Friday 12 July 2024

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 alleviating migraine and aches and pains.  

Living in a damp and cold climate like Ireland and Blighty.  It's probably the perfect plant for us all.

 You can eat the leaves raw or make a tea with it? I have made nettle tea in the past so I might make Feverfew tea.

There are some good Feverfew videos to watch on  good old You Tube.

Do you make herbal teas? What to you make?

I have bought Valerian tea bags from health shops and supermarkets.  Valerian is supposed to be good for calming the nerves and helping you sleep.

My brother is a bit of a collector like myself and he recently bought the two vases from a charity shop and gave them to us.  I don't think he paid much for them.  Aren't they pretty?

Thursday 11 July 2024

Another Good Year For The Roses.

 We have had the two wettest winters on record but the wild roses do not seem to mind:

It's a beauty.  

You can also see Montbretia which is considered a nuisance by many West Cork gardeners.  It originates in Africa.  

Perhaps it came here on the Gulf Stream along with the Gunnera and Fuchsia from Chile?  I don't think it is a garden escapee.  There's too much of it for that.  I have a Lucifer /Crocosmia flowering in my garden.  It's related to Montbretia.

I think this wild rose grew from one of my many cuttings.  Even wild roses are beautiful like their cultivar garden cousins.

Here's Elvis Costello singing about it being a good year for the roses.  I saw him at Glastonbury festival in 1989.  I was in my twenties and it seems a life time away.  Enjoy:

There are over 50 songs about Rose's.  Shall I do 50 blog posts about them? 

" I beg your pardon.  I didn't promise you a rose garden".. 

Well it's better than a certain T.rex  lyrics:

"I drive a Rolls Royce.  Cause it's good for my voice". 😀

Wednesday 10 July 2024

Euros Championships Memorable Videos.


Taking a free cold shower during a storm.

Dutch fans dancing in unison.

It's been a brilliant tournament.  Much better than the World Cup.  Spain are fantastic.

Apart from South America. I think Europe have the best international teams.

Enjoy the videos.  If you can think of any others please post them on your blogs.

Tuesday 9 July 2024

Heavy Rock Apple Pie.

 My old rocker mate Phil Mogg released a new record the other day.

He's 76 and still strutting his stuff.

Strangers In The Night by UFO is probably the greatest live album ever recorded.  Well apart from Live And Dangerous by Thin Lizzy of course.

I hope Phil and Neil and the lads come to West Cork or Kerry.  They will be very welcome.

Monday 8 July 2024

My Own Eden Project Plastic Pop Bottles Cloches Worked.

 Remember about three weeks ago when I showed you how I made my cloches from plastic bottles? 

I took the cloches off the plant pots every few days and watered them and replaced the cloches.

Yesterday I took off the cloche and gently tugged on one of my plant pots full of Cotoneaster cuttings.  Guess what? They have all rooted in the three plant pots cloches I made.  That's twelve new Cotoneaster plants.

Deferred plant propagation gratification means in a few month twenty four Euros.  Not bad for  just a second hand filled plant pot of garden soil, rooting powder a plastic bottle cloche that was going to be recycled, some watering by me and a bit of TLC by Mother Nature.

Any one got any plastic bottles they don't want?

Sunday 7 July 2024

A Onion Bhaji Mix.


We found this onion bhaji mix in Aldi in Dunmanway the other day.

We have tried to make these onion starters many times but they have never turned out like the ones you get in the Indian restaurants.

I have lots and lots of onions growing in my veg plot.  So I lifted two of them and cut off their roots and stalks and through them on the compost pile.

J mixed the batter with the sliced onions and cooked them in hot oil.  Then the instructions on the packet said to place them in the oven for fifteen minutes.  This is how they turned out:

Our organic home grown onions and a bhaji mix for 99 Cents made a very nice meal and the best we have ever made.  Not bad if we say it ourselves.

Saturday 6 July 2024

The Pure Drop Inn.


Here is the Pure Drop Inn in Marnhull in Dorset that we visited in 2018.  It's mentioned in Thomas Hardy's classic Tess Of The Durbervilles:

I downloaded this 100 page version for free.  I have seen the film but never read the book.  I read it in three sessions.

Since reading it I have paid 59 Cents for the full version and I am reading it at the moment.

I have read a few Thomas Hardy books like Far From The Madding Crowd and Jude The Obscure.  Which I found very sad.  Didn't Shakespeare say that all life is tragedy?  

I visited Shaftesbury on my last Dorset visit and this was one of the towns in Jude The Obscure.

Tess is considered to be Hardy's Magnum opus or even his greatest work.  Anyone read it?

In the first chapter Tess's father sends a young lad in the pub for a drink and order a carriage to take him home.

Next door is the church where Tess had her new born son Sorrow buried.

