Friday 30 June 2023

A Drink From Blighty-'Cheers!"

We went to a scrapyard (car dismantlers) in Tralee in County Kerry on Friday.  They are really friendly and helpful for parts and a chat.

Then we went in an off-licence in Tralee that sell beers and wines and spirits from all over Ireland , the world, Europe and even England and co.  I hate it when news presenters say "the UK".

Then we went to a row of shops where Argos just closed down and Iceland were only selling stuff out of the fridge.  Apparently they've  got bankrupt in Ireland.  Wifey got me my Heinz beanz'n'sausage.  No more Vimto or Hollands pies.

It's starting to look like Brexit wasn't a very good idea!

Eh Boris?

Monday 26 June 2023

Polytunnel Swede Bed.

 Did you see them on the 'Organic' stage at Glastonbury?  They were acoustic, wore sandals and cycled from Scunthorpe to play.

Did you watch Glastonbury on the beeb?  I went in 1989 and the music was a lot better then.  All about Eve in particular and it only cost me 28 quid for the pleasure and no sleep for 4 nights.  Happy days but not happy nights!  Any tales about Glastonbury?  I have a few funny ones!

Swedes growinga bit erratically due to the flickers devouring some of them.  That's why I adopted my plastic bottles and jam jar (thanks JayCee) method to the indoor polytunnel raised beds.

Once again I half filled the raised beds with freshish stable manure and raked and few inches of soil over them and planted our Brassicas that we grew from seed which we purchased at our German garden centre and beer providers and supermarket recently.

I thought I heard the Swedes singing : " I'm doin' fine now" by The Pasadenas.

Are yours neeps and tatties growing well?

Sunday 25 June 2023

Hotbed Broccoli Harvest.

 Do you remember in March when I filled an old plastic barrel (drainage holes) with fresh stable/fym manure?  Then shovelled in a few inches of topsoil?

Well we grew some Brassica plants in them and yesterday we harvested them with more homegrown new potatoes.  They were delicious.

I have been experimenting with fresh or not so fresh stable manure in raised beds in the New  polytunnel. 

I half filled them with stable straw manure and covered them with a few inches of raked topsoil.  This is a great planting medium and we planted beetroots, cabbages and swedes.  None of them have burned up from the fresh manure and its a great source of nitrogen and other beneficial growing additives.

Anyone else experimented growing with fresh manure in their veg plot?  Hot beds were used by Victorian growers and we can do the same in the twenty first century.

Saturday 24 June 2023

Repurposed Plastic Bottle Cloches.

 The flickers (slugs, snails, cabbage whites, mice...) , have been having a good scoff devouring my small and tender Brassica plants.

Wifey spends time spreading slug pellets and I have my slug pubs filled with pop.

Yesterday I decided to make some plastic cloche plant protectors out of some plastic bottles that were destined for the recycling centre in town.  We pay 3 Euros for the recycling of cans, paper and plastics.

I just cut the bottles in half and used the bottoms and necks for cloches.  They are like mini green houses or polytunnels.

It's good to repurpose plastic and protect our vegetable plants.

Thursday 22 June 2023

Even More Piglets!

 Mother pig went outside her arc/k for a feed that we had brought her and I took a sneak photo of these new piglets born in the night yesterday.  

I counted ten of them in total.  We only moved the homemade pig 🐖 ark the night before.  

The last litter to be born are now very active and running about and following their mother around.

We are not Organic but we are Free Range.  They roam about like the ones I have seen in the New Forest in England and like ancient times when pigs traditionally foraged for apple windfalls in the country estate orchards.  

When it was the Irish Monsoon season early this year and the end of last year.   

The pigs lived in a shed in a straw bed on a concrete floor.  They did have a yard for their ablutions and exercise But now it's Summer they live outside in the fields and root and shelter from the sun and rain in their arks.

There's a lot to be said for free range pork and bacon and for happy piglets and weaners to breed.

I like the idea of Organic but it's too expensive to buy Organic ration for them.  Plus Organic regulations say that you can only buy Organic animals  from a Organic farmer not ordinary farmers or smallholders like ourselves.  

Anyone got free range pigs or thinking of getting some?  I could even sell you some weaners if you have a pig number?

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Chilli Fudge?

Chilli Fudge.  No not a indie band playing the hot and spicy stage at Glastonbury this weekend.

I was given them for a Father's Day gift last Sunday.

Me being a humble northern English lad with Irish ancestry on my dad's side of the family.  I was brought up with weekend after pub take aways from Thursday until Sundays.  

One would walk into a Asian kebab house and be offered a mild, medium, or hot doner kebab.  We always went for hot or medium and I knew folk who would warm their kebab up in the microwave next morning for breakfast.  Like you do. 

Over here you order a doner and there is more spice in a portion of chips.  Spicy food is much too hot:

What do you think?  Anyone for Chilli Fudge?  🌶   I rather like them  and they are made in Scotland, home of Iron Bru and made from girders I do believe!

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Beetroot Leaves.

 Apparently they are edible?

I was going to feed the newly harvested beetroot leaves to the pigs and poultry and I had read somewhere that red or purple (can't  do shades of colour) can be toxic.  Rhubarb leaves for example.

