Posts

Imbolg 2018

Image
Tonight is the eve of Imbolg/St Brigid's Day,  and the traditional start of Spring but it definitely doesn't feel Spring-like today.  It is bitter cold out there, I've seen rain, sleet and snow all in the last two hours.  Still, we've had some very mild weather over the past few weeks and there's just a start to a bit of a stretch in the evenings.  There's no denying it, Spring is on the way.

January is a notoriously long month in Ireland.  After the celebrating and excess of December, January fasting (chosen or enforced!) seems to go on and on and on.  And then, around late January, something special starts to happen.  We start to see shoots and buds, coming up all over the place.  In our front garden, the hyacinths I planted last Autumn are now in full bloom.  I am so pleased with them.  A few have double blooms.


They make a much needed burst of colour after the darker, monotone Winter months.  And their scent is heavenly.  If I could pinpoint one scent that …

A Season of Lights

Image
I adore Winter.  In Dublin we live farther North than you'd expect, at about the same latitude as Edmonton, Alberta.  So in the Winter the sun sits very low in the sky.  The winter light is absolutely beautiful.


As much as I love gardening, it is a great time to sit back and enjoy how everything has died back.  Its the one time of the year I actually get to see through to the back wall!

Although the garden might look barren, there is so much going on under the surface.  The tulips are already shooting up, along with narcissi shoots and the snowdrops I planted this past Autumn are in (early) bloom.

Even the mixed lettuce I over-optimistically planted last Autumn has survived, so far.

Winter is also a fantastic time to plan what's going to be planted the following Spring.  I haven't quite gotten there yet but am finalising the infrastructure changes I'd like to make in the garden this winter. Namely, drilling into the back cement wall to hang trellising for clematis an…

How to Become an Irish Citizen

Image
I recently had the very great honour of gaining my Irish Citizenship and going to the Irish Citizenship  Ceremony on Monday, 27 November.  Tá sé iontach ar fad! There were tears! The Department of Justice does an absolutely wonderful job of being both efficient and extremely touching and personal at the same time.  Massive bualadh bos.


I have received multiple queries from people regarding what the process was like so I thought I'd write a bit on it.  Note: all information is only valid as of Nov/Dec 2017.  Immigration laws can and do change.  Make sure you have the most current information available.



There are multiple ways to apply for Irish citizenship.  I applied on the basis that I have lived in Ireland legally for over five years (naturalisation through "reckonable residence").  One may also apply through marriage if one is married to an Irish citizen and living in Ireland for the past three years. If your parents or grandparents were born in Ireland you may be e…

Homemade Bread from Sourdough Starter

Image
Hi! I'm currently at the helm of the @Ireland account (13 - 19 Nov 2017) and have been tweeting all week about what I get up to.  One of the things I regularly do is make my own bread from sourdough starter.  A few kind peops have asked for the recipe so I thought I'd share it (below).  Enjoy!

Sourdough Starter

You can buy or make your own.  Making your own costs practically nothing and just takes time.

Add  about 1 & 1/2 cups warm water to 1 cup flour and mix together.  Mixture should resemble a thin soup.  Cover with tea cloth and leave for 5-7 days, after which it should start to be a bit stinky (that's good).   There should also be loads of bubbles on the surface.  Its alive!
Your sourdough starter will now need to be feed every day or every other day, about 1/2 cup flour to 1/4 cup warm water (mix thoroughly).  If going away for the weekend or on hols, you can put in fridge for up to maybe 10 days.
Homemade bread

Okay, this is the tricky part because bread is reall…

Meán Fómhair sa ghairdín

Image
The wheel continues to turn.  We've passed Lúghnasa and the days are getting noticeably shorter.  Dublin doesn't get very cold and certainly doesn't experience extremes of weather but we're actually at the same latitude as Edmonton, Alberta.  Therefore, at the height of summer, the sky is still light at 23.00, goes a bit dark for four hours and then brightens again by 04.30.  At this time of year, I feel the darkness enveloping the earth like a warm, cosy blanket.

Although the days are shorter, we are still in the big growth season.  Peas might be done but the courgettes, cabbage, sweetcorn, tomatoes and carrots are just hitting their peak performance.







I've had so much cabbage that this year I made both sauerkraut and kim chi and miraculously it worked! They are all now living in the 'fridge and probably won't last long due to being very tasty!  I have also juiced cabbage, kale and carrots to freeze and add to soups and stews throughout the winter.







I'…

Gardening at its most lush: August 2017

Image
There is something particularly lush about this time of year.  Its harvest time, so croppable plants planted in spring are either ready to pick or nearly there.  All the autumn annuals and perennials are getting ready to shine - sunflowers, Chinese lanterns, autumn asters.  I try to have something in bloom during every season so I'm really excited for the show of Autumn colour this year.  The two Chinese lantern plants I planted last Spring don't seem to be doing very much yet, but the sunflowers and asters should bring a burst of gold and purple to the garden.



I have an incredible cabbage harvest this year which is possibly, partially, due to my starting to use nematodes for slugs.  In previous years the slugs have wiped out most of the young cabbage plants.  I've so much cabbage that I'm having a go at making my own sauerkraut and kimchi.  My hope is to be able to use food from the garden as much as possible in our day-to-day living.  Fingers crossed they turn out! …