Saturday, May 31, 2008

Gort Show Ads + Gardening 29, 30 May 08

On Thursday, we had a job to do. We had to go and sell advertising for the Gort Show Catalogue in The Square, Gort. We approached this with some trepidation, not really knowing what sort of reception we'd get. However, we needn't have worried. Most of those who'd had an ad last year wanted one for this year and we also managed to get some new ones. We took cash from a few too. We broke off for lunch, I had chips and cheese at Supermacs with a cappuccino and Jim had chicken burger and chips. Mmmmm, can't beat it. We hung about for a few who'd said 'come back later', filling in some time at Lidl and Aldi. Back to the final few, a quick ice cream in Supermacs, dashed through the rain back to the car and home about 7pm ish. The poor cats were starving!

We managed to get out into the garden for a bit, but the gnats were terrible, so we came in about 9.

Today, Friday, it rained on and off but didn't stop us from getting out. Jim powered up the ride on mower and mowed the arboretum. I cut the back lawn edge and weeded the rockery. It all looked rather splendid. The first rose is now in full bloom in our snake bed and looks gorgeous. It's a Peace. Around 5ish there was a beautiful, strong rainbow, of which I took many photos! It lasted for ages and there was a 2nd fainter one too. Tools were put away and we retired inside to save being eaten alive.

This evening I've been doing some more of my hooked woolen rug, Jim's been up on his computer. I watched a good film starring Anthony Hopkins called 'Fracture'. Do catch it if you can. Sandy seems to be missing this evening, BlackJack is upstairs as usual. I'll have a quick look for him before bed. I'll pop some photos on if I can.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

28th May 08 Bad Start, Good Ending

I'm ashamed to say we didn't wake up until 1pm today! Still, if you go to bed at 4am, what do you expect? We had 'breakfast' on our new Jack and Jill seat combo in the back garden. Gorgeous day, no wind and bits of cloud and sun. I then weeded the potato patch on Jim's vege plot. Looks all smart now. I also collected some more stones from it for my Grotto Garden floor.

Jim mowed the back lawn and the orchard. I decided to do some weeding in the orchard as the 'sticky bob' weed is growing apace down there. I don't know the real name for that weed, it grows from a tiny stem and climbs all over and up plants and it's sticky! So, Sticky Bob it is to me. I also pulled up lots of raspberries that are appearing all over the place. The gnats were driving me crazy and Jim brought a garden candle to try and drive them away. As long as I stuck my chin just above it I was ok!!

We did have a willow igloo in the orchard, but it had got very tatty and broken, so I have burned most of it down. There is one thick willow trunk left, so I thought I'd light a bonfire around it to try and get rid of it, or at least weaken it. Jim suggested we have our dinner round the fire, which seemed like a splendid idea. He went off and planted a gorgeous red leaved tree in the arboretum and did a few other jobs while I sorted the fire. It went really well and we took the picnic chairs down, hung a lamp on a tree and Jim brought our dinner down. Left over Spag Bol in big bowls with a buttered roll and a glass of white Chardonnay, delicious. Followed by a mini magnum type ice cream on a stick. Bliss. We sat and chatted and played with the fire until it was just embers, then went inside. A splendid day, although a bit short!!

Much computerising followed. Kat, my daughter was on msn for a change. Chatted about this and that and I decided to go to visit her for her birthday on 30th August. All planned and booked! It'll be lovely to see Lina, Kirsty and co too. Chatting some more, I mentioned that Ryanair were doing flights for 5euros. Jim said, from upstairs, 'for example, if you come on June 24th, go back on 26th, it's 10 euros'. Kay looked it up and booked there and then. Even better, Rachel said she'd come too. I'm so so pleased as Kay hasn't seen it here yet and I know she will love it, and Rachel too.

It's also good that they will see it before our extension is done, so will see the 'before and after'.

I'm very excited by the prospect of showing them the Burren, having a night at the local music venue, 'Peppers', which has a music night on the Wednesday that they are here! We'll decide on the other activities according to the weather. Woo hoo!!!!

