Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blocks and dogs

There are forever rainbows over our new site. Actually, there are forever rainbows because there's forever rain.

This is the concrete arriving for the slab for the big shed. I was surprised to see the way the builders transported the concrete - via the bucket on the digger, a surprisingly delicate operation.

And here's Aoife with her new friends. They all turn up to say hello.

Driveway, digger and the slab which forms the foundation for the big shed. And beyond, the winter view, the no-leaves-on-the-trees view across the lake to Tipperary.

Finally the neat and smooth concrete slab, ready and waiting for the next stage. So quickly there is concrete where there was boggy ground.

Work begins - blocks and blocklayer on site.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Wednesday afternoon, Joe in work in Limerick and the storm hit. Next time we'll take proper notice of orange/red weather warnings from Met √Čireann. I had a call from Joe in the midst of it all when the eucalyptus trees were trying to touch their tips to the ground. 'I'm stuck the other side of Killaloe. Trees down. I'm on S√©amie's phone.' Ah yes. Joe's phone was safe in its usual place on the counter in the kitchen.
'Don't go out,' he said. 'It's wild out here.' Normally this wouldn't have mattered but I was due to teach flute in the Community College in Scarriff. 'Cancel your classes,' said Joe. Looking at the trees still in supplication outside, I could see he was probably right. I went to my phone on the kitchen windowsill as a text came in. Electricity out in Scarriff. No lights in the classroom. Cancel the classes.

A while later Joe phoned again. 'Still here. They're working on the trees. No other way to get home - other lads have tried it. Trees down everywhere. Have to go, I'm on someone else's phone.'

I filled containers with water. The lights were flickering, I was expecting a power cut and that would mean the pump on our deep well would stop working.

When the wind abated slightly I thought I'd better go out with the loppers and clear any fallen branches/bits of debris for when he did manage to get back. All well til I turned the corner at Ryan's Bridge and then

Two big fir trees. Loppers not much use here. I headed up the other way - we have two ways in - and cut back a fallen gorse bush. He should be OK now.

It took him 2 3/4 hours to get home instead of the usual one. Students at the university were warned not to leave. Madness. Our broadband was down but we still had electricity. Amazing.

Next morning out with the chainsaw.

And ta dahh!

We got off lightly. The electricity people have done a lot of work on the infrastructure round us. We complained when they turned off the electricity for the day a few times over the last couple of years, but we're grateful now.

I'm doing this while we have a broadband onage - we're promised on and off outages for the next 48 hours.

Our storms have started having names. This one was Darwin. Welcome to a new world.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pine marten at the kitchen door

So I looked out of the kitchen window yesterday and here was this lad/ess mooching about, nose in air, sniffing the pastry on the bird table, coming up and scratching on the kitchen door.

It's a pine marten, a protected species (though not by farmers if rumour is to be believed). They can be vicious creatures (who can blame them in a difficult world) but are very beautiful. This one took itself off to the back door next.

I was poised with the camera on the inside of the door, waiting for its nose to poke through the dog flap. If it had scratched that door, I'd say it would have been through in a trice. I put the lock on the flap. Didn't fancy a confrontation between pine marten and elderly dog.

A while later it was back at the bird table. I opened the half door and it came towards me, pointy little nose pointing. We had a chat before it lolloped off. So much for the shy retiring pine marten nature. Not a bother on it.

Post Script. We found s/he curled up in the greenhouse. When I came back with the camera the fluffy tail was all we could see: