Friday, December 31, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

I leave you at the end of this year with the beautiful words written in lyric by the late Sandy Denny.  I find they are fitting words....

Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it's time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
Ah, but then you know it's time for them to go
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

And I am not alone while my love is near me
I know it will be so until it's time to go
So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again
I have no fear of time

For who knows how my love grows?
And who knows where the time goes?

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all.........

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The witch, the wardrobe, minus the lion.....

Night has fallen thickly tonight around the homestead and without the light of the full moon it feels almost like a foreign land.

I stand alone in the darkness listening to the sublime quiet of the evening. I breathe deep the cold, crisp winter air. No hint of snow as I smell. Are you one of the lucky ones who can smell the weather? the dense, humid air of winter and the possibility of precipitation?

I love the inner intuition and the lore that is stored somewhere deep in my subconscious, coming from unknown sources, but, knowing it is there, at the ready for my body to perceive. Sometimes it's a smell, sometimes it's a feeling that my body automatically tunes into. It's something that can't be readily explained - you just know.

A fox barks at the edge of the meadow and I smile as I listen to it call for a mate. No worries tonight for the hens as for they are locked securely in their little coop, snuggled together for a night of sweet chicken dreams. Perhaps they are dreaming of fresh, green grass and cracked corn?

Moments pass as I stand in the dark - in awe and a slight fear of not having sight to see deep into the meadow. I let my imagination take over my psyche for just a few seconds and in less than a blink of an eye, I relax and feel a familiar warmth - the warmth of being home, with my feet planted firmly on a piece of ground being lent to me by a much larger force. The longer I stay connected to this piece of earth, the more relaxed I become. I feel an energy that is inexplicable to the human mind and I embrace this unknown force. It's the energy I felt the moment I set foot upon this land.

Welcome to Narnia....where the only thing missing is the lion.....

*Our little plot of ground is legally registered as Narnia-little did we know when we bought it, but, it sure explains a lot*

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

From our humble homestead to yours....

We wish you a very Happy Christmas!

May it be filled with family, friends, and laughter,
Warmth, love, and hope,
Peace of mind
peace in your heart.

'Nollaig Shona Duit'

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice.....

Winter Solstice - the re-birth of the Sun.
Many flock to sacred sites around the world to be part of this magical moment.

The above photo's were taken in Ireland at Newgrange and Knowth in 2009 on our last visit.

The history of these places are awe-inspiring just as the re-construction is controversial. You can Google to read about all the good factual bits on Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth, and the Hill of Tara.

There are many others throughout Ireland and Europe for that matter that are just as important, yet, tourist do not flock to them.

Queen Maeve's Henge
Hill of Uisneach
The Witch's Chair

Many more that the board of tourism doesn't promote.
I can assure you that they were visited by many this Solstice morning - and a magical one at that with the Lunar Eclipse taking place as well.
Here's to a magical day....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Yuletide greetings from all the paws.....



Big WOOFS for a happy Yuletide season from all of us paws here at GardenChickMusic.

And Nuala wants to remind everyone with those beautiful, begging, pleading eyes of hers to remember all of the outside critters during this cold season.
Please, please, please ....
Water, food, and warmth.

*no shelties were harmed in the photography herein, though, I suspect, some dignity was lost*

Friday, December 17, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Have a peaceful, giggling weekend, y'all......

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Okay - which one of you ordered February in December?

We need to have a chat about this!

Stay warm, everyone!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Is there a chicken heaven?.....

Today is a sad day here at the homestead. I was greeted by a most unpleasant sight this morning in the chicken coop.

It seems it was not as predator proof as we had thought.

One dead and partially eaten.
One in serious condition.

Today was the day that we had to do "the deed".

If there is a chicken heaven, these girls deserve it.

We, as homesteader's are not feeling too good about ourselves. I know it is a lesson to learn, and we honestly still can't figure it out totally, but, it was at the expense of a life.

I didn't hear a thing.

We've re-checked everything and have added some other measures for making the coop more secure for the remaining three girls left. Let's hope it's enough.

