Wednesday 31 May 2023

Weeding With My Azada.

I noticed some weeds growing outside the garden wall that desperately needs a good wire brushing and painting.

Sometimes I just strim the weeds with my strimmer.  I don't believe in using weedkillers because they are harmful to the environment and give you Cancer.  I was once in a local  farm coop and a man came in asking for weedkiller to apply to the weeds growing amongst his potatoes.

I also think it looks awful where weedkiller has been applied and there's a giant like wee stain for weeks and then the weeds still grow back.

I loved it in Detectorists when Andy was working for a temping agency and he just sprayed the weeds on the verges with WATER.

 I used my trusty Azada which I believe is the Spanish word for a hoe with a flat blade and long handle.

I soon filled my weeding tub and deposited them in my pallet sided compost heap.  Sometimes I give the weeds to the pigs and hens and ducks.

We have seen Azadas being used by council workers in the Algarve and Spain.  Their are small ones like onion hoes for flower and veg beds and large ones for tackling big areas like overgrown borders and allotments.

If you want to take the back breaking work out of clearing with shovels and forks..

.  I would recommend an Azada.  Have you got an Azada or thinking of getting one?

Monday 29 May 2023

An Old BJH Song Relevant For Our Times.

 I was listening to Steve Hackett on Spotify when I was working in the polytunnel the other day and a Barclay James Harvest song started to play.  It's called For No One.

For me they are one of the best bands to come from Lancashire and wish I had seen them especially in their prime.

Anyway I think this song wrote almost 50 years ago is still relevant with the current wars around the world.  

Any Barclay James Harvest fans?  

Sunday 28 May 2023

Fancy A Cruise Holiday To West Cork?

 Well it's not the Queen Mary which once sailed down the bay to Bantry in the nineteen fifties.  But I watched this beauty pass my Conservatory at 7 in the morning the other day.

The cruisers anchor and launches take them to town for "a nice cup of 🍵", souvenirs and a walk around and coaches take the tourists to Killarney.

It's good to see people visiting the part  of West Cork I call the Irish Riviera.

Saturday 27 May 2023

Milk Churns With African Daisies In Plant Pots.

Two posts in a day"

I banged two plant pots of Osteospermums or Cape Daisies in and on top of the old rusty milk churns to see what they looked like.

Incidentally I'm not a City fan going off  the blue painted walls.  Well actually I was until I was 14.  My old queen or mother bought my brother a United football kit and me a City kit one Christmas.  

Until I saw the error of my ways and started being an armchair Match Of The Day Manchester United fan.  

I was glad City won the title though.  Or maybe Aston Villa or Nottingham Forest my other favourite football teams.

I digress.  Do you think the flowers are the candy of the natural world?

I'm up at least by 7 every morning watering all the plants and vegetables in the polytunnel and gardens at the moment and at night about 9 0clock when the Sun's gone to bed. 

They are even making hay in West Cork at the moment.  Who's ever known hay to be made in May?  Time will tell I suppose?


Milk Churns With A Rusty Patina In The Front Room.


Welcome back to the Tate Modern West Cork Art Display entitled: "Milk Turns To Rust".

Today's composition of two rusty old steel/iron milk churns.  They are very heavy.  I hate to think what they would weigh if they were filled with milk.

I have an old aluminium/steel milk churn and it is very light to lift when empty.

Like old corrugated roofing  iron sheets.  I love the churns rusty patina.

What do you think?  Some nice flowering perennials in plant pots placed in the top of the milk churns?

Would you give them house room?  I think they are rather nice!

I will make them more attractive on another post.  

Wednesday 24 May 2023

Picture Of The Praeties.

 Aren't rows of growing 🥔 potatoes a glorious sight?

I can remember visiting Ireland 🇮🇪 in the nineteen sixties and seventies and you would see that each farm seemed to have a field full of vegetables growing for themselves and Cow Cabbages for the cattle and Mangolds for the horse.  

Nowadays it's normally a "Blow In" like myself who probably owns a polytunnel and reads his John Seymour Self Sufficiency bible.  What a great man and if there is an Heaven, me John, George Best and Phil Lynott are going for a pint and a chat.

We are having a barbeque on the new recycled patio tomorrow night.  It's supposed to be 21x degrees.  Life is really good down on the Irish Riviera at the moment.

