Friday, 22 May 2015

The disappoinment of May

May hasn't been going as well as I'd like. Weather wise it is colder and wetter than I can remember compared to the last few years on the plot and somehow it feels more like March over there, April at a push. And with the blasted, frustrating rain that is still forecast into the next weeks, (though now with the heady highs of 12 or 14 degrees) all we have to look forward to is more of the same:


*  Slugs having the most wondrous time and eating away at our newly planted broad beans (we've sown more);
*  Gooseberry sawfly larvae colonising the gooseberries (Andrew got there just in time, this time)
*  Prolific and never-ending weeds and grass that simply won't stop growing a few feet every week.

'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog


Oh how I weep….

Good news however is abundant, it's merely my depressed viewpoint that makes it all seem so dreary and helpless. Plus I have had writer's block for weeks and it's made me become a bitter blogger *sad face*, as in reality there are a great many little stories I would have liked to share but simply couldn't. On top of that, when I am in a low period I rarely care about spending time taking photos, I just want to work and try to get lost in my actions; take a break from my own thoughts. Thus we only have a few quick camera phone snaps with this post - sorry.

All the asparagus plants grew well and sent up their first spears, this has made us both very happy and dancing a quick jig may have been the result. ;) All 10 plants haven't failed us thus far, though once bitten we are tentative about this endeavour.

The rhubarb plants are glorious and filling out their bed nicely, the transplanting having done them no harm at all. There are many a fruit blossom all over the two half plots, hopefully well get some tasty treats.

'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog

We have many new baby carrots and parsnips germinated in situ and the purple sprouting broccoli is going to flower = happy bees (though I haven't seen many the year yet).

'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog

So this is just a catch up. We will be going this weekend and maybe, just maybe, on the Bank Holiday Monday too ;) I have my 'proper camera' battery charging up and my fingers crossed for breaks in the weather were a girl can happily click away.

At least I've broken the terrible block and got something down on paper, or rather, on screen. It'll be easier now to keep you posted.

'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog

love and hugs
Carrie

Thursday, 7 May 2015

I've missed you so much

There is simply too much to catch up on and I don't know where to begin. See previous post! My latest write ups have been eaten by Blogger and are in some sort of terrible blog post purgatory *sad face*

So all my photos are way out of date and things have moved on. So I shall try to put my faith in the 'save' button and go take photos of the greenhouse exploding with seedlings and try to find some sort of recent pics of the plots. Thank you for your patience x

At 24a everything is going grand and we shall find that we are eating loads of Purple Sprouting Broccoli (not complaining!), the garlic is continuing to do fabulously, there are blossoms on the apple trees and blueberry bushes and carrots have just emerged their sweet little heads from the soil. Sadly our newly planted out broad beans suffered with a freak -3 degrees night battering but I have hope from the yet.

purple sprouting broccoli - 'growourown.blogpot.com'

The rhubarb is still delicious, the asparagus crowns were all planted (you missed out on that story),
dogwoods have been planted, the plants in the edible forest are settling in and my 2 flower beds are coming on great. We just need more hours in the days ans more days in the week.
14b - 'growourown.blogspot.com'

Plus I have been a bad ass grass cutting machine and have finally, painfully managed to push my little rotary mower through the tangled mass behind 14b and now all our access paths are workable. Hoorah, safety on the plots :)

At home we are coming down with seedlings as I mentioned and we even got one of those greenhouse automatic ventilation things.
seedlings - 'growourown.blogspot.com'
Just a tiny amount of the many many seedlings there are around here!
The beech hedge is going great, as is the maple - hoorah for colour! Round the corner I am delighted to say that the wisteria is going to be covered in flowers this year for the first time, oh, we can't wait.
new growth in the back garden - 'growourown.blogspot.com'

That, I think shall do for now, not least because it has taken ages to get the photos to work but because Blogger may well decide to eat this too, ggrrr!

Hugs and love to you all
C xx

Testing

Blogger has been a bloody trickster and bully recently, saying it has saved my posts as I go along and then flippin' well eating them!!! The publish button hasn't been working and I am at a loss, I love my wee blog and talking to you dear readers.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

I built a storage bench

During the winter months some nasty little pilferers took our lovely kidney shaped wooden bench from right off our plot, gah! What with that and the fact that our storage box looked to be falling apart, I was utterly delighted when Keter asked me if I would like to review their Eden Storage Bench. That it was called Eden (like our Allotments and the village they are in) tickled me pink and you just know the answer I gave, with much gratitude.

