In Animals, arigna, sustainable living on December 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm
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.
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.
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 .
Gardening 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.
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 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!!
In arigna, Off the beaten track. on August 15, 2012 at 9:28 am
The Miner’s Way is a network of paths once used by the workers as they made their way, on foot, to work in the coal mines at Arigna. They cover a distance of 62 miles with walks to suit all abilities.
Sunday was a showery day so not very good for walking. I really don’t like getting wet! We drove up to what we call The Top Road, which is the road above us in the valley, and parked at Glen Church. This little church which was built in 1912 is now sadly selmon used.
Symbols of devotion in the overgrown churchyard.
As we descended the grassy path to the old school we were met by some baffled looking black faced Sheep.
One of many closed abandoned schools in the area. A sign of rural depopulation. 40% of Ireland’s population now live in towns and cities.
Sad to see the building vandalised and full of sheep droppings. An old desk stands monument to the past pupils who were educated here. I wonder how many of them still live in the area? With lots of abandoned homesteads in the area I would’nt imagine too many do.
The plaque on the wall outside written in old Irish script reads: St. Maria Goretti National School. Only built in 1955. The area has seen monumental changes in those intervening years. Not all for the better I don’t think. But maybe I’m old fashioned and this is progress.
In arigna, Ireland, nature on July 15, 2012 at 6:56 am
Such a beautiful sunny Sunday morning greeted us here in the valley today. Very still and calm, not a leaf was stirring on the trees. Early morning sunshine casting dappled shade. The promise of a good day to come.
Beyond the trees the shrub border looks fresh and green. The early morning dew still on the leaves. In another hour this will be in full sun.
Daphne is out early too, she comes over and looks at me in a sort of puzzled way. Probably wondering what I’m doing… up and out and about so early. Such amazing growth with everything this year. Look how high the grass is in this field.
The Sycamore tree casts it’s shade over the steps to the chalet. The air is still… allowing the signing of the birds to be heard… crisp and clear…and beautiful.
The promise of a Summer’s day.
The gravel garden has taken well. Planted about a year ago everything is now starting to establish and spread. Sedums have done particularly well…I do love them. So easy to propogate and of course they are a real Butterfly magnet when they are in flower.
Lots of Succulents in pots too although some have jumped from the pots onto the ground below. I remember the walk through the bog in Tipperary collecting the Bog Oak for this little corner garden with my brother Tommy. Happy thoughts on a bright Summer morning.
Yes…all is well…everything is still…and calm…and green. We have the promise of a sunny Summer’s day…
In arigna, Garden, Ireland on July 3, 2012 at 8:39 am
After having had pretty good weather in March, April and May it seems that June was the wettest since 1860. I do think that the south of the country had it worse though. Every time I rang my Mother it seemed to be raining heavily there, yes, we have had rain too, but it’s only the last 2 weeks that have been monsoon like. That’s climate change I suppose, some places getting less rain while we get more. If it continues in this vein more growing will have to be done indoors in polytunnels, in Ireland anyway. The overcast skies are quiet depressing and heavy. A rare patch of blue sky yesterday evening had me rushing out with the camera to capture it!
It darkened again almost immmediately and this rainbow which bridged Corry and Sliabh an Iariann appeared. Not the usual high arch to this one. Very squat and low lying. Have’nt seen one this low before. Even the rainbows are affected by the low cloud!! Does’nt the countryside look beautifully fresh and lush though…one benefit of all that rain.
In the garden flowers are doing surprisingly well. I don’t like this dark leaved Lysmachia, actually I thought I’d removed all of it, but I have to admit it makes a good pairing with this peachy pink Lupin. Maybe it’s saved itself!
Lady’s Mantle and Catmint, two plants I really like, they look good together. I have to admit I’m a trial and error gardener. I bung everything in, cottage garden style, if it really does’nt work I’ll just move plants in the dormant season. I know some people swear by plans and charts but not for me. Lots of self seeders are left to prosper too. I don’t have the heart to remove them.
The wild Dog Rose is almost finished now…
each fallen petal leaving a temporary love message for all to see.
In arigna, Ireland on June 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm
Isn’t this cute? Well, actually I’m not sure if cute is the right word as Ida’s tealeaves are making a pretty disastrous prediction. Hopefully Ida stayed safe and sound in the coop. This lovely print was my prize…drawn from the hat…for commenting on a blog I follow. At www.hedgecombers.com, which is a varied and interesting blog, there is a link to Jane’s online Folksy shop where these prints and cards are for sale. Delighted with my prize…I think a black frame will suit it nicely.
Accompanying my prize was this lovely card also from Jane’s range. So cute! It is sitting in pride of place on our mantelpeice.
No the postman’s not that good! I did send Jane my name and address to receive my gift. Thanks Jane!
Don’t know if a car can be cute but this one certainly tickled my fancy. It was spotted at a garden open day I attended recently. Bought in Germany by the current owner in the 1950s it has been completely restored and is in perfect working order. He and his wife drove it from Germany to Ireland last Summer.
The whole front of the car also doubles as the door. The steering wheel moves with the door to facilitate opening and closing. Amazing!
Dinky steering wheel…
and a rack on the back for one’s suitcase.