Shall we have a sing song about potatoes?  Here's one of my favourites.  Enjoy:

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Sentimental Flowers.

 Two plants are in flower at the moment and I feel sentiment towards them:

One of my Grandmother's Arum Lilies.  She died in 1971 or 2 but her favourite flowers still bloom every Spring time. 

They are originally from China and like the wet Irish climate.  Lilies are often worn and remembered for the Easter Rising.  

This purple rose was gifted to us by my late father before he passed away in 2012.  Thankfully I have successfully managed to propagate another rose from this plant.

I also feel sentimental about some vegetables because I use to grow beetroots for my mother and parsnips for my dad.

Do you have any 
plants that you are sentimental about?

Here's Flowers by Miley Cyrus.  I love this song and I am always playing it when I am working in the polytunnel:

Born Next To The Bay Where The Donkeys Bray.

 Cocoa our donkey started braying and Ivy started walking around the field with her tail moving about.

Normally donkeys give birth in the night but Ivy was going into labour just after tea time.  We went down to observe but kept our distance from her.

In less than an hour a thin mare donkey foal was born.  

The above photo was taken this very morn and the foal looks twice the size it was last night.  There's a lot to be said for mothers milk isn't there just?

Monday 22 May 2023

Only Smallholding Foals And Ponies.

 We were changing the ponies to the next field and J and myself waited whilst two of them brought them up the road from the field.

"I can see another set of legs walking up the road."

Sure enough there was a very proud Erin walking beside her new foal.  Erin is the poetic named for Ireland apparently.

Erin and Del Boy.

He's male and adorable like Stars recent foal Ace.

That evening we deliberated on a name for him.  We thought of famous tv horses like Trigger and one of us said Del Boy.  We unanimously agreed and Del Boy it is.  

Well he is a trotter after all!

Sunday 21 May 2023

Recycling Pig Slats For Paving And Old Decking For Raised Beds.

 More busy bee work in our brand new polytunnel.  I carried old concrete pig slats on my sack and laid them on plastic sheeting to hopefully prevent went growing through the slats.

Then I laboured on myself and carried old boards into the polytunnel from where I had been using them for part of my plants nursery for a few years.  They originally were decking in my brothers garden for several years.

I made these two raised beds for absolutely nothing financially.  Just a few nails and stakes and a piece of scaffolding tubing I found lying around the smallholding.

I am now filling them with seaweed and topsoil and I planted up the digger track planters  and other raised beds with leeks and beetroot and peas at 7.30 this morning.

I wonder is there a condition called polytunnelitis?  I think I have got it!

Friday 19 May 2023

New Polytunnel And New Raised Beds.

 Isn't she beautiful?  This is 'Algarve' my new polytunnel.   We worked like ants last weekend and I am chuffed to bits with the end result.  Even on a rainy day we have somewhere to garden and potter about.

Do you like the raised  beds?  The ones at the front  are two rubber tracks off a mini digger that number one son brought home the other day and said: "Raised beds".

He's very resourceful like yours truly and last night after a days work I filled them with fym and topsoil.  

It is starting to look really good and I will post some more posts has we fill up Algarve.

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Cape Daisies.

I think my love of Osteospermums or Cape Daisies began many moons ago when I lived in Cheshire.

I met a plantaholic of a Osteospermum grower at a car boot sale.  Think it was the Countess of Chester Sunday carboot sale which has raised over a million Pounds by hosting carboots on it's hospital carpark on a Sunday?

The man only grey Oste's  and he gave us his address and we use to buy lots of them off him.  Then one day I told him we wouldn't be buying anymore because we were emigrating to Ireland. He smiled and said: "Is it really emigrating, moving to Ireland?"

I digress.  The Osteospermums originate in Cape Town in South 🇿🇦.  I adore them and I have been making new plants for the last twenty five years.

Back in 2010 around the time I started writing this blog we were snowed in for two weeks. A once in fifty years experience apparently. We lost a lot of the the Osteospermums.  

Fortunately 3 plants survived and I made lots of new plants from the ones that came on the ferry way back in 2001 in a wheelie bin:

A cottage garden I planted for a friend a couple of years ago.  All the plants were propagated and planted by yours truly.  Anyone want to give me a book deal?  I'm not expensive.

