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Our 2016 Calendar

For the second year we’ve produced a calendar.  This year we’ve got lots of photographs included in the calendar that haven’t been published elsewhere.

We think you’ll like it.

There are photographs taken here at Oldfarm during the year, but we’ve also included some of the neighbourhood.

Oldfarm Calendar 2016

Oldfarm Calendar 2016

If you’d like to order one – it’s easy – just click here.

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We’ve had some sunny days this week and Polonius took full advantage.

Polonius, our boar, enjoying the sunshine

Polonius, our boar, enjoying the sunshine



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Friday photo

The view from where I'm sitting right now

The view from where I’m sitting right now

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And not just for dinner… for all meals.  I mean dressing the table for meals.

I know, you’ll all think I’m crazy.  I know my neighbours do.  I just like to have the table looking nice for all meals.

Curry night

Curry night


I don’t mean, all formal, with the linen tablecloth and napkins… that I will do for special occasions, and was why I wanted a house with a diningroom.

For everyday eating in the kitchen, I do, however, like nice place settings and serving bowls.  Even when eating al fresco or having a picnic….. it needs to look nice.

There is a saying that ‘we eat with our eyes’.  If that’s the case not only should the food look good, but the way it is presented needs to please us too.


Even if it is just the two of us sitting down to eat, the table must be set properly with the right cutlery, and the correct drinking glasses …. and candles, of course. Yes, I will have the fish knives and forks, the dinner knives and forks, the dessert cutlery, the white wine and red wine glasses.

Nice serving bowls, the correct cutlery and the right drinking glasses are important.

Am I the only one who thinks like this?

I’m often told I’m creating wash-up!!!!  But hey, we have a dishwasher.

And maybe I am creating work, but if you’ve got the nice things why not use them? I don’t usually put what I classify as the ‘good’ drinking glasses in the dishwasher but I came across this product recently…. glass protector.  Now I want to get hold of this and give it a shot. I love their explanations for the ‘cloudy’ look…. think we can blame hard water.

Nor do I put the ‘good’ serving bowls in the dishwasher so there is always an element of hand-washing involved.

Maybe you all think I’m crazy?  Am I?  Do you dress your table for dinner?


Disclaimer:  Finish.ie sent me some of their products to try.



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Just had to share this with you all…. take a look at the labour of love that has gone into this project.


It is 20 years since I last visited this large island in the Rosses, West Donegal

Aran Mór cottage

Situated next door to Owey Island it has about 500 full-time residents, serviced by two car ferries in regular daily crossings

granite boulder wall

What remains of the old wall system are the bouldery granite kind

But the uninhabited northern shore is treachery itself – with cliffs of 120 meters   

cliffs north Aran Mór

A harsh outpost, the lighthouse dates from 1798 – only gulls and sheep left here.

Aran Mór lighthouse

cliffs Aran Mór

Here we find a pristine bog – worked with exactitude and respect – with sods carefully replaced after turf has been extracted.

Upon enquiry, we are told that the man responsible is known as ‘Donnelly’


A rigorous man who, we are told, has also built a mysterious structure high upon a hill above his bog. 

We set to investigate & after a steep climb reach a beautifully crafted road.


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DIY in an old house is never done!  If you’re ever tempted to buy a ‘doer upper’ be aware of this.

Before Christmas, having celebrated our 11th year in this house in October, I finally got the hallway painted.  I was determined to keep the DIY momentum going and was excited to be trying out the much read about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

My first project for 2015 was re-covering and re-painting our ‘dining room’ chairs. In fact the chairs had originally been our kitchen chairs, but had got a new lease of life in the dining room some years back. They were desperately in need of a face-lift.

Renovating chairs

Renovating chairs

They are just your average melamine chairs, but everything I read said Annie Sloan Chalk Paint was the way to go.    As luck would have it a local shop stocked the infamous paint and a colour was chosen, a pot of paint and wax was bought.  (At the time of buying the paint I wasn’t aware that there were other chalk paint brands!).

Has anyone else used this paint?

