Picture of the Week

Give me a kiss: Áine McDonald helping out with lambs on her grandad Paul's farm in Ballyshannon, Donegal.

Rural Rhymes

From Bad to Worse

Covid was bad but now it’s worse

The virus, replaced by the Putin Curse

We survived lockdown, this last two years

But now we’re faced with a vale of fears.

The very thoughts just make me sad

We’re living in a world gone mad

Why anyone should inflict such pain

Like what’s going on in the Ukraine.

They have no choice but pack and fly

While Russian tanks bombard the sky,

World opinion is all in vain

As no mercy shown to the Ukraine.

Good living people who do no harm

Just honest toil in town and farm

We’re puzzled to know what’s Putin’s gain

From his reign of terror on the Ukraine.

From Ireland we reach a welcome hand

To help the people from that troubled land

By night and day, by bus and train

They seek refuge from the Ukraine.

We all appeal to Russia call off the fight

And allow their neighbours their natural right

We hope they’ll soon return again

To their home in a peaceful Ukraine.

- Paddy Egan, Co Longford

Katherine’s Home Management Tip

Toddlers and young children get overwhelmed with too many toys. The living room can quickly become a disaster zone. Everything gets jumbled together and children are not capable of sorting out the different toys. Their creative and organisational skills become frustrated. They need assistance. It is a good idea to keep some medium-sized sturdy boxes to sort out the toys. Put coloured stickers on the boxes so that the categories of toys such as puzzles, bricks, dolls or farm toys can be easily identified. Encourage the child to take out a box at a time. Also help them to put the toys back until they can do it themselves. These are habits that will serve them well in school and later on in life. Remove some boxes of toys and rotate them. They will be like old friends returning. That way, imaginative play is stimulated and boredom avoided. Consequently, your workload is also reduced.

Growing Wild

Keep an eye out for flowering blackthorn – with the striking contrast of white flowers on black thorny branches, before the small oval leaves appear. The flowers appear on short stalks either singularly or in pairs and contain the males and female parts. Blackthorn is early flowering and provides a valuable source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators at this early stage of the year. Blackthorn hedges appear covered in clouds of snow-white flowers. This is a good time to differentiate it from whitethorn which flowers later at the end of May after its leaves have come out. Sloes are the distinctive rich inky dark fruits of blackthorn – part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Tweet of the Week

Number of the Week

600 – the approximate number of organisations Kevin Ryan and his colleagues at Irish Bioeconomy Foundation mapped on the island of Ireland which were related to the bioeconomy.

Quote of the Week

Mark Costello on some of the horses ahead of the 2022 Randox Grand National at Aintree:

Snow Leopardess is a remarkable animal. She has had two serious injuries and actually had a foal during one of her enforced breaks from racing. She has returned to the track with an unquenchable desire for victory