Animals

Hello, Monday Morning

 

We kicked off spring with a marathon weekend in the garden. Weeded, tidied, ground cover on, stones moved, some seeds planted.

Johnny and the boys finished removing the creig from one of the new tunnel beds; loads of work but we get needed depth and stones to use elsewhere in the garden.

My hands are sore from wild blackberry thorns, fingernails look unrecognizable, whole body is aching, and pulled a muscle in my bum from a running slip while racing the rain to get laundry off the line, but feeling accomplished and happy, happy! 

Have a wonderful Monday everyone, Melissa Xx

p.s. Daisy duck was no help at all, only poking her head up to see was I bringing her food or something like that, but we love her no matter.

 

On the Cusp of Spring

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Through the open gate and into the garden.

If there’s one thing that makes it evident there’s a seasonal transition going on, it’s got to be the recent mud. A couple wet days and the heavy soil makes for clumpy boots, sticky shovels, soupy paths and a pigsty chicken run. It definitely reminds me of the spring thaw back in Maine.

Hearing one’s wellies squish squash while walking, brings awareness to the quiet cusp of winter-spring. No whirring lawn trimmers and zooming tour buses polluting the air with their constant background noise.

Quiet, but not silence for the birdsong in the background is pleasant and welcome and so uplifting that I felt a literal spring in my step, quite the opposite from that of having the bottom of my feet suctioned into the earthy mud. Continue reading

H5N8, Because Numbers Are Great In A Title But Bird Flu Virus Is Not

Day twelve and last night’s rain has made the chicken run very muddy. We locked both the chickens and ducks in on January 13 after Ireland’s second case of bird flu was confirmed in Galway.

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“H5N8 is the cause of recent outbreaks of bird flu in the UK and across continental Europe and is highly contagious among birds although it poses a low risk to humans” from an online RTE news report.

The law regarding free range backyard poultry keeping is that all birds in premises located within 3km of an infected bird would be required, by law, to be kept indoors. So we don’t have to keep them contained, we just aren’t sure that they’re not at risk if we don’t. Continual reassessment and watching how the flu progresses is what we’re doing. If you’d like to have ‘All your questions answered on ‘Bird Flu’‘ then here’s somewhere to start.

I’ll update on the state of the flu, as well as the state of the poultry run.

Melissa Xx

 

An Awkward Rescue

When asked what type of goats we keep we answer as best we know by saying ‘island goats’. They’re wild and hardy and prefer to roam the day in whichever large field they’re currently stone wall fenced into. Whatever the weather, they sleep outside under the evening sky with their herd of a half dozen or so. While they’re far from constrained, there’s a tendency for them to go through periods of rebellion where day after day for a week or so Johnny spends hours searching for which direction they’ve headed off to explore. It’s often not as easy to find them as one might think, especially if they decide to lie down and take a nap under a high wall. The children and I have helped their dad look plenty of times and there’s no doubt we’ve walked right past them on more than one occasion.

On this day, a month old kid had gone missing. After a second search within the same day, Johnny found him at last. Having fallen four feet down between a narrow crack in the stones, the goat was a huge challenge to rescue. What else would Johnny do but try and try again until at last successfully looping a noose around his neck and lifting him to safety? As if he would have been able to focus on anything other than helping save Hop’s life. Wild they may be, but they’re each named and cared for as best as possible.

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A very scared baby Hop and an awkward rescue for Johnny.

No doubt, Hop learned a valuable lesson about keeping an eye on where he’s bouncing about in his playfulness. Considering that these cracks are a common part of their terrain, it’s a wonder that this doesn’t happen more often. Gratefully, it’s a rare occurrence though.

Taking part in in the One A Week Photo Challenge with my ‘awkward’photograph. Next week’s word is ‘gate’. Have an idea? Join in!

Cheers, Melissa Xx

Puss in Pants

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Greta makings use of the lower half of last year’s scarecrow. Have a fabulous Thursday everyone. 🙂

Almost Home

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The Straw Island lighthouse in the background is a sure sign of nearly being home.

Dolphins swimming in the wake behind the ferry as it motored into Kilronan Harbour were an unexpected surprise for everyone travelling to the island last evening. Though not an unprecedented sight, it’s far from a common one, and even if it were, how could it not inspire the marvelous feelings of wonder and delight?