We said we'd go to bed a bit earlier tonight as tomorrow we have to go round the shops in Gort and try and sell advertising space in the Gort Show Programme. We are both on the committee having offered to help last year. Jim has been asked today to be chief safety officer! SO, I must to bed now. It's 2.35am, so a bit earlier than yesterday. I blame it all on my mother, who always stayed up late reading. It's genetic I'm afraid!

Night night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Emersion Blow Up! Midges Galore, 27 May 08

We had to stay around today as the plumber, Michael, was coming. Our emersion heater trips the fuse every time it's switched on, so we assumed the element had gone. As it happened, when Michael switched it back on again, it worked, of course! But it soon blew the fuse again and it seems we may need an electrician, not a plumber. Still, we had a good chat and he had coffee and told us about his wood pellet boiler!

I weeded one of the front beds, now full to busting with gladioli, so it's really hard to get down amongst them to get at the weeds! BlackJack came and helped! The tiny midges were everywhere, so I brought 2 garden candles outside and burned them to keep them away. It worked a bit. Did some strimming until my strimmer fell apart then gave up the hopeless battle against the midges and went in.

Jim cooked a lovely spag bol, followed by rhubarb (from the garden), custard with a sponge top. Wonderful.

My old dog Tessa had to be put down, sad news (she was with my ex husband) and my sister's old dog Boris, who we met in Australia in Feb/March, also had to be put down. Not a good week for dogs.

Apart from that, not much else to report.

Photos of Doorus, Up all Night! 27.5.08

It was a funny old day yesterday! Not least because I stayed up all night making my latch hook rug and watching rubbish tv. As I mentioned yesterday, I went on a dawn walk around our land and took lots of photos. Not much to report today. I collapsed around 8.30am and slept until 1pm! This afternoon I've been pottering and cutting the grass edges of the flower beds on the arboretum, and weeding the beds too. Finished as the midges attacked again and Jim had our dinner ready. So here I am. I've donated to my daughter's 'Race for Life' Cancer site and spent a while browsing all her photos. Some lovely floral ones too. Here's my lot:
I'm not sure how they'll come out. Wish I could label them for you. I have taken some of the wild flowers, the foxgloves are just coming into bloom, the forget me nots about finished. The flower of the clover is so pretty, sorry the photo is a little blurred. It was very early this morning. My latest big effort has been to sort out the Grotto Garden. The floor was all horrid black mud and weeds, which I removed by the barrow load, then put layers of stones down so that it's now fresh smelling and dry underfoot. Much better. I have planted loads of violas, sedum, creeping Jenny and various ferns too. Should be lovely by next Summer, but I already love it. What looks like an art project with lots of green and white bits is the bottom half of the meadow. The deer keep getting in and eating all our new ash trees and we've been told that they don't like white carrier bags as they shine in the dark and make a noise, so that's my attempt to preserve our trees!! Looks quite fun really. If you want to know what anything else is, just ask.

All this and other photos are on my Facebook site. Hopefully that should work. Happy Tuesday all. xx

Monday, May 26, 2008

Birds and Bats, The Garden Blooms 26.5.08

Last night we went on a bird and bat walk at Coole Park, a lovely wooded area with a great cafe and walks, a lake and river. They do free walks occasionally and we thought this could be good. So many people turned up that it was a bit difficult to hear the different bird songs, but we did our best and this morning, having not been to bed at all last night, I tested my new found knowledge by going on a dawn chorus walk around our land. I'm not sure how I did, but I definitely identified a song thrush, robin, blackbird, swallow and blue and great tits. I'm sure there were lots more but that's all I could be sure of. Oh and a magpie, crows and pheasant! They don't really sing though, more like make rather an awful noise!

The bird walk was followed by a bat walk. Coffee or tea and complimentary biscuits revived us for this next exercise. We walked down to the turlock again, having taken the same route for the bird walk. The turlock is a lake that fills and empties according to the water levels. We divided into groups and each had a bat sound recorder. These pick up the bats' sonar and convert it into audible noise for us to hear. I have done this before but it's still fun. We didn't see that many, some pipistrels and some we could hear but not see. The midges were biting a bit too. It was getting a bit cold and the promised bats over the river didn't materialise so we walked back to our car and were surprised to see it was almost 11pm! The bird walk was scheduled for 7.30pm so it was a full evening.