The first thing I noticed about it, is that it has a different ‘move’ to it.  There is almost a hesitancy to it as you apply it, but as you work away at it you get used to a different move.  Two coats of paint were applied, and I was mightily impressed with the transformation.

Next it was apply the coating of wax.  To be perfectly honest, I was kind of disappointed initially on applying the wax, it looked messy.  I was advised to give it time and it will ‘settle’.  And it did, and the wax does give the finished product a nicer feel.  Yes, chalk paint, feels like chalk and powdery to touch.

Then it was time to head off to Athlone to find the fabric for the seats.

Fabric was purchased, and thank you so much to Daili Perez (who was visiting at the time) for the help with the re-upholstering.

I’m pleased with the outcome.  Six nice clean, new looking chairs for under €70 🙂

A brand new chair :)

A brand new chair 🙂

Now that I have the bug, I’m looking at other things in the house that could do with a brush up!!!!


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You just gotta love the fact that this cheese is wrapped in lard!!!

Do any Irish cheeses do this?

Fromage Homage

Happy New Year everyone! Okay, I realise I’m a bit on the late side for that but I’ve been so busy lazing about, scoffing festive cheese, that this poor old blog has been a bit neglected. But here I am, pushing away the tumbleweeds and blowing off the cobwebs, ready to start the year afresh. And what better way to leap back into action than with a great big bear of a cheese?

Most cheeses on this blog I forage for but I was lucky enough to be sent this week’s Fromage Friday. I received it a week before Christmas, then my parents arrived and my dad took a serious fancy to it, along with the Other Half who hasn’t stop guzzling it. Or indeed myself. But the cheese lives on. It’s like the tardis of cheeses. So here it is (and I must apologise to any cheese pros for…

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Regular readers will have seen the Friday Photo I posted showing the calendar that we had printed this year.  However, I thought I’d share the ‘story’ behind the calendar.

2015 Oldfarm Calendar

2015 Oldfarm Calendar

One should always share the ‘story’ don’t you think?

My sisters are quite arty….. well able to put pen or brush to paper and produce something.  My Mum discovered the artist within her on retirement and produced some lovely paintings.  Me?  No good at all!

While I loved dressmaking and used to even design and create my own patterns, I could not draw at ALL.  I attended dress-designing classes at one point and used to drive the teacher mad.  I could describe what I expected to achieve but give her no idea visually on it!  But, hey, I could make the pattern – that was just a mathematics exercise – I’m a nerd!

Over the years, I’ve had cameras.  And on occasions produced good snapshots. And then came digital photography….. I found my ‘artistic nirvana’.

I love it.  I’d be happy to go off with the camera every single day.  (Can I win the lottery so I can do this, please!)

Now, I know my photographs aren’t all great.  I’m still learning.  People have often said to me ‘that’s a great shot’, but I’m looking at it and seeing how I could have done better….. I have been well tutored by Suzanna at Zwartbles Ireland.  Go do a day course with her if you get the opportunity…. it will not be wasted…. you will learn so much.

Sometimes though I do knock myself out with the occasional stunning shot.

And so we come to the calendar.

Who hasn’t looked at something/anything and said, sure I could do that myself, or in fact, I’d do better.  Well I was like this and probably driving Alfie mad! Although, to be fair, he’d often say to me…. your photographs are way better than those.

When I won a copy of Catherine at Foxglove Lane’s book (and cards) and read about her venture into self-publishing, it inspired me and kind of instilled a bit of bravery into me.  And, I said, yes, I am going to give it a shot.

The calendar is my little foray into self-publishing.  Not all the photographs included have been taken by me.  Alfie has taken a few.  We’ve been blown away by the number of compliments we’ve received, and by the number of people who’ve purchased a copy.  In fact, we’ve had to do a second print run!

Copies have gone to all corners of the country, and to all corners of the world.  We hope you enjoy the photographs over the coming year which are mostly of moments of life here at Oldfarm.

2015 Oldfarm Calendar

2015 Oldfarm Calendar

Thank you so much for the encouragement!

