Category Archives: Life

Card

As children we were always encouraged to make our own cards for sending at Christmas and for birthdays. I have followed the tradition and encourage my own children to do the same. Here are two recent cards they have made. There is something special about getting a handmade card.

My contribution to the One a Week Photo Challenge “CARD”

17 for 2017

So it is a new year. And I intend to start with an attitude of hope, that we are heading for a year that will bring, as a friend said, some calm. What can I do for 2017? I’ve been mulling over this question for a few weeks now and here is what I have come up with. (If you are interested this was my 2016 list and how I did).

17. Help seventeen people learn more about their environment.

As some of you may know, I do help run pollinator courses and I am sometimes asked to give wildlife walks/talks in a voluntary capacity. What I would like to do is reach seventeen people through these means and help them learn more about the natural world.

16. Send sixteen mammal records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Last year my goal was relatively easily reached so this year I want to make it harder by concentrating on mammals, and upping the number of mammal records I send from the 10 in 2016, to 16 for 2017.

15. Give away fifteen homegrown flower or vegetable plants to worthy homes

Last year it was twelve so I should be able to manage 15.

14. Fourteen fun days out with the family

There is nothing better than finding somewhere nice to enjoy for all the family.

13. Learn thirteen new words

English words or even some foreign words I am not going to be too fussy!

12. Write twelve blog posts (ideally one a month) on an environmental topic

Many of us are aware how much our environment is suffering, so I hope to post blogs that will raise awareness and maybe give examples of things we can do as responsible citizens

11. Read eleven new authors

This year I’d like to read books by authors I haven’t read before. These could be new authors or just ones I haven’t previously read.

10. Complete ten butterfly and or bee monitoring transects this year

I have not changed this from last year as firstly I can’t think of a new number 10 plus this is something I want to continue to do, so I feel it is important that it remains.

9. Find 9 ways of encouraging more wildlife into our garden

8. Discover 8 new things

This has been inspired by Cathy at (https://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/17-for-2017-the-beginning/). It could be anything but I would like to focus on health and researching a couple of health topics that affect our family.

7. Send seven letters to friends

Proper letters, not just emails!

6. Try six new recipes

Okay as I failed miserably last year on this one, so I have lowered the number and will hopefully achieve a few more this time!

5. Have five swims

Ideally in the Atlantic – I hope the weather is good this summer!

4. Find four positive ways of helping those in need

3. Plant three new vegetables or fruit that I did not grown in the garden last year

2. Record two new species for the garden

1. Attend one cultural event

A play, concert or something like this.

Ross Beach

Year End

In the final hours of 2016 it seems appropriate to look back and forward. On a personal level it has not been an easy year and I know that the same is true for many. For me there have been challenges I would have rather never faced, but there was no choice. It was sink or swim,  so we’re doing our best to swim. The words of Dory in the film Nemo come to mind – “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

I know 2017 will bring more challenges. Some I already know, so I can be prepared, but there are the hidden ones that take us by surprise, that can knock us off balance. I just hope that I will find the grace and strength to meet all these challenges head on.

From a blogging perspective, I have enjoyed the experience of writing, commenting and engaging with the WordPress community. Thank you to all of you who take time to read and comment. It astonishes me that someone halfway across the world would be interested in reading what I have to say. It is humbling. In a world where it seems that we are becoming increasingly divided it is an important lesson. It shows me that we have more in common with each other than we think. Perhaps in 2017, we can spend a little more time finding similarities with each other, and in so doing learn to respect each other and the differences that will inevitability be there too.

There is no magic wand. But there is humanity and each of us in our small way can do a little to change things. It may be as simple as sharing a smile with a stranger. Little steps. Often we are not even aware of the suffering of those around us. But by sharing a smile perhaps we can bring a little light, a little bit of hope into that person’s day.

So here’s too a brighter and more hopeful 2017.

16 for 2016 Final review

This week’s Discover Challenge is Retrospective, and seeing we are in the closing days of December is seems the ideal time to look back on my 16 for 2016 list.

16:  Plant sixteen different vegetables in the garden

Success see previous June Review.

15: Read fifteen books in the year

Success see previous post on books read.

14: Send fourteen wildlife records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

I had not kept a record of the data I sent to the National Biodiversity Data Centre. But they now have a great online facility that allows you to check you records. And I actually sent in 58, a lot more than I thought! This included ten mammal records, eight bird records, fifteen insect records as well as plant records.

13: Find thirteen interesting items

I didn’t do as well here as I had hoped. I mentioned previously the lovely bit of drift wood and there were the fascinating “By the Wind Sailors“. We did find some nice stones at the beach a couple of times too but still falling short on this one.

12: Give away twelve plants to worthy homes

Success see previous June Review.

11: Have eleven fun days out with the kids

The June count was four. But we had 4 great days out in Wales, and visits to Erris Head. Mulranney beach, Lacken beach and Keem bay.

10: Complete ten butterfly and or bee transects this year

Just got the ten in!

9: Try nine new recipes.

Oh dear, I haven’t been very adventurous! With only three days left I don’t think I will make it! I have just tried a Duck Terrine as a contribution to Christmas eve dinner at my parents. With the exception of forgetting to add the salt it seems to have gone down well. So that and the fish curry are only two that I can recall!!!!

8: Go on eight cycle rides

Cycle rides, again with the exception of the school run in the spring I have been very bad here too. I think I may have had two other cycles!

7: In addition to number 2 below have seven Mayo days out to some of my favourite Mayo places.

Achieved – see June review and 11 above.

