Stories of Friendship, Family, Fun and Food.
All the way from the Emerald Isle!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A little jaunt to the bog!

The Mother, The Brother & myself took a little walk down to the bog earlier this week to see what condition it was in and figure out what needs to be done in order for us to be able to cut and save turf (fuel to heat our home) this year.
As you can see from the photos, the sun was shining (again) and we had a lovely morning filled with memories of sweet tea and ham sandwiches from our childhood.

The bog has not been cut since 2004 so it is really very overgrown. We have a lot of work ahead of us in order to prepare it for cutting. I will be blogging about this all the way - as this is most likely the last time we will be permitted to cut the bog - as it has been stripped at a rapid pace over the last 40 years since the introduction of large machinery and the fact that no one really cuts turf by hand anymore.

By the time we are finished, we should have some lovely stacks of turf in our back garden that will hopefully look like this photo above. Here's hoping!

That is all the WiseWords I have for today!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Barking Mad!

Red Hens, Little Pups, Yellow Ducks, Sly Fox.

Curious chirping, Nipping at heels, Downy ducklings, Slinking through fields.

Soft but timid, Sleeping sound, floating gently, skulking around.

Feathers Flying, Barking Mad, Bloody Quacking, Dinner HAD!

The image above was created by a man named Robert Kosara and it is his interpretation of Poetry 'visualised' . I love it. Check out his site.

That is all the WiseWords I have for today!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just Jack!

Jack is big and very strong
He’s always whistling or singing a song.
Sometimes when Mum is feeling blue
His hugs and kisses say “I love you”

Jack can be dirty, like most little boys
He likes to play happily outside with his toys
His clothes are so mucky and his shoes are untied
But he loves that he’s messy and never grows tired!

Jack helps each day with all household chores
He lifts and he carries and helps fill the drawers.
He always prefers to do the dirty work
and sometimes makes a bigger mess which drives Mum berserk!

Jack is so caring and really very kind
He shares his toys and is funny you'll find.
He loves nothing more than a game of football
and knows he’d be better if only he were tall!

This little boy Jack is mucky and wild
This little boy Jack is always wearing a smile
We know that Jack will forever be your friend
Because Jack will be with you right to the end!

That is all the WiseWords I have for today!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Crazy Curls

Sometimes my curls are just good as gold
They flip and they flop and are not so bold.
Sometimes they frizz and they get out of hand
Squiggle and squirm, Wild - strand by strand!

I wake every morning and I never know
if my curls will behave today or be thick like dough!
Mum says I am lucky to have such a crop
But there are days when I’d rather be wearing a MOP!

No matter what happens it’s always the same
She sits me down, to help tame this mane.
Carefully combing to untangle the mess
Softly and lovingly stroking each tress.

I know I am lucky, to have this head of curls
I know it is better than any fine strand of pearls.
But most importantly, what I really do know
is that with each stroke of the hairbrush Mum’s love for me glows.

She has sat me in front of her mirror so grand
since I was wearing nappies and not able to stand.
So I will keep this crazy and unruly mop
Because I know that Mum’s love for me never will stop!

These curls have taken on a life of their own and get ample attention on a daily basis (not just from her family, but her growing fan club at school too!).
That is all the WiseWords I have for today!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome Henrietta and Grace!

After a few months of listening to the children begging and pleading for their own chickens, we finally broke down and caved in to the whining. I suppose I should be thankful that they just asked for chickens. They do not realise (yet) that most of the neighbor kids also have horses!!!
After I picked up Rory & Jack from school today we made the trek out passed Athenry to a place where my Mum has been sourcing her hens for years. The Hen Lady - Maureen Martin gave us a tour of the lovely farm and after we picked out our favourite 2 hens, she showed the children her baby ducks! It killed Rory to leave those babies behind.......................I foresee a trip back to her farm within a month after the hens have acclimatised to the Wise Family.