What a sad, sad day....

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Here's the little greenhouse complete and ready to nurture some luscious veg. There isn't any heat provided, so, it will be completely reliant on the temperatures of Mother Nature.
I was hoping that I may be able to grow lettuce and spinach through the winter months, but, I think it's going to take a creative mind to be able to do that.
We've had below average temps for December and biting winds on top of it. The temperature in the greenhouse is sometimes par with the outdoor temp and the most gain I've had is about 7 degrees.
But, with that being said, the structure of the greenhouse is quite strong and the manufacturer has thought of most details perfectly with the exception of one thing. The manual roof vent does not have a way to shut securely. It blew apart on one of the windy days and was left hanging askew. Fortunately it was not damaged beyond repair and the hubster was able to make a couple of tweeks to improve it and re-install it.
Below is a shot of the inside of the greenhouse showing one side with the shelves and the manual vent at the bottom that you can open for air flow.
This is the automatic roof vent. A simple but effective design. It was opening while we were still in mid construction on the few warm days we had left in November.
I'll have to see what temperature it opens at now that we have everything put together and sealed. If I remember correctly, it was in the 50's during the construction with bright sun so I'm thinking it was somewhere in the 60's inside. I'll put it to you this way, we had on light winter jackets and when we came inside to work, we were breaking into a sweat.
Yesterday when I took the pictures it was 28 degrees outside and on par inside. It was just starting to snow, so, the cloud cover was rather heavy therefore, no solar gain. This is what I feel February will be like inside the greenhouse! However, I'm wondering if I put mini-hoops over the trays of veg if that would help bump the temperature enough to hold the plants through the evening hours. Any ideas or suggestions would be most helpful.
Here is part of the raised bed gardens all put to rest for the winter. We ran out of mulch on the last two rows between the beds, but, will do them in the spring. It's not that I mind grass growing between the beds, what I minded was trying to push mow and trimming around the beds! Ugh! I was spending 30-45 minutes in there trying to keep things neat and tidy. That's 30-45 minutes I could be spending tending to other things!
You'll notice the one small rectangular bed has some green things growing in it. That would be strawberries. We have two beds with four different varieties growing and this bed is just holding on not wanting to become part of winter yet.
The other small boo-boo was the table top we screwed to the tree stump. It did well for a couple of months then once the rains came it just kinda fell apart. Oops! Great idea just not well executed! I'll need to re-think that one for the spring also because it came in quite handy while puttering around and planting.
So even though it's only December, I'm starting to get seed catalogs in the mail and the gardening bug up my sleeve. I'll have to scratch the itch by growing some lettuce inside and make plans for the spring planting whilst sitting in front of the woodstove, and as always, with a glass of vino in my hand. Not a bad start to winter, eh?
*by the way, the white, rusty thing on the post in front of the greenhouse is an old mailbox. I use it to store tools, gloves, twine, etc. It works great!*

Friday, December 10, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

This, brings on...

this, with a little bit of.....


Enjoy the glow whether it be from wood or wine.

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all.........

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No need for Ambien here, y'all.....

Weathering through a whirlwind week at work, too many long drives into the city, and holiday time to boot makes one tired Irishlas....

However, exhaustion breeds insomnia for me.
Dear hubsters knows the cure.

A roaring fire in the woodstove, a pot of lamb stew, and presto - contented, instant sleep - chemical inducement need not apply.

Goodnight, y'all....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Perserverance eventually pays off......

My first scarf - with fringes.

Next, dish rags....

Friday, December 3, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Hello everyone. My name is Fionnghuala, or, just call me Nuala like my Mom. She says it rhymes with hula - like a hula hoop. My Mom gave me this name when I was just a wee little girl because I had white shoulders and that's what Fionnghuala means in Irish. She should have named me Hoover or Chow Hound because I love food. I'll eat anything. Sometimes when she's not looking I'll sneak some licks from the empty yogurt bowls.... yummm....

See, what I do is quietly stake out my position and when she's not looking I'll do a quick lick. If I take my time and can be real stealthy, I'll be able to lick the bowl clean!