Keter Eden Storage Bench on the plot ~ growourown.blogspot.com

*** A few weeks later ***
I was really glad Andrew happened to be home when the most massive of delivery lorries pulled up outside our home, blocking the light like a solar eclipse! And voilĂ  - there it was, on a free pallet too :) (Andrew has since made some use of this free wood - there is no stopping him and his DIY ways)

Keter Eden Storage Bench ~ growourown.blogspot.com

It was expertly packaged up and oh what joy I had unwrapping it, so much bubble wrap to stomp on!
Keter Eden Storage Bench ~ growourown.blogspot.com

So we loaded all the parts up into the car and drove right down to the back of the lottie shed. Off loaded here, we were able to get the instruction booklet out and place everything neatly in order of assembly; the only tool needed was a star headed screwdriver = awesome.

Keter had designed this so well that once the basic framework was made (note: frame re-enforced by steel), there was a lot of simple assembly by clicking into place. In many cases it was great to have a helper, especially as I'm not that tall, only have 2 hands and the wind was making the whole experience that wee bit wobblier to begin with.
Building the Keter Eden Storage Bench ~ growourown.blogspot.com

However sometimes my helper got a little carried away and the DIY King within him broke free. It was not a bad thing at all, with my double vision there were times when the assembly was painfully slow and I was driving myself bonkers with trying to put 10 small screws in to secure the base.
Building the Keter Eden Storage Bench ~ growourown.blogspot.com

But I loved making it and as I did so it was easy to sense the strength of the piece and know that it was well designed and sturdy. These are feelings you may not get when you think it's plastic and not solid wood. This is going to be a fabulous asset on the plot, with lots of lockable storage space, long lasting plastic material, strength enough to comfortably hold 2 people, their dog, plus picnic and a nice finish without painting every season.

Maggie and I relaxing on the Keter Eden Storage Bench ~ growourown.blogspot.com

10 out of 10.

Now we just have to hope that no one steals it *rolls eyes*

Hugs
Carrie

Monday, 13 April 2015

Finally planting the potatoes

Okay friends, let's talk about the Easter week work we Gaults achieved at the allotments; if I don't get it documented I have a terrible fear I'll forget - I have been super forgetful the past few months, thank goodness for cameras and camera phones!


Remember I showed you the two spud varieties we had chitting beside one another? The ones on the right were hollow to the touch and had been in a too hot environment for too long; they were Sharp's Express. As Flighty rightly pointed out, we could have planted them and probably had a good crop, but as we were only planting two rows this year, Andrew wanted healthier looking specimens and thus we planted the Pentland Javelin lot instead.

So, first task on our Easter break was planting those spuds (a little later than we usually do due to the poor weather, but it won't make much difference to the end product). I stood by with  my camera and Andrew did the hard grafting :) Here he is preparing the soil...
preparing the potato bed ~ growourown.blogspot.com
* Using an adaza to make a nice deep V trench
* Flattening out the bottom with a spade 
* Adding a layer of good fertile wormy manure to the bottom

planting rows of potatoes ~ growourown.blogspot.com
* Next the potatoes were placed about a foot apart (chitted eyes upwards) onto the yummy manure
* Lastly some organic blood, fish and bone was lightly scattered into what would be the back fill

two ridged rows of potatoes ~ growourown.blogspot.com

And here are our spuds for the coming season. Two rows all planted and ridged up; looks a little like two burials but I promise no animals or indeed humans were buried in the making of this blog post! 

PSB, Maggie and blue anemones ~ growourown.blogspot.com
Plus here is a sweet little vignette of some other lovelies spotted on the plots that day. We cut the biggest of the Purple Sprouting Broccoli and ate it that night - gorgeous!!! Maggie was very vigilant in her supervision of our activities and these lovely blue anemones opened up in the sunshine.

Hugs and love - more soon
Plus a hearty thank you to those who commented on my last post xx
Carrie

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Honestly...

My levels of anxiety are at fever pitch these days. It's pretty much continuous until I fall asleep, exhausted. I do take sedatives but they only make it slighter easier, in that I don't scream or punch things (myself included).


So the very fact that I was at the allotment at all this past week is somewhat a testament to my bloodymindedness, my grit, my moxie. I have worked every day and though my contributions may pale in the sight of Andrew's, in a way they are that much greater.

