Tuesday 31 March 2020

The Signs Of Our Times And The Best Of Times.

Sign in local charity shop.

Please Wait Here sign in one of my German garden centres.  They also sell beer and food apparently!

I didn't  get up until nine this morning.  I felt guilty about that.  Then I spent all day weeding and clearing and plant dividing and making a few comments on the blogs I read every day.  Another record came into my head playing in my mental jukebox.  It's the Best Of  Times by Styx.  I think the lyrics are very appropriate  and could be talking about not not 1981.  There's  even a bit for you to play the air guitar.  I still say music forty years ago was better than anything today.  Enjoy and please comment.  
Styx are one of those elusive Rock bands I have always wanted to see live.  Rather like Kansas who I has to wait thirty years before I saw them.  Is there anybody you would love to see play live?

Monday 30 March 2020

."It's So Funny How We Don't Talk Anymore.."

I am starting to feel like a football manager that's been put on gardening leave.  Potted on over a hundred plants, divided some perennials, planted some garlic, watered the plants and seedlings in the polytunnel,  sat on the plastic chair and put comments on Rachel, Kevs and Yorkshire  Puddings blog, texted an old mate in north Manchester, dug a trench, filled it with homemade compost, planted another row of potatoes with the wifes help,  I heard lawnmowers and strimmers and saw a few cars going down one of the boreens...

Yet I never spoke to a soul, except for the missus.  She had been to Lidl for the messages.  That's  a West Cork term for shopping.  She met a friend from up the road and brought home some Guinness.  Essential medicine for another of rural, I mean social isolation.  She didn't just go for Guinness, honest!

I remember seeing Cliff Richard's twice at a Christian music festival in the late seventies, early eighties.  I remember seeing  U2 there before they became rock gods.  Any road.  One song I remember him singing  was the one in the above video.   I think its appropriate for the times we live in.  It's  like been sent to Coventry but by everyone!  

Sunday 29 March 2020

Looking At The Pretty Flowers In Our Garden.

Bergenias or Elephants  Ears in pots ready to go.
Vinca or Periwinkle in flower. Next to other potted perennials.
A fragrant Geranium in flower.
Peas in the bath.  I never pee in the bath.  We normally keep coal in our indoor one!
Another  fragrant Geranium  in flower.
Tulips in flower in a Flower Pot.
A Lamium in an old Belfast sink.  And a Shasta Daisy  in flower in March?  How strange.  It's the only one that's flowering.
Onions in the bath!  We started the sets off in trays of compost in the polytunnel  and planted them this very morn.  I forked in some organic poultry manure pellets before planting them.
A Lamium in a plant pot.
Ransoms in a plant pot.
Ransoms and Daffodils enjoying the sunshine.

Saturday 28 March 2020

The Utility Room Greenhouse. Post 900.

We recently went to the other German garden centre (Aldi) and purchased some plastic propagators for 5 Euros each.  The wife placed hers over the washing machine
 in the utility room or boot room if you're posh unlike yours truly.

They come  complete with a clear plastic lid  and five modules for you to fill with compost and sow vegetables seeds  in.

I decided to propagate hedge cuttings in mine.  I also decided to get a knife and CRACK the plastic tray/reservoir with a knife.  The wife asked me "WHY " I cracked the tray when there are drainage holes in the plastic modules?

I got it wrong again.

The heat from the range and the white goods seems to give rapid germination. Anybody else growing veg in the kitchen or utility room?

Friday 27 March 2020

More Tight Wad (whoops) Gardening Tips. Recycling The Lidl Compost Bags.

I thought I would show you another one of my recycling ideas today.  I have lots of empty compost bags and I have been using them instead of tarpaulin on my plant nursery which seems to be taking over the veg plot.

Plastic compost bags cut along seams and laid out on ground.  I got an adult to cut it with scissors for me.  I am joking.  I managed it myself.  Of course the bags started blowing away when I took the photo.  It's easier to place one bag on the ground at a time folks.  The plastic suppresses any weed growth and water puddles on top of the plastic and the plants use it like a reservoir when they want a drink.  A farmer I know puts silage plastic under his round bales to collect water and stop old ratty and friends gnawing and tunneling in the silage.  The slugs and snails like to live under the plastic because its warm,  in the same way they do when they reside under the paving slabs.

Here's the plants after they have been placed on my Lidl compost bag 'tarpaulins'.

