Yesterday morning, Feargal and I started by clearing off the back balcony of broken roof tiles and muck. I stood below the scaffolding as he lowered cinder and cement blocks to me and I unloaded them onto a pallet out of the way. We stacked the remaining granite stones off to the side of the balcony and I brought several wheel barrow loads the the bottom of the scoffolding. We both agreed it would be worth while and much easier at the end of the day to set up a winch and line to life the buckets of stone rather than pulling the rope ourselves. Some of the stones we had gathered were very large and heavy, especially some round granite stones Feargal had brought off the hill. Once the winch was ready I began loading buckets with stone as Feargal worked the small crane to bring them to the balcony and unload them. About two hours of lifting stones and the first big load was on the balcony and we considered where to find some other larger stones to set the foundation of the round wall. Feargal brought down several more granite pieces while I went to the woods to search for as many white stones as I could find. I brought back a wheel barrow load and then we both set off to find some very large pointed stones which would be set around the points of the curve. We pushed the wheelbarrows high on the hill side and found some very large and very heavy pieces of granite and one especially large white stone. Bringing the boulders back off the hill was not easy and I strained my back in the process, but getting them up for the wall was worthwhile. The giant white stone was too large to fit in the bucket, so Feargal split it with a sledge hammer and took up the three large pieces. After getting the largest boulders of them all onto the balcony we took up a pressure washer and cleaned the dirt off of everything. I finished the cleaning and stood back to look at the several colors of different stone we had successfully hauled to the top. After we had finished, Feargal left to go into Dublin for a family dinner and allowed me to stay in the house to build a fire and watch some movies for the night alone. I cleaned my place and started packing my things in preparation for Monday. I went to the pub for two pints and got a bottle of wine which I had to myself while I sat by the fire and watched a move called 'The Soloist' and made some fried apples for my dessert. While Frances was in Dublin with Feargal, she printed off my Insurance Policy I needed and I was prepared for my appointment with Immigration in KIldare on Tuesday morning. When I made the appointment, I was much more confident about getting my visa settled as the officer I talked to even knew what wwoof was and the insurance I would be needing. Several wwoofers go through the office in Kildare and some are already working at Burtown House where I am moving.
I spent Sunday morning sleeping in later than I have in a few weeks and then finished cleaning and preparing my bags. I waited for a few clothes to be washed and hung them out to dry and went to The Meetings for a small lunch around one. I took a walk across the valley not knowing exactly where I was headed, just enjoying the clear day and beautiful sights. I came across a place called Avondale House which I had heard of in my travel book, but never planned to visit. There were several acres that had been used since the early 1900s for forestry research and variety trials by groups of students and graduates from around Ireland and the Uk. As I wandered around the large plots of different spieces naitive and exotic, I was over whelmed by its age and extravegant size. Some of the trees around the boarder where several hundreds of years old and had reached unique stages of growth. I wandered into an area of the oldest pines which led to the river on a path which once led back down to the meetings of the waters where I had started my journey that day. But the path had been blocked at the edge of the Avondale property by protestant farmers which did not want walkers roaming freely along thier section of the river. Many lawsuits and property has been debated to block this path which once led from the town of Arklow all the way to Rathdrum and furthure for nearly thirty miles or more. I walked back up the hills through a greenway past twenty reseach plots and headed for Knockanode. On my way out I was offered a lift back to the Meetings rather than walking all the way. I hadn't noticed on the way up, but I had walked over three miles and then a few more around Avondale, so I was very gracious for the ride. When I got back I finished the final stages of packing and cleaning out my area of the house so I would be ready to leave in the morning. Depending on where my next host agrees to meet me, I may be getting a ride at lunch from Frances or Feargal to a nearby village, or getting up early to catch a bus and a train up to Dublin and into the town of Athy on a five hour journey. Either way, I will be at The Burtown House by early evening and settled before my trip to Kildare the next day.