Saturday 29 April 2023

I Wonder If The Victorian Gardeners Planted Ground Elder In Their Gardens? πŸ€”


Ground Elder or Aegopodium podagraria it's posh Scientific Name.

It's supposed to be introduced to Britain and Ireland by the Romans.  It's also called Goutweed, Pigweed and Bishop weed.

To a lot of gardeners It's considered a pernicious weed and it's underground rhizome like roots.  Some people spray it with an herbicide but I just pull it out with a fork because I don't believe in weedkillers.  It's not really a pernicious weed It's a garden escapee.

Apparently a lot of Victorian gardeners use to deliberately plant Ground Elder and used it to treat Gout and eat it in salads and soups and stews.  It's also an antinflammary.  It's often sold in market stall in Krakow and the Ukraine.  I have been to Krakow but I never saw any Ground Elder for sale.

Wouldn't it be ironic to think that the pernicious weed you have in your Victorian garden was deliberately planted in amongst the herbaceous perennials and shrubs?

Friday 28 April 2023

Gardeners Detritus.


Ok ya.  Welcome to the West Cork Tate Gallery outdoor entry for artist of the year 2023.

I have entitled my work Gardeners Detritus.  Hopefully we will now become very rich and we can buy our dream villa in the Algarve?

One can see the main material used is plastic which is derived from fossil fuels and they are oil based products.  So there is obviously a  big carbon footprint?

Seriously I have been clearing behind the back of the polytunnel which had become my plant pot dump and had become covered in overgrown brambles.

I think I have enough plant pots to last me the rest of my days.  At least I saved them from going to the landfill.  

It must of been wonderful living in a world of clay flower pots?

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Making A Recycled Patio.


Remember how we constructed a second hand Conservatory?  Well we decided to finish off by paving the patio.

I didn't want to spend any money being a tight wad smallholder.

So I decided to use the concrete slabs paths on the veg plot and in the garden.  We laid them in less than a day and it cost absolutely nothing.

Yesterday I dug topsoil and barrowed it and raked it out and I filled my garden roller (car boot purchase) with water and spread grass seed and my recently purchased seaweed and poultry manure pellets and slightly covered it with soil using the rake and rolled it in where the slabs once lived.

We found the small bag of grass seed in a drawer in a bureau We were clearing out to sell on a carboot sale.  I hope it germinates.

Not bad a new patio and a lawn repair for absolutely nothing. I didn't even lay them with sand an cement, just sand what I already had.  We also put the fence up. 

Anyone else been making patios for Nowt.

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Master Brain.

 Yorkshire Pudding jogged my comedy mental jukebox with his post about the Sheffield Mastermind winner today.

I remembered the great comedian Russ Abbott and his  Master Brain Sketch.    Hope it makes you laugh:

It could have been me.  πŸ€”πŸ˜Š

Monday 24 April 2023

Barleys Piglets Progress.

No not the name of a English Prog Rock band.  I thought would give you good people a progress report on Barley the Gloucester Old Spots piglets:

Aren't they beautiful?

We weaned them and put them in a different part of their animal housing a few weeks ago.

Barley did not bother one bit.  I think seven Bonhams biting her teats was more than enough and now she stands up on her two legs on top of the gate grunting for food.

She's quite a character and so are her piglets.


Saturday 22 April 2023

Another Walk Along A Repurposed Railway Line.

 We went back to the  Limerick/Kerry Greenway again the other day.  I had read online the Abbeyfeale to Listowel section is now open.  This is 16 Kilometres long or about 9 miles in old gas meters.

People (walkers, cyclists, runners,dogs) were all very pleasant and greeted us with smiles and "Hi" and stopped and stroked our Golden Retriever and it's a splendid way to repurpose abandoned railways.

I still think there entrepreneur opportunities for hot dog 🌭 vans and selling "nice" cups of coffee and tea and ice creams and cold drinks and providers dog pubs for our Canine friends.

This section cost 20 million and that includes the compulsory purchasing of land.    The Irish government is pledging half a billion Euros for the repurposing of old railway lines.  Any chance of them doing the same in West Cork?

We thought it would be a good to have one of the novelty road train vehicles that carry passengers for a minimal fee around seaside  promenades in the Algarve.  Especially beneficial for people who can't walk long distances yet still want to enjoy the Greenway.

Here's some photos:

How The castle looks today all covered in Ivy.

It's good to see the old railway  lines being repurposed and money being spent instead of cut backs on public spending for a change.

The walking is relatively easy and you don't have big hills to climb.  It would be a great way to go on a cycling or walking holiday.  

Lets hope they invest in  more public transport connections to these Greenways and in campsites and bunk houses accommodation and refreshments facilities.

