CARRAIG ABHAINN GARDENS

Carraig Abhainn Garden which lies in Durrus, West Cork.  It is one of the very interesting, well established and peaceful gardens in the area. It consists of 1-hectare which is bound by a mill stream. An amazing waterfall and further along the tranquil stream add to its charm and serenity. My daughter and I visited it recently with my grandchildren and the garden was loved by one and all. The children found it exciting with all its nooks and crannies, and we adults – although we often become like children when we are surrounded by nature – we just loved the tranquillity of the place. I was particularly interested in the variety of trees and plants, among them a Mimosa tree, a Korean Fir, and a whole range of other exotic trees, even a Banana tree! The variety of other subtropical plants, Palms, Rhododendrons and others was interesting too. I think it would be a lovely garden to visit in the autumn also just because of the variety of trees, although many of them are evergreens, a lot of them are deciduous trees also. I think my photos will speak for itself.  I hope that everyone enjoys the walk through this lovely garden with me.
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20170803_142255After our walk we had a chat with Eugene, the owner together with his wife of this beautiful garden.  Eugene is a goldmine of information on plants and trees and he knows his garden inside out.  I will be visiting again and he promised me a guided tour to which I am looking forward very much.  Here is a link to information on this garden.

http://www.ireland-guide.com/gardens/carraig-abhainn-gardens-.7116.html

 

SHARING MAGIC WITH ALICE

The day started good. Alice is one of my grandchildren, at nine years of age she has a great interest in art and in nature. We spent a day together recently which started with us going to buy clay as that was Alice’s plan for one of our activities. But our first action was to put the hammer to a genode which my grandchildren had gifted me.  After a few knocks we were rewarded with wonderful crystals!

Before long we went into the garden, and as there are lots of wild things growing there at the moment it is naturally attracting quite a bit of wildlife so we went hunting for insects or any creatures we could spot and take pictures of. Alice was the fastest and I heard her call out in delight when she found yet another creature. She was the one spotting the Crab spider, a little white spider of which I had not seen many in our garden so far. She also noticed a curious thing to do with bees, she spotted nine bees that seem to be sucking water from moss, this on the shadow side of our steps leading into the garden proper. Never seen anything like it in my life! Delighted to see the honey bees in our garden though.

The white Crab spider (Misumena Vatia) and the Cucumber spider (Araniella Curcubitina)

Here are some of the honey bees and the moss on the steps from which they seemed to be sucking water.  Curious, and never heard of this before.

Two different types of Harvestmen (Dicranopalpus ramosus) and Saddleback Harvestman (Mitopus morio)

A most beautifully grey and black striped Flesh fly (Sacrophaga bercaea)  It is said that they deposit their larvae on meat or carrion.   They will eat decaying vegetable matter.  I learnt that the majority of this species will feed on small carrion like dead insects and snails.  I’m only reading up on this fly, never knew anything about it before.

Peacock Butterfly

Early in the morning I had a visit from a marvellous looking Peacock butterfly which I had to rescue as it had a bit of spider web on one of its legs, It flew away happily afterwards, but in the meantime it had made my day!

Common Greenbottle fly (Phaenicia sericata), a common garden spider (Araneus Diadematus), and a yellow and black ladybird.

A brown Leaf hopper (Philaenus spumarius) and a Bumblebee which I have been trying to identify but it is not easy, I was wondering if it was the Bombus pascuorum because of it orange thorax and black on its abdomen, but I am not sure about it.

After all our discoveries in the garden and our speculating what the bees were up to, we set to making some fun things in clay, it kept us being creative for a long while.

One of Alice’s craft results, and showing me one of the snails she was feeding with dandelion leaves.  She did release them in the garden before she went home again!  Well that is where they live after all.

What an enjoyable day it was, it is interesting and nice to see a young mind look at nature, ask very many questions and have respect for creatures and enjoyment from observations.

If I have any of the identifications wrong and someone spots it may I please be corrected, I would appreciate that.

