Tuesday 31 January 2023

Vegetable Seeds And Onion Sets Buying and A 'Nice' Slice Of Cake.


Homemade Victoria Sandwich.  We've got a glut of hens eggs and duck eggs at the moment.  Yesterday we had 14.  Twelve Hen and two Duck.  The  cake was πŸ˜‹. 
Cheap vegetables seeds from you know where.  Just 75 Cents each.  You couldn't buy an ice cream for that.3 
Red onion sets and 'Snowball' white onion sets for 1.50 a net bag. 

I am going to get some compost this week in plastic modules/plastic trays. They have lovely white root socks when it comes to planting them outside.  They get a better start than just being pushed into cold and wet soil.

I'm making great progress on ye olde veg plot.  I walked/staggered into the kitchen yesterday after a few hours digging and felt like I just boxed twelve rounds with Tyson Fury.

"I think you need back pain tablets".  

I sat down had a cup of freshly brewed 'real' black coffee and was given a lovely slice of homemade cake.  

We are living the dream when the weather is nice!

Sunday 29 January 2023

What A Difference A Dry Day Makes!

 It's finally stopped raining in the Monsoon season here on the Irish Riviera.   

So yesterday I decided to get the new potatoes πŸ₯” area weeded and piked over.  It's been my perennials nursery for a few years and the soil was pretty compact.  

It had formed a pan and I decided to aerate the soil with my four prong pike.  Some people are "No Dig" gardeners but I like to use more traditional cultivation methods and give myself some back ache.  Do you still dig or are  you a 'no dig' gardener?

Here's a photo of my work:

Hopefully any rain or frosts will help make the soil more friable and  kill off any wee nasties living in the ground.

The next job will be to go collecting some seaweed with the wife.  I will fill the manure and compost and hump them to the boot of the car and then we will spread the seaweed.

I have plenty of fym but it's too fresh to use for at least six months.  

We will also start looking for seed potatoes in our local German Garden Centre and beer  providers and supermarket.

Have you started cultivation on your veg plot or allotment yet?

Friday 27 January 2023

K Is For Kansas.

I have seen two good Prog Rock  bands in the last twelve months: Kaprekars Constant who I featured their Hall Sands video on here and Karnataka (check them out!) both at A New Day Festival and I previously saw KC a week earlier at Cropredy.

Kansas are probably my favourite Prog band and like Debby (Life's Funny Like That blog). I have been lucky enough to see them live. 

 I saw them in 2014 in Warsaw.  It was the fulfilment of a long held dream to see them.  I had listened to them in my teens and it was over thirty years later that I finally got to see them play live.  They certainly didn't disappoint.

Have you seen Kansas? 

They originated in Topeka and were originally named White Clover which they changed to Kansas.

What a band!

Thursday 26 January 2023

Zero Grazing For The 'Indoor' Pigs And Poultry.

 Yesterday  it wasn't raining for a change  so I decided to clear a bit of the grass growing on ye olde veg plot. 

 It was once a little paddock and I inherited a bit of couch grass which I think I may have added to with the tons of fym I have applied to it over the last twenty or so years.

Being a natural none chemicals  gardener I can live with pernicious weeds like grass and nettles.  

Instead of composting the weeds I fill a couple of wheelbarrows and feed it to the 'indoor' pigs and poultry.  They love it!

All ducks and hens have to live inside at the moment because of Avian flu in Ireland and the UK and England even.  

Yet I was in a posh supermarket very recently and they had Free Range Turkeys for saleπŸ€”.  Well that's what was printed on the plastic wrapping.  Perhaps it was old packaging they used?

They like the grass and weeds and old bread and vegetable peelings like the pigs do.

Do you give grass and certain none poisonous weeds to your livestock?  

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Ode To Our New Kettle.

 We bought it for  just 25 Euros in Lidl.

 Picked it up in the 'specials' aisle in the middle.

It really is in fine fettle

Our new Silvercrest Kettle.

A poem for JayCee in celebration of her new kettle purchase.

Monday 23 January 2023

"How Do The Salt Gritter Drivers Get To Work?"


I took this photo last Friday when we were driving from Kerry back to West Cork the other day.  We had been to a scrapyard in Tralee for some parts.

The middle of the road was full of pack ice and snow.  

It was a very precarious  journey and I was not an happy bunny sat in the front pedestrian seat.  The CD and radio is not working due to taking the battery out to start some machinery on the smallholding and needs recoding some time.  So we couldn't listen to local news bulletins or Classic hits my favourite radio station here in Ireland.  We had to conversate now and again and I looked at the internet when I had a phone signal.   I even cracked a few jokes which someone said :

"They were good the first thousand times!" 

