Project veg plot

I have a project! The area of raised ground behind the house is just about dry enough to sort out for our veg plot (with a few flowers thrown in for good measure). So I’ve started edging and digging the beds and planning it out. I love doing it. Especially planning and deciding where to put the paths and beds and what will go where.

A before (ish) photo, not quite the same view as the next:

and a current photo:

It is so satisfying, just doing a bit at a time. It has to be a bit really, I have to wait for littlest’s nap time, then I try to do the digging. The top bit in front of the shed is where I’m at at the moment:

still about half a bed to dig, there’s some big stones in there. When I can get them out they get thrown down the bank, there’s one so far that I can’t shift, so I think I’ll stick another on top and leave it there so I can see where it is and don’t do a clang a spade down on it thing and reverberate. I’m hoping to get potatoes in here over the next week but it’s still fairly claggy, so we’ll see.

This is the other side:

To the far left as you look at the raised area we are hoping to put up a poly tunnel. Either this year or next, we aren’t sure yet. There’s so many roots and branches to clear, but it’s good fun.

I’ve felt a bit low recently and being outside, being active and gardening are things I really enjoy and they charge me up. I asked God what to do about how I was feeling earlier in the week and amongst other things I felt he said to get outside. He also gave me this verse:

Matthew 6:25

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 

I need to trust him.

also, we have pots everywhere! I love it! Seeds are germinating all over the house 😍

these are cornflowers, blackball and blue ball. Hopefully we’ll pick the right spot for them once they’re a bit bigger and they’ll flourish!

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So, what have we been up to?

Where to start today? well, basically whilst I was away in England Chris was really busy doing stuff here so I think I’ll stick to that mainly, today. Whilst we were away he almost finished strimming our field:-

He also got a big delivery of plants to plant, even in the pouring rain:

This was the delivery:

So he planted all those up and they are actually doing really, really well. It’s a bit of an experiment this year, to see what thrives and what doesn’t. We’ve chosen most plants that don’t mind acidic soil and a wet climate but with others such as annual flowers that we will soon sow, we may just give them a try and see what happens. We’ve just ordered our seeds from Higgledy Garden, so we’re very excited to get those soon and hopefully start planting.

We came home, this was how I kept two small children occupied on the plane I’m afraid:

This is back at Knock Airport:

It was good to see Chris and drive home:

Since we got home we have also bought a topper and a box for Chris’s tractor and had them delivered:

Had stones cleared out of the field in order to be able to mow it quickly and without damaging the topper:

This was a large ditch in the field which has been filled with stones and they’ve been buried.

The windows came whilst I was away and have now been fitted over a period of 5 days. Before:

After:

They’ve done an amazing job, and it is so nice to have wind tight windows and door.

Finally, the littlest really enjoyed a trip we had to Smyths at Sligo retail park, we found it a little stressful, but the kids both loved it!

Just a quick word of advice too, if you hire a car, make sure you check it over when you get it, I didn’t and then realised there was a massive scuff. Thankfully, I told them I thought it was from before and they looked and agreed, but I gather not everybody has such a positive experience. I was really stressed when I got to England and didn’t think, but I will next time as it caused worry at a time when I really didn’t need it, but praise God it was fine.

Ta ra for now.

Cathy.

Post Script! – I forgot to put in that we’ve now applied and been approved to have Irish driving licences. So we’ve given in our UK licences! Apparently as residents, if there was a no deal Brexit our licences would be invalid.

That wasn’t the initial reason – the initial reason was that there seems to be no option to have a UK licence with the DVLA and an Irish address so it just seemed sensible to swap. Then when we went to the office with our application, the no deal thing was explained to us. If you’re just visiting from the UK, there will not be any problems, just if you’re resident.

A Summary of the latter end of this week in Pictures

My eggs arrived! it was a record, they came through the post in less than a day, fully intact and ready to incubate! An Post is great. If it was a courier it wouldn’t have got here nearly as quickly. Sorry but I haven’t actually taken pictures of the eggs yet. They went into the incubator tonight. They should take approximately three weeks to hatch (providing they’re fertile).

Our new fire was installed and (wait for it…) a radiator in the living room, we’ve been soooo warm:

We also had a range installed that runs our central heating, I don’t think I’ve lived in a house with central heating for about 14 years, it’s great! The surroundings will one day match the cooker. I made pancakes this morning, then pizza tonight, to try it out. It is very, very nice. The only thing I really have to watch is keeping the littlest boy away from it because it gets so hot and trying to tell the oldest boy not to put plastic objects on top of it. Might have to get the fire guard back out for a bit maybe.

Finally, Chris’s dream came true, yes folks, he has a tractor!

He just has to get the mower to go with it and he’ll be away up off to the field with it. Up, up and awwaaaaaay, off to sort the field out.

God bless you all and see you soon.

What’s happening at the moment? Jobs…!

