Well almost another week over and lots of different things have happened. A lady who was a guest here with a group from Colorado nearly two years ago has returned to help us on the farm for the next few weeks. With her job ending in the States she wanted to do something different and made contact with us. It is great having the extra help and she has so far helped with gardening, cooking, ironing and in between has been horse-riding, out to a book launch, with us to friends for a sing-song (she actually played the fiddle which surprised us all). She is writing her own blog "Ballaghboy and Beyond" and says she loves being with the animals and the great outdoors and fresh air. As she was born in Mexico she is cooking for us tonight spicy Mexican food. After dressing the log cabin this morning for new arrivals we hopped down to the local farmers market for our organic vegetables and fish. We had a ramble around Boyle Town and showed Jane the library. A local artist, Elena Brennan, makes handmade silver and gold jewellery, and I am a big fan. She has just launched her latest collection "Farmyard Friends". Her pendants, earrings, rings and brooches are all designed on fun farm animals, cows, horses and sheep. We have a limited number of them here at the farm for our guests to see. Elena was commissioned last month to make cufflinks for President Barack Obama and a pendant for his wife Michelle. I am always amazed at the amount of local talent here in our area. The lovely Claire Roche was at the farmer's market this morning playing the harp, the sun was shining and life as always here is just great.
Delighted to have been approached by local artist, Mike Wood, who having sensed something magical in our setting here in Co Sligo, has designed a set of Art Courses which he feels would inspire art lovers of all levels. With a range of interesting course titles, Mike will be coming along for one day courses and also for 3 day residential courses. Have you ever wanted to draw or paint but never had the opportunity? Maybe you want to perfect a certain technique? Whatever your passion for art, Mike would love to help you develop it. Come along for some fun, good food and "you" time.
Well, what fun we had here yesterday. Laura Stephenson's cookery workshop went really well and everyone took away a lot of knowledge, great tips and recipes and 12 gorgeous cupcakes with hand made edible decorations. After a very hands on morning we broke for a sandwich lunch in our conservatory, overlooking Lough Arrow. Lots of banter with the other ladies, one of whom had driven up from Kilkenny especially for the cookery workshop. We all agreed at the end of the day we could go forward with confidence in bringing cupcakes to the table whether it be for a dinner party, confirmation, birthday, even wedding. Next workshop Sunday 11th June, now fully booked, but there will be more later on in the year. See Ballaghboy Lodge Farm on Facebook for the photos.
As my daughter, Claire, predicted the moment the Leaving Cert exams begin the weather would be amazing and yes here we are today, 72 degrees, wall to wall sunshine, sun cream out, shades on and although Ireland is not all about good weather when the sun shines here it has to be the best place in the world to be.
Well we have certainly had some windy weather, Monday saw the worst of it, some of our trees came down during the day and many in the forestry on the perimeter of our land fell like dominos. I found a beautiful chaffinch on our deck yesterday morning, totally disorientated following the storm. We popped him into a small unoccupied dovecot for the day and am pleased to say he has flown away, so must have made a full recovery. A lovely family from Pensylvania are leaving today. They tried the new Zip It high wire adventure in the Lough Key Forest Park yesterday and were full of it when they returned home. Well, we have certainly been busy here at the farm these past couple of weeks and have met some wonderful people.
It is truly wonderful to see children at ease with our animals. We have a lovely young family here from Skerries on the East Coast of Ireland, close to Dublin City. After almost a week here their young children spend most of the time outside with the animals and are totally comfortable with them and pet them with such respect, even given their young years. To watch their expressions and total adoration of God's creatures is simply magical.
Wow, what a change in the weather, very blustery and damp. New guests in a log cabin here for the week to explore the great outdoors so hopefully the weather will improve. We have baby swallows nesting in our back porch. Nearly had the fright of my life earlier when I went to walk the dogs and the Mummy swallow flew right into me. Just going through my favourite Rachel Allen cookery books and putting together a special menu for a ladies' dinner party booked in here on Saturday evening, really looking forward to that, should be great craic. Lots of interesting emails this morning from potentially new guests hoping to spend some time at the Funny Farm. Must go and eat Eddie's beautifully prepared omelette on home made bread, chat later.
Just back from walking the dogs through our broadleaf forestry planted a couple of years ago. Amazing to see how fast everything is growing and waving in the light morning breeze. Unfortunately the wild deer also love our forestry and our fruit trees have taken a bit of a hit. It's going to be another busy weekend, we are hosting a Stations mass at the farm tomorrow for our friends and neighbours, then we have more guests arriving, could never be accused of being bored here. Enjoy your weekend, it's going to be a good one!
So another Bank Holiday and more great weather. Lots of time spent outdoors in the gardens. Very noticeable how there are lots of visitors to the area, drove through Carrick on Shannon yesterday evening and there were so many more cruisers berthed along the riverside, and people eating outside the hotels and cafes, very cosmopolitan and colourful. More work on our pond today, getting ready for new guests to arrive and busy preparing for cookery workshop organised for 4th/5th June. If you have never visited this part of the world this is a wonderful time of year in Ireland - Christy Moore played in Boyle Town on Friday night and lots of festivals being organised for throughout the Summer.
Well what a wonderful weekend Easter proved to be, of course enhanced by the gorgeous weather. All our girls were home, ranging from 29 to 12. Our already great activity centre in Lough Key Forest Park opened a new activity, the Zip It high wire experience. Needless to say the girls gave it a go and said it was amazing. How lucky are we to have the first Zip It in Ireland right on our doorstep to compliment the already unique Boda Borg experience and tree top walk? I have never seen Lough Key so busy as this past weekend, there was a great buzz around town too, the Farmers Market was alive with a solo singer/guitarist and the usual selection of great locally produced organic food and local crafts. Next weekend the market reaches it's 6th anniversary and what an asset it is to Boyle Town. We then headed off to Strandhill beach as the weather was fantastic. Our family and guests were booked in for a surfing lesson. Sea conditions were quite rough and the surf high and some 2.5 hours later they all emerged back from the beach thoroughly exhausted but also exhilarated. I got some great photos in between a creamy pint of Guinness on the sea front whilst enjoying some of the most stunning scenery. It was great to see the different nationalities visiting County Sligo and enjoying all that this area has to offer.