Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Sky, Hills, and More Wind Turbine Parts

Last night around 9 o'clock, I looked out the bedroom window. The light was interesting, so I spent some time enjoying the sky and the view of Benbulben in Sligo. I noticed that there was a different ship at the pier--the cruise ships that had been docked there all day yesterday were gone and a cargo ship had taken its place. The cranes were up, so I assumed they were unloading more wind turbine parts. We went by on our walk this morning and saw that this is what's going on.

Only a month of increasing daylight left, and then we head back in the right direction. It always makes me so happy when the darkness arrives noticeably earlier.

A friend brought over this wild iris yesterday, still closed up. This morning when I came downstairs, it was open. Isn't it lovely?
Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Up the Hill Instead

There are two cruise ships docked at the pier today, so we knew town would be crowded. The population is only around 1100 people, so when one ship docks, that can easily double or more, if it's a large ship. With two, there are even more people. Granted, not all of them stay in town--they can go on a tour of the surrounding areas if they want. Many people choose to stay in town and walk around, especially on a day like today. We decided that when we picked up our wee walking pal, we'd avoid town and head up the hill instead. It was a pleasant walk.

I always enjoy watching how the light hits the hills and how it changes

lots of sky
i love the shape of the leaves

finn knew the horses were there before we saw them

we were on the far side of the water a week and a half ago
on the way back, i noticed the ships in a gap between the house and hedge, so zoomed in
I guess they'll be leaving at 5 or 6 this evening, so tomorrow we will probably do our usual loop through town, around the outskirts, and back again. Weekend after next there will be one staying overnight.

Right now, I'm sitting here drinking tea and listening to the birds singing. It's very peaceful. I hope it's the same today in your neck of the woods.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Crocheted Plant Pot for Scallion Ends

I was running out of spots to plant my scallion ends, so last night while listening to podcasts, I grabbed a scrap ball of yarn and crocheted a pot for them.
This afternoon, I put some coffee grounds and tea from used tea bags in the bottom, filled it with dirt, and stuck in a few ends. I have another bunch in the kitchen, so I made sure to make the pot big enough for those ends, too. They usually start re-growing right away and then they can just be snipped off as needed. They'll keep on growing.

Here are some that I planted a while ago, growing and ready to be snipped:
I have these outside, but have also kept them growing indoors on the windowsill. I'll make another pot for garlic chives, which are lovely in salads, hummus, and other things. Just plant the cloves, pointy side up and soon the green shoots will appear.

Our veggie garden (in containers) is doing quite well after a few warm and sunny days earlier in the week and we've been eating lettuce, spinach, and radish shoots already. It's perpetual spinach, so the more leaves we pick, the better it continues to grow.
And now, I'm off to make a cuppa. Hope you're enjoying this day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Ironing Water, Sheep, and Reflections

We were at the grocery store and I saw this ironing water on the shelf.
 I was curious about what this is, since I am not someone who irons, even though every place we have lived since we've been here has included at least one iron and sometimes two as part of the furnishings. Anyway, I picked it up to read the ingredients, which seem to be mostly water and perfume. I was thinking about how the smell would probably be yucky and make me feel sick and that here is another unnecessary product in a plastic bottle that will end up being shipped who knows where at some point. I am pretty sure that ironing, if one must do it, can be done without this stuff.

When we were on our walk this morning, I was pleased to see that the sheep were back. They were just there one morning a couple of weeks ago and for a few days after that. Then they were gone, then back, then gone, and today they were back.

Yesterday, it was warm, but there was a lovely breeze. This morning, not so much. The water was so still, as you can see from the reflections.
Even our wee doggy friend, who comes with us on our morning walks, was hot and ready to cool off by the time we were making our way home. He and I both wilt in the sun and heat and find ourselves with a spring in our steps when it's cool--especially if there's a stiff wind.

I hope you are having a pleasant day--and that there is no ironing involved, with or without ironing water!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Scenes From a Saturday Stroll

This morning, we clipped the lead to our smallest and most adorable neighbour and headed out for our morning walk. It was a lovely walk. Come on along and enjoy the scenery! 😎🚢🌞
Lough Head Bridge, built ca 1770, and Bungostee River
edge of the harbour--off to the right you can barely see the fishing boats in the harbour

Stragar River
scarecrow in the garden above--our wee furry friend protected us from this thing by standing there and growling at it
so much to investigate--what's in there?
abandoned cottage and old tree trunk
flowering tree

no idea what this is, but there are a lot of them embedded in the lane
very tall and rhododendrons--very bright in the sunlight and quite spectacular in person--not a great pic
sculpture by Mother Nature
Our furry friend was tuckered out when we got home after all that exploring. One day Bill and I will go further down the road we were on and see what there is to see.

I hope this is a lovely day in your neck of the woods!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Blues: A Long Time Coming!

I finally finished this small piece today. It's been a long process.
I needle felted the oval back in October or November, planning to use it as a foundation for a cross-stitch design. I didn't like it for that, so I set it aside and finished the cross-stitch piece differently. One day a couple of months ago, I was doing some embroidery on small felted disks and I placed this one on the pile. I added the stitching at that time. Then it sat while I decided what else I wanted to do with it. I put it on top of a small pile in a place where I would see it every day. I would have an idea, lay an embellishment on top, shake my head, and set it back down. One day as I was watering the plants on our windowsill, I glanced at the jar of sea glass and removed a white piece, placing it on top of the felt. I liked it. So I left it there while I decided how to add it and what to add with it. Last night I crocheted the small lace oval, sewed it on with the sea glass inside, and finally knew how I wanted to finish it.

