Tag Archives: books

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.





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.