April Mona Newsletter

_______________April Green Page____________

The Common Nettle

Well its March and things are growing greener at last! Including the nettles (Urtica Dioica). Generally regarded as a pest, the nettle grows profusely in this country, and is not fussy about its habitat. The "Warrior" plant is of course a perennial with separate male and female plants. In olden times, it was customary to gather the fresh young plants, for the "spring-time" or indeed "spring-clean"! Cook the leaves as you would spinach and eat as a vegetable. This is said to cleanse the system, aiding digestion and sweetening the breath, while providing much needed, minerals and vitamins, including iron, calcium and folic acid. Nettle soup is delicious and the recipe is included at the end of this article.

Nettle leaves can be dried and wrapped around apples, pears, root vegetables and soft cheese to preserve them. Placed under doors mats and rugs to deter pests in the summer. Nettles were also strewn amongst animal bedding to prevent infestation. As the leaves and stems are astringent. nettles are good if fused as a tea, strained and sipped, or used to help close pores. For oily skins as a toner, or as the final hair rinse to add gloss. Added to the bath, this concoction is deep cleansing and refreshing. Leaves added to salads add a zest and tangy taste. Excellent homemade wine and beer can be made from this plant and indeed this was a staple diet of the country homes in times past. The fibrous stem of the plant produces a greenish-yellow dye used in the woolen industry, and was also used in rope, cloth and paper making. An excellent homeopathic remedy is available, Urticqalin from Bioforce, from your local chemist or health shop. Always use these remedies as directed, as they are very concentrated, and always wash nettles thoroughly before use.

Nettle soup ingredients

2oz butter 2oz oatmeal 1and a half pt stock or water

Half a pint of milk 1lb of shredded nettle leaves

1 chopped onion Salt; pepper a little mace and chopped parsley


Melt butter, add oatmeal and gently fry till crisp.

Stir in stock or water and the milk; add the shredded nettle leaves and chopped onion, mace etc. Stir and bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer for a quarter to a half an hour. Liquidise and sprinkle with parsley

Keeping It Clean!

On the 4th March last, all the communities in the Tir Na Mona area took part in their annual clean-up. This involved a lot of time and effort on the part of those doing the clean-up as well as the assistance of Kildare County Council in providing skips, gloves, rubbish sacks and manpower in the guise of Philip Baxter, the Litter Warden operating in this area, and Daragh Wyer, both of whom work in the Environment Department of Kildare County Council. We would like to say a big THANK YOU to the approximately 120 people, (men, women and children from the areas of Timahoe, Coill Dubh, Staplestown and Donadea), who turned out on the bright Spring morning and toiled along the roadsides, in the ditches and hedgerows, gathering an amazing 30 tonnes of rubbish and filling the skips to the brim. There was a noticeable improvement in the appearances of the grass verges by Saturday evening. We are depending on everyone in the community to keep them that way.

All this time and effort is wasted if those doing the littering don’t change their habits and that means all of US. Litter is the responsibility of all of us and that is why we have been doing the clean-ups, but how much better it would be if the litter wasn’t there in the first place? Each of us can do our bit by:

not dropping litter, teaching our children not to drop litter and encouraging them to bring their litter home for proper disposal.

using boxes or reusable bags for our shopping rather than plastic bags supplied in the shops.

not leaving rubbish bags unsecured, especially in windy conditions.

not leaving rubbish bags out overnight when animals scavenge.

collecting and disposing of plastic bags that are used in the fields and around farms.

helping with the area clean-ups.

Once the road verges have been tidied up we can enjoy the beauty of the countryside in Spring. At this time of the year the hedgerows are blossoming with primroses, snowdrops, wood anemones, foxgloves, herb robert, dog violets, lady’s smock, buttercups and hawthorn; later on the larger plants such as elder, crab apple, dog roses and many others will flower. These plants are a pleasure for us all but please don’t pick them. Flowers in the wild can be enjoyed by all, if you pick them and bring them home you will have the pleasure of them for a short time but you are depriving others of their enjoyment.

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