Growing wild

with Dr Catherine Keena

Teagasc countryside management specialist

Look out for rushes, which are being used this week in many schools to make St. Brigid’s crosses. St. Brigid was said to make a cross from rushes while explaining the passion of Christ. Soft rush is most widespread and is recognised by the dense tuft of brown flowers coming from the side of dark green tubular stems growing in tussocks. Stems contain continuous white pith when split open. Associated with poorly drained soil, rush infestations can develop quickly from the vast numbers of seeds living dormant in soils for long periods. Known also as geataire, soft rush is part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Quote of the week

"An important recommendation is that the legislature bring in laws in relation to the enforceability of prenuptial agreements in Ireland so that people can plan and have greater autonomy and certainty over their own life and their farm."

Rural Rhymes

Dawn at St. Bridget’s

By Trevor Johnston

It is early morn.

Cuckoo spittle on the grass.

I stand outside

The stout wooden doors

And caress the soft patina

Of the grain.

The resin sticks to me

Like a bad memory.

I stand patiently.

I have waited

Outside many doors

In my life.

Some have opened

To my desires.

Others have not.

But unless you knock,

You will not get in.

Many have travelled

Through those sacred

St Bridget doors

In varicose stages

Of life.

In infancy we are carried

Through that hallowed arch.

Later we may link

Matrimonial arms.

Or wander in uncertainly

To confess a wrong.

Alas they will also

Witness our final

Journey to the sod

What trip are you making


Home Management Tip

by Katherine O’Leary

This is one of the most tried and tested ways for cleaning the inside glass of a wood burner.

Always allow the stove to cool before cleaning the glass. Clean out the ashes and reserve the pure ash for cleaning.

All you need are some sheets of old newspaper, those leftover wood ashes you saved, a cloth and a bowl of warm soapy water.

Please note, this method isn’t advised with coal ashes, as there might be hard particles left in the mix that can damage the glass.

Here is what you do:

  • Use a soft cloth to wipe the inside of the stove glass down with some soapy water. You might be able to cut through some of the soot build up here alone if you use some elbow grease!
  • Next, scrunch the newspaper up into balls. This is what you will use to scrub the glass with.
  • Take your newspaper ball and dip into the water, then the bowl of old wood ashes.
  • Using your newspaper ball dipped in wood ash, gently scrub the stove glass in circular motions. Once you are done, simply wipe away the residue with a clean cloth and your wood burner glass should be looking much clearer!
  • Note: If the stove glass is very black, it probably means that you are not burning the timber hot enough or the timber might be a bit damp. When the timber is wet, it produces black smoke that stains the glass.

    Pic of the week

    Gillian Earle from Gorey, Co Wexford who wrote ‘Jess my sheepdog out checking the field’s on the frosty cold morning’

    Number of the week

    64: The number of lengths in a 25 meter pool in one mile. See Living Life “Swim for a Mile”.

    Online pic of the week

    Maria Moynihan chats to Offaly-based embroidery artist Lyndsey Farrell of Ask

    Me Hoop.