Last Post 1270 days 4 hours ago
30 November 2009 16:17:43
Last November Sunset.
Beautiful crispy sunny day here in Monaghan, due to one thing and another no bulbs planted today could get no help, hope this weather stays. This is the sun setting at 4:30pm temperature down to 3C already in fact just saw frost still lying where the sun didn't shine.
30 November 2009 09:05:06
What a fantastic morning here, cold crisp and clear with beautiful sun creeping up and at this moment lighting up the old ash trees by the entrance. Hope to get out to spend a bit of time finishing the bulb planting if I can get some help. Most of our lying water has receded as it's been cold and dry the last couple of days so I,m counting my blessings as I know I'm one of the lucky ones.
29 November 2009 19:32:25
Mustard Cymbidium Orchid
Can any of the ORCHID EXPERTS advise me on how to look afer my Cymbidium Orchids as I do not want them to sucumb due to my lack of experience in this area.
It says on the label to water and fertilise frequently but what way as the pots are so packed with roots. What should I do?
The temperature is set at 18C in the rooms so that's fine but it really doesn't go any colder at night as it's all controlled thermostatically, does it matter if the temperature is consistant?
28 November 2009 00:52:38
Orchiditis takes hold
Not sure what has happened but a very contagious disease has been transmitted via the Garden.ie site. It seemed to be confined to Dublin and the south east mainly but now it seems to moving northwards due to the amount of frequency in the journals mainly Liga and Rachael's.
This morning I went to get celery and some carrots from Lidl for soup I purposely didn't take in a trolley but still managed to come out with two Orchids in my arms along with the other two items. I have now been infected with Orchiditis and need to find out more details on how to look after this condition. From the amount of Orchids there not a lot of people in Monaghan have been infected yet and the problem is I have this urge to go back for more.
After my shopping trip went to the kitchen garden and lifted leeks, carrots and purple sprouting brocolli. The garlic and onions are coming on well but I need to spend a bit of time organising for next year.
Any tips on looking after my new orchids would be much appreciated as I'm a real novice in this field.
21 November 2009 22:19:27
The wind is howling around and there is intermittent rain and the outlook for the next few days looks as if it's more of the same. Yesterday I went out with the camera in it was such a Sparkling Day with sun glinting off the water covering the fields. If it wasn't for all the problems around the coutry with homes and I'msure gardens destroyed there is a beauty in it, but would be heartbreaking to have to deal with the destruction the floods leave behind,
My time for gardening has been minimal and I don't have that many house plants, I still have daffodils to plant but have a feeling that's not going to happen unless I change where they are to go. Originally I had planned to plant them in drifts either side of the new drive under construction but the weather and now the amount of water beside it has put paid to that plan currently.
Putting up a new album Winter Reflections hopefully shows the beauty and the menace of water. No garden time before Monday but think it will be doubtful however it's a case of stay positive you never can tell.
20 November 2009 10:16:57
November 20 LD Braithwaite.
Have been watching this rose for the last week or so it was one of three buds that appeared on LD Braithwaite one of my David Austin roses, two of them met their demise in the storms last week but this one hung on and today has started to open in the November sun. I can see it from the kitchen silohetted against the background of the pond, I'm hoping it will develop further into a beautiful bloom.
20 November 2009 10:08:53
New Lake in the Distance
Due to the heavy rain over the last couple of days water levels have risen everywhere. The water in the background of photo is a new lake that has developed steadily and now nearly covers the entire field. The pond in the foreground has increased in size and the island is just keeping above water normally it sits well above. Sun is shining at the moment so if I get time I'll take afew more photos of the extensive new waterway system - Wonder is Gismo's Ark ready yet?
18 November 2009 17:27:51
Light and Crumbly Individual Christmas Pudding
Light and Crumbly Christmas Pudding(Good Food Countdown to Christmas)
800g mixed Dried fruit- I use a luxury fruit mix
( Fruit can be of your choicee.g. figs, dates,apricots, glace cherries,currants, raisins,cranberries,sultanas or pineapple)
grated rind & juice 1 lemon and 1 orange
125ml Brandy or Sherry
225g softened butter/ plus extra for greasing
225g Dark muscovado sugar
4 eggs lightly beaten
50g blanched almonds toasted and chopped
100g self raising flour
1 teaspoon each - mixed spice,nutmeg,ginger,cinnamon
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
1.If required chop up any large pieces of fruit into smaller pieces.