Pearl of course gave them a hearty welcome - her barking and chasing, them running and squawking!
And now a moment of silence for me to ponder just how exactly did we end up here, today, with hens in our coop, out in the back garden. Growing up, we always had hens and ducks (for as far backs as I can remember). I had moved so far away from that life and had no need for it (except the memory occasionally) and now - today I find I am not only living it, I am loving it!
The children today had more fun than any toy store excursion would bring, and as I sit here typing this piece, I can see them out in the field playing with their new friends.
It is a lovely life, aren't we the lucky ducks!
That is all the WiseWords I have for today
(says she scraping the hen poop from her sandals and realising we have encountered a whole new level of dirt to deal with!!!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patricks Day 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all our friends and family! The children (Irish by birthright) are so excited to be part of the festivities. The buzz at school is fierce and instead of their uniforms, they are required to dress in GREEN! Of course, everyone has the day off - which is lovely. It gives us a day with the family and friends.
The chef is enjoying his first Paddy's Day as an Irish man, especially as he has the day off and I believe that he may even play a little football with the neighbors and my Brother! Irish football that is (like soccer, except you can use your hands!).

I picked up this baseball hat for my friend Eric - who is coming to visit us next month - all the way from Los Angeles! However, I think I may have to borrow it, and of course, wear it with pride!

For those that are near, we hold you dear. for those that are far, our door is ajar.
We miss you very much and hope you will plan to visit us soon,
That is all the WiseWords I have for today!Check Spelling

Monday, March 16, 2009

Honey, it is soooooo BIG!!!

Before I get toooooooo involved in this blog post, I have to apologise for the quality of these 3 photos. It could be a product of my camera being dropped a gazillion times over the last 5 years - but I can tell you honestly, the real reason that these photos are not so great, is because the SUN was SHINING SO BRIGHT - it ruined my photos. I, for one, am not complaining. If you have to squint a little to read the blog due to this fact - then suck it up :-)

We have just wrapped up a week of Full Moon Feasting here in Galway. The reason for feasting is that when the full moon arrives, the locals (and us) all head to the beaches and gather an abundance of just about any imaginable shell fish you can think of!

There are 3 - 5 days of 'picking' during the full moon week, and mostly we were there for the Oysters and the Clams. We did hope to find some Razor Clams this time around, but due to a rough current, the little buggers were laying low - Stay tuned on this though, we are going back out in April to catch them! (Eric H. If you are reading this, Wellie up! as it will most likely be your vacation treat!).

The first image is of a tiny amount of the Oysters we harvested that day. We stumbled upon some of the biggest boys either Chef or I have ever come across. So big in fact, we were a little intimidated by them!! We washed them and left them in our fridge for a few days - wondering if they were going to cause a revolt with the Clams, Mussels and smaller shellfish we found.

A man I met (my new BFF) named Billy told that these Giants of the Sea are actually from Portugal. About 15 years ago, there was an arrangement between Galway and Portugal where we took the baby oysters from them and allowed them to grow in Irish waters for 18mths. Then, we sold them back to Portugal as Portuguese Oysters. (Remember my September 2008 Blog - same thing is still going on in Waterford - except the relationship is with France).

Anyway, things did not work out with Portugal, so the arrangement fell through about 6 years ago. Now, we are still left with some of these giants along our shores. Billy thinks that the ones we harvested are about 3 - 4 yrs old. Imagine finding a ten year old??

So, what is a girl to do with something so big???? Thankfully, the Chef himself intervened and came up with a few different ways to try these giants!

Raw of course, Oyster Stew (yumba!), Oyster Stuffing (for Paddy''s Day tomorrow), Oysters Rockerfeller (oh, yes, still delicious!) and of course, the old reliable - dunked in Franks Red HOT sauce and deep fried..................

I am sure you think we are in Oyster coma by now, but there has been a lovely smattering of Mussels, Clams & Scallops thrown into the mix - so we are lust kind of in Seafood Utopia..............

A little sickening, I know,

That is all the WiseWords I have for today - the eve of St. Paddys'!


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Clean Boots


By Móna Wise

He asked me to clean his boots today
I wore them you see, clam picking the other day.
Normally I would wear my own trusty soles
But the pup chewed a hole, so I double socked it and rolled.

His boots are so big, and much tougher than mine.
They almost got stuck in the sand, which was fine.
If it weren't for the weather being so miserable and cold
I’d rather be clamming, bare naked & bold!

The fact that he asked me to ‘Please clean my boots!’
Made me want to shred them, and hide them like loot!
But after he left, taking two brats in tow,
I noticed on my whiteboard this note he bestowed.

