Aughris Head, County Sligo

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More photos! I walked all of Dunmoran Strand to meet my friend at the other side. No longer Dunmoran, I was now at Aughris Head (it was a good long rocky walk). We met outside of The Beach Bar, a lovely little thatched-roof pub that I didn’t go into at all. Another day!

My friend TK knows the area well, she lives there. Despite being less irish than I am, she knows all the good places and set me off on a cliff-walk, to meet at the end where she would drive me back to my car.

 

This is how I knew I was going the right way. Sort of. You get used to strange directions in Ireland…

 

 A lichen-covered rock that caught my eye. I think it looks like a yellow monkey, head down, tail curling up over the top. Just me?

 

 The greenest damn green I’ve ever seen in nature. Do you see the giant footprint? Just me again?

 

Looking back the way I came – I did say it was a long walk! No bother to me, I can walk for ages these days. The water is so lovely and blue-green. So wonderful to have a day like this and be in the right place.

 

 There is a little hidden beach. Anyone want to go nudist? I was tempted!

 

 Standing at the top of the little hidden beach. Can you see me?

 

Bet you can find me in this one. I seem to have gotten over any fear of heights I used to have. Well, no. I trust nature – if there was a fence, I’d be worried it would fall and take me with it. A cliff isn’t a problem. I have a very odd height-phobia.

 

 That’s my foot. That’s the edge. No bother.

 

What are we looking at here is the view that the cattle get. Yep. This is one of many cow or sheep pastures I walked through. Can you imagine what this land would be worth in the USA? Here, only the cows enjoy it. Mad altogether. I also had to walk through some relatively fresh slurry that had been spread for fertiliser – slurry being liquid cow-leavings. Smelled just lovely. Gag.

 

I’m going here next! 

Dunmoran Strand, Co Sligo – the Beach

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Today I’m sharing big beach pictures, including some telephoto lens ones. Yep, had to swap the lenses out, what a difference from the iPhone, eh?



This is where I was taking the rock pool photos.



Well, up there, actually. But it isn’t as pretty as the first photo.



I walked close to the waterline, and turned inland to see the tide still draining out. I did get a couple of people in this. Hope they don’t mind.



Only one human in this pic! It’s a big beach, plenty of room to yourself. 



iPhone and Hipstamatic app for a change. A couple and their dog walking the waterline.

Telephoto lens; I found a lighthouse! It is just a speck in the previous picture. I think I like this camera. I should have edited this to make it level. I’ve not had to edit at all until now.



Leaving the rock pools behind me. Do you see how the rocks aren’t flat, but angle upward a bit? That gets more pronounced further south.



I’m going this way next…



But before I go, a telephoto shot of Queen Mabh’s (or Maeve’s) Cairn, on top of Knocknarea.

Dunmoran Strand, County Sligo

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My dears, I had an amazing new adventure yesterday! It was a beautifully sunny and barely windy day, and Ireland was supposed to have record low-tides. So of course I wanted to go find some rock pools to gawk at, and photograph! I had our super-duper, fancy-pants camera (Nikon D3100 – fancy to me anyway) and I managed not to screw up the shots or the camera. So, who wants to come with me to the beach in County Sligo? 

These are close up photos of the tiny rock pools at Dunmoran during low tide. 

So much life in each tiny pool. 

The brown globs are beadlet anemones (Actinia equina) all curled in and hopefully not drying or dying in the sun. There are also common limpets (Patella vulgata – the greeny-pale ones that come to a point at the top, and a variety of snails and other things I can’t easily identify. I like the pink stuff: sea-fans? My Irish wildlife book is no help, nor is the internet. I am beginning to see a need for a proper post for identifying everything.

Three little pools in a row, each one different.



An open anenome! Yay! On a previous occasion I have gently stuck my finger into one. I didn’t get stung but it did feel a bit tingly. 



So much variety! Not the sort of thing I’d ever see growing up in Florida. We didn’t have rocks.



This is the whole reason I wanted to go to the coast. This picture, this experience. Seeing this creature enjoying a sunny day just like I was thrilled me to bits. So beautiful; I could have sat there for hours watching it and taking pictures.

