Growing Wild

With Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist

Look out for hazel ‘lambstails’ - one of the earliest flowers in spring. These are the male flowers which release pollen to the wind on warmer days. The female flowers are fewer and found lower on the tree to catch the pollen drifting downwards. Female flowers look like buds, red filaments or styles sticking out, which, if fertilised, form hazel nuts. Pollen is released before leaves appear which makes the spread of pollen easier – a cause of hay fever in spring. In the past, hazel was highly regarded for food and wood. It was classed as a ‘Noble’ of the wood and is part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Rural rhymes

The Loss of a Farmer By JP Carrigy

We lost a neighbour to a farm accident. I put these

few words together after his passing.

The tractor stands still on the side of the hill,

Cattle graze peacefully in the March evening chill.

A farmer is missing he hasn’t come home,

A family in panic, is he

somewhere injured alone?

He was raised on the farm where he learned how to play

Loved the silage and making the hay,

His time to inherit came his way, his new ideas put into play,

Working alone from dawn till dusk for many years without regret,

In his work he has wealth beyond measure, his farm and family, he has treasure beyond measure,

A man is located with injuries to his head

Emergency services arrive near the shed,

Neighbours gather with panic, and fear, from darkening skies a helicopter does suddenly appear.

Paramedics and doctors working frantically to save the man’s life,

While rumors are rife.

It’s not long ‘til helicopter and patient take to the sky,

Questions, no answers yet, how is he? why?

Farm accidents occur from the pressure of the work

sometimes we just don’t take time to think.

This farmer has now gone to his forever home

Life support switched off unable to survive on his own,

Leaving a wife and his young family to cope on their own,

with big decisions to be made, hard when you feel all alone.

Modern farming is tough trying to eek out a living

We seem to be always giving

This scheme, that scheme, deadlines to meet Farmers are always

on their feet maybe it’s time to take a break and to think,

is it worth my life, if I’m the one that breaks the link?

Picture of the week

Ayla Walsh, aged two, is pictured with a one-week-old baby goat on her grand-uncle’s farm. \ Submitted by Tony Walsh, Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford

Online pick of the week

Galway-based painter Tiffani Love.

Meet the Maker: Grace Hanna speaks with Galway-based painter Tiffani Love about how Ireland’s rural landscape inspires her.

Quote of the week

'The EU has set Ireland a target to separate and collect 77% of plastic beverage bottles by 2025. This target will rise to 90% in 2029. Currently in Ireland, only 60% of PET bottles and cans are being recycled. By implementing the DRS, the Government hopes to solve the issue of the remaining 30%. Glass bottles are not being included in the DRS because their recycling rates are already well over 80% and surpassing targets'.Consumer with Janine Kennedy.

Chefs tip

January can be dull, but this is actually my favourite time of year for an epic clear-out of the fridge, freezer and cupboards. I love taking everything out and giving it a good wipe down with hot, soapy water and reorganising my stock.

Check all of the expiry dates on your tins and sauces, clear out your freezer and take stock of what you have left, which can help with any meal planning for February.

Go through all of your baking supplies in the pantry to ensure they are well-sealed and fresh. Items like baking powder will lose their power if they’ve been sitting out for awhile, so also check the dates on those.

I have never been one for January resolutions, but an organised kitchen always sets me off in the right direction for the year ahead.

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Welcome to a week in the country

Welcome to a week in the country