Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28

Yesterday every one was up and moving getting ready for various tasks of the day. Feargal was taking the shreader back up to Dublin and trading it for a small ton and a half escavator to redesign some shapes on the hillside and level out the area where we will build the poly tunnel. Frances and I were getting prepared to do some errands in the surrounding towns and go to the immigration office in Wicklow to finalize my visa. When I got to the Gaurdia Station I had to wait for the immigration officer to walk over from his house. He looked through my passport and immigration documents, questioning every detail about my stay and activities here in Ireland. He had never heard of Wwoof, nor the insurance agency affiliated with them. I had to leave the office while he called the National Embassy and the numbers provided for my different associations, then wait while he walked back home and got lunch to "mull it over". When he talked to me again he asked for more details about my insurance coverage and said he doupted the policy would be valid in Ireland. This ofcourse isn't so and I am covered through two agencies American and European which offers pleanty of coverage for a volunteer in my posistion. I had to contact the companies and get documents with my specific policy number and details as well as contacting the Wwoof and volunteer agencies to let them know the situation then return today to talk with the officer again.
When we got back to knockanode, Feargal had already started with the digger and was working on leveling out the hillside across from where the polytunnel would be. He would fill a few wheel barrows with the better dirt and I would push it down to the raised beds to start filling them. We worked past dark and filled the first bed along with half of the second. I was exhausted and out of breath from pushing and pulling the wheelbarrows for several hours, but we had gotten a lot done and would be ready to start sowing seeds any day. I spent some time at the pub instead of starting dinner so I could contact the insurance companies and get some extra documentaion together for the immigration officer. Feargal and I stayed up late talking about work and general topics while we watched some movies and drank a good amount of wine to destress. Time passed to quickly and it was past midnight by the time we made food, which Feargal made some amazing fish and chips cooked in lager. After eating I treated him to some Jameson, which he normally dosnt have, fixed with fresh cut strawberries. He wanted to wake up as early as possible to get back to work and  get as many jobs done wih the excavator that we could while we had it. Ofcourse niether of us got up before nine and missed a few good hours of the cool morning sun. I spent the first few hours filling the remainder of the beds with dirt, struggling because I had little energy and had skipped a breakfast. Frances had gone up to Dublin and did not return until the afternoon so I could not make it back to Wicklow to see the Immigration Officer. He would only be in the office for four hours today and would then be taking the rest of the week off. When I called him to let him know I had no ride, he assured me I could wait until I leave to go to Kildare for my next host and get everything sorted on the last day of my current visa. Im afraid it will be very stressful working out the situation, even though I have been approved by the National Embassy and all my documents are in line I will be sitting at the station in a town I've never been to before wieghed down with all of my belongings waiting for an appointment. The local officer told me everything was fine and I should not worry about my visa expiring, saying he should have just stamped me off the day before when I was there. I will also be a bit stranded once I get my visa approved until I get a hold of my next host and let them know I am ready to be picked up, since I won't know a specific time given waiting for an officer to look through my documents again and approve me could take a few hours or a few minutes.
This whole ordeal had been the first bit of stress I've had since I have been here. Nonetheless, I am sure everything will work out fine.
I had some food and got back to work moving limbs and rocks out of the way so Feargal could clear areas for other beds and gardens including the area where I will soon be tilling for potatoes. At one point, a track on the escavator came off when he was trying to move a boulder up a hillside. He called for me since I have some experience with those types of machines and we looked over how to get it back on. I wasn't sure at first because it wasn't the same brand 'kabota' I had been around which would tighten or loosen the track tension which the push of a lever. Feargal got a hold of the company he had rented the machine from to get details of how it went on, and I understood what the man was telling him. There was a pressure fixture pushing the front tack wheel in place, powered by grease which we would had to release to fit the track back on. I removed the grease fixture but the grease inside would not come out so I manually scraped it all out with some sticks, making a complete mess on my hands. We got it together and refilled the pressure bracket with a grease gun. Once that was worked out we spent the last few hours of light leveling some other areas and clearing out some old fencing to make room for additional raised beds. At dark I cleaned up and did some house work cleaning the kitchen and main room of my space. I am headed to the pub to work more details out about my immigration situation and try o get in touch with some friends. Tomorrow Feargal and I will try to get in two hours or so of last minute work with the digger before he returns it and I will travel to a local tourest information center to use a printer and an international phone, hopefully easing my mind about next Monday.

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