Imbolg 2018

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.

Brigid's cross. St Brigid's Day is Feb 1 
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.

Mixed hyacinths

Mixed hyacinths
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 reminded me of Spring and Easter, it would be hyacinths.  The rest of the Spring bulbs are also making good headway.  The narcissi and tulip shoots are lengthening by the day.  The tulip shoots in the back garden are particularly strong this year, I look forward to their colour in April.

Tulip shoots
The rocket I planted late last autumn has also weathered well through the winter.  Our winters aren't overly cold or harsh and I'll definitely overwinter rocket again.  I've got a few cabbages, kale and spring onions left, and am happy enough with that.  You really can have fresh veg, right out of the garden, all year round.

Rocket

Kale
The primroses are blooming again but are showing some sign of slugs so I need to visit my local garden shop to add nematodes (naturally occurring, in accordance with organic gardening) to the soil.

Primroses
While I've been waiting for things to warm up in the garden, I've been taking time every day to improve the cupla focail I have.  I've also started to learn Norwegian.  If you love languages and are keen to learn a second or third language, don't miss Duolingo.  Its free, user intuitive and has good lessons.  You can easily fit a few lessons into even the busiest of schedules.  I have just enough Irish to be able to speak a bit with my daughter, who, of course, has been learning it in school since junior infants (preschool).  She taught me a mnemonic about urús and I told her about the first Irish meme I was able to translate on my own.


And then I made a Meme as Gaeilge of my own:

If you are looking to improve your Irish or just enjoy a great podcast, Darach O Séaghdha's Motherfoclóir podcast is sheer brilliance.  Don't forget to pick up a copy of the book, either!

Every January I like to accomplish the following major goals: 1) Scrutinise financials, budgeting out the entire next year; 2) book all the travel for the year ahead; 3) get all our medical / dental check ups out of the way; 4) complete any regular maintenance to the house / garden as is necessary.  I.e. one of the windstorms separated a gutter I have so I just have to rejoin them, not a big deal but I'll need a super tall ladder to do it and that just makes it awkward.  Also on my list of DIY house tasks this week: re-caulk the hall bathtub; deep clean all the light fixtures; new bulbs for built in kitchen lighting; get a quote about having the house & wall painted this summer.  For Gardening DIY, I still need to repaint the wrought iron garden furniture and drill / place trellising on the back garden wall and fence.

So I've got a fair amount of work to do in February but in my downtime I'll be finishing Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad and Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpeant.  You can find me on Goodreads, here.

Two weeks ago I had a very important citizen moment when I applied for my Irish passport AND applied to vote.  You have to visit your local Garda (police) station to have them sign off that you are who you say you are etc., and stamp your applications and I found the entire process to be a very positive and efficient one.  And meaningful.  Taking up my citizenship by registering to vote is a very important part of the process for me.  Having my Irish passport is a dream come true.

This week happens to be the 9th anniversary of Fighting Words, a very cool place that I've been volunteering at since 2011!  Both my daughter and I are looking forward to attending their anniversary sesh this Friday.

So as we celebrate one of the cross-quarter days and get ready for Spring to unfold, many blessings to you and yours, in whatever and all endeavours you choose.


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