Thursday 20 April 2023

Spring Time In Killarney.

We went for a ride over to Killarney on Monday and had a walk around the grounds of Muckross House yet again.

It was left to the people of Ireland and even the car parking is free.   Killarney is the most popular visited place in Ireland and I can see why.
A magnificent Pieris Forest Flame 
A view of the lake.
A white Rhododendron.
A Azalea from the Orient.

 Tulips flowering in the old productive vegetables garden area perhaps? Now formal hedging and bedding displays.

Finally a Myrtle Tree.  I have a lovely one of those growing in my Northsider garden.  They originate in Spain and love the Gulf Stream.  They only grow fifteen feet high and their bark peels and they have a pretty white blossom.  

It was a nice saunter especially after such a wet Winter.  Spring is a great time to visit estates and their gardens.

Plants and Vegetables That Gladden My Heart.

 I was walking round a town centre in County  Kerry the other day looking at gardens of course.

Hope there's no late frosts.  Perhaps that's what the polythene is for?  My outside potatoes shoots/haulm have started emerging and I covered them up with my Azada yesterday.   If you hear of an heavy frost prediction you can cover them with old newspapers held down with soil or spread straw over them.

My polytunnel potatoes are flying it also and they have pushed their shoots through the soil I placed on them last week.  I think one more soil covering and I will let them grow through the soil.

I noticed these potatoes growing in a raised bed in a front garden.  Oh what a joy to see!

In a neighbouring garden I spotted some Bluebells in flower in part of a front garden that looks neglected and would like someone to tame it and manicure it back to it's former glory.  I recognised some overgrown shrubs and wouldn't have mind tackling that garden.  

But it's also a great natural habit for wildlife.  Rather like motorway verges planted with trees.

Isn't Spring a wonderful season?  It will soon be the darling buds of May.  My favourite time of year.

I have more Spring photos to show you on my next post.

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Spud Pie And Mushy Peas.

 No not a name for a Rock band. Although there is a Folk band called Beans OnToast.

Dear old wifey went through her mental cook box and came up with an old favourite last Tuesday.  

Homemade meat and potato pie.  Often something served at a Do up North.  

Great when you have had a belly of ale especially if you eat the red cabbage accompaniment.😊

What I had for my tea kind of blog post!

We often stop at petrol stations for something to eat.  I send wifey in and she comes back with a chicken and mushroom or curry pie- unbelievable!  

Who comes up with these pie recipes?  Not forgetting that flaky pastry what I cover my trousers and shake outside like I have had a Dandruff attack.

Oh how I miss pasty and pie shops and chip shops like you get in Blighty.

We have to do the next best thing and make our own.

Monday 17 April 2023

"Watching The Detectorists".

 To paraphrase an Elvis Costello song - "Watching The Detectives".   

Incidentally  I once saw him at Glastonbury music festival in 1989.  

We  have watched the three series over again.  Talk about TV Heaven.  I would say it's probably one of the finest and gentlest comedy programmes ever made on British television.  It's almost spiritual It's so mystical and meaningful.

The music in the programme is wonderful especial the theme tune and Magpie by The Unthanks who I once wrote about on here when we saw them play the INEC in Killarney.

I fell in love with the scenery and the characters and I would love to visit Suffolk one day and visit the filming locations.

Apparently the dream Hobbit like lodge house they bought at auction burnt down in real life and the village hall were the detectorists held the meetings was demolished and they had to make a mock up one for the final series.

Like all good things it had to come to an end.  I thought it was marvellous!

Metal Detectors are not allowed in Ireland.  I would like  to comb the beaches with one.  Apparently the powers that be believe that ancient treasure should be left where it is.  What do you think?

Years ago I had a TR200 C scope metal detector.  I never found any thing of any intrinsic valuable but I did find lots of ring pulls, modern coins and the  foil paper from Benson and Hedges cigarette  packets and a few pounds of lead water pipe in derelict house sites.

I suppose detectoring is live fishing, you are always dreaming of hooking that Leviathan but you know deep down you never will?

If you have never seen Detectorists, please watch it   You're in for a treat!

Here's a video of the theme tune from the series:

Here's The Unthanks singing Magpie:

I would love to see them again here in Ireland.   Their clog dancing is sublime.  Proper lasses.

Sunday 16 April 2023

Plant Selling At The Carboot Sale.

we went selling some of my homegrown perennials on Saturday. 
I was only charging 2 Euros a plant for them.  We made 76 Euros less 6 Euros for the pitch and we came home with half a car full. 

It started raining and we stopped off at a charity shop for a look round.  I spotted these 3 terriers tied to each with chains for 3 Euros.