I am free and easy to write about having chronic depression and acute chronic anxiety. But did you know that if you were sitting here beside me I wouldn't be able to speak at all? If I even tried it would be so quiet, so mumbled you wouldn't hear me. On those rare days like today when I can write, I can express myself and feel like I am actually talking to someone, it feels a little less of a lonely life. But you don't see the fear in my eyes, you don't see me shaking as I type.... 

But enough, I am a fighter and you shall metaphorically 'hear' me roar this coming catch up week.....

Oh, I have stories from this Easter week, my friends! Stories of great progress made on both the two half plots (24a and 14b), that there are loads of seedlings in the greenhouse, that we have been eating produce we've grown, of Maggie's continued cuteness and the revelation that I built a bench! 

I shall write about them all with joy in my heart and I do hope you can spare a moment to share in the journey with us.

Love and hugs
Carrie

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Just so you know...

I'm working so hard at the allotment plots I haven't the energy to write up what we have achieved over the last days. Watch this space :)

Maggie and me at the lottie - 'growourown.blogspot.com'
Photo taken by Andrew with our super cool old polaroid camera (Supercolour 670AF)

Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Greenhouse and Ecotherapy

Well here she is - our beautiful little lean to greenhouse :) Oh how long my poor hubby has waited for a more permanent greenhouse than those little plastic covered ones you buy and have to throw away after one year. This is a true treat! I have a feeling that he may even have named it, but that's between him and the greenhouse ;)


As you can see it's not that big but it is marvellous (size isn't everything); just the way it fits so perfectly under the shed guttering and still there's room between it and our back garden fence so a cold frame and lots of pots could sit there and we'd have a full little nursery :) The plastic is sturdy and thick and though it was all flat pack, Andrew didn't have any problems at all; it was up in a jiffy.

The hubby also made the tiered shelving yesterday whilst I sat and watched - there was a lot of geometry going on which would have made my brain melt if I'd paid attention, but luckily I know maths and I are fierce enemies, I just don't go into it's territory. Anyway, I'm so proud of him, it fits so neatly and there's a feeling of lots of growing space now.


Above: Super happy little broad bean seedlings

Below : Our potato collection.
* On the right are our Sharp's Express which chitted perfectly but then the weather went a bit nuts on us and there was much rain, gales and even frost so they are dried out and useless :(
* On the left lies our hope of spuds this year now, they're Pentland Javelin and though they aren't fabulously chitted, they will have to do, hoe hum..


So, yep I did nothing to help yesterday at all, whilst Andrew worked and created and planted seeds and what not. No, a big part of Ecotherapy (at home or the allotments) for me is to allow myself to simply sit and breathe. The very act of being outside can be such a push that it is therapy enough to merely experience nature. Look past those weeds, ignore the work that needs done and instead listen. Listen to the trees rustle, the birds singing, the voices of others, your own heartbeat. And just be in the moment.

That's not what I did today, my friends! But it's what I needed yesterday and I feel all the better because of it :)

Love and Hugs
Carrie

Monday, 30 March 2015

'The One-Pot Gourmet Gardener' Book review

It's a fact; I instantly fell in love with 'The One-Pot Gourmet Gardener' as soon as I unwrapped it. The texture of the front cover, the feel of the pages - pure quality. It's a beautifully written, straight forward guide which will get everyone hopping from foot to foot ready to grow their own yummy meals in their own backyard.

(N.B. with these recipes, illustrations and photographs your mouth will water and you'll simply drool like a fool, read with caution and preferably whilst alone, haha)

'the one-pot gourmet gardener' book~ growourown.blogspot.com

With this genius book in your hands there are no excuses to not grow your own and fall deeply in love with the experience. All you need is a balcony or patio with room for a pot or two and you're set. No worries about digging up your garden or having to have an allotment.

No prior knowledge about vegetable gardening is needed; Cinead McTernan has it all laid out in easy step by step stages; the variety of vegetable best suited for pot gardening, best type and size of pot, tools needed, best compost, where to place your pot, how to sow or plant up seedlings and caring for your babies and harvesting/storing them.

'the one-pot gourmet gardener' book (2) ~ growourown.blogspot.com

Goodness if you'd recently been hit over the head by a galvanised watering can and woke up with no gardening experience at all, this book would have you sorted in no time.

