Do you have a cupboard under your stairs? Is it a cloakroom, a storeroom, a darkroom  or do you, like “Mrs Brown” of ”Mrs Brown’s Boys,” have a loo in it? Ours is used a store for the ‘children’s ‘ toys and Christmas decorations, as well as those things that we need to get ‘out of sight’ of visitors. Each year, as we put away the collection of Christmas tree decorations, we try to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ to be stored. Our children are kids no longer, however, the toys are sorted, washed or cleaned and put away so that young visitors can play with them. The Fisher-Price castle is a great favourite, so is the old toy garage. Spring cleaning has begun and more ‘stuff’ is heading out for recycling and charity shops!

Early Morning at Mornington

Early Morning from front steps at Mornington 

The winter solstice has passed, days are stretching. Shadows are shortening and it’s time to think about gardening.

Yesterday, we made a trip to Dublin; to Mr Middleton’s store on Mary Street. Chatting to John, a fellow peruser of the racks of seeds; I was looking for chilli pepper seeds, he was about to purchase parsnip seeds. Telling us that he was planning to grow them in a tube. Living in North Dublin and is lucky to have deep soil  but prefers to grow them in a tube. A brief chat and we went about our separate ways. Gardeners always compare notes. Certainly our guests delight in telling us about their gardens and inevitably we compare notes on the difficulties we each face. Whether it is ‘disappearing soil’ the area just south of the great lakes in the U.S., the invading deer, or the neighbours cattle, wandering donkeys, gardeners are eternal optimists. So in spite of difficulties, we still plan, purchase, sow, nurture, harvest and give away much of our crop.

Rhubarb and onions

Rhubarb and onions

The onions and garlic had a good start. Planted November, they benefited from the relatively mild weather in November and December. At least this year, they got sufficient rain!

A new year and a new start. I was full of good intentions for 2014. My new year resolution is to keep up with my fellow bloggers. However, we have been somewhat overtaken by family events with both offspring announcing their engagements! Whilst much of the country has been battling gales, fallen trees and flooding we are playing catch-up to get on with the regular (perhaps boring?) but important chores in garden and house.

So it looks as if 2014 is going to be a monumental year for the O’Haras. as both our young have announced their engagements and will be married before the year is out. We celebrated Christmas with family and close friends. The house is quiet again. So spring cleaning has begun.

January sunset

January sun on Knock Eyon