Spring, interrupted…

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5 days on, and still plenty of lying snow around the monster’s perimeter

It has been a thoroughly grey and wholly sunless 5-6 weeks since February 1st, and to compound the hopes and expectations of all early growers and sowers, we here in Ireland, as with our neighbours across the pond on mainland Britain, have just experienced our harshest and heaviest winter snowfalls in over 35 years. Today, some 13 days after it ceased snowing there are still large drifts and clearance mounds right across the country.

In like a lion, out like a lamb” the old saying goes, and March certainly roared into the gardening year on this occasion.

This coming weekend brings on our national holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, a date by which many gardeners like to have established their broad plans for the coming spring, and traditionally the date on which many allotmenteers set the first potato drills of the year; but I think we’ll delay things a little this year. A lot of ground is still too sodden and very cold from snow-melt and run-off, and as hardy as some of our modern spud varieties may be, they don’t come supplied with accompanying life-jackets…

So, as with many other allotmenteers and kitchen gardeners right across Ireland and Britain spring activity on monsterinthecorner is most definitely interrupted this year; another week or two at the drawing board and in the potting shed, drinking milky tea and listening to Lyric. The seed onions have succumbed, dampening-off en masse so, we’ll go, and sow again. We’ll also go purchase the Celeriac and Kohl Rabi seed we meant to purchase but had, hitherto, forgotten to, and we’ll also add a little more organic material to some areas to compensate for the flooding leach-off…

So, another week or two of chitting, and wit-pitting against nature’s surprising elements; another fortnight to get it right; another fortnight waiting for the greenlight, and a favourable rise in fahenheit, another fortnight waiting till the risk of frostbite is out of sight; another fortnight to reset the solent wight; a fortnight to resow the gardener’s delight; another fortnight to just sit tight, knowing that with many weathered March things are never ever black and white, and that the early days of spring are never watertight.

Another fortnight, waiting for the lamb to slight the lion.

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Lá Fhéile Pádraig

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Clover & Beech Nutshell: Ballinahinch Castle

It’s a great day for the Irish; and the Oyerish:

for the drowning of the shamrock, and the wearing of the green; and singing songs; for eating greasy fry-ups and downing pints of porter and sinking peaty ale; for the Guinness and the Smithwick; for the Jemmy and The Powers;  for the going to parades and getting soaking wet; for watching the gigi’s and the Gaahhhh; for eating bacon and cabbage; for Sheeeeeeena feeena falllllllll, and a nation once again ; for emerald badges and green rosettes; for 6 foot hipster leprechauns; for sleeveens and gombeens; for The Quite Man and Finian’s Rainbow and Darby O’Gill; for Count John McCormack and Frank Patterson and U2 and Aslan and Makem and Clancy and for free born clans of travelling people; for the kingdom and the city of the tribes; for Johnson Mooney & O’Brien and Jacobs and Tayto, yes, mustn’t forget Tayto; It’s a great day for railway cups and provincial  finals; for Arkles and Triple Crowns; for Ballydehob and Ballinahinch; Letterfrack and Skibberine: For the O’Flahertys and the McCafferys; the Kellys and O’Tooles, and for the Murphy’s; always the Murphs; and for green pyramids and  Eiffel green Towers, green Opera houses and Green White Houses; and a great day  for all the Patricks and Patricias and Padrigeens and the Paddy’s; for the centenary celebrations and the rebellious remembrances; for the gatherings and the parting glasses; for the planting of spuds and parsnip seed; and for our fallen dead; for Kathleen and her 4 green fields; and all the Caithleens and Maureens who’ve gone before us…

Yes, it’s a great day for all the Paddy’s,,,,,everywhere…more anon