Monday, 25 August 2014

Changing Scenery On The Smallholding.

 The Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta) butterfly's were busy working on Saturday in our smallholding garden.  They love nettles and Buddliea davidii (was it named after me: Dave?) and they go to Portugal and Africa for the Winter.  I make cuttings of the buddliea's every Autumn. It's really technical.  Cut yourself a cutting about six inches (or longer) and stick it in the soil in ye oldie veg plot.  Come next Spring it will start sprouting leaves and (hopefully) it will have roots.  Fuchsia and all manner of hedging plants can be replaced in the same way.  Your only worry is if old Jack Frost pays a visit and paints them one night.  They are pretty hardy though and if you leave them long enough they will recover.  The good thing about making Autumn cuttings is that the soil is still warm and you get plenty of rain so you don't need to worry about watering them.
 Somewhere in that photograph is a honey beer getting rather inebriated on the old Fuchsia pollen.  'Fuchsia beer' that's got a ring to it, hasn't it?  Perhaps I should start my own micro real ale brewery here in Ireland?

 My Rosa Rugosa shrub is making some lovely rose hips at the moment.  The Rosa Rugosa makes a great seaside hedge and is very salt tolerant.
Beautiful Bantry Bay.  Immortalized in song and not a boat to be seen.  That's the Beara Peninsula in the distance.  I wish there was a boat to take us around to Kenmare.  People always comment on the amazing view when they visit our farm.  I give them my grandmother's quote:

"The view won't feed you."

It is rather beautiful though.  God must have sent his artists and sculptors when he made Bantry Bay.


  1. Yes, autumn's on its way now, looks like a bumper crop of brambles here this year, big and juicy-looking but not many turning colour just yet, they'll all come at once. I think a gallon of bramble wine and maybe a bottle or two each of bramble gin and vodka. Made some last year but put too much sugar in, it would probably be OK to make a long drink with lemonade.

    Rose hips look well, we used to spend hours picking the hedgerow variety and taking them to school, 4d per 1lb we got, seemed like a fortune in those days. Everybody had a bottle of Rose Hip Syrup in the kitchen and we were dosed with it by the spoonful daily, supposedly to ward off coughs and colds. Never seem to see it now, and nobody bothers picking them. Might even pick a few and try making some, I won't have any competition for them.

    Love that study of Bantry Bay, you must have figured out how to remove the date as well?

  2. Autumn is coming early here in SW France. Normally at this time of the year we are in the middle of a long, long, summer, but this year we have not had many sunny days, and the mornings and evenings are already chilly. The French people are not used to such a long stretch of such weather, but it has felt like a 'normal' English summer!
    Love the photo of Bantry Bay......

  3. Yes the seasons are a changing
    Bantry bay is magnificent

  4. Hi Cumbrian. The nights seem to be drawing in really fast and the temperature seems to be dropping rapidly. Got the range lit every day now. I notice people gathering brambles at the roadsides. Don't suppose they will be that polluted now that petrol is unleaded? How do you make bramble vodka?

    My mother use to make us beef tea and she would put a key down my back if I got a nose bleed. So many of our plants (domestic and wild) have medicinal uses.

    Missus took the photographs with her camera. It's a Canon with a big zooming lens. I took my 'old faithful' small digi camera on my travels.


  5. Hi Vera. We have had a very good summer here in Ireland. Lots of silage and hay made. Rain came yesterday with a vengeance. I heard an old man the other week saying:

    "We'll get an awful drop when the rain comes."

    He wasn't wrong.

    Opened door of cowshed yesterday for calves to get in from their paddock if they want and left them some hay. Went back to check them last night and they were all inside chomping their hay and chewing their cud.

    Glad you like the picture of Bantry Bay. Thanks!

  6. Hi John. I am not looking forward to Winter. Bantry Bay is beautiful on a nice day and terrible when there is a gale.


  7. Bramble vodka is basically brambles soaked in vodka with a bit of sugar, shake every day for two or three weeks, settle for a week, then strain the brambles out.

    I use wide-mouth Kilner jars, 1lt size, last lot I put too much sugar in, equal weight brambles and sugar, it's way too sweet, but would probably be nice with cider or lemonade to make a long drink.
    This year I'll try about 25% weight of sugar.

    Also works with gin.

  8. Thanks for the bramble vodka recipe, Cumbrian. I am going to try the mead tonight. Thanks again for all the recipes. Mixed weather. Great for the aches and pains. Nights drawing in really quick now. We light the range every day now. Spent half a day log splitting and replenishing log shed yesterday. Thanks!

  9. Lovely pics.
    I don't mind the winter so long as the range is lit, there's a cup of tea and a good book to read. You live in a beautiful landscape and Beara is one of my favourite places -
    true the view won't feed you but it does feed the soul.

  10. Hi Jane. Glad you like the pics. Have you read: At The Edge Of Ireland (Seasons On the Beara Peninsula) David Yeadon. It is very good. I love counties Cork, Kerry and Clare. Beara is pretty bleak at times and reminds me of Connemara. Thanks!

  11. Not read that one - am off to the library this week so will have a look for it.
    I like the bleakness of Beara and Connemara but I would love to live in Kerry - even have the place chosen - just need the funds :)

  12. Hi Jane. Yes Kerry is a lovely place and there seems to be a lot going on there. I like the Dingle Peninsula. There are lots of very cheap properties for sale in Ireland. The only down side being the lack of public transport and rural jobs, especially for the young. Thanks!

  13. fuchsia berries are edible and some are meant to taste nice but all the ones I've tried so far this year have been rather tasteless. I'd like to find a really nice one to plant as they're easy to grow and have loads of flowers on them so a good duel purpose plant - let me know what yours taste like!

  14. Didn't know you could eat fuchsia berries, Kev. Sounds like you have been reading your Ray Mears again? We have Fuchsia Magellanica growing in the seaside hedgerows. Thanks!

    1. That's meant to be one of the more tasty ones if it's not the white variety! Apparently in chilli they sell them in markets as a fruit

  15. Hi Kev. I knew they originated in Chile. Didn't know they sold them in markets - thanks!


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