They had obviously not gritted the back roads and it was good to get back to the main roads where the grit salt had been spread.  The road was very high and meandering.  Perhaps it was far too risky to drive a salt Gritter on such a road?  

Do you have rural roads that don't get salt spread on them?   Or perhaps it's  too dangerous to grit them? 

Thanks for your comments on my last music post.  I get hundreds of views when I post them.  It's K next.  I wonder who that will be? Another clue: Dorothy lived in that county? Her dog was the name of a Californian Heavy Rock band: Toto.

Sunday 22 January 2023

For Tommy And Gina.

 Continuing with my A to Zee or Zed of my favourite Rock bands and songs today I would like to mention Jon Bon Jovi.   

I was lucky enough to see Bon Jovi at Castle Donington Monsters of Rock Festival way back in 1987.  It's in Derbyshire and in the grounds of the motorcycle racing track and you can walk under the giant archway  tyre that straddles the tarmac track.

It was a gorgeous Summers day and the crowd was like a biblical multitude of 100000 punters.  Bon Jovi flew over the crowd in two white helicopters with red Bon Jovi letters emblazoned on the sides.  They waved to the world and wife and I don't think Wasp who were playing on the main stage liked being upstaged by them.

The title of my blog mentions Tommy and Gina who were characters in their hit song song 'Living On A Prayer".  Which they mention again in "It's My Life".  Which is probably my favourite song of theirs.  It also mentions Frank Sinatra and his classic:  "My Way" song.  The following song is about living your life to the full.  Enjoy!


Friday 20 January 2023

A Creep Feeder For The Young Pigs In The Field.

 We have two Vietnamese Pot Belly Pigs and two Gloucester  Pots clearing some neglected/ overgrown pasture at the moment.

To give them a hearty feed number one son bought this plastic lamb feeder.  You open the top and fill it with pig ration and the piggy wigs stick their heads under the rubber flaps and their noses and mouths can reach the ration.  They love it!  I will never call Self Service again!

They love the creep feeder and the rubber flaps keep their backs dry in the rain and snow.

I wonder if they make one my height with a barrel of Newcastle Brown Ale in it?  It can be cabin fever at times in Northsider Towers at the moment.  Especially when wifey starts Hoovering or plugs in the hair dryer.

Perhaps I should build a man shed? My polytunnel office is a bit cold at the moment.

Anyone else keep pigs or thinking of getting some this year?

Wednesday 18 January 2023

A Look In My Polytunnel On A Cold Winter's Day.

Snow has fallen through the ripped cover of 'Portugal' my poorly polytunnel pal.  The Japanese onions aren't bothered though.  It's probably the same weather where they originate from in Japan? 
More Winter onions thriving under the plastic. It looks like the wind has been blowing plant pots about a bit.
A Osteospermum or Cape Daisy in flower already.  They originate in South Africa and not keen on the frosts on the Irish Riviera here in West Cork.  

I always over winter tender perennials inside the tunnel since I lost most of mine in the Winter of 2010 and all my cuttings have been  made from two survivors when we had snow for two weeks.

Still no prospects of getting on any of the gardens.  Is anything flowering in your garden at the moment?  What's going on in your polytunnel or greenhouse?


Tuesday 17 January 2023

Hungry Hill Winterscape.

 Hungry Hill over on Beara this very morning.  I took this photo from my North (Northsider) facing garden.

Hungry  Hill  or Knockday (Cnoc Daod in Irish) 682 Metres high and it's waterfall the Mares Tail is the longest waterfall in Ireland and the UK.

Daphne Du Maurier wrote Hungry Hill and it was published in 1943.  This family saga is based on the history of her friend Christopher Puxley who's Irish ancestors were Irish copper mine owners in the area.  It  was also made into a film.

Sunday 15 January 2023

"Well I Don't Know. I Saw Some Grass Grow Through The Pavement The Other Day".

 I couldn't think of a Prog or Rock band beginning with I apart from the likes of Iron Butterfly and Iron Maiden who I once saw back in the 1980s.  

So today it's Ian Anderson and his band Jethro Tull.   I have seen them 5 times.  The last time was  last August at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens in Faversham near Canterbury in Kent

I took this last August with my mobile πŸ“± phone. Did I mention it was August?

My friend got talking to a guy with long hair who said he had seen Tull 257 times!  That makes my 5 times seeing them very insignificant doesn't it just?

Jethro Tull were named after the Berkshire fiddle seed drill inventor and Agriculturist.  They formed in Blackpool, La, La, Lancashire in 1967.   They started off playing  Jazz and Jazz Fusion and Folk Rock and eventually Prog Rock.

I remember when they had that much equipment they would commission a large ship to take their equipment across the pond.

