Tag Archives: self-sufficiency

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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August’s Garden

August is over so it seems time to get my backside in gear and post a few of the many photos I took around the garden throughout the month…

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The L, O, & E beds are in view, but the V bed is cropped out at bottom of photo but the photo above it has an excellent angle of it. Yes, they spell L O V E!

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The Elusive Summer

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Cornelius on lookout for summer.

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notions of summer

hang on a kernel of truth

and hopes are raised up

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sounds corny, I know

but, aw shucks, the jig is up-

summer hopes are popped

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Another non-summer here in Ireland.  Autumn is at the door…  And at the window, and in the garden.

∗Sigh∗

I do love this time of year though and am enjoying harvesting, fermenting, freezing, and already planning for the next growing season.

The summer has flown by…it’s taken me until past midway through the season to cut my work hours at the hotel by half although I felt it was necessary since the end of last year.  It’s been lovely to get back to work outside the home after a decade of not, but it’s only now that I realize how far off track we’ve gone from our plans of self-sufficiency.  Well, more like spinning our wheels than off the track.  No regrets, for myself and family have benefited from my working away from the home.  And what would be the sense of regrets anyway?  No doubt about it, all is as it’s meant to be.

Johnny and I both want to make a living from and raise our family off our land.  We were both so busy working away from the home this summer that we had to say no too many times to requests for lettuce and veg from local restaurants.  That and other happenings made us realize it’s counterproductive to spend time working away from the homefarm and away from our family.  I feel a burst of energy when I think about how we’ll prepare over the winter to meet next year’s demands but also know that I must plow through the rest of this work season.

On a positive note, sewing summer camp was a great success.  It was loads of hard work, but left all in the family feeling greatly rewarded for it (I’ll share more about it soon). That’s what got Johnny and I sitting down and discussing all that holds promise to support us and all we had lost sight of while being caught up travailing regardless of our plans.  Again, no regrets.

I’m thinking I ought to review my 16 for 2016 list I made at the beginning of this year.  How much of it I’ve actually done will be quite unimpressive.  But, haha, maybe it will be motivating too?!

The haiku and photo are part of a weekly challenge (of which I participate in only sporadically these days).  Ron at Ronovan Writes’ two words for this week’s haiku are ‘up & hope’ and the Four Fab Photo Friends photo word of the week is ‘summer’.

Thanks for taking time from you own busyness to visit me today!  Cheers, Melissa Xx

Christmas in July

 

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Impersonating a Christmas tree, our runner bean tee pee puts on a grand display.

 

Wholesome Work

Can you read my messy writing?  My far from complete ‘can’t wait to-do list’…  I was going to rewrite it neatly, but decided to spare the waste and instead trace the pen in rainbow colours to brighten it up for this post.

While the photo is all about my work that is creative, fun, and without strict boundaries, the accompanying haiku refers more to the laborious aspects of working to provide food for our family…

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working the body

harvesting diamonds and pearls

feeds autarkic souls

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The diamonds I refer to are those we harvest from the ground, the pearls being what we garner from the sea and shore. By now, you know that those aren’t the only gems provided by the earth, our little island, our neighbors, and our homefarm; we harvest, gather, barter, and recycle.

No surprise, it’s not always easy living out a dream.  We do it not only to support our family’s food needs and desires to be self-sufficient, but because we genuinely love the physical demands and the creative challenges that come along with choosing this lifestyle.  It nourishes our soul as well as our bodies.

The process of providing for one’s self and family gives an energizing rush– though, ironically, we’re often working while feeling sleep deprived.  We feel this rush when physical and mental boundaries are stretched to working out of our comfort zones, or sometimes it’s when we find creative/inexpensive solutions by putting our ideas together and trusting one or the other’s better judgement.

I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t admit that there are failures and disappointments, injuries and losses, timelines not met, plans that don’t turn out as expected (or, ugh, never even get started).  We get frustrated with ourselves, each other, the community, and the weather.  I’d rather talk about the blessings though, not the problems.  I prefer to write about the problems after we realize the lessons learnt from them.

Finding the balance between the planning and the trusting, the listing and the letting go, the doing and the just breathing, is something we are getting better at.  Like gardening, some things are meant to be learnt over a lifetime, one experience at a time.

Thanks to my friend Ronovan for his inspiring haiku words, ‘diamonds & pearls’, and to the four fab photo friends (myself included) who’s word ‘work’ is the theme of my photo and this post.  

 I hope all reading this are feeling balance between head and heart in all to do with work and life.

Melissa Xx

Our Jolly Holly Christmas Tree

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I believe we all know the feeling of when something is not quite right.  The feeling grows and grows until you decide assertively (sometimes in a matter of seconds) that “No, this just won’t do.”   Continue reading

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

Come Out Of Your Shell

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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.

Today’s Autumn Harvest from the Garden

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Really appreciate having a bit of corn to harvest after this summers weather. We weren’t sure they got pollinated, many didn’t.  

 

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Me and the bees working side by side in the garden today.

 

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Beetroot just harvested for fermented salsa, the greens to blanch and freeze, and the bucket of waste is a treat for the chickens.

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Next stage sunflowers–to be dried for feeding birds in the winter.

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Purple cabbage alongside yellow, green, and purple tomatillos–all to become fermented salsa.

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Tomatoes for sauce and semi-drying in the basket, blackberries on the face.

The final onion harvest. No more in the ground, but plenty lying around enjoying today’s sunshine.

The final onion harvest. No more in the ground, but plenty lying around enjoying today’s sunshine.

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