 

EDGE OF LANDSCAPE – WILLIAM CROZIER

Skibbereen town is currently running its yearly Arts Festival and the town is buzzing with people, whole families, and lots of children – what a nice atmosphere I found today down town. I went to see William Crozier’s exhibition ‘Edge of Landscape’ in our Uillinn Art Centre, which by the way puts on lots of interesting exhibitions and other activities very regularly. There was a guided tour and I thought it would be nice to know a bit more about Crozier’s work, though I know his paintings for a long time as he was living locally. The tour took us through some earlier works and also showed us some of the most recent before his death. I was impressed with his lines and colours, with his painting of West Cork as he saw it – though he painted from memory. He painted the landscape as it relates to people, as it was created by the people, so you have what one might recognise as hay stacks and fields with borders, always borders. In a lot of his work, of a certain period, he painted high horizons, again this creating a border around his fields.
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Painting on the right is ‘The Ripe Field’ 1990

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Painting above is ‘Wolf’s Castle, Toe Head, 1998

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Above are some of his earlier works, on the right is a painting called ‘Winged Figure’ which he painted in the early seventies.  He stopped using figures in his paintings though he had used them a lot in much of his earlier work before he came to West Cork. Personally I find his work which include figures much harder to look at and make sense of.

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The painting above and below are much later work before he died, I love the simplicity of these and I agree with what one of the visitors said, that they reminded her a little of Matisse.  We were told that Crozier was indeed influenced by Matisse, a thought that I liked.

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I’ve always loved visiting art exhibitions. I discovered the value of this in my late teens when I used to go look at paintings in galleries both in Antwerp and in Dublin and was impressed with the energy that would affect me coming from the works, such a difference from looking at a reproduction or print. I was going to Art college at night in those days and I guess that urge to go see paintings never left me since. Luckily Skibbereen town has a thriving Art Centre and other galleries besides. West Cork is a real haven for artists and people who love art. I feel so lucky.

THE BEAUTY AFTER THE STORM

Beautiful raindrops shimmered on the flowers and leaves in the garden this morning, everything sparkled after last night’s rain and thunderstorm. There was a freshness about the garden and the scent was earthy. Soon the sun burned the mist away and the breeze dried out the raindrops but not before I had enjoyed their beauty. A fine summer’s morning in West Cork.
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RESTORING THE MILLER FIFER

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A few years ago my partner Ian came into the possession of an old Miller Fifer, a boat that was going to be restored to its former glory – Ian loves boats, they are his life. A smile appears on Ian’s face if he even just thinks of his Miller Fifer, yes it is delightful to see his pleasure in the boat. But for one reason and another no work was done on the boat after an initial month or two of intense work which Ian together with my ex-husband Ron did over a year ago. see link to blog post

But lately the desire to work on the boat again resurfaced and Ian got the help now of a young man, my nephew David. So after a bit of planning we finally managed to organise a couple of days work just recently. I volunteered too though I know that my help would be limited, it would consist mainly in being supportive and in running a good tea/coffee service which I gladly did being in need of that sort of thing myself too regularly. Apart from that though I brought my mask and knew that I would have the job of sanding some of the very neglected and in need of much TLC woodwork – the cabin especially seems in need of a lot of this. I also cleaned up the inside of the boat as it was a mess. I found many tools half rusted and decided to put them in a Coca-Cola bath. The boys worked hard, they also enjoyed their rolls and egg salad and copious cups of tea. At the end of the two days a lot was achieved and more planning for the next step was done. I’m very please too, though it is not really my project – it is good to be part of the team and to see good results.

The deck in need of much TLC, wood preserver, and paint or varnish.  Sanding will be a big job here.  I for one am going to take care of the cabin (as much as I can).

As can be seen the inside of the Miller Fifer needs quite a bit of work to it, but order was needed above all so that we could see how to proceed.

Tools in the Coca-Cola and scrapers ready to be used by me.

The boys at their lunch, and during a rain shower we sat in the car drinking tea.

I took to finding spots of rot, only a few but I documented it all on photos so as to have an overview.  The rotten bits will have to be replaced.

Ian, David and I hard at work.  Worst of all are the paint fumes – I so dislike, luckily its outside and there was a breeze.

Silhouette of the Miller Fifer and its bow, nice lines and great photo opportunity, I can never resist it.

CHERISHING THE MOMENT

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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During the last few days I visited one of my dear friends, it had been too long since we caught up with each other, and it has been very necessary and a great joy and pleasure to make that time for her yesterday.


