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Posts Tagged ‘Blaeneinion’

 

Our final day at Blaeneinion has snuck up on me; tomorrow will be our last day of work, of breathing the fresh air of Wales, of (hopefully) putting up with not seeing the sun for weeks on end.

Blaeneinion will have kept us for 34 days. It has felt rather cyclical, as our final task will be planting trees; it was also our first. We didn’t get everything accomplished on the ‘December’ list, but at least three BIG projects were tackled: covering the polytunnel, fixing up the sad mess a disgruntled tenant left our host, and helping to design the next planting compartment. Loran and I spent a day getting the measurements for the compartment, walking the length of it multiple times to develop an accurate idea of the area. The next day I was knocked out with an irritating 24-hr cold, but Loran succeeded in transferring our measurements to grid-paper for a to-scale outline of the compartment, complete with sketches of bracken and rocky outcrops.

With the map to scale, Sharon marked out where she wants the paths and the clearings. Armed with hot-pink wool and bamboo stakes, Loran and I hammered the pathways into reality, connecting each stake to its neighbor with wool so as to get an idea of a space. We had a nice, leisurely weekend and spent an hour on Sunday ‘lifting’ oak trees. Sharon has a small tree nursery near the house where she has grown saplings for the past few years. Over the past two days we succeeded in lifting all of the oak, a total of about 180–this meant that today we were able to plant!! It was utterly, despicably miserable: sideways rain (again!) and icicle fingers…but we finished a bundle before lunch. Tomorrow, our final day (!) will be dedicated to busting out as much planting as we can.

Next time you hear from us, it will be from England!

Here’s a photo of one of the beavers:

 

lovely beaver ~ after munching away on breakfast

lovely beaver ~ after munching away on breakfast

 

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Well, obviously I abandoned my post last month. My “picture a day” sputtered into a heap of nothing, which is perfectly acceptable—Loran and I were frantic. Keeping ourselves busy and yet procrastinating at the same time…anything to keep our minds off of leaving Ireland and the wonderful people we already miss like crazy. We kept busy with last-minute projects (like basket weaving & mass postcard-writing), but failed to post our two HUGE boxes of old stuff & souvenirs home to Washington State until the day before we left. And then it hit us: day of departure. We made Ireland our home for a full three months!!—a quarter of the entire length of our year-long expedition. And Ireland truly embraced us—leaving felt like saying goodbye to our families all over again, but on a higher level: we know when we’ll be returning for home, but no idea when we’ll be able to visit the Hook Peninsula again.

 

Waiting for the bus~

Waiting for the bus~

 

We boarded the ferry in Rosslare just after eight Friday morning, and proceeded to have the smoothest journey yet towards our current living quarters in Mid-Wales. The ferry was effortless, the busses efficient. Our hostess, Sharon, picked us up and we bumbled along in her four-wheel drive Shogun up to the last stop in the Artist’s Valley. It was pitch-black and so we were entirely unable to see the beauty surrounding us. When we woke the next morning and pulled back the curtains we were ecstatic. That Saturday and Sunday we spent hiking around little bits of the valley, soaking up the colors, the scenery. It’s difficult to decide where on our travels we have found to be the most beautiful…but Mid-Wales has certainly been the most stunning. The color scheme is just different. The deep purples and reds nestled in emerald hills, dotted with fluffy cotton-ball sheep makes me giddy whenever I get a particularly good view.

 

 

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

 

 

I'm smitten with the colors here!

I’m smitten with the colors here!

 

 

sheepies!!

sheepies!!

 

 

Loran and I have been here over a week now, during which we helped to plant over 500 trees of several varieties: goat’s willow, wych elm, ash, aspen and oak. It is hard to imagine all of these tiny trees poking out of their protective plastic tubes as a mature forest, but that thought of someday is really rewarding. I also don’t think I’ve ever slept so well in my life! Our only other task during the week was keeping the geese/hens/ducks alive and well-fed. Actually a more difficult chore than it sounds but entertaining all the same. The ducks, we are told, flew over from a neighboring valley where Sharon guessed they were being semi-domestically raised for hunting. Five geese and three chickens versus ~20 ducks means Loran and I must stand guard over the other birds and fend off the ducks with a big ol’ stick until everyone’s fed.

 

 

tree-planting!!

tree-planting!!

 

 

Yesterday Sharon, Hywel & Heather (another WWOOFing couple, from Australia), Loran and I tackled the ‘hot taping’ of the polytunnel—protecting the plastic from the heat of the metal frame once everything is in place. This was a great opportunity: I have developed a relatively new dream for my future that includes a gigantic garden, complete with polytunnel. Having this opportunity on the farm, then, is really educational for us. It’ll be especially great to witness the more creative side of the tunnel: bed design, irrigation system, rainwater funneling, etc. Tomorrow we’re going to attempt to get the gigantic roll of plastic up and over the frame, tucking it in all snug & taut.

 

 

everyone getting started with the taping

everyone getting started with the taping

 

 

taping~

taping~

 

 

Check back soon! (But not too soon! We’re busy…and we like it.)

~s

 

 

double rainbow~

double rainbow (barely!)~

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