Tuesday 28 November 2023


Remember the piglets I showed you a while ago?  They are this years piglets.

We moved them into another shed complete with exercise yard and preferred place for ablutions.

I moved them in there while I cleaned out their straw bed/ fym.  That's another few wheelbarrows for the dung 💩 heap.

If you want some for your veg plot  I will bag you some up or bring a car and trailer.

Click on the photos to see how they have grown. Please.

Monday 27 November 2023

A Big Pile Of Fodder Beet.

 2.9 tons of fodder beet to be precise.   It was weighed on a weigh bridge.

My job last Sunday was hand balling them off a very large trailer into the yard or haggard if one uses old farming terms.

This is a food supplement for the pigs 🐖  along with their buckets of ration,

The big pigs devour the fodder beet and need none of it chopped or sliced.  I feed the small pigs small  fodder beets and the  bigger ones I chop with a spade.

Smallholding farming can be expensive but it's good to give your livestock a varied diet.  Especially when we will be eating some of them.  

Anyone buy or grow fodder beet to feed to their pigs or other livestock?  

Saturday 25 November 2023

Autumn Leaves.

 I found this WB Yeats poem about Autumn on good old YouTube.

Yeats grave in Sligo which we stopped off to visit when we went to the Rory Gallagher Rock Festival in June and I finally got to see Michael Schenker and his band play live.  They rocked.  What a 🎸 guitarist.

Thursday 23 November 2023

A Voice Like An Angel.

 Eva Cassidy never found true fame and fortune in her short life.  

Cancer cruelly took her from us in her early thirties. Thirty three to be precise.  Eva would be 60 now.  It's so sad but her music and videos live on.

English based radio presenters like Mike Harding and Terry Wogan kept playing her records and Eva's records topped the record charts in Blighty.

I have a couple of Cds by Eva Cassidy and we play them when we are travelling around Cork and Kerry and wherever where else we go.

It's a beautiful 🎵 song.  I wouldn't mind some of those leaves to make leaf mould.  The veg and plants love it.

Wednesday 22 November 2023

A Strange Film.

 We watched The Disaster Artist the other night.  I think it was on Netflix.

It's based on the Cult film "The Room".

I thought it was very good and just shows you don't need to be good to be successful.  It's like when you see a band that plays that bad they actually seem good.

Two aspiring actors want to go to Hollywood and audition for parts and one of them gets turned down most of the time.

They visit the crash where James Dean died and they decide to go to LA and eventually make a film themselves.  They direct it and star in it.

There's mystery who the strange sounding director and actor comes from and where he gets his money to fund the 🎥 film?

I won't spoil the plot for you.  But it's certainly worth watching.

Wouldn't it be great to make your own films?

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Feeding Time At The Zoo Or Conservatory Even!


Domino on the right next to Muzz Muss in the middle and Tiger Kitty on the left of the picture.

Domino has been appearing on here since 2012.  So that makes him nearly 11 maybe 12?

Blogs store memories and places and jog the memory when you look back.

Underneath the cats 🐈 is the clothes airer.  The Conservatory soon drys clothes instead of using the Tumble dryer.   

It's dry today for a change.   

Monday 20 November 2023

"Easy Peelers"


Would you put an "Easy Peeler" in someone's Christmas stocking?

We always called them Tangerines 🍊 when I was growing up.  Nowadays supermarkets call them "Easy Peelers".

Apparently according to Professor Google they are seedless Clementines or Satsumas that are easy to peel with your fingers. They are not Tangerines.

I still call them Tangerines. Do you call them that?

So why do we put them in our Christmas stockings?  Apparently they were considered exotic especially to people from "Oop North".    

So true.  We also kept coal in the barf and use our internal doors, architraves and skirting boards for firewood in Winter.

Someone old I once worked with said they had never see a banana until the 1950s.  

Nowadays you can get strawberries 🍓 in winter.  Everything's flown in or comes in the back of a lorry from a heated greenhouse in 🇳🇱 Holland.

I suppose a Tangerine in your Christmas stocking meant that you were getting something different than a Granny  Smiths 🍎 apple or a packet of Custard Creams.  What happened to Curly Wurlys, Snake belts, Caramac and Strike Cola?

Do you call Tangerines "Easy Peelers?"

Sunday 19 November 2023

Christmas Conservatory Cleaning.

 I walked into Northsider Towers kitchen the other day and wifey was busy cleaning the windows in the Conservatory.   It's not full of Conservatives I may add thankfully.  But the condensation and dust leaves stains everywhere.  