My friend and I walked inside the pub for a refreshing pint to quench our thirst.  We sat down in a room near the bar and I heard the landlord  loud whisper to a barmaid:

"Have you seen the state of those two who have just come in?"

We may have looked a bit dishevelled after walking many miles and sleeping in tents.  But we were on one of our rock festivals and literary roughing it trips.  We meant no harm. 

A rather elegantly dressed old lady and a man came in and walked to the bar.  They must have been local gentry and the barman's voice suddenly turned posh and he said:

"Good afternoon.  Would you both like a gloss of woine".

I would have loved a chip butty and a bottle of Newky Brown.  The menu was out of my price range and quite exotic  and up market.  I would have liked the Ploughman's Lunch but I don't think the ploughman would have been very happy.😊

We finished our pints of bitter and walked down the road.  I told my friend what the man had said about us both.  He said: "Why didn't you tell me? " I replied.  "I didn't tell you because I knew you would have said something."

I love visiting Dorset.  It's like being in a modern day Hardy novel.

Time for a Kansas track.  One of my favourite Prog bands who I was lucky enough to see live in 2014:

Friday 5 July 2024

Monday Tea From The Polytunnel.


Our chemical free homegrown vegetables keep on giving.

This was main ingredients of our Monday night tea.

Homeguard new potatoes and Snowball onions.  I prepared the ground with fym from our pigs, rabbits, hens and ducks and ponies, and we just water the vegetables with the well water that feeds the tap and hose pipe and sprinkler that I bought for four Euros from Dealz in Killarney.

Sometimes we go to the beach and collect seaweed but this year I have just used our fym.  I have lots of it.

Just muck and magic!

Our ancestors were organic farmers so why shouldn't we be?

Thursday 4 July 2024

"But The Gentry Must Come Down And The Poor Shall Wear The Crown."

 Today people in Blighty have the opportunity to make the Tories extinct.  

Here's a song written by a Wigan lad called George Winstanley who led the Diggers.  He believed in land for all and everyone could work the land:

I am still available Keir to work in your Allotments and Smallholdings department.  I can work online?

I have a great song for tomorrow when Keir becomes PM. My mum and dad would have been so happy that the party for the labourers are back in power.

Wednesday 3 July 2024

"There's A Blarney Stone In Kerry.."

 The Mary Wallopers were excellent on Friday at Glastonbury on the BBC.  Talk about a breath of fresh air.  

Hopefully they will play down here in  West Cork and Kerry and I will get to see them play live some time soon?  

I had never heard of them before Friday and now I am listening and watching them on You Tube avidly.

Here's  their song about County Cork's famous Blarney stone.  But according to The Mary Wallopers there are many more Blarney stones in Ireland.  There is even one in Kerry.

Here is a video from the Late Late Show for you to tap your feet and enjoy:

It's been playing on my mental jukebox all week.  I have often been on the Bandon road to and from Cork but I have never met the fine Colleen with the stone beneath her belt.😊

Tuesday 2 July 2024

Bargain Browsing Cows At The Carboot Sale.

 We packed the van the night before with my self propagated perennials and a few gardening books:

Osteospermums, Shasta Daisies, Loosestrife, Cranesbill Geraniums, Stonecrop Sedums..

We saw some Whitehead cows looking over a gate and looking at the pretty flowers and I heard two cows talking:

"I'll have some of dem flowers when I gets married."

"Are ye a virgin Irene?"

"Not yet Daisy".

Cows looking at the car boot wares

Plants and books all neatly arranged by J.

We  got our pitch fee back by seven.  Then we sold an odd few plants .  I always knock ten bob off if they buy a few.  

One man said he had just renovated a property to rent out and wanted my plants to make the garden look good for his tenants.  I did him a good deal for fifty Euros and I gave him a few extra plants for free.

We took turns to go walk abouts and have a look round.  J came back with two stainless steel dog bowls which cost her 2 Euros each.

We made eighty Euros and had lots of chats with very amiable people.  Its so much better than being at home and not seeing a soul.

I bought eight cans of Carlsberg and watched England do a Man United in 1999 and complete the Great Escape. The equalizer was amazing.  I can't see them beating Switzerland though.  I think it's France or Spain or Portugal or perhaps England to win the Euros? Don't be silly Dave.

Monday 1 July 2024

Bronte and Me Go A Walk On Yet Another Greenway.

 On Saturday morning we drove to Fenit in county Kerry.  

Regular readers will remember we visited the brand new Greenway two years ago.  Ireland is spending millions  repurposing so many of it's old railway lines.  

Yes railway lines with spectacular sea views and paid for by  by the English and built by the Irish navvies and so many Irish caught the train to the ferry and on to Blighty. 

