Only a couple more weeks until Christmas, but you wouldn’t know if from the weather here in the west of Ireland. It has been very mild and even a bit dry for this time of year, although we did have a few light showers over the past week. It was so (relatively) dry that I was able to bring 40 bags of manure home from the Big Garden’s muck heap. This requires me having to squelch through some very mucky and usually sopping wet ground. A trailer would be great, but it’s nearly impossible to get anything with wheels to the muck heap without getting stuck. One of those bog tractors with the double-wides might work. But last week I could’ve driven my car to the heap with a little care and attention. Still, I ended up doing it all by hand. Actually, I got a hand getting the 40 bags to the van, which was great.

Black gold

Black gold

I’m a bit of a connoisseur of manure. I think it’s great stuff. I’m particularly happy with this manure because it has some lovely, dark, well-rotted manure that has been mixed up with newer stuff. The older stuff was mixed with straw and the newer stuff with shavings. By the way, this is horse manure we are talking about from the Big Garden stables. I like having the uncomposted shavings in the mix as they help make a really nice mulch. So I just dump the bags where I want and leave the little heaps until the new year. Any of the fresher manure will be worn down enough by planting time. I’ll let the worms and chickens do a lot of the work — those chickens need to earn their keep since they’re not given eggs at the moment. Come January or February, I’ll just give it a quick rake.

If I could get the whole muck heap to my house, it would be like winning the lotto! How sad am I?

Covered porch.

The porch is covered!

The porch is now covered. The incline downward is only slight as the height needed to be kept quite high due to very tall family members (that would not be me, I’m afraid, as I am cousin to Bilbo Baggins [without the hairy feet]). The concrete for the footpath will be next and some kind of guttering. It’s so nice and dry underneath and when the sun is out it is quite warm, even on colder days.
willow fedge

Willow fedge due for a haircut.

Depending on the weather, I may cut some willow today. Most of the leaves have fallen now, which is what I was waiting for. I’ve got a fedge and a wigwam that need attention; both are very overgrown. I’m going to collect the nicest, straightest bits of willow to make a little wattle fence to go on one side of the new flower beds to make a barrier between the footpath around the house and the beds.
euonymus seed pods

Euonymus seed pods or a blackbird’s dinner…

And finally, a little bit of colour to end. I saw these seed casings on this stone near the apple trees. I think a blackbird must have pulled it off one of my little spindle trees and took it to the stone to have a feast. Ha! What a romantic notion – a blackbird?? Well, possibly, but it was most likely one of magpies (who really think they own the place).

Next time… review the year and look forward. Happy and peaceful holiday to all!