Monday, October 31, 2011

Is there room on the broom?

May the blessings of Samhain light up your life.

Big hugs,


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oiche Samhain

I have the apples and nuts at the ready for the Púca (Celtic fairy folklore creatures, who arrive after dark). As a child, my sisters, cousins and I, we went from house to house with a carved turnip, we wore capes or large coats, and sang old Irish songs or recited poetry. My mother made a Barm Brack, a dried fruit bread which contained various objects baked into the bread and was used as a sort of fortune telling game. In the barmbrack were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence) and a ring. The bread was sliced and each item, when received in the slice, was supposed to carry a meaning to the person concerned: the pea, the person would not marry that year; the stick, "to beat one's wife with", would have an unhappy marriage or continually be in disputes; the cloth or rag, would have bad luck or be poor; the coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be wed within the year. We played "bobbing" in a basin of water for apples or coins. A game whereby you were only allowed to use your mouth, your hands had to be placed behind your back. We usually finished off the evening telling ghost stories.

Now most people here in Ireland celebrate Halloween, wearing masks and costumes, children go on "trick or treat" visits. The turnips have been replaced by pumpkins (much easier to carve) and the Barm brack only contains a ring.

Whether you celebrate Samhain or Halloween, have a great one!

Big hugs,


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Knitting projects 2

I am still knitting the aran baby blanket, in moss stitch, it is so big now that I get very warm when I am working on it. The Aran is undyed, unwashed and smells like outdoors.

Leiny knit these fingerless mitts last winter. She knit a pair of mitts that can be converted to fingerless gloves by pulling the flap back and securing it on a button (will put photos in another post) for me in red and I love wearing them.

I bought these hanks of Araucania hand dyed wool at the Knitting and Stitching show last year, I have yet to find a pattern to begin a project with them. I thought about knitting cushion covers, a hat and scarf, a chunky cardi, but I still do not know yet. What do you think? Any ideas?

Big hugs,


Saturday, October 15, 2011

A trip to the woods with Mimi and Mathilde

Mimi and Mathilde, our two black nine year old labs, love to go for a walk in the woods behind our house. They are always eager to get out for a long run and do some dog orienteering, whatever the weather. As soon as I take their leads off they are ready for action. I love how their coats shine in the sun.

Autumn is a particularly lovely time in the woods, fallen leaves and moss make a lovely carpet, but the peace and tranquility of the moment is lost as soon as Mimi comes thundering along the path.

These dry ditches are perfect for long jump practice, but are more like steeplechase jumps when it rains. Mathilde leaps up, with incredible speed and strength.

The jump can be made even more exciting by repeatedly jumping over and back, stretching the back legs out and reaching towards the on coming bank with the front paws.

A good search around under trees satisfies their curiousity too.

Even after an hour of manic running and jumping, they dont seem at all tired. They both take off along the paths back home at a rapid pace, as soon as I give the command, leaving me trailing along behind. Every now and then Mimi looks back to make sure I am still behind. Mathilde will come back to walk along beside me for a few moments waiting for the command to run ahead and join Mimi. I put them both back on the leash until we are back home.

Big hugs


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Autumn harvest and knitting

This beautiful hollyhock has been flowering for weeks, and is visible from the kitchen window. I love that rich colour.

I harvested the last of the grapes from the greenhouse, they are small but so sweet and juicy.

I had to attend college last weekend, and stayed over at a really beautiful Bed and Breakfast, Samuel's Heritage in Waterford. I had apple pie and tea on arrival, and a wonderful fresh local produce breakfast next morning. I really enjoyed the hospitality, the view, the peace and tranquility, and I slept really well. Susan, the owner and hostess, was very friendly and helpful. I even managed to finish my Sublime organic merino dk cardi, I just love the colour and the softness. Now all I have to do is press it out and find the right button. I am thinking a wooden hand made one would be good. Any ideas?

Big hugs,