'the one-pot gourmet gardener' book (3) ~ growourown.blogspot.com


Then we come to the best part...Unlike many cook books, this contains recipes you will actually want to grow the ingredients for and you can!! There are picnic foods, soups and salads, quick suppers, tasty accompaniments, plus drinks and puds. All achievable, easy and super impressive looking. More than that however, each recipe details the best variety of seed, size of pot and soil conditions, when and exactly how to plant up your pot, when to harvest and then a gorgeous recipe.

'the one-pot gourmet gardener' book (4) ~ growourown.blogspot.com


I recommend this book to everyone! No matter what, these pots look stunning and are edible - put one buy your front door or under the kitchen window, let's see a revolution in gardening where it isn't all bedding plants in pots.

Published by Frances Lincoln Limited
Written by Cinead McTernan
Photography by Jason Ingram
Out on the 2nd April
******************

To order One-Pot Gourmet Gardener at the discounted price of £12.99 including p&p;
p* (RRP: £16.99), 
telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG311. 
*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Love Carrie

Brother Handheld Garden Label Printer

Since my last post it's all gone down hill in the Gault household; we have been hit by a plague of phlegm and my poor hubby has a chest infection. As he is the driving force on all things allotment, his sickness (and boy it's bad) has meant that nothing has gotten done, not a seed sown, not a bed weeded, not our new greenhouse loved and photographed. *sad face*

As you all know I do allotmenteering as a form of therapy and coupling that with a horrendous mental health bout since the start of the year, well, I haven't been much use. I need my hubby to get me out of the house, to encourage and support and he has simply been too ill.
*******

So it's been a good time to review the Brother GL-H105 Handheld Garden Label Printer 
I was sent. Nothing much like being crafty and trying to organise oneself and be of use. Okay, so none of the seeds are planted yet but there's no harm in being prepared :)

This fun and rather easy to use handheld label printer has many applications in the allotment world, from labelling seeds, to marking your tools and of course writing those jam jar labels. Plus it is resistant to drizzle, easy to grip and has a sharp cutting tool built in.


It is a little hard to get used to the keypad as it is alphabetical rather than laid out like a keyboard and working out the length of label you need took me a little practise, but what you get is a very sticky, robust label with perfectly clear lettering in un-smudge-able ink.

There are 3 type sizes and with the help of the really easy to use instruction leaflet and large screen display you can create simple borders and very fancy ones too (especially for those handmade jams and pickles you gift to friends). I'm afraid I fell for the sweet flower border as you can see but I did resist the many emoticons, plus I decided to stick to bold print when there were a lot of fancy print types tempting me.

The lightweight printer takes 6 AAA batteries and there are 4 widths of tape, 3.5, 6, 9 and 12mm available in a variety of colours. The tape lasts a surprisingly long time too and in my photographs I have the 12mm black on white. I really would recommend this largest size.

Fun though it is for the garden/allotment (or ideally in commercial nurseries where many trays/pots are being labelled in a batch). I do see this as unrestricted to horticultural purposes; as a crafters product, a practical tool in the office or any situation where you wish to label something neatly!

Dear friends, I warn you, if you are lucky enough to get one of these as a gift you will find it fun and dare I say it, slightly addictive. And it will nestle well with all your other necessities in seed sowing :)


Much love
Carrie

Many thanks to Brother and to Robyn from Citypress for sending me this model to review x

Thursday, 19 March 2015

March at the Plots

Saturday saw a great change in my allotment activity; instead of merely writing about it as it seems I have been doing for a while now, I went and worked.  Maggie supervised as usual, she's a slave driver though you wouldn't know it from her cuteness :) (She has had her hair cut since this photo!)
maggie ~ growourown.blogspot.com

The plot (24a) didn't know what had hit it, I can tell you.

24a ~ growourown.blogspot.com
Whilst Andrew was working is redesign magic over in 14b I ripped, tugged and destroyed every blasted weed on the other plot.  It may not sound like much but in almost 2 hours the place was a spotless dream and my big pink trug was almost full (that's about a zillion weeds right there). I didn't even wear gloves, that's how hardcore it was!