So I picked up a damp cloth and helped her by standing on the stepladders, chairs and freezer where wifey couldn't reach.  I even suggested moving the small chest  freezer when she said she couldn't  reach the other corner.  I was of course joking. 

We moved all manner of detritus like hand tools and made a thoroughly neat job even if I say so myself.  It looked like a lived in Conservatory once again.

Some famous  English northern comedienne once said that Conservatorys are places where your neighbours can see you eating your tea in.

I suggested that we could have our Christmas dinner in the revamped Conservatory?

She replied:

"We did that last year".

Oh dear!

It reminds me of a Irish day time show presenter once saying she was out shopping and she rang her husband to turn the oven on to cook the food she had prepared inside the oven.  He asked her what the gas mark temperature was ? She said: " It's an electric cooker!"

They had only bought the stove five years!

Reminds me of teachers  written comments on my old school reports: "David is easily led.  Must pay attention!"  

Did it say that on your school report?

Thursday 16 November 2023



I read Weeds by John Walker yesterday. A friend of my wife gave me some books that belonged to her late husband and I will review them when I read each one over these dark nights and wet none gardening days, except for the polytunnel of course.  

I found the book very informative and it's a good way of knowing what is growing in your soil.  He suggests you make a bare soil area in your garden and see what grows there.  Even overgrown allotments were once cultivated bare soil.

For example if you have sheep sorrel growing in your grass it means the ground is very acidic.

Buttercups are a sign of very wet soil often found in pastures.  There is a weed grass called Yorkshire Fog.  It's  a pale and fat bladed grass found in lawns.  I know that from when I worked on a golf course and I can identify many kinds of weeds.

The author like myself doesn't use weedkillers and recommends hand weeding, sheet mulching composting weeds especially nettles which will add fertility to your ground.  

He also like my self when I visited Dorset noticed fields of cereal growing in land sprayed with pesticides and herbicides are devoid of wildlife in the middle unlike the untouched hedgerows which are habitat s of birds, butterflies and insects and also how bird numbers have dropped so rapidly due the weedkillers and pesticides no longer providing food for living creatures like birds.

There is a section about Japanese Knotweed and whilst it is invasive and destructive to buildings it is also a great habitat for mammals and insects like nettles are for Butterflies.

It's what I would call a browse and dip in book like a lot of gardening books are.  I enjoyed reading the book and I would recommend it to anyone wants to know what grows in their soil and doesn't want to use chemicals to kill them.  It was published in 2003.

A good earth and nature friendly book.  

Wednesday 15 November 2023

It's Knitting Season Again.

It's knitting season down on the Irish Riviera now.

Every night after tea.  The Stove is lit and I keep it stocked with the homemade  firewood I have chopped and gathered in the morning. 

Then we settle down to watch the old John Logie Baird machine (television) in the corner.  We argue over what films or programmes we are going to watch.  I also check blogs, comments and emails, news, football  scores on my electronic devices.  Then the knitting commences.

The baby cardigan and little  deck shoes are for someone wifey knows who is having a baby and can't knit.

It's going to be a long winter.  How did the people long ago manage without the Internet, television or even electricity? 

Do you ever go out at night during Autumn/ Winter?

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Hard Graft.

I have not been able to go selling plants at carboot sales or  doany gardening outside due to monsoon season down here on the Irish Riviera.  Apart from weeding in my polytunnel of course.

Yesterday I got a phone call if I would give a few hours moving a old internal stone wall from a very old house.

So I donned my steel toe capped wellingtons and wore some work gloves and went and helped clear the rubble and earth.  Old West Cork houses are made with rammed earth in between the building stones.  It's very dusty work.

Here's some photos:

Trusty wheelbarrow and shovel and a a few tons of rubble and earth to move by hand and shovel.
This "fine yolk" a West Cork phrase sped the job up.  We took off the front door and steered her inside the house.  She holds about 4 full wheelbarrows of builders rubble.

We swept up and reattached the front door when we had finished.  I looked like I had been down the pit and my back is aching today.  It's good to know I can still graft even though I will be 60 in a couple of weeks.

I still harbour the dream of buying a doer upper in Portugal and renovating a property.  I don't want to live in the middle of nowhere though.  Preferably near a village, with public transport and a rub a dub, dub.  Imagine retiring into the sun and no more gales and wet winters and large heating bills?

We can dream can't we?

Sunday 12 November 2023

"Imagine A Man Where It All Began"..

 My mental jukebox (Neil Peart expression) has been playing  The Manhattan Project by Rush all day since I watched Oppenheimer.  

I found the film profound and disturbing and since 1945 we have lived in a time and place where we know that humans have the potential and technological capability to destroy the world with nuclear weapons. 

