Thursday, August 25, 2016

Something New

At Sea*

Almost time for the new school year to begin and this year Miss Evie goes into year one at Big School. Doesn't time fly past? I say that even though it is a pet peeve how people talk of time flying.

What happened to the endless hours waiting for the school bell to ring at the end of the day, the ever lasting months in the run up to Christmas and that long, long stretch of summer holiday viewed from the first day of July? Time didn't fly back then and I'll bet Miss Evie thinks it was half a lifetime ago when she started off at nursery school. 

I read somewhere that all it takes to make time slow down is to do something different so I'm doing something different tonight, going to an event in the Ulster Museum in Belfast. I'm looking forward to seeing Glen Hansard (part-timer) and I'm looking forward to seeing my brother-in-law Breanndan Ó Mhuircheartaigh and the Kerry Sister. 

*I am not certain of the provenance of the picture. I think it is by Kerry Sister.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Off Again!

No posting this weekend as I'm off to Donegal for a couple of days. And with all the potting, watering, cleaning, packing and catching up with my wine-making I really need a break!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Peaches and Oak Trees

This has been a wonderful year for raspberries and peaches. Raspberries are over now. A week of wet weather and the wasps finished them off but not before we shared, made gallons of wine and filled the freezer. The peach trees cropped heavily too; the free standing tree lost a branch under the weight of fruit. I need to improve the management  of these trees with more summer pruning and thinning. Meanwhile I need to continue giving them away, making peach wine and peach and raspberry wine, chopping and freezing for even more wine and the odd pudding. Howard was here this evening helping me get the fruit on the highest branches and he said that peaches are rather good soaked in rum and eaten with cream. That might well do for a Saturday treat.

Peaches and garlic

I took four dogs and a cat for a walk in the wood today in the hope I might catch a glance of an owl. All I spotted were wood pigeons. This is a shameful admission but it is over a year since I've been in there - Bert's wood, only five minutes from my door. It's also been quite a while since I've climbed the stairs to the tree house. Thirty seconds from my door. I really must do better.

Whilst in the wood I saw Matty's oak tree, a little sapling that she had in a pot by her back door. It was given to Mum by her friend Marie who, I think, grew it from an acorn. That's what Matty said anyway. Bert planted it in a good place and now that I know exactly where it is I'll have to keep an eye on its progress.

Little oak tree

Sunday, August 07, 2016

The Return of the Owls

One fine evening last week I went out to check that the chickens were closed in and heard the long-missed sound of young long eared owls calling for food. It's a strange call, almost like a creaking wooden gate. At this stage of their lives the young owls will be able to fly short distances and are agile enough to move from branch to branch, even from tree to tree in a wooded area. They still depend on the adult owls to bring them food and the calls are to let the parents know where they are. There were at least two calling.

Chances of seeing them are slim for they live in the wood now. Back in 2007 they nested close to our house and were easily spotted even during the day. But even if I cannot see them or photograph them it is wonderful to know that they are breeding near us. Owls and buzzards. We are blessed.

There is more good news. My mother's wedding ring which was lost for more than a year has turned up. I found it wedged under the skirting board in my private, secret sitting room. What a relief. I'd never even told my siblings it was missing. Obviously if I was more of a thorough housewife, dusting my skirtings regularly, I'd have found it long ago.

And here - post from seven years ago with photograph of a juvenile owl. Perhaps it is a parent or grandparent of the ones we hear now.

I Miss My Baby Owls

baby owl springhill 2009, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
For the second year running there has been no long eared owl babies at Springhill. I miss them very much.

We think that buzzards took over their nesting site. Last year there were at least three young buzzards reared on our land. Buzzards are OK but I'd much rather have owls.