Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday and Friday

Thursday started off as another cleaning day split between myself and Clara. Lindsay slept in until she was due to work with the kids at ten when Jo was headed into Athy. I took the play room and floors while Clara worked in the kitchen and taking care of our bathroom. Once she headed upstairs to clean the bathroom I hoovered and mopped the kitchen and hallway. I took some extra time wiping down cabinets and side surfaces which had spots from grease and dirty hand marks. With my first host I did my best to keep a tidy area around the wwoofer beds and kitchen, yet I don't think I have ever paid so close attention to having a perfect presentation, definately not in my own home. I realized quickly when I arrived to Burtown that the Fennel's had a high expectation for any volunteers. On my welcoming tour around the house I remember Jame's pointing out areas of dust, spots on windows, hand prints, or items out of place or not put away, all of which were cleaned quickly. I have always tended to leave dishes out or in the sink to handle later, and now every one is washed, dried, and put back away as soon as it is done being used. Already I have gotten very used to keeping up the clean and presentable environment.
Outside after cleaning I started helping Jame's bring in a load of small shrubs and plants that were spread around the patio and cafe area. We spent an hour arranging, digging, and watering the plants. The were a few nasturtium and geranium as well as various spring bulbs which were grouped together between small boxwoods.Then I took a load of anemone down to the nut grove to line a pathway. Each plant had a cluster of foliage and a few buds which would soon open. I burried the plants about an inch under the top soil which I broke up into a soft surface. It then took a while to carry several buckets of water down to the island from the stabel yard for all the plants. For the remaining time before lunch I walked through the beds for peas and legumes and picked out any small weeds. I spent the first part of the afternoon working in the potatoe bed to rake some loose soil onto the ridges then made slate signs for the different root vegetables that had been planted. I then edged and mowed the strips of grass between the various beds. I needed to bring sections of sod from the field to fill in parts of the strip to make a straight section with equal width. It took a few attemps at first to get a line right with pieces of sod, but by the end of the day it looked good.
I started directly after work to start on a root vegetable soup and a pumpkin spice cake. I had everything  chopped and in the pot by six and a cake in the oven shortly after. Jame's invited us out to the pub for music and drinks later that evening after we ate. Lindsay was happier staying at the house alone rather than join us, so she dropped us off and we got a taxi back at the end of the night. This was the last night we would have all gotten to go out and socialize together before she left. Nevertheless it was a plenty enjoyable night just with the three of us and a few thick guiness. I got some great video of the local music and storytelling that is held in the local historic pub each week. It has been the most traditional Irish pub I have been to yet and really have enjoyed every night I've gone. We got bak to the house around twelve and parted for bed.
Friday morning we joined Gile again to weed the flower beds. We first focused on a few overgrown sections of celandine which spread quickly and had to be removed as a whole. Each cluster of foliage had a bundl of bublets at its base which would break off and send up new shoots if they were not removed with the rest of the plant. We weeded until four o clock that day, going over every bed around the house pulling several wheel barrows of all kinds of weeds. It took effort to get into the backs and centers of the beds with out crushing other flowers. Some areas we even needed to crawl under trees and shrubs to reach small sections of weeds. We edged everything again and relined any straight edges, taking away and adding sod as needed. James then took us to another area where he was piling top soil. He asked Clara and I to rake it out over a bare area thich he wanted leveled and grown into a thick lawn. The top soil he had gotten was full of large stones which had to be collected as we went along. We spent most of the time picking out stones and wheeling them to a rubble pile on the other side of the garden. That evening we had a small dinner with the family and discussed our plans for the weekend. We had decided that Kerry, or anything on the West Coast would be too much for Lindsay to handle as a young driver with little experience on small irish roads. Instead we decided to go to an area in Wicklow less than an hour away which she had traveled before. We planned the trip for Sunday when we were all free. Saturday called for better weather, but Lindsay had to take care of the kids while the parents were buisy planning the party they were having the following weekend. If there is not an Au pair available, Jo and James become overwhelmed with taking care of the two young girls and a one year old at the same time. The kids are often sent off to sitters or left with one of the Au pairs just so thier parents can have a meal or drinks alone. I think Lindsay was getting eager to be on her way out of Burtown and free of the Au Pair responsibilities. The trip this weekend would be the last sight seeing journey around Ireland for her. Friday night Clara and I stayed up and watched "Im not there", A movie about Bob Dylans life after Lindsay went to bed early. We made some scones and a berry crisp made of raspberries, strawberries and blueberries had been collected and frozen out of the gardens to go with some wine James had given us for the weekend. 

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