Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The snow is back...

Frozen lakes...

...foot-long icicles...

...christmas trees...

...massive snowflakes, tinkling like tiny pieces of broken glass under my feet...

...and brave cats, bounding through snow deeper than their legs are long, climbing the hill to look at a snowy Sliabh an Iarainn.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Escape Update

It took until day seven but I finally got out.

High points of being snowed in for a week:

  • Receiving various packages on the days the postman could get in - the package of chocolate was by far the best.
  • Getting loads of stuff done around the house....unsurprisingly!
  • The day I found two duck eggs lurking in the straw. Two!
  • Surprisingly, it was interesting to have only a set amount of ingredients to work with - and to have to be resourceful with these, cooking things I wouldn't have otherwise tried, and living on less - making do with what was there.

Low points:
  • The pine marten coming back into the attic one night.
  • Trying to block up the holes to stop said pine marten getting into the house or into the duck house.
  • The cats puking up worms all over the floor and sofa....mm mm.

Bizarre points:
  • The box of veg my mother posted me, bless her. As she put it, a tuck box. No tuck box should ever contain kale. Ever.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day Four

The frost was the craziest I've ever seen this morning after the freezing fog, with massive spikes covering everything.
That's not a close-up picture above - those little spikes are about 10-15mm long each.

The world was pure white.
I was ridiculously overjoyed to find the ducks had laid two eggs after going on strike the last while - a source of food! Hurray! I won't starve.
Other things I've learned - don't make porridge in the microwave. (Even if you couldn't be bothered defrosting the gas...)
...beetroot cake is still delicious the second day...
...beetroot soup is also still delicious on the second day (but I'm wondering if day 3 and 4 might find it less appetising)...
...I'm thankful that I kept these measly pots of coriander - they are my only fresh veg now...(except for the stick of celery, but I'm saving that for tomorrow's dinner - curried celery...delightful...and seems an apt meal for budget day tomorrow)...

I'm also wondering did the government manage to arrange this - the biggest distraction from bailouts and the budget they could possibly have imagined...Suspicious.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snowed in...

Day three...not quite at stir-crazy stage yet...the last of the fresh veg is gone...the fruit ration has three satsumas left...beetroot soup made...beetroot cake made (actually a great recipe and particularly good with orange blossom icing)...many bean based meals already eaten....many bean based meals to come...much defrosting of gas done...much defrosting of ducks done...

That's the road below...
'nuff said.

'Tis beautiful of course too. But also bonkers - after last year's month-long cold snap it seems strangely normal to be snowed in. There's enough food to last me several months, as long as I'm happy to live on bread, prunes and legumes, the water is finally drinkable and I've got the cats to talk to ("Oh no" says you, "the solitude is getting to her, she's talking to the cats!" "No, no" says I, "sure I was always talking to the cats.")

Anyway, I thought I'd put some pictures up, seeing as I've no excuse now for not updating the blog! I hope you are all warm and cosy somewhere.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ceramics and light

There's been some beautiful skies recently, between the rain and wind (of which there has been plenty.)The forest park, just a few minutes down the road, was looking particularly gorgeously autumnal last week when I took this. Since then the trees have turned another corner and begun looking more wintery. The light here has been amazing.
I have been making ceramics, and am in love with the colours of some of the glazes.
Tiles for the bathroom, candlesticks for the craft shows.
I love the depth of colour in the spots below - its hard to tell in the photo, but when you look closely, its almost impossible to say what colour the glaze is - there are yellows and blues and reds. It reminds me of colour in nature - it is so rarely one single colour, but many varied hues that make a colour up.

Put a lid on it

I will have a couple of pieces in an exhibition made entirely within jars in the Galway Arts Centre next week called Put a lid on it.

Here they are - a giant felt tooth and a tiny house complete with lighting.
I was quite pleased with the felt tooth - it had a few adventures before heading off to Galway. Here's a shot for size.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Samhain drawing

For the first time in my life I thought I might make it through an oiche shamhna, (that's Halloween in English) without hearing a single firework, despite being outside by a lovely bonfire for much of the evening...but I did hear two distant bangs in the end. The house is obviously not far enough away from civilisation!
A friend introduced me to Urban Sketchers recently, and its had me inspired to get pen and paper out and do some drawing the last few days, so yesterday I dragged a chair and various mark-making tools up the hill to paint the barn, as it looks so very beautiful at the moment, with the trees turning.
Concepta kept me company. She actually walked through the watercolours at one point, and then all over some paper too...little black paw prints.
Its been so long since I went out drawing or painting. I feel so very out of practice, but it was good to get out and do it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Frosty mornings

There's something that I love about the first proper frosty morning. Waking up to sunlight streaming through mist, illuminating spider's webs and the edges of leaves...

...drops of ice melting in the sun...
...the last few flowers trying to open.

We've had some lovely days and its been a pleasure to witness a different season on this piece of land.
The red oak, losing its leaves...

...and after.
I was excited to find these matchstick lichen in the top field the other day - a sign of clean air. (Probably not good to admit I am excited by lichens...)

A crowd (is there a collective noun for moths?) of Herald moths were found hibernating in the shed on a black plastic bag. You can just about see their stripy legs in the photo.

The orchard has been duly harvested...
...and some of it made into gleaming apple and rosehip jelly. (Slightly overset - a friend who had a jar dropped the jar which shattered and apparently the jelly bounced down the road intact...anyone have any good tips of how to get a nice runny-without-being-liquid set on a jelly?)
In other news, a Turk's turban pumpkin made a complete mess of the kitchen - bloody impossible things to break into...
And does anyone know what this is? I found it stuck to the cat, its like a weird little slug - it went from a tiny round lump...
...into a stretched out worm-like thing. Very strange. Answers on a postcard please, or a comment will do...Knitting has continued - a crochet version of this amazing pattern.
And I got a copy of Knitted Fast Food...

All very silly, but they make me laugh.
(I have been knitting some useful objects too recently - honest!)