One of my pals in a patio.

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Weaned And Ready To Go.

 Remember back in April when the two piglets were born on the smallholding  and their mother had no milk and we brought them inside, and put them in a cage on top of the table in the Conservator,y and we bottle fed them with lamb lace milk replacer,  in plastic bottles?

Well they survived and now they are fully weaned and living in a the puppy pen that the Golden Retriever puppies lived in when they were born:

Heidi the German Shepherd seeing that her piggy wigs are OK.

It's always a joy when undernourished farm animals survive.

If you want any piglets let me know.  Anyone else keep pigs or thinking of getting some?

Monday 15 May 2023

We Gathered Up The Plant Pots.

 Remember the big pile of plant pots I posted the other week?

We bought some bulk bags and decided on pursuing the laborious task of bagging all the plastic flower pots up.

It didn't take too long and they are all safely gathered in:

I think I have got enough to last me a very long time.  Any one else get the plant pots in bulk?

Sunday 14 May 2023

Thrift Flower.

 If you go to the seaside at the moment you will see Thrift in flower.

The cushion like plants are salt tolerant and great for seaside gardens and rockeries.

Like a lot of wild flowers it's got medicinal uses   It was boiled in milk and used to treat tuberculosis in the Orkneys.  It's also supposed to be go for treating obesity and urinary infections.

The Thrift was seen on the 1937 twelve sided threepenny bit when money was worth something.  

It's a nice plant and well worth keeping some in a pot in the patio or in the rockery.

Thursday 11 May 2023

Early Potatoes Nearly Ready.


Remember the potatoes we planted in the carboot sale bought bags?  

Well I finally emptied 'Portugal' 🇵🇹 my polytunnel pal and removed the ripped and torn plastic cover and placed the spudatoes outside in ye olde veg plot.  I think my new polytunnel will be called 'Algarve'.

The potatoes have been enjoying the showery downpours and flowers are forming on the potato 🥔 haulm.  Soon very soon we will be scoffing our own homegrown new potatoes.

Are your potatoes Nearly ready to lift and scoff?

Wednesday 10 May 2023

A Perennial That Survived The Blitz.

 This perennial is called Saxifraga X Urbium or London Pride.  

I have seen it growing wild here in Cork and Kerry.

It is said to colonize the burned out gardens after the London Blitz during WW2.  I have seen Buddleia plants growing in the concrete at train stations in Bristol.

It was one of the first perennials to flower and it symbolizes that Phoenix rise from the London ashes.  It reflects the indomitable London blitz spirit that people and nature will always recover.

It's a nice garden perennial to have and you get many new plants in Spring.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Buying And Selling At The Carboot Sale.

 We packed the van on Friday night and got up at 5 on Saturday morning.  We drove through heavy showers and set up about half seven.

We had two more heavy showers.  Business was slow at first and I wasn't very optimistic of selling much.  But eventually the world and his wife began to walk round and we started selling our eclectic contents.  

I sold over thirty plants at only 2 Euros each.  One lady bought several and put them on her stall and upped the price to six Euros.  I even ending up buying a plant for five Euros from her.  Not one of mine though. Perhaps I should put my plant prices up?  No I believe anyone should be able to afford my plants in their gardens.

We had a good day and took a few hundred Euros and I bought some nice stuff:

Two signed prints by Lancashire artist A Heaton Cooper.  They will live in the Conservatory.  See how I managed to photo my feet.

2 Royal Doulton cups and saucers 

Two sets of porcelain  thimbles. There is even a Portuguese one and Dougall from The Magic Roundabout. 
Big Ben teapot.

Banter England vegetables dish and Waverley jug.  They look old.

It was a good day both buying and selling and worth getting up very early.   

Oh by the way I do sell some of the stuff I collect and we often end up replacing a lot of different stuff.

Please click on the photos to really give them justice.


Sunday 7 May 2023

What's In A Plants Name?

My new plant sitting on our dead washing machine.

 I bought this Sweet William perennial plant at a carboot sale on Saturday for five Euros.

I have had the plants before but it must of disappeared or rotted in one of our wet Irish winters.

We once visited the Battle of Culloden site twenty five years ago.    The tour guide told us that  the Dianthus Barbara's is said to honour Prince William,  Duke of Cumberland's victory at the Battle of Culloden.

