THE CROW FAMILY AT HOME

For many years some of the crow family have felt very much at home in our garden and on top of the roof, eating from the bird table and nesting in an old empty chimney. When seen in detail they are all very beautiful birds. The rooks have a bluish shine on their very finely preened feathers, they shine. The hooded crows have both black and grey feathers and they only venture on to the patio from time to time, they mostly feed on carrion somewhere else. The jackdaws, also belonging to the crow family feed side to side with the rooks, they are not afraid of these black birds with huge beaks. One of the rooks, we call him Charlie, is very noisy and demonstrates his superior voice quality whenever there is something happening that he does not like around the place. Rooks are very sociable and we see them in groups of about a dozen, intermixed with jackdaws. They are said to hide food into a hole but I have never seen them do that around here. I have seen them play catch in the skies above the garden here, while being very vocal they fly after each other creating great manoeuvres. At times when I go into the garden, one of them, sitting on the roof will give out being very vocal and goodness knows what he is communicating to the others, they know I feed them every day in winter (mainly seeds and peanuts, sometimes table leftovers).
It is a pleasure to have them around, though in a way I might be fonder of the little birds with highly coloured feathers. The crow family are very welcome in our garden, and quite interesting to observe.
The Crow family

GLOW OF THE EVENING SUN

What a most beautiful day it has been, full sun and quite warm for the time of year. This evening I happen to be in the garden getting in the washing and noticed what beautiful light surrounded me, and how the evening sun was bringing out all the colours of vegetables and herbs alike. Magnificent especially as not long after that the moon came up, large and beautiful.

I feel so blessed with all the beauty that surrounds me. Really good to counter balance all the sadness and strife that is going on in our earth.

Feeling grateful.

LIVE IN SILENCE

“Be empty of worrying. Think of who created thought! Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. Live in silence. Flow down and down in always widening rings of being.”
Rumi, The Essential Rumi
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A SMALL TOWN IN WEST CORK

Today during my walk around town, I took some more photos to add to my photo database on Skibbereen town.  I have made this place my own since I came to live here in the nineteen-eighties.  A small market town in West Cork, it has a population of about two thousand.  There is quite a bit of history attached to this town, as is natural of course.  The river Illen runs through it and is a great asset and could be made an even greater focal point.  Anyway, Skibbereen has so much to offer, it has a well run and active Art Centre, beautiful shops, even seven charity shops, and it is quite close to the coast.  I have so much I would like to see happening in the future planning of this town.

So I started to make a collection of photos of all sort of corners and angles of this lovely place, actually I have not even started yet when I think of how much I can still do.  It makes my walks interesting, a great hobby of mine.  Town planning and architecture has always interested me, when I used to paint water colours many years ago I was always excited about townscapes, the shapes of roofs and little corners, so pleasing to the eye.

KINDNESS

I have just come off the phone from my sister Josefine in Belgium, and what we do not hear about in the news here I will tell.

The fact that in Mechelen, a town in Belgium, there has been a large gathering the other day of people of the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faiths, all together in brotherly love, praying for peace.

If you just look at the news there is a lot of scare mongering going on, but it is not the way it is. The feeling is not that we should be scared of our neighbours, but that we should show them extra consideration and kindness, and in this way evil is not winning, but goodness is.

Just thought I would share this.

 

A WINDY NOVEMBER EVENING

While it has been windy for the past week, today was wilder still.  It has been drying out the garden which is good as the heavy rains have made it so sodden that doing any work in there is just impossible.  This wild weather has brought with it some amazing views of a watery sun this evening.  Birds have had their feathers ruffled big time, and they must have been very seasick from sitting on the swinging branches of the trees!  So far we still have electricity but a lot of the country are without it, I would not mind as I love candle light and we always have candles handy during winter time just to be prepared.  Right now the stove is roaring as the draft is strong, a lovely cosy evening with my partner, after a day making the kitchen ‘mouse’ proof, something that has to be done at the beginning of every winter, there should be nothing in paper or plastic, everything should be in strong glass containers, and now it is 🙂  it feels good to have done this, something I had on my list and can scratch out.