There are still a few left which can be purchased via our website – www.oldfarm.ie

Happy New Year 🙂


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Aaaw sure aren’t all piglets our heros 🙂

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Folks, I got invited on my first ever bloggers trip last month.  Needless to say, I was excited and delighted to accept the invitation.

Now before you all think I was whisked off to an exotic beach…. you could be right.  However, the truth is I was invited to attend the Taste of Carlow event, which was even better than a day at the beach.

Yes, another Midlands county that kind of gets by-passed by all the tours and tour operators.  It is a fate that befalls pretty much all the Midland counties of Ireland. Tourists land in Shannon, or Dublin, and off they go…. all around the coast.  Now I am not saying that our coastline isn’t wonderful…. in fact, I think the Wild Atlantic Way is a wonderful initiative, and I just love some of the promotional stuff…. but could we maybe have a Meander the Magical Midlands initiative?

(I just thought that up now…. it isn’t half bad…. should I patent it?)

Anyway back to my trip to Carlow.

We were blessed with a beautiful day.  I had an early start, out of here at 8 a.m., leaving Alfie in charge of our AirBnB guests – Martha and Emmet – who were very understanding of my rude early departure.

Our bloggers day consisted of history, scenery, food (lots of it), gardens… really a mix of everything…. something to suit all tastes.

We did so much I could be posting forever…. but let me tell you about my highlights… which are in no particular order.

Our Carlow Guide :

Bianka of Carlow Tours

Bianka of Carlow Tours


Bianka of Carlow Tours….. what a treasure.  She told us so much about each place we visited, and had such interesting snippets to share, to make the stories more real.  Seriously, if you are heading to Carlow make sure to book a tour with Bianka.

Historical Carlow :

I just loved Duckett’s Grove Castle.  The Castle suddenly seems to appear before you, with a magnificent drive up to it.  We walked around the Castle and Gardens, and, of course, stopped at The Tea Rooms for tea and the most delicious scones ever.

Duckett's Grove Castle

Duckett’s Grove Castle

Browneshill Dolmen…. now how on earth did they arrange those stones without modern day lifting equipment?

Browneshill Dolmen

Huntington Castle…. this place is totally amazing!  We had a quick ramble around the beautiful gardens, walked along the Yew Walk, before doing the tour of the Castle.  We were also shown some of the more private rooms…. believe me this is an amazing family home.  Then, of course, it was time to stop for more tea…. this time in the magnificent courtyard.

Huntington Castle - Yew Walk


Loved the colours and vibrancy of these flowers on display from The Flowerfield at Huntington Castle.

The Flowerfield display

Scenic Carlow:

A little detour was arranged to take us to Mount Leinster.  In typical Irish weather fashion, having had glorious sunshine all day as soon as we got to the top the rain came down…. but we could still all imagine the magnificent views.

The rain came down :(

The rain came down 😦

Taste of Carlow:

What can I say about the food we had throughout the day?  There were those delicious scones at Duckett’s Grove, the magnificent picnic lunch arranged for us by Carlow Farmers Market, the treats bought at the market, the trip to Malone’s Fruit Farm where I was completely taken by the Smoked Garlic, sips of Elderflower Champagne and Sloe Gin from Mary of Blackstairs Eco Trails – there was a danger that Lisa of Isle Magazine and myself might have stayed there for the afternoon! The day culminated in an absolutely delicious meal at The Step House in Borris where Chef Alan Foley truly pulled out all stops.  My personal favourites of our tasting menu?  The Salmon, the pork and the duck were so so good.

Dinner at The Step House

Dinner at The Step House


Major, major thank you to Dee and Susan from Green & Vibrant for organising such a magnificent day….. they’ve kind of thrown down the gauntlet for me to figure out a way to invite them over this side of the Midlands 🙂  And thanks must also go to fellow bloggers who made the day such an enjoyable one – Lorna (Irish Farmerette), David (Beyond the Wild Garden), and Sophia and Lisa from Isle Magazine.


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