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Beautiful Cow Competition

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Saturday 10th July saw the North Dublin Dairy show 2010 get under way. The highlight is of course, what can only be described as the beautiful cow competition.

I met with 22 year old farmer Michael Connell Jnr to find out more.

Earlier, I had met Jim Scully, secretary of The Dublin Milk Producers. Listening to him and Michael, I realise dairy farming in this country has a serious message and is in serious trouble.

This day however, was one for congratulations, trophies and rosettes, It was also a day for meeting and greeting young and old who ensure that somehow or udder [ 😉 ] milk ends up on our tables.

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Take a look at the just how serious the judging business of prize cows really is. Like Michael said, it can add value. Consider also that one gentleman told me that he had recently paid over €2000 for a 3 week old baby cow. Father Ted you say ? 😉

Cows aside, because of the people I met, it really was an amazing day. One that I was honoured to be invited to. Thank you so much to the Dublin Milk Producers and 3 generations of The Connell Family for being such fine hosts. Also to Jim Scully and Michael Jnr for taking the time to talk to me.

View More Images of The North Dublin Dairy Show 2010

The Real Pumpkin Farm…

pumpkin

pumpkins

I had written an article last year on growing pumpkins from seed [check out the comments for ] and it seems many of you are on the hunt for pumpkins…. particularly pumpkin farms.

I did try and I did put the S.O.S out there for you. But there was very little response. If you know of anyone – leave a comment & make them famous 😉 But I did ring Natasha in Sonairte [click here], a place I have visited in Co. Meath [ just past balbriggan] many times. The mother of all gig for kids has to be the pumpkin carving course….. It’s times like this even I wish I had children 😉

Natasha sent me this email:

Pumpkins are such cheerful bumps in the garden aren’t they?  The perfect colour to remind us which season we are in. Growing up in Australia, one of my fav winter dishes was pumpkin soup and you can’t beat roast pumpkin sprinkled with rosemary, thyme and salt.

News just in!! I have been out in the garden just this afternoon, chatting to the gardeners. They tell me that due to the inclement weather this year, our stocks are depleted, and everything has now been harvested! But don’t worry, there are still some left including some big rounded beauties! They are a bit pricier than what you would buy in other shops, not for growing up organic, but because they should keep for several months.

Sonairte’s pumpkins and our other organic produce and plants can be found at the Dublin Food Coop every Saturday, 9.30-4pm. Its an indoor market, Newmarket Square just off the Combe, Dublin 8. Here you will find fantastic organic food products including wines, breads, cheeses, dry goods and good coffee. www.dublinfood.coop. The market has a lovely, friendly atmosphere and you can by lunch and read the papers at your leisure. Alternatively pop into Sonairte itself and visit our ecoshop. We are on the Laytown Road just off Meaths coastline! Only 40 minutes from Dublin, there’s a bus service stopping right outside. Most convenient, especially if you’re carrying a pumpkin! The ecoshop, café and river walk are open 10.30 – 5pm wednesday to sunday

FYI, Sonairte hosts a Pumpkin Carving workshop, for adults and children. Its next Friday 30th Oct, Time: 11 -1pm, Cost: 20€ (1 adult, 1 child,1 pumpkin!).

For anyone who would like to learn more about growing their own veg and fruit, here are the details of other courses.

Thanks Peter for your time. If readers have any organic gardening queries, they can feel free to give us a buzz.

Cheers

Natasha

pumpkin-jack-o-lanten-2

pumpkins...

Other sonairte courses this year:

SOFT FRUIT AND FRUIT TREES IN THE GARDEN

With Kathy Marsh. A complete course on fruit growing for amateurs, covering choosing, planting, pruning and propagating.

Date: November 7th and 8th, 10- 4pm Cost: €120 or €75/ day (incl. lunch)

DRY STONE WALL BUILDING

With Bob Wilson (CELT). Covering basic techniques from foundation to capping. Also corners, steps, stiles, retaining walls and garden features and introduction to the use of lime mortar. Bring strong boots and rainwear .

Date: November 7th and 8th, 10am – 5pm. Cost: €150 (incl. lunch)

GROW IT YOURSELF

Course tutors Kathy Marsh and Geraldine O’Toole. A one day course at an affordable price to get you started on producing tasty, cheap and nutritious organic vegetables in even the smallest garden

Date: Saturday November 14th. Time: 10am – 4pm. Cost: €35.

*Please note that lunch is not provided. Our cafe will be open or you can bring your own and eat it at our garden picnic tables. All our courses can be viewed on our website. For more information and to book: Call 0419827572, e-mail: info@sonairte.org, website: www.sonairte.org

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the only self sufficiency book

It is time to cut out what we do not need so we can live more simply and happily. Good food, comfortable clothes, servicable housing and true culture – these are the things that matter.

now a legend...

now a legend...

I absolutely love this book. I love the ‘classic guide for realists and dreamers’ for which I am probably both 😆 Funnily, it was first written in 1975. Now, a little moreso it is considered ‘the’ bible.

Is it because of changing times? Is it because we are going full circle back to the days of old? Even the quotes from John are inspiring… but also how it should be…?

The thing about this book… is it tells you what to do with the fruits of your labour. Be it cooking, storing, growing –  a small garden or an acre… It explains it so anyone can understand. It is about having a go, taking it easy and enjoying the great outdoors. It is the reason why John is considered the ‘Godfather of Self Sufficiency’.

The reason why I haven’t reviewed this book until now? It’s because it was being used and it was in the house 🙂 I paid €29.90 for it – some time ago.

Nothing should be wasted on the self sufficient holding. The dustman should never have to call

i want that one…

Christmas trees! I love this time of year… I just love it! While you’re at the turkey stuff the begrudgers, the doom and gloomers and anybody else who’s a pain in the tuschie, take out the mistletoe and have a mince pie. It is the season to be jolly – and don’t you forget it 🙂

With whole place decked in holly, last week I and ‘her indoors’ [as Arthur Daly would say], went to pick out our Christmas tree. There is, possibly unknowns to some a Christmas tree farm in Rolestown North Dublin [just outside Swords and after Kettles Hotel just on the left]. It’s brilliant. While I was there, the Moms flocked in with their children, wellies and woolies on and went with Mick to select the specimen they wanted.

€30 any tree, netted and the butt drilled or trimmed to suit your stand. If you’re nice he’ll even give you a lolly pop! If you have never seen a tree farm or never selected your own live tree it is a great experience .

Have a really Happy Christmas, have a great new year and enjoy!