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You are here: Croan Cottage Blog » Newsletters » Blog article: Newsletter Summer 2005

Newsletter Summer 2005

Just a very quick update to our May news to let you know that May
our Large Black Sow gave birth to 8 healthy piglets between 12:30
am and 8:30 am on Thursday morning 16th June. Mother and piglets are
doing well. The midwives (us) are still shattered!

May news

We were fortunate to have a mild Winter in which we had the great
pleasure of seeing Croan blanketed with snow for the first time, albeit
very briefly. The Spring has been, for the most part, mild and temperate,
with some spells of heavy rain. The result has been lush growth all
around, including a spectacular display of daffodils. The citrus green
young leaves have begun to appear on the old lime trees on the drive
and Castle Morres Woods at the end of the road are now carpeted with
bluebells. The bluetits have begun nesting in the garage and the swallows
returned to Croan on April 17th, a sure sign that Summer's on its

Easter is always a favourite time of year. The appearance of primroses
in the hedgerows remind us that Winter is retreating and the emergence
of the first young nettle shoots are perfect for brewing our delicious
nettle beer. This year, we successfully hatched out our first batch
of chicks. Eight tiny balls of fluff have become eight cheeky hens.
The strange thing is that they avoid their parents in favour of hanging
out with the pigs!

Easter was also the time when we adopted our first lamb. Dilly, an
Isle de France ewe lamb, who was abandoned by her mother in her first
days and needed quite a bit of attention. We're still bottle feeding,
but it's very rewarding to see how much weight and strength she's
gained. She's still tiny, but we're hopeful she'll continue to thrive.

weeks ago, Doris came to join Dilly and together they make up
the beginning of the Croan flock of breeding ewes. She's quite
a bit more robust and cheeky than Dilly. Doris is a Suffolk
cross and has lovely black patches on her face and fleece.


April is also the time of year for our Geese to begin laying. While
the gander is a little more cranky than usual, it's a sign that he's
protecting the nests which our three geese are diligently minding.
We hope to have a couple of new goslings in a couple of weeks.

Our Large Black sow, May, is again in pig and we're expecting her
second litter in mid-June. So far, she seems to be enjoying an easy
pregnancy in which she sleeps for most of the day, until it's time
for her medicinal bottle of Guinness of course!

In March, the first phase of our building projects
got underway and Croan now boasts a fabulous new boules court.
It's far superior to the surface on which we'd been playing
beforehand and has already seen fierce competition.

Restoration work on Croan's walled garden has also begun. The foundations
for the missing wall have been dug, the first course of stone is in
place and the plans for the greenhouse are progressing well.

Several visits to the National Library of Ireland have been fruitful
in obtaining histories of gardening for this area and appropriate
plans for reclaiming our garden. We've learned that the famous garden
designer James Frasier worked in this area in the early 19th century
and produced the plans for the pleasure grounds, parkland and walled
gardens in the Castle Morres estate which adjoins Croan.

We've also been talking to a former Gardener of the Mount Juliet
Estate who's provided a wealth of information and gardening lore.
Though it's unlikely our garden will be ready in time to produce fruit
and vegetables this year, we're very excited about its potential for
future seasons.

We are however building up stocks of the plants with which we will
fill the garden. We have made dozens of Box cuttings over the last
year and now have a large number of soft and tree fruits living in
temporary beds waiting to be moved to their permanent quarters.

Additions at Croan

Our family of animals continues to grow here at
Croan. Two months ago, we acquired three Guinea Fowl (one cock
and two hens) who form a very distinctive addition to the Croan


We've also introduced two Peacocks who, for the moment, must
remain confined in a run until they become familiar with their
new surroundings. We hope this will cure them of their wanderlust.
Only this evening, a neighbour arrived home from a week's
holiday to find Pierre sitting on his roof!



We've felt for a while that Bella might like a playmate,
particularly one who might enjoy playing 'stick' as much as
she does, so last week, we collected eight week old Molly
from the local rescue centre. So far, Bella seems to be impervious
to Molly's cuteness, but we're hoping her jealousy will be
short-lived. For her part, Molly has taken to 'stick' like
a true natural!


Our other livestock charges are doing well, Daisy and Bill the goats
continue to help us in our battle against ivy and brambles in the
hedgerows and June, our second Large Black Sow, is very much enjoying
the fact that she's more nimble than her heavily pregnant mother.


We have recently begun offering our guests a range of meal options
to enjoy in their cottages. After all, a stay at Croan is always a
relaxing break and for some that means a break from the kitchen too.
The dishes on offer include such classics such as Irish stew as well
as other popular favourites.

We're looking forward to a busy season, welcoming back old friends
and meeting many new ones. Be sure to keep checking our website www.CroanCottages.com
for further updates as our walled garden renovation proceeds.

Have a great summer,

Niamh, Francis, Bella and Molly.

Croan Cottages,


Co. Kilkenny

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