01 February, 2010

barrage of photos!

you know you love it... ;-) Let's play a little "catch up", shall we?

When we first got to our cottage, V insisted on carrying me across the thresh hold. A romantic thought, really- but... really? I mean, no offense, sweeting, but i weigh more than you do. He told me that was nonsense and carried me across anyway. Yay for good luck.
This is the front of our lovely little home. 
I love the timeworn stones and all the secrets they hold. Like this one:

It's a piece of old rusted wire, strung through a shell, and wrapped around a marble that hangs stuck into the stones by our front door.
I never would have noticed it had i not accidentally touched it as i was outside. I think it's quite cute! And who knows? Maybe it's hung there for a year or even ten, but it definitely adds a little bit of personality to our fair cottage.

It rained the entire first week of our arrival. I'm not surprised. It's Ireland. But when it clears off, it is amazing. You can see the milky way galaxy on a clear night. We were fortunate enough to have a clear night shortly after our arrival (and it's been mostly clear all week!) so we launched a paper lantern into the sky for additional good fortune (click to enlarge).
Here, V is holding the lantern as it fills with heat, then floats up, Up, and AWAY!

We went to Lismore to visit V's friend and business partner at their art gallery to talk business, and to walk around the town. It was a beautifully foggy day. I have never seen so much fog and for all day in my life! It was so great! Driving conditions were not great... in fact, it was scary on these tiny turny, curvy roads!!
outside of Lismore Castle, Ireland.

We walked around a local church and enjoyed reading the headstones, finding ones that dated back to the early 1800s.
The fog was so dense, that when the sun was setting, you could actually look at it!
The next day, we visited Cork. It was a rainy day but after living near Seattle so long- i'm already used to it. I dont even carry an umbrella if it's just drizzling.
I love how there's a beautiful old church at the end of all the more modern buildings.

I've got it in my head that i'm going to start spinning my own yarn from wool (and whatever else i can get my hands on). So i've been researching information on how to do it and what to do with the wool once i've got it... I had put it out of my mind for a little while because in my research, i had found that spinning wheels are expensive and a drop spindle requires money... haha. My wonderful husband surprised me with this!

It's an Asford spinning wheel from New Zealand, in perfect working order and in beautiful condition. It was exactly the right price for us, and we only had to drive to Limerick to pick it up. Amazing! Honestly? i couldn't believe my husband could be so wonderful. There are a million things on his mind right now and he still thought about me and still went out and found something for me... even though it's not exactly on our list of things we need. Even though he works full time and comes home to work on the cottage he STILL wanted me to have something nice that i want, and went the extra mile to make sure i have it. Really?! Could i really be this lucky? The answer, ladies and gentlemen, is yes. I am lucky enough to have a caring husband who loves to love me. *sigh*
When we met the people who had the spinning wheel, the lady explained that it still has all its original manuals and showed them to me, then presented me with a basket. What is in the basket, you ask? Why a drop spindle, hand carders, a niddy noddy, and a lazy kate! That's what! All the things i thought we would have to save for and accumulate over some time were handed to me in a basket.
Needless to say, i can't wait to get started! All i need to do is figure out how to wash the wool... because it's gross and smells like sheep. haha!

We got oil finally! YAAAY!!! It was kinda a fun experience, watching the big truck back into the driveway between the ancient buildings on the property. He did great! Later, V had to figure out how to bleed the air out of our burner so we could actually GET warm. Hahaha! Fortunately a friend of his has the exact same burner so V learned how to do it easily. In case you ever need to know how to bleed a Reillo Firebird 90 burner... here's a photo we found extremely helpful (click to enlarge):

I am so happy that we both like to cook. Our kitchen is small, so cooking together is hard, especially since i like my space when i cook (and since he works hard to bring the bacon i'd feel bad if when he came home, i made him cook it too haha) We have made many yummy things in our time here in Ireland. Can you believe it's almost been a month? So far, our meals have all been home made. The Meal Calendar has been working really well and has saved lots of money as well as lots of spoiled food!
I accidentally misread a recipe (or two) and we purchased lots and lots of sour cream. I had to think quick and make something that included sour cream before it all went bad! These Sour Cream Cookies definitely fit the bill. *recipes at the bottom* 
 I made Amazing Baked Penne that fed both of us for at least 3 meals. Probably could have even gone for four, had i served anything with it. I also made chicken lettuce wraps, but had a hard time finding water chestnuts in Ireland, so i added some peas for substance, and served it with some white rice to make it last a little longer. Both were good additions! Last night, my wonderful husband volunteered to make vegetarian stir fry, and it was absolutely fantastic.

Yesterday was a beautiful day in the land of Ire... it started with me looking out our bedroom window and finding frost on some pretty ivy:
V and i decided to go for a walk to enjoy the day that God had given us, so we went to Corrin Hill in Fermoy (which is heavy with history, here is some if you'd like to read it *click here*), which is right next to where we live in Rathcormac. It was a lovely little hike and we got to see some amazing light as the sun began its decent.
Here, my handsome husband waves to me as we're getting into the car to go to the hill.

Cute little Rathcormac...

At the summit of Corrin Hill is a large cross, looking over Fermoy. At night, it is lit for the town to see.

The view of Blackwater Valley from the top. Hello Ireland. :)

beautiful light. I couldn't resist.

On our way down and back to reality.
 When we returned home, we were greeted by this cute little bird just outside our cottage door:
V and i spent the rest of the day really just enjoying each other's company. We worked on our puzzle:
and here is V cleaning the ash from the fireplace. He is so handsome. i just couldn't resist snapping this photo:
The weekends always seem too short. They fly by before we even notice! I suppose the good in it, is that we really look forward to spending all that time together as one week ends and another begins.

Sour Cream Cookies Recipe

3/4 cup butter

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup sugar or cinnamon sugar

pecan halves


Cream butter and sugar until light and smooth. Add egg; beat until fluffy. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir sifted dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Chill for 1 to 2 hours.

Place small balls of dough onto greased baking sheet. Grease bottom of a glass then dip in sugar or cinnamon sugar. Press each ball of cookie dough into a thin circle with sugared bottom of glass. Press a pecan half into the top of each cookie. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove to racks to cool.

Amazing Baked Penne

1 pound dry penne pasta

1 onion, chopped

1 pound lean ground beef

2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce

6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced

1 1/2 cups sour cream

6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.

2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the penne, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining penne, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.


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