracks.  Its said to have existed about 300 Million Years a go.  It could also have happened when Noah built his ark ("the animals came in two by two") and Mr or Mrs Tetra-pod was said to be only about a Metre long.  It's said to be the first creature that walked on Earth.  Instead of being fish the creature was a mammal.  Charles Darwin would have loved this place.  I still like to think God made the Earth in 7 days though.  
 Dinosaur view.
 The tail and the leg tracks - probably!

An incredible thatched house with butterflies and Fuchsia painted on the walls.  I love this house don't you?

Did you go any where?

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Potato Eyes A Clean Poly-tunnel And A Very Friendly Lion Called Parsley.

 Remember when I planted the potato eyes/skins a few weeks a go?
 This is them now roaring to go and be planted out side.
 Some onions and peas we planted at the same time.
Finally tidied up all the plant pots and made myself a potting area.  Complete with deck chair and cheap compost from one of the cheap German supermarkets - my garden centre!  I have been splitting up many perennial plants and making lots more.

We have also been weeding all week.  Kneeling down and looking like we are praying to the great weed god.  People with a bit of sense would use weedkiller but not me.

Do you remember this song?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

A Day Out On The Slea Head.

We went to Dingle on Friday afternoon in County Kerry, Ireland.  It was its usual bustling tourist spot.  It reminds me of Cornwall but yet it's still got its own unique feel about it.  We heard many different accents (English, Irish, German, American) and an elderly American lady came in the chip shop ("chipper") and asked if they sold 'fresh' fish.  I treated the missus, number two son and myself to a bag of chips each.  Well you have to splash out sometimes.   

We then went for a drive along the incredible Slea Head Drive.  The scenery is stunning and it's been used in films like: 'Far and Away' and 'Ryan's Daughter'.  

We saw lots of quaint cottages, holiday bungalows, ancient Beehive huts and stopped at The Slea Head Famine Cottages.  See pictures below.

 Beehive Hut.  These ancient dry stone walls structures are round like a bee hive and used from ancient times to 1200 AD.  
 A Thatched farm house.
 A cement mixer having a day off and looking at the stunning scenery.
 The Beehive Hut in the background.  Brambles are busy camouflaging this building.
 A mannequin farmers wife. 
 Same house/picture.  From a distance.
 The stable for the donkey and cattle.

Ancient treadle powered sewing machine

Ireland is an incredible beautiful country.  The Dingle Peninsula is the most Western point of Europe.  If you ever want to see some incredible beautiful scenery.  I would recommend you visit Ireland.  

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Two Fish Plates Bought At A Car Boot Sale.

We saw these two wonderful fish plates at a car boot sale the other week.  They have Johnson Bros stamped on the back of them.  I think they were made in the nineteen sixties.  I Googled them and found that they were a Staffordshire pottery and went out of business in 2003, resulting in the loss of a thousands jobs and production went to China.  

If you look carefully you will notice they have holes drilled through the plates.  Me (we) think they are cake stand plates and we need to buy a metal doings, thingamajig metal holder for them.  Do you like them?

I paid 15 Euros for them both.   I have seen one on it's own for Forty Euros on Ebay.  Not a bad mornings work/ shop around the car boot sales.  

I particularly like the Perch.  It takes me back to my Coarse Fishing days when I was much younger than today.  Don't think I will sell them.  We are turning into Wombles/ Hoarders.  Perhaps you will see us one day on that programme on Channel Four?

The weather is still fantastic here and the potatoes are pushing their shoots through the soil every day and I am using my trusty Azada (hoe) to cover them up with soil.  I am also busy weeding everywhere at the moment.  

Hope you are all well and enjoying the sunshine.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Chris De Burgh At Killarney INEC.

We went over the to Killarney on Saturday to see the legend that is Chris De Burgh at the INEC.

Up in the gods looking at my wifes hero.  I like him myself especially when he sings his hits.  He's very articulate and incredibly talented like his amazing backing band.  The lead guitarist (Neil Taylor) made his guitar cry, laugh and sing.  He's one of the best guitarists I have ever seen, honest.  The keyboard player and the drummer and bassist were superb too.