So what are we doing at the moment? It’s quite a busy time really. We’ve agreed to have our windows and door replaced, they should arrive for fitting over the next 4 weeks. The range and a new fire are being installed in just over a week (all being well) and an electrician is visiting tonight to check out the electrics (I am so thankful that he is coming).

Chris is currently strimming the field, all 3 acres – he has bought a steel brushcutter blade for the strimmer and it’s getting through it a lot better than the grass cutter blade. It’s very hard work and he’s building a shed today as a bit of break from it. (The future plan is to possibly get a little tractor and use that and to probably get a few goats). The shed will be great to temporarily store all our boxes that we aren’t unpacking yet and will allow us to do up the cottage more easily. I’ve decided I need to re-box a few things to give us more room, it makes more sense than winding our way through stuff we don’t yet have storage for in the house.

There’s a little plantation right next to our cottage which you can see on the above photograph. Eventually, the spruces are going to be chopped down as they’re very tall and quite close to the house and we’re hopefully going to have some native trees there instead. There are a couple of birch already in there but struggling and a lot of holly.

I knew there were some bottles in the wood, but this week I started investigating a little further and there are what looks like hundreds! I’ve started excavating them and am going to keep on doing so. It was suggested that we do a bottle wall, I’d love to in some ways but with everything we have to do now and over the next few years it is currently unlikely – so bottle bank here I come!

So I (Cathy) am watching Brexit and the UK and Irish responses to it with interest and I have to say, since we’ve been here we’ve met with nothing but friendliness and have been welcomed in general but Brexit particularly online seems to be stirring up a lot of anti English comments, I don’t know if that is because of the certain type of people who comment on online posts or if it is a general feeling, but I have to say the English or the UK don’t exactly help themselves sometimes. Whoever started the petition to get the Republic to join the UK is a little bit assumptive or taking the mickey methinks.

So anyway, back to the old homestead….I’m getting hatching egg fever again, I think I’m going to go for the breed Cream Legbar if possible as they are autosexing, you can tell if they’re male or female as soon as they hatch, which is helpful. I’m REALLY looking forward to hatching them, I just need to find a supplier over here. Cream Legbars have green/blue eggs and are bred mainly as laying hens, not for meat.

last year’s chicks 🐣

I’m also going to start reading up on goat keeping as I mentioned earlier, I think we have probably decided on goats as the main/first animal we will keep. Only a few as we only have 3 acres but we will see, there is no rush, as we also have to get the premises ready, as if you have livestock, you have to be registered with the Department of Agriculture as a goat/sheep keeper and be approved. We don’t know if it will be this year or next, but it will probably happen at some point.

Bye for now. May God bless you one and all with the knowledge of Him.

Cathy.

Post script

As a post script to the previous post (a bit of a delayed post script), about half an hour or so after I had written it there was a knock on the door and one of our new neighbours had brought some biscuits and cake round as a Christmas gift. Another of our neighbours also did similar on Christmas Day, such lovely gestures, which were really appreciated.

We’ve managed to get broadband now and it works really well so it should be easier for me to get things sorted now. There’s still a fair bit to sort, the kids need PPS numbers but I need to get an official letter off a doctors or a school saying they need one before they will issue them. I need the numbers before I apply for child benefit or medical cards too.

Christmas was good in general. Different, but good. I managed to cook a ham in our little oven (which we would be lost without) and we had our dinner, it was lovely. We went for a walk and messaged and spoke to relatives. It went very quickly really.

Christmas day, J in our field.

our littlest elf.

On Boxing Day (otherwise known as St Stephens day in Ireland) we went for a walk towards a mass rock nearby. Mass rocks are apparently where Catholics gathered and used as an altar when it was difficult/impossible for them to meet in public (mid 17th century). We aren’t sure whether we saw a mass rock (we need to find out where they actually are), but it was a gorgeous walk.

It’s a bit of a quiet/adjustment period for us at the moment but I think it will soon get busy, so we had better make the most of it!

Yesterday at Drumshanbo.

If I don’t post before..Happy New Year. May God bless you all in every way – The father of lights, in whom there is no darkness.

Day 7 in the house

(This morning) We’re in the car driving to Enniskillen. It’s so weird, there was no indication at all that we had just gone into the North, then we noticed a UK road sign. So strange.

And! We’ve just been to a petrol station as it was in pounds and I could pay with our Uk bank account. I found all this stupidly exciting.

(Now) Back at the ranch, we’ve had all around the cottage cleared by a fella with a massive digger and stones are being put down to make a drive. It’s been such a blessing, one of our neighbours was having some work done and asked if we needed any ground clearing. We said yes and the man came round to see Chris and started the work. The fella is a genius with the digger and has worked really hard for the last couple of days, it should be done early next week. Strangely, I don’t think I’ve actually got a digger picture.

before

After..

Some other random pics:

all this lot has now gone and is clear earth.