A Wander and a Gander

Did you ever wander into unknown territory and wonder where the hell you were?  Well we did.  This weekend we took a gander at some fields behind our house which have been waiting with open arms for the last 18 years, inviting us to come and explore and stretch our toes out along its merry paths.  We had been down there before and had always got the sense that we were in the middle of nowhere but this time, we were lost, truly lost; me saying that we had to go that way and he saying that we had to go the other way and neither of us were right because we forgot one little detail; rivers don’t go in straight lines.  They are like (and now permit me to wander off again here)  the “dunce” at the back of the class, head full of all kinds of “useless” stuff,. meanderings and musings, always ready to steer off the path into some nook and cranny, anywhere where she can get to, no regard for discipline or conformity.  No straight lines for her.  Teacher trying to drum it into her and the rest of the class that you must be like a canal (and here please allow me another go at comparison); you must do everything by the book, think in straight lines, blinkers on, do what you’re told.  No back answers, no cheek, no thinking outside the box.  A straight line from A to B.  That way things will go smoothly without upset, no rocking the boat here.

So there we were, with only the sun to guide us as to which direction we should follow and the river always confusing us and bringing the sun behind us instead of in front of us.  But we were truly happy.  We came across woods that we didn’t know existed, full of Hawthorn bushes and crab apple  and huge birch trees along with the odd oak and the ground there  full of yellow lesser celandine and the smell of wild garlic assaulting the nostrils every so often.  And then suddenly into a big open field full of cowslips and primroses and a hint of nostalgia for childhood crept in, great  big long fields with uneven, boggy terrain.   ImageImageImage



Presentation piece at 2013 Offaly County Enterprise Awards

We were proud to present to John Concannon of JFC Manufacturing, Guest Speaker at the 2013 Offaly County Enterprise Awards, with one of our pieces;  An Ornate Slate Candle Holder in black and charcoal.  Below is John Concannon, speaker with Denis Duggan, Enterprise Ireland and Orla Martin, Offaly CEB along with that handsome man in the middle left (beside Orla) Mauricio Martino.


Bog Cotton

On our way out to that wonderful place, Lough Boora Parklands back the end of June, we just simply had to stop the car and see why was the bog all white instead of its usual brownish colour.  Upon closer inspection, we saw that this year, Bog Cotton had lost the run of itself and was growing madly and wildly.  It was a sight to be hold!!

Below is a photo taken at Lough Boora Parklands


Helpless hopelessness

What a horrid notion to contemplate; Helpless hopelessness or even hopeless helplessness.  It sounds like one should just lie down and die, like that life’s a bitch and then you …….

I know what it’s like to feel helpless but when in that state I never add a double trouble to it and say that I’m also hopelessly helpless.  And if I’m feeling hopelessly lost or hopelessly at the end of my tether I don’t imagine for one minute that there isn’t help along the way.  Nothing is ever as bad as it seems at that moment.  So instead of helpless hopelessess it would be better to think of it as a helpful hopelessness, helpful in that whenever we feel down it serves to help us change our situation and make the hopeless helplessness hopeful again   (if you get my drift)  END OF RANT

me poor wellies

Ah Mauri!! What did you do to me poor wellies, filled them up with dirt and stuck a few flower seeds in them, didn’t ya?  And did ya not think that I’d be needing them for Castlepalooza?  Or Electric Picnic? (if someone had treated me to a ticket, not looking at anyone in particular but staring….)

my poor wellies

There I was going down to Castlepalooza every day with my sandals on and I felt like a duck out of water, all forlorn and sticking out like a sore thumb – everyone wearing their lovely and wonderful wellies.  Mind you there was no need for them, it was so dry.  And anyway if it had rained and there was muck everywhere those wellies wouldn’t have kept the moisture out there were so many slits in them

out foraging for good food!

Just recently I had the pleasure of meetiing  Sharon Greene, a forager and a friend of wild foods and saw some of the wonderful products she has on offer; elderberry, rosehip, gorse flower, nettle and hawthorn berry syrups, Dandelion Flower “Honey” Preserve, Crabapple & Chilli Fruit Cheese Pot, Crabapple & Wild Berry Fruit Cheese Pot and lots more.  Check them out on The Wild Irish Foragers & Preservers.

Earlier on this summer I made Wild Garlic pesto several times and got a great kick out of it.  Also in June I got the leaves and flowers from a hawtorn bush, brought them home and stuffed them into a jar and soaked them in Brandy for a few weeks.  After that I put the concoction in little bottles with squeezy tops for drops and gave them out to a few friends.  By the way, Hawthorn is supposed to be good for the heart so there’s about four or five of my friends walking around with extremely healthy hearts at present!!  And if those four or five friends were wanting some more when that little bottle finishes all they have to do is come back and ask for more.  Don’t be shy now!!

There is so much food out there for free, it’s unreal!! The blackberries have been picked and the jam is all finished and labelled and ready for the attic where it will stay (not for long ) in storage.  It’s such a pleasure to pick nice fat juicy fruit when it’s ready for the pickin’.

I picked some “chicken of the wood” today up in charleville forest  and brought it home to Mauricio for breakfast.  Now he did put up his nose at it because it’s not the youngest or freshest.  I’ve been keeping an eye on it for a few weeks and it aged before my very eyes.  I’ll just have to go out tomorrow to that secret field that not too many people know about, ooops!! and find some nice fresh field mushrooms to keep my man happy.   You know the saying- the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.