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The Water Wars.

Panthera Black

Irish Water/ Uisce Eirinn was set up in 2013, and states it is subsidiary of Board Gas Eirinn, also known as Boad Gas, and Board Gas group. In 2014 B.Gas .Eirinn. was renamed ‘Ervia’ a mixture of the Irish name Eire and Via the Latin for ‘the way’. After the sale of Ervia to Centrica Board Gas Energy was no longer part of Ervia it then became Board Gas Networks, merging gas and electric and in 2014 merged Gaslink and Board Gas Networks to become Gas Networks Ireland.

The Irish Water website claims that:
‘Irish Water will be accountable to two regulatory bodies – the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) who is the economic regulator for the water industry, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who is the environmental regulator.

Ervia describe themselves as a commercial semi-state company with delivery of gas and water infrastructure and services in Ireland, and…

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Clearance in the Garden 30th October 2014

Well, last Thursday, I got out and did two really tough hours of clearance of rubbish in the garden. You may remember that the garden was threatened by vast swathes of nettles, brambles and bindweed. Part of this situation was created by the proliferation of rubbish that had been progressively dumped in the garden, things such as doors, bits of polytunnel frames, old tables and so forth.


Eventually, I got it removed from along the northern perimeter and left the ditch free for my next task, which is to move some willows from the southern perimeter in to create a wind break where trees have been felled on the boundary wall. Also I used some of the rubbish to create a barrier to marauding deer, who sometimes frequent the garden when they come down into the lowlands during the winter. This picture should explain what I did and show the ditch where I will be planting the willows below the bed.


So the next task will be to move the willows, add more branches to the boundary, clear off any remaining rubbish from the bed, mark out the bed and then create the raised beds. Then I can decide what to plant.

Before I sign off, here’s me in an acting role for Nidge Studios that was put together for a film competition for the Kerry Film Festival, which was called the 50 Hour Film Shoot. Enjoy!

Harvest 25th October 2014


Here I am holding up a Comfrey  leaf (Symphytum officinale) as I had Comfrey to cut for Comfrey manure which again I created using Donal’s recipe for Nettle manure.

Comfrey copy2

It normally looks like this with pink flowers like so.

Comfrey flowers

My next job then was to create some Comfrey manure and I made two buckets of the stuff.


I also finished the Nettle manure with two more buckets.

But now onto the main course which was the harvesting of the Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus). TO quote a famous comedy I can’t say there’s much call for it round here but I got some haul. Just check out the box! Plus this was the second year it had remained in the bed having been harvested last year and left to regenerate itself.







The only problem now is to find some recipes to make them palatable. Suggestions, anyone?

The Illusion of Control


The Light of Old October

Great poem!

Teacher as Transformer

The Light of Old October.

I have not written a poem for some time, but as I wrote this appeared. The catalyst was the wonderful imagery from the pictures and quotes at the link. Nature has a way of showing us the way. It takes a Sabbath in our climate called winter.

October fades,

The artist’s palette splashes colours about.

Autumn gives way to the winter.

It slips into rest;

Life’s weariness lifted,

Spirits uplifted.

A white blanket appears;

Covering all that sleeps in its wake.

Nature comes full circle,

It rests in its Sabbath.

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Gardening Diary 23rd October 2014


I was back in the garden last Wednesday and started out by doing a little foraging in the field. Here’s what I came up with. These are common puffballs (Lycoperdon perlatum). You can only eat them when they are young and white throughout. I also came across the beautiful Slender Parasol (Macrolepiota mastiodea), which was a nice surprise as I hadn’t seen them in my Mum’s garden for a few years.


I would never recommend that anyone pick any mushroom unless they were 100% sure of what they picking and had been properly trained by an expert beforehand. I was trained by Jonathon Spazzi at Gortbrack Farm so this information is merely for illustrative purposes. Get trained up or stick to organically grown purchases!

Anyway thanks to my friend Donal I got this wonderful recipe for Nettle Manure (Urtica diocia), which can also be used for Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) and as there are lots of both types of plant on my garden patch I was in luck both in terms of fertiliser and using what I was clearing off the beds – just look at all those nettles!

Lots of nettles

Following Donal’s directions I cut up the nettles that I had cut off the garden and cut up the leaves and then placed them in a blanket ready to be immersed in water in a ten-litre bucket, weighed down by a stone.

Nettles ready

Job done – the next entry will be about more clearance and harvest!

Transition from Foraging to Growing

I’m back again with another blog entry and another new venture. This time it’s an Organic Horticulture course via the Distance Learning Certificate Programme at Dromcolliher Organic College. I wanted to show a sort of transition from what I have been doing which is picking wild mushrooms to what I will be doing, which is growing my own food and hopefully down the line some mushroom production. Anyway, last Saturday I made the trek out to Killarney to pick a massive haul of Slippery Jacks (Suillus luteus).

They  look like this on top with greasy caps, which have a slimy skin which needs  to be removed before eating.


Slippery Jack

The haul I picked looked like this.


Also present are Bovine Boletes (Suillus bovinus), which were sadly a bit past their best, and a solitary Scaly Wood Mushroom (Agaricus langei).

I would never recommend that anyone pick any mushroom unless they were 100% sure of what they picking and had been properly trained by an expert beforehand. I was trained by Jonathon Spazzi at Gortbrack Farm so this information is merely for illustrative purposes. Get trained up or stick to organically grown purchases!

I hope to convert part of my mother’s garden into a winter produce area and I think I will grow some overwintering salads and garlic here although just what I am not sure yet.

In the garden we already have Jerusulem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)growing along with some nettles (Urtica diocia), Comfrey (Symphytum officinale), while there is a low hedge made up of willows(mostly Salix purpea) and a Christmas tree (Abies procera) that will need to be transplanted. Shelter on the northern side of the site is provided by ash trees.


Anyway I’ll keep you posted on further developments. Stay tuned.