We kicked off spring with a marathon weekend in the garden. Weeded, tidied, ground cover on, stones moved, some seeds planted.
Johnny and the boys finished removing the creig from one of the new tunnel beds; loads of work but we get needed depth and stones to use elsewhere in the garden.
My hands are sore from wild blackberry thorns, fingernails look unrecognizable, whole body is aching, and pulled a muscle in my bum from a running slip while racing the rain to get laundry off the line, but feeling accomplished and happy, happy!
Have a wonderful Monday everyone, Melissa Xx
p.s. Daisy duck was no help at all, only poking her head up to see was I bringing her food or something like that, but we love her no matter.
It’s a beautiful first day of spring here on the island and we put the St. Brigid’s cross up on the house first thing this morning. The children are more wrapped up than usual as they head off for school because we had just returned from a wee trek to collect the bundle of reeds that Nuala is holding; they’ll be used at school to make crosses of their own.
The first day of spring here in Ireland falls about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. One of the traditional ways of celebrating is by making a St. Brigid’s cross which is ‘placed on doorways to ward off evil, fire, and hunger from homes’. It’s also called the Feast of Imbolc, an ancient Irish celebration of the change of seasons from the short, dark winter days to the longer and brighter days of spring.
Here’s a link to a post I did a year ago that shows step by step how to make your own St. Brigid’s cross. It also has links to more information about St. Brigid’s Day, the meaning of the cross, and the Feast of Imbolc. https://thearanartisan.com/2016/03/15/spring-willow-project/
Joining in with the ‘One a Week Photo Challenge‘, word ‘happy’ and with Ronovan Writes haiku challenge, words ‘please & blow’.
please wrap yourself up
on this first day of springtime
the wind is blowing
Getting up early and taking a walk with the children was an amazing way to start the day and has me thinking we ought to do it more often. I’m wondering though if the adventurous feeling to it would soon wear off? Perhaps it was just the novelty that made everyone so happy and they would be less excited to do it regularly. I suppose there’s only one way to find out.
Through the open gate and into the garden.
If there’s one thing that makes it evident there’s a seasonal transition going on, it’s got to be the recent mud. A couple wet days and the heavy soil makes for clumpy boots, sticky shovels, soupy paths and a pigsty chicken run. It definitely reminds me of the spring thaw back in Maine.
Hearing one’s wellies squish squash while walking, brings awareness to the quiet cusp of winter-spring. No whirring lawn trimmers and zooming tour buses polluting the air with their constant background noise.
Quiet, but not silence for the birdsong in the background is pleasant and welcome and so uplifting that I felt a literal spring in my step, quite the opposite from that of having the bottom of my feet suctioned into the earthy mud. Continue reading
Instead of the cold blustery gales of wind and rain that makes one not want to get out of pyjamas all day, it’s been more like spring than winter and we’ve been both working and growing in the garden the entire season.
Garden photographs are quickly outdated by growing plants and newly built beds.
There’s a lot going on in the picture above: raised beds have been added in between the corn and pumpkin plots–rocket, beetroot, lettuce and winter garlic are growing in four of the beds. Stone paths are made after all soil is removed and sifted; soil in beds, stones back into the path. Long, narrow grow boxes are being placed along both sides of the pallet fences to help stabilize them and add grow space. A half pallet retaining wall is being fitted against the corn field. A lot of labour and nearly all Johnny’s doing. Continue reading
showery days don’t
allow play time out of doors
to burn energy
A drizzle quickly turned into a downpour today but not before I captured Margaret Maeve enjoying some exercise on her pogo stick.
As a child, I recall playing in the rain in the sticky heat of summer while jumping in puddles on the hot tarmac of the driveway. My sense of smell holds this memory tightly.
Another thought is of my entire family racing home from a walk in the neighbouring woods just in time to get out of the down pouring rain, only to discover we were locked out of the house. What fun we had ducking into our fort that wasn’t exactly watertight! It was the first and only time my parents ever joined us there, but so memorable.
And many times I’m caught out with my own children while walking the dog and we giggle as we sprint towards home. Of course, we can only go as fast as the youngest little legs can.
Do you remember playing in the rain as a child, or have you as an adult, with or without your own children?
These memories were brought forth by this week’s photo challenge word ‘spring’ and Ronovan’s haiku words ‘shower & play’.
Have a happy weekend everyone!
Hanging on the front of our house, about four foot by four foot in size.
Have you ever entered an Irish home and wondered what the handmade cross hanging above the door represents? Or perhaps you’ve seen a charm or pendant bearing the symbol that shares pride of place right aside shamrocks, harps, and claddagh rings.
St. Brigid’s Blessing
May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell
Bless every fireside, every wall and floor;
Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof;
And every tongue and mind for evermore;
Bless every hand that toils to bring joy
And every foot that walks its portals through.
This is my wish today, my constant prayer
May Brigid bless the house that shelters you.
I made a small cross for the inside of our house and using the above willow, I made a giant St. Brigid’s cross for the outside–my welcome to spring offering, traditionally placed near doorways to ward off evil, fire, and hunger from homes.
Here is a photo step-by-step tutorial of how I made the giant cross. Scroll over any picture to read the details of each step or click on any picture to start a slideshow.
A close-up of the finished center.
1) Rub midpoint of willow gently back and forth on an edge to create a bend.
2) Ease the willow branch in half, folded onto itself.
3) A bit of inventive storage-the bent willows resting in the holes of laundry basket.
4) After a couple hours, I removed the willow and dropped into basket for easy access.
5) Four extra ‘hands’ were needed at this point.
6) The beginning–three branches per side completed; probably the hardest part.
Photographed on a fine and frosty morning.
Below is a tutorial of how the cross is woven. It’s the normal size and uses the rushes that are typically used. My friend Bernie shared how to make them with me and a group of friends this past Feb 1st when we gathered to celebrate St. Brigid’s Eve together.
If you’re not from Ireland or familiar with the Irish celebratory feast of Imbolc, the festival of the pagan goddess Brigid, then this post may have little meaning to you. On the other hand, if you’re a believer in trusting life and it’s myriad of forces that tick away behind the scenes to ensure what should be will be, then read on.
Since many of these forces– the philosophy of law of attraction, the phenomenon of serendipity, and the simple act of keeping the faith– are familiar worldwide, I won’t elaborate further on them, but you may be wondering… Continue reading
13 litres of kombucha tea just bottled, ready to start their second ferment. I always consider the time of year and weather when choosing flavors. Warm spring days and cool wintry eves is what I had in mind when choosing Mango Cinammon, Apple Ginger, Strawberry Vanilla, and Raspberry Pear. They’re ready for drinking now. Some are already sold, some will be used for bartering, and of course, many will be consumed right in our own home.
From a gardening perspective, it is unfortunate that I didn’t begin this blog in May. It would be a better first impression, but, it is what it is–still somewhat productive at best, and at worst neglected. Maybe it’s better this way; early spring really does feel like the starting point of a new garden year.
From atop the road I can get a pretty good shot of our front gardens. Off to the left we have two more fields. One is our ‘pumpkin patch’ and ‘corn field’. The other we have yet to garden but plan to move our tunnel there this summer. The lake pictured in yesterday’s post can be seen in the distance. A close up view reveals tires and pallets and pretty much anything else of use that we can get for free and recycle. Continue reading