Heavy Horses and Songs From The Woods are probably my favourite two albums of theirs.  

Here's Jack In The Green.

Friday 13 January 2023

More Wombling In The Charity Shops.

 I am like a Jackdaw and have an eye for pretty things.  Especially at carboot sales and charity shops.

We stopped at a town in Kerry on the way home from the NCT  (MOT) Centre and had a browse around the charity shop.  I'm missing my carboot sales this time of year.  

I looked at the books all for sale for a Euros each.  I nearly bought a Bill Bryson book but I put it back down.  I have far too many half read books at home in West Cork.  

Any road or anyway.  I noticed this little vase with rabbits painted on it.  It says Shannon Bridge Pottery on the base.  I paid 50 Cents for it and I have added it to my ever growing collection of what some would call tat.  I think it's  beautiful.

It says Castleisland underneath the rabbits.  Funnily enough that was the town where we bought them.

Anyone found any charity shop treasure/tat lately?

Wednesday 11 January 2023

A Day In The Life Of A Jar Opener.

Meet Jarvo our jar opener.  Like my Azada and shovel.  It only works if you apply the pressure and muscle.  

It's  persisting it down again today on the Irish Riviera so I thought I would write a post about jar openers, like you do when you know you can/ need to write about anything...  Isn't that wallpaper pattern "interesting?'

For  many moons expletives have been used and heard coming from the kitchen when someone attempts to open a jar of red  cabbage or beetroot or maybe a wine bottle.  

"Bloody Hell" and "Flipping Heck" and other industrial words could be heard and I would be commandeered with the not so soft dulcet tones of: 

"Here can you have a go at opening this jar of pickles?"

Sure enough I would grab a tea towel and attempt to squeeze the lid off the respective jar with my face resembling that man's face changing into the Incredible Hulk and muttering and shouting words of an Anglo Saxon derivation...

Sometimes it's (a jar lid!) that beats me and sometimes I win the battle and feel like I was victorious in some kind of kitchen tug of war competition.

Then one day we went shopping in a Home Store in Tralee in County Kerry.  The scales fell from my eyes and there were jar openers for sale for less than 5 Euros.  We both agreed that we would chance it and my new kitchen friend  "Jarvo" came home with us back to West Cork.

It's the best thing since sliced bread.  All these years of me doing Phil Cool Stingray impressions when we could have bought a jar opener.  It even opens wine bottles. 

Have you got one?

Phil Cool is Stingray.  People of a certain generation will remember the the television series on ITV.

A puppet to fall in love with.  Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds made good eye candy to.

Monday 9 January 2023

Chopping Up Fodder Beet On A Rainy Day.

We had 3 tons of Fodder Beet delivered at the weekend.  Four of us donned our 'rainy days' waterproofs and hand balled the Fodder Beets into two wheelbarrows and I wheeled them to pile in the yard in the pouring rain .  

A couple of times I tried pushing the wheelbarrow up the plant to stack the beets.  I'm getting a bit too old for that I realised my limitations.  Number one son did it no problem.  Well I am 60 in December!

The next job was to get my trusty half moon lawn edging tool and start cutting the beets into small chunks.  Talk about a glutton for punishment.  I could do with a root slicer or pulper but I will persevere and at least the pigs are happy devouring them.  The donkeys seem interested in it also.  They are going through  hay like a donkey eating strawberries or hay even.

Have you ever grown Fodder Beet or bought to feed to livestock?  I once grew a field of it.  I might grow some in the field where the pigs lived last year and rooted and fertilised the pasture.

Friday 6 January 2023

H is For Hackett.

 Continuing with my A to Z of some of my favourite Rock bands.  This week H is for Hackett or Steve Hackett to be precise.  

I have been a big fan of his since I was a teenager.  

Apparently he phoned a phone number for a Prog Rock band requiring a guitarist in Melody Maker.  A certain Peter Gabriel picked up the receiver and answered  the call and they arranged for an audition with his band and Steve passed with flying colours and joined a Prog Rock band named after the first book in the Bible or Genesis to be precise!

I finally got to see Steve at Cropredy last August.  A week later I saw his brother John and his band at a New Day Festival in Kent.

I reviewed Steve's book A Genesis In My Bed on here last year.

Here's one of my favourite songs of his:

I think the bass player is Nick Beggs who was in that nineties pop band Cadge a fag or two (Kagagoo) "Two shy, shy, hush, hush, 

Thursday 5 January 2023

What If The B&B Proprietor Was An Inventor?

 It's raining again today down on the Irish Riviera.  Just for a change.  I have been feeding the livestock and chopping some firewood for the small front room stove tonight.  I haven't been for my six mile walk for a few weeks.  Perhaps it's time to go for a walk in my 'rainy day' suit or waterproofs even?

