The rock wood on the side of Knockbody in full autumn colour.

The rock wood on the side of Knockbody in full autumn colour.

We have been blessed with an an ‘Indian Summer’; a period of bright clear days of milder weather. One night of frost and the trees in the Rock Wood have donned their autumn colours. It has been an opportunity to catch up in the garden Work had been delayed by a massive clear-out of the old stable block as we began it’s restoration.Old farm machinery, tractor parts, bedsteads, incubators, horsehair mattresses, butter churn, and a 1961 Vauxhall Victor ‘One Owner’ car.(Warwick’s mother’s car)

Granny's Old Car

Granny’s Old Car

Renovation of the stable block long planned was finally beginning.

Fortunately and coincidentally, our local Community Centre in Multyfarnham held a Scrap Saturday so several trailer loads of old drainpipes, tractor parts, feed bins, paint tins, barbed wire and even Warwick’s old pram headed off to Multy. More trailer loads of recyclables were taken to the Recycling Centre in Mullingar.

Warwick's old pram

Warwick’s old pram

Work has continued steadily. Old slates which had already fallen into one section of the stables were rescued and other parts of the roof taken down. Removal of the panelling in the Harness Room revealed a mass of wheat and oat bran left by the mice which had obviously taken up residence there.The loft above the stables was used to store the bags of wheat, oats and barley after ‘threshing’. The hoist used for lifting the bags of grain into the loft was removed several years ago and stored in the garage. It is still in working order and we plan to install it in the stables once renovated.

Harness Room clearout

Spaces between the batons behind the panelling were full of bran.

Bran left by generations of mice beneath the panelling in the harness room

Bran left by generations of mice beneath the panelling in the harness room

1st Nov;13 010

The stable roof has been removed. Slates saved will be reused in the on the new roof.

Scaffolding on the southside of stableblock

Scaffolding on the southside of stableblock

Halloween

Young callers on Halloween had us completely foxed as to their identity.

Halloween guests whosev completely fooled us as to thir identity

Halloween guests whosev completely fooled us as to their identity

Updating the Septic Tank

Last year Ireland implemented an inspection system for septic tanks. The existing tank installed in 1896 and updated in 1987,  has been deemed unsuitable, so a new sophisticated tank is being installed. Indeed the team are currently working under floodlights!

The project has involved creating a massive percolation field as well as digging a massive hole. Several young trees, roses and shrubs have needed moving and branches cut, to allow access for the digger.

So no doubt we will be left with piles of soil to move and landscaping to be done.

Digging to Australia? No, only hole for new septic tank.

Digging to Australia? No, only hole for new septic tank.

Tank being lowered into ground

Tank being lowered into ground

Christmas Mincemeat

Ingredients for mincemeat

As children, the approach of Christmas was announced not by a massive television advertising campaign but by bowls of dried fruit being stirred as we each made a wish. Steam filled kitchens as the Christmas puddings were boiled seemingly for days. Always with the instruction not to let the pot go dry! These days we continue making our pudding and mincemeat for mince pies. Indeed we have a cookie jar from Canada which is used for storage when deemed the mix has been stirred enough. It is veritably’ pickled’ with  a drop of ‘the hard stuff”

The following recipe is one we have been using for years. Each year we make a batch of our own mincemeat

Mincemeat

(Makes 6-8lb)

1 ½ lb. stoned raisins

1 ½ lb. currants

1 ½ lb  suet*

3 large  lemons (rind and juice)

2lb       soft brown or muscovada sugar

8oz.      mixed peel

2lb       large apples peeled and grated

3Tbsp orange marmalade

8 floz.  Brandy or whiskey

Method

  1. Mix together all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir every day for a week.
  3. Put into jars and store for at least a month to ensure development of flavour.

*Vegetable suet is available from Atora

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