Sandy Toes and Salty Kisses


Summer homes are filled with the familiar faces of islanders who, often following work opportunities, have moved their primary residence to the mainland.  Many are here with their families, an annual ritual organized around the various children’s camps offered, while others are here for family festivities that are planned around the fishermen’s schedules.  Dozens more come just because they still, and always will, consider the island their home, where their youth was spent and their heart still is.

Our days are filled beyond capacity.  Some days I swear I meet myself coming and going at the door. The garden soil on our kitchen floor has mixed with beach sand as the first two weeks of July are children’s swim lessons.   Before, after, and during swim, we are keeping busy in the garden.

scarecrow collageOur corn is about three feet tall and has started producing small ears.  We’re hopeful the fluctuating weather isn’t fooling it– already our spinach bolted as well as many onions.

Margaret Maeve and I made the scarecrow. Fingers crossed he’ll be effective as there are plenty of birds about, many who feasted on our cauliflower and broccoli and devastated our entire crop in less than two days. We’ve resown them and have put netting over the remaining brassicas.

It has been weeks now since the students came over and planted their pumpkins out.  We’ll see them again just before Halloween for the harvest.  Our potatoes are doing fabulously and are flowering more and more everyday.  Peas are doing okay; enough for meals, but not enough for the freezer yet.  Beans are just beginning to appear, a great relief as they were quite battered by the cold winds of early June.

We ate our first cucumbers and tomatoes yesterday.  I ate the tomatoes just myself, consuming the first one immediately upon picking it and putting the second one on a salad.  No one else was home and I couldn’t resist.

20150630_141656          20150630_101639

Of course summer is not all go, go, go.  I love the spontaneous moments of nothingtodoness.  ‘During summer, laziness meets respectability’ –the complete opposite of idling.   Not leaving the beach after swim lessons because the air is warm and we are all feeling a bit like living in the moment is accepted.   Staying on an outside deck for one more pint is completely understood.  We’re busy relaxing so who cares if the lawn needs mowing or there’s laundry to hang out?  We may not have it all here on Inis Mor, but we make the best of what we have.  After all, any day spent wearing flip-flops more than welly boots is an extra-especially great one.

Happy Friday!  And may your weekend have a few surprise moments of nothingtodoness too.

Melissa Xx


  1. Delightful! I’m glad that the weather has cooperated. I’m glad you’re able to take advantage of the free spaces to get into the water and linger over common joys.

    Back in the day I did love gardening. When I was a kid, the nine of us lived off the rented garden plot at the farm down the hill from us.

    Also. Ponies! Carts! 🙂


    • Ahhh, I love the thought of ‘lingering over common joys’. Honestly the weather hasn’t been great which makes those stolen moments even more valuable and necessary. Instead of a summer, we have summer moments!

      I think one should only garden if they love it, otherwise it must be just hard labour. The poor children who didn’t care for it but had to do so at their parents saying, I really feel for them. Glad to hear you enjoyed it though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ros says:

    I just love the summer months! I am so pleased you are all escaping to the beach, sounds wonderful. As Phil is always saying , there is so much to do and what gets done gets done, what doesn’t , doesn’t.
    Making elderflower cordial, relaxing on the lawn with our campers and bow top guests, enjoying family, outdoes all the other stuff. ( after the livestock that is!) big hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with Phil, though I probably stress about what is not getting done a bit. Fortunately I am pretty good at organizing and delegating. We work together then we relax together!

      Your summer relaxation sounds idyllic, it really is the simple things that make it memorable….can’t always be looking forward to a ‘big holiday’ away. Life is here and now!!

      Hugs to you and Phil,


  3. What a wonderful rhythm to your post – the ups and the downs of producing your own food and the joys of island life, I can almost feel the gentle breeze wafting off the sea and the energy of smily faces.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When left alone, I can feel the same way! That doesn’t happen often though, and knowing that all too soon they’ll be independent and I’ll be missing the hustle and bustle, I make the best of the noisy busyness and find ‘nothing moments’ here and there.


    • Yes, Irene, so important and you speak from experience as you also take time to spend with yours. Thank you for your kindness, as always you bring a smile to my face 🙂 . So sorry to not have time to stay in contact. July is a very busy month here and down time is with the children, I know you understand how important that is. I hope you are enjoying the heat that I hear you are having there. Take care and talk real soon. Melissa


  4. Donna George says:

    The plants are beautiful! Love that huge cuke hanging on the vine. That would be so good soaked in vinegar, I can taste it now.
    And yes I agree, everyday shod be a flipflop day if possible. We all need sand between our toes.
    Glad to see the garden is doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, they are wonderful. My new favourite raw veg is courgette/zucchini. I always cooked it but have been enjoying it uncooked in salad and on it’s own.
      Sad to not have time to stay in touch with you and other writer friends in this busy season. I hope the rains are nearing the end for you and the weather is a bit more cheerful and dry. I will catch up more near mid August, after my sewing camps end and children head back to school, not to wish life away of course! Take care now, Melissa


  5. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    How do you manage to get things producing so early! You must have some magic there on Inis mor! My cucumbers have only just started flowering and I have a few very green tomatoes and my sweetcorn is in the poly and only about a foot high! You have very green fingers and I am green with envy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny you say that because Agoyavaerts always seems so far ahead of my garden that I ask the same of her! Perhaps they are a bit earlier than the rest as I have 24 cuke plants with only single digit amount of fruit from them–mostly flowers. The same for tomatoes, only about 40ish plants, many green, four or so red, and also mostly flowers.
      I must commit to keeping it up, always starting with a bang and then many plants becoming neglected as the season wears on.
      Certainly no heat wave here unfortunately though it seems the rest of Ireland and Europe are enjoying it.
      I hope you, your family, and your garden are well. I have not been able to sit down and read anything and am hardly even writing, just busy days. Another five weeks ahead of me then it should begin to wind down a bit.
      Will reconnect soon, Melissa 🙂


    • If only it were the majority and not the minority of pace of life eh?! Ah well, we’ll take what we can get and not complain. Ten days is the perfect holiday length I think. Lovely to hear you got away for a bit. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your website continues to blossom right along with your garden. I enjoy reading of your vegeatbles progress, the pesky birds and the swim lessons. Such a busy and beautiful lifestyle you are creating every day for yourself and your family. The idea of your ‘meeting yourself coming and going’ kind of sums it up for so many young families. Thank you for your wonderful blog.



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