Talking of hiking in the rain: Mike Harding recalls staying at a Welsh boarding house after a wet hike 🚢‍♂️ and meeting a rather eccentric inventor.  I have read the book: Yorkshire Transvestite Found Dead On Everest.  Enjoy the video:

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Have You Ever Stayed In A Rather Odd B &B?

I am not really keen on bed and breakfast places and would much rather stay in a hotel with a bar and other amenities.   Or maybe an apartment or perhaps a villa in the Algarve like one we once stayed in one January? It even had it's own swimming pool.

I'm watching Holiday Homes In The Sun on channel 5 every tea time this week.  Yesterday it was Woolacombe in Devon and tonight it's Sintra near Lisbon.  They jogged my memory of some of the b and b's I have stayed on my travels.  I didn't  pay the prices they pay on that programme.  Tenner a night was more my price.

Going totally on a tangent and kind off subject.  Did you know that the sitcom Rising Damp was set in Yorkshire? No nor did I.  Well I will go to the foot of our stairs.

A Kent B and B in February.

Once we decided to go to Kent in the snow in February for a few days like you do? It was our wedding anniversary and we wanted summat to do.  So we drove to Kent.

We had found the B and B advert in an old Lady magazine and duly knocked on the door and were greeted by two old ladies.  They looked me and the wife up and down and said:

 "What's your name and address? You sound like you come from up North?  Why have you come down here in the  snow? We have to report any bookings to the police you could be terrorists you know?"

We carried our bags to a downstairs bedroom.   

"S'pose you'll be wanting yer breakfast in the morning?  We don't have a dining room.  We'll bring it on a tray to your bedroom in the morning.  Ten o'clock  sharp mind".

We sat on the bed and laughed when they had gone.  " How odd" we both said.

Ten o'clock sharp next morning there was a knock on the door.

Have you ever stayed in any strange bed and breakfast establishments?

Tuesday 3 January 2023

The "Poor Man's" Cow. In Praise Of The Irish Dexter.

Wifey bought a large piece of Dexter beef from our local West Cork butcher for New Year's Day.  

J often plays a game in the supermarkets when she asks the meat sellers what breed of cow is the piece of meat they are selling? 

"I dunno."

Is often the reply.

Would you know what kind of meat/breed of animal you were purchasing?

I suppose you could say the same about vegetables.  Do we know what variety of carrots we like? They use to years ago.  It's  like the old joke: 

A woman asks her greengrocers for some potatoes.  He's says: 

"Do you want King Edwards?"

"No he can get his own!"

Any road the Dexter beef was mouth wateringly delicious.  The meat just fell off the carving knife.  All praise to the Irish Dexter.  

Traditionally bred here in Ireland it could thrive on the smallest and poorest of pasture.  Hence it's nickname "The Poor Man's Cow".   They are rather like the Aberdeen Angus or the "black polly" like they say in West Cork.  Not so big but delicious to eat.  

Do you have a favourite breed of meat or variety of vegetable? It makes you want to grow traditional vegetables and keep traditional livestock doesn't it? Like that old Tetley's tea advert: "It's the taste".

Sunday 1 January 2023

What Did I Do In 22?

 The first half of the year was quite dull after the Covid lockdown and we didn't get to see many places until July.  Then it all changed:

Blasket Isles- old Post Office.   Stayed overnight with no facilities and listened to the seals singing all night.
Clannad at Cropredy.  I also saw them in Limerick in May and it was  the 5th time of seeing them.
Finally saw Mr Genesis or Steve Hackett.  Amazing performance.
Tolkein and CS Lewis Oxford famous watering hole and meeting place for the Inklings. 
I met a certain bear statue at Paddington Station. 
Nectar for ye Rock gods followers.
Ian Anderson and his Jethro Tull.  Also the 5th time of seeing them.  One punter told my friend he was seeing them for the 257th time!
Tents in a Canterbury graveyard.  There's so much homelessness in Blighty these days.  There's  plenty in Ireland too.
Ploughing championships in County Laois.   The World and his wife attended with 100000 people in attendance.  It was sweltering and I paid 6 Euros for a pint of Heineken.

We made it to the  Algarve in October.  I never thought we would get to see the place ever again.  Hopefully we'll be there some time this year.  I love Portugal and its people and superb weather.  It's throwing it down just for a change here in Eire.
We got pigs again.

Donkeys  arrivals and a certain little pony called Kev.  He's  planning on getting a lady friend very soon.  Watch this space and hope you have a great 2023.

What We Had For Our Smallholding Tea.

 The polytunnel and veg plot keeps on giving and we seem to be eating new spudatoes every day at the moment: Snowball onion, kale and new po...