Easter 2016

The year is slowly moving through the seasons, it’s nearly Easter and time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising 1916. What are you planning on doing? I’m sure there will be events all around the country allowing everyone to get involved no matter where we live.

We’ve had some wonderful weather Continue reading “Easter 2016”

Compost Tetris

Over the last few weeks I have been slowly doing the almost yearly job of moving compost from one bin to the next. Our compost gets turned twice before it is considered ready for use. We have five compost bins and of course there is a system for how we utilise them. We use a sawdust bucket system for our toilet, we’ve been using this system for ten years now and it works really well for us. We make our own sawdust using our power planer, it costs us nothing to make as we have the timber on our land and we have all the electricity we need for using power tools.

We put both cooked and uncooked kitchen waste into buckets until we have two or three buckets filled, then every time we need to empty the compost toilet bucket we also empty the kitchen-waste buckets, covering everything with a layer of cut grass and rushes. We use one compost bin until it is full, the bins are roughly 4foot square. When the bin is nearly full I start the process of moving the compost in the other bins.

Compost Tetris, Garden Fun

Imagine that all the bins are full and that the bins are A, B, C, D and E in that order and they are all built in one row. Bin A is nearly full so I begin by emptying bin C and putting the soil around trees, creating a new fruit bush bed or topping up a fruit bed. I keep some of the soil to close the bin which is almost full. I then shovel the contents of bin D into bin C and then I shovel the contents of bin E into the now empty bin D. Now we are ready to finish filling bin A and when it is full I close it up by covering it in grass and then topping with soil. Bin E is now ready for use.

It takes roughly nine months to fill a bin, sometimes longer depending on settlement in the bin. So every year I get to play Compost Tetris.

We always keep a pile of cut grass beside the compost bins which sometimes needs replenishing. Sometimes this requires cutting grass and rushes however today I was able to move some which had been cut over a year and half ago – quite a workout!

When I was resting between runs with the wheelbarrow I was struck with the beauty of the sunlight glinting in raindrops hanging from the bare whitethorn  (hawthorn) branches in a nearby hedge. Such beauty is never far away here and I am always grateful to receive it.


Sundown – time to get indoors

Unfortunately the photos from this old post have been lost
It’s amazing, we have just had 3 full days of sunshine! We are not talking about just a bit of clear sky every now and then, we are talking about three whole, entire days of sunshine, from sunrise to sundown.

A German friend noted on Saturday, our first sunny day, that we had only had three sunny days in the past sixty days. My German acquaintance tends to make notes like this, as does my Swiss neighbour. They both tend to be mathematical about the weather, percentage of humidity, inches of rainfall – actually make that feet of rainfall, days of sunshine.

Some friends and I were chatting about this phenomenon of being so analytical about the weather and concluded that Irish people don’t have these tendacies because it would be too depressing to know exactly how much rain had fallen last week or that we have had only three whole days of sunshine in sixty days.

It’s much easier to cope when you know that it’s “been awhile since there was a good sunny day” or “there’s been a fierce amount of rain recently” as opposed to the cruel, hard, cold and wet facts.

So, back to the happy, happy fact that we have had multiple, complete days of sunshine. The ground is beginning to dry out, the mud outside our door has dried up. There are wasps flying about, presumably making the most of the last few flowers.

We have been working on the house again, for a while there it was too wet to be climbing up on the scaffolding to do outside work. We kept ourselves busy tidying up the inside of the house, moving the cedar wood indoors to keep it dry, painting the windows that have yet to be installed.

Now, for the last few days we have working outdoors again. We used the cedar to clad another wall, bringing us around to the south facing front of the house. We are about halfway to having the entire house clad and weatherproof.

Water Collection System and Cedar Cladding

It’s been so good to be working on the outside of the house again, even better has been working in a tee-shirt. It’s still a little chilly in the morning however it’s not long until the sweatshirt comes off – yahoo! Soooo nice to feel the warmth of sunshine.

Sundown, however, comes on quickly. The temperature drops so suddenly that it’s a rush to pull on sweatshirts and woolly hats, put the tools away and get indoors to light the fire. I laughed today when I thought about the silly old Vampire movie I saw over Halloween – the townspeople were rushing to get indoors when the sun went down, to avoid being Vampire supper.

We displayed the same urgency for different reasons, bright sunny, cloudless days lead to clear skies and cold nights. It’s time to be back indoors, enjoying the heat of the stove.