I got out my trusty old gardening bread knife in the rain this morning and made 3 plants from the one plant.

There was a lady at the carboot with a big carrier bag which said in large letters"  "I'm Bagging a Bargain!"

I got myself a bargain by making 3 plants out of one!  Google Sweet Williams if you don't know what it's flowers are like.  I have potted mine up and placed them on the newly recycled patio.

I will post photos soon.

Friday 5 May 2023

Bronte Goes To The Seaside On The Irish Riviera.

we live in the countryside next to the sea and we are only a few minutes drive from the nearest beach.  

I use to walk there but the roads are too dangerous and the verges are overgrown along with the hedges.  I don't suppose they will ever reduce the road speeds in rural Ireland.  Eighty Kilometres is ridiculously too fast.  I nearly got knocked down four times last year and I no longer hike or walk along the boreens near us.

The dog 🐕 in the photo is a Golden Retriever puppy who I named Bronte.  I christened her Bronte before she was born when we sat at a bar on a Algarve beach last October.  It was 28 degrees and we were spending 7 days in Portugal 🇵🇹 paradise.

The weather has been good this week before the Monsoon season recommenced on Thursday.

I named Bronte after the famous literary family from Haworth in West Yorkshire.  A place I visited many times.  

Wuthering Heights and Kate Bush are forever in my heart and Rock music  jukebox. 

Their father Patrick came from Northern Ireland and he changed his surname from Brunty to Bronte.  Probably after the Greek God Bronte which means "Thunder".

Our Rosie gave birth to five beautiful Golden Retriever puppies in November.  We decided to keep one of her daughters and now Bronte sleeps on our bed every night.

We took her to Muckross House last week and now she frequently goes to the seaside.  She's having the life of Riley or Bronte even!


Thursday 4 May 2023

Two Boxes Of Coronation Mugs And Royalty Plates.

My dear old mum was a Labour voter and she also liked the Royal family?🤔

Which member of the Royal family played in a cup final at Wembley?  Joe Royle!

The old ones are the best.

Any road when my parents passed on I ended up with two boxes of Coronation mugs and  Royal wedding plates.  One is Queen Victoria and there's some from 1937, 1953, 1981 and when Kate and William got married:

I put the cardboard boxes in an outhouse and left them there to collect dust and last weekend I brought them in the house and we wrapped them after giving them a wash.  I packed them again in new boxes.

I honestly don't know what to do with the cups?  Someone suggested setting up an Ebay account but I think the postage would put folk off and I don't think they will sell at carboot sales over here.

I'm not a Royalist well except for Lady Di.  So I will probably put them in the attic and leave them there for someone to inherit like I did?  What would you do with two boxes of the stuff?  Some of them are worth at least 28 Pounds each.

Tuesday 2 May 2023

Meet Our Four Legged Lawnmowers.

 I forgot to tell my blog friends that Star had a Stallion foal a few weeks ago.

We had squeezed her teats in the field and she was springing milk so we took up to a stable and left her for the night with some hay in the hay net and a bucket of water.

I got up early next morning and there was Ace stood at the side of his mum Star with an expression that could of been: Wot u looking at?"

He never leaves his mother and now him and the rabbits are enjoying the Spring weather and lush lawn grass 

I have  heard of a Suffolk  Punch horse and I have used a Suffolk Punch cylinder lawnmower but now we have ponies and rabbits to do the job.

It saves me a job getting the petrol lawnmower out.

"It's a lot less bovver with rabbits and ponies!'

A better photo of Ace and Star his mother.

Monday 1 May 2023

From Waste Plastic To Plant Pots.

I was thinking of my Gardeners Detritus blog post on Friday when I noticed these recycled plant pots for sale in Tesco's.

I had popped in there for 4 bottles of Speckled Hen English Bitter.

It's good to see household waste plastic being recycled and made into plant pots.

I suppose it could be used to make all manner of things?  

I would suggest litter bins because there are very few of them over here.  I wonder where tourists in motor homes are supposed to take  their rubbish?  Don't say home like the people who don't provide them say on their signs.

When we go to the Algarve we always comment how there are litter bins on the beaches and everywhere and free to use and they don't expect you to take your rubbish home.

What would you like to see waste plastic made into?

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...