Thursday, May 25, 2017

Crocheting Some Wee Bits

I've been crocheting these last couple of days, making motifs into bookmarks and little mandalas with small embellishments.

I'm using thread scraps, buttons, and stuff we've found on beaches here. I went through one of the boxes of beach finds and found some things I'd forgotten about. Some of those will be useful.

It feels like summer here. Yuck. I spent a little bit too long out in the heat and sun this morning while we were tending the garden. When I felt the headache and queasiness coming on, I knew it was time to come home. I thought at first that this would be the first of my summer sick days because I felt worse and worse, but after some cold mint water and a little time, I started to feel better. Shari 1-summer 0, so far, anyway!

Hope it's a good day in your neck of the woods!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Morning Concert at the Moville LIbrary: Patsy Cavanagh

This morning, Patsy Cavanagh, a local singer/songwriter came to the Moville Library for a music and storytelling event. What fun! He told us the stories behind some of the songs and what inspired them.

He took a request from his friend (and our expert gardener at the community garden), Paddy, who said it was his favourite. It's called Can't Hold Back the Years.

This one, Home to Donegal, has been translated into several languages, including Norwegian and Danish. He said he has no idea what they are saying, but he's been assured that the song in those languages convey the same meaning. He said the song was inspired by playing in places like The Ballyliffin Hotel during the time of year when emigrants return home. He'd see them come in with their families for a meal. Afterwards, they'd go along and join in the sing song.  It was interesting for me listening to the song, because while this is not my homeland--not the land where I was born--I can so relate to the idea of coming back home to Donegal. It took me until I was in my 50s to feel that way about a place. It's not that I felt like I didn't have a home before, because I always made a place 'home,' even if it was a tent while we were camping across the northern US. I have always found my homes to be very important to me, but that had to do with the space inside the walls, not the world outside those walls. I liked some of the places I lived, but I always felt disconnected in some ways. I knew that, while they were nice and I liked them, they were not 'my' place. This is different. This is home inside the house and outside in the landscape.

Foyle Waters is an emigration song. Moville used to be a place where people would board large steamers as the first step in their journey to the US. He said that as the steamer would be leaving, people used to light turf and wave it as the ship went by as a way to say good-bye to their loved ones who were leaving. Back then, when someone left, you knew you were probably never going to see them again and they knew they would probably never see their people and that landscape again.

Listening to these songs and the others he played, I was reminded of how much place plays a part in both individual lives and the cultural stories here. I have been deeply affected by places I have lived, both positively and extremely negatively, but not in the same way. There has never been one place that has been 'my' place and I have not been in any one place longer than a decade. Most places have been far more temporary. I do not regret this, because I have learned a lot about the cultures in each place and have met some wonderful people. I know that I would not have been able to stay in one place for a long time because, for one thing, I never was in a place where that felt like the right thing and for another, I do not think I was wired that way. It's different for a lot of people here, though. I have had so many people ask me if I am 'homesick' or if I think I will go 'home.' It shouldn't still surprise me, but it does. For them, I was born in the US and lived there until I was in my 50s, so it must be home to me. I have never thought of the US as home, though, so I am still startled when people assume that it is. I have no doubt that there are many people who have left Ireland who do not feel the least bit nostalgic and are happy to be wherever they are or who move around a lot and are happy to do so. The people we talk to are those who have either been here forever, have traveled and always come back, or who went to live elsewhere for a time, but have returned home. In any case, I am glad to be able to answer enthusiastically, 'YES!' when people ask if we are happy here and if we think we'll stay.

Patsy started off this morning talking about how music is a universal sort of communication. I guess so--his songs got me thinking about a lot of things this morning and made me appreciate this place even more!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Tatting Today

I've spent a little time doing some tatting today, using scraps of thread and a small piece of sea glass. I'm working on some small things for a table at the community garden cottage market. Since I expect that anyone who comes to Open Day at the garden, which is where the market will be set up, will be local and at least somewhat interested in plants, I have decided to focus loosely on those themes--flowers/plants and local. I'll make small things, since there really isn't time for anything else--the market will be 10 June. I have a pretty good start with plenty of ideas, so I'll just do a little bit each day, making whatever strikes my fancy on any given day.

Today it was tatting. I remembered a flower-ish motif that I'd made a couple of years ago in Ballinrobe. I thought I wrote down the numbers, but if I did, I have no idea where. Fortunately, I had pictures and could blow one up to count the stitches and picots, so I didn't have to start over, experimenting with different stitch counts and ripping out to try again. I decided to make this one both floral-ish and local by making the flower-ish motif in Donegal colours.
After I finished that, I made a different motif that I wanted to use for a sort of suncatcher with a piece of sea glass. As I was rummaging through our smaller pieces of green glass, I started to think I would not be able to do what I wanted--all of the pieces were too big for the tatting--next time I will try using the thread doubled with a larger needle. That will give me a larger and less delicate motif that can handle a bigger/thicker piece of glass. Anyway, just when I was about to give up and set the motif aside, I found a wee piece that works perfectly. Yay!
I'm not sure what I'll work on next. I might have to go upstairs and have a rummage through my odds and ends before I decide. Before I do that, I have a book to finish and some supper to throw together.

