Blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground lately, mainly because I’ve been running around like a man with his hair on fire. Our little cottage is complete, we’re just gathering up all the things that Tourism NI like you to have, and having friends and relatives test the cottage out. Claire has been hard at work making sure the garden is established, and it won’t be long before we welcome guests. Fortunately the last week or so has been incredibly warm and sunny, which always makes everything seem a little easier.


At the same time we’ve welcomed the first wwoofers of the year – first Kate from Co.Clare, and then Yann, Christelle and Dylan, from Nantes in France. It never fails to amaze me how much gets done when there is a crowd working here, and July was no exception. We took our eye off the veg garden while we worked on the cottage, and it showed.


The poppies (albeit very pretty) had overrun half the beds, choking the veg, and making the garden seem busy without actually producing a lot. On inspection the soil in the beds was somewhat devoid of life, too, but after some extreme clearing and a couple of tonnes of horse manure, we are back on track.


The polytunnels are far more productive this year, and we’ve even had our first apricots from the tree, as well as an abundant strawberry harvest. It’s looking good for raspberries and currants too.


The heap of wood from the spruce tree that we had felled in winter is all safely in the shed, paths are weeded and woodchipped, and the place just feels well tended thanks to our volunteers.


After a week of visiting relatives we’ve had ten or twelve folk on site, so never a dull moment, as we head for August, our thoughts turn to the permaculture gathering, our own Introduction to Permaculture course, and the prospect of paying guests taking up residence in Birch Cottage.