Since there was such a super crop of raspberries in the garden I have made plenty of jam, but also the cherries were cheap in the shops, but it’s not as easy to make these into jam hence they turned out runny and we are using the result on ice-cream and in porridge. Delicious!

Summer flowers, it’s good to concentrate on the beauty of nature, especially during days of sadness.

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”
― Maya Angelou

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It has been a sad start to the week here with one friend passing, and a joy later on in the week with visiting a precious friend who is very ill. It makes for quietness and reflection in my own mind. Realising, of course that nature, the beauty of nature, the flowers, the insects, the summer sun and evenings, the delightful scents in the meadows, the nearly full moon in the sky right now, the ripe red berries in the garden, the stillness of the river reflecting lush summer trees found along its banks all help to make life beautiful and meaningful. Letting go is an essential part of growing a little older too.

MEMORIES FROM BOSTON

Architecture of the nineteen seventies – architect Ieoh Ming Pei.
JF Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
The Pavillion
Archecture at JF Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
The sailboat Victura and the exterior of the library.
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If one would like to catch up with some historical and biographical information on John F. and Robert Kennedy, then it would be a good idea to visit the
J.F.Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum at Columbia Point in South Boston.

Apart from getting a good oversight of the life, the presidency and history of that period, a visit to the building itself is definitely worth it.
The building was designed by Chinese born American architect, I.M.Pei, and was build during 1977-79.
As you walk towards this massive construction, you see a stark contrast between its white concrete exterior and its black steel and glass façade, an unornamented expression in abstract shapes, a monument to modern American architecture.
Pei also designed other great buildings in Boston; like the extension to the
Boston Public Library, the West wing of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Hancock Tower.

I was particularly impressed to see how well old and new architecture can be together, this is shown over and over in the city of Boston, Boston is probably a good example to show how architecture has changed from the American Renaissance, to the Modern, in the 20th century, with the more modern buildings making a clear statement of what they are meant for, attracting visitors from afar, to not only look at the external building, but also see what is to be found inside, and what the buildings are used for.

It was interesting to learn that Pei was also the architect that designed the great pyramid shaped entrance and addition to the Louvre Museum in Paris, a piece of work that I have always admired very much.

Looking back I enjoyed very much taking photos of this building. And of course also learning a little bit about J.F.Kennedy. The friend who was with me was very knowledgeable on the history of all America’s presidents and he guided me around.
I have very many good memories of my stay in Massachusetts and Connecticut, especially visiting David Henry Thoreau’s and Walt Whitman’s Concord, and the Florences Griswolds museum in Old Lyme. I am looking at some of my photos and notes and hope to share more in future.

MINDFULNESS

Below follow some quotes from people I admire. I have put them among photos of our garden showing how lush it is at this moment, a moment to relish and savour, a moment to be thankful for and to enjoy to the full. Yes another summer is in full swing ~~~~~~~~

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh
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“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle
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“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” Thich Nhat Hanh


“There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, everyone of them sufficient” Marilynne Robinson
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“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.” Amit Ray


“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” Meister Eckhart


“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.” – Ramana Maharshi
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“You have a treasure within you that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” – Eckhart Tolle


“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl
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“Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.” Jon Kabat-Zinn

ODE TO OUR POLLINATORS

This week has been the week that we remember and show appreciation for our pollinators.

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I read recently in the Irish Times that here in Ireland, bees are a crucial link in the supply chain of our apples, raspberries and other soft fruits. and that a third of the Irish species of bees is threatened with extinction. One can imagine what problems this will cause down the line. Personally we are having a great crop of raspberries and the pollination, as far as I have been able to observe, has been done by bumblebees. There is of course a large number of different pollinators, luckily.  I can’t resist taking photos of any wildlife I find in the garden, so here is a series of pictures taken this spring/summer of our pollinators.

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This bee was just lying there, I guess it was almost dead, but it soon revived with a little honey.

Also many other pollinators visit the gardens.

Thanks to Murtaghsmeadow’s blog for bringing Pollinators Awareness week to my attention.  This is a link to her blog.

https://murtaghsmeadow.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/a-week-in-celebration-of-pollinators

Here is another interesting link:  http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/projects/irish-pollinator-initiative/all-ireland-pollinator-plan/