Sunday, 25 August 2013

Warning! Bogger Alert!!

  This is Studio Benny as her now stands.  Sad and abandoned.

All the internal walls have been removed to make one big open space.

Unfortunately we found some of the dreaded rot in the floor so some timbers will need to be replaced.

And this is the cause of the halt to all work............Turf!!!!  Bloody Turf!!!!!

When I was a kid I used to tease my friends because they had to go to the bog and work on the turf with their sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper and their little bottles of tea.  Now I'm stuck in the middle of the bog and married to a man that's absolutely obsessed with the stuff.

When we were on holidays he missed it so much and talked about it most days, to the point where he was actually getting into a bad mood towards the end of our time away. Needless to say, the bog was the first place that he visited on our return!!

After 12 years with my sod obsessed husband I've gotten to know a little of the process and the passion that is put into this stuff. This year, after many summers begging from my husband, I finally agreed to venture into the bog to help with the work. All in the hope that work resume on Benny quicker, you understand. I'm not turning into a bogger at all. I'm too much of a townie for that!!

There is so much work into getting this turf home for fuel for the winter.  It needs to be cut and let to dry.  The weather is closely watched in case rain washes the sods back into the ground.  Then it needs to be picked off the ground and stacked in order for the wind to be able to dry the turf further.  This is called footing. After a few weeks of drying the sods will shrink and the footings will probably need to be rebuilt.  Another few weeks of good weather and they will be ready to bring home.  This could take up to four evenings.  Finally the turf will then need to be clamped.  This is what you can see in the pictures.  They are stacked in such a way that the rain will run off the sides while still allow the wind to breeze through it.  After all that work it's not surprising that they call this Black Gold around here.

People are very protective of their turf and their right to cut it.  It's a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation.  But the EU have decided that this tradition should be stopped to save the bogs and I can understand that. But when you see the massive machines that the big companies use to strip the bog for commercial fuel or for compost for gardens or to burn to make electricity, then I can also understand the locals fury and refusal to accept to give up their rights.  What is cut by hand for domestic use is only 1% of the damage that is done by the big bog companies but there is no plans to stop this.  Surely a law that is passed should be applicable to all!  Go figure.

Something relaxing after all that.

As I've probably mentioned before, I'm quite often up at dawn to see the sunrise and listen to the dawn chorus.

I was delighted the other day to finally capture a stunning sunrise.  The sky looks as if it was on fire that morning.  It was a glorious start to the day.

Thank you all so much for popping in and reading all my mad ramblings.  I love your comments so much.  They really do make me smile.  And a big welcome to all my new readers too.

Rosie xx

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Peace And Tranquility

After a very stressful and difficult week, we decided that since the salmon were running, it was time that a little break from normal life was called for.  So we packed up the camper and headed to Easkey in Co. Sligo, for a final trip away before the kids return to school next week.  I have posted about Easkey before, saying that it was my most favourite place in the world and that is still the case.
When we arrived we parked in our usual place right along the coast next to the rocks.  From here the sea can be deafening at times when the tide comes in and the waves beat against the rugged rocks a mere 7m from the camper.  The picture above is what is visible from the right hand window of the camper. It is the wildness of the sea that makes here the only place where I can find true peace and tranquillity.  I can empty my mind and just let it go with the ebb and flow of the tide.

I love to sit on my favourite rock with a cup of tea in my hand and the dog leaning close against my legs, face into the sea and let be free from any stress.  I close my eyes and let the wind carry me up high into the sky like the gulls where I can soar and glide with them in the powerful Atlantic winds and watch the salmon waiting in the bay for the next high tide so that they can swim up the river and return to their birthplace to spawn.  I can hear the waves beat below me and feel the fresh salty air in my lungs.

People I know have come here with their kids and returned to tell me that it was boring with nothing to do and no proper shops in the tiny little village.  But if they just opened their eyes it is all here for the taking. Nature in it's rawest from.  The ocean on one side, the mountains towering behind, a beautiful river running down the centre and some of the friendliest people I have ever met.

The men in the family head off to the river to chase the elusive salmon and sea trout, hoping that this will be the day that they will catch the big one on the fly.  Myself and Lucy head off down the coast on our bikes with my camera in hand ready to shoot.  We walk the cliffs and rocks and search for fossils, which are in abundance in this area.  We also have started a new collection of sea glass this summer and this is proving to be a lot of fun as it is much harder to find in this around here.  We have all been very competitive to see who could find the most and who had the biggest array of colours.

