Harvested Potatoes

We started harvesting our potatoes that we planted in two of our potato beds on St Patrick’s day on the first week of August. We had three potato beds in total. While the potatoes were growing in April and May we covered the potato beds with some old poly tunnel plastic each evening to prevent frost damage from the late spring frosts.

The two varieties of potatoes that we have grown in the potato beds are Purple Majesty and Sarpo Mira. They both taste very nice. The Purple majesty potatoes are the best variety I have ever tried. They have a very strong flavour.

Boxes of Purple Majesty Potatoes

Here is a dinner that I made one evening with my Purple Majesty Potatoes. It is Purple mashed potato with some salad and sausages. My dinner plate wasn’t like this before I have gotten over my limited diet problem with my autism. When I was a child I only had mashed potato on my dinner plate but It wasn’t this colour.

We also gave small bags of potatoes to some of our friends and family so they could taste them too.

During the first week of September we harvested some potatoes that we didn’t plant this year. They grew in our onion bed this year which was last years potato bed. The two varieties of potatoes that we planted last year were Maris Piper and Kerr’s Pink.

We harvested lots of onions as well as potatoes.

During the third week of October we harvested our Sarpo Mira Potatoes from our last potato bed. I don’t think that we have to buy anymore potatoes for a very long time as we have so many now.

Mushrooms that grew on top of the potato bed.

We are storing our boxes of potatoes in the dark tunnel surrounding our roundhouse because if we leave potatoes in the light they will produce chlorophyll and turn green. They wouldn’t be safe to eat then.

A Beautiful Outing at Queen Maeve’s Cairn

Yesterday I decided to go on a beautiful outing to Queen Maeve’s Cairn which is located on Knocknarea Mountain in Strandhill, Co. Sligo with my family because the weather was lovely and sunny. We parked our car at the Knocknarea Mountain Car Park. As we were climbing up Knocknarea Mountain I enjoyed looking at the view of all the beaches and scenery in Sligo. It took us about 40 minutes to reach the summit to see Queen Maeve’s Cairn. The distance of the walk was 1.2 km. I saw everything very clearly in the lovely weather. On the way down I had to walk very slowly with my camera because I didn’t want to drop it.

In this photo there is a view of Strandhill Airport and the Runway.

Queen Maeve’s Cairn is a Neolithic passage tomb that is about 55 metres wide and 10 metres high. This passage tomb was probably built between 3,200 and 3,500 BC. It is estimated to contain 30,000 tons of stone.

We were planning to go to Strandhill Beach after we have been to Knocknarea Mountain but there were a lot of people there so we decided to go to a different beach to stay safe from COVID 19. We found a beach which is located at Streamstown near Ballysadare. I enjoyed having a picnic and looking at the mountains there.

On our way back home we went on a road to the Ox Mountains to take a look at all the scenery. There was a river that we have decided to stop at to get out of the car for a bit. I took some lovely photographs of the rocks and stones at the river.

I really enjoyed our outing. It was my very first time to visit Queen Maeve’s Cairn and Streamstown Beach.

Planting spuds on Paddy’s day

On St Patrick’s day my stepdad and I have decided to plant potatoes in beds in the garden. St Patrick’s day is a very good day to plant all sorts of potatoes.

These are the purple majesty seed potatoes

These are the Sarpo Mira seed potatoes.

We planted 8 potatoes in each row about 15-20 cm apart in four rows on a bed.

We had so many potatoes so we decided to plant the rest of them on this empty bed. It took us a couple of hours to plant our potatoes.

Effects of CBD Oil on my autism

I take CBD Oil twice a day everyday to help myself to reduce stress and symptoms of my autism. CBD will help everyone to feel calmer and help their brains to function properly.

Before I discovered CBD oil I always had healthy waffles with hemp seed, flax seed and carrots everyday for breakfast. The hemp seeds in my waffles contain Omega 3. A lot of people with special needs have a limited diet and they are only limited to foods etc. flour, sugar and starchy foods such as bread and potatoes. Those foods only contain Omega 6 and don’t have any Omega 3. CBD Oil has loads more Omega 3 and other beneficial compounds than my healthy waffles.

I have eaten thousands of these waffles before taking CBD.

CBD has helped me to concentrate more instead of getting distracted often. I can now concentrate on things better etc. road crossing, photography, household jobs and cooking.

