Bridget

Author Archive

New blog.

In Uncategorized on March 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Hi folks, hope all are well as we move into Spring. We are settled in our new place now and I have started a new blog: www.fromacountrycottage.wordpress.com . I hope that you will join us in our new adventure in Frenchpark at Flynn’s Cottage.

Bridget x

At year’s end.

In Animals, arigna, sustainable living on December 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm

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Well what a year that was!  So many changes for us. Some of you already know our biggest news of the year which is that we are on the move. Prospect Cottage is sold and we are leaving Arigna. We will however still be in Roscommon but that is all I am revealing for now. We move to our new place at the end of January and I will start a new blog shortly after that.

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Changes too as regards animals. We have both become intolerant to goats milk so when we sold the house Bella and Enid, our 2 milking goats,  went to our friends Paul and Deborah in Co. Clare. They have an organic smallholding and the girls are happy there. We know they will be well cared for and we can see them when we visit. Apparently they are both smitten with male goat David who also resides there.

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That left us with Smokie the Goat and Daphne the donkey to accompany us to our new place. They had been companions since we got Daphne 8 years ago. Sadly it was not to be. Smokie passed away rather suddenly in mid November leaving us very sad and poor Daphne alone. Donkeys love company and it really is’nt fair to keep a lone animal. We decided to try and get Daphne into a sanctuary. We were so lucky to find a permanent place for her at Sai Satya Sanctuary for donkeys and ponies in Castlebaldwin. That’s not too far from us so we can visit her there. The sanctuary is run by an amazing woman called Sue Paling. Sue has a genuine love of animals and has devoted her life to them. Daphne is settled in well there. She has made friends with two older ladies, Esmerelda and Bonnie. You can check out the sanctuary at www.donkeys.ie .

016Gardening has always  played a large part in my life. I just love growing flowers and veg and get immense setisfaction from harvesting vegetables and herbs and using them in our meals. Our new place has about an acre of land with an already established fruit, veg and flower garden. At least I won’t be starting from scratch but of course we will make changes and put our own stamp on the place. We are moving at a good time as a full gardening season will be ahead of us in our new abode.

013 All that remains for now is to wish you all a wonderful 2013. May you have love, happiness and abundance in the coming year. Hopefully many of you will continue the journey with us in the new place. Happy New Year! xx

In Uncategorized on December 12, 2012 at 9:26 am

arignagardener

As we face into another year on this planet called Earth many people are feeling a bit scared about 2012. Much has been said about Mayan calendars, solar flares and biblical prophecies foretelling the end of the world. My view…for what it’s worth…is that the Mayans were not foretelling the end of the world but an end of an era. I came to this conclusion after reading much about these various prophecies. My belief is that 2012 is the time for a change in consciousness on the planet.  We are all exploiters on this planet…that is the nature of the beast.

 Even Andy and I living here in rural Ireland are exploiters. No you may say…but the truth is yes. We are vegetarian so we do not exploit our animals for food directly. We do however exploit Enid our milking goat every day to obtain her milk. Hens are exploited to produce our eggs…

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In Uncategorized on November 5, 2012 at 9:48 am

Love Love this post from Willowarchway on preserving, especially the recipe for doing the cherry toms.

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Whilst sitting here on a Sunday afternoon listening to ‘The Kinks’,I think it puts things onto perspective on living the alternative lifestyle. It’s also strange that  a certain time of year can bring a flurry of activity. As we grow most of our food and all of a sudden you have a glut of produce, don’t have a freezer, so what are you to do with it all ? PRESERVE it !

Over the past few weeks I think that we have made a massive leap forward with our preserving and if we want to continue eating over the winter months then we have to preserve our food.

Last year we preserved our cherry tomatoes and they were very successful ( we actually opened one of our last jars yesterday and they were perfect for pizza topping) and so decided to preserve more this season, but as there were so…

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Reflections at Samhain.

In Ireland, nature on October 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm

The trees are providing a wonderful colour display this year. Unlike other year’s we have’nt had the harsh winds that rip the leaves prematurely from the trees. Reds, pinks, greens, yellows and browns are the colours of the moment.

Some plants, like this Geranium, which are in sheltered spots,  continue to produce blooms as we head into the first days of the Celtic Winter.

Even the brilliant orange of Montbretia is fading, having decorated our gardens and roadsides for many weeks. 

The leaves have already dropped from the Rowans leaving the berries glowing like Christmas baubles. Soon the weather will become harsher and the birds will feast here.

Rosehips catch the eye as myself and the Dogs take our daily walk. Walking is done earlier in the day now…before the evening chill sets in. I’m not one for walking in the darkness…even on our quite laneway. From now on more time will be spent indoors. The intense activity of the Summer is past and the larder is filled with the fruits of our labouring.

Walking back up the lane this handsome black Cow comes to greet us. Friendlier than the rest of the herd she even let me rub her.  A small privilege that gave me such a lift.

I have often heard that Fairies have white blood because they nourish themselves by drinking milk straight from the Cow’s udder under cover of darkness. Maybe this girl will be visited tonight.

Happy Samhain!