The tracks have been removed and tarmac has been laid instead.  

The routes are suitable for runners, cyclists, walkers, horse riders ( I suppose?) and dogs like Bronte.  

The Greenways are not  hilly and boggy like the Sheepshead  Way where I live.  There are toilets, shops, bicycle hire, accommodation and you even get to meet people.  

I can go walks where I live and I probably won't  see anyone most times.

The Limerick Greenway  which is not not far from Fenit. Even provides a regular  bus service for you and your bike, to get back to where you started if you want, or to your next destination.

J dropped Bronte and yours truly off at Causeway and we got on to the repurposed railway line and arranged to meet her in Fenit.  It was a typical Irish mizzle morning: "It's that rain that gets you wet" I thought to myself.

Bronte was delighted to going a stroll.  So was I a part from it raining.  A lady cyclist rode past and Bronte happily barked at all the excitement.  The cyclist smiled and said: "Your dog is happy and excited to be going a walk".  We both laughed.

I only saw two more walkers and half a dozen cyclists.  Here's some photos of our four mile walk in the rain:

Old branch station house.  It would make a good bunk house for walkers or maybe a snack shop?

Flat tarmac all the way.

Bronte's tail.   She set off in a gallop.
Cows in the distance lay down keeping the pasture beneath them dry.
Bronte next to the Rugosa rose.
Bronte next to the Valerian flowers.

Old railway arch.
Fenit Lighthouse.  St Brendan the Navigator lived near here.  He sailed from here in a cow hide boat and discovered America before Columbus did.
Beach. I found twenty Euros here last time I walked along the beach.
Fenit Harbour.  

The Jeanie Johnston use to sail from here with thousand of Irish emigrants escaping famine and unemployment and carrying cargo to America and Canada and England and  Australia and other over seas countries.  

Apparently the Irish diaspora in the world is said to be 90 million.  

In 2000 a replica was made of this boat.  This is in Dublin.  You can visit it and see how the emigrants lived.
Bridge House.  It has been converted into five self catering cottages.
Fenit old railway station.
Old railway signal.
Sonebody owns a polytunnel just like someone who writes these posts. 
West End Bar.  It serves food, drink and does B and B.

Hope you enjoyed Bronte and my walk? We did.  My next post will be about us car booting again.  

Saturday 29 June 2024

Half A Bucket Of Freshly Picked Homegrown Peas.

 I picked half a bucket of our chemical free or organic peas for our tea the other day.

Peas etymology is of Mediterranean origin.   When introduced into Western Europe.  Peas were expensive and considered to be a delicacy.

I am not keen on shelling peas either.  I am always disappointed with how few there are in your pan.  But they are delicious and taste like a glass of freezing cold water from our fridge dispenser. We have one of those big double door American style of fridge freezer.

They are members of the Legume family.  Which means that they extract nitrogen from the air and release it through their roots into the soil making it rich and green manured for another vegetable crop.  

I love them and I will sow more this week.

Back to the rain and mizzle again today.  At least we won't need to water the gardens.  

Friday 28 June 2024

Mother Nature Decides To Prettify The Compost And FYM Heaps.


I wish could paint pictures like the photograph.

Old Mother Nature seems to have been busy making my pallet compost and fym heaps more aesthetically pleasing.  

The Nasturtiums are loving camouflaging the piles of decaying vegetable matter, weeds and fym.  

I always see the Nasturtiums return often in a new place every.  You can eat them in salads and they also are worth growing for their flowers.  If you buy one packet of seeds.  You will have Nasturtium flowers for many many years.

Thursday 27 June 2024

Another Walk On The North Side.

Last week I bought some new walking sandals from our local German garden centre, supermarket and beer providers.  They only cost 14 Euros.  My last pair of sandals cost me 25 Euros.  

I went for a saunter the other day on the Sheeps Head Way where we are literally two minutes away from.  

We can walk for many miles on the peninsula and Tuesday was a nice day for a stroll.  Here's some pictures for your perusal:

New sandals.  I like how the toes are covered and offers some protection from stones, gorse, brambles, grass and heather and salix saplings.  

The north sider (name of my blog) view of Bantry Bay and Hungry Hill over on Beara peninsula.  It really is beautiful on a nice day.  Some days it is that misty we can't see the bay from our kitchen window.  Today it is blowing a gale.

Irish Marsh Orchid featured in my last blog post.  Such unspoilt beauty.  I felt privileged to capture its photograph.
Exposed rock and bog on our peninsula.

Sheep grazing on the Sheeps Head Way.

A glimpse of Dunmanus Bay in the distance.

I saw one person walking on a road in the distance.  The only other creatures I saw were butterflies, dragonflies and sheep.

I listened to Spotify on my mobile phone.  Here's a track that came on from a recent search of my favourite songs:

I hope you enjoyed my walk?

