Home management tip

Katherine O’Leary

There are candles and there are other items that are called candles, but the latter are just nice ornaments and useless for light. They are better known as mood candles. Scented candles do exactly that, giving off a pleasant scent. The recent threats of power cuts during the winter prompted a reader to get in touch with sound advice. Every household should have a few substantial candles at the ready in the event of a power cut. They should be stored in a container that keeps them together and always in the same place. Have a box of matches or a lighter with them. Never put a candle directly on to a surface. Keep a few old saucers or plates for that. If you can, have a few torches with new batteries ready. These are much safer than candles for moving about. Most farmers have rechargeable torches for calving and lambing. It is a good idea to re-charge them periodically for emergencies.

Growing wild

with Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc countryside management specialist

Herb Robert.

Look out for Herb Robert, still flowering into November. It has five pink petals containing lighter pink lines, with orange antlers and deeply divided leaves. Resembling geraniums, common pot plants in many farmhouses, herb robert belongs to the cranesbill family whose fruit have long pointed ‘beaks’ like a crane’s bill. When it dries out, the sound of seeds being catapulted up to six metres away, can be heard. The bright red stems with prominent swollen joints were used as a cure for red water in cattle. Known as crub dearg in Waterford, herb robert is part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Rural Rhymes

Just an echo

By Harry Leahy

One wild wave crashed out on the rocks

in a distant ocean far away,

I heard its roar but the fruit it bore

was no more than just a salty spray,

then I saw them gulls that wheeled above’

as sunlight glanced off their supple wings

with a trick so slight as to steal the sun’s light,

same chance that we catch them wild west winds.

From a field of toil long left behind

that had tasted the sweat of our work and play

came a gentle Summer breeze to steal

the fragrance of flowers and the new felled hay,

then that sweet one called my name again

and I heard it more than once or twice,

that call from the sweetest soul of them all

was alas just an echo of our mother’s voice.

Picture of the week

Machinery mad: 21-month-old Noah O Dea from Co Laois loves the machinery section of the Farmers Journal and reads it first thing on a Thursday.

Tweet of the week

Quote of the week

Restoring my house [in Galway] was a beautiful process. I suppose people are nervous that these types of properties can be a money pit – but, like, they’re also an amazing adventure.

The Summerage

Number of the week: 5

The number of steps you should take NOW to plan for your unexpected death

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