Some pictures taken from the mobile phone.  Chris De Burgh is a superb show man and "Border Line" was so appropiate for the time we live in.  I stood up at the end of the song and gave him my own standing ovation.  He's playing Blighty this week.  If you get the chance go and see him.  It's great to see somebody who makes songs and stories come to life and still believe in Jesus on this Easter weekend.  Thanks Chris De Burgh you made our weekend.  "High On Emotion" was another cracker.  My next rock gig will be Kansas in July.  Have you seen a live band lately?

Monday, 10 April 2017

The Last Of My Algarve Photographs. Honest!

I think we brought the nice weather back with us to Ireland.  The last three photographs you will be glad I bet?

Amazing sand sculpture in Armacao De Pera.
A real cart on a roof and the donkey is a photograph.  
Donkey and cart and people driving passed a petrol station.  Wouldn't it be great if we went back to horse (donkey) and carts?  

We also saw a donkey and cart full of grass that looked like Italian Alfalfa grass.  I didn't have my mobile phone at hand to take the picture because we happened to be riding a long in a taxi at the time.  I said to the taxi driver lady with the lovely painted finger nails (dark blue with diamonds):

"Are they gypsies?"

She replied:

"Si they are gypsies."  

Hope you enjoyed the photographs?  Have you any holiday plans?

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Even More Photographs From The Algarve.

I hope you are not getting bored with our holiday pics?  There is  or was nothing worse than when somebody would show you their "holiday" pictures.  It would go something like the following:

"This was Mrs Jones who shared the same table at the boarding house every breakfast.  Her husband liked his bacon well done.  This picture is their son Jonathon.  Says he's going to be a test pilot for Airfix...."

Yawn!  Sorry for my attempt at humour.  

Do you remember when you use to go to Boots the chemists and drop your film off to be developed?  Three or four days later, you would pay the chemist ("anything for the weekend sir/madam?") and immediately open the folder with your new photographs.   You eagerly paid for 22 blurred photographs and 6 good pictures of your finger tips.  The good old days hey?

Wait Dave.  Wasn't it you who bought a Digital Camera in Argos in Killarney and asked the girl on the till: "What film does it take?"  

Time for some more pics:

The Billionaires/Millionaires model boat lake called Vilamoura Marina.  There was no recession here.  I thought I would see Simon Lebon or Wayne Rooney on one of the yachts.  Didn't see any bikini clad pop stars like Mel B sun bathing either, sadly.  Must keep buying a Euro Millions ticket.  
Elvis the Sailor Man?  Well, that's what  he looked  like to me.
I was sat drinking a large glass of Sagres reading this sign.  We weren't missing Ireland or England or any where else.  Well maybe my faithful tripe hound/ Jack Russell Fido.  

Friday, 7 April 2017

More Pictures From The Algarve.

That translates to Menu Of The Day.  The two lads chose this in the Algarve Shopping Centre on Sunday.  There are lots of high street stores and we even went in good old C & A.  It must be twenty or thirty years since I last went in one of their stores in Manchester.  Their clothes prices seemed reasonable too.

 Drinks at the hotel; wine, cider, lager (cerveja) and an amazing local brandy called: Brandy Mel.  I brought a couple of bottles back with me.  It was only a Euro and twenty five for a beer and two Euros twenty for the brandy.  Don't we get ripped off in Ireland and Britain?
 A statue of the famous chicken peri peri. in Guia.  Guess who sampled the sauce?  Portugal should put a rocket into space.  They have invented the fuel.
 Oranges for sale at the side of the road.  A Euro a bag.  Number one son walking a head of us oldies on our way to the Algarve Shopping Centre.

Albufeira beach Sunday afternoon.  Absolute scorchio and God was in his Heaven.  Albufeira was far from quiet and it was full of tourists and the Portuguese locals in the town.  But we captured these photographs on the beach and it appears deserted but it wasn't.