Thursday, 28 July 2016

That time Dan, Hannah, Lucy and David came to Ireland and we went fishing and had a festival and went to an abbey

look at that handsome dog

Dan looking serious in front of St Brendan

Well we had a pretty adventurous start to the Mulranny 2016 Heather festival which Josh and I have been on the organising committee for (though he hasn't been to any of the meetings). Dan arrived and we immediately took him to Mayo's best kept graveyard in 2014 where we started a 4 hour walk.

Josh's beer was very popular and over the weekend 147 beers were drunk by Mulranny and then we ran out so we couldn't offer any more. During the weekend, St Brendan's new shop was officially opened by the RTE correspondent for Religious affairs.  Father Tod shook some holy water on us and blessed the shop and we gave out the beer! Now you can buy all the produce I have been making officially.
Hannah at the farm

Hannah helped me harvest in the morning so the shop was stocked for the opening - which was lucky because we sold out of everything almost immediately. 

After the festival was over and the yawl race was coming to an end, we said goodbye to Hannah and went to get some Indian takeaway with Dan and Archie. Yum.

Then Lucy and David arrived the next day and I (Brian from St Brendan's farm) took them out on my first fishing trip - we were promised shoals of mackerel. But it turns out either Lucy or David is Jonah and bad luck and we caught none. But we also weren't sick (probably thanks to some pills we were given) and Brian from Achill took us to a deserted Island called Achill Beg. Which was pretty cool.
There was a moment of panic (maybe more than a moment for Lucy :) ) When we turned up and got in this little boat that Brian then told us he made himself, and then the waves started to get pretty rough....and then Brian started describing how the sea was a cruel paymaster.....but it was worth it and after a while the waves started to lull me into a bit of a dream.

Brian thought it was the funniest thing ever that Lucy would be known as a giant woman on Achill Beg because she is so much bigger than the door. So at Brian's request, we staged a photo. Lucy is the giant and David and Brian are running away.... Lucy is much taller than the door because the sheep poo over the years means the floor got a few feet taller!

And then we went to Kylemore Abbey which used to be a school till ten years ago and is literally HOGWARTS. IT IS UNBELIEVABLE. And the gardens..... they are so amazing

how pretty

Love at Kylemore :)

More love at Kylemore :)

A couple of pals that I work with at St Brendans farm. Brian is wearing tights on his head which he uses to keep away the midges!

Lucy happy on the calm bit of the sea

David, a real fisherman

The walk at the festival. It looks like we are on the quest for the ring.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

I mean, Check out that scarecrow!

scarecrow at the Weizman
Remember last time, when I said the Summer had been pretty great? Well I spoke to soon. Our summer finished halfway through June and now we are back to good old rain and wind which to be honest I don't mind. I have just spent 11 days in Israel reminding me I could never live in a hot country, even if their food markets are bursting with watermelon, basil, tomatoes, basically everything and we only JUST have carrots.  Still, I have harvested my first potatoes and one of my tomatoes is finally turning red!


Well I was in Israel for 11 days so I got to see a whole bunch of lovely people there. Adina managed to put up with me for 9 so that was pretty impressive. It was so nice hanging out with Emma (and fam!) watching her cook while I sat in front of the fan.

Me and dad
We also had a whole load of guests before and after Israel which has been so fun. Miyako came for her birthday and we went to the hotel for the fanciest meal you can get on the west coast of Ireland. It was nice to get out of farming clothes for a bit.  And some international guests! Yuval from Israel, Sabine and Yudit from Switzerland and even some of my parents old friends came for dinner from Germany. And our favourite returning guest Craig :)


Oh I am so deeply into it right now. The shop has been doing well so I have been increasing output to include: Sauerkrauts, sugared ginger, rose sweets, tea, rose syrup, elderflower and mint cordial, other cordials and even dog biscuits from the spent grain from Josh's brewery... I have also been harvesting the Fuchsia flowers because they are edible!
dog biscuits

These are for the Dandelion wine which will be ready soon:

josh's hands


First potatoes, mini carrots,  beetroot, turnip (finished now), broad beans TONS OF SALAD which I am selling at the shop, herbs, first red tomato and doing a whole lot of foraging.

me and carrots

Jerusalem artichoke taking over
new potatoes and beetroot

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Now is a time of growth and produce and harvest and sharing that harvest

It has been a busy month and summer is not the time for sitting inside and writing blogs but I don't really want to go outside and deal with yet another broken windbreak which was protecting my tender sweetcorn!

