Our Little Bit of Heaven


Veggie still life

We have always had bats in the attic… my father spent a lot of his time calculating the possibility of [volume + weight of bat poo = ceiling collapsing in on top of us] (in the same way that he calculated how many guests would be at our wedding at home, approximation of how much they would eat, and as a result of calculations, three days before the wedding decided to dig out a new septic tank)

Our early memories are of bats flying in windows at dusk or once when my mother found one attached to clothes that had come in from the washing line, and nearly lost her life at thesight of the “mouse” attached to her sheets! So on Thursday last, we spent the day cooking with our organic vegetables from Beechlawn Farm, here in Ballinasloe (http://www.beechlawnfarm.org/) in anticipation of our “Bat-ty” friends getting together here before our Bat-Detection Walk.

Menu: (another three) Banana and chocolate breads, soda bread, vegetable soup and bacon and mushroom pasta (carbonara-like-delicious-obsessive-and-compulsive-food), pots and pots of tea, and the piece de resistance (However do you add those French dashes over the e??): non-alcoholic mulled wine- well….: mulled spiced fruit drink, might be more correct, a la (definitely need to figure out how to add the dashes) my friend Meabh- very fragrant and warming!

I put approx 1 litre of orange, apple and cranberry juice into my slow cooker, about 20 organic cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 vanilla pod, 3 spoons of sugar, half a grated nutmeg (and chucked in 2 small halves that were too small to be grated anymore without grating my fingers-eeeww!!!!), turned it to “High” and let it cook all day.
By the evening it was (a funny colour, granted, but,) very aromatic and delicious- just the thing before we went out tramping around old laneways and forests with bat detectors in our hands, and listening to the wonderful Pat, the BatMan. The children had a ball, with torches in the dark, listening for hoots (owls) and clicks (bats) and anything else that dared make a sound. Truly a night to remember- thank you Pat and Tara!


Then Friday, after a cold autumn start, warmed up to feel like the last dash of summer, and we went down the boreen to the river…

PICT0004                                                  (after a few hot scones we were on our way…)
PICT0066                                                     …Through this beautifully crafted iron gate beside our house…….
                                               …the name of the iron-monger is etched into the metal- how many years ago?….
PICT0008… and they are off!…..
                                                            Julia (90) remembers crossing this stile to get to the well
                                                                 No chance of seeing the deer with this noisy lot!!
our destination in sight…wondering would we meet Ness who lives on the other side of the bridge, up through the fields
                                        This bridge is pretty ancient, a bit bocky in places, but does the job beautifully!
                                                                    our little-est man first to transverse the bridge!
PICT0051                  check out those lichens!!! Super-pure air down here (apart from the methane gas (from the cows, not us))
Caught a little frog to have a look then watched him hop away (much to the sadness of our boys who had dreamed of keeping a pet frog)
The last of the blackberries-not as sweet this year with all the rain we had earlier in the month, but aren’t the leaves such a beautiful colour?
PICT0064         The methane-gas offenders…
And back home to some lovely dinner and to ponder whatever will I make with all these limes??