walnut and radish leaf pesto

I’d been spending the last few weeks waiting for my radishes to mature when suddenly the thought hit me
‘Dave, you don’t actually like radishes do you?

Also I had planted them very thickly which meant that few had matured. So what was I to do?

Try making some radish pesto, that’s what.

I took about 50g of walnuts from the cupboard and toasted them,whizzed that with half a clove of garlic (I’ve gone off garlic a bit this week after a bout of sickness last week), blitzed that with about 35g of radish leaf, added some extra virgin olive oil in a stream to get a nice consistency, stirred in some Parmesan-esque Sainsbury Basics cheese, a bit of lemon juice and salt and pepper for seasoning.

I had it with pasta and it didn’t taste as bad as I first feared. It was definitely better than eating the radish itself.

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st seamus and the house martins

The continuing weekend of  small time misery continues,
still in the midst of it all a moment of grace supplied by the birds,
a swirling flock of house martins flying behind the house,
darting and arrowing over the Lagan and trees.
Most days I mightn’t even notice,
maybe nobody else noticed or even cared as it’s not a big deal
but it was there out the window.

It reminded me of one of my favourite Seamus Heaney poems, St Francis and the Birds…

St Francis and The Birds

When Francis preached love to the birds
They listened, fluttered, throttled up
Into the blue like a flock of words

Released for fun from his holy lips.
Then wheeled back, whirred about his head,
Pirouetted on brothers’ capes.

Danced on the wing, for sheer joy played
And sang, like images took flight.
Which was the best poem Francis made,

His argument true, his tone light.

considering the bullfinch


I was having an afternoon when I was feeling real low, things where getting me down, looking out the study window when I notice a whirr of wings by the window box of violas and pansies and a female bullfinch appears in our yard, a moment of grace because I have never noticed a bullfinch in our yard before. What was weird about this bullfinch was that I was just about to head up to the post office to post a book I had sold to a lady in the US, a book of Irish birds with a little hand doodled card of a bullfinch in the tree on the Lagan towpath, the only other time I had spotted one round these parts.So I doodled another picture of the bullfinch standing on a bottle of Magners/Bulmer, resting from eating Helen’s pansies and violas. This might seem strange but sometimes I think God sends birds as gentle reminders of things.

winter salad/slug fortress


I’m trying to grow some winter salad for the first time so yesterday afternoon in almost perfect gardening conditions (not hot, not cold, not windy) I filled pots with compost and went sowing winter purslane, corn Salad, Bergamo lettuce and rocket.

I reckon I might have left it too late but we’ll see how we get on. Sure its only an experiment.

Flat leaf parsley (pictured above) and  Tom Thumb lettuce are happy at the moment after a summer in which neither rocket or lettuce wanted to grow.

A combination of extreme  disorganistion from yours truly, crap compost and of course the resident slug population who appeared only to happy to eat my seedlings contributed to this lack of salad production.  Slugs have already taken out my first sowing of winter purslane with deadly precision, an attack I knew would come but still made no effort to prevent.

Its time to face facts. I want  to grow as much produce at home as I can yet I don’t have the inclination to fight slugs. So what am I to do?

I think the trick will be to have the plants where no slug can reach. Slugs can’t fly so it will have to be up some type of tower that they can’t reach. Also slugs don’t like copper so perhaps that could be used in the battle of the slug. Slugs don’t like sharp, pointy things so it will be on something they don’t like crawling over.

Its time to construct an anti slug fortress…

some of us are lying between two pebble dashed cliffs but….

3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings [c]
and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:

7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!