If she turns around I'll hop on the sofa and pretend she woke me up from a nap.
I think it's fun to do and even though I hate to admit it, it's very cat-like. Teehee...
I'm such a smart girl. That's my sheltie genes coming through. My border collie genes give me my sly quickness and agility. Boy, I sure do have the best of both! And, I have the best Mom a sweet little pup like me could ever ask for!

So, my goal this weekend is to see how many yogurt bowls I can lick clean...

What's your goal for this weekend?

Whatever it is, just have fun like I do, and,

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all......

Monday, November 29, 2010

For the love of the music.....

The essence of traditional Irish music is the house session. This is how it all began.
Folks would gather in the kitchen and play tunes, tell stories and jokes, sing songs, and even dance if there was room enough.

Hubsters and I had a house session over the weekend and were delighted we had so many friends, old and new, come and share their talent and friendship with us.
We had quite the variety of players, I'm excited to say. Three fiddles, two banjo's, bouzouki, mandolin, bodhran, whistle, flute, two concertina's, and one jazzy clarinet player!

The craic was grand as was the music. Bad jokes and stories, great songs, and a warm bond was shared on this evening. This is what the music is all about.

With such grand craic on Saturday night and the glass being passed over my lips time and time again, Sunday was spent quietly trying to crochet, reflecting in my journal, and just some much needed down time.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. Hope yours was the same.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Feeling a little "wide" in the end after all that turkey yesterday? Does the door frame seem a little narrower?

Well, lucky for us it's Friday and we have the whole weekend to repent for our gluttonous sins of yesterday.

Have a peaceful, waddily weekend, y'all.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The cranberry sauce is made, the bread is cubed and getting stale for stuffing, and the cranberry orange bread is fresh from the oven.

Tomorrow night friends, Thursday family, and Saturday a house session.
Family, friends, and music.
I have a lot to be thankful for.

I have a 5:30am wake up call for work and the coffee is set to greet me at the same time.

So, with all this being said, I wish all my friends in blog world a very Happy Thanksgiving Day.
Doesn't matter if you celebrate a particular day - everyday there is something to be thankful for.
Happy Turkey Day!!

p.s. - I must have been really tired last night. I forgot to title the post. It was a long day.....or I'm just getting old....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just for a grin.....

So, what do you get when you have someone who is an insomniac, agnostic, and dyslexic?

Someone who lies awake at night wondering if there really is a dog....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Taking time to connect....

This is the progress to date on the greenhouse. Couple more tweeks and it will be done. It assembled quite easily and I'm pretty happy with its strength and structure. The test will be how warm it will actually stay inside during the coldest months.

Today was what I call a "piddlin" day-you know, you putz around doing this and that, or, nothing at all. I chose to spend part of my day curled up in a comfy chair doing some herb courses and some soul re-connecting.

I love my living room. I love the deep orange and the warmth it radiates. It's the type of room that draws you in and beckons for you to sit for a while. It didn't get any argument from me today! Now mind, I did my outside chores early. I let the girls out into the frosty, morning air to scratch around for some treats and while they were busy outside, I humped the 50lb bag of feed and refilled their bins, mucked out the coop, and refreshed the nest boxes. After the chicken chores were done, I gathered up my gear for the trot around the yard dog poop expedition and waste management!

After the outside chores were done, I sat down to make some more smudge sticks from sage and lavender I harvested earlier in the year. I love making smudge sticks. It's a project of meditative value to me. In other words, you're so focused at the task at hand that your mind doesn't wander to all the woes and worries that are normally running around in there. Another reason I love to make these is that the kitchen smells fantastic as you're making them!

Finally, I'll leave you with my meager harvest of the day - white sage, lavender, and an egg.

It's not much, but, it's still a gift.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Having pets has been proven to have health benefits to owner and pet.
With that being said, make sure you get plenty of the above this weekend.

Your endorphins will love you for it.

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all.......

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Smiles come even at a gas pump.....

