Christmas at Bumblebee Farm


Posted on: 1st December, 2015

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: West Cork People

‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’. I must confess we love Christmas here at Bumblebee farm. Because it’s a busy season for us we are into the swing of it earlier than most and by now are decorated and fully festive. The smell of pine cones, seasonal foliage, orange and cinnamon have been getting us in the mood for weeks. Almost all the prep is done – crates of wired cones, bunched twigs and cinnamon, dehydrated orange and apple slices and divine hydrangeas all ready to be assembled.

Hypericum cream is at the ready, as it’s the only thing that keeps my hands working; holly looks amazing but boy it hurts.

We lost another tunnel in the last run of storms but everything happens for a reason and I feel this is the ‘kick’ I need to implement the changes here on the farm. ‘There’s never an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good’ even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. We have to cut our losses for now but New Year and new beginnings to come.

The first flowers are appearing on the paper whites – I can smell them already – Amaryllis buds appearing, hellebores flowering, well especially Argutifolius – Christmas is definitely on its way; for me these are the seasonal beauties, easy to grow and long-lasting if left in their pots as opposed to using merely as a cut flower.

Amelia bless her was a bit unlucky and only managed to hatch one chick successfully but she’s a mum now and thoroughly enjoying it – but with sixteen hens two cockerels and eight to still be decided it’s enough.

Ringing the seasonal changes in our bird life brings large flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings in abundance. I love watching them, they have a very deliberate flight pattern, not as majestic as starling murmurings but impressive none-the-less. Our goldfinches are back again in numbers enjoying the knapweed and teasel seeds.

Our latest delight has to be regular visits from our smallest bird the Goldcrest, it’s a joy going out my kitchen door to a veritable chorus of these little darlings. I’m easily pleased really.

Strimming over the snowdrops and early spring bulbs still has to be done, but a must to really be able to enjoy these winter beauties. I do love seeing the bare bones of the garden in winter; it shows the bits of wisteria I missed with summer pruning but the nicer bits are the contorted willows and hazel that really come into their own at this time of year. This will be the last outside work for this year unless we have a storm disaster. I have to compartmentalise the workload for now and concentrate on indoor festive work.

Please do let some ‘mess’, as it can be a lifeline to small mammals and invertebrates, seedheads and gone over flowers can look very striking in winter sunshine, cobwebs are like living sculptures in early mornings with frost still on them, there is still so much beauty in the garden at this time of year – you just need to look at it a little differently, you’ll be surprised with what you may find.

I hope you have been enjoying the ‘Stetson&Stilettos’ series –by the time you are reading this, the Wicked Weddings episode it will have aired, so we hope you got to see it and enjoyed it. It will be on BBC later – when we know the date we will let you know. We loved doing all edible wedding flowers for the Bridal party and reception, honestly every single flower was edible. We are unable to attend any of our seasonal markets this year, as our order books are already full, it’s a wonderful complaint but we do apologise to those of you that would ordinarily have seen us there.

With that I will sign off and from all of us here on the farm we wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at or text at 086/0476124.
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