The wife found two pairs of trainers for twelve Euros.  One pair was Jack and Jones.  They start at forty Euros in the shops.

We didn't deduct  the car fuel but it was not a bad day and we met a lot of people walking around the car boot pitches.

One seller who had decided to buy stuff instead of selling told us that he regularly sells at carboot sales and one day he could take a 1000 Euros another day he might make 40.

Swings and roundabouts.  

Friday 14 April 2023

Perhaps Nato Came For Tayto?

 I was looking out of the Conservatory the other night around tea time and I noticed there was a frigate sailing down the bay to town.

I looked it up and it's a French NATO ship on the way back from Norway πŸ‡³πŸ‡΄  and she had been sheltering from the storm.  She's supposed to be fully armed and was pointed towards us.  "Yoikes Scooby".

I thought perhaps they are going to Bantry for porter and whiskey, briquettes, the Southern Star newspaper, Cidona and Tayto cheese and onion crisps or maybe a Doner Kebab?

Perhaps the Sun or Daily Mirror would give me a job with a blog title like mine?  I am not giving any official secrets away.  It's on the local news sites about the boat.

It's interesting what you see outside your kitchen window isn't it?

Wednesday 12 April 2023

First Ice Plant Flower Of The Spring.

 The first Ice plant of Spring.  

What a difference the microclimate/plastic inside of 'Portugal' my torn polytunnel makes.

One of the cuttings I took a few weeks ago decided to flower yesterday.  

After the horrible wet and windy unseasonal weather of the past few days it really is a joy to behold.

They are called Ice plants because of the small glistening dots on the foliage of the plants.

Ice plants are succulents and thrive in hot climates because of this.  

However they ate the wet climate like Ireland and the UK and I like to take them  in certain plants in the Winter.

They are easy to root like Sedums are.  Just cut off a few arms with a pair of scissors and stick a few millimetres of them in plant pots filled  with compost and just water gently every few days.  In about 3 or weeks they will have rooted and you will soon have a collection of plants.

A few years ago we went walking along a trail above the cliffs in the Western Algarve and saw Ice plants and Rosemary growing wild.

Now when I look at my plants I feel like it's a glimpse of the Algarve and the sun.

Microwaving Steak And A Posh Pub Meal Story.

 I didn't know that you could microwave steak.  Did you?

One remembers the times growing up when you might 'warm up' last night's Doner Kebab (Donna Kebab she's hot, hot, hot!🌢after a scoop of ale at the weekend.

But does any one or could they microwave raw steak? 

I once successfully made chips from a tin of new potatoes and cooked them and they worked.  Back in the days when our cheap discount supermarket was NETTO.

Perhaps all one needs is a flat over a Wetherspoon's and  and a microwave to warm up last night's Doner? 

It certainly beats living in the middle of nowhere and especially  when it's persisting it down and blowing a  gale like last night.

I jest but we were in the other German discount supermarket and garden centre and beer providers the other day.  We bought some nice steaks and I read the label:

Is there anybody out there in blog land who has  actually cooked a steak dinner in a microwave? Is it "rare"? I can't imagine it being 'well done" how I like it can you?

Many years ago we went in this "posh" pub in the  north country of England.  The dressed up landlady was bragging about her menu:

"It's all home grown and cooked on the premises"

She opened the door into the kitchen every couple of minutes when the meals were ready and you heard the 'ping' of a microwave! 

She came over to the tables with the piping hot food and said:

"Watch your fingers, it's mad hot!"

We realised it was cooked or 'warmed up' by the machine that goes 'Ping'.

Any one got any microwave tales?

Tuesday 11 April 2023

Straw Camouflage For The Pigs.

Rachel asked on her blog for us to all take a photo of something incidental in or around our homes or in the street.  Here's my photographic offering:

Remember the two young piglets that we brought in to hand feed?

Well they are doing fine drinking the lamb milk replacer and they have began to cover themselves in their bedding.

Instead of pigs in blankets they are pigs in straw!

If you click on the photo and enlarge you will see the piggy wigs hiding.

Monday 10 April 2023

Kitty's Hedging Her Bets!


Kitty Tiger who also sometimes is called Tiger Kitty going for a saunter next to 62 Griselina hedging plants in pots filled with my homemade compost.

It's getting  a bit too late for planting bare rooted hedging now because the plants like to put down their roots at this time of year.

Some one I know requested 75 of my  hedging plants.  I had a look round my plant nursery and managed to rustle up 62  plants.

I will spend a few hours in next week's rain planting my plant pot portable hedge. 

I've planted some more cuttings to make up for the 62 that are going to be a new hedge.

