Mar 2009 – Painting the Cottages
March has been a busy month spent painting the cottages. We’ve always loved the colours used in Portmeirion in Wales and the vibrant traditional country cottages here in Ireland, so we decided on pink for the Croft, pale primrose for the Gallery and kiwi green for our cottage. The yellow we tried first, called Magella, turned out orange and after two coats we decided we really couldn’t live with it, so we re-painted in pale primrose. We were so pleased to finish it felt like we had spent the whole month darting in and out between the showers to add another coat. We also painted the garden furniture and the rose arch around the Croft in white. I always think white looks beautiful in a garden. The local painter kindly painted the chimneys for us. He walked along the ridge of the roof between the chimneys like a high wire act. He explained that he had painted the Fastnet lighthouse, so our cottage was hardly a challenge.
The carpenter was also in, refitting the kitchen in the Croft for us. He built the original kitchen and although it was finished beautifully in a traditional style it never really functioned properly with modern appliances. The new design works much better and we were able to reuse much of the old kitchen in our cottage as a room divider. It looks as though it has always been there. Sometimes I get a spooky feeling that our cottage is making us put it back to how it was years ago.
My biggest homesteading achievement this month has been to give up the tumble drier. Its not been as hard as I thought it would be. I’ve just had to be a bit more aware of the weather and plan – in fact my washing has never been so organised. I really have no excuse for not using the washing line, as the back of the cottage faces southwest where all the weather comes from. So if its fine at Mizen Head, 50km away I know its time to put the washing out.
Garden wise David spent a week sclarating the lawn in preparation for the wild flower meadow, accompanied by his four willing helpers!. The vegetable patch has been neglected this month, although I did plant the potatoes during St. Patrick’s Day week – my annual deadline. The beginning of this month saw us fulfilling our aim to plant nut trees. We had a huge pile of rocks that we had dug up from beside our driveway. One of our neighbours said that the rocks had come from an old stone outhouse that was demolished many years ago. So we did a bit of dry stone walling and built a stone circle at the entrance to the drive. We’ve mulched the centre, but we haven’t decided what to plant inside it yet, maybe lavender to attract the bees. Anyway around it we’ve planted six hazel nut trees about 5 ft tall, which should provide us with hazel nuts in about 6 years. Behind these we’ve planted 2 ft high bare root wild hazel to use for coppicing in the future.
The old folk law says that if March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb and it certainly did this year!