I had this necklace that I got at a charity shop--I knew the metal loops would come in handy.
I needed needle-nosed pliers to get the rings open and even then it was tough. In the process of deconstructing it, I broke one of the loops, but I saved it anyway. I used it here. Then I added some small silver-coloured round beads at random.

It was a long time coming, but I'm delighted with how it came out. I will have ample opportunity to play with felt, because Bill recently ordered a large bag of roving scraps for me. It arrived the other day.
 I was thrilled when I opened the envelope--such gorgeous colours! As you'd expect with a scrap bag like this, there are larger pieces and smaller pieces. I love to work with scraps, whether it's roving, yarn, thread, or fabric. I already have plans for some of this. Fun!

I hope there is plenty of colour in your world today!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

April Reading: Felt, Chernobyl, Stories, and Village Feuds

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell
I saw this book in our local charity shop and bought it. I like O’Farrell’s fiction and had heard her talking about this book when it came out a couple of years ago. At the time, I thought it was an interesting, if a bit odd, way to structure a memoir. It works well and reads almost like a book of short stories. I kept having to remind myself that all of these stories involve the same person. Some of the stories were chilling, some reminded me that we never know what someone might be going through as they try to make their way through each day, and some reminded me of episodes from my own youth that could have ended very badly. Each begins with a description of a moment in the author’s life when death was lurking nearby, then unspools backwards to describe how she got there and in some cases, how that moment was a result of a previous action or circumstance. She’s a wonderful writer and even a book that is organized around brushes with death was a pleasure to read because of it.

Nomadic Felts by Stephanie Bunn
This book was a happy surprise. I found it when doing a keyword search on the library website and requested it. I expected it to be full of photographs of various felt items--and it was and there was some incredible felt work shown in them. But while I expected the photos to comprise the main part of the book and to be supplemented by some brief explanatory text, it was not like that at all. The author is an anthropologist with a specialization in material culture who has done research in Kyrgyzstan, so the book provides explanations of the felt making process, how it fits into the communities discussed, what it is used for, the division of labour in feltmaking, designs, and more. It is a substantive book but not written in academic jargon--it’s quite readable and fascinating for anyone interested in cultural importance of felt/textiles. I loved this book and am so glad I stumbled across it!

Cocktail Bar by Norah Hoult
I first read about this author in the introduction to The Long Gaze Back, edited by Sinead Gleeson, who included a story by Hoult in this anthology of short stories written by Irish women. She talked about how Hoult’s work was out of print and largely forgotten. Since that book was published, there has been increasing interest in Hoult’s work and it has started to be republished. This is one such collection.

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham
I read about this book in a New York Times Book Review email, placed my hold, waited until it came in, read it, and then listened to the podcast. What a great book! The author became interested in Chernobyl when he was doing some long-form journalism for The New Yorker (I think). He talked to some of the people involved and kept going back. Finally, after reading a book about the Titanic, he realized he wanted to give a similar treatment to the people of the Chernobyl disaster, so began working on this book. The book begins with chapters that alternate between stories of individual people and explanations of how reactors were designed in the USSR, how they worked (and how reactors are supposed to work, which is a crucial difference!), the politics of the nuclear energy industry there, the design flaws of the reactors, and how these flaws were overlooked. In this way, the reader gets not only a good basic understanding of how the problem started, but also gets to know actual people and sees things from their point of view. It is easy to feel a connection with the people, so the book becomes more personal and not just a dry re-telling of an historical event.

To me, this book red like a novel, but was even more heart-wrenching because it actually happened. Higginbotham is an excellent writer--I kept turning pages and feeling the tension building. By the time I got to the night of the disaster itself, I was reading with a sense of dread. Once the worst has happened, the author tells us about the aftermath, which is an incredible story in and of itself. The capacity for human denial continues to amaze me. For example, hours after the explosion, the guy in charge of the plant is in a bunker with some others and is talking about getting Unit 4 back up and running as soon as possible. Someone who has seen what is left of Unit 4 tries to tell him that there is nothing left to get up and running. This guy is told that this is clearly nonsense, because it is, quite simply, impossible for these things to explode. Then again, many of the people who went to work there had to learn on the job. One of the ‘nuclear engineers’ took a correspondence course to learn about nuclear physics.

I can highly recommend this book. It’s terrifying, enraging, sad, and mind-boggling. It’s also an excellent read.

The Choir by Joanna Trollope
I found this book in the wee free library when we went to drop off a few of our books. It’s a small English village novel, which I generally like, so I brought it home, read it in between runs to the library and will now return it to the wee free library. It was a fun read, about the power struggles amongst various factions in a school for boys and in the wider community. The school is tied to a cathedral, which owns many of the village amenities, but which has serious structural issues. One guy wants to pay for the refurbishment of the cathedral by eliminating the choir. Needless to say, this does not sit well with the choirmaster. There are also interesting political and personal things happening in the small community of people associated with the school. This book was published about 30 years ago, but some of the underlying issues are still relevant today and we see the same sorts of struggles--class, socialism, religion, town and gown conflicts, the role of women are all here in this book.

That's it for my April reading list. I have May underway πŸ˜€

I hope there are some wonderful books in your reading pile, too!