Wild & Edible

Celebrate the Seashore

Is it any wonder why so many of us flock to the seashore to exercise, socialize, relax, forage, and get creative? We are kindred spirits, sharing the allure of the seashore, feeling it’s magnetic pull, and knowing it’s something well worth honouring in celebration. It’s our happy place!

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Homefarm Happenings

I returned from my r & r holiday last evening feeling another r & r, refreshed and ready to go.  With unbelievable amounts of time spent sleeping, I also managed a couple sea swims, pool swims, spa time, late night chats, and a meeting or three over tea and/or food with girlfriends.  Feeling completely rejuvenated I am!

Today was a happy busy first day back home for me– happy to be busy doing some of my favourite things that support our desires to be creatively self-sustaining.

Instead of devoting an entire post to individual projects I’m going to summarize the latest going-ons here with a few pics.

We went clamming today at noon as there was a super low tide.  Johnny gathered razor clams while I got more mosaic treasure…can picture the mosaic in my mind’s eye now.  Afterwards, we both foraged for mussels.  We just finished a delicious dinner of our catch of the day sauteed with wild garlic leaves, mushrooms, and onions.

Before leaving on my trip, I had a sewing class for one of my daughters and two other young island girls to make Irish dancing skirts for a feis this coming weekend.  Running short on time during the class, I finished pressing the pleats of one of the skirts today before delivering it back to the little seamstress.  I’ll get a picture of the three wearing their entire outfits this weekend. I’m feeling very proud of the girls and am sure they’ll have much fun and success wearing them.

While I was away, Johnny surprised me by starting making our much needed larger window boxes as well as placing the tiles over the Stanley range heater in our dining room.  The children helped with the tiling.


Five new baby goats have arrived in the last week.  I posted the first few to be born on my fb page on Mother’s Day (in March here).  These two are the newest set of twins who arrived a couple days ago.  Such cutie-cutesters and as cuddly to us as we want to be with them…like all animals, goats have their own personalities and aren’t always that fond of people’s attention and affection.IMG_20160309_184830

And with that, I wish a happy weekend to one and all, Melissa Xx

A Day of Gathering


It was perfectly calm on both Inis Mor and across the bay in Connemara today. With storms dropping nearly 3 1/4″ of rainfall this month, the cloudless sky and calm seas were most welcome.  I thought about recording the morning bird song but decided to just relax and enjoy.

Johnny and I went clamming around midday but had no luck.  The gentle breeze was pushing the water towards the shore just enough that the tide line was never quite low enough.  Instead, I gathered shells to make a mosaic and he harvested mussels for dinner, a nice substitute for the razor clams.

A few years ago Johnny and the children made mosaics and one of their pieces of art has since dwelled in our garden.  Yesterday I noticed it’s even more beautiful because of moss growing in the furrows and that’s what inspired me to make another.  I also have a bucket of tile and sea glass to create mosaic with that we’ve all collected over many years.

Afterwards, I cut willow to make something artistic for the outside front wall of the house. Remember our autumn bird feeder wreath and the Christmas wreath?  They were both made from the same willow base which is now stored in the shed until next autumn.  I’m hoping to make a St. Brigid’s cross for the spring.  I say hoping because the willow may not be pliable enough to completely fold onto itself without snapping.  We’ll see.  If that doesn’t work, I have a plan B.  I’ll know more this week when I give it a try and will tell how it goes.  Here are some pictures of the St. Brigid’s cross I made for inside our house a week and half ago aside the fresh cut willow, and a chicken.
Of all the things we gathered today, we are feeling fortunate that rain was not one of them.  It was a much needed day of complete sunshine, the first we’ve had in months.  It really lifted our spirits to spend the entire day outside.
I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, your day is going (or went) just wonderfully.
Good night and sweet dreams my friends!
Melissa Xx

Enjoying Summer Weather At Last

Johnny and I went fishing at Pol na bPeist over the last two summer-like November days. It was very20151102_110010 relaxing and serene even though the seas were quite rough and the waves were crashing hard. The warm breeze and bright sunshine felt like we were in heaven.  That’s how I feel most days living here, even in the depths of winter. But winter’s far from our minds this week as we enjoy summer weather at last.  Continue reading

Autumn Wreath for the Birds

This tutorial was picked up by HomeFarmer Magazine by way of twitter and printed in their online publication.

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Working Together Separately

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Many days Johnny and I can be found toiling about our garden, working together separately.  With bent over backs, we handle the earth, only speaking when necessary.  Perhaps because we rarely have silence in our full house.  Or because in the openness of the land, sound travels so easily.  With the constant island breeze, the birds might carry our intimate, personal conversation to the ears of neighbours and passing strangers.  Better to not risk it.  After all, if we can hear them, chances are they can hear us.  Although both of these reasons are sound, our silence is more likely because working with our hands is meditative, especially when working in nature.  It has evolved from the aforementioned reasons of appreciation and prudence to the contemplative cognizance of the task being carried out. The work is not just a means to an end; we are wholly aware that this is where we’re meant to be and what we’re meant to do.  So with this week’s mild temperatures and the sun hanging low and shining brightly, we headed to the beach to collect seaweed to fertilize the garden.   Continue reading

Come Out Of Your Shell


Johnny and I had the last week of September planned for some time now, anticipating the spring tides that were going to be both exceptionally high and low because of the alignment of the earth, the sun, and the moon.

For us, this meant three days of foraging for clams, just in time for winter storage.


spring tide, the time for

gathering the fleshy clams

to eat through winter

Though the spring tide comes monthly, it’s not always low enough to make a trip to the shore worthwhile and the weather and timing are not always ideal either.  It was great this week though and we even went out on Monday evening from half 11 until nearly 1 in the morning.  After two days of fun, we decided to keep the children home from school so they could join us.  No regrets as we had a great morning together picking blackberries and then we were at the beach from noon on.

The tide chart that our week was planned around. 

…spring tides, a common historical term that has nothing to do with the season of spring. Rather, the term is derived from the concept of the tide “springing forth.” Spring tides occur twice each lunar month all year long, without regard to the season.”

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The otter clams have to be dug out of the sand but the razor clams are acquired by a different method which I wrote about last February here.

Working In, Around, And Away From Home


Chives and rocket growing in the tunnel.

A wildly busy week is behind us and it seems that was only a preview of what lies ahead.  I wish more of that busy had been in the outside garden, but the weather has been most uncooperative.  Even when the sun shines, which has been happening sporadically, the wind is blowing strong, making it impossible to sow seeds.  And it’s cold.  Very cold.  Wisely, we have not planted out yet as everything would be stunted, shocked, and ragged around the edges by it all. Continue reading

Happy As A Clam At High Tide


I remember as a child going digging for clams with my parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins by the light of the moon or sometimes in the wee hours of the morning.  While the adults made the long walk down to the shore, we children skipped, cartwheeled, and zig-zagged in a not so serious race to find the first holes in the sand. They were abundant so we were all ‘winners.’  The holes indicated a clam beneath and the adults would then dig and collect it, some using a shovel, others preferring to dig by hand. Continue reading

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