So I Googled beetroot leaves and apparently they are nutritious and if you went in one of those Yuppy pubs like the Slug and Lettuce you might get served a beetroot leave salad and a "gloss of whine".

Any road there's no chance of it doing any harm to our ducky wucks and piggy wigs so it's good enough for us.

What do you do with your beetroot leaves?  Smoke them?  Eat them, compost them, make soup?  I suppose you could even eat the beetroots?

Saturday 17 June 2023

New Potatoes In A Plastic Tray.

The earth keeps giving at the moment:

 Newly washed new potatoes and a not very big onion.

Readers of this blog will know that I grew these with seaweed for fertilizer and an odd sprinkle of poultry and seaweed organic pellets which we bought in Lidl.

Like a lot of things I have bought from there I haven't seen the seaweed poultry fertilizer for sale again.  I hope they get it back because it's weed free and excellent.

Ordinary seaweed we gathered from a local beach and it's full of over fifty trace elements and absolutely free.

There's a big pile of fym decomposing under a black plastic sheet.  It's going to be great compost for the veg garden, polytunnel and my pots of perennials later this year.

The varieties of seed potatoes we planted are Britsh Queens, Homeguard and someone gave us  a half of ordinary Rooster potatoes that were chitting so I planted them and they growing nicely.

The potatoes are so fresh and the smell of the soil is divine when we lift the haulm and tubers.  You can not beat chemical free homegrown fresh potatoes can you?

Friday 16 June 2023

Cheap Wad Smallholding Landscape Fabric.

A friend turned up the other day for some of my perennials and asked me if I wanted any "bag manure" fertilizer bags?  

I heard myself saying :  " They'll be alright for bagging up fym, logs and seaweed.  He just complained about the price of granulated fertilizer for his silage fields.  I told him I don't buy nitrogen I wait for it to rain like it's doing today.

Farmers are so stoic and pragmatic and pessimistic  at times and I threw the bags in the old cart house.

Yesterday I wanted some Mypex or landscape fabric for Algarve my new polytunnel.  So I got out my polytunnel scissors and cut along the seam of the fertilizer bag and made some landscape tightwad fabric for myself.

Yes it's not neat but it works as a weed retardant and the water puddles and irrigates the plant pots from below.

Best of all it didn't cost nuffink or nowt!

Thursday 15 June 2023

It Sure Is A: "Crazy World".

 If you put Aslan in my blog search ("please do!") you will see a blog post of when we went to see Aslan in 2018. Unbelievably here in West Cork.  There's chance of Kansas playing Drimoleague yet.  

Sadly. This Tuesday Aslan front man Chris Dignam passed away after a long fight against a form of cancer.  

He was so humble and down to earth and yet a star performer and himself and his bands versions of John Lennons Working Class Hero, Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here, The Rolling Stones Angie and The Fureys Green Fields Of France are absolute classics and well worth watching and listening to on good old You Tube tonight.

He was a very talented singer and I never known why Aslan weren't world headliners like Thin Lizzy and U2.  Both bands whom  I have seen and I would put Aslan up there with them in terms of talent.

Even Liam Gallagher (former Oasis) says he and his girlfriend have a drink or ten and get out the guitar and  sing Aslan's "Crazy World".

Aslan were named after the C S Lewis literary lion character from Narnia. 

 I love CS Lewis who passed away on the same day JF Kennedy was assassinated.  Did you know Aslan was the Lion of Judah which is another name for Jesus? 

Please  put Oxford in my blog search if you want to see when I visited there and where Tolkein and C S Lewis met with the Inklings.

I feel privileged to have seen Aslan and it was a great and memorable concert here in rural West Cork.   

Here's Crazy World.  Enjoy:

"It's alright" Christy.  RIP.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Roses Growing Behind An Old Stone Building.

I love how natural materials like stone and how plants like the roses and the Shasta Daisies  soften the old
 agricultural out buildings like the old milk house next to  where we reside.

I would imagine the building is made of old field stones gathered when a field was reserved and ploughed and harrower and stone picked and thrown on to an horse and cart?

There is a theory that the building was once a dwelling and thatched and it was a one roomed stone cabin.  If only the walls could speak.  Yeats The Lake Isle Of Innisfree comes to mind.  No wattle but rammed earth or clay for mortar.  

That's how the people of long ago built their houses.  You gathered some field stones or pebbles or even quarried them and you and your friends and family would construct a home.  

You would get a cartwright  to make the doors and windows from the trees you cut down to make your site.  

The local Blacksmith who made Dobbins horse shoes would make you some door hinges.  Hey presto, Bob's your uncle!  You had your own home sweet home with no rent or mortgage and a seaview thrown in.

The white upvc window looks a bit out of place but I replaced an old wooden window frame with the second hand one and it requires no maintenance.

I like the rusty patina on the old corrugated  'tin' roof.  Notice the concrete mortar holding down the sheets?  We get some very scary and ferocious Winter storms from the Atlantic.  Fortunately last year we didn't get any.


Monday 12 June 2023

Even More Arrivals On The Smallholding.

 I took this photo this very morning.