To say that I find this place magical would be a major understatement.  I love being this close to nature and what I love even more is that my kids adore it too.  As soon as the summer holidays start, they begin to beg to visit here and we do come as often as we can.  Our hearts break for it when the end of the season comes in September knowing that we will not be returning until the following May.
We have been coming here for about ten years now and every time that I visit, I fall in love with it even more. Can you tell??
Rosie xx

PS  The only thing that I would say about sleeping in a camper so close to the sea means that I could literally wee for a national team!!!  The sound of all that water!!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Miss Forget-Me-Not

I wanted to write this post to say thank you to a very special lady, Stephanie of  In June of this Year, I contacted Stephanie and asked her if she would make one of her beautiful hares for my daughters eight birthday.

She asked for me to describe Lucy and all that she liked and disliked so that she could get a picture in her mind of who she was making the present for.

We chatted back and forth over the coming weeks and I felt so naughty keeping a secret from Lucy.  She has a knack of getting people to tell the truth!!

I waited with my nerves on edge for my phone to ping with the first photographs of this little beauty. When it finally arrived I found that Stephanie only sent me a picture of the dress.  I was so impatient with excitement at this stage, I felt like I was fit to burst!   But Stephanie was being a little on the cruel side and made me wait a whole day more and even at that only sent me one picture at a time.  You meanie Stephanie!!

With each and every photo I fell in love with this hare more.  I loved all of the little details that made it so very special, the embroidery, the beautiful material for the dress, the little handbag, the lace finished bloomers and of course the sweet little face.
Now all I had to do was wait for it to arrive for Lucy's birthday.

When Lucy opened the package, she screamed with delight. I know my daughter and I know that she really does appreciated anything that's handmade and that she will take great care of it.  She instantly bonded with Miss Forget-Me-Not and I found it very hard to get some pictures of her because every time that I picked her up to take some piccies, Lucy ran over and took her back off me!

My husband sings an old Irish song to Lucy now when he sees her playing with the hare.

The daisies and the roses 
are blooming round the spot
where we parted 
and she whispered
"you'll forget me not".

So thank you very much Stephanie.  It was a real pleasure working with such an incredibly talented lady as you.  You made something that I know my daughter will treasure forever.

Rosie xx

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Yummy Crochet!!

Dont you just want to dive into this!
This big basket of yarn has brought me a lot of pleasure of the last few weeks.  The bright colours have cheered me in the most stressful of times and just the thought of sitting down to crochet with it was like an instant sedative.
A couple of months ago I decided to buy an Attic 24 pack of mixed Stylecraft yarn for a blanket for Benny the studio. (Work on Benny has been severely held up due to turf!!! Very frustrating indeed).  I don't normally ike using acrylics but I wanted something that would be tough and durable and easy to wash as it was going to be used as a throw for the kids couch in my studio.  I must say this has totally won me over.  it is so easy to work with and soft to the touch.

I have not altogether stuck to Lucy's pattern and changed some of the colours and removed others that were in the pack to suit the studio when its finished.  The only mistake that I made is that I think that I may have made it a bit too long!!  I decided to make it 300 sts on the foundation chain as I need it too cover the couch.  Ehh but too much there Rosie!  Now the blanket measures a whopping 2,5m.  Hence the reason I could only get some if it in the picture!!  But I'm thinking now that in the winter I can always bring it into the house and use it on one of the kids beds to keep them nice and snug.
 For such a plain pattern it is totally addictive.  I can never wait to chose the next colour and I love seeing all the different combinations coming together.  I quite often have wrecked the heads of the family asking "what colour will come next?".  I think that they are just picking the first one that their hands land on at this stage, just to shut me up!!!

Over the last few evenings I have noticed how the nights are closing in faster and faster.  After such a long winter, it has seemed like the summer months have just not lasted long enough.  It saddens me to see the long nights returning so quickly after the glorious weather that we've been having.  I have loved this hot weather this year.  It happens so rarely here in Ireland unfortunately.  So I just couldn't understand why my kids hated it so much.  They hid in the house and cried that it was too hot to venture outside until the evening.  What?? I remember hot summers as a child where my parents would bring us swimming every day whether that was to the coast or to the nearest river or lake.  We were all good swimmers at very young ages so that was the one passtime that we all did together.  Fun times.

One other thing that I've loved most about this summer is that my garden has blossomed brilliantly and the bees and butterflies have been attracted by all of the different smells and colours.  Just sitting in the garden stitching and listening the the hum of the bees busying themselves has been pure heaven.  The unmistakable perfume of the sweet peas wafting through the breeze.

The white sweet peas here are a perennial plant and are unperfumed but are perfect for cutting.  They are more robust then the perfumed ones and last longer when brought into the house.  I like to mix them with the pretty, delicate blooms of regular ones.  It has brought me so much pleasure to bring in posies of flowers from my own garden and display them on the kitchen table or windowsill.  They have been often given as gifts too to family and friends when we visit, tied with pretty ribbons and wrapped in pretty tissue paper.