Here are some sexy photos of our purple sprouting broccoli which seems really healthy this year :) Plus there are wonderful fat buds on our apple trees, blueberries and the garlic is well on it's way - happy times.

purple sprouting broccoli - 24a ~ growourown.blogspot.com

happy buds and garlic bulbs- 24a ~ growourown.blogspot.com

Pity the place was practically empty and still, STILL, the plots beside us are over grown wildernesses. (Though kindly a volunteer group strimmed them back). I could squeak with anger and occasionally do, at the thought of these people who just purchase a plot and do nothing with them. Gggrrr. There is a waiting list for genuine people who really want a plot!

Anyway, on Andrew's part he laid out then drew an amazing picture on top of a photo to illustrate the progress and planning for 14b. You can just tell he's a senior archaeologist and well trained in the art of capturing the scientific detail of places ;) 

Andrew's fab instagram/ drawing ~ growourown.blogspot.com

OK so this may need a little interpretation, haha. The pink square denotes my 2 flower beds and the brown is the edible forest garden. All the yellow lines are box plants making up a four part parterre; the two on the left will be asparagus beds, then there's the rhubarb bed you can see and finally the back right bed is for squashes. Hurrah!! 

Now it's down to the planting of seeds...

Hugs and love
Carrie

Friday, 13 March 2015

Spring is umm... springing

It's only a wee change but these brighter blue skied days are making me feel a tiny bit happier :) The gorgeous little tete-a-tetes in the back garden cheer my soul like they do every year but somehow I simply feel overwhelmed. It sounds rather stupid but the thought of spring (this year) has me worried about all the work that needs done and the fact that I haven't been able to help.

happiest in yellow ~ growourown.blogspot.com

I haven't been at the allotment for goodness knows how many weeks now and Andrew has been working hard and getting loads done. I am so proud of him. He took a photo of all my other tete-a-tetes down there for me and brought home another glorious harvest of our leeks.

last of the leeks  ~ growourown.blogspot.com

Andrew planted our first seeds of the season - 'Aguadulce' Broad Beans and I tried to be enthused, take photos and everything but not once, until now, have I thought about them.
planting the broad beans ~ growourown.blogspot.com

Back home he was out in the shed, clearing room for new seed trays and found some more perfectly well stored beetroots too, yum! And talking about seed tray room, we have great news - we have a greenhouse coming our way soon .... Hoorah :)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Plot plan 24a

Patience is a virtue that has just about been completely depleted in this house. We're getting ants-y; even Maggie can't stand still and she attacked the rug this morning in a cry for help. It's the weather see, it's just not cooperating and we can't get to the Lottie or get planting seeds yet when it's so damp, cold, windy and frosty/snowy.

There is of course the fact that I am sleeping all night and practically all day these days. I have utter exhaustion and finding out it's March already was a shock. I reckon I have slept the equivalent of a month this year already. It's not good but I see the Dr in a couple of days again - fingers crossed for help and answers.

So what can one do when one is so very impatiently waiting for the bloody weather to get it's act together? One plans, schemes and makes colourful drawings of what is going to happen once someone changes the sky and injects me with dangerously nuclear grade caffeine.

I desire to be a tornado of productivity.

24a plot plan ~ 'growourown.blogspot.com'

Okay, so this isn't the best plan I have ever drawn but under the circumstances of super sleepiness and thus worse double vision than usual, I'm rather pleased it makes sense at all. Naturally it is very much subject to change ;)

Much love
Carrie

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Nothing else matters

Every now and then, when you aren't looking for it, you hear a piece of wisdom that not only makes sense but eases the soul and gives one hope. After sharing a little of how I am feeling these days I have felt rather fragile, somehow exposed but at the same time a wee bit proud of myself. Yep, I have a menagerie of all the emotions swirling around in my head; 'all the feels', as the cool kids say.

Last night I finally got to see the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and though exhausted and depressed I did like it and found it slightly uplifting.



In the film Dame Judy Dench's character writes a blog, which naturally caught my attention. How appropriate then that when she was writing at one point and I was interested in her personal thoughts she said this..

Evelyn: The only real failure is the failure to try. And the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment. As we always must. [...] We get up every morning, we do our best. Nothing else matters.

To be honest, to hear it in reference to others I utterly believe the sentiment and I guess that means I'm not a complete failure either, like I view myself. I'm a fighter, I get up everyday and I do my best and well it just felt good to hear that.

I just thought I'd share it, for all those who think life isn't going their way, that each venture so far hasn't turned out how they hoped - you aren't failing at this adventure called life, as long as you keep going and simply do your best.

