Bridget

Archive for the ‘arigna’ Category

Sunday Ramblings from Prospect Cottage.

In arigna, Gardening on November 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm

View from the back door.

 The weather this month has been extraordinary. Fluctuating between wet and dry weather but always so mild…springlike actually. The pic above was taken yesterday…very low cloud on Corry Mountain making the wind turbines invisible. I spent 2 hours in the garden…weeding and tidying up. It was too warm for a coat!

Japenese Anemones.

 Japenese Anemones continue to produce flowers. Be careful where you plant these as they are impossible to remove and spread like crazy. I thought I had dug them all up from this corner of one of the veg beds…but no…they came back with a vengeance again this year. Any little bit of root produces a new plant…a bit like Bindweed.

In the polytunnel the Peach tree has dropped most of it’s leaves…making a bright splash of yellow for a short time. I will enjoy this colour for a little while before collecting the leaves for the compost.

The Grapevine too will soon be bare. In the kitchen above the stove the last of the grapes are bubbling away… hopefully a nice wine will result.

There is still lots of Beetroot to be harvested in the polytunnel. I have made lots of Beetroot Chutney and tried Borscht for the first time earlier this week…delicious. Beetroot is said to have health enhancing properties and contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, K plus calcium, mangenese, potassium, iron, copper, phosphorus, sodium, zinc and selenium. It does’nt have to be eaten from a bath of cheap vinerar only. It is delicious roasted…can be grated over salads…makes great soup…and can even be used in cakes. I have a recipe for Chocolate and Beetroot Cake which I intend to make this week. I’m also going to juice some…I’ve had Beetroot juice in the past…it’s very sweet. Beetroot is said to provide more oxygen to the blood. So there you go…the humble easy to grow Beetroot is really a superfood.

Finally a look at where I do my blogging from…the front porch looks out onto our front field and beyond that to Sliabh an Iriann (the Iron Mountain)which is shrouded in heavy mist today. A comfy chair…bookshelves to my right…I like to check info before I put it out there. Laptop on desk in front of radiator…cushy. Looking out on our little world whilst communicating with the big wide world out there. Lovin it!

The Old Coal Mine.

In arigna, Off the beaten track. on November 4, 2011 at 11:47 am

After leaving the Famine Grave (previous post) one passes through the old abandoned coal mine works on the way back to the road. The statue of Our Lady is above the now blocked up mine entrance. The men would always stop to say a prayer on their way into the mine. Coal mining finished in Arigna in 1990. There is a Miner’s Museum about a mile from the village where many of the ex-miners found employment as tour guides.

I love exploring these old abandoned places. One can imagine the activity that was carried on here in the not too distant past. How rapidly things can change and deriliction sets in.

Nuts and bolts still sit on the workbench. I wonder if the people that handled these are still living?

Coal from these hills was used to power the power station on the shores of Lough Allen about 7 miles away. That too is now gone.

Strong steel doors built to protect whatever valuables lay within…

now thrown open to the elements…rusted into their open position.

Illegible writing on the concrete roof of the old shed.

A place of work and activity where people once made good livings lies abandoned and derelict. Just a place of interest now to walkers and explorers like ourselves. How quickly things can change.There’s a lesson there I think!

Greaghnageeragh Forest.

In arigna, Ireland, Off the beaten track., Uncategorized on November 1, 2011 at 10:05 am

On Sunday last Andy and I together with our 3 dogs went to Greaghnageeragh Forest which is about a mile and a half from our house. It is an eerie, sad and poignant place. On a small hillock within the forest is a communal grave where people who died during the Famine of 1845-46 are buried.

There were small homesteads here at that time. Poor people trying to eek out a living on this harsh mountain side. Being heavily dependent on the Potato crop it was a disaster when blight struck.

The survivors were too weak to bring the corpses to the local graveyard for burial so they buried them here on this remote hillside. One can only imagine the feelings of despair that this brought…all on a hungry belly…and all the while food was being exported from Ireland by the rich and powerful landlords.

November in Ireland is the month when we remember our dead relatives. Remember…remember lest we forget. We…one day will   be the dead relative. It is a time to realise our own mortality. Visiting places like this reminds us of the fragility of our lives. At least these people were trying to grow their own food…it just was’nt diverse enough…they were too dependent on the easily grown Potato. Nowadays we are dependent too…dependent on the supermarket to provide our daily nutrition. What happens in the event of some disaster when the stocks cannot reach the gleaming shelves. Something to think about perhaps?

