Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘birds’

Musings from a Smallholding.

In Animals, Garden on January 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Serves me right! A few days ago I was going on about the lovely Spring weather we were having. Three days later and we’ve had wind, rain, hail and snow. This was the scene this morning, grey skies and a bunch of birds in the Rowan tree at the bottom of the field. Don’t know what they were…I was’nt close enough to tell.

Half an hour later it is bright and sunny. As you can see the wind turbines are turned north to catch the cold wind. It’s only about 4 c here in the valley today.

The animals run into the shed when it rains. Goats hate getting wet, their coats are not waterproof like Sheep. We do not lock them in at night, the shed is left open and they can come and go as they please. The field is well fenced so there’s no danger of them getting into the garden. Theres a saying that “good fences make for happy goatkeepers”. I certainly believe that to be true! Smokie, on the right, is our oldest Goat, she has been with us for 11 years. We bought her when she was 2 so she’s about 13 years old now. Enid is our milker, actually we’ve just let her go dry, she has been milking for 2 years. The one in the middle is Bella, Enid’s daughter. She will be put in kid next Autumn. I have lots of Goat’s milk frozen so we won’t have to buy milk for a good while.

In the garden Carvello de Nero is going to seed. Also known as Tuscan Kale or black cabbage it has given lots of leaves since Autumn. They are delicious steamed, in soups or even shredded and stir-fried. We also eat them raw in salads, shredded finely. They are going to seed earlier than usual but it’s that sort of year. The seed heads are delicious, treat them like Purple Sprouting Broccoli. The more you pick them the more they produce.

Chives are surprisingly advanced for this time of year. I won’t pick any until the promised frost of the next few nights have passed and mild weather has returned. According to the Met Office this has been the mildest Irish Winter for 53 years. Interesting year so far, unpredictable weather, an earthquake in Donegal (2.2 on the Richter scale), Aurora Borealis visible from as far down as Claremorris and a white Blackbird seen in Dublin. It’s going to be an interesting year!

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.