Once at a parent teacher meeting the teachers were surprised and asked “What have you done to Josie as she is a lot calmer and she can concentrate better in class.” I passed every subject in the Leaving Cert and I got very good grades. Without CBD I would have felt more stressed out and worried about the Leaving Cert. I used to get very stressed out about tests in first year so I decided to call them question lessons so I could think about it like I’m just answering questions from a piece of paper and overcome my fear of tests.

CBD has helped me to stop overthinking about things when I’m doing them. When I think about things too much I get very confused on what to do and it doesn’t work out very well. I can do so many jobs better without overthinking about them so my thoughts don’t get in the way all the time.

Before I started taking CBD I used to get upset about noises such as car engines and loud fans. Now I can go on car rides that are longer than five minutes without using noise cancelling headphones. Since my mum started college in IT Sligo I go in the car to pick her up from Sligo on Friday and drop her back to Sligo on Sunday every other weekend as she comes home on the weekends. I limit my headphone usage and music time to the way back on Friday and the way there on Sunday so that I can chat with my stepdad when only two of us are in the car. I have gotten more used to the engine noise since I have been using that idea and taking CBD.

I can take long trips in the car without using these headphones. I don’t get so agitated in the car anymore when I don’t use them.

I have learnt that it’s not very good to wear noise cancelling headphones all the time in the car. If I get too used to noise cancellation I would become over reliant on the headphones and I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere in the car without them. The car windows often fog up due to condensation in the winter time. The A/C fan has to be on speed 4 to clear the windows. I came up with a solution to do something about the loud fan noise so that I don’t get upset. I found an old pair of wired earbuds because I go to places where I don’t bring my noise cancellers sometimes. My stepbrother got me into Motörhead so I listen to that music as it’s loud enough to block out the fan noise.

My decision making has improved since taking CBD. I have gotten very good at choosing music on the CD shelf and choosing movies on the DVD shelves in the shed. I just think about what myself and my family want to listen to on the stereo or watch on our DVD projector. I chose very good Christmas presents all by myself for all my family this year. I thought about what kind of stuff everyone likes.

Before CBD I was at this shelf for over half an hour trying to choose a CD.

I have been coping very well with this COVID 19 pandemic without getting too worried and upset about it. I found lots of nice things to do during the last two long lockdowns. Without CBD this pandemic would have been very difficult for me to cope with. I would have been more agitated by all the restrictions and having to stay at home.

I think CBD should be grown on government farms and be provided for everyone. It should also be provided on prescription for everyone who wants to take it instead of buying it every time one bottle runs out.

Curious incidents in Sweden

I was born in Sweden on an island called Gotland and I moved to Ireland when I was five years old. I went back to Sweden for a few weeks almost every summer to visit relatives and my grandparents. While I was there, there were some incidents regarding my autistic behaviour. All the incidents didn’t happen in the same summer.

There were two incidents that almost happened but luckily they didn’t happen.

When I was in my granduncle’s house in Stockholm we had a meal together and I almost broke two of his lovely crystal glasses. After I said cheers I clunked two glasses very hard but luckily they didn’t break.

Once when my granduncle picked us up at the central station in the middle of Stockholm I was getting into his car, I swung the back car door open and I was very close to hitting an expensive Mercedes car. Mum had to catch the door before it hit that car.

A very big incident happened one night when I slept in my grandmothers guest room. Mum went out somewhere and my grandmother slept in the same room as myself and my sister. I was very nervous because mum wasn’t there so I said grandma grandma and I banged the wall with my feet most of the night.

Once when I went on my grandmothers computer on my own playing games and watching YouTube videos I accidently deleted some stuff that was important to my grandmother and step granddad as I couldn’t understand how to work a computer properly when I was younger. I had to be supervised next time I went on the computer.

In order to help myself improve my autistic behaviour on my holidays in Sweden I made up rules for visiting Sweden. I made a list of things that I wasn’t supposed to do such as Don’t swim where there is deep water on the beach, Don’t open any car doors in Stockholm and Don’t delete stuff when going on grandma’s computer. I also made up a star chart for when I broke those rules. There were one or more stars for each rule depending on how serious it was.

Once on the flight to Sweden I held my ears all the way as I didn’t like the plane engine noise and the ear popping sensation. Mum had to feed me a bag of crisps as I couldn’t take my fingers out of my ears.