PREDAWN KIND OF CLARITY

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“Outside, there was that predawn kind of clarity, where the momentum of living has not quite captured the day. The air was not filled with conversation or thought bubbles or laughter or sidelong glances. Everyone was sleeping, all of their ideas and hopes and hidden agendas entangled in the dream world, leaving this world clear and crisp and cold as a bottle of milk in the fridge. ”

Reif Larsen, from The Selected Works of T.S.Spivet

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“Do you ever get the feeling like you already know the entire contents of the universe somewhere inside of your head, as if you were born with a complete map of this world already grafted onto the folds of your cerebellum and you are just spending your entire life figuring out how to access this map?”
Reif Larsen, The Selected Works of T.S.Spivet      

BRIGHT BERRIES ALONG THE ROAD

While walking along the ring road at Skibbereen today, in a landscape beautifully lit up by an October sun in November, I was amazed how many bright berries I could see. Well done Cork County Council for planting these shrubs some years ago, they have all grown very well and the variety of berries is just brilliant. Cars were flying by but with a view of the town, and the river Illen it is all very picturesque and a great walk to get into condition with – about two kilometres all round.
So I set about to identify my shrubs tonight.  I am not familiar with many shrubs at all. And I was so delighted to find that one of the shrubs was the Sea buckthorn.  Some years ago I bought a bottle of the oil of this berry, and here they are growing in front of my eyes and I did not know about it. The shrub is beautiful with very slender grey/green silvery leaves, and the bright orange berries are clustered among the branches. During my research I came across another wordpress blogger, she had a recipe for buckthorn pie on her blog and I decided to copy the link as some people might find this interesting.
http://rakkaudellapaula.com/2015/01/27/sea-buckthorn-berry-merengue-pie/comment-page-1/#comment-85
I am glad to find out more about the buckthorn berry as it is yet another food source, and something to experiment with, one can make a hand cream and I guess much more besides, I read health tonics, and cosmetics.
The berry is said to be very nutritious, containing high levels of anti-oxidants.
The shrubs are very touch, grows easy, and are thought not to need much water. They can even tolerate salt thrown on roads for the ice in winter.

The dogwood is growing along the road here also, it’s red branches are most beautiful in winter, I remember seeing them last year, wishing for snow of course as then the red branches will look brilliant against the white snow.

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Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)

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This is probably Viburnum Opulus”  (Guelder rose)

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Dogwood (Cornus alba) berries and flower

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This is probably cotoneaster and the wild rosehip everyone is familiar with.


A BLESSED SUNDAY IN RURAL IRELAND

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Harry Clarke is well known for his use of the most beautiful colours, deep blues especially delight the eye.  This is one of the stained glass windows in St.Barrahane’s Church in Castletownshend, Ireland, there are three windows designed by Harry Clarke in this little church. We spent some time here last Sunday as my latest grandchild was being christened.   Because of the week that was in it there was not much work done in the garden, apart from the hedge cutting.  I went on an outing with my daughter and grandchildren one of the days, we did some shopping but also walked along the estuary and bird sanctuary at Timoleague and saw the ruins of an old abbey there (http://www.timoleague.ie/abbey/default.html).  And on Friday we had a crafts day with the two oldest girls, we made a treasure box from scrap items which they thought was great fun!  Then on Sunday there was yet another outing to the christening, and a stroll along the country road where the starlings were making a racket but otherwise all was very peaceful.

Meanwhile it is the second of November and still the weather is mild and a golden sun burnt away the grey skies this morning.  So far we have been really blessed with the weather here which we gratefully accept after a rather cool and sunless summer.
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Sts Louis IX and Martin of Tours – stained glass window by Harry Clarke.
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Sunday stroll around the old pub where we had lunch, an old farm door took my interest.
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Magically recreated soap powder boxes.  And deep pink hydrangeas along the Irish country roads.
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Starlings gathering in the trees, and autumn leaves all along the hedgerows.