 The local people here tend this area…all the while remembering. Mass is celebrated here every September…the locals come to pay their respects…and remember the ancestors. Others come here too. One can see the pathways worn by visitors. As we walked away from this forest we were struck by the silence…but… we were heading home to a nice warm house…a cup of coffee and a little snack. A flick of the switch turns on the TV with news of terrible famine in Africa. How awful and so sad that this should be happening still on planet Earth. Ireland now has so much food that one-third of food purchased ends up in the bin. Every country has the same waste…while others starve. So much is spent by the rich and powerful on war…while people die from starvation.

Forgive my solemn ramblings but these sites send my mind into these realms…but it is reality…it happened…is still happening.

Let us not forget.

Rain! Rain! Rain!

In Animals, arigna, Ireland on October 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm

This was the view from our front door yesterday morning. Nice blue sky…there was even some sunshine…not a bad day.

This morning was so different. Everywhere was damp and the sky was heavy and grey. There had been lots of overnight rain. Taking the dogs for the morning walk I could see the Arigna river about to burst it’s banks. The walk was short as the rain started again.

This afternoon the rain finally stopped by 3 o clock. I decided to take the opportunity to go for another quick stroll. I could hear the rush of the river from our backdoor. It has burst well clear of it’s banks now. The rain had been torrential.

At the turn one can see that the river just could’nt cope with the flow of water. This is normally dry land with the river meandering through.

On the plus side…our water barrels are full…and I love the sound of the rushing water…

and we don’t usually have a view of the river as we walk down our drive…

or a little river flowing by as we walk on the lane. Guess what the forecast is…yeah…you’ve guessed it…more rain. Don’t think I’ll be doing any gardening for a while. It’s crazy that as we get this some parts of the world are having famine caused by drought. Would’nt it be nice if we could regulate the weather so that everyone got a bit of everything. We could have more sunshine. African countries could have some welcome rain enabling them to grow their crops again. Spain could do with more rain to solve it’s water shortage problems. If only!

Autumn Equinox @ Prospect Cottage.

In Animals, arigna, Foraging., Gardening on September 20, 2011 at 10:35 am

The changing colours of Autumn are upon us, much as we may not like it, changes are afoot. Human beings do not much like change, we like other inhabitants on this Planet are creatures of habit. Although when change is forced upon us we are quick to adapt. At this time the Autumn Equinox is upon us, hard to believe it’s 3 months since Summer Solstice. It’s said time flies when you’re having fun, well time is certainly flying!

The last of the wild berries can be harvested on nice dry days. All sorts of Fungi are to be found in woodland and pasture. Nature’s abundance is still there for the picking. Still to come are the almost ripe Hazlenuts of which there are lots this year. Sloes, which are best after the first frost has softened them. Elderberries will be fully ripe soon too. They are great for jams, chutneys, cordials and wine. A tincture can be made from them which is said to be a wonderful restorative and immune system enhancer.

The animals also benefit for the abundance of the season. Daphne loves apples, not too many together though as they can cause bloat. Peelings left over from making jams and crumbles are always a welcome treat. Last week I collected a big box of windfalls from our neighbour’s orchard. They will provide treats for a few weeks.

The Goats too are fond of Apples. They also watch for falling leaves at this time of year and really enjoy them. Soon their bodies will be preparing for Winter by growing their Winter coats.

For us at this time when day and night are equal we must also adjust our minds to the coming of Winter. Enjoy the first frosts and the sunny days they will surely bring. Gather the last offerings from Nature. The larder is filled with the abundance of Summer, all is well. Who knows, we may be snowed in again this year! Soon we will head to Tipperary for the day and bring back a trailer load of hay and straw to bed and feed the animals over Winter.

May you all enjoy this time of adjustment. Enjoy the longer nights, make it a time for enjoying each other’s company. The frantic activity of the garden is now winding down. Think of some craft projects to work on over the Winter. Walk in the woods and enjoy the Trees as they too make their seasonal changes. Happy Equinox to All!

Sunday Miscellany.

In Animals, arigna, Gardening, Off the beaten track. on August 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Two of the four wind harps by the waterfront in Carrick-on-Shannon. They make an eerie, haunting yet beautiful sound.

Craft stall at the Plant Fair in Farmleigh, Pheonix Park, Dublin on Sunday 21st August.

Stone fountain in the Famine Memorial Graveyard, Carrick-on-Shannon.

Daphne enjoying some Willow cuttings.

Red Banana leaf. A bit too tender for Arigna I fear!

Freddie watches and waits for a door to open.

Any more Willow branches?

A walk to Doon.

In arigna, Folklore, Off the beaten track. on August 15, 2011 at 8:58 am

When we come out our back door and look right we are looking at Corry Mountain. On Saturday last I went with the newly formed Arigna Field Club almost to the top of the Mountain. Our destination was Doon, a Promontory Fort, high on the side of Corry.

The climbers were rewarded with panaromic views of the beautiful Arigna Valley,

 

and a talk on the history of the place by Sean Daly. Doon is mentioned in the Annals of the  Four Masters which is a chronicle of Medieval Irish history dating from the deluge, dated as 2,242 after the Creation to AD1616.

