Rosehip Syrup

Yesterday I climbed a ladder to the top of the garage here at Hunters Lodge where a forest of rosehips awaited my arrival.  Now my balance is not great at the best of times so my nearest and dearest were more than relieved to see me descend without incident and armed with my little red … Continue reading

Keeping Chickens

This time every year I’m  brought right back to basics.  Why? Because now is the time the bookings come flying in for me to give talks to groups, schools, libraries and businesses. Requests come in all shapes and sizes – will I talk about blogging, living self-sufficiently, children and social media and lots more (click HERE … Continue reading

A Week In The Life…

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times recently.  You can’t live a life of self-sufficiency and write full time about it too – not unless you’ve got a staff to help you, which I haven’t.  It’s not the first time this year that I’ve blogged about this.  I’m not moaning.  Nor … Continue reading

Growing Salad Leaves

  In my grandmother Isabella’s house, Sunday tea was often cold cuts of Sunday roast, salad, freshly baked bread and a big pot of tea.  Lettuce, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and slices of onion – I can still taste it.  This was also how I developed a great love of steaming new waxy potatoes with a … Continue reading

The Honesty Box Is Back

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Even earlier than last year, but we have had so many requests for our honey from the garden that we are setting up our little Surplus Stall at the gate today.  It’s the perfect time to up your honey intake before the old Spring allergies kick in. The … Continue reading

Farewell Willow Goose

It took two days for the inevitable to happen.  Two days for Willow Goose to die. I knew her death was inevitable. I knew that all the veterinary advice in the world, injections and well wishes weren’t going to work. Her time was up. But that didn’t stop me wishing to God I was wrong. … Continue reading

Wild Damson Syrup

Armed with baskets and bags, Ruth and I took off to a neighbour’s farm (with their permission) the other evening.  We returned laden with blackberries, cooking apples and damsons. We left behind the rosehips and sloes for now until the first frost has arrived, and the quince are not quite ripe yet either (haws are … Continue reading

Simple Soda Bread

Back in the day, I used to wonder why on earth people bothered making their own bread.  I remember a colleague saying one morning  “I got home and we had no bread so I baked a loaf”.  I thought she was mad. But with a change of lifestyle, came a change of attitude and an eagerness to consider … Continue reading

Escargot – more French than Irish but…..

Mention the word snails to an Irish gardener and boy will they  have plenty to say.  The bain of their lives and the ruination of their lettuce patch is what you’re likely to hear. Eggshells, coffee grinds, copper, comfrey and salt will quickly be cited as some of the tried and tested methods to keep the … Continue reading

Spring is in the air

So the weather is not great, but there are moments each day when you can definitely feel that Spring is in the air.   A burst of sunshine from behind the clouds, sweet melodies from the birds and the biggest giveaway of all –  the chickens. They are laying like there’s no tomorrow.  You’ll hear … Continue reading