Posts Tagged ‘Mushroom’

We are halfway through the month. It’s hard to believe that we’ll be leaving in just over 2 weeks. A sobering thought, as we’ve fallen in love with the Hook of Ireland.

Leaving Ireland, and moving on, was on our minds during our morning walk. The foggy daybreak mirrored our cloudy thoughts, but the beauty of the morning dissipated any scrooginess and took us into a highly productive, exhilarating day.




misty layers


Dewey webs~


We accomplished a lot. Finished Kate & Ray’s stawberry bed, worked on more steps in the garden, finished organizing the polytunnel, relocated 5 loganberry bushes and, finally, made a mushroom tart supplemented with wild blewits we foraged before sunset.




Before — Update coming soon…


Before! So disorganized!


After we swooped in & saved the day~


An unbelievably gorgeous mushroom tart.









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Today we were stunned with a dazzling sunshiney day. Absolutely beautiful, and especially perfect for our fieldtrip to Ballycross Apple Farm. The farm was about a half hour’s drive away, in Bridgetown.

The farm has currants in addition to their acres beyond acres of apple trees, and really lovely trails that guests pay a minimal fee in order to wander through. After we checked out the “petting zoo”, we spent a decent hour and a half trekking around the forest and fields and finished up in the farm’s craft shop upstairs.




aww, lovebirds!


Beautiful Apple Orchard


Bracket Mushrooms


Ballycross Apple Farm


Staring contest~


I can’t honestly say that Ballycross would ever become a regular outing if I happened to live in the area, but it was really lovely to see families getting excited over the ponies, bunnies, & pigs and trying to find the biggest apple in the box. Not a “must see”, but a nice activity for a cozy day out.

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Day 3

I was so excited this morning. We ventured into the great outdoors for the daily dog walk and found the first frost of the year covering the leaves, the moss, the fallen logs. Thank goodness I had my camera! When I went to take the picture…no memory card. Whoops. I threw my hissy fit, but moved on to find some gems later on in the day.


Morning Rainbows~


Walk in the Woods




Bobby was in a rabbit den…again.


A delicious, edible find! Shaggy Parasol~

It was our weekend, so no “before & after” pictures. Just nice, relaxing walks.



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To mix things up a bit, I’m writing out of chronological order. Forget Rome: some things just really need to be said.

1. We are soooo happy. Happier than we have been throughout these past 6 months.

2. We only have 3 weeks left.

3. We. Don’t. Want. To. Leave.

4. We want to steal their dog.

To clarify: We have been, for a month and a half, absolutely delighted with Ireland. Not only are the people here genuine, friendly and fascinatingly rebellious, but the emerald landscape is exactly as beautiful, if not more so, than anyone could ever imagine. We’re treated to breathtaking scenes everyday, even if it’s simply a dewy blossom. More often than not, the sunsets are sweeping displays of color, the hazy crisp mornings are hauntingly beautiful, and flocks of pesky magpies flying overhead keep us company throughout the day.

Our week consists of 3 1/2 days outide in the estate’s vegetable and fruit gardens, with the rest of the week to spend as we please. The BEST thing about this place is easily our boss-lady, Irene. She is such a doll, so sweet, sincere, and a downright gardening encyclopedia. The main reason we don’t want to leave….

But we must also remember that this is exactly what we were hoping for when we committed a year of our lives to WWOOF. Loran and I wanted to make these honest connections with people, to immerse ouselves in their cultures and different practices to gain a new appreciation for the world we live in.  And with that comes a need to get used to moving on even after falling in love with a place, with a community.

Would you like to know a little bit about our everyday lives? I think so.

We start our work days at 9 am and make our way up the hill to the vegetable garden where we meet Irene for the days’ work. We’ve had such a varied experience. We have weeded (of course), transplanted kohlrabi, lettuce, and leeks, collected loads of seaweed from the local slip-way, collected chickenshit and horse dung to mix with yard waste for compost, repotted dozens of neglected plants, squished hundreds of cabbage-eating catepillars, organized a tangle of loganberry brambles, and tried our best to soak up all of the garden knowledge Irene dishes out every single day.

10am is our coffee break which almost always lasts too long because we get lost in conversation, and lunch is between 12 and 1. We work until 5.

Irene has taught us the lasting method of weaving baskets traditional to the region; we can’t thank her enough and we fantasize coming back to Ireland someday to have a sort of apprenticeship with her (just an idealist dream!). She has invited us to meitheals, a friendly gathering in which you call people together to help with somewhat intensive labor in exchange for an enormous, delicious lunch. Meitheal is Irish for “community” or “work team”. We’ve been to two now! The first was participating in adding a layer to the neighbor’s (the lovely Kate & Ray!) pizza oven. It was a frenzied 2 hours of mixing sawdust, clay, and water to a malleable, but firm, consistancy. It is applied in a 4-inch layer and left to dry. We’re hoping will be able to participate in the final layer, plastering, before we leave in three weeks.

Our second meitheal was at the home of one of the other ladies of the group. She had an overgrown vegetable plot; the ten of us cleared it in less than three hours and were duly rewarded with a scrumptious lunch. The really, really wonderful thing about meitheals is that it is so efficient. Instead of one or two people having to spend three weekends to clear a patch of garden, a gathering of friends do the same amount of work in a fraction of the time. And it’s a wonderful excuse to get together with the people you love but may not always be able to make plans with otherwise. Loran and I were doubly rewarded: the ladies were trying to clear their garage of rubbish and urged everyone to go in and take nearly anything they wanted. Irene found a perfect door for her future outdoor composting toilet aaaaaand…! Loran stepped in the garage and was greeted by a ray of sunshine illuminating the perfect backpack of our dreams. No, but really, we had been discussing THAT morning trying to find some backpacks for the rest of the trip. Mary had two. One for Loran. One for me. It was absolutely meant to be, we still can hardly believe it. They offered them up to us with no fuss, a simple shrug of the shoulders and tut-tutting over our gushing thanks.

Loran and I are selling our bikes. In fact, they’ve already been sold to said pizza-oven neighbors mentioned above. We definitely enjoyed rolling around on them throughout the East Coast, through Italy, around France and this little bit of Ireland but…honestly, they are a hassle. We had a bit of a romanticized notion of cycling around the world; we still love the idea, but until we are more seasoned travelers we are trading bikes for fluffy winter coats and hiking boots to stay warm through our northern winter. From this point forward we have a new travelling label: backpackers!

Anyway. Certainly there will be some more details later. A few pictures, now.

PS! Yesterday Loran, Irene and I went to a mushroom foraging course! It was great, never having done anything like it before. I can see how foraging will have the dangerous potential of becoming addictive. The tables were absolutely laden with mushrooms you would not like to eat, but there were a few gems. The group collectively found a stash of chanterelles, puffballs, shaggy parasols, and amethyst deceivers. All edible. Mostly delicious. Today the three of us will be venturing out to Tinturn Abbey to forage around in the local woods, wish us luck.

Collecting Seaweed; Fethard-On-Sea

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