It makes up for me not being able to go carbooting on a very wet Bank Holiday weekend.

Saturday 8 April 2023

Weather With You.

 According to Met Eireann.  February was the fourth driest on record and March was the wettest ever.  March 2019 was the second wettest on record.

Yet people still dispute global warming and climate change. They say its Woke.  It's not it is reality!

 I know the Roman's named Ireland the "Land of eternal winters" and it's not called the Emerald Isle for nothing.  But:

Starting tomorrow we are in for seven days or more of rain.  It looks like April showers will bring May flowers or be another wet month on record like March.

I looked at the Algarve nest week and it's Scorchio with temperatures of 25 and 27 degrees.

I wish I was there!  

Friday 7 April 2023

We Saw The Easter Bunnies.

 We had a ride out over the tunnel from Glengarriff to Kenmare among the Caha mountain range. 

Thin Lizzy began playing in my my mental jukebox again:

"As I was going over the Cork and Kerry mountains.."

We decided to walk round Kenmare town centre and we looked in shop windows and saw these Easter bunnies:

Aren't they nice?
Full credit to the shop people to going to the trouble of dressing their shop windows for Easter.

Fancy a pair of trousers with rabbits on them?

Hope you all have an happy Easter in blogland!

Wednesday 5 April 2023

April Is The Month For Dividing Phormiums.

Phormiums or Flax are native to New Zealand and Australia but they are also very common in West Cork.  

Their leathery leaves are salt resistant and ideal for coastal gardens like mine in the countryside next to the sea.  They also make a good architectural feature in a border.

They are also quite expensive and can range from a fiver to forty quid for nice large specimens.  

Being a tightwad smallholder/gardener I don't pay those garden centre prices and I make my own plants by dividing the plants at this time of year 

You take the plant out of the pot or dig it up if its in the garden and take out a trusty old bread knife or old saw or even use your spade like I did and made myself 10 new plants.

Anyone want one?  I will sell them for five Euros each to you.  That's deferred gratification of 50 Euros from a carboot sale in a few weeks.  Not bad for less than an hours work dividing and replanting them in pots filled with my homemade compost.

"Who Lives In A Smallholding House Like This?"

 We have two piglets living in the Conservatory with us at the moment.  

An old sow we bought in piglet farrowed the other day.  Sadly some of them were born dead but these two below survived.  There's an old country saying:

"Where there is livestock there is always deadstock".

So very true!

The sow who I named Florence and the Pig Machine had no milk so we decided to bring them in an put them under an heat lamp in a cage. I remember my dad telling me that my Grandmother use to nurse young lambs and pigs next to the range in the kitchen.

We are giving them Lamblac powdered milk in baby bottles.  They same stuff we feed the lambs.  They are flying it by the way and feel heavy when you pick them up.

Number one son rigged up an Heath Robinson system of propping up the bottle to make a 'self service' drinking station for in the night and during the day. 

It's early days but they seem to be doing fine now.

Monday 3 April 2023

"On Their Way Up!"

 No I am not talking about football teams getting promoted.  Although I do follow Middlesbrough this season after a certain ex MU player became their manager.

I am writing about the seed potatoes growing in the compost filled potato bags we planted recently.

It's great to see that Summer is on the way and we will be eating our new potatoes before the outside ones are ready to dig.

We will be eating before we say : "It's too hot for potatoes" and "Is it hot or is it me?"

I covered up the potatoes shoots with the last of my Lidl John Innes compost.  I go through compost like nobody's business. I went for some more today and they had sold out.  

Oh for my fym to decompose and I will have tons of free compost.

Are your potatoes πŸ₯” shoots emerging yet?

Sunday 2 April 2023

"It's Not A Garden Centre Though Is It?"


We went selling at a carboot sale for a change instead of just purchasing stuff.

We took turns to have a look round and I managed to escape from wifey and  made some purchases foe myself like two trugs for weeding and carrying firewood and an old soil sieve and a sack truck.

I even sold some of my perennials and an interested lady took our phone number and she wants more plants taken to a carboot sale for her.

The sun was shining for a change and a lady asked me how much was a bamboo plant was for sale?  Giving it my best sales pitch I said:

"If you wanted the same bamboo in a garden centre it would be at least 27 Euros'.
But I will let you have a plant of it  for two Euros. 

The lady replied:

"But it's not a garden centre is it?"

Then she walked off leaving me with my cut-price car boot sale bamboo plant!

Life.  If I could only purchase one!😊

A Bus man's Holiday To See Some Pigs At Balmoral Show.

You know what a bus man's holiday is don't you?  It means going on holiday and doing the same thing that you do at work.  Or on the ...