Well this is awkward…

Kilmegan is a civil parish in County DownNorthern Ireland. It is situated in the historic baronies of Iveagh Upper, Lower HalfKinelarty and Lecale Upper.[1]

Above taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilmegan.

I’ve thought for ages about how ( and even whether) to start this blog, but I guess the only way is to jump in and start.

So basically, and in no real order: cars, farming, ditch building, welding, technology, family, nature, days out, music and probably a lot more is what this site is for. If even one person, somewhere likes what they see, well that’ll be job done for me.

By way of apology, most if not all of the images used will come via my LG G4 camera, and while its really not bad as camera phones go, its no DSLR.

blue sky

“on the turn”

One of the nefarious downsides of getting older is the inability to lift your head and take stock, or live in the moment. My father is the same (and so too I suspect was his father). It comes, I believe, from a desire to get on and get things done, whatever they may be. This means that when the alleged Irish summer begins to take its leave, and the days start to shorten, the oft-heard lament is “where has the year gone?”

Consequently, after a period of a few weeks of (on the whole) fairly decent weather, rain has made a return and made my ditch building progress stutter a little.

Having taken a few days off with my son before school holidays ended, I’ve been taking him camping, days on Newcastle and Murlough beach and a day at the http://www.taytopark.ie/ theme park in Co Meath. Aside from that and gaining a promotion in work, its been a busy, but fairly typical couple of weeks for me.

 

Scoop has a persistent and increasingly serious oil leak from his offside rear stabiliser ram ( jack leg) that will require attention soon. Likely knackered seals. Other than that he’s been a faithful workhorse, given his longevity.

Being a typical bloke, I enjoy a beer, although the past number of years Ive found myself enjoying numerous craft beers from the local area.  I know the image of such is a bit pretentious, but honestly as I get older, I want to enjoy what I drink, and I like trying new things. As an aside to this, I’m extremely fond of trying new ciders, two of note are  kilmegan cider and Orchard Thieves the former crafted less than 2 miles from where I type this. The latter, while not really local  (marketed and based in Co Cork, apples from all over the place really), its been cleverly marketed to give a rural Irish appeal (in my opinion anyway). Even if cider isn’t your thing, I’d advise giving them a go, Kilmegan being the stronger, more mature taste, and obviously being from the locale, I’d plump for it anyway 🙂

**/disclaimer – I’m not promoting either, unless they want to send me several cases each, for detailed evaluation //disclaimer.orchard thieves

The back 40…

Blessed as NI has been with fairly decent weather through July, after work I was to be found topping up my farmers tan and further exacerbating a golfers elbow injury. 1 month ago I wasn’t even aware of the condition until I started to develop sporadic, nagging pain around my funny bone. First and foremost I ain’t no golfer.

And while the condition it appears can be best resolved with regular icing and rest, I found regular icing to be the only option. Suffice to say when the weather is good and you spend 40+ hours a week in an air-conditioned office, the chance to work outdoors and get the satisfaction of building something you know will be around long after you have croaked it, is quite a lure. I also find it to be a great way to switch off my hyperactive brain.

The below was a gate opening I widened and rebuilt, adding a concrete gate post.

big piles of stones

A number of months ago, I applied for a www.daera-ni.gov.uk  EFS grant for the repair of double skin  stone ditches on my fathers farm

Happy enough that it was granted and approved, I soon realised the enormity of the task. Stone ditches are used extensively in Ireland, due to their longevity and availability of raw material ( bloody stones everywhere). Nowadays a lot of farmers simply remove or bury the ditches completely to enlarge or change the layout of a field.

Being both laborious and extremely time consuming, not many people want to be bothered building or repairing stone ditches these days.  The art of stone masonry is dwindling, and those craftsmen ( for thats what I consider them) who are about certainly don’t come cheap. The benefits are multiple though. Protection and a habitat for many local wildlife species, long-lasting ( if constructed and kept in shape), offers good protection to keep livestock in check, as well as just being nice to look at.

so other the next few weeks and months, my blog will be dotted with various updates and copious photos of my progress to attempt to turn 110 metres of this:

2017-06-05 11.46.53

Into something like this:

2017-07-25 18.42.16

I’ll forgive your eye-rolling and sighing, if you look at these photos and can’t appreciate the effort that went into turning before into after, my explanation will mean nothing to you. A 30-year old JCB 3C, long-tail shovels, crowbars, potato graips and plenty of back-breaking work as well as foul language fit only for a field half a mile away from the nearest source of habitation.

More updates to follow.