Tag Archives: Galway

March of The Weeds

DSC_0288~2It’s March and the noticeably longer days tease my gardening impulsiveness. I want to get on with the business of growing outside. The erratic weather can’t be ignored, though, so rather than transplant out I’ll have to pot up, that is move plants to larger containers and keep them under cover a bit longer. Rather than sow root vegetable seeds, I’ll lay more ground warming cover after spreading compost or leaf mulch.

And I’ll weed.

There’s always weeding to be done, though more so this time of year because it’s spring and that’s when weeds spring up and multiply with great abandon on every patch of bare soil.

I rarely go out with the purpose of just weeding. Instead, it gets done regularly but a bit at a time. I’m usually grabbing weeds from here and there at my discretion as I’m tending to other garden needs in the same area. Spring weeding is a bit more intentional than that.  I it’s part of the plan for the day, on a mental list of things to be done deliberately, sooner than later.

Fortunately, weeding the garden is a favourite task of mine. I find that the point of view from crouched down on all fours is a great way to get the lay of the land and to gain a true perspective of a garden’s whereabouts.

While growing up in Maine, I was the primary weeder in the family plot and I remember enjoying it lots. Our vegetable garden was behind my Memere’s house. It was a nice open space with tall lilac bushes lining one side and there was a pretty spectacular weeping willow in the front yard. Summers were very hot and I have the most vivid memories of taking off my shirt and pulling weeds wearing only my shorts. At age nine or so, and with no explanation that made sense at the time, my mother told me to put my shirt back on and I shouldn’t be taking it off anymore. I remember feeling like something had gone astray. Now I suppose she was trying to teach me modesty.


On our smallholding, I’ve taken responsibility for the weeding– Johnny never has to worry about it, just like I never have to worry about the chicken coop being cleaned out and their bedding relined and their feed buckets refilled.

So long as we’re all happy, nothing’s being neglected and everyone’s keeping their shirt on, it’s all good.

Vintage Vogue


My grandfather loved buying me clothes when I was a child and thought Salvation Army and Goodwill were just ‘neato bandito.’  I remember as a child feeling embarrassed and being teased when he innocently mentioned it to my schoolmates.  Obviously insecure, it took me until young adulthood to realize that he was on to something–second-hand shopping was not just a great deal, but it supported some wonderful people and great causes. Continue reading

Rain, rain, go away.

20160109_150551According to the weather station in Newcastle, total rainfall so far this year in Galway is 33.4 mm/1.31 inches. It feels like so much more than that with flooded fields and spongy earth all over the island.

We are actually fortunate as the rainfall mostly runs off the island hillsides, collecting here and there but not overflowing rivers and flooding homes as it is on the mainland.

After years being ignored in storage, today we hung up our rain gauge and Johnny said jokingly that now it likely won’t rain anymore. Let’s hope he’s right, for ourselves, and more so for the sake of the mainlanders who have no homes to live in right now and have seen their possessions and treasures ruined by seemingly endless rainfall.

Time to fly


Most trips to the mainland are made with a list in hand that’s nearly the length of an arm.  With so much to do, a full day passes with little notice of the obligatory seven hours spent before the return trip home.  Add to that the three hours round trip travelling to get there, and that’s ten hours away from the island.

Although it’s an indulgence to fly as the cost is double that of the ferry, today was one those trips where I didn’t have a list and by 1 pm I was finished with no need or desire to shop.  I wasn’t tempted in the least by the outdoor Christmas markets or the ‘Black Friday all week’ Americana specials that have, seemingly all of a sudden, distastefully infiltrated Ireland.

Besides it was only one way and it just made sense as staying in town would’ve undoubtedly cost more.  So I rang the airport and they had an available seat.  Lucky me– they only have nine seats in total on the plane.  I booked their 3 o’clock flight, bus leaving town an hour before.

I was in my house, shoes kicked off, before 3:30.  I wouldn’t have been home before 7 pm otherwise. Don’t misunderstand, I love the time on the ferry and bus.  I read, write, sleep, talk with friends, but today was an exception, resulting in both time and money well spent.

Just before landing, I snapped this picture from the plane window– the pier where the ferry docks.  No irony intended, just happened to be where the plane flies over before touching down.  Coincidentally, I’m finishing up my haiku post for this week and it’s related also.  All signs pointing to me travelling… I wish!!