6: Try to do six random acts of kindness to complete strangers

With the exception of letting cars pull out and giving some change to a poor homeless lady, and bringing the trolley back for an elderly gentleman I think I have fallen short of this one. Perhaps something to focus on for 2017.

5: With the help of my family make, and put up five bird, bat and /or insect boxes

We’ve done this with the school garden club and still hope to make some at home over the next couple of days!

4: Make four home-made presents for family and/or friends

Falling short on this one too – with exception of birthday cakes for both my parents – if those count?

3: Have three swims, ideally in the Atlantic

I actually had 4 or 5. One at Mulranney beach, two at Ross beach, one at Keem bay and one at Lacken beach.  The Lacken one was more a play in the waves but as it is the Atlantic I am happy enough for it to count!

2: Find two new places in Mayo to explore

We finally explored a small section of the Westport-Achill Cycle Greenway (also called the Great Western Greenway). Which was beautiful. We also enjoyed the beach just down the road at Mulranney.  Erris Head was another wonderful place to visit,  with amazing scenery.

1: Record one new species for the garden

As reported previously the Grey Dagger moth would count for this one.

Progress on 16 for 2016

Time I did an update on my progress for my 16 for 2016

 


16:  Plant sixteen different vegetables in the garden

Lettuce, radish, broad bean, runner bean, dwarf french bean, climbing french bean, squash, courgette, leeks, onions, beetroot, carrot, cabbage, romansesco, purple sprouting broccoli, red cabbage, mange tout, pea, kohlrabi, mustard, tomatoes, cucumber, mustard leaves, rocket, parsnip

15: Read fifteen books in the year

I sometimes keep a list of what I am reading but haven’t done so this year, but a quick count in my head has brought me to 7, which is about half way. I love fiction but have read two excellent natural history books so far this year. Dave Goulson’s “A  Buzz in the Meadow” and Michael McCarthy’s “The Moth Snowstorm” which I do intend to do a blog about very soon.

14: Send fourteen wildlife records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Had the lovely wood white butterflies, and also cowslips, two bee species and a peacock butterfly all from Moorehall. And this week at home it’s been an amazing week for wildlife. The highlight being a long-eared owl on Sunday night (and heard again last night), two hares and the lovely Grey Dagger moth. So I make that eight in total. My husband has also seen a three legged fox, quite fit and healthy too. I actually still have to send these last three records in,

13: Find thirteen interesting items

Not doing that well on this one. Found a lovely bit of drift wood.

12: Give away twelve plants to worthy homes

I gave six lupin plants to a friend a couple of weeks ago (and didn’t actually think of the challenge when I did it), I have also give my mother 3 (I think), and I gave my sister  a couple of tomatoes plants, and just remembered gave a friend some romaseso seedlings – does that count. That would make 16!

11: Have eleven fun days out with the kids

Brought kids to Enniscrone, Moorehall, Feile na Tuaithe at Turlough House, and to the beach at Ross (but summer holidays still to come when we will hopefully have some more).

10: Complete ten butterfly and or bee transects this year

I did my fourth one on the 2nd June, so a little behind.

9: Try nine new recipes.

I’ve tried a couple of cake recipes but they don’t really count. But have tried one from the Happy Pear cookbook which everyone liked, a sort of potato and fish curry.

8: Go on eight cycle rides

Now I have been picking my youngest up from school on the bike the last couple of weeks but I don’t think that really counts. We did have one ride around our country lanes though, but way to go on that one!

7: In addition to number 2 below have seven Mayo days out to some of my favourite Mayo places.

Have been to Moore hall, Ross beach and Raheens wood

6: Try to do six random acts of kindness to complete strangers

I have let strangers ahead of me in the shopping queue a couple of times but most try harder on this one

5: With the help of my family make, and put up five bird, bat and /or insect boxes

We’ve done this with the school garden club but must do some at home too

4: Make four home-made presents for family and/or friends

Oh dear falling short on this one – though I did make my father a birthday cake – does that count?

3: Have three swims, ideally in the Atlantic

Only paddles yet!

2: Find two new places in Mayo to explore

None yet but hopefully over the summer holidays

1: Record one new species for the garden

Actually the Grey Dagger moth (see above) would count for this one. The long eared owls we had about ten years ago but not since, so also nice record for the garden.

 

16 for 2016

16 for 2016 – some of my favourite bloggers (Wild daffodil and the Aran Artisan) and have been completing a 2016 list of 16. I love the idea which originally came from Cathy at nanacathydotcom.  So better late than never and starting in reverse order:


16:  Plant sixteen different vegetables in the garden (not necessarily types, so for example, could have three varieties of lettuce)

15: Read fifteen books in the year

14: Send fourteen wildlife records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

13: Find thirteen interesting items (these could be anything from something picked up beach-combing, to finding something in a charity shop – ideally it should not be something new or that I have paid full price for!)

12: Give away twelve plants to worthy homes

11: Have eleven fun days out with the kids

10: Complete ten butterfly and or bee transects this year

9: Try nine new recipes. I sometimes find that I get into a cooking rut where you cook the same things week in and week out. I’ve got myself into one of those and need to start experimenting with some new ideas

8: Go on eight cycle rides

7: In addition to number 2 below have seven Mayo days out to some of my favourite Mayo places.

6: Try to do six random acts of kindness to complete strangers (I have stolen and adapted this idea from Cathy, the original blogger of this great idea.

5: With the help of my family make, and put up five bird, bat and /or insect boxes

4: Make four home-made presents for family and/or friends

3: Have three swims, ideally in the Atlantic

2: Find two new places in Mayo to explore

1: Record one new species for the garden

0: Zero days complaining about the weather especially the rain – because there is nothing we can do about it, so will learn to have to adapt!