I also enjoyed my holidays in Sweden even though those curious incidents happened. These four photos are to show that I enjoyed the summer there.

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A walk in Clogher woods

One day I have decided to take a walk in the woods in Clogher near Monasteraden village to look at the stone fort and St Attracta’s holy well.

On the way up to the stone fort I took some photographs of the textures and moss on the barks of the trees.

The stone fort is 2500 years old. The diameter is 26m and the walls are 4.3m thick. The two underground passages are called sou-terrains which were used for refuge and storage in the early iron age.

The large entrance is 1.8m wide.

This collage goes all around the stone fort. I decided to go up the steps to photograph each side around the edges.

It was very dark in the passageways so I put on my flash mode on my camera to see what is inside.

St Attracta’s holy well was where people used to get their drinking water. The lake was used to go fishing for the brown trout.

Gaining independence with autism

Now I’m doing independence training all the time because I would like to become more independent and have the ability to do stuff on my own. I am learning the important parts of independence such as road crossing, shopping, planting, cooking and doing house jobs.

Every day I plan my own day routine. I can make coffee and tea in the mornings for breakfast. After breakfast I go outside to check the mail. During the COVID 19 pandemic I wear gloves to handle the mail and I wash my hands afterwards. I decide when I want to do things each day such as playing with my cats, gaming, photography, watching movies and colouring in. I plan to take a shower on Wednesday and Sunday every week. I help out a lot with house jobs such as the washing up and gardening.

I decide what to cook for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I can cook somethings without supervision because I’m very careful with knives and the stove. I usually cook very nice meals. I don’t panic when the smoke alarm goes off and I just turn it off. I’m hoping to have an kitchen extractor fan sometime so I don’t have to deal with the smoke alarm every day. Our smoke alarm is very sensitive and it goes off all though I’m not burning anything.

A few months ago when my stepdad’s old home stereo was malfunctioning I decided to look for a new home stereo for him online. I looked at different stereos until I found the right one. It took me a couple of weeks to find the right stereo as I had to think about the components and check if they have very good sound quality. I did all that work for my stepdad to help myself with my independence training.

When we decided to get a Chinese takeaway for dinner a couple of times I wrote a list of the food that everyone wanted and I phoned the Chinese restaurant called Yu Garden in Ballaghaderreen to make the order for collection. I did that so I would be able to phone restaurants to make orders in the future.

To help myself understand the value of money I always plan a monthly budget to see how much I spend each month. I write in all the stuff that I pay for such as food, insurance, transport, Spotify and online orders.

I have recently learnt how to tie my own shoelaces by looking up a video on YouTube about tying shoelaces in an easy way. I tie my shoelaces by making two loops and crossing them over to make a knot. I find the standard way of tying shoes very complicated. For many years someone else had to tie my shoes for me.

For years I found road crossing difficult as I kept getting distracted. I’m practicing on getting better at road crossing by concentrating on what I’m doing and looking both ways for cars before I cross the road.

I still have a long way to go to become more independent but I’m working towards that.

Lockdown survival

Everyone should keep themselves occupied during lockdown. I kept myself occupied during lockdown by doing lots of adult colouring in. I used gel pens and coloured pencils called Prismacolor in adult colouring books. Here are all the coloured pages that I have completed during this time. I listened to music on our home stereo system while I was working on these pages.

A very colourful horse done in gel pens
A fox done in gel pens
A squirrel done in gel pens
A hedgehog done in prismacolor coloured pencils
A blue chest done in gel pens

I have also decided to try out Watercolour pencils made by a brand called Castle Arts. I coloured in each section of these flowers with these pencils and then I added a little bit of water on a paintbrush to get the lovely watercolour effect.

I have an electric pencil sharpener that sharpens all my pencils in a few seconds. I found it amazing when it was my very first time trying it out. This pencil sharpener sharpens pencils to a very fine point. It is much better than a manual pencil sharpener. I couldn’t have one of these sharpeners when I was younger because of the noise of them.

Work on my social skills

Difficulty with social interaction is a symptom of autism. I’m learning how to work on my social skills in many ways.

