Monday 30 September 2019

Isambard Kingdom Brunel Built A Railway In Cork.

One of my Victorian heroes was Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  He wouldn't have been concerned about some pernicious perennial root on his allotment, oh no.   This man was bordering on architectural and engineering genius.

Any road.  Or railway.  The man who built ships that crossed the oceans and connected telephone cables under the sea to India...   He also built the Cork to Midleton railway in county Cork. 

Some Irish wit once remarked that the English  built the railways and the Irish got on them and emigrated!

They still lament the demise of the  Cork, Bandon and South Coast railway in 1962.  Imagine if people could commute to Cork from down here by train?  I could go to Rock concerts, shop, watch a football match, go in Wetherspoon's or even work there.  If anywhere needs rural jobs, West Cork does.

I think my dad caught the train to Cork and caught the boat train to Holyhead in the black fifties.  He was only 17!

I read the above article today and was awestruck with the craftsmanship of the people who built this stone culvert.  It reminds me of the tale of some stone Mason carving a gargoyle  high up on the roof of some English  cathedral.   His workmate remarked:

Nobody will see that.

The stone Mason continued chiseling and said:

Yes, but God will.

Didn't  they have pride in their work way back when?

Saturday 28 September 2019

Homemade and Homegrown Kale And Onion Soup.

We lit the solid fuel range stove in the kitchen this morning.  So I decided to make some soup.  The onions have already been picked and live in a stainless steel bowl in the utility room.  The Kale Triffids are  turning into tree trunks in ye olde polytunnel.

We (me and the wife) had a lively and heated discussion  yesterday about the Kale polytunnel crop not being harvested and ate.   I was told that I only want the space for "MORE BLOODY" plant cuttings!  Am I  really that obvious?  I did plant some potatoes in the tunnel and (hopefully) will be ready for Christmas.  Did you say Christmas Dave?  Wonder what else one can grow other than plants and shrub cuttings?  Maybe VEGETABLES even!

Here's  the soup in the pan on the range:

Do you have any soup recipes?  Anybody make Mulligatawny soup?  That's another product from the British Empire along with Snooker and  Piccalilli and IPA.

Hope you're  well and keeping warm and dry?

Thursday 26 September 2019

A Bruised Knee, Wet Days And Time To Plant The Japanese Onion Sets.

It's not been the best of weeks weather-wise here in not very sunny West Cork.

Storm Lorenzo could hit Ireland and Blighty in the next few days.  Gale season seems to be happening more frequent than the usual November to March.

I prepared the ground a couple of weeks ago when it was dryer.  Every week we have been asking our local farm cooperative hardware store if the sets had arrived.  This week they finally did arrive.

So this morning I cleared the newly appeared weeds, picked a few stones and planted the Japs.  I hurt my knee last week.  A wheelbarrow decided to stop suddenly when I  was pushing it.  I think it was the pruned branches in the wheelbarrow that wouldn't fit through the gate.

Any way or road.  I forced myself to pike and rake and get the old knee joint working.  I was like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz.  That's a parody on self determination and agnosticism you know?

Here's the Japs:

If you have never grown them before I thoroughly recommend you get some.  Its wonderful to see the green stalks poking through the snow and ice.  They're tough old beggars those Japanese onions!

Monday 23 September 2019

A Post About Jack Russell Terriers.

We have had three Jack Russell Terriers since I have lived here in Ireland.  They are one of our favourite breeds of dog along with the Border Collie.

  I have the cup with a Jack Russell on to drink my black coffee every morning.   The wife drinks out of a cup with Border Collie dogs on it.

I seem to have fallen off the old blogging horse now the weather is turning for the worse and I  have been struggling what to write about.  So I was sat drinking my black coffee this morning and noticed the terrier looking back at me.  So I thought  I would write about them.

The Jack  Russell Terrier breed is over 300 years old.  A fox terrier bitch called Trump was the Reverend John  Russell's first mother of the breed named after him.

We have had three Jack Russells since we have lived here in the countryside next to the sea.  Toby had the bravery and heart of a lion and he would think nothing of stick down an hole in a ditch or a tree.  Fido lived until she was 17 and we talk fondly about them every day.  There is never a day they are not mentioned. Fortunately  we still have Scamp to keep us company.

Here's to the terriers, enjoy the video.

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Sedums In Flower Pots For The Butterflies And Us To Enjoy!

I planted up some of the flower Pots with Sedums on Sunday morning.  If you want to attract Butterflies and Bees to your garden grow Buddleia shrubs and Sedum perennials.  I make hundreds of Sedum cuttings and they are one of the quickest cuttings to root.

