Monday 23 September 2013

Lake View

We are having a bit of a pleasant surprise mini heat-wave to go with our autumn Equinox, blue skies, temperatures up to 25 degrees C (very warm for us here!) and a warm gentle breeze. We sweat real sweat when working and I was even perspiring a bit when just walking the dogs down the lane. Definitely not complaining.

Well, the 'All Ireland' is now come and gone and Liz, Sparks and K-Dub are all happy because Dublin won the famous 'Sam Maguire' trophy by just a point. It wasn't a particularly good game, low scoring but close enough. Of course Tony, in the local Post Office, is not happy but today he was waxing philosophical saying that "for all their crowing, they only bate us by a point!" At the far end of the village (Lough Glynn) is a small group of houses lived in by Dublin-born families and these guys have great fun putting out all the pale/dark blue Dublin flags and bunting like a small blue island in a sea of green and red Mayo flags.

One of the Dads is a really nice, funny bloke and he was straight on the phone to Tony this morning asking if the post office would be open, or closed for mourning. Tony assured him it would, indeed, be open, so the guy nipped along the main street in his normal clothes but with a big bag under his arm. Tony says that when he got to the PO he hid round the corner and changed into a huge array of Dublin gear - silly hats, huge gloves ("He looked like bloomin' Jeronimo!") - so that he could burst in on Tony and tease him for a while. Then he nipped back round the corner, changed back and went home wearing his 'civvies'. Crazy dude!

Goldie the Rabbit has now got a full time job. She is our mower for the path round the pond, so we are thinking of renaming her house 'Lake View'. As she eats each box of grass we pull her round to the next bit. She particularly seems to like the plantains and clovers - these always vanish first. She grazes off the grass when there is nothing else left. Amusingly there is a real house just down the lane called Lake View because, presumably, when it was built it had a good view down to Lough Feigh, our local lake. Like so many other houses here it was built in a corner of one of the fields of the family farm, and Mum moved in. Now the farm has prospered and they have built a huge new cattle shed and feed-silo opposite Mum's house, completely blocking any view of the Lake from her windows or garden. I bet that went down well!

Accidental crop
Picture here is an accidental crop. In 2012 we grew, deliberately, some decorative gourds but then forgot that we had and tried to eat one of the two-colour, light-bulb-shaped "squashes" in a casserole. Luckily for us the chunks of squash in the stew were so bitter that we quickly realised that these were not edible and have since found out that they are actually quite poisonous.

This year I have tried to stick to courgettes, pumpkins and custard squash but I have somehow mixed up some growing plants and planted (or transplanted) another of these lightbulb gourds into one of the kitchen garden beds where it has done very well. We left it be, and have now cut these weird looking gourds, now big enough to have sprouted warty lumps all over, for purely decorative reasons and they are attracting much comment from visitors, drying as they are on the front windowsill.

Liz has bravely gone off and found a very good, new (to us) hair dresser in Balla-D, this one a lady called Noelle in a shop called Halo. Liz had been getting quite shaggy having not had a decent haircut yet in Ireland and was getting fed up with it. She was looking longingly at a photo we have of her from 10-15 years back, framed in the spare room. She took the picture out of its frame and carried it along with her to Halo where they were happy to oblige and Liz is delighted with the restoration of an earlier look. I like it very much. I like it too, especially because there was talk at one stage of me having to have a go with my scissors. I can't think I'd have been able to produce anything as nice as this!

Out in the allotment I am mad into some autumn tidying. I had grown some marigolds and nasturtiums this year intending them as a companion plant to a row of new raspberry canes, to attract in a few insects and help with pollination. In the event they went completely mad burying the poor raspberries under a forest of 2 foot tall marigolds and rampaging nasturtium stems, covering the ridge and flooding sideways and down into the trenches either side. While they were in full flower they were quite a picture, blazing with the hot oranges and yellows or the marigolds and the deeper red of the nasturtium which was a stated variety I have now forgotten.

 Now, though, they are an over blown mess which needs tidying up, so I have been in there yesterday and today clearing the trenches and finally being able to scythe off the shaggy grass of the edge-path and then mow right to the edge. I know it is only mid September and very warm, but I am hoping that the grass will soon start to slow down a bit and this will be nearly the final mow for some of these areas; that they are now tidied and 'put to bed' for autumn. I doubt it somehow. We are pleased with the artichokes pictured. These plants were grown from seed only this spring so we were not really hoping for any crop this year, but these guys have obliged us with a couple of small tennis-ball sized heads which will go nicely with supper tonight.

We took a nice phone call today, from Mentor Anne. She and Simon are, rather excitingly, going to build a straw-bale building as a broody house for their quail. They have done this before using the technology to create a real actual human house in which they lived in one of their previous Irish small holdings. They end up being quite a sophisticated building perfectly habitable for modern families with all the mod cons. For this one, Simon needs a lend of our cement mixer which we bought during our own build. I will  check with Anne whether she is happy for me to provide links to her own blog where the build is described and depicted in pictures, or possibly if I might borrow some images. It will be nice for the mixer to get some use. It did very well for us during our own works but has since sat in the shed gathering dust.

1 comment:

Anne Wilson said...

Yes Matt, by all means post a link to my blog.
Many thanks for your one and only custard squash plant, I will be posting a photo of the fruit on my next post, just to make you jealous!