Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This is the girl in Claddagh traditional dress (in the style of my earlier "My Slant" assignment, from last year Connemara girl etc) , I started this on Saturday night, and part of my leaf collecting on Sunday was for the leaf printing around the door, it makes such a beautiful effect and is easy to do. I'm still undecided if it's finished so I'm going to give it a couple of days on the wall and see what it says....

I hung up some of the Plantain and Meadow sweet along with some Mint, on Sunday night from our sitting room curtain rail to dry! That corner smells amazing!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I love Autumn its definitely my favourite time of year, because the way the landscape changes and the trees leave lots for you to collect not to mention the festival of Samhain/Halloween. I went for a beautiful walk today near the village we live in now and found a beautiful bohereen full of my favourites like meadow sweet, ferns,plantain, haws and rose hips and sprays of snow berries along the hedgerows ( unfortunately I forgot my camera) I also encountered hens and sheep, cattle and ponies and beautiful coniferous trees as well as deciduous ones like oak, ash, hawthorn,sycamores,holly and Ivy. I think I will really miss this if I have to move to the city next year, but I suppose I will have good reasons to move there too and there is always a road back.
Meadow sweet (pictured above in green jug with creamy white flowers) is a beautiful plant and makes a beautiful tea, that smells and tastes like sweet almonds from the flowers. It has salicylic acid which is the same found in the bark of the willow, and is used in the making of aspirin!
Young leaves can be chopped up and used to flavour soups. Dried leaves have been used to introduce aromatic aromas to wines, as well as to mead (the drink of the Celts)
The young leaves and flowers infused together in tea, is claimed to ease a common cold, soothe inflammatory problems and calm stomach complaints.
You will find it growing in wet, damp woods and meadows, marshes and along side streams and ditches. Other names include Bridewort,( for its traditional use at weddings) Maids of the Meadow, and Meadwort!

For my mams birthday my sister and I covered her bedroom wall with butterfly cut-outs we found in the art and hobby shop, I tried to get more but they had none left so using the stencils shapes (from the last packet) we made more paper -cut butterflies to decorate the hall, using fancy patterned paper from the art and hobby shop!
Gouche, Acrylic, on Brown Cardboard boxes, twig nest, air drying clay birdy and paper cut out mobile : All folk art motifs from Europe. Will add close and more info up soon :)

Falco columbarius  

(Pen, Gouche,Acrylic on A2 Brown Paper)
Status: Local summer visitor to uplands throughout Ireland. Widespread winter visitor at lowland sites from October to April.
Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland due to its small breeding population. The European population is considered to be Secure.
Identification: A bird of prey (raptor) with a short hooked bill. A smallest species of falcon, similar to Peregrine in shape, with relatively narrow wings and a medium length tail. Nimble in flight, will pursue its prey for extended periods. Fleeing prey, for example Meadow Pipits, will occasionally associate with humans to avoid Merlin's which are in close pursuit. Males and females have different plumage's. Adult males have blue-grey upper-parts with a wide dark band on the end of the tail and dark outer wing feathers, the underparts are finely barred; the chest is orangey yellow. Females are brown-grey above with a number of dark thick bands on its tail, the underparts are finely barred. Both sexes show a faint moustachial strip. Juvenile birds are very similar to females.
Call: Silent except in the area of its nesting site. A series of sharp accelerating notes.
Diet: Small birds, such as Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. Prey is caught by surprise attack from a low gliding flight close to the ground, by persistence pursuit or from a vertical dive.
Breeding: A rare breeding bird in Ireland. Nests on the ground on moorland, mountain and blanket bog. Also nests in woodland and has taken to nesting in forestry plantations adjacent to moorland. More Merlins are found in the west of the country but they are scattered across the midlands and the Wicklow Mountains also hold good numbers.
Wintering: Much more widely distributed in the winter, than in the breeding season. Merlins move away from high ground at this time of the year and can often be seen on the coast, where concentrations of other birds are attractive as prey species.
Where to see: A difficult species to see. Most birdwatchers will see them over wetlands in the winter months whilst looking at waders and wildfowl. Hill-walkers also stand a chance of spotting them during the breeding season
Monitored by: Countryside Bird Survey