Hope this day is treating you well.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Stuffed Stuff

That was the theme of last night's supper--stuffed stuff. When I made the pizza dough on Friday night I made the large batch of wholemeal dough so I'd have half of it left. I used this last night to make stuffed buns.
I rolled the dough out, cut it in half, and on each half I put some extra mature cheddar cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and some onion and yellow bell pepper that'd been sauteed in olive oil. I sprinkled some of the pizza spice and some dried parsley on top, folded the dough over, sealed the edges, and baked.
These were sooo good! I will be making them again. 😋

To go with our buns, I made some tortelloni with veggies. To cooked tortelloni I added green peas, the rest of the onion and bell pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes. I stirred in some pesto and topped with some snipped parsley. We had this hot last night, and we will be having the leftovers tonight with bean burgers and avocado. Not sure if I will heat up the tortelloni or just eat it cold. It's good either way.

I am now off to make a cuppa and gather some cross-stitch supplies.

I hope your day is peaceful and full of everything and everyone you like best 😊

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Beautiful Above and Below

There was a gathering of gardeners at the community garden today. We got there a little early and scraped some weeds, watered, picked a few things, and looked happily at all of our stuff growing so nicely. The carrots are coming up, the bean seeds have sprouted, and it appears that one of the first cauliflower seeds I planted actually came up. We planned out where to put some more plants. One woman asked if we had any string with us. We didn't but I went home and got a couple of scrap balls of yarn for her to use and then leave there for anyone who needs it. No need to go buy twine! We chatted, drank tea, had our picture taken, and ate scones, apple tart, and banana bread. We got a list of when future gatherings are going to be. The next one is 10th June, but this one will be a little bit different, as it will be Open Day and Cottage Market. They got a grant from somewhere and having those kinds of things is a requirement, so I guess there will be more of them. They asked for people to bring stuff to sell, whether baked goods or art/craft items--in future markets, people will be able to sell produce, they said. It is not much notice, but I said I could probably get some small things made, so now I am working through ideas for that. We'll be able to come up with more stuff for future markets, but we plan to share any extra produce we might have, not sell it.

These flowers are blooming in a planter in the picnic table area--so pretty! I love spiky flowers.
This was growing on the side of the road:
There was a downpour shortly after we arrived at the polytunnel, but those clouds soon moved along and it was just spitting a bit when I went home for the yarn. By the time we were walking home, there were fluffy white clouds and some blue patches on one side

and complete grey on the other. The next shower started shortly after we'd gotten home.

Now I am off to make a cuppa and ponder possible projects for the cottage market, bearing in mind that there is not much time to get ready!

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend so far!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Pizza Spice

A few weeks ago, I was making pizza and we invited Gerry, our neighbour, to join us. He did. We had a nice time chatting over pizza and salad. During the meal, he asked if I make pizza often. I said I do.  A few days later, he came over with a bag of pizza spice.

He said he got it somewhere thinking he'd use it, but he never did, so he figured I might like to have it. I do! It's quite a supply, but it will definitely get used! It's a blend of garlic, oregano, tomato, and chilli. I can think of many different things to use this with, not just pizza, although it's great for that too--we both loved the pizza I made with this tonight.
wholemeal pizza crust with some added oats

with the sauce and pizza spice

ready to cut and eat
As always, I made a large batch of dough and have half left to use in some way this weekend.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


It's been slightly cooler, less sunny, and more humid these past several days, so we have not had to water the garden as much. We haven't been up there for a few days, but went this morning to give everything a drink. Stuff seems to be growing faster now and I spotted a couple of wee green cherry tomatoes forming. It was roasting in the polytunnel, so we did not mess around. I picked some stuff, planted a few more radish seeds, and watered our beds and the children's bed while Bill filled watering cans. Then we staggered out into the fresh air--but not before I spotted this peeking out from under the foliage.
The other side is still a bit green, so I did not pick it. There's a community garden gathering on Saturday morning, so maybe we can pick it then! Fortunately, there is another berry of the same size and ripeness on a different plant, so there'll be one for each of us. 😋😍

The slope next to the sidewalk around the corner from our house continues to get new blooms.
These are pretty, whatever they are. It's nice to see all the different flowers as we walk by.

Happy Wednesday!