Today Loran and I busted away on clearing Kate & Ray’s strawberry bed. Have you ever seen a strawberry bed at the end of the season? It’s a tangled mass of confusion–every single plant has reeeeeeeally long arms just running away from their parents as fast as they can!– sticking roots down every which way, attempting to multiply as quickly as possible.

It makes a mess. And looks a bit like this:


We tackled it anyway. But it took a couple of hours–a couple of thinking hours. And I was thinking about how we are strawberry runners!! Loran and I have been running around Europe (slowly & steadily) for nearly 6 months now. We may not have been multiplying everywhere we go…but every place we’ve set down little roots before shooting off to the next destination and depositing new roots– in the form of a friend we continue to keep in contact with or simply hard work we’ve left behind to nourish and grow into something beautiful and practical.

Our Irish rootbundle will be pretty hefty. And I’m proud of that :)

This is how much I love my job, my life~


Day 12

Cozy weather, cozy work.

It was certainly a baking day. That cloudy feeling when the skies are grey (and threaten rain) just screams “bake!”. But our weekend was over, too, so after two successfully risen & baked loaves we braved the gusty misty day to mulch Kate & Ray’s border in the backyard. Bobby followed us, of course, and so we had to alternate between shoveling mulch and throwing toys to the three dogs. It was great fun, really, and mulching is the sort of work that is hugely enjoyable; you actually see the results afterwards.

Secondly, we had our woodworking class tonight. The before and after pictures, I know, don’t look as if there’s much of a difference. Both Loran and I do, however, feel that we’re finally starting to get the techniques down, and as Tommy (our instructor) told us: “Do not see the spoon as the object of the class, just the byproduct. Understanding the techniques and mastering them is really what this class is about”.

Well said.



After~ Nearly there!


Thirdly–and most importantly–Loran and I confirmed with our next WWOOFing farm!! We are SO excited, we really have a good gut feeling about this place. It’s a tree restoration center with a polytunnel and outbuildings needing some work. The woman who sent us the confirmation email sounded really sweet, very accomodating, and very much like a happy people person.

So our December–& our Christmas–will be spent in beautiful Mid-Wales near the coastline.




Today we were stunned with a dazzling sunshiney day. Absolutely beautiful, and especially perfect for our fieldtrip to Ballycross Apple Farm. The farm was about a half hour’s drive away, in Bridgetown.

The farm has currants in addition to their acres beyond acres of apple trees, and really lovely trails that guests pay a minimal fee in order to wander through. After we checked out the “petting zoo”, we spent a decent hour and a half trekking around the forest and fields and finished up in the farm’s craft shop upstairs.




aww, lovebirds!


Beautiful Apple Orchard


Bracket Mushrooms


Ballycross Apple Farm


Staring contest~


I can’t honestly say that Ballycross would ever become a regular outing if I happened to live in the area, but it was really lovely to see families getting excited over the ponies, bunnies, & pigs and trying to find the biggest apple in the box. Not a “must see”, but a nice activity for a cozy day out.

Off the Wagon


So…I fell off the wagon. But only for one day! Anyway, it’s almost impossible to have a genuine, picture-worthy moment when you decide not to brave the outdoors because of shoddy weather. Yesterday was the epitome of a lazy-day, where the most exciting activities were pesto dip & fire-stoking. Even today followed the same sort of course of events, but luckily it was a beautiful day

The neighbor dogs & Bobby have decided that they must fight over a stick if we toss one; and today it got kind of ugly :(


Bobby was having a good time…


No! Mine!


Break it up, break it up!!


A triumphant Bobby…all’s well that ends well. (They kissed & made up)


Bobby was especially lucky today–we went on a second walk this evening to enjoy the sunset and perk up after a sluggish day. We were surprised to see a group of deer huddled together…before we frightened them off. Moments like these make me wish I had a telephoto zoom lense…alas, this is the best I could get:


Huddled & Wary


Tomorrow we’re hoping to visit a local u-pick apple orchard & Monday we’ll be back to work!


One of our favorite places to visit here on the Hook Peninsula has been Tintern Abbey. It’s absolutely stunning. There’s something about the surrounding woodland that puts one’s mind at ease. It is one of the most peaceful places I have had the pleasure of visiting.

The Colclough family owned Tintern Abbey until recently, and their ownership was granted after King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and went Protestant. Their walled garden was built in the 1800’s to accomodate their lordly desires to show off their wealth and enjoy exotic fruits and vegetables year-round.

The garden was abandoned for ages–was completely run-down–and the community received funding in 2009 to revamp it. It really is looking fantastic, and the team is doing their best to utilize the methods of the Victorian-era gardeners.

Some photographs, of course:


Modest Entrance


Autumn Cozy~


It is a simple garden so far…but elegant and welcoming nonetheless


Fruit trees ~ Less than half of the total garden area is shown in this photograph


A quaint, gurgling stream runs throughout the length of the garden~


A still-colorful border


Today was a really, really hard day’s work. Lots of weeding, topping off hand-made steps with gritty gravel, and hours of splitting logs. Hopefully we’ll have some more “before-and-after”s up again shortly.

Until tomorrow!


I found a hedgehog. The only time I’d seen the precious things were on gardening or nature shows. If you haven’t yet seen a hedgehog, do try! They’re soooooo cute. The fella we found tonight had apparently climbed into the chicken yard. It’s a chicken-wired fence!! I wadded up the ends of my sleeves so I could pick him up after he rolled into a tight, fat ball (their spines are sharp!). He had rolled himself up so tightly that all I could see was his cute black nose.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera; and this after I vowed to myself to go everywhere with the camera. If we keep a good eye out over the next week, though, hopefully we’ll be able to get a shot of him trying to get to the chicken food leftovers.

Since today was so boring apart from the hedgehog find, I’m sharing old photos from previous ventures.



We found Sea Beet on one of our coastal walks with Irene~


Harvest time! (It was late in the season so when we cooked it… it was rubbish)


Fossil!! Found last week


Loran on the pier at Slade yesterday


The pier was built to help people escape famine and make their way to America~



Bovine Rejection

Loran and I worked our butts off this morning on that same nasty patch of overgrown weeds & other bits, but no photographs today. Instead I’m sharing a little of our walk this evening. We took a nice, leisurely stroll from the tiny town of Slade, out to the Hook head where the old lighthouse sits. Halfway through I tried to make friends with a cute little bull…but was rejected.

This little bull definitely wants to be pals…


Come back!!




And our breathtaking destination:


The Hook Lighthouse in the distance