Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Please someone buy our house!!

I've just spent ages washing-up, not usually my favourite pastime, but it made me really sad today. I could hear Babba Roo getting up to his monkey antics behind me and every so often I'd turn around to see him standing on the sofa, trying to examine the insides of the vacuum cleaner or studying CD cases as if he was browsing in a record shop. The layout of the kitchen means I can't see what he's doing a lot of the time and he's so mobile now, nowhere is out of his range.
Then I thought about our lovely kitchen in Ballymacarbry that we'd designed so that I would have been able to work away and see Wee playing in the kitchen, living room and garden. And I thought what a waste of a lovely house. And here we are stuck in this place with a building site for a garden. Unfortunately, we can't live in the house in Ballymac. But someone should be. I'm saying two novenas at the moment: one to the Sacred Heart, the other to St Thérèse. We can't move on until the house is sold, so we really need their help.

Monday, 19 May 2008

What's happening to the bees?

I keep finding dead honey-bees in the house. It’s unusual enough for them to come inside in the first place, but finding their lifeless bodies is kind of eerie. It reminds me of the increasing reports of ‘disappearing’ bees.

One of the theories is that the radiation from mobile phones is harming colonies. This is from an online Independent article

The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation
systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way
to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to
back this
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's
inhabitants suddenly
disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature
workers, like so many
apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never
found, but thought to die
singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and
other bees that normally raid
the honey and pollen left behind when a colony
dies, refuse to go anywhere near
the abandoned hives.
Bees don't just make honey, they are responsible for pollinating plants too, so without them life on earth could not continue. Yet as is often the case, very little seems to be happening to find out the cause of their decline and how to stop it.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Little Angels

I went to see my TP class receive their First Holy Communion today. I’d known about it for ages, but being there was a spur of the moment decision in the end. I'm so glad I went.

The ceremony went like clockwork and the children’s singing was wonderful. It was lovely to see all my little charges from November dressed up in their best and looking angelic. It took me a while to recognise some of them!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Great news

After I'd put Wee to bed this evening, I decided I'd find out what was making me so tired. I had suspected I was pregnant, but didn't dare hope that it was true. It's a bit early to be announcing it, but no-one else reads this and I'm bursting to tell everyone, so this is a safe place to say, Yippee!! We're expecting another baby!

St Therese must have been working away for us. I discovered a little cluster of green rosebuds on the rosebush this morning.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Sunny May days

On this day in 1883, St Thérèse was healed by Our Lady who appeared to her in a statue next to her sickbed.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Na prátaí

Here's a fotie of the potato drills. Thank you Lee! xxx

Can you tell what it is yet?

I just received a wonderful grace! Hares! And it’s partly thanks to a caterpillar.

I’d just put the washing out and was standing very still watching a pied wagtail tottering along the new kerb. I was hoping he’d fly up to where I’d left a hairy molly caterpillar on the oil tank, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted something skirting along the edge of the field. I thought it would be one of the neighbourhood cats, but it was actually a hare! She disappeared into the next field and I felt privileged to have seen her. A few minutes later though, I noticed something brown in the corner of the field, so I got the binoculars and was thrilled to see TWO hares emerge!

I hadn’t seen any for weeks until this morning. The field behind our house has been open, up to a few days ago, to about 6 horses (or hissies as Wee calls them) so there was probably no extra food there for the hares but with the rain and warmth of the last few days, it’s probably worth their while having a nibble there again. They stayed there for quite a while, exploring the whole field. One of them has a lop-sided ear, so he’s easily recognisable.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Pentecost, potatoes, pigs and perfect plots

Today we finally planted our potatoes! Hooray! Here are some of the little spuds before they got covered in soil. Lee dug some lovely drills and added manure before we put them in. They are Records and we got them from Fruithill Farm in Bantry.

I also planted the courgette and lettuce seeds under cover. We saw some lovely lettuce today in a gorgeously neat little plot in the Free-range pig farm down the road. Just look: Of course, being a pig farm they also have pigs. Here are some Piggie pics. I love pigs. And these ones are so happy.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Golden apples and chatty birds

A little update: the tomato plants (Golden Peacevine from Irish Seedsavers) are growing well in the ‘greenhouse’ aka Mum’s room, the sunniest in the house. Jamie Oliver says in Jamie at Home that the original tomatoes, which arrived in Europe from South America in the 16th Century, were yellow (like these ones will be), hence their name in Italian, ‘golden apples’. Also, they were considered poisonous and used only as decorative plants until famine forced people to try eating them. I have a grow bag for them but will keep them inside for a while so they can make the most of the warmth.

The sunflowers have really shot up. They’ve grown about 4inches/10cm in just 4 days!!

