Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Good news

Yes folks, I can finally announce that our planning permission - for retention and completion of our build has been granted.

We haven't seen the 'conditions' yet, but for now I'm just relived that we can officially return to the build.

I'll admit that its been very hard with all the unforeseen complications, it dragging on, the feeling of limbo and costs while we waited ... and the massive unfairness of it all - as the map mistake was made before we owned the land and should have been sorted very quickly - without us being subject to regulations that came into force after our permission was originally granted.

That being said (i.e. rant over), its time to move on - and let go of of this issue that has driven us mad for 16 months (see, I'm still counting). I thought about it this morning, before I had officially heard the news. Despite all my self work to be happy anyway etc I really had been holding onto this - all the blame and all the pain of having our plans unhinged and messed around.
Now, I really an 'justified' in that - BUT - I can't justify it enough to keep it up. It doesn't help me move on or feel better - so ... I'm letting it go now - water under the bridge.

I am pleased that we can now move forward. In truth I am also a bit scared, as its been a poor year financially last year and our budget for the house is somewhat reduced.

So, its one step at a time. Get back and re-assess, plan what we CAN do, attempt to get down as much as possible, esp once the warmer weather kicks in (ie March) (it gives a month for the 'white' planning paper to come through), do what we can do with the materials we have to hand and finish jobs that had been started and abandoned when the 'stop' was enforced.

Of course I do have seeds to plant and a garden that I have really missed, so I'm delighted that I can tend to it while we're down ... and provide some food from it by summertime if I'm lucky. It will also be great to catch up with friends and neighbors.

Lovely leitrim - we'll be back soon.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

This is on my mind ... a dog.

This dog is on my mind (this is usually a Friday theme, but I'm early, as this is so fresh and large in my mind).

This dog is a stray. I think he's been in the area for a while, but used to be very scared and would run off. A couple of days ago I saw him outside the front door and I gave him a bone and then just sat on the step and watched him.
He came over and put his head on my knee - looking up at me with big brown eyes.
He's a very affectionate dog (and every time I open the door he appears, wagging his tail and he follows me round .. and even tries to herd the ducks).
I am moved by this creature, with his big loving eyes and gentle nature. Part of me wishes that I could keep him, but it's not possible.

So, after checking locally I made the decision to ring the dog warden, who picked him up today.
I am crossing my fingers and toes that he either is lost and gets re-united with his rightful owners, or, if he is abandoned, that he gets a loving home asap. (I'm hoping that as he is so friendly that he WILL get a home ... sometimes - hopefully rarely - if dogs are not re-homed they get put to sleep). It is the right thing to do - he needs a proper home.

It breaks my heart to see animals, like this sweet dog, abandoned, mistreated or unloved.... and it amazes me to see how this dog, despite his hardships, still trusted enough in people to come close to me and how much love their was in those big brown eyes of his.
I don't think I'll ever forget him.

P.S. If anyone in Northern Ireland, would like to rehome this dog, he will be available to be rehomed in five days time (they leave five days for the owner to come forward before rehoming) from the kennels in Downpatrick.

Friday, 14 January 2011

This is on my mind ... optimism

I spotted this daisy by the driveway as I was in the garden today.

Optimism is on my mind today, the importance of optimism in my life, helping me to see the glass as half full rather than half empty.

By being optimistic - looking for the best outcomes and being hopeful - I'm more likely to see the best of things when they are in front of my nose - like this little daisy, a welcome and cheery flower to see on a January day - and its easier to appreciate all the good things that are in my life right now.

'This is on my mind' is a Friday thread started by Rhonda Jean at Down to Earth.

What's on your mind this Friday?

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Seeds - sprouting to eat and testing viability

I love seeds - little packets of potential, each and every one.

In fact I'm sure that my excitement at seeing growth burst forth those seeds is part of my enticement to sprout seeds to eat, like these green lentils, that are just starting to put out their first shoots (or is it roots?).

Anyway, it genuinely does excite me every time I see my seeds come alive.

At this time of year I have to resort to putting them into the airing cupboard at night to encourage them.

I always have something in my seed sprouter. As well as green lentils (which taste mildy spicy) I like a steady supply of alfalfa -

Here it is ready for consumption (usually in salads or smoothies)

I also liked sprouted beans, these are some adzuki beans I'm sprouting in an old cotton tea sock.

Mung beans are also a favourite. There is something very fresh and alive about eating these tender wee shoots. They are also very nutritious.

Luckily, the time has come when I can do more than sprout my alfalfa. I have a plethora of seeds thats I've collected and part used over the past few years. I'm not sure which are still viable, so I test them by sprouting them.

I soak them in water for 6 - 12 hours and then pout them in a container on some damp kitchen roll and put them in the airing cupboard for warmth.
I can already happily note that my pea bijou and cherokee trail of tears beans from 2009 are still viable. I'd nearly given up on my Jacob's cattle bean (below) but even they are making a belated .. and slightly begrudging attempt to come to life.

I have many more to try and I think its better to do it now, than try to sow them in the spring, find out what isn't viable, order more and wait for delivery. This way, I'm pretty sure of what will grow and what won't. It also keeps me busy in these 'lean' sowing times, before things really get busy in March.

Of course, I couldn't resist starting some onions from seed today. I've decided to pre soak them overnight although I don't know if they need it, but there's no harm in it.

In the clear glass we have onion batalan and in the pink glass we have long red florence.

Last week I started some broad beans (Super Aquadulce) - which I'm sure do benefit from pre soaking, as it really helps them swell and take up water. I'm sure it gives them a head start.
I had to start them off in the house, in an unheated propagator. I tried starting them last year in the glass barn, but my first sowing was eaten by mice.
This time, I'll wait until the shoots appear before putting them out or in the barn.

In the picture below, if you look VERY carefully, you can see the very first signs of shoots coming up. I'm starting to salivate at the thought of them already - silly me.

I'll do some successional sowing of my broad beans this year, as they were very popular last year and I'd love to extend the season. I'll start them off in modules and probably plant the first batch in containers (they did well in containers last year) and, fingers crossed, I might be able to transplant the second batch to the Leitrim garden .. or put them in containers that we could bring down to Leitrim, if we get to start building again.

The date for the planning decision is set for the end of January. I've asked the engineer and councillor to talk to the planners now, so if they have any issues with the new reports we can sort it now. Otherwise, their favourite game is to wait and send a letter asking for further information on the decision due date, thus postponing the decision (they must have done this twice already).

So, fingers and toes are crossed that we get it sorted this time. The environmental impact report is glowingly good, we've made more changes to the reedbed spec, including better drainage around the bed, and added a willow bed to the sewerage system to comply with their new regulations (that came in after we'd built the reed bed and had the plans for it approved) .. and we've been waiting since the end of September 2009 to get this sorted. (At the time they said it would take 6 - 8 weeks. Things really do move at their own pace in Ireland).

It really would - will ? - be lovely to tell you all that the 'adventure' is resumed and that we'll get down to resume the build and the gardening in Leitrim this Spring.

Until then, I can keep planning the details .. and dreaming of having our own home and garden again.