My other favourite in the garden has to be my lupins.  I have quite a few of them in quite an array of colours.  I love how the blooms last so long on them and they just keep flowering all summer long.  I have sat for long periods just watching how perfectly designed that the individual flowers are to accommodate the bees in their job collecting pollen.  As the bee lands on the bottom lip of the flower, that is the darker pink triangle at the bottom, the whole bloom opens out to reveal the golden treasure inside.  The bees finally hurry off home with their legs and tummy covered in a thick fur of sweet pollen.  Isn't nature magical?

Anyway must pop off for now.  Chat you all soon.  I have something very beautiful to show you.
Rosie xx

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

I'm Home At Last

Hello Everyone, I'm back at last.  It has been a very long break and boy have I missed it and all of you!!  I have been reading a few blogs here and there on Bloglovin but rarely having the chance to comment.  I'm so glad that I'm finally back.
The Hubby got me a Coolpix L810 camera for my birthday and I've been snapping at every opportunity. Unfortunately it then took me ages to figure out how to put it on the computer and be able to upload to the blog, so that has held up my return slightly.

I can't say that so far it has been a restful summer, more stressful and only now are things beginning to settle down.  There has been a lot of sitting in hospitals and doctors surgeries waiting for test results or consultations with both my mother and son.  Thankfully my mother, after a lot of sleepless nights worrying, is finally getting back on her feet and looking more like her old self.  I can't say "old self" around her at the moment because she is turning 70 this year.  She says that 70 is the age that you officially become an "old person", so she has decided that she will be 69 for the rest of her life and next week we will be celebrating her second 69th birthday!!

My son too is slowly getting better and we seem to be getting his seizures under control.  it has been so hard on him as he struggled to accept that his epilepsy had returned.  As normally what happens with absence seizures, his mood swings were always fierce and unexpected.  As he is such a gentle child this was not in his nature and he would often end a temper tantrum by crying out of pure frustration.  It would be very hard for an adult to deal with this, but patrick is only 9.  How hard is it for him?  We talk about it often and he can now recognize the seizures when they happen so now he can tell me about how it feels and we can record it all for the doctors.  He says that it feels like being underwater, sound is warped and all is dark like he closed his eyes.  Fortunately his medication seams to be at a good level and the seizures are rarer now.  Fingers crossed!!

Anyway on the chirpier side of things, our holidays have not been as busy as I would have hoped.  We may have had three weeks of beautiful weather but my kids absolutely hated it!  How could you hate hot weather??  I just don't understand it.  So while they hid inside, I sat in the garden quietly stitching and finding a little peace in all the stress. I found that it gave me the time to switch off my brain and just concentrate on the slow in and around movement of my hook and yarn.  I have lots of crafty bits to show you in the next few weeks and hopefully a great Ta-Dah moment with the campervan blanket.

Anyway to the picture above.  In the evenings of those very hot days we would go swimming down at the lake.  This was one of the spots that we visited, Saints Island.  There was something about the place that made me feel a little uneasy, I don't know why.  

Maybe it was all the great big High Crosses everywhere and the long shadow that they cast!!

Another thing that we did to hide from the heat was to take refuge in the dappled light of the forest.  I may not be the biggest fan of nettles but look how pretty they are flowering on the forest floor.

As we cycled along we could not believe the height of the grass along the stream.  It just goes to show what proper summer weather can do for growth.  This time last year this stretch of path was totally under water.

Molly just dove into the river the second that she saw it so that she could cool down.  It was really hard to get her out again and she yapped like mad when we tried to go!!

For our holidays we went toured the south coast, county Cork.  It is such an amazing place, like stepping back in time to before the rest of the country was ruined during the boom time.  Our first stop was Fota Wildlife park.  We loved it so much.  We could get quite close to the animals and there were plenty just wandering around the paths like Maras, Wallabies, Peacocks to name but a few.

  I just had to show you this picture.  Hear no evil, Speak no evil.  Just missing one more!!

As we toured we saw some very pretty little villages.  The old telephone box below even had an old wind-up telephone on display inside.  The kids were fascinated by this.  They've never even seen a phone with a dial on it before!

We also visited the home place of the great Michael Collins, the man who is responsible for our freedom today.  But still today people in this country will debate this fiercely.   But he was still loved by everyone then and now.

I'm just after realising what a very long post that I'm after writing.  if you're still with me, thanks for popping back and sorry for going on a bit.  I just had so much to catch up on.  I hope to be back in the next few days with a crafty post.  Promise I won't make it as long!!

Glad to be back,
Rosie xx