Its position made it an excellent fortification against enemies. There are extensive remains of the ramparts. Tradition has it that Doon Fort was the headquarters of the legendary Tuatha De Danann. It is believed that most of the Fairy and Leprechaun stories of Ireland originated from the Tuatha De Danann from Doon.

The waterfall which has a 200ft drop adds to the magical feel of the place.

On the way down we saw this beautiful Dragonfly, or is it a Fairy in disguise?

The mist rolled in from the north as we descended, adding to the magical feel of the place. To finish the whole group had tea and biscuits in a neighbours house. A lovely finish to a fab outing.

The Wider View.

In arigna, Gardening, Off the beaten track. on August 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Have been asked by Elaine of www.rosebankramblings.com to show a few pics of the wider view of our place. So here we are, ready for a little tour.

This gravel garden which is in its very early stages, it was only started in April, is still being worked on. This is at the front of the house. Front entrance behind and to right from where I took this pic. The wooden building is a separate building, I will do a post on that soon.

From outside our back door, which is the entrance we use most and where you arrive to the house, looking left there is a big weeping Birch and a cottage garden style flower bed.

Looking right is the herbaceous border and beyond can be seen Corry mountain.

Round the corner of the house is this small grove of trees, Birch, Sycamore and Scots Pine. This is opposite the herbaceous border. The grass is left uncut, apart from an edging strip, until September. The goat shed can be seen in the field beyond.

Continuing on to the gate and our steep drive. Decent brakes needed here!

Looking back towards the house from the gate.

The next post will show pics from the vegetable and fruit garden.

The Potato Experiment @ Prospect Cottage.

In arigna, Folklore, Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on August 3, 2011 at 9:28 am

Monday last was August 1st, also known as Lammas or Lughnasa. In the not so distant past this was a time of fairs and horse trading in honour of Rhiannon, the horse Goddess of the Underworld. There is still one remaining horse fair held on this day which is I believe held somewhere in Galway. Here in Arigna we like to harvest produce on this day  as it is also a celebration of the abundance of the season. A time of gathering and preserving in preperation for the Winter which is just around the corner.

In April we planted Potatoes using a method new to us. Newspaper was placed on the ground, potatoes on top then covered with a thick mulch of rushes (straw could also be used). See post Blueberries, Potatoes & Rushes published on 11th April for more info and pics.

The variety planted was Colleen. Wow, the results far exceeded my expectations, I admit I was dubious. The Potatoes are clean, just pull back the mulch and there they are. Good yield, the amount above is from 2 plants. The size was a bit erratic, some very large Potatoes, some small. All in all we are well pleased and shall definitely use this method again.

In the new gravel garden, see post Elephant Hawk Moth & Gravel Garden published June 8th, everything is filling out nicely. The pots with mostly succulents in are doing particularly well. It is the sunniest spot. Many of the plants have flowered for the first time. Really love the little flower on this one.

In the vegetable garden Oregano is flowering now. The Bees just love it. Some of the flowers will be dried for use in teas. It is useful for colds, headaches and gastro-intestinal disorders. With the addition of a teaspoon of honey it makes a delicious tea. The leaves can also be infused to make a hair conditioner or added to your bath water to promote relaxation.

Spotted Flycatchers and Garden Musings.

In Animals, arigna, Gardening, Herbs on July 2, 2011 at 8:48 am

A pair of Spotted Flycatchers have set up home at our neighbours house and produced this brood of 5 chicks. They are 13 days old now and will fledge in the next few days.

At Prospect Cottage we feed the birds all year, mainly with peanuts. Usually we don’t get too many takers in Summer, but this year, because of bad summer I presume, we have more visitors than usual.

The long border is looking good right now, everything looking lush and healthy. Really like this Buddleia globosa with it’s balls of yellow flowers. The Carex, grown from a division given from my friend Colette, has really done well. I will be able to make divisions from this next Spring and pass it on to someone else and increase the plantings here. So the circle goes, round and round.

Now is a good time to take semi-ripe cuttings of perennials. Choose a sturdy side shoot, soft and green at the top, stiff at the base. Plants like Buddleia, Escallonia, Pieris and Hebe to name but a few take root easily at this time.

Feverfew is in flower now, this is the double flowered form. Culpeper said that Feverfew is good for “melancholy and aches and pains in the head.” Most people who suffer from migranes find significant improvement after eating a number of Fererfew leaves every day. This is best taken with other foods, maybe in a sandwich, as Feverfew is very bitter. Three to five leaves a day is generally recommended. An infusion can also be used as a mouth rinse after tooth extraction. Be careful though as it also acts as a mild laxative.