Tuesday 25 June 2024

Irish Marsh Orchid.

 I went for a saunter up on the hills today.  Just five miles according to my steps counter on my mobile phone.

I noticed this wild flower growing where they don't spread granulated fertilizer.  Isn't it beautiful?  I saw many more and dragonflies and butterflies.

It's good to go a walk and see nature in all its glory.

Monday 24 June 2024

Replanting Troughs And Planters For The Carboot Sale.

 I was given some plastic troughs and planters recently .  We took them empty to a car boot sale and we came back home with them.

So I decided to plant them up with my homegrown perennials that I have grown from cuttings this year:.

They will soon fill out and put on a floral display.

If they sell all well and good.  If they don't I will bring them home again.  Such is the life of a plantaholic smallholder.  

Sunday 23 June 2024

Lets Go Planting Leeks.

 Friday morning was very wet and I used the damp opportunity to transplant twelve leek plants that we had grown from seed and I left the other leek plants in a raised bed in the polytunnel until more vegetable growing space becomes available. I donned my "rainy day" suit to carry out the transplant operation.

This year the majority of our vegetables have been grown from seed.  Only seed potatoes, onion sets and Jerusalem Artichokes tubers have not been grown from seed.  

Even the tomato plants I grew from seed and it's good to know you can propagate your plants from a few packets of seeds. 

I haven't bought any compost for a while because it's too expensive and the cheap stuff is made from crushed bark and coconut coir.  

It contains little or no nutrients and cakes on the surface.  I much prefer my well rotted fym and topsoil mix.  Sure you get weeds but that's natural gardening isn't it?

Any way or any road.  Leeks are planted like no other vegetable.  You get an old garden fork handle ("four candles" Two Ronnies remember?) for a dibber or a piece of metal tubing like I did.  

Make the holes wide and drop the leeks about six inches into the holes.  This enables your leeks to be blanched with big white socks.  Then you get a fully filled watering can and fill every hole with water.  There is no need to back fill the holes with soil because the watering will have knocked soil into the hole and covered the roots:

Leeks are named after the old English word for onion: leac.

They originate in Mediteranean and Asian countries.  The Romans grew them and they are even mentioned in the bible.

I look forward to making homemade potato and leek soup this winter.

Saturday 22 June 2024

How Strange?🤔

 J went to collect the hens and duck eggs and came back with this very small specimen:

Our hens are all adults and it was not laid by a young pullet.

I Googled this small egg phenomonen.  Apparently the are called Fairy Eggs and it occurs when a mature hen releases an egg without a yolk.

Have any of you smallholders or poultry keepers ever come across these small egg layers?

One of the cats had a midnight feast.  Now we will never know what was in the shell.  Anyone talk cat?  "Miaow".

Friday 21 June 2024

Summer Solstice Longest Day.

 It is the longest day of the year today.  Farmers have been busy making hay and silage so their cattle will have forage in winter.

The days start to shorten and we will have dark nights from August to April.  

People in towns and village have the privilege of street lights.  Rural dwellers can't  walk about and night and the only way they can get about is by car.  

It would be great to have public transport and bus shelters on our little peninsula.  I don't  think it will ever happen though.  Rural isolation is not good for the spirit. Infrastructure is so important in the countryside but it is rarely provided for tourists or local people.  

The Druids and Ancient Celts are said to have originated in Spain.  I have viewed and visited several of the ancient stone circles like Drombeg in County Cork.  Which I have blogged about on here.

Clannad are an Irish band who I have seen five times sing about the ancient stone circles.  Enjoy:

Thursday 20 June 2024

Latest IBC And Heating Oil Veg Planters Progress.

 I thought I would take some up to date photos of the veggies in our homemade/ repurposed plastic planters:


Purple Rain potatoes.

If you remember we cut them in half, drilled drainage holes and I filled them with twigs, weeds, grass, fym and a few inches of topsoil.  The fym wasn't particularly old.  But it did not matter because the soil was a barrier between the fym and the vegetables.

I am very pleased with the verdant growth and its proof that you don't need a garden or allotment to grow your own vegetables or flowers.  All you need is a container and some fym and top soil.

Don't let allotment waiting lists put you off growing your own.  See if anyone wants to get rid of some plastic oil tanks or IBCs.

Wednesday 19 June 2024

A Posh Garden Cousin Of Knotweed.

 I made about twenty new Persicaria "Red Dragon" plants a few weeks ago.

It's a cousin of Japanese Knotweed but it is not invasive at all.

The beautiful Japanese Acers are cousins of the Sycamore.  

Persicaria is a native of the Himalayas and China.    I like it for its red/ purple foliage.

Anyone else propagate perennials for an hobby?

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...