Growing wild

With Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist

Tutsan: Look out for tutsan with its last remaining blackberry-like capsules, which have transformed from their bright red colour last autumn. This low growing woody species can be up to a metre high with woody stems at the base. It is a semi-evergreen with broad oval hairless leaves with tiny translucent dots.

Found in deciduous woodlands and hedges in slightly damp areas, only a few individual plants grow in an area – never dominating. Often found with other less common species, it indicates a valuable hedge margin, which has not been sprayed or cultivated. Tutsan is the native member of St. John’s-wort family and is part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Consumer tip

Delivery dilemmas? After ordering an item for delivery, it’s expected that it will turn up at your door in good time and be fit for purpose. What happens if your eagerly awaited parcel arrives late, damaged, or not at all?

Businesses must ensure the delivery gets to you on time and that you’re getting what you paid for. The delivery should be on the date you both agreed, or within 30 days if you did not agree a date. If there’s a problem, your contract is with the business you bought from rather than the delivery/courier service. The business arranging the delivery is responsible for any damage that might occur before it gets to you. By law, you should be informed of the full extent of your delivery costs. If your order does not reach you as expected, there are actions open to you.

Your first step should be to contact the business directly. Send them a formal complaint in writing. Ask them to cancel the contract and refund you. If they do not agree to this, you may be able to get chargeback on your debit/credit card provider.

For more information, see

Picture of the week

Florrie Cairns, aged 18 months, keeping an eye on her Granny’s geese with her dog Clyde. \ Submitted by Florrie Cairns, Co Clare

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Number of the week

33% - research by the Menopause Hub found that 33% of Irish women had seriously considered quitting their jobs because of the impact that menopausal symptoms such as anxiety and depression, brain fog and insomnia had on their performance at work.

Online pick of the week

Bianca Divito.

In this week’s Meet the Maker, Grace Hanna chats to award-winning stained glass designer and conservator Bianca Divito about her bespoke creations.

Poetry corner

Calving Season By Aileen Bradfield

It’s 3am, the graveyard shift,

I pull the door unlatched behind

with the rhythmic swish of oilskinned thighs,

the wind and drizzle on my face

and wet black branches let me pass.

A shortcut through the gap I see

lit up, the looming A frame shed,

the centre of the world to me.

The latch’s heavy crank and scrape,

gives entry to the sacred light.

Instinct bids me genuflect

to mothers in their silent night

Heads turn, a quiet protective gaze,

of bovine curiosity

their movements slow on shuffled straw,

alert in their maternity

And further on a Belgian Blue

jolts his sturdy legs to rise,

ungainly stance, his outstretched neck

will nudge and butt to gain his prize

A guiding puck and low moo-call

cajoles the calf to keep alongside.

With wagging tail, he stands full square

wet smacking slurp and satisfied

I turn to that which brings me here,

tail out and pacing nervously

she exhales patience, panic, fear,

confusion at this treacherous womb.

“The crubs are out” she’s doing fine,

her dark and knowing eyes catch mine.

I know, but I can’t help you now,

the patience of the feminine

And bearing down she moans again,

feral, unnatural, guttural sound

the optimistic snout appears

flaring nostrils snot and slime

Resist the urge to interfere,

just, out of view, sit and observe,

her respite groan and gathering heave,

and muscles clinched, another surge,

And push and heave and hold and hurt,

towards end of pain and start of life

she grunts and feels the head come clear

star forehead, poised in porpoise dive.

The black ears twitch, alive, alert,

he slides to birth, his bed of straw,

the cord in quick elastic snap,

behold this night a male is born.

Read more

Meet the Maker: Bianca Divito

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