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You are here: Croan Cottage Blog » Newsletters » Blog article: Newsletter June 2014

Newsletter June 2014

We’re taking a break from making hay (while the sun shines) to fill you in on happenings at Croan this early Summer.

Early June is a favourite time of year here as the strawberries begin to ripen. They’re sweet, juicy and very, very plentiful. They’re the quintessential taste of sunshine. We’ve taken our first crop of fresh peas and beans, but they’re so tasty we haven’t even managed to get them into a pot to cook them. There’s simply nothing like going into the garden to pick your dinner.

At this point, we’ve planted out most of the seedlings we raised under glass: courgettes to enjoy young and tender; squashes for early autumn and we’re growing Giant Pumpkins again this year to carve for Hallowe’en. Brassicas are sown under netting to keep away the greedy pigeons. Carrots are slow to start this year, but will hopefully catch up. Radishes and beetroot will soon be ready for picking. Onions and garlic have overwintered to improve their flavour. Our red gooseberries are beginning to take on some colour and the first orchard fruits are beginning to develop. For the first time, we’re giving sweetcorn and sweet potatoes a try and will report on progress, hopefully along with some new recipes. The almond and walnut trees we planted in the Autumn look set to bear their first crop. We’re also acquired a mulberry tree and are trying to figure out where it should go. Please email suggestions!
The greenhouse continues to provide salad leaves and tender herbs and our tomatoes and cucumbers are gaining height . The vine and fig growth has been phenomenal and the first bunches are beginning to appear. Maybe there will be a Chateau Croan vintage to uncork in the future!

We’ve planted some new hydrangeas around the flower beds for colour and planted up the gateway with nasturtiums to complement the roses (and our salad bowls). There are some new varieties of lavender and rosemary around the boules court which smell amazing. The latest activities addition has been a dual purpose outdoor table which can comfortably seat about 20 for an outdoor meal and is conveniently the exact dimensions of a table tennis table. We’ve ordered a custom, detachable net and look forward to fierce competition this Summer.

After the loss of our peacock at the hands of a fox last year, we’ve finally sourced a replacement cock and hen. Pierre the Second is a magnificent bird and he and his hen, Emily, are settling in well, gradually becoming accustomed to their new surroundings and us. Mammy Hen has hatched out three more little chicks and is busy teaching them to scratch and peck. Our little black piglets who arrived in Spring are both cheeky and clever. They took no time to figure out the electric fence and its limits. Bo the cow is heavily pregnant and we’re looking forward to a new calf in late July.

Our wild rabbit population continues to grow exponentially and given that 6 rabbits eat as much grass as one sheep, it seems like there’s an enormous flock trimming the lawn. Our resident moorhen has hatched out a new clutch and given the amount of frogspawn in the pond in Spring, the frog population should be very healthy this year. We have a chaffinch fighting a turf war with a wagtail on the drive, which inspired us to compile a list of all the wild birds you can see at Croan. Check it out here: http://www.croancottages.com/blog/374/things-to-do-kilkenny/bird-spotting-in-kilkenny/

May was the month of hen parties at Croan. We met such great groups of girls whose activities included canoeing, crazy golf, afternoon tea and bodhran lessons in the sunshine. We wish all our brides a great day and long and happy married lives.

Summer is the best time of year for festivals. From smaller local festivals like the Callan Abhainn Ri Arts and Culture Festival in later June to the Kells Family Cycle weekend in late August to the internationally renowned Kilkenny Arts Festival from August 9th, we’re spoiled for choice this year. The Globe Theatre return to The spectacular Castle Yard for an outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing as part of the festival and is a truly great night out.

For those planning a visit to Kilkenny this Summer (and we do have some limited availability), check out this beautiful and FREE book to download which describes the fascinating history of Kilkenny. The book is aimed at students, but will help any visitor explore the built heritage of Kilkenny city.

Trails and walks, which are listed in the book take the visitor through the streetscapes, churches, local maps, photographs and personal accounts of the people of Kilkenny.


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