Hope you're enjoying the sunshine in the garden?  I am today!

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Visiting An Air India Memorial on The Sheepshead Peninsula.

The other Sunday we decided to have a ride round the peninsula where we live  here in Ireland.  It's a beautiful  place on a nice day.   We drove through Durrus where my parents now sleep and on to Ahakista.  Just before we reached Ahakista we stopped at the Air India Memorial.  I haven't visited it for a few years.  Here's some photos:

The garden and memorial remembers the 329 people who died in a terrorist attack on an Air India plane  over the Atlantic off the Irish coast in 1985.  Every year relatives and friends revisit the memorial near where many of the victims  bodies where brought into Ahakista via boats.

It's a stunning beautiful setting overlooking Dunmanus Bay.  Somewhere to be quiet and look out to the sea.  We read out the inscription on the sundial and met a cyclist sat contemplating.  I felt a wonderful sense of peace.  The sundial inscription says:"Timeflies/suns rise and shadows fall/let it pass by/ love reigns forever overall"

If you're every visiting stop for a minute or so and look out to the sea.

Monday 23 March 2020

"It's Been Playing On My Mind." Adventures In Spudato Planting!

Today Monday I got up to a dry day and decided it was time to plant the rest of the seed potatoes.  Regular readers will know we planted some more in the polytunnel a couple of weeks ago.  Here's  some photos for your perusal:

 Part of the veg plot very overgrown mainly due to the very weather.  You can see the bay in the background.   I cleared it with my Azada hoe and 'grafter' narrow shovel  which is ideal for trenching.   The weeds go in a bucket and end up on the compost heaps.  I don't  use weedkillers either.

 I noticed this Lamium or variegated Dead Nettle had rooted itself in a tray of compost.  So I potted it on.  Isn't  nature wonderful?

 Digging out some homemade compost.  Lovely friable compost with lovely juicy worms.
Trenches dug and filled with homemade compost.   Azada and Grafter having a rest after all their exertions.  They are good workers but they skive when I am not holding them!
Orla potatoes.  They are chitted and ready to grow.  They originate from bonny Scotland and said to be more blight resistant than Irish ones.

The potato  tubers are covered up and in twelve weeks time we should be eating our new potatoes.   

Have you planted yours yet?   Hopefully we'll  be saying:"Is it hot or is it me?"  And somebody will say: "It's  too hot for potatoes!"

I'll sleep easy tonight now I have got the new potatoes planted.

Sunday 22 March 2020

How Long?

So what have you been up to lately?  I spend my days in the polytunnel and garden sowing seeds, dividing perennials, mowing the lawns and potting up hundreds  and hundreds of pots.   They get potted up with cheap Lidl compost(3 bags for 6 Euros) and a few poultry manure pellets.  It is a few at 16 Euros a bucket!

Everything is starting to happen in the gardens and countryside.  I am hoping to weed the gardens and plant my early potatoes this week.  If we get some sunshiny days. I was going to take some of my plants to sell at at a market or carboot sale this weekend but they are closing down too.  The supermarkets are packed out though. 

A song by Kansas my favourite Rock band (who I saw once) comes to mind for our situation. It's about sailors on a point of no return.  They believe the world is flat.  However they return home because the world is round and they end up back where they came from.

Life's  got return back to normal.  The birds are making nests and the flowers are budding.  Get out into the garden and forget about watching the news for a while, if you can?

Here's  Kansas.

Friday 20 March 2020

A Dingle Print From A Carboot Sale.

Landfall Slea Head by John Skelton.

I bought this print from a carboot sale on the ring of Kerry last summer.  It was blowing a gale and I wasn't selling many garden plants so I went browsing round the stalls and came back with this print.  I only paid five Euros for it!  I have since looked it up on the Tinternet and T'web and similar prints go for eighty Euros.  I had to satisfy my inner Womble and brought it home.

I love the moodiness of the picture and wonder if the Fishermen are landing or setting sail?  Perhaps the title says they are coming back?

Thursday 19 March 2020

Stopping To Look At A Famine Pot In A West Cork Village.

We have often drove through Ballingeary on our way home from Killarney.  On Tuesday we  finally stopped the car  to look and touch an ancient famine pot.  They use to boil soup and "stir about" in them and people would queue up with pans and dishes.

