Spring in full bloom

March 9, 2015

Minature daffodils and hellibores.

Minature daffodils and hellibores.

After a slow start the snowdrops have bloomed and we are waiting for the daffodils to come into flower. We were a little fearful that we might lose some after the ‘big move’ they made last year. We needed to move snowdrops and daffodil bulbs last winter to make room for the three large tanks which needed to be installed as part of our new waste water facility. So we lifted the bulbs to fresh ground and whilst there may need to be a little adjustment after they have flowered this year they have weathered the move well. As a great deal of clearing of undergrowth has also taken place we can now see those snowdrops hidden for recent years now they are in full bloom . We do need to try to remove more of the brambles which have thrived as we have concentrated on the walled garden.

 

 

Renovation of the Stables

The renovation of the stables is moving on as the ground floor has been tiled and the floorboards will be going down  upstairs over the next two weeks. We think this project has been a veritable modern minor miracle.  The  building once the hub of farm life here to virtual dereliction had taken years. When we returned from Canada it was full of old farm equipment, my late mother-in-laws car, old working saddles, travel trunks  and many other ‘items’ which were designated as being ‘might be useful at some time. Needless to say all has been move  or disposed off. The studios will be available for use by guests or for rent by others. Indeed they will be suitable as a destination and use for small boutique weddings or other family gatherings. More news will be posted on our website once the project is complete.

 

Holly and Noddy

Holly and Noddy

Jams and Chutneys

On a cold and chilly February morning there is nothing more rewarding than making a batch of jam or chutney or jam. Once we had cleaned the freezer and counted the bags of fruit still waiting to be used. we set to work to make some strawberry and raspberry jams to restock the store cupboard. The smell of the jams as they cook welcomes neighbours as they drop in for a chat.

Raspberry Jam

1 kg. Raspberries

1 kg. Granulated sugar or preserving sugar

Method

  1. Prepare jam jars by washing if necessary and put into oven at 100°C
  2. Place raspberries into a heavy based saucepan.
  3. Using a potato masher crush the raspberries to release the juice.
  4. Add a small hazel nut sized lump of butter.
  5. Heat the fruit and stir in the sugar. Making sure that all the grains are dissolved before bringing the mix to a rolling boil.
  6. Boil for 4-5 minutes until setting pint is reached.
  7. To check for setting draw pot from heat, put a little jam on a plate and allow to cool. Jam should wrinkle when pushed or form a flake when poured off a wooden spoon rather than steady drops.

 

Frosty morning-4th February'15 011

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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.