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Midsummer Update from West Cork

It’s hard to believe that this is the last day of June! The summer is flying by after a rocky start. It didn’t begin to warm up in Ireland until recently. We had four solid weeks of rain and cold weather; at the beginning of the month we were still lighting fires in the evening. Thankfully the last week has been blissful!

This is a quick catch up post.

Gardening

It turns out I’m a fair weather gardener. Last year I was really enthusiastic because we had a beautiful spring. Plus we were stuck at home in lockdown and had the time to devote to our vegetable plot. This year was quite different.

The raised beds are north facing and did not get enough sun to give our seedlings a fair chance. We sowed outdoors with little success. The slugs demolished what plants we had. Anything left behind the chickens ate when they escaped their run.

I almost purchased a polytunnel online, but at the last minute I exited the checkout. I wasn’t fully committed to the idea because I still hoped travel might become possible. Plants require so much care. I think I made the right decision.

I have, however, enjoyed planting more flowers. I sowed wildflower seeds indoors which was fun because of the surprise element. Unfortunately the slugs ate all of the sunflowers, African marigolds, and other seedlings which I didn’t have a chance to identify. Cornflowers, Queen Anne’s Lace, Cosmos, mallow, and daisies have survived though. I’ve also bought lupins, several more varieties of lavender, peach colored poppies, white foxgloves (which won’t flower until next spring), pansies, dahlias, geraniums, and more. The vibrant colours are so cheerful at the moment! They bring our family so much joy.

Our new outdoor furniture arrived a couple of weeks ago. It’s very comfortable! We now spend as much time in our garden as possible eating, drinking cups of tea, crafting, chatting, and relaxing.

Beach Life

We’ve been to the beach three out of the last 4 days! Yesterday we met other families from my youngest son’s kindergarten for a farewell picnic. The children had so much fun splashing around together, making sandcastles, playing tag, and doing all of the things that 3 and 4 year olds do when let loose at the beach. I’ll never take gatherings like that for granted again. These children aren’t used to playdates and it’s so lovely to feel some sense of normality at last!

The front of my Honolulu Top is coming along…
WIP Wednesday

I have several active WIPs. I started this cotton Honolulu Top last summer but put it away for the winter. The back is complete. The front has twisted cable stitches that make a sort of V pattern, which you can see in the above photo. I keep putting this project down so it’s a slow burner. I get bored and need to do something else for a while.

I’m having fun with Alicia Plummer’s linen cardigan photographed below. It’s made of 100% linen yarn. I finished the body last night and need to start the sleeves next. It’s been a quick knit on size 6.6 mm needles. The bottom will have a fringe. I think I’ll love wearing this garment for many summers to come! (Side note: As you can see in the photo, my hair is no longer 3 different shades! I finally got an appointment with my hair dresser earlier in the month. She also cut 2 inches off).

Rosemary & Thyme Cardigan

I am also enjoying the summer Craftpod. I started learning how to do embroidery this spring. I’ve done cross stitch before, but only recently learned satin, chain, lazy daisy, whipped circles, stem stitches, French knots and more. These days I’m torn between crafts. I love everything I’m making and wish I had more time.

Wild Rose & Strawberry Project
Books

This subject deserves a separate post with book reviews. I’ve finished The Foundling (Stacey Halls), Of Women and Salt (Gabriela Garcia), and Ariadne (by Jennifer Saint) since I wrote my last blog post in May. I enjoyed all of them.

Food

We’ve been baking, picnicking, and eating out often. Indoor dining has been further postponed due to concerns over the Delta variant of Covid. Despite the setbacks to the industry, it has been heartening seeing several new restaurants open locally. My 16 year old daughter started working at one of them this week. It’s her first job and seems like a major milestone towards reaching independence.

Friends have opened a food truck in Ballydehob serving American style sandwiches made on their fresh sourdough bread. If you’re visiting the area do check out Ron D’s. They’re only open on Wednesdays, and you need to arrive early before everything sells out. You can follow their Instagram account @ron_d_s_westcork for updates.

A weekend favorite of ours is the pizza at Manning’s Emporium in Ballylicky. The blue cheese, caramelized onion, pecan, and rocket photographed below is divine! Check out @manningemporium on IG for more information about this gourmet grocery.

We’ve been going on mini roadtrips in the campervan as much as possible. We had a fabulous weekend camping at Garretstown Beach outside of Kinsale earlier in the month. The beach is windy so I was wrapped up in a sweater the whole time, but the kids were brave enough to swim. While there, we had an impromptu meetup with their aunt, uncle, and cousins so that was lots of fun. They’ve missed out on seeing each other this past year. You can see Blessing also loved the chocolate waffles from one of the food trucks on Sunday morning. Despite all of the craziness of the last 16 months, we are managing to make some superb memories. It’s the simple things that bring the most happiness: nature, quality time with family, good food, making and doing with our hands.

Travel

I’ve been fully vaccinated for exactly 2 weeks! My daughter had her second jab today.

We are travel ready!!!

That said, I have not booked flights anywhere, although I’ve spent many hours researching. I’m still waiting to see if my bonus mom is going to visit us in August. She says she is but time is moving on. If she doesn’t come, I haven’t entirely ruled out the possibility of going to the states to see her. It will become more and more expensive if one of us doesn’t book soon so a decision needs to be made. It’s been 3 years since we’ve seen each other. It’s such a nerve racking time to travel with rules and Covid procedures constantly changing. It’s hard to know what the best thing to do is so we’re just holding tight for the moment. Dreaming of when we can all be together…

Work

I had the chance to teach live dance/ fitness classes this month! I was invited to work at 3 different primary schools during their Active Weeks. It was exhausting but fun. I’m quite out of shape at this stage, although I’ve started attending weekly yoga classes in a bell tent. It’s so good to move beyond the online platform and experience the group energy again.

For now only outdoor classes are permitted. I’m hoping to be back in a hall by September when I can resume my adult classes. Overall there is a lot to be grateful for right now. It’s still far from normal here, but we’re over the worst of the pandemic at least.

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere! Is life back to normal in your part of the world?

Irene’s beautiful yoga space

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