We hadn't had dinner before we set off, having watched the final of a rugby trophy between Munster and Toulouse, which finished at 6.45. Munster won, hoorah!! So, after our walks, we decided to stop in Gort and gobbled down some very hot freshly cooked fish and chips. Not a great ambiance to the place, but good food! We managed to avoid getting any of the little army of ants that marched across the table onto our plates! Then it was home for a much needed cup of tea.

The garden has gone mad the past few days with rain and sun alternately. One of the newly planted roses is about to flower! I have taken some photos to show the changes. I took quite a few this morning and some of a lovely sky yesterday evening.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Roses Grow On You, 21st May 08

Today we decided it was time to plant our roses. We were going to make a formal rose garden but in the winter the plot turned into a swimming pool, so we realised it wasn't a good spot for roses. Jim had the brilliant idea of planting a line of roses, like a snake, from the bottom to almost the top of the arboretum. We marked out the snake with rope and I cut the turf for Jim to remove. The ground is very stony but ok. We managed to plant about 8 of the roses and they look just great. I'll take a photo when it's all done. I'm so pleased with it so far.

I spent a while collecting stones for the base of the grotto. This area is incredibly wet and was very smelly too. I pulled up the weeds and took out the black muddy stuff underneath and am covering the whole area with stones. At least we'll be able to walk round there. I have some lovely plants growing there, loads of violas, ferns and sedums but it was too wet to walk around there. Should be another good section of our 5 acres sorted. As our neighbours would say 'We're getting there'.

We have had some rain today, but, believe it or not the garden needs it, especially the vege plot and newly planted roses. It will also be a test for my new grotto flooring.

Not much else to report. My daughter in law's Mum has been in hospital with a bowel infection but is fine now thank goodness. Intravenous antibiotics sorted it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ireland Updates 20 May 08

I don't really know where to start. Spring was a bit cold and after the rain the spring flowers weren't anywhere near as good as last year. Still, there were plenty of violets and now the bluebells are out. Plenty of primroses filled the banks around the orchard, though they have all but finished now.

The rest of the garden is beginning to look lovely. A recent spate of warm weather has everything shooting up almost as you watch and the grass seems to be growing daily. We did buy the super 15.5 horse power ride on mower and Jim has had fun riding it about everywhere. I have a motorised wheelbarrow which is the best purchase ever.

I had a mad spate of clearing the top barn and moved most of the machinery up there. It is dry and easy to reach. I spring cleaned the barn near the house but it isn't quite finished yet.

Paddy the architect came back with out plans which we altered where necessary. Jim has been to see him today for the nitty gritty stuff of where the radiators and sockets go, etc.

We have had a worrying 2 days as BlackJack, one of our lovely cats, decided to go to the top of our Neutka Cyprus, a very long way up, then he couldn't get down. He was up there all last night and it looked like he was going to remain there tonight. He meowed and yowled like a baby. Jim and I spent ages at tea time trying to coax him down. Finally, it worked and Jim caught him in his arms. Tonight, after scoffing his food, he has mostly slept. Apparently he did this when we were in Australia, so I won't be surprised if he decides to go tree climbing again. Stupid cat.

Also I have a bout of cystitis, which I haven't had for ages. It makes me quite poorly but I feel better this evening and now. My daughter has also been in hospital today to have a heart monitor put under her skin. Luckily all went well and she only had a local anaesthetic, brave girl. Oh, and the immersion heater blew yesterday, so it's cold water all round. Luckily we have an electric shower so we don't smell!

Finally, while Jim was coaxing BlackJack down, I found a cat poo behind the television set! All over the wires too. Yuk. They have been so good in that department. Ah well, hopefully it was a one off.

I'll post some photos of the gardens in the spring.