Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Hoe hoe hoe

Grange Stone Circle in the Snow
Yes it is THAT time of the year, the perusing of seed cataloges, the planning of bed rotations and the doing of ....well...nothing else really. It's too wet, too cold, too bloody miserable to think of going outside treading on sodden soil and getting covered in shit for the sake of a few grey hours of low daylight. But! on the plus side the shortest day has just passed so the looking forward has begun..the pulling out and assembly of propagation mats and benches, the buying of compost and the sowing of the first chillies, sweet peas and onion seeds. On drier days the pruning of fruit trees for the coming years growth, and the inevitable moving of established plants to try and improve their performance or position in the garden.

The shortest day turned into a lovely days outing with an astronomy talk at the Great stone circle in Grange at Sunset followed by a very informative show at The Honeyfitz Theater on the constellations and the eclipses forecasted for next year. Did you know that 2015 is to have a total solar eclipse followed by a total lunar eclipse? The total solar eclipse will happen on March 20th 2015 and be visible in the morning just after 9.20am from our Irish shores. We will have to pray for clear skies that morning in order to really see it properly. Although you never look into the sun directly or for any length of time. You WILL go irretrievably blind. Not a piseog(superstition), true! So don't do it!

archaeology map of the circle
Once it got dark we went to the lake side at Lough Gur where the lads from The Shannonside Astronomy Club unloaded and set up their telescope so we could all admire the galaxy of Andromeda and various visible stars. It was an exceptionally bright night for stars, so much so that we had no problem seeing the International Space Station flying rapidly overhead with our naked eyes. At the same time the Christmas market and Santa's grotto was in full swing in the car park and visitors center so we spent some of our time trying to avoid the Santa train speeding past carrying excited children to see the great man himself.

Normally it's pitch dark at the lake, and one of the few places to be so useful for star gazing, (our evening was a little hampered by sporadic overhead lights for the market and Santa visitors). The club are going to come out to use the lake more often for public viewings so keep an eye on their Facebook page to see whats on when. They are based in Mary I in Limerick city and membership is a modest €20 for the year. Check them out here on their official web site and here on their facebook page.

What do eclipses mean for growing food? No idea as yet but I am hoping this coming years Bio-dynamic Calendar will explain the effects and what it means for sowing, transplanting etc on these unusual days.

Photos; Grange in Snow from www.thestandingstone.ie
Archaeology map from; www.voicesfromthedawn.com

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