This morning I had to stop to get petrol for my commute into the office which is not a rare occurrence-I do it once a week. But the stars had something else in store for me today. They wanted to shine some good karma on waning woman.

As I pulled into the station next to a pump, I noticed a young man pushing while steering his lumbering old Buick toward one of the pumps. He was out of gas in the car and he was starting to run out of it himself. I quick hopped out of my car and gladly help him push his car the rest of the way to the pump. Just as we were nearing the pump, another woman came towards us and asked is we needed help. At this point he was at the pump and told her no thank you, but, thanks for the offer.

This young man was maybe 19 at the most, scruffy, a little on the, ah, shall we say, not the most hygenic lad I've ever met, but, with a most endearing smile that lit the morning like sunrise breaking out through a mountain mist. He thanked me profusely then went in to pre-pay for his gas. In the meantime, I did my thing and got back in my car to start on my merry way. Before I could pull away from the pump, the young man came over again to thank me and hoped I wouldn't think of him as a "charity" case by needing help. I told him I thought nothing of the sort and that I was glad I was able to help.

As I pulled out of the gas station, I glanced one more time at the young man who smiled at me again and then did something I haven't seen done in a long time - he flashed me the peace sign.

What a warm way to start your morning and mellow a bitter heart.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


There have been several events of late that have had me in a most annoyed state. Quite honestly, it's zapping my energy and interest in a lot of activities, with blogging being one of them - hence the sparce posts. I choose not to go into the details, but, wanted y'all to know I'm reading, just not posting or commenting. My hearts just not into it.

It'll all come full circle eventually.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Doesn't matter if you live in one of these or....

a humble abode like this - remember to get out for a "stretch of the legs" this weekend.

Life is out there waiting for you.

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all..........

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hiding in the woods....

I have been told that all good things must come to an end, and so, with that being said, today marks the end of a much too short vacation.

Hubsters and I decided to vacation from everything for a while - work, household chores, dogs, chickens. It has been a much needed relief. I know by tomorrow morning, not long into the day, it will feel like we never even had a vacation. So goes the circle of the American Dream...

We went to the mountains not far from home and cooped up in this little gem. Just us, food, wine, hiking boots, and our instruments. No schedule. No alarm clock. Barely a thought. Freedom from the day to day responsibilities.

It was bliss....

We hiked familiar trails under a beautiful fall sky with nothing but the sound of the fallen leaves crunching noisily beneath our feet. We took photographs of leaves and lichen, trees and rocks. We studied the bark and shapes of different trees. We lost ourselves in the heady scent of fall.

It was bliss....

We warmed our chilled bodies by the light of the fire and filled our noses and mouths with the sensual taste of grapes aged in oak barrels. We'd stand outside under the stars in the cold, frosty night then run inside to warm ourselves and refill our glasses.

It was bliss....

We played our wood and wire making sweet music long into the evening hours. We danced and laughed and laughed and danced then made music again. The resonation made from our instruments have left an impression within the walls and a story to tell to those who wish to listen. Shhh.... I hear a fiddle and laughter.

It was bliss....

I can't think of a better way to spend an anniversary.

Tá sé a ghra mo chroí
Is tú mo ghrá

Friday, November 5, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Sometimes you need a reminder that the small things in life...

create the whole.....

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all.........

*Been away on vacation and hope to catch up with eveyone soon!*

Sunday, October 24, 2010

And the winner is....

Drumroll please.....
Linda G. over at Me is the winner of Elliot Coleman's "The Winter Harvest Handbook."
Contact me with your info and I'll pop it into the post.
Congratulations Linda!

A beautiful Sunday.....

Well, we've gotten the back panel of the greenhouse assembled so far. It is an erector set, but, I have to admit, the instructions are spot on.
It's exciting to see it start to come together.

The greenhouse is 8 x 8, which will be plenty large enough for me to grow things through the cold season for the two of us. And, to be quite honest, it's all I have time for. Nonetheless, I'm still pretty excited. Did I mention I'm excited!

I guess I ought to curb my enthusiasm just a little. We still have a ways to go!

