Tag Archives: 16 for 2016

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.

16 for 2016 Review

With the end of the year looming, I thought it time to start a little review of my 16 for 2016. I thought I would start with number 15 which was to read fifteen books in the year. I have been an avid reader since childhood, so in truth there is always a book by my bedside. I enjoy fiction,  autobiographies and fact especially when based around natural history.

One of the best, if sommothsnowstormewhat depressing nature books I read this year was The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy. A British environmental journalist of note, McCarthy writes about many of the losses mother nature has suffered at the hands of the human race. However, he also asks us to remember the joy nature brings us and reflects on how in many ways nature has been his own “guardian angel”.

Corvus A Life With Birds by Esther Woolfson is the very engaging tale of how Esther and her family have raised various orphaned crovids (e.g. rooks and magpies) over the years. She writes eloquently of how these bright, intelligent birds changed her own life. I have previously blogged about Dave Goulson’s A Buzz about the Meadow which was another firm favourite.

Novels I have read include  The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, a sort of realistic fairy-tale set in Alaska in the 1920’s and Irish author Anne Enright’s The Green RoadCastle Book Shop in our local town Castlebar often has some great bargains and this is how I came across Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings. I had loved her other book “The Secret Life of Bees” and this second  book did not disappoint. The book gives a fictionalised account of the lives of the Grimké sisters in America and one of their “fictional” slaves. The sisters were among the first female abolition agents in America and were also two of the earliest feminist thinkers.

It is some years since I read Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mocking Bird” and I was looking forward to reading her second book. While I did enjoyed Go Set a Watchman,  it did not stay with me as much as her first book.

The Book Seller of Kabul by jounalist Åsne Seierstad had been on my list to read for some time, so when I saw it on sale in the local book shop I snapped it up. The book tells about the life of a book seller and his family in Kabul in 2002 after the fall of the Taliban. Besiege: Life Under Fire on a Sarajevo Street, written by Barbara Demick was an eye opening account of the affects of the war on the people of the besieged city. It was a real tribute to the people of the city and their determination to survive.

Other books have included:

  • The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton
  • The Love Song of Ms Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce
  • Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell recommended to me by Melissa from https://melissashawsmith.com/
  • 438 Days by Jonathan Franklin

I am currently reading Purple Hibiscus  by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I also read to the children most nights and our range is pretty diverse. The local library is an excellent resource and we use it as much as we can. This year we’ve made our way pretty much through their Dirty Bertie collection.  Bertie is always getting into trouble even when he doesn’t mean too! We are steadily making our way through Holly Webbs books too. Many of them are stories about cats and dogs and they always have a happy ending. Mr Stink by David Walliams is a book that particularly sticks in my head. It’s about a homeless tramp and his friendship with a lonely young girl. We’re currently all enjoying Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine.

 

 

 

 

Walking in Mayo

County Mayo has much to offer walkers and cyclists and yet it is very under utilized. When we were in North Wales a couple of weeks ago there were walkers and ramblers everywhere. Many of the small villages within the Snowdonian National Park seem to rely on these visitors in order to make a living. It is estimated that 360,000 walkers climb the summit of Snowdon every year and that’s just one moutain. I can find no figures for County Mayo. Croagh Patrick, which is a pilgrim mountain has up to 20,000 walkers on Reek Sunday (the traditional day in July for climbing the mountain) but for the rest of the summer would have much fewer. The other mountain and hill walks in the county are relatively little explored.

View of Croagh Patrick from the other side of Clew Bay

View of Croagh Patrick from the other side of Clew Bay

Last week we completed a walk near Mulranny (Mallaranny) on the west coast of County Mayo. We were surrounded by amazing scenery, Clew Bay with all it’s islands and Croagh Patrick across the water and yet we saw no one (other than sheep and a few cows) till we got back to the start of our journey, where the path joins the now popular Great Western Greenway.

Greenway

Greenway

Initially, we followed the path that is part of the Rocky Mountain Way, then turned left onto a bog road (a road built to aid getting turf from bogs), and climbed gently uphill. We could see Croagh Patrick across the bay and looking NW, Achill Island.

Once at the top (and following a number of false summits) you get another view right over Ballycroy National Park – though by this time the cloud had come over and it wasn’t as clear as earlier in the day.

As well as sheep, hare droppings were evident and quite abundant. Heather (Erica tetralix) was in flower, and on some of the lower slopes was being visited by camera-shy bumblebees! Bog cotton and many amazing mosses also abounded. We found a few grouse feathers and hoped this now rare bird had not fallen victim to a predator.

The walk was a definite tick for my 16 for 2016 list  – 2: Find two new places in Mayo to explore

And is certainly a place I would like to explore some more.

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!