2 Put fruit citrus rinds juices and brandy or sherry into a large bowl mix well and then cover with a tea towel and leave for 2-4 days mixing every day.
3, Preheat oven 160C Gas 3 Fan oven cook from cold 140C. Grease with butter 2 X 1.2 litre pudding basins and line the bases with a circle of greaseproof paper.Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy - 5 mins in a cake mixer or food processor or 10 mins by hand. Transfer to a large bowl and gradually beat in the eggs - doesn't matter if it curdles won't affect the end result. Tip in all fruit and juices and almonds. Get everyone in the family to stir well and make a wish. Sift in flour and spices add breadcrumbs and fold in well.
4. Fill pudding basins to within 2.5cm of top. Cover each bowl with double greaseproof paper with pleat in centre. Secure with string below rim of bowl with a double knot. Trim off excess paper and cover with tin foil tucking it in tightly under the greaseproof to seal each bowl. Put the basins in a roasting tin and pour in 5cm of boiling water.
5. Cover whole tin with a tent of double thickness tinfoil to stop evapouration. Bake for 3-4 hours until puddings have risen and are dark in colour and firm to touch. You may have to top up boiling water.
I make mine in small individual basins this mix makes 16.
grease each basin and put a small disc of paper in base of each.
Fill to little over half and level down , cover each pudding with a disc of greaseproof paper and then this year I seales each pudding tight with a square of tinfoil pressed tightly under rim. Put into a roasting tin and fill to about half way up puddings with boiling water. Cover the roasting tin with tent of double tin foil and put into the oven. I cooked mine in the top oven of my range in 2 roasting tins for about 2 hours. Test by seeing colour and if firm to touch. When cool ease around edge of bowls with a knife and turn out to cool. Once cold wrap in greaseproof paper and tinfoil and store in a cool place. These are great as you just heat as required by either steaming for a short time or by putting into the microwave on medium for 30secs approx leave for short time before opening greaseproof - serve with brandy butter and cream- absolutely delicous not at all heavy seriously recomend having a go at making them
18 November 2009 14:43:15
Chicken,Ham Leek Pie
Chicken,Ham and Leek Pie.
1 large leg of cooked chicken & remaining pickings from body,wings etc chopped
400 g Cooked ham or boiled bacon chopped
1 good sized leek sliced sauted in butter
1 pint of coating white sauce either homemade or bought.
Sheet puff pastry.
Egg wash to glaze.
Combine chopped ham, chicken and leek in white sauce and put into ovenproof dish. Cover with puff pastry and make vent in centre, either pinch or decoate edge with prongs of a fork, with cut off pastry cut strips and mark out as leaves. Glaze top and place leaves as decoration and glazed. Place in hot oven 200C or top of range oven cook for approx 30mins until golden brown and filling in throughly heated. Can be eaten cold or will reheat again. This pie will serve 4-5 persons depending on portions
This is a great way to use up left over chicken and ham and adding leeks just gives it so much flavour, could actually be topped with breadcrumbs instead of pastry as a "Bake" instead of a pie using up bread. I make the sauce by using roux stored in the fridge. Turkey could be used to replace the chicken, it's the sort of recipe that can be varied depending what's in the fridge, freezer or larder.
16 November 2009 12:12:36
Delicious Chicken,Ham and Leek Pie
One of the great things about growing your own is the delicious food that we can prepare for the table. The leeks have done really well and along with going into delicious soups they really add to main courses, one of my favourite dishes is chicken, ham and leek pie which uses what left from previous lunches and leek fresh from the garden in a white sauce. It really means value for money as nothing gets wasted but the taste is just delicious. The other day I sort tried to once again feed my hubby the idea that we could produce not just the leeks but the chicken and also the ham after reading Janette's journal on the End is Nigh Miss Piggy, don't feel I will get a result from this sowing these seeds even though he was a butcher by trade but will just have to keep trying and hopefully one day I'll suceed.
16 November 2009 11:45:24
Winter is a time to reflect on what's happened throughout the year and what changes we need to make and the challenges that lie ahead, this is not just in gardening but in general. It can be a bleak and depressing time and looking out at the amount of water lying everwhere I realise that most of my plans to finish up this years planting are well and truely scuppered. There was some amount of rainfall overnight and it's raining again, Saturday and Sunday were both relatively good days here weatherwise but it's work before play and as I work in other peoples leisure time I missed out on two good days.