While in the Milk Market this dull morning, we bought three strawberry plants from Stephen the unofficial organic veg bloke. He says he’s not sure what variety they are. He planted Elsanta a few years ago, but these ones could be anything.... Can't wait to taste them. Just think- our very own strawberries!

While on our walk this evening, Wee and me saw two little birds talking to each other on a telegraph line. Looking up my bird guide, I think they must have been a pair of chats: I can't decide between Stonechat or Whinchat. You can listen to their calls here . Apparently what we heard was their alarm call.

On another note, I finally sent that email to Innocent about my objection to them funding Womankind and my decision not to buy their smoothies again.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

St Thérèse's lovely day

On Monday, Mum, Wee and me went to Knock. It was the national day in honour of St Thérèse and this year they celebrated the 150th Anniversary of her parents, Louis & Zelie Martin's marriage.

It was a beautiful day with warm sunshine and a soft breeze: the kind of day that is at a premium in Knock, in my experience. There were huge crowds there too: we went into the Basilica about 2 o'clock to venerate her relics (one of her feet apparently) and the place was filling up already for Mass at 3. Wee isn't terribly keen on waiting quietly in very slow-moving queues, so after a little while we decided to find somewhere to sit for Mass.

For the Responsorial Psalm, they sang the Magnificat, which I really love. (So much so that we asked a good friend and angelic singer to sing it at our wedding Mass.) They also sang The Love of my Lord is the Essence, among other things. James Kilbane sang beautifully.

Unfortunately, I missed the sermon, due to tending to Babba-roo. I got back to the basilica in time for the Anointing of the sick. After Mass, they continued venerating St Thérèse's relics by getting people to line up and process in front of the altar. There was a bit of an un-Christian stampede for this, so we reluctantly left to avoid Roo getting trampled underfoot. We were disappointed and baffled that they didn't bless the whole congregation with the relics. Outside the basilica, we noticed a statue of St Thérèse (pictured) so we said a prayer there and made for home. On the way, we stopped at the bookshop and bought some beautiful children's books, including this one, by Maite Roche, which is lovely to read before bedtime. Mum bought one of her books, Je vous salue Marie, for Wee in Nevers last year and it's funny to see him 'reading' it solemnly in his cot as if he understood every word.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

New Life!

After several days of waiting and occasional peeking, most of our seeds have sprouted! Even though they were planted over several days, they all seem to have decided to emerge at the same time.
I noticed the Sweet peas first (above), but nearly missed them because I had only been checking the ones I’d soaked first. Yesterday I looked at the untreated ones and was taken aback to see the little shepherd’s crooks had appeared. So the result of my experiment is that soaking for 24 hours doesn’t accelerate germination. Maybe a longer soaking would have worked. In any case they only took 7days.
Yesterday I noticed the Sunflowers (left). They'd been in the airing cupboard.
And this morning I was thrilled to see the Baby Blue Eyes (below).

Still waiting for the Basil and Coriander, which have been moved from the utility into Mum’s room under newspaper.

I really must get a move on and plant the Courgette and Lettuce seeds I got from Irish Seedsavers. And the potatoes are overdue a planting now too.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008


Here's a little photo of one of the many cowslips growing in the garden.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Two nice surprises

1. A lovely phone call from a faraway friend.

2. Another milestone for Wee.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Wow! I knew earthworms were important for the soil, but I've been reading more about how important these mighty little creatures are here:
Not all soils in the world originally had earthworms, but once they were introduced, they became fertile and productive for the first time. I'm not sure about them being able to sing though....

Exterminate! Exterminate!

More planting and garden shenanigans on this, the first day of May, a mixture of sunshine and rain, with a chill still hanging in the air. More signs of the swallows too. It is lovely being outside and hearing the sound of busy birds all around. In the old days this would have been Ascension Thursday and it's also St Joseph's feast day.

Wee was in the garden with me, getting happily dirty with his bucket and spade, while I continued filling a big pot with a mixture of clay, sandy soil (courtesy of our landlord) and multi-purpose compost. It’s for some carrot seeds, so the soil needs to be very light so the roots don’t split.

All the activity resulted in Wee falling asleep over his snack, so once he was napping in his cot I went out again for more planting. This time sunflower seeds in individual pots and more of those Baby Blue Eyes next to the exiled Contorted Willow in its big pot.

Now that I am expecting (little baby plants, that is), it’s time to get tough on slugs again. I went a bit crazed a couple of years ago after a lovely blue delphinium was devoured by the feckers and I wreaked revenge by collecting hundreds of them in the evening and early morning to stop them destroying other plants. This time round I am less squeamish and am slicing them with the spade rather than drowning them in beer.
On a more positive note, it was great to see so many earthworms in the pots. I showed some to Wee who was eager to pick them up and try to squeeze them.
The horses have come into the field behind us again and the foal is looking grand and strong.