Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jan-March 2011

Spring! The ever-increasing light of the sun warms up our house and outbuildings.

Wwoofer Work
Spring is a super busy time of year for us with our work and our home gardens, so we've had no travels or done anything too exciting lately (other than acquiring another new dog! But more about that further down).

We hosted a wwoofer in early January - Massimo is Italian and he was at the end of his 3 month wwoofing stint in Ireland. He was only here for a week, but he did a lot of hard work digging out rocks from the beds in our new polytunnel.

This is just one of many rock piles from the tunnel - where we sited the polytunnel must have been filled with stones at some point because we found plastic under the rocks. The soil here is beautifully loamy and well-drained, and with loads of aged cow manure from the farm next door we should have an excellent garden here.

Massimo also helped Bill put up a dog fence around the back yard, and he lined the bottom edge with rocks to keep Oscar from digging out.

Massimo was also a keen cyclist and he took a few trips while we was here, including one with Bill to Killaloe on the shores of Lough Derg.

Two Dogs Are Better
This is Oscar, the dog who showed up as a stray at Seed Savers before Christmas. He is a lovely dog, filled with high energy and very playful. He gets a lot of play time in the big field behind our house.

But even with exercise every morning and access to a fenced-in yard through a dog flap, Oscar was really bored and lonely during week when we were at work. His original household had five other dogs so he wasn't used to being left alone. He started showing a lot of anxiety - chewing paper and cardboard during the day and acting very clingy when we were home in the evening. Any time he did get to romp with another dog he was ecstatic and wore himself right out, so we knew that it was time to get another dog.

We waited a few weeks to see if a dog would 'show up', like they usually do when I'm thinking about getting one, but it didn't happen this time so we drove to an animal shelter in County Galway to pick out a friend for Oscar.

On the way to the animal shelter we stopped at a lovely public forest with walking trails, just a few miles north of our town.

Oscar getting worn out on the trails.

Spring anemone, one of the woodland harbingers of the season.

A majestic oak on the edge of the forest.

And heeeeeres Woody!!
So named because we were walking in the woods before we got him that day, also we both like the music of Woody Guthrie. (The staff at the shelter had named him 'Blake' but that sounded too posh and he didn't really know that name anyway.)

We did not pick him out because of his resemblance to Oscar - he just happened to be the dog we were shown when we said what kind of dog we were looking for: one that was young, high energy and ready to play all day. When she said she had the perfect dog we couldn't believe the resemblance. She put both dogs in a big outdoor pen to see if they were compatible - well, they had a blast together and we knew he was the right one.

Here they are on Woody's first night at our house - probably the first time he's ever slept in a dog bed next to a warm fire. Woody was picked up as a stray and had lived at the shelter since October.

Romping in the fields by our house.

Oscar and the first daffodils of spring.

Woody and our new polytunnel.

Wresting in the easy chair.

Tuckered out!

There are some little stone edged gardens at the house, with primroses and daffodils now in bloom.

And I put in a new perennial garden by the fence between the sheds and the veg garden.

I've been getting a lot of new bed space dug up outside. With my sedentary job Mon-Fri I am the primary earth mover on weekends, while Bill takes care of the sowing and planting.

The tunnel is filling up fast with early potatoes, broad beans (aka fava beans), peas, and salad greens.