The Oxford Sandy and Black farrowed on her own in the field last week or so.  Nine of the litter are walking round the field following their mother.

It's an incredible sight to say they are only a week or so old.

Their father is the Gloucester Old Spot boar and he watches on in another paddock and grazes and digs and wonders and contemplates the meaning of life.  

The Oxford Sandy Black's were almost extinct twenty years ago and now they are making a comeback.

Anyone else keep free range pigs or thinking of getting some?

Sunday 11 June 2023

Jellyfish Art?

 When I was in County Donegal last Saturday I walked near a beach and noticed that the sea had washed these Jellyfish up on to the land.

These were probably the same kind that stung Bronte our Golden Retriever pup 🐶 the other week?  Isn't nature so beautiful and

yet can be so cruel?

I took the photo of her sat next to me last night.  She's doing fine and no worse for her ordeal.  

She's a bit miffed that another Lancashire football team won the Treble.  But like I said to her:  "They have only equalled United's achievement they can't surpass them."

Thursday 8 June 2023

To Ballyshannon And To See My Rock Hero: Michael Schenker And His MSG Band.

 The main purpose of my visit to County Donegal was to visit Ballyshannon for the Rory Gallagher Rock Festival and to see Michael Schenker and his group.

He was a former member of the Scorpions and UFO.  I have seen the Scorpions and former member Ulri Jon Roth live but never seen Michael or UFO.  I have been a fan of his music since the nineteen eighties.  

Here's some photos for your perusal:

Bronze Rory Gallagher statue in the centre of Ballyshannon town/village.  Where he was born and grew up in Cork.   In previous blog posts I have featured his videos and music and visited his grave in Ballincollig near Cork city.  Go into my blog search to see more.

Cape Daisies. 

A former church now a veterinary hospital.
A band outside a pub.
Flower bed.
Pot pig in a florist shop.
I got quite close to the front.

The Rock God that is Michael Schenker and his band.  He's 68 years old and fit as a fiddle or flying V.

My favourite track was: "Into The Arena".  Well worth a look and listen to on good old YouTube: 

I can't stop playing this and the recent videos from Ballyshannon on You Tube.

You can't beat live music can you?

Wednesday 7 June 2023

New Potatoes And Japanese Onions.

 We started harvesting the new potatoes we planted in the potatoes growing bags that we bought at the car boot last year.

The Japanese over winter onions had started to bolt and look like they wanted to set seed.  I'm not surprised with the unseasonally very hot weather that we have had in all of Ireland for the last two weeks or so.

We are eating more of the new potatoes and onions tonight.  My late father would have said that we picked them too small.  But to me that's what a new potato should be. Small is beautiful.

You can rub their skin off with your finger nails.  The new potatoes 🥔 are absolutely delicious and you can't buy anything so fresh in a supermarket or drop.

Once again it resonates with me that you don't need to be Middle-class or have a garden or allotment to grow your own vegetables.

Tuesday 6 June 2023

Bundoran And A Carboot Sale.

The sea from Bundoran sea front.

 Cape Daisies like the ones in our rusty milk churns here in West Cork.
Two Wedgewood trinket boxes.

Antique leather Burmese tiger. We paid 15 Euros  for it.  The man wanted 20.  I think Drew and Tee would like this on Salvage Hunters? 
Plastic garden gnome for the patio.  

It was good to be browsing and buying instead of selling.  

I'm struggling to keep my plants in pots alive at the moment.  There's showers for the end of the week and we could get the tail end of Storm Oscar which is about to hit the Canaries.  I noticed a dew in County Donegal on Sunday morning,  I woke up shivering in my tent.   Another roughing it short break.

Monday 5 June 2023

A Big House And A Visit To A Pet Farm..

Wardtown Castle.  Professor Google will take you up and down a few rabbit holes with this derelict stone structure.

We travelled on to County Donegal and on Sunday morning we visited a carboot sale in Bundoran and then we visited A pet farm.

Talk about a bus man's holiday.  We live on a smallholding with livestock and sure enough we had to visit a pet family.
It passed an hour.

Sunday 4 June 2023

Yeats Grave And Benbulbin.

we travelled through county Sligo on Saturday.  I took the opportunity to visit the grave of the Irish poet WB Yeats.    

I took some photos of his grave and church and the table Rock formation called Benbulbin.  It was like the scenery out of a Tolkein or CS Lewis fantasy book or film.

The weather is still incredibly hot and it's more like July or August haymaking weather.


Friday 2 June 2023

Our Dog Gets Bit By A Jellyfish.


Bronte our Golden Retriever got a nasty Jelly fish sting whilst swimming in the bay near where we live the other day. Yes it's a sting not a bite isn't it?

She yelped and was very quiet and forlorn looking for a day or two.  We gave her milk and our duck and hen eggs to eat and she's making a good recovery.

The wife gave her baths in Tea Tree Oil in the water.  Our local chemist said that we should make a paste with Bicarbonate of Soda and water.  It takes away the sting.

The exceptional hot weather must have brought the Jellyfish to the Gulf Stream where we live.

Please be careful if you go in the sea this Irish Bank Holiday weekend there are some very big Jellyfish about.

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...