Don't  think I have ever seen so many Butterflies in our gardens than this year.  We must be doing something right.

The old Butler's/Belfast sink was my grandmothers.  If it could speak.  What stories could it or would it tell?

A better picture.  

Saturday 14 September 2019

Life On The Range.. Or Even In Front Of It!

Domino decided to lie in front of the lit range last night.  It gets nippy at night in the countryside next to the sea.  There was no watching Gardeners'World or Gogglebox for Domino.   He just lay there and dreamed of catching rats and mice.  He calls them Mr and Mrs Longtail.  He did eventually get up and go on his night shift.

Have you lit your fire yet?

Thursday 12 September 2019

Old Gardening Books.

The wife recently bought me a gardening book from a car boot sale.  It set her back the princely sum of 50 Cents.  Its entitled: ROCK GARDENS By Lewis B Meredith.
Published in 1914.  The year of the start of the First World War.
The Iris Valley In the Author's Garden.
A touching couple of lines of a gift from a son to his mother.

  I browse read the book in less than an hour.  The principles of clearing, weeding, construction and planting are the same but the price of plants have altered a little in the last one hundred and five years in the following passage:

The cost of plants varies also not a little; but, excluding the rarer kinds, I should say about five shillings a dozen is a fair price to pay.

Flipping heck.  I thought I sold my Perennial plants cheap!

Did I learn anything reading the book?  Yes that gardening methods are still basically the same: two men working together will do more in one day than a man working on his own for two days.  

Also cutting up zinc strips and tying them together with copper wire and wrapping them around precious and tender plants will give old Mr and Mrs slug or snail a mighty electric shock!  

The book is a second edition and you can buy it on Amazon for Four Pounds plus packaging I suppose?  I had a good hours reading for fifty Cents.  I put it on my book shelf and it seems to have settled in nicely with all the other myriad of books and stuff we collect!

Tuesday 10 September 2019

"I Thought You Were Laughing At Me?" " I Was".

When I went to A New Day music festival in August.  I was walking down  the sloping natural arena of a field towards the beer tent and a middle aged lady started laughing at me.  I just shrugged my shoulders and carried on to the beer tent.  I purchased a pint of ditch water, I mean bitter. Four quid for a pint of cat wee.  An hour earlier I had been purchasing pints of bitter in Wetherspoon's for just two Pounds a throw

Any way.

The lady had only followed me into the beer tent and smiled and  I said to her:

"I thought you were laughing at me?"

She laughed and said:

"I was."

We both laughed.

Then she told me she was looking at my t shirt.  It was my Night Of The Prog festival T shirt from 2017.  Which was in Loreley in Germany.  Her son was in one of the bands listed on the back of my shirt.

She was Norwegian.  So I said: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

We laughed again.

A Norman Wisdom song began to play in my mental jukebox:

Friday 6 September 2019

Cuttings, Cuttings, Everywhere!

I have been busy making shrub cuttings and dividing perennials.  Some of them live outside.  In the photo above you can see some fuchsia and Sedum cuttings that I found with roots attached this morning.  They only took three weeks to grow roots.  These ones have been living outside and have had plenty of rain to water them.
Here they  are potted up and ready to grow on.  Do you like the organized chaos that is my poly-tunnel?  An old patio table is now my potting bench.

Shrubs that I potted on and grew over the last year or so.  Even the paths are full of plants.

Sedums in pots and more cuttings in trays.  The nettles like it here too!

The poly-tunnel is filling up with shrub cuttings next to the Kale and Chilies.
Have you made any plant cuttings lately?  It's easy to get them to strike.  All they need is watering and a bit of patience.  Three weeks can seem a very long time.  The wife says I would make plants in the bathroom.  Well you have to do something when you live in the countryside next to the sea.

Monday 2 September 2019

Gone Away Toby Jug.

We went scouring the charity and antique shops and a car-boot sale at the weekend.  One needs to satisfy the inner Magpie and Womble instinct that we both share.

The wife spotted the Toby jug in a cabinet.  It's from the 1950's, Royal Doulton entitled 'Gone Away'and a limited edition.  I like how the fox cunningly resides  on the huntsman's shoulder.  My brother collects the jugs so we bought it and it now sits in the display cabinet with the rest of the jugs!

I bought 5 spider plants and four Aloe Vera house plants from the car boot sale.  I have now got 8 spider plants.  You know the gardeners mathematical equation don't you?  The only way to multiply is to divide!

Two Charity Shop Vases Full Of Feverfew.

"The 18th Century Aspirin Plant." I have this plant growing in my veg garden at the moment.  It is supposed to be brilliant for al...