Took a quick look out around the south bed and have put up a few more photos of the remaining colour although it's rapidly decreasing each day. There are lots of bulbs starting to peep up and buds on shrubs just hope the frosts if they come don't kill next years growth off.
Took this photo of the bullrushes reflected in the pond not as clear as I would like but it's a day lacking sun, in fact it's now beginning to blow a gale think it's a day to finish making the individual christmas puds and cake and reflect in the year gone by and plan for the future.
Yep definitely no gardening today rain is going horizontal at present
13 November 2009 00:25:10
The Good Old Days
Reading all the journals on food production, rearing and growing your own brought back childhood memories of growing up on a small farm. As children it was part of life to be involved in everything from collecting eggs, milking cows and even harvesting potatoes by hand. Vegetables were either produced at home or came from the neighbouring farm that had a small market garden. Every week there was baking done, jams were made and milk came straight from the dairy to the house, life was very different to now but I feel there is a return towards growing and producing your own.
Found this photo of my sister and I at about 3 and 4 years old, I'm the one with my hand down the calf's throat.
12 November 2009 01:21:30
Heron stalking by the kitchen garden
No gardening due to work and there will be none today due to the heavy rain, While doing some housework saw this guy land on the grass by the kitchen garden and he strutted across the grass before he took off to the other side of the pond where he just stands like a statue. Put up some more photos in the Nov photos.
11 November 2009 00:59:10
Love in a Mist sparkling with diamonds
No garden time today would love to have been out this morning, normally Tuesday morning is fairly free but I stand in to teach for the Monaghan Branch of Riding for the Disabled when their normal instructor is away. I helped start this group about 28 years ago and it's amazing the dedication of the volunteers. It's so rewarding seeing the development of these young people and meeting the new riders and trying to help with their challenges, I think experiences like these help us to keep things in perspective. This evening went to see Phil Coulter in Armagh and he is also an inspirational person who has written so many songs about things that have touched his life. Put on some photos of the morning dew which sparkled like diamonds on the flowers and trees this morning, it's cold and foggy here this evening so imagine if the rain stays away it will be even more spectacular if I'm able to seize the right moment. May manage to get some time weather permitting tomorrow- today where did the time go to reading all those journals I'm jealous again of everyone who has had garden time on such a gorgeous day
07 November 2009 23:56:45
No garden time today but looking out through the window this morning there was a beautiful thursh peeking out from under a bush, gorgeous yellow speckles on his plump chest. Took this photo through the window. It's such a delight to be able to see all types of birds so close.
05 November 2009 00:20:20
Lupins Nov 4th
With the way the weathers going sorkels and flippers will be essential items to have as it's water water everywhere. Pulled delicious carrots and swede for lunch so tasty when they're that fresh and discovered the garlic is up about 10cm and onion sets are starting to sprout as well planted less than 2 weeks, well they're planted in a raised bed. The grass near the pond is so waterlogged cann't imagine it will be cut again this year. Decided to take some photos this afternoon while it wasn't raining lupins still producing soft pink spires but heavy rain has certainly put paid to many flowers and is making transplanting or planting impossible. One job I wanted to do was replant the planters at the front door as they had become a bit disorganised, managed to remove plants in one without damaging the fibrecast planter but the second one decided it was going to disintegrate so the task was abandoned now I'll have to replace them. They seemed to have become damaged by the severve frosts last year not sure what to replace them with. Rain started again so that was the end of gardening so depressing but then I decided to not complain every day we're here is a bonus so we should just buckle down and get on with it.
02 November 2009 17:10:23
Weather has been horrendous here last couple of days, waterlogging and flooding all around in the fields. Wasn't sure the last time I looked if this was going to actually flower or if the rain would put paid to it's efforts. I split a new plant into 3 when replanting the east gable bed and one section has flowered. Very delicate and a dusky pink, hopefully by the spring it'll be well established. The rose are still budding and blooming with new flowers opening on the climber by the back door daily. Hope it does dry up so as daffodils can be planted along the new drive this week and there is so much more that needs done before winter really hits.