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Friday Photo

It is summer in Ireland….. and this is what I am looking at….

Rainy July day

Rainy July day

Friday Photo

In bloom this week in the garden…

Sunshine in the garden

Sunshine in the garden

I just had to share this wonderful image.

Yesterday, the sun shone here in Tipperary, and so we sat outside for a late breakfast.  As we did so I spotted our neighbour’s son walk through the field of cattle.  This young man must be now about 18 or 19 years old.  I’ve watched him walk the fields with his Grandad since we moved here.

I’m not going to name him, but any locals/neighbours reading will easily identify him.

Beautiful cows

Beautiful cows

He had no idea he was being watched as he walked through the cattle, stopping rubbing, patting or half hugging each animal.  He was so peaceful and calm as he walked among them, as were the animals, they never stirred, just waited their turn for a pat or a hug.

No I didn’t take photographs or a video – that I thought would have been so intrusive.  He was so at peace and at one with the animals.

If there are other young men like this guy going into farming, Irish farming, the land and animals are in good hands.

Friday Photo

Just chilling in the sunshine :) and wondering if that woman is ever going to stop taking photographs?????

The baby Muscovies are getting big

The baby Muscovies are getting big

We’ve been doing the AirBnB thing for close to 2 years now, and have really enjoyed the experience.

Sometimes though we do get asked (what we think) are weird questions, so this is some advice for anyone planning on coming to Ireland on vacation, here are our tips.

  1. Travelling Distance – forget that in the USA or in Australia you can cover vast distances on motorways/highways in a relatively fast time.  That just won’t happen here.  Yes, you can drive from Dublin to Galway via motorway in 2 hours, but once you go off the motorways you can bank on only covering 50 or so kilometres in an hour.  Anyway, you are on holiday, slow down, relax and enjoy.
  2. Roads with no names –  yes, that is a reality.  It confuses lots of visitors to our home.  We live on an un-named road.  While postal codes are to be introduced next week, that is not going to resolve the un-named road issue.  And, no, the street a block away is not named either!  We like to confuse!

    Un-named Road

    Un-named Road

  3. And more on roads – we, Irish, aren’t the best on using road numbers to direct people.  I struggle to remember the road numbers of the roads around us…. I am getting better at it.
  4. Car rental – if you plan on renting a car to tour around the country…. consider picking your car up outside of the cities or airports, it is usually cheaper.  Hop on a bus and train – enjoy the scenery – and pick your car up once your out of the hectic place that is an airport/city.
  5. Parking – this one I guess is mainly for our American visitors. Yes, it is perfectly legal to park the car on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. If you are driving on the left-hand side of the road and spot a parking slot on the right-hand side…. go for it.
  6. Tourist attractions – some of our tourist attractions are maintained and run by the Office of Public Works (OPW) – a government division.  They offer free entrance on the first Wednesday of every month.  Well worth availing of this offer to visit their sites.
  7. Rainy Season? –  that’s all year round!  Seriously though it rains here – winter and summer.  So, no, I can’t tell you that July is best time to come to avoid the rain, or that it doesn’t rain much in August.  It rains here whenever it wants to.  Bring a rain jacket with a hood.
  8. Man-hunting – again, we’ve had some single ladies come who’d welcome a chance to meet a handsome Irishman…. a top tip here is when asked ‘where are you from’? Don’t say US or Australia.  The guys have already guessed that…. be specific, i.e. Melbourne, LA, whatever…. even if it is an obscure town somewhere… you’ve got a great opening line for a chat up!

Hope this helps.  Any Irish, or indeed, non-Irish readers got any other tips to share?

Friday Photo

Roses are red……

Red Rose

Red Rose

Someone, over the past couple of weeks, has asked me how the Muscovy ducklings are doing?  Well, right now they are thriving.

Molly (their Mum) had 17 babies in the middle of May.  This was a month earlier than she had hatched her babies last year.  May here was bitterly cold and very windy.

Molly was still very proud of her babies and was delighted to show them off to whoever called.  Then when they were about 10 days old, I could only count 16. One was gone.  Without a trace. We’ve never discovered what took it.  A preying bird?  No idea.

When the babies were about 2 weeks old I noticed one of them was panting and having difficulty breathing.  I called my neighbour, Annette, who’s the resident Doctor Doolittle.  Bless her she came around immediately.  By the time she arrived a couple of minutes after I called her, another had started this panting.

Thriving ducklings

Thriving ducklings

We thought they had eaten something and that they were choking.  We tried massage, olive oil, anything we could think of, but it didn’t seem to ease their difficulty.  One actually died that afternoon.

This was all just as we were heading into a crazy busy time with AirBnB guests. Annette kindly took the sickly duckling away with her to nurse it over the weekend.  Then a few days later 3 more started the same panting.

The upshot despite antibiotics all 4 died within a week.  We were heartbroken.

Then another just ‘disappeared’ another predator.

Some of the 10 remaining ducklings developed milder panting symptoms so we dosed them with porridge mixed with dandelion and/or nettle tea.  Apple cider vinegar was also added to their water.

What caused this panting?  The vet suggests mouldy hay (we don’t have hay here), or stagnant water – again we’re not sure where they could have accessed stagnant water – but we do allow free ranging on the property.

It is truly awful when an animal/bird you have nurtured and fed dies.  Especially so when they haven’t had a good old shot at life.

In retrospect maybe I am at fault that I didn’t take more eggs away from under Molly.  Seventeen babies were just too many for her to mind.

Still enjoying their porridge!

Still enjoying their porridge!

The remaining 10, at almost 7 weeks old, are thriving, thankfully.  They are loosing the ‘baby’ look, and are starting to develop wings….. but they are still incredibly cute!