In Uncategorized on October 11, 2012 at 7:56 am

Great seasonal recipe from this lovely blog which I’ve just discovered. x

Putney Farm

There is no doubt that it’s pumpkin season here in northern California. Everywhere you look, there are pumpkin farms and patches and the Half Moon Bay pumpkin Festival is this weekend. Lots of pumpkins, fun and…..traffic. We avoid the festival but we do like to go to the coast and visit some of the pumpkin farms for both eating and ornamental pumpkins, it’s fun and the kids love it. But until then, we can make these pumpkin muffins to satisfy any pumpkin cravings (and as a nod to the Great Pumpkin).

And these are very good muffins, more like pumpkin-spice cupcakes. But that is a good thing, a very good thing. The recipe we use is a riff on Sarabeth Levine’s well-known rpumpkin muffin ecipe from Sarabeth’s Bakery in New York. You can also get the recipe, and many others, in her cookbook “Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands To…

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Autumn time, abundance, independence and saving seeds.

In Gardening, sustainable living on August 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm

 

 

As Autumn makes it’s presence felt we await the ripening of Mother Nature’s offerings. A little more sunshine is needed to sweeten and ripen these Blackberries in the hedgerow. The shorter mornings and darker evenings seem to have descended quickly from the long days of the Summer that was barely evident. Maybe an Indian Summer is around the corner!!

In the garden there is an abundance of produce right now. The freezers are filled with fruits and vegetables which will be used to feed us and make preserves through the Winter. Onions and Garlic are drying in the polytunnel. I feel priviliged to have land that we use to produce so much of our food. Last week I read that Ireland imported 324million euros worth of fruit and veg from Britain last year. Sad that a country which proclaims independence is so dependent on imports from other countries to feed it’s people.  True independence, in my opinion, is only plausible when a country can sustain it’s own food supply. With rising fuel prices affecting the price of groceries worldwide it would seem wise for us to grow, grow, grow.

 

Regardless of weather there is so much that grows well in Ireland. We had fantastic crops this year from berried fruits, alliums did great and beans were incredibly productive. These beans above are being left to produce seed for next year. So easy, just leave some large pods at the end of the season, don’t be too quick to tidy up, and in a few weeks they will have dried out and be ready for harvesting. Remove from pods and store in a dry place and you have next years crop ready to be germinated . With 10 companies now controlling up to 70% of the world’s seed supply I think seed saving is a sensible step to take.

“To see things in the seed, that is genius.–Lao Tzu

Tomatoes are another crop from which seeds can be easily saved. Just soak the seeds to wash off the jelly like coating then dry them out on a piece of kitchen paper and viola! you have next years seeds. Do save from plants of organic origin.

“Abundance is not something we acquire, it is something we tune into.–Wayne Dyer

I shall be away from here for awhile as I am having a break from blogging and visiting and commenting on other people’s blogs. Happy Autumn days to you all. I will be back in the not too distant future. Bridget xx.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is it about water?

In Ireland, Off the beaten track. on August 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm

 

Ben Bulben Mountain near Sligo shrouded in heavy mist.

As the  Earth breathes the waves move in…and out again.

Deserted beaches are so appealing…

So much seaweed… I wish I’d brought a bag.

The weir at Clarendon Lock just outside the village of Knockvicar.

Beautiful!

Around the garden.

In Garden, sustainable living on August 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm

The Lilies have emerged in the last few days. The heat giving them some encouragement. I love their heady scent but find it a bit too strong for in the house…not that I would dream of cutting these beauties. They thrive in this bed which has very good drainage. I really must plant some more.

The shady border beside the chalet has mostly white flowers at the moment…Galega, Yarrow and Shasta Daisies. Soon the Sedum will turn red giving a new focal point.

The pond which is here just over a year is full of life… especially Pond Skaters… loads of them. The Water Lily is producing another couple of blooms. I just love Water Lilies.

Flowering Fennel has the insects in ecstacy…they just adore it. Loads of Hoverflies,  Bees and Bumble Bees  about today. Nice to hear a buzz in the air. For so much of this Summer we did’nt have that…

In the polytunnel Dahlias are in flower. Dahlias don’t do well outside here…the ground is too heavy and wet. I planted tubers in big pots this year and they are doing well. They get an occasional feed with the Comfrey and Nettle liquid feed.

 Purple Teepee Beans are ready for harvesting. They lose their purple colour when cooked but they do look so great when they’re growing. Beans have done well this year. Broad Beans gave a huge crop…then we had the Green Bush Beans. An abundant year…despite the weather.

Grapes are starting to colour too…better clean out them demijohns…soon be wine making time!

Succulents are amongst my fave plants. So easy to grow and propogate. This Sempervivium has produced lots of babies. They can just be broken off, planted in a gritty compost and hey presto you have a new plant!

Out and about in Arigna. part 2.

In arigna, Off the beaten track. on August 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm

We sheltered in the old school shed during a rain shower. One could almost hear the laughter and chat that went on here in times gone by. No ipads and mobile phones then,  just skipping rope and hide and seek. I wonder did children have the problems they have now. I suppose not,  but I’m not under the illusion that all was better then. The problems were just different.

Remains of other old buildings add to the air of abandonment.

The roof on this building, just down from the school, looks remarkable good. Some lovely stone in the walls here.

Ferns and mosses seem to love the lime in these old walls.

In the distance the mountains are being taken over by wind turbines and monoculture plantations of Sitka Spruce. Money being made for people who live far away from here. With the threat of fracking on the agenda who knows what will be next on the horizon. Fracking rigs? Let’s hope not!

As we head home we pass through tunnels of conifers…

and some fast moving Fuschia!!