Wednesday, 21 March 2018


Guiness are building a micro-distillery in the old power plant...I should have taken a few photos late last year when they temporarily had the new name up over the front door, and a lovely vintage van outside for some publicity shots.  Then the hoardings went up over the railings, and for the last couple of months, they depicted  the architect's impression of what it will look like when finished. Then last week those hoardings were all covered up with plain white painted wood. And I noticed that someone had been painting on the end of the wall. For as long as I can remember it's had a slight trompe l'oeil effect of a shadowed arch, which you can just about still see in the first photo. If I had ever found the time to add meta-tags to all my photos I would be able to find one, but in current circumstances that's not likely. I think I need about two months off work to really organise all my photos...

Anyway, the two days I passed it last week, it was being worked on. Yesterday I passed again, and it must have been completed in time for the St. Patrick's Day festivities.

As you can see, there was a marked improvement in the weather after the holiday weekend was over and done with!

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day

And a couple of rural snaps from last weekend, when we attended a funeral in a town along the Shannon.

Our snow days meant that this year instead of my usual one or two cards, I actually made and mailed four, all variation on this theme. This is one of the ones done with watercolour pencils.

I had a few more pictures of a painted hoarding in town, but they'll have to wait till I have time to edit them.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

The last of the snow...

The thrush photos were taken last Sunday. We don't often see them in the garden, and with no sense of scale, and so puffed up against the cold, this one is remarkable robin-like.

The following picture was taken on Wednesday as I walked past the local school after returning some books to the library - not much left, but the boys were having fun pulling off chunks and having a snow-fight.

And then the last photo was on my way to work on Thursday morning, as I walked out to the bus stop. This was the first frosty morning for a while... The snow was still drifted quite deeply along the side of our house and in the back yard. C dug enough to open the back gate on Wednesday evening, and on Thursday cleared a path along the side of the house so he could get the motorbike it. Warmer temperatures and rain means that most of it is now gone, and I think most people are grateful to be getting back to normal. 

Friday, 2 March 2018

Snow Day

I was glad I made the trek to collect the bird food yesterday, it's been in great demand today. There was enough of a drift outside the back door that I had to climb out a window to give the birds their first feed, and to shovel the snow away from the door enough to open it. Not great photos because in the end the snow was just starting to cling to the window. We've had a lot of blackbirds and chaffinches, plus the usual blue, great and coal tits and goldfinches.

This month's blog header is a photo from Farmleigh last March.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

February Favourites

Anecdotally, because it's St. Brigid's Day, the 1st of February is the start of Spring in Ireland. I've never bought into that - but even allowing that this is the 1st of March it's far from a spring-like day.

I'll be back later with a few bird photos, but C is working from home today and using my desk, so I won't get time to upload them till this evening. Not that they're great anyway, taken through the window.  We have a small flock of blackbirds in the back garden right now - I should have bought a bag of apples for them but they're pecking away at what I have, along with some breadcrumbs and sunflower seeds sprinkled on the snow.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Recipe time - and a mixed medley

February has been a testing month here - but I thought I ought to get one quick post in before it's time to pick out and share my favourite cards later in the week.

With snow on the way this week, I'm starting with a snowman on our green beside the bus stop. We had a brief evening on snow one Monday night, C was coming home from Swords and said it was beautiful out that way. There was still enough here for someone to either stay up very late or get up very early and create a life-size snowman.

We have also had  a few lovely sunsets. I suspect these actually date back to January. Come next February I'm going to have trouble finding a suitable photo from this month to use for my blog header.

We were in town this afternoon and I spotted this lovely utility box. We were on the other side of the road and the sunshine was quite strong - but we'll be in the area again and hopefully then I can make time to get the bunny and the fox on the two ends of it.

And a recipe: as we needed to be in town by 1.30, we just had a good breakfast. In January I had been making Posy's Russian Black Bread from The Bread Book, A Baker's Almanac (a lovely rye, but time-consuming as it requires making polenta and mashed potatoes before even starting on the rest of it) and C was looking through the book. He made a list of several recipes he wanted to try, and the following is one of them.  We also thought the French Bread with Beer sounded interesting. I was asking a work colleague if he thought that the beer would simply give a sourdough taste with the lightness of a regular bread. At first he said he thought it would also add some extra leavening...and then he asked how old the book was. Well, I knew I'd had it for at least twenty years, so he reckoned that any widely available beer in America back then would have had no leavening effect and be purely for the flavour. We'll try that one another day. This morning we had these, and they're on the "make again" list.

Maple Buttermilk Muffins

1 3/4 cup white flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1/4 cup melted butter or light oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 F, about 180 C.
Sift all the dry ingredients together.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs till light and slightly thick.
Add the buttermilk, maple syrup and melted butter, whisk to mix.
Add the sifted dry ingredients: blend with a spatula or wooden spoon, stopping before the flour is fully absorbed. The mixture will be rough and lumpy.
Spoon into buttered muffin tins (I just used paper cases), filling about two-thirds full.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes.
Yield: 12-14 medium muffins.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Hot and warm off the needles

The sweater is more like lukewarm off the needles...I originally knit a lovely cardigan and ran out of wool. The only place I could get another ball was a different dye-lot, and even with just one sleeve knit in the off-wool, it showed. So I ripped it back and knit this, using the off-wool for the ribs. And once it was finished, I had enough of the original wool left to cut the ribs off and knit them down in the original wool, and it was worth the extra work. I made myself finish it before starting my first little bird from the beautiful book Lorraine sent me at Christmas... I think my first "real" bird will probably be the long-tailed tit, but I want to knit another one in plain yarn first just to get more accustomed to the basic bird pattern before adding design into the mix. I had to order double-pointed needles as I didn't have any small enough  (this bird was knitting on size 1 US, and the beautiful birds of paradise knit from embroidery floss call for even smaller ones)- but I have plenty of scraps of wool to knit all sorts.

This one is hanging from what was our Christmas tree this year - I still haven't taken it down, although all the decorations got put away in early January. Just as well, C and I were both sick; fortunately not with full-blown flu, but still enough to need a week each off work.

Since it's nearly the end of January, and since I'm still struggling to catch up with all sorts of things, I'm going to add my favourite cards from the month in the same post.

This one used the last piece of coloured Tyvek in my box of scraps and spares - time to cut another sheet up and  have it ready to play with.

Friday, 5 January 2018

December Favourites

A bit late in the day posting my favourite cards from December - I didn't feel better till the day before I had to go back to work, so not much got done over the holidays.

Gift tag and close-up of the poinsettia, cut from plastic packaging.

This bag was to contain a gift set of 6 cards which had sea creatures on them. 

I liked this next one so much that I kept it and got C to give it to me for Christmas. The one following is the one I made (much earlier in the year)  for him - as he is somewhat of a Grinch. 

I have very few photos (4) from last January - so not much to choose from for a blog header. This is a grey wagtail in the Liffey at low tide.