The Not So Short Shortcut

We took a shortcut between destinations while spending the day in Galway this past Saturday. Not really certain it would take us to where we wanted to go, it was a great surprise to find a swan that was obviously well used to being around people. Unlike the swans back home on the island, this one came right up to us and was eating out of Margaret Maeve’s hand. Being the animal lover that she is, it meant much to have such a beautiful and elusive creature trusting her. She sacrificed half her sandwich to be close to it and no doubt would have given the rest if she hadn’t already eaten it. I think this was one of our best memories of a day in the city together. The shortcut did lead direct to where we were headed, though it took us at least twice as long to get there.

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A preparing for autumn inspired Haiku

Johnny and I had a wonderful child-free outing together in Galway today– a big thanks to his parents for minding them before and after school, a treat for them all I believe it was.

We bought a new used car, three dwarf apple trees, new fermenting buckets, and a few items in bulk for the freezer and pantry.  Plus lots of odds and ends for the homefarm that pretty much filled the entire car before dropping it to the loading docks where it will be transported to the island in a couple of days.

fermented shot       bulk shopping

 fall starts by making

sauerkraut and hot salsa,

marks summer’s ending



We went for a quick bite at one of Johnny’s favourite fish & chip shops, somewhere we hadn’t been in years, before heading for the boat home.

The framed picture below was on the wall of our mechanics house, the gentleman whom we purchased the car from, and it gave me a giggle and smile.  Maybe you too?  The other pic is a book that arrived for me in the post today, very nice reading to come home to.  Surely it will give me much to share here and with my family.

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I got the inkling before pressing ‘publish’ to check out Ronovan’s Haiku words this week.  I’ve been sensing my rejoining was quickly approaching as I feel myself relaxing more, working less hours out of the house, and really just missing counting syllables along with my Haiku friends.  ‘Start & Hot’, thems the words.  They inspired immediately and I’m happy I’ve not lost my Haiku groove.  Perhaps I just got lucky that Jamie’s photo word this week is ‘view’, a view of my day.  Oops, just after finding out that her word is ‘yellow’ so fish pie, chips, and cider it is.  Who knew yellow could taste so good? 😉

That’s all.  Long day, now off to bed. 🙂

Melissa Xx

Pride of Place


A wonderful place for children

It is often said how fortunate an upbringing the children of the island have and I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment.  I grew up in a small community, but there is something about island living that makes it much more unique an experience than that of my own. Continue reading

A Block of Galway’s Green by Bicycle

Yesterday Margaret Maeve and I went to Galway with a very short to-do list.  We thought we might rent bikes and zoom around the city streets a bit.  Or maybe see a movie if time allowed.  First we started out with some charity shop/second hand shopping.  There were so many wonderful bargains we wanted, but we settled on a few items for the scarecrow we’ll be making for our corn field.

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The Galway Cathedral –1965-2015– Celebrating 50 Years

Next we went to meet the newest Gillan, born one week ago, and afterwards we were off to the shopping center.  From there is where I spied the dome and rooftop of the Galway Cathedral– a dull, yet lovely, patina shade of green.  Being only a few blocks away, we headed over for a closer look.  It’s just incredible both inside and out with it’s mixed styles of architecture using stain glass mosaics, Galway limestone, Connemara marble, West African mahogany, and western red cedar from the Pacific coast of America.  Seating 1500 people, it’s the largest church I have ever set foot in and really deserves a post devoted entirely to itself.

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Make A Wish

From my adventures on the mainland this week…

At the Galway Atlantaquaria, they have a ‘touch tank’ of starfish. Visitors are encouraged to pick them up and my daughters and niece wanted to, so we did.  A couple of the ones I approached jerked away from me.  I left them alone.  Most didn’t seem to mind, but it’s hard not to wonder if they are happy in captivity.  They ranged in size from tiny to double my hand.  They can live up to 35 years and weigh up to 5 kilos.  I’m only familiar with touching them in my childhood, washed up ashore and dried out. These had soft and spongy bellies, but their top surface was as rough as it looks– a great choice for this week’s photo challenge word ‘texture’ from Jamie at Blue Daisy Creates.

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