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Shining Brightly

Lithuanian graveyards are bustling at this time of year, not with the dead (as some movies might suggest), but with the living. In every town, in every village, people gather in graveyards to tidy graves in preparation for All Souls’ Day (Vėlinės). Read more

Beauty In My Backyard

I’ve been sitting here quietly for so long even I’ve forgotten I’m here. I had dressed snugly for the cold October weather and warmth of the sun on my dark down coat is having a soporific effect. I’m awake but not fully aware as I gaze out from the high hide on the scene around me, patiently waiting for wildlife to appear. Read more

Nostalgia

It’s curious how seemingly ordinary and even mundane moments can bring on a flash of nostalgia. Twice a day I walk the dog around our beautiful village. I never find it boring – there are always new things to see, whether it’s the coming and going of storks, the gradual change of the seasons, the cutting of hay and other crops or the sound of a pair of hedgehogs engaged in mating calls. There are lots of animals – at least one dog in every home, cats, ducks, geese, frogs, birds – but yesterday it was this horse that caught my eye and sent me into a kink of laughter. Read more

Growing Vegetables #7: Winding Down

The first signs of autumn – the browning of the leaves and a slight chill in the air – used to herald the end of fun and relaxation and a return to the grindstone of school or college. Mind and body were refreshed from summer adventures and pockets were heavier from summer jobs. It was time again to knuckle down to some serious work. Read more

Wasting Time

I can’t believe it took until my early 40s to realise that we sleep for about one third of our lives. When this first dawned on me I was horrified – what a waste of time! I’ve been asleep for over 13 years – think of all I could have done with that time! But then I thought about how much I love my sleep. I love where my head takes me (most of the time) when I’m asleep. And I love the rejuvenation and reenergising that happens while we sleep. I awake refreshed and restored, ready to go again. Really not time wasted. Read more

Half-Sour Pickles | Rauginti Agurkai [Recipe]

There are a few condiments that I always have in my refrigerator. The first is mayonnaise – I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t need it for something, especially in summer. The other is half-sour pickles. Those tangy, crunchy pickles are so versatile, from adorning a burger to adding zing to tartar sauce. Read more

Growing Vegetables #6: Harvesting Begins

It never rains but it pours. It’s a phrase that has both literal and proverbial meanings, both of which apply to my life at the moment. After a total drought in May and just 10 days rain at start of June, the countryside was beginning to look a little parched and my vegetable beds were rock hard. Buckets of water were no longer enough – it was time to unravel my hose and do some deep watering, biceps bedamned. Read more

Pure Beauty

My first courgette (zucchini) flower of the season. Pure beauty. Read more

Growing Vegetables #5: Outside Planting & Greenhouse Update

Boy, have I been busy. Since May 1st I have been in the garden every day prepping, planting, watering, weeding and protecting this year’s selection of vegetables. I have developed shapely upper arms from carrying countless 10 litre (10 kg) buckets of water from the house to my vegetable patch. I have acquired in-depth knowledge on the burrowing habits of moles. I am tired, I am tanned and I am happy. Read more

Lovely Old Face

He’s getting older by the day. We can see it in his face. His eyes look tired and a little melancholic. Except, that is, when it’s time for a walk or when he’s presented with a juicy bone. His freckles and grey hairs have become more prominent, giving him the look of a wise old man. We can see it in his energy levels and the amount of time he spends napping. He’s nearly 100 in dog years so he’s doing well to be as fit and able as he is. But he’s slowing down. He’s well loved and contented. What a lovely old face he has. Read more

Wildflowers

Winter changed to spring overnight, like someone flipped a switch. One day it was dark and grey with a distinct chill during the day and ground frost at night. The next day the sky was clear blue and temperatures hit 22˚ C (72˚ F). It was time, finally, to get out into the garden and start planting. While I was ankle and wrist-deep in earth, life sprung up all around me. The grass grew thick and lush, heavily peppered with blazing yellow dandelions. Here and there, pockets of blue and pink flowers added colour, while large white daisies looked pure and serene against their tangled green backdrop. What a beautiful office I have. Read more

Food Word of the Day: Nacarat

This is not strictly speaking a food word – it could be used to describe anything. However, it satisfies two of my criteria – it’s a lovely-sounding word and it’s evocative. So I will leave you for the weekend with the image of a burning orange sunset being enjoyed with a delicious cocktail in hand. Read more

Food Word of the Day: Edacious

I’m seriously behind schedule today. I was out buying the remainder of my seeds, and then of course I had to plant some. And water the ones that were already planted, which involves hiking about ten 10kg buckets of water from the house to the field. After all that work, I had an edacious appetite. Read more

Food Word of the Day: Agraffe

Getting a bit technical today, but haven’t you always wondered what that thing was called?! Read more

Food Word of the Day: Muktuk

Some days I pick the words as much for how they sound as what they mean. Today is one of those days. I love the sound of the word muktuk, especially when I say it with my Dublin accent. (It becomes muhk-tuhk rather than mahk-tahk.) I’m an adventurous eater and I love to travel, so I hope to try muktuk someday. Read more

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