...more photographs from our site in Co. Clare, Ireland
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... more photographs from 2003
Spring finally came... the 'oldest' apple trees, now in their fifth year, were beginning to show potential...
We planted crabapples a few years ago to aid pollination of the apple trees (Malus 'Neville Copemann' on the left, Malus communis 'x Robusta' on the right). The crabs will also feed 'our' bees, and the little apples are eagerly taken by birds in the autumn. They are planted close to the nine apple trees lining the driveway, six of which we received from the Irish Seed Savers Association native Irish apple collection.
Left: We also planted a couple of medlars (Mespilus germanica) for their fruit - I was once given a delicious jam made of apple and medlars which I am hoping to replicate ... one day.
Right: One of two new pear trees ('Conference' and 'Concorde') which we didn't dare plant earlier due to the lack of shelter.
A promising start in the tunnel. Little did I know that because of lack of time during the summer most of our garden would turn into Jurassic Park with monster slugs and weeds, and many of these little seedlings would not survive for very long. The plantings in the tunnel did, however, thrive and were (and still are now in late October) very productive despite total neglect from about late July onwards (I haven't even watered it since then but it's situated where the groundwater table is quite close to the surface). Perhaps that's why permaculture developed in a subtropical climate rather than in our cool temperate climate where everything tends to outcompete your outdoor crop plants in no time. This climate is unfortunately not for the lazy gardener it seems...
Left: Some of the tunnel crops: edible Amararanthus tricolor, rocket, borage, nasturtium, parsley, chervil...
Right: ... courgette, Amaranthus 'Love lies bleeding' and Ipomoea 'Grandpa Otts'.
Left: Ipomoea 'Grandpa Otts' - soul food.
Right: A surprise outdoor Malva out of a seed packet from the Seed exchange mailing list.
Left: 2001 was a good year for fruit, not just here judging from the comments of the alt.permaculture subscribers. We had a bumper crop of blackcurrants and worcesterberries (right), and later also of raspberries ('Autumn Bliss'). Red and white currants were ok, gooseberries seem to take a long time to get to a productive stage here, same with damsons.
Left: For the first time, after almost five years of patient waiting, we also had a decent apple crop (left: James Grieve, right: 'Katy'/'Katja'. Unfortunately, like many other folks here, we had a major problem with crows/jackdaws(?) eating a big proportion of the crop. The computer CD's that we hung up in the trees only gave temporary relief... please let me know if you know how to stop the bŁ$%^&!~!
This autumn we bought electric netting, officially poultry netting, to let the goats graze/browse in those awkward corners where we could normally only tether them. Their own paddocks are running a bit low on grass at this stage. Tethering is out of the question right now that we have 6 goats, besides, it is not a good practice from the animal welfare point of view. The current is drawn from the neighbours strong electric fence (with permission I should add).
Left: The jackdaws have developed a mutualism (a non-vital mutually beneficial relationship between two species) with the goats who tolerate them hopping around on their
backs and heads when they are lying down or standing about chewing the cud - the jackdaws peck
parasites from even around their ears, eyes and bums. We've seen the same thing happen with a bull; the jackdaws were pecking ticks or whatever from around his testicles. What trust!
Right: If you ever wanted to know what a medlar fruit looks like but didn't dare to ask: this is it.
Small is beautiful. The organic fair in our village Kilfenora, held once a year together with the regional organic livestock sale in October.
November is nearly here. Can't wait 'til next spring!
...almost forgot - This is Daisy, our new laptop with a mission.
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