When I was younger I found my own way to help being around people and chatting to them. I made up paper figures of people from primary school by drawing them on a piece of paper and I cut them all out I made a paper bus by cutting pieces of paper into thirds to make up a bus for school trips. I drew lunchboxes beside the people with their names on them. I made the whole plan into a bus game. In the game there were days with school trips and all the children went on the bus. The children decided on whom to sit with on the bus. I put all my paper figures on the paper bus. I decided what each child was doing on the bus on the way to the destination of the school trip eg. a pet farm.

I have learnt to acknowledge personal space so that I don’t get too close to people when talking to them.

I used to feel awkward in a conversation with a group of friends and I ended up being the quiet person in the group. That happened when I went to my neighbours house one evening. I felt awkward in the group conversation and I kept reaching for my phone every five minutes. I decided to leave the group conversation when it became too difficult for me and I sat in another room with my phone. When I went to social events in the Ballaghaderreen community garden I realised that I should take part in group conversations instead of reaching for my phone. I chatted to my friends and I hardly went on my phone at all.

I can’t really socialise when I’m in headphones in a car, train or bus. The main reason for wearing headphones and listening to music is because of the engine noise. I attend adult services with the Brothers of Charity and I would like to chat to my friends more in the car. I know that the work car we have is very noisy but I have to chat to my friends anyway. Last year I went to an Advocacy conference in Waterford. The whole trip was by train. I have learnt that I can listen to music in headphones now and again on long trips instead of all the way as I have to socialise with my friends or family too on the trip.

Today we went on an outing to Killala and Easkey beaches. I listened to music in my headphones a lot on the car trip. When we got to a very nice road with mountains and views of Sligo I took off my headphones to look at the view and chat about it. When I felt uncomfortable I got upset and cried a bit over not wearing noise cancelling headphones in the car. When I calmed down I felt better and I did very well without the headphones for the rest of the way on that nice road. That was because I haven’t gone on outings in a long time due to COVID 19.

When I went to a radio course in Claremorris with my adult services I have learnt to start a conversation with the people doing the course with me on the tea and coffee breaks.

I can now go into shops on my own to shop for food and other items. I can also go into the post office on my own to post parcels. Now I have to wear a face mask in those places and work on my social distancing from people.

Learning to share my stuff

Sharing was a big difficulty with my autism. When I had to share my stuff I felt anxious, stressed out and upset. Sometimes I cried over having to share my stuff as well. I found it very difficult to share things such as my phone, my laptop, my Nintendo DS, toys, my bedroom and school supplies in my pencil case.

When I was little I didn’t like sharing my noisy toys with other kids. I loved those toys that I pressed buttons on and they made noises. When I saw other kids playing with my noisy toys I got upset and then my Dad told them to play with something else. Later on I had to learn to share my toys by starting to know that I will get them back after other kids played with them.

The main reason that I didn’t like sharing my stuff is that I was worried because I didn’t know when I would get my stuff back. Another reason I didn’t like sharing was because I was overprotective of my own stuff and that someone might take them for a very long time.

During my primary school years I didn’t like sharing my school supplies such as my sharpener, pencils, rubber, ruler and colours when my classmates needed to borrow them. I have learnt from my teachers that it is nice to share.

On some car trips I have learnt to share my games console called a Nintendo DS with my sister when her Nintendo DS ran out of charge.

When I was older I didn’t like sharing my phone and laptop with other people. When someone asked to borrow my phone or laptop I got anxious because I thought that they might look through all my stuff on those two electronic devices.

I remember an incident that involved having to share an item when we were travelling from Rosslare to Pembroke by ferry. It was around five years ago in the summer when we went on a holiday to England. My Mum’s and sister’s phones were out of battery. They needed to borrow my phone to look up directions or something else important. I wouldn’t let them use my phone. I got very upset and I cried a lot over it. It’s silly crying a lot over something like that because it’s only a phone and it doesn’t really matter. I have also learnt on the ferry that there is nothing wrong with someone else using my phone to look up important stuff when their phone is dead as long as I know them.

I have gotten much better at sharing now. I can lend my stuff to someone without getting upset and anxious about it. I let my stepdad use my hair dryer sometimes when he needs to blow dry a piece of art. I know that he is going to give it back to me when he is finished with it. I find it okay if someone uses my phone just to make a call in case their phone is dead or out of credit when I know them.

One day I let my stepsister be in my bedroom when she had to do something important on her laptop. I did very well at sharing my bedroom that time. A few years ago when someone was in my room doing something I got very upset because I thought that my room was invaded.