It said “Honey, I love you, you know that I do.
Enjoy a few hours of quiet, whilst we play at the Zoo!
The boots, they can wait until our late return,
Sit down & relax. Daydream, doodle or churn
all those great ideas for stories to tell –
in the hopes that someday a book you might sell!”

That is all the WiseWords I have for today,

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Lovely Lobster - Yummy!

As you all know - I am the luckiest girl alive! The reason that you know this, is because I remind you of this on a very regular basis. The chef arrived home from work early yesterday giving us reason to start our weekend a little earlier than normal - and for me that is always a nice surprise! He was not in the door 2 minutes (just enough time to crack open a bottle of Sam Adams) when our neighbour Eddie (or the Oyster Man as we have affectionately nicknamed him) stopped over to see if we wanted to come over for dinner.....................??

Eddie has connections! He had just gotten back from a motorcycle ride out to Inverin, Connemara to meet a guy and fill up his backpack with some freshly caught lobsters and several pounds of scallops (in the shell). His lovely Wife - Teresa had thrown together a huge spring salad and it was "Hello Weekend!" Ron mixed up a few different spices to make his own blackening seasoning for some of the scallops and showed Eddie how to 'sear and sauce' the slippery sea gems.
Eddie knows a guy, who knows a guy etc. out in Connemara, and it was a quick exchange - they met at a petrol station, the fisherman loaded all he could fit into Eddies backpack, and he about turned heading home. A 3 hour ride round trip - and happy bellies were had by all.

The only complaint I had late last night, was that both of my children had the audacity to complain about there not being enough lobster!!!!

Spoiled brats, I say - feed them macaroni & cheese!

That is all the WiseWords I have for today,


Thursday, March 05, 2009

When living in the land of potatoes, what is a girl to do?

Ron has been cooking these potatoes for a very very long time, and they remain one of my very favourite dishes. Irish people (for the most part) are still rather fond of the spuds (myself included) and I would say eat potatoes at least 4 times per week.

As I do most of the weekday cooking around here, I have to now come up with interesting ways to present dinner in order to not get that look of disdain from the Chef that says "potatoes and cabbage again???" - yes, I actually have to think about what I am making for dinner every day!!!

To start with, I used left over potatoes, but if you start from scratch - buy some little potatoes, boil them until tender. Then smash them a little bit and drop them in the fryer for a few minutes until they crisp up nicely. (Alternative to the deep fryer is to brush with olive oil and bake in a very hot oven - just as tasty and a lot healthier!) We usually just have 2 little bowls of sauce - one with Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce (yum) and some sour cream. This is where I panicked, because we did not have any and believe it or not, sour cream is not easy to find in the supermarkets around here. I guess not a big demand for it. So, clever clogs here decided to make her own!

What to do??First figure out what ingredients you do have and try to wing it!
I had buttermilk and whipping cream. I mixed a cup of each and heated it up on the stove. Then I left it sitting in a warm place to ferment for the rest of the day. (you could leave it up to 2 days) or just until it is thick. (I left it in beside our open fire, so it accelerated the fermentation process (yawn, I know). Then leave it in the fridge to cool down. ( I left it outside on my kitchen windowsill because it was freezing outside and I took my chances with the neighbouring cat!).

You now have creme fraiche!! Which is NOT sour cream, BUT the Chef and little crumb catchers around here really loved it!

It keeps for about a week if you use fresh cream to start with.

Note to all aspiring cooks out there - If it doesn't thicken, you have either over-heated the cream or not heated it enough. Practice makes perfect - says she who has made it more times than she would care to mention before getting it right!

Happy eating,

That is all the WiseWords I have for today,


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What Colour am I??

One of my assignments this week was to write a poem about colour.
It was difficult to narrow it down to just one colour, so here is my attempt!
What Colour am I

What colour am I
when I am small?

What colour am I
when I have grown tall?

What colour am I
when it nears spring?

What colour am I
when summer bluebells ring?

What colour am I
when Autumn leaves fall?

What colour am I
when Santa Claus calls?

I’m every colour you choose to see
Because I’m a rainbow, oh lucky me!
That is all the WiseWords I have for today,

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