So far though, summer has not been the disaster I thought a Mulranny summer might be. The weather has been pretty great and when Rachel and Annie came over, we spent most of our time on the beach!



We had a grand old time with Craig, Amy and Andrew. We made our second dinner party where we paired the food with the beer and I think it went well, we definitely got a bit drunk so it is hard to know....

Our good friend Felicity joined us
We have also been hanging out with our new friends. For Shavuot this year, we had our own harvest party! About 20 of our new friends came down, lots of the ladies from Craft and lots of neighbours. Some of the men asked Josh to join Wednesday night poker club so he was very pleased about that :)
We hope everyone had a good time and we made WAY too much food which included (not to brag but yes to brag):
Wild nettle and wild garlic pesto pasta
Mini nettle and garlic burgers with my own buns
home grown salad
a lot of pickled vegetables
2 cheese cakes
several kinds of vegan biscuits and A WHOLE LOT OF BEER - although surprisingly, a lot of the Irish men don't drink at all.

I have also started my first shift volunteering at the environmental and Old Irish Goat Society shop :) After a few hours there, one of my new friends took me to lunch at Yvonne's tea room - a new little coffee shop in the village set up in the old house of the family. The owner told me how he shared his room (a little room!) with his seven brothers and his two sisters shared with his parents across the hall :0!
My new friend told me a whole bunch of stories which really deserve there own blog but in the meantime... a great one was how she once borrowed a nun's habit and wore it all the way to America to surprise her cousins! And she told me about growing up here, how she lost her parents at a young age and her and her brothers just pulled together because no one else was going to look after them and grew their food and baked the bread and stole bikes if they couldn't find another way to get to the dances. She is a pretty impressive lady, like most folk here who have had a pretty tough time one way or another.  You wouldn't know it though, they don't complain over here except about politicians - that international complaint.    


I have been preserving like CRAY, especially to get ready for the new shop opening at St Brendans soon. 


LABELS HAVE ARRIVED! with rose and nettle cleanser tea



Well there are a good few of us up at the tunnels now. Brendan and Henry, two Brians and Tom. One of those Brian's is taking Josh and me fishing for Mackerel soon and taught me some Irish. They have been weeding and watering like crazy and Brendan showed me how to keep blight off my potatoes so I think we are going to have some pretty fab vegetables. Our turnips, beetroot, carrot and salad have all been cropped several times. 

my pepper!

tomatoes - nearly there friends!

wild Irish roses

Shavuot display

Friday, 13 May 2016

Chickens, swimming in the Atlantic and Josh posing....

Well my responsibilities have increased pretty quickly having 4 children in the last two months. Current family count: Mum (Josh) and Dad (Talia), son Archie and 3 daughters;  Mrs Dalloway, Virginia and Colonel Queen Boudica. 

Virginia, Boudica, Mrs Dalloway

Unfortunately there is quite a lot of sibling rivalry. We had some chicken run times when the chickens escaped (3 times) and one of those times, Archie caught one... in his mouth.  So now Mrs Dalloway has a naked bum and has gone on egg laying strike until better protection is promised. 

Archie thinks he is the top of the pecking order

Boudica is the top of the pecking order and she pecks the others when they get in her way. Mostly the girls get on just fine and spend their days happily rummaged around in our compost heap and trying new ways to escape the fence only to try and immediately get back in (which they can't seem to manage). 
Josh thinks he is the top of the pecking order


Danni and Jam came for a few days and we had a good time! Me and Danni even braved the freezing temperatures of the Atlantic. #paradise #baywatch. And we started a band, first recordings coming soon. 

post swim ice cream


Goat puppets I make at Craft on Monday mornings with other older ladies who are teaching me to sew. 

I tried to sew a turban and it didn't work


We have excitingly had our first harvest, some radishes and salad and the beetroot looks nearly ready to pull up. Our first and second early potato crops are also doing so well and I have started hardening off our Courgettes and outdoor tomatoes. 

I made a makeshift polytunnel with free stuff I found

Potatoes in bags and laundry baskets and tomatoes, radishes, lettuces and a courgette 
one man and his dog
learning to sit in the car