Spring is springing

January 26, 2012

I saw my first lamb of 2012 this morning! Spring is definitely in the air!

The snowdrops are up and in full bloom. my mother-in-law expected them to be in bloom by

17th January each year.

Snowdrops under the sycamore tree

Snowdrops under the sycamore tree
Snowdrops again

Snowdrops again

Holly standing enjoying the sun

Holly standing enjoying the sun

Noddy

Noddy

Holly

Holly eyeing ivy pulled from a tree.

It may be hard to believe but we are actually coming to the end of winter. In Ireland spring begins officially on the first of February. Remaining winter chores need to be completed. For us this is trimming or ‘brashing’ the boundary hedges along the road. The mature trees are ‘preserved’ by County Council edict; however, the holly, ash, beech and hawthorn bushes have grown too tall to cut as a hedge so we trim the ‘face’ of the bushes. This allows walkers and riders to pull in against the hedge as cars, tractors and riders go by, without getting their faces scratched. This procedure only takes place every two years. Now we need to collect the branches  and cut them into firewood.

During conversation with the tractor driver, I was told that one snowy day, when Warwick was a child, he appeared at Cahill’s* hill pulling a little toboggan. Many hours of fun were had by Warwick and the Orme children tobogganing down the hill and pulling the toboggan back up the hill. The children had never seen a toboggan or sledge with runners before.

*Warwick tells me he thinks it was actually Daley’s hill. The mists of time can blur memories.

Helibores are flowering

Helibores are flowering

Globe artichokes

Globe artichokes appear to have survived the winter well. A discarded piece of root has taken root at far end of row on right hand side.

Autumn planted shallots are growing well in raised bed

Autumn planted shallots are growing well in raised bed

This year's rhubarb sprouting as last year's windfall apples have not yet rotted.

This year's rhubarb sprouting, whilst last year's windfall apples have not yet fully rotted.

It is interesting to note that there are any apples left at all. Birds have obviously been feeding off the apples but haven’t finished them all.

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The recent coverage of the premier of the film “War Horse” brought to mind a story told at the dining table, one lunch time. Elderly cousins of  my father-in-law told how their sister May spent the First World War training re-mounts for the British army. The horses were then ridden or taken by train to the Army barracks in Athlone. This was a muster station where horses destined for the battlefields of France were collected. They were then loaded onto canal barges and transported to Dublin before shipment to England and France.  May was one of the four daughters of Gilbert Lavelle Nugent of Jamestown Court, Castletown Geoghan, Co Westmeath. As a  daughter of  the ‘big house’,  May was expected to be a proficient horse woman and had first hunted with The Westmeath Hunt, aged 6 years old,  riding side saddle  on a donkey led by a groom. May, never married, she died in 1976. I wonder what she would have made of  the current film.

New Year 2012
Our young are holding a party tonight so preparations are in full swing; whilst I am catching up with my blog.

Masked and ready for the fray.

Masked and ready for the fray.

How times change! 2011 started with weather not experienced for 50 years. Very cold, frosty, but bright clear sunlight days. Lough Derravaragh was frozen shore to shore for the second time within the same year.

L.Derravaragh frozen from shore to shore.

L.Derravaragh frozen from shore to shore.

The days are getting longer
The daylight hours are getting longer each day.
First  flowers on ??? emerging.

First flowers on one of the pulmonaria emerging.

Snowdrops emerging rather hesitatingly.

Snowdrops emerging rather hesitatingly.

Holly and Noddy saying,  "Good morning".

Holly and Noddy saying, "Good morning".