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September 2018: The Year So Far

Challenges, musings, recipe

So it has been a while since I last wrote. Lots has happened, the bearded one and I moved onto a piece of land in the beautiful Tipperary countryside with his brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. We had a lovely winter and spring all snowed in and snuggly on the side of a hill in the Silvermines mountains. In January before the vegetation grew back and before the snow struck we put some our plants into what turned out to be an extremely shaded garden, mostly fruit bushes and things that needed to get into the ground ASAP as they were bare root. The following months were spent settling in to being a full-time auntie, finishing up my postpartum exercise specialist studies and observing the land.

May saw me planing and reclaiming floorboards that used to belong to a pub. We also spent a lot of time digging into the hill to level out a piece of ground, this involved removing a huge tree stump and several large rocks from the site. Eventually, we got a 5x5m space levelled and were thus able to build a platform and floor it with those floorboards. We set a pretty bell tent up upon the platform and put a stove and bed in it. Himself and I use it as a sleeping and breakfast space – somewhere to escape from the ceaseless noise kids seem to make.

I knew that moving in with kids would be challenging, though I think I imagined that I would adapt quicker and enjoy them more naturally. Now I realise that that takes work because as I am learning, love is an action word, it is choosing to not let my frustrations dictate my tone of voice, choosing to be honest gently instead of letting my annoyance get to boiling point. I am also learning how to modify my level of presence in their company in order to preserve my sanity. I have so much to learn with regards to love, but aspiring to be more loving and growing as a person is a good place to start, even though the journey is challenging and more often than not I am finding myself wandering off the track…..

I attended the European Permaculture Convergence in Wicklow at the start of August. It was great to catch up with familiar faces and build new connections. Such a lovely warm event with lots of love and good feelings all around. I hope to do a post in the next few weeks about the Convergence and what I learned. I also had the pleasure of hanging out with a fellow forager, Joel Robinson from California, much fun was had geeking out on plant identification and learning about how other people live and think about the world.

So with the changing of the seasons and the realisation that autumn is here, my thoughts have turned to firewood. So when I am out foraging for blackberries, wild strawberries and wild gin ingredients, I am also looking out for firewood and spending energy on chopping it up into usable sized pieces. Speaking of berries, does anyone else think the blackberries are particularly fine this year? We harvested loads of them and made jelly, butter and vinegar with them.


Below is a really wonderful recipe based on the idea of honey fermented garlic, try honey fermented berries. We like to spoon some of it on to mascarpone or Greek yoghurt and call it dessert.

Honey fermented blackberries

Half fill a larger-than pint-sized sealable container with washed and dried berries, add enough runny honey to cover the berries. Stir this every day for a week, it is ok if bubbles form. It should be ready after around a week. After another week or two, it may be a good idea at this stage to remove the berries from the honey as they may have shrivelled up and gone hard. Dry them and add them to muesli or a tea mix. Alternatively, spoon the berries and liquid onto mascarpone.

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