The Beast from the East

The Beast from the East: Storming back to life

Hello my lovelies!

It has been quite a while since I wrote a post here, I’ve been incredibly busy and in demand, it’s not easy being me.

In fact, last time I wrote a blog post was during Hurricane Ophelia in October and I’ve been struggling to know how to begin again. Winter was tough this year, I barely visited the plot and as always, I lost the desire to dig while the world was dark and cold. it happens every damn year, yet every damn year, I begin to think I should just give it all up and stop this wild gardening ride I’m on.

But don’t panic, that’ll never happen.

I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out how to make a comeback, because, lets face it, you all miss me. I know you’ve been lost without me.

My gardening bollock naked advice, my endless photos of my welly-shod legs in ever more compromising positions in the garden, my plots to help you all use your exes corpses as compost. I’d be taking away something truly beautiful from the world.

In fact, I even considered giving up the blog entirely until I realised I am  pretty much the Slim Shady of Irish horticulture and I had an obligation to you all to struggle on, because it would feel so empty without me.

So, this week, I’ve realised there has been a perfect storm of events to bring me back to blogging life.

The so-called Beast from the East (or Storm Emma) has landed in Ireland. Here in Dublin, things have been particularly bad. It’s absolutely pelting snow outside and the wind is picking up pace. It is set to be the most severe snow event in Ireland in my lifetime.

There are red weather warnings in place and we’ve been told to stay indoors from 4pm today until 3pm tomorrow.  There is zero public transport and I’ll be working from home.

Myself and my colleagues at Buzz.ie and the Irish Daily Star are working away all day to bring you whatever updates you need so make sure to follow us for all your snow related news needs.

The nation is also currently gripped in a catastrophic bread crisis, with sliced pans becoming the country’s most valuable commodity.

Side note: I just checked the #breadmageddon hashtag on Twitter and one of my tweets was in the top featured and I feel MAD important and famous now lads:

And so, I am on my sofa, trapped by the weather yet again, and this is the perfect way to get back to blogging.

My winter gap, bookended by two storms.

I finally got back to my garden last week after my winter of discontent. The weather was absolutely glorious, I was in a t-shirt, digging, weeding, planting. That was exactly seven days ago.

Now, it’s -5 degrees outside, the snow is at least 30 cm deep in my garden and I’m wearing 700 layers. The Beast from the Esst

Actually, one benefit of being a gardener in weather like this is the endless supply of sexy fleeces, wooly socks, hats, thermal vests, gloves and wellies you have at your disposal.

Another red weather warning is just about to take effect as Storm Emma finally moves across the country and meets the polar air that has been bringing the snowfall.

Much like a great love story, two imperfect bodies will crash together and fuckin’ ruin everything in their path.

I know many of you are probably worried about your seedlings right now, I know you are. Thankfully I’m a procrastinator and haven’t actually planted any yet so for once, my laziness is actually paying off.

The allotments are closed for the rest of this week due to the weather warnings so even if I did have seedlings in the polytunnel, I wouldn’t be able to bring them inside. However, if you do have seedlings outside, sorry lads, they are – for want of a better word – fucked.

However, all is not lost. Today is the first day of March. It is still the very, very beginning of gardening season here in Ireland. You still have plenty of time to get growing so, instead of worrying about your plants (we all do it, it’s ok, nobody else actually understands, but it’s perfectly normal), just do one thing.

Please, please, please, take one slice of precious bread if you have any and leave it outside for the birds with a bowl of hot water. Our birds need help, they’re bleedin’ freezing. I have a robin in my garden today and I’ve been feeding him bread (don’t shoot me,  I know we’re having an end of the world bread event right now). The Beast from the East

If it helps, you can sing that feed the birds song from Mary Poppins while you’re doing it and feel like a fuckin’ saint.

Otherwise, it’s looking like this weather is only set to get worse, it won’t begin to thaw out until at least Sunday and the likelihood is, as gardeners, we’ll still be dealing with the effects of this for a couple of weeks. The ground will be too frozen to dig and too cold to plant in for quite some time now.

So, if you, like me, were worried that you are behind, Storm Emma is a great big reset button.

The snow is covering all your sins. It is a great white blanket of reflection. So, stay safe, stay warm and stay indoors and before you know it, it will be May and I’ll be looking for a new excuse for my plot procrastination.

What The Fliuch?

View from my window on Tuesday

View from my window on Tuesday

The weather this week has been almost unbearable, at least it has been for gardeners. We’ve had cold, some freezing cold, sunshine cold, snow cold, wet cold, a little-bit-less-cold-than-yesterday cold, then back to snow cold. Today is the 29th of March and it is currently 3 degrees celcius outside. Three! This time last year we were experiencing a bit of an unusual hot spell, I was at the plot every day in a t-shirt; so this year I’m getting very frustrated at the lack of gardening. Somebody may have to restrain me before I eat all of the easter eggs in Ireland in an act of despair.

I have done, literally, no gardening since I planted my onions two weeks ago. Even my seedlings on my windowsills won’t grow as there’s no light in the sky. Last weekend the rain was absolutely torrential, constant rain causing floods country wide and making every one very miserable. There were dark grey clouds for six consecutive days. This week, it has been mostly snow, rain, sleet, some rain, some snow, more rain. Today is thankfully a bit drier. It’s a long weekend this weekend, I do have to work tomorrow but have a half day. I will be visiting the plot come hell or high water (likelihood of high water is great). Or even snow. At least I have these bad boys to keep me warm.

The warmest mittens in existence (possibly)

The warmest mittens in existence (possibly)

For those of you wondering about my title, “Fliuch” is gaelic for wet. And yes, it rhymes with the F word.

Dot Com

Yesterday was a pretty important day, not only was it my birthday but it was also the first anniversary of the day I received my allotment. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already! I’ve come a long way from that first day I set foot on the plot. I’ve learned so much in the first year. I’m less concerned with having an unrealisticly beautiful plot and far more interested in the quality of my soil, the crop rotation and growing healthy organic vegetables; which is a good thing because my plot is a mess!

This time last year however it was far more of a mess, I was just beginning to dig, there were no raised beds, no fencing, no shed, no pathways, just weeds. It’s amazing just how much the plot has changed and continues to change, it is in itself organic, always evolving and it continues to surprise me.

nat00_weatherThe weather was quite nice this time last year, it was dull but mild, I was able to go out every day and do some work. This year it’s entirely different. Today we have blizzards! The wind is freezing and gale force and it’s bringing snow with it. I do love snow though, it might be cold and brings everything to a standstill but it’s beautiful. According to Met Eireann it’s set to continue for the next few days so there’ll be no gardening for me.

I had a really lovely birthday, I went out for some drinks on Saturday and had a lovely quiet day on Sunday. I was very spoiled and I even received some gardening gifts. If you look up in the address bar of the browser, I now have my own domain name, so my blog address is now www.fionagrowsfood.com

I also received a lovely old Encyclopedia of Gardening from a friend, it’s a lovely book with beautiful illustrations. My parents bought me a potting shed kit complete with dibbers, line marker and a paper potter for making my own pots (blog post on this to follow in the coming days). Needless to say I’m very spoiled (and that’s not mentioning all the dvd’s, make up, chocolates, video games and clothes).

DSC_0533DSC_0534_Bob

Next weekend is Paddy’s Day so I’ll have three days off, think I know where I’ll be spending them, I just hope it stops snowing.