I've been working in the garden all morning cleaning beds and adding compost so I can plant my garlic. Some of the beds weren't used this season so I decided that's where I'll plant them. I had to pull a fair amount of crab grass out of the beds, but after that, I just use my trusty stirrup hoe and it fluffs up like a dream. I spread a bag of organic leaf compost on each bed and once that dries a little, I'll hoe again, then the beds should be go to go!

My tomato's finally decided to produce (in October!), but, they all have blossom end rot and they are teeny tiny. To small to bother with really, so the chickens are having a party getting fresh tomato's everyday. Spoiled chickens!

Speaking of the girls, I'm finally experiencing the first moult. They are not looking too attractive right now! Egg production is way down - maybe an egg or two every other day. I knew this would happen so I've been keeping some reserves on hand so I hopefully won't run out!

Finally, it seems that fall is starting to show some color around here! I think it will be a fast display of color before all the leaves tumble to the ground. Then comes collecting and chopping all those leaves to make beautiful leaf compost!

I'll be announcing the winner of the blogiversary drawing tonight, so, if you haven't entered yet, you still have time. Just become a follower and then leave a comment!

Back to mowing.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Yet another week has passed and so a lunar cycle. Life keeps on chugging along without nearly a blink of an eye.

So, this Saturday under the full moon, step outside and don't blink. Take 5 minutes to stand under the light of the moon and then just listen and feel.
What do you hear? Is there an owl hooting in the distance? a car passing down your road? or is there the sound of silence?
What do you feel? Is there a gentle breeze touching your skin? or is the wind quiet and still? Can you feel the moonlight bouncing off of your skin?
What do you smell? Is there the smell of a wood fire burning? or is there just the smell of the season - damp and earthy?

In just 5 minutes of not blinking you'll open your senses, but, most importantly, you will clear your mind. The stresses of the week will disappear even if it's only for these 5 minutes.

Now, isn't this a wonderful way to end the week?

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all..............

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Greenhouse or erector set?.....

This is the progress of the greenhouse.

It's a sad state of affairs. Thankfully, each little part is labled.

I guess that will make it easier??

Two people, two days. I have the written proof in black and white. I'll let y'all know.

*Don't forget to enter the drawing here.*

Sunday, October 17, 2010


It's hard to believe, but, October 16th was my one year blogiversary! I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd still be blogging, but, even more so, that there are folks out there who actually read my blog!
I have met so many wonderful people out here in blog world and have likewise enjoyed reading everyone elses exploits in life!

So, I've decided to celebrate my blogiversary with a give-a-way on the topic of one of my favorite things - gardening! Since I will be taking on a new adventure this year in gardening - that is, winter gardening, of which I know nothing about, I turned to seek guidance from a writer who is one of my "gardening guru's" and settled in on this book.

I will give away a copy of Elliot Coleman's "The Winter Harvest Handbook" as the blogiversary celebration. All you need to do is become a follower if you aren't already and leave a comment on this post. If you feel like it, I'd be curious to know what you like the best about my blog. This is totally optional. I'm just curious why you read it! Personally, I find myself a bit weird, but then, maybe that's why you read it! haha

I'll put all the names in a hat next Sunday to draw the lucky winner.

I also want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have come to visit and endure my weird sense of humor! It's been one hell of a ride and my broom isn't worn out yet - so, this must mean I'll keep on keeping on with the blog.

Thanks again, everyone, and good luck!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

So, my pretties, what do you have brewing for this weekend?

Plan on stirring up some fun. Maybe have some cider or mead whilst stirring up your batch of fun.

Whatever fun you decide to stir up, make sure you don't get into too much trouble ;-)

Have a peacefully stirred up weekend, y'all.......

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thoughts and prayers....

to the miner's and their families in Chile. May the rest of the rescues go smoothly and bring forth healthy men.....

Cheers to all involved in the rescue efforts...

Monday, October 11, 2010


These guys will have to do since I don't have the real thing...
One advantage - their upkeep doesn't cost anything... :-)