With much love
Carrie

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A glimpse into chronic Depression

The beautiful blue sky contrasts so well with the dense darkness inside me. The wind blowing and refreshing everyone out there is just a little mocking as I lie here still in my PJs on the sofa with a blanket over my head. I can't face the world, there is too much shame and frustration in this broken soul of mine. I hide.

Once I was intelligent and fun, interested in the world. Today I am finding it difficult to think past the humming I hear in my head and the utter confusion. I don't even want to talk out loud; it takes such effort and sounds strange.

Depression is tearing my life apart these days and not even the sweet snowdrops fill my heart with hope. Two stunning bunches of tulips are in the hall, usually my heralds of spring and hope but I can't look to the future, no not even an hour ahead, it fills me with such utter emptiness. I can't cope with these feelings of purpose-less, of always fighting, hoping one day I'll feel my life has actually started.

Imagine a day where the sun shines and you just can't get your act together to go outside. The thought of washing and/or dressing is just insurmountable, plus you couldn't bare anyone to see you.. you're only best inside hiding, not embarrassing yourself or others. Just you and these terrible thoughts and feelings that no one can fix or make sense of...

snowdrops at Springhill ~ 'growourown.blogspot.com

If you've even gotten through to this point, I've turned off comments on this post. I'm actually a little embarrassed to share such utter weakness but I really needed to be cathartic today 

Carrie xx

Monday, 16 February 2015

Ecotherapy for Valentine's Day

We don't fall for the highly commercialised Valentine's Day trappings anymore. We used too, we used to love it but this was our 17th one together and so no cards, extortionately over priced roses/gifts or super fancy dinners for us.

No, we decided to engage with each other and share the day in the beauty of nature. Holding hands and walking around Tollymore Forest with Maggie was, for us, the greatest way to say I love you.

We took our favourite trail, the red one which allows us to be around trees and the river both, oh the feeling of walking and listening to the rush of the water and the songbirds is heavenly. At the start of the trail to can see some of the remains of the old domain, beautiful walls and bridges, plaster work etc.
Tollymore 1 ~ 'growourown.blogspot.com'

There isn't a great deal of colour about in Feburary but it made it extra beautiful when we did come across some berries or the last of the still on tree leaf out of a long period of brown and green.....
Tollymore 2 ~ 'growourown.blogspot.com'

These are one of two sets of stepping stones across the calmer parts of the river. Goodness I remember being so nervous as a child going across these, they are quite wide apart (it was good to hear other children laughing and screaming trying it themselves).

Right by the river there is also an magical building called the Hermitage, it can be walked through on one side but the real joy is seeing it from the other side of the river...
Tollymore 3 ~ 'growourown.blogspot.com'
*** 
This is a true treasure for Andrew and myself...We wouldn't dream of doing it now; carving into a poor tree, but 15yrs ago! Andrew posted a sign of our love for all to see on this huge beech tree. We searched for a good while around a large clump of trees, all of which were heavily vandalised by love but it was after only a good walk further that we saw ours, standing alone, slightly raised and not another mark on it. Gosh I wonder at all those declarations and how many ended so happily as ours. ***

love heart Tollymore ~ 'growourown.blogspot.com'

It's tradition whenever we are at any place like this with forest, river and wooden bridge, that we play Poohsticks (you know, from the A.A.Milne 'Winne the Pooh' books). Andrew has this knack for winning and as usual he did so again - look at that winner's smile :)
Pooh Sticks Tollymore ~ 'growourown.blogspot.com'

The trail then heads upwards into the hills, the trees so dense in places it's black in amongst them. I love the mixture here of huge pines and deciduous trees with all the bracken and some primroses yet to flourish again. The air up here is cold and catches in your throat but it is oh so clear and all one can hear is the crunch beneath one's feet and the quiet rumbling of the river, now left below. Look hard up in the hills - snow! I know it's not much but that is pretty much an Irish mountain range you're looking at in the distance. lol.
Tollymore 4 ~ 'growourown.blogspot.com'

We couldn't have timed our return to the car park any better - just in time for the sunset through the forest and the clouds clearing away for some beautiful blue sky.

Tollymore Sunset ~ 'growourown.blogspot.com'

After this walk we were hungry and found a lovely bar/restaurant in Dundrum called The Buck's Head were we did have an impromptu but perfectly delicious Valentine's dinner, only is wasn't a set menu and the prices were fair ;)

Home to bubbles (yay) and a film.

Hugs and love to all
Carrie

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