For a split second I had the thought to jump overboard and join the dolphins. I am not insane, so therefore I didn’t, but swimming in the sea surrounding the island brings me much comfort. I’ve said over and over, no matter what time of year or how cold it is, I’ve never regretted getting in for a swim. And I always take time to just float, amazed how I’m completely and effortlessly supported by the ocean while conscious of my relaxed muscles, relieved tensions, and a silence that imaginably could only be duplicated through deafness.

I hope everyone has a sense of what that’s like– being utterly unable to be anywhere except for the moment one is in.  That feeling came over me and caused me to pause while taking these photographs. I put down the camera and just stared at the actual visual reality.

I’m certain that this magical encounter was just the beginning of a memory making island adventure for most who were watching. That said, for me it was a reminder of home sweet home. I hardly needed another prompt– returning home after being away often feels like the highlight of the trip, back to my husband and children, animals and garden, work and friends, routine and familiarity.

My photography isn’t good enough to express the adjectives I was feeling and these pictures don’t speak a thousand words or even a small fraction of that, but still, I couldn’t resist sharing them and, in the process, reliving the moment for myself.

Happy weekend everyone!

Melissa Xx

It’s a Good Day to Have a Good Day

Every day won’t be the best ever, but there’s a best part to each and every day.  It may not be what you hope or expect.  In fact, better on these less than best (hard) days to stop expecting and instead wait with optimistic anticipation for the completely unexpected joys that appear out of seemingly nowhere from unlikely people, places, and things.

If there’s something ostensibly big keeping you from your joy, focus your attention on something small.  There are little miracles everywhere in nature just waiting to distract us from our thoughts of ourselves and our worries…

💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛 Continue reading

In the Merry Month of May

 

As the end of May approaches it’s time to share what’s been going on around here.  The weather has been simply amazing, much too wonderful to stay indoors.

Johnny and Adrien made new window boxes, designed to fit perfectly inside the window ledge.  There’s more space for soil which should retain moisture much better.  They dry out quickly, often needing watering twice a day so I’ll also add some recycled plastic bottles for a water drip system to each box.

Another item off the Amazon wish list!  A weather vane is now adorning the roof of our chicken coop.  Nuala and Tadhg worked very well together assembling it for me.

Despite the very young man at the home and garden store telling me tires couldn’t be painted and thinking I was a bit of an eccentric, I purchased six colours of outdoor paint to transform the tire planters and I’ve been chipping away at the 42 tires over the last two days.  The students will be planting out their pumpkins in a few weeks, one plant per tire.  Cornflower, borage, and nasturtium are growing in the soil between the tires and the stone walls.  Sorry, no photo of finished tires, yet!  A work in progress…

We’re collecting pallets that will become a fence around the pumpkin area that will double as vertical flower planters and a much-needed wind block shelter for the plants.

Some lovely things around the flower gardens and farm.  Can you see the slug’s pneumostome/breathing hole?   I loved the photo of Nuala drawing her world, then saw it on the video at the end…life through a child’s eye!

I’ll leave you with a few shots from inside the tunnel.  I swear most of these plants have grown significantly in the three to seven days since the pictures were taken.  The apple tree was potted up since and the lettuce has really shot up in size.

Enjoy the last days of the merry month of May, Melissa Xx

A Late Arrival

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invite oviparous friends

to just lay around

 

Dragons lay eggs.  Thankfully.  That little fact was helpful to know when trying to harmoniously combine Ronovan’s haiku words ‘dragon & invite’  this last week into my photo/haiku combo.

I had a bit of fun with the photo word ‘layer’ as it’s an accurate description of our chickens– they’re all very good egg layers.  And when they’re not laying eggs they like just laying around, particularly in the holes that they scratch for themselves.

I had this post nearly ready to go last week but then my son became ill.  He is fine now; not his appendix.  Another thing to be grateful for, this one more meaningful than the bit of trivia I shared above.

One of the disadvantages to living on an island is that a trip to the mainland hospital isn’t uncommon if there’s any uncertainty as to what’s ailing one.  The flip side to that coin is that we have constant access to competent and caring medical professionals here.  

More often than not, when we find ourselves in the hospital we arrive back home knowing only that the cause of discomfort or condition is not life threatening or serious.   This, after a night or two in the hospital because, after all, if there’s a chance it could be life threatening or serious, they can’t be sending us back to the island.  Always relieved to be sent home eventually, but puzzled that no definitive diagnosis is made.   Maybe this is par for the course with children?  Anyhoo, happy to toss my overdue haiku/photo into the mix. 

Melissa Xx

p.s. Go here to see how other’s interpreted the photo word and to the comments of this post to see what other’s wrote for their haiku.

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