The one in the picture above is from about 1847.  This was during the Great Famine that caused many people to perish from starvation and emigrate to England and Canada, Australia  and America.  The Irish diaspora is said to be about 90 million.  We live in worrying times now but at least we don't starve!

I touched the famine pot and reflected on the poors plight.  I think it's good that this pot is preserved and on display to show future generations what their ancestors went through.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Walking On The Beach On Saint Patrick's Day.

We went to county Kerry yesterday.  McDonald's was closed so no cheap breakfast in Killarney.  We did however find a petrol station with a delicatessen and cafe and we all had bacon butties.  Then we journeyed on to Castlegregory to my favourite beach in Ireland.  Its twelve miles long and I discovered it when a pal and I walked 100 miles of the Dingle Way a few years ago.

We saw a few joggers, walkers and dogs but the beach was almost deserted.  We passed smile greetings and waved at other brave souls out for a saunter next to the Atlantic.  Then we drove along the sand covered roads of the Maharees and saw ponies grazing, tractors carrying round bales, parents and children riding bicycles...

It was like a sign from above: life goes on!

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Filling The Freezers With Blanched 49 Cents Veg.

We have noticed folk are buying supermarket food like its Christmas Eve.   So we decided to blanch and freeze some of the cheap 49 Cents veg on offer:
Carrots and Cauliflower  peeled and chopped.

Broccoli boiling in a pan for about five minutes or when the water starts

Then plunge the vegetables in ice cold water for about three minutes.  Our tap water from our well is ice cold and it comes from 220 feet down.  Then put them into freezer bags or even plastic carrier bags.  We often peel and chop onions this way when we have a glut of them in summer.  They taste far nicer than frozen shop bought veg.

The way things are going  at the moment with this with this mad shoppers buying spree.  Means we are going to either blanch more or grow a lot more like we use to do before I became plant mad and filled up the veg plot with shrub cuttings and perennials.

Have you been blanching or stocking up on tin stuff lately?  Have you thought of growing your own vegetables this year?

Monday 16 March 2020

Local News.

A new sculpture was recently unveiled in Bantry town.  It's  a seal and its pup:

I think it's rather splendid, don't you?

Saturday 14 March 2020

"We're All Going On A Polytunnel Holiday!"

I thought  I would do another gardening  post today.  The blog often gets lots of views when I  write about  it.

The weather is very mixed at the moment.  February was the wettest on record and my gardens and veg plot are starting to look like the Munsters.  Well we do live in the Province of MunsteršŸ˜€.

However there is still plenty to do in the polytunnel:

Onion sets sprouting in trays of compost instead of rotting outside in the saturated soil.

The Nettles are growing between the trays and at the side of the trough.  There's  an old saying:

"Where Nettles grow.  Anything will grow".

Peas growing in compost filled modules..  If and when the weather gets better l will plant them outside.  Yes I know the modules are plastic but I use them many times over.

The polytunnel is finally being emptied of the rooted  shrub cuttings that have overwintered in the polytunnel.  I spent a full day  today potting up and giving them a sprinkle of organic pelleted manure in the polytunnel.  I also planted some more new potatoes  in the polytunnel  I was in plant Heaven.

  • So what have you been up to in the garden, potting shed, greenhouse or polytunnel? 

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Domino The Feline Assistant Referee.

Our Domino watched England ladies or Lionnesses play in the She Believes tournament on Sunday.  Says he's sick of VAR and offside.  So he decided to run the lines himself:

The silly beggar only decided to hold up his offside paw every time England attacked!

Have you got a pet who wants to be a match official?

Sunday 8 March 2020

Talking Plant Pots.

Mr Daffodils: " Do you like dancing Miss Ransoms?"

Miss Ransoms: " It's the wild garlic in me."

Mr Daffodils: "It's the flipping wind and rain that makes me dance about:

Miss Ransoms:  " I've got sunshine on a rainy day".

Sorry no blogs for a week.   Been working all week.  Hope you're all well and happy?

Planted my first new potatoes  in ye olde polytunnel yesterday.  What have you be up to garden wise?

Are you going to see any Rock concerts?  Where are you going for your holidays?  Flights are starting to get really cheap.  You can fly to America for 500 Euros.

I was talking to this Irishman the other day.  He swears like a trooper and a really nice chap.  Says he's  thinking of cancelling his jollies to the Canary Isles: "because of the Corona virus shite."
Said he would rather go up country "I don't  like the hot!"

It's  great to meet characters isn't it?"

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...