Oppenheimer told the Enola Gay pilot that there was a possibility of his plane vaporizing when he dropped the bomb but they still went ahead and dropped them on two Japanese cities killing hundreds of thousands of people, Japan surrendering and a end  to WW2.  

Canadian Prog Rock band Rush who I have  seen twice and mentioned on here lots of times recorded The Manhattan Project on their Power Windows album.  Neil Peart the Rush drummer penned the lyrics:

I think this song would have made a brilliant soundtrack for the film.  Incidentally the lead actor in the film was born in Douglas, Cork in Ireland's biggest county and where we reside.

Ireland is nuclear free.  I wish other countries were the same.

Friday 10 November 2023

Wind Break Netting To Protect My Polytunnel.

 It's gale season in the West of Ireland where we reside in the countryside next to the sea.

It's a very mild climate but it's very wet and windy too. This morning we woke very early to thunder and lightning and some people had no electricity and we had no wifi.

We recently decided to erect a windbreak fabric fence to hopefully protect the Western gable of the polytunnel. 

I hand dug four holes over two feet deep and over a foot round.  I dug the holes with my trusty shovel and long crowbar 

Of course I struck the usual digging obstacles like stones and clay.  "We call it blue till" a West Cork farmer once said to me when I commented  on the clay in a field.

Number one son came home early the other day and cut down some thick timbers into about 7 foot lengths and we stood them and wedged stones around the base of them with the sledge hammer.

Then we stapled the green wind fabric mesh netting to the uprights and nailed batons on to them and I forked fym to anchor the netting.

It turned out to be a fine job.  

 Windbreak fabric mesh is great for protecting a newly planted hedge from wind burn.  

Do you use it around your garden, allotment or smallholding?

Wednesday 8 November 2023

New Baby Rabbits At Our Smallholding.

 We had 16 more baby rabbits arrivals a few weeks ago.  Well at least 6 because they have left their parents now and moved into their new 'des res".

It was getting dark when the photo was taken.

The lady we bought their mother's from kept her rabbits for meat but we would prefer to sell them for birthday or Christmas presents.  You have heard of the Easter 🐰 bunny  why not have a Christmas bunny?

Anyone else keep rabbits or thinking of getting some?  

They love the vegetable greens I collect them every day and they make great manure for the veg plot and polytunnel.

Monday 6 November 2023

Dogs Birthday Party.

 No not the name of some nineteen seventies English Prog Rock band.  Although it would make a good name for one don't you think?

It was the pups first birthday on Sunday.  

We saw these cup cakes on offer at the local German Garden Centre and beer providers and supermarket and we bought some candles to go with them.

Well it was bonfire night and a special little dogs birthday after all!
I love these Autumn early dark nights, don't I not?

Do you have birthday parties for your four legged friends?

Sunday 5 November 2023

'Who You Looking At?"

 A photograph of a Kenyan giraffe.

No it was not taken at Knowsley Safari Park it's from Kenya.  Number 2 son took it last week in Kenya.  Did I tell you where he took it?

We were far from happy bunnies when he announced several months ago that he was going on holiday in October to Africa.  Not Spain or Portugal or Greece or Rhyl or Blackpool or Scarborough even!  No  KENYA.

Any way or any road thanks to good old WhatsApp we get text messages and photos from Africa.  We even got one at 6.30 this morning wishing one of the dogs "Happy Birthday".

They even had flooding on Friday.  So at least the weather would have felt like the weather they have back in Ireland.  The Roman's apparently christened Ireland "Hibernia" the land of eternal winters.  Quite a good description me thinks?

I will post another Kenya post when I get sent some Elephant or Lion photos.

Friday 3 November 2023

Autumn Evenings In Front Of The Stove For Our Canine Friends.

 I took this photo 📸  the other night with my mobile phone.

Rosie the Golden Retriever is lay nearest the lit stove.  Whilst Bronte her daughter lies underneath her.

Living in Ireland our dogs are required to have dog licenses which ours have.  They cost 20 Euros a year per dog or 140 Euros for a life time one.  Our cats and other domesticated animals are not required to have them.  You don't need a fish license (Monty Python sketch) either.  

A lit stove is probably one of the highlights of this time of year when they make us put our clocks back and it goes dark so early.  It's going to be a long time until Summer time returns.  

How I envy folk who live in towns and villages with their street lights and pavements to go for a walk at night or when it's dark in the afternoon.  

Some public transport would also be amazing so I could get about at the weekend, maybe have a few pints of the black stuff or lager and see a Rock or Folk group?

I can think of more wind related songs but I think I have featured enough for now haven't I?   If you want more just ask?

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...