To finish here’s a cute pic of Lettie and Freddie on the couch. I know there’s too much light from the window and the crazy pattern on the throw makes for a busy picture. But I like it anyway! Hope you do too!
In arigna on April 13, 2012 at 9:36 am
Such a beautiful morning here today. The sunshine got me out of bed early. In the shade things still had a coating of frost. The Foxgloves looked particularly attractive with their frosted leaves.
Fab to see a bright blue sky to start the day. In the background is Corry Mountain.
My Favourite Birch is almost in full leaf now. This part of the house faces west and will be in full sun by afternoon.
The goats were enjoying the morning sun underneath the big Sycamore in the back field.
Enjoying breakfast…they still get extra food in the mornings. The evening feed has been stopped as the grass becomes more plentiful. By next month they won’t need any supplementary feeding as the grass will be abundant by then.
Across the river the smoke rises from this cottage as the stove is lit. Another day begins in the valley.
In arigna, Gardening on January 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm
The morning sky looks bleak despite the blue. Are those chemtrails or just harmless vapour trails? I wonder!!
The animals are constantly watching the door to see if they have any titbits to recieve. Their faves are Ginger Nut biscuits and Carrots.
Ash trees against a grey sky. Kilronan Mountain in the background.
Early afternoon sees a blue sky giving some hope of sunshine… which alas does not appear.
Through the garden gate an old tree stump has become colonised with Foxgloves. One of my fave native wild flowers. They did’nt have the distress of a hard Winter this year so perhaps they will flower before May.
Aster too is showing strong growth. I will divide this clump in the coming days. Now is the perfect time for this work in this frost free mild (for January) weather.
By evening the sky is grey and cloudy. Another January day almost at an end. Not too many more until the 1st of February, St. Brigid’s Day, Imbolc the Celtic festival of Earth once again awakening.
As darkness falls we light the fire in the small stove in our sitting room. Candles are lit, a nice meal prepared, watch a bit of telly and a bit of the world wide web. Another January day ends in Arigna.
In arigna on January 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm
The view out the window from our computer spot is pretty grey today. The mountains are shrouded in mist and the wind is gusting very strong. It’s not a day for venturing out unless one has too. My only outing today was to take the dogs for a short walk and venture into the polytunnel on the return to get some carrots for the evening meal. We will have the carrots with mashed potato and the remnants of a Hazelnut and Courgette Loaf I made yesterday. Today the loaf will be fried. Perhaps a soupcon of onion gravy too.
The land is saturated at the moment, there was a lot of rain in December and it’s now continuing into January. The lakes and rivers are full to capacity and every drain and ditch is busy with rushing water. Very strong winds over the last week. I find wind so tiring, it exhausts my energy.
In the house everything is warm and cosy. The stove is going from early morning to late at night. The Christmas tree still twinkles on the table, it is considered unlucky to take down the decorations before Twelfth Night, January 6th. We got a living tree this year. After the 6th we will repot it,leave it in the polytunnel, then move it outside when the weather improves.
In the garden there are some signs of Spring waiting in the wings. Willow is budding, it’s lovely catkins one of the symbols of Spring. Daffodils are up a few inches but I suppose the colder weather at the moment will have put a halt to their growth. When the ground dries out a bit there is lots of work to be done dividing perennials to create new plantings. But alas it’s far too wet right now. A little patience required!
In the polytunnel February Orchid (Orychophragmus violaceus) is flowering early. A little beacon of hope for an early Spring!! This little plant with a big name is not an Orchid at all but of the Brassica family.
Marigolds continue to flower in the polytunnel, a sure sign that despite the current wind and rain that it has so far (fingers crossed) been a mild Winter here in Ireland. I wonder if they are perennials in their native land? Anyone out there know? Their cheery flowers certainly help to brighten the dull days of January here in Arigna.
In Animals, arigna on December 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm
The Sun when it appears in these dark December days has a watery wintry feel…in tune with the weather I suppose. The air is damp and the earth is permanently wet. When out and about one is aware of the particles of moisture in the air. The dogs have to be dried off before they come into the house in the evening. They spend the days outdoors and come into the house as darkness falls. They enjoy their house time relax before going to their shed for the night.
The sunsets have not been very dramatic in the recent cloudy grey weather. This one a few evenings ago is as good as it’s got.
The animals are all being fed hay now…they really appreciate this on rainy days as they don’t like getting wet. A lot of people think Donkeys coats are waterproof but that is not the case. In the mornings they get a little treat. Daphne really likes carrots as do the goats. Enid the milking goat gets an extra treat of some organic concentrate while she is being milked. Other favourite treats are Ginger Nut biscuits, Polo Mints and bread of any type.
In the garden the Fuschias continue to flower. I have never seen flowering to continue so far into the year. They are not of course as plentiful as earlier in the year but they are a welcome splash of unexpected colour at this time.
Spindle has now lost it’s leaves but the berries are still giving a good show.
On the lane the sloes still hang from the leafless Blackthorn. Usually these would have been consumed by birds by now. Tradition dictates that these and indeed any berries are not picked after Halloween as it is said that the Pooka would have breathed on them at that time.
Lower in the valley the Arigna river slowly meanders on its journey to Lough Allen.