But more beach, and more adventures awaited me, so I had to move on.

To be continued!

Raising Robins

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So, last post I mentioned our robin. He does flit between a couple of houses in the estate, so this is his territory now and has been since last autumn.

I postulated on if he had a girlfriend, because there was another robin hanging about. I thought he might be gay because this other robin looked the same, just a bit more shy and hungrier. Google to the rescue!

The male and female look the same, which was a surprise to me. She will likely sing less, or not at all, or not as loudly.

I’m still having trouble deciding who is whom. In any case, they both are around all the time.

Thursday, I noticed that there were a lot of dead strawberry leaves in the grass right next to the patio. I picked them up, thinking that I must have not gathered them all up when I cleared out the strawberry patch the weekend before. Friday, there were more leaves. I was baffled as it hadn’t been windy, and why were they all piled up in one place? I picked them up again and into the compost bin they went.

Yesterday morning, early, there were yet more leaves. Then I remembered that there are starlings above the roll-up door at work, and they leave a huge mess of sticks and whatnot on the asphalt. So l looked up from where I was picking leaves and was literally face-to-face with our Hoselock hose reel.



Well, shit. 

Well, that’s unexpected!

Well, we have a problem.

I cannot roust them. Just can’t. We will continue our normal activities, and according to Google, we should get our hose back in about 6 weeks after eggs are laid. Then I’m turfing them out and taking apart the reel to clean it – we got a 40-meter reel for a reason!

Unless they got freaked out by me finding the nest and pick a new one, which can happen. But seriously, this faces our sliding doors so cats are staring that them all the time, and the dog is in and out quite a lot… they had a bad realtor or estate agent! 

Sunshine and Plantiness

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Does that title even work? Meant it to be a play on sunshine and happiness, because if I do one more post with spring in the title I will be annoyingly repetitive.

That said, Mental Mama has started a new posting challenge, and the first one is… Spring. Easy-Peasy!

First: the daffodils are finally opening. I have more of them than I expected, considering I’m not actually a huge fan of them in general. These were all given to us.





Four different plants at four different locations! The last pic is for ARQ, who recently got giddy over tiny tiny daffs (probably actually narcissus – I don’t know, like I said I don’t have a love for them so, meh). 



This is what happens when you forget what you planted where and accidentally sit a pot on top of a daffodil bulb. How did I not notice this sooner? Damn, I feel like an asshole now. Poor thing.





My rosemary is blooming! I didn’t expect that. The tiny flowers almost look like orchids.



The raspberries seem to love their home and have lots of new growth. I finally gave up on my elderly strawberries and dug them all out. But because I just can’t stand to kill a plant, I put them into the Stupid Girl raised bed. For now.



I put these three beauties into the vacant spaces the strawberries were (that hadn’t already been taken over by raspberries moving underground). We won’t talk about how much they were for one damn corm – ouch – because you and I know they will be awesome and well worth it a few years down the road!



This is Our Robin. He’s made our little estate his territory, and between us and our neighbours on the other side of this wall, we feed him and adore him. Think he has a lady-friend, but as they look nearly identical it is hard to tell. March is their breeding season after all, and he did fatten himself up on my blueberries last year, the little bollicks. 

Paddy’s Day Choons!

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Paddy’s Day, never Patty’s Day! Remember that and you will make an Irish person happy.

I had to do a post for iDJ to support his hard work last week; doing his Special days and days before the big day. He made sure that we all have some proper Irish music to see us through tomorrow.

No longer live, but as an extra-special Special at three hours long, you can get the podcast via this link (and you don’t need to have the Podomatic application to play it).

There is a playlist if you open it in your browser so you can see who recorded that awesome thing you just heard, too!



More Signs of Spring

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Actually, updates of some of plant pics I previously posted.

The crocus were disappointing – at least for me as I only ever saw them when the sun was just up or nearly down. iDJ got a better pic during the daylight hours last week:

Some kind of critter is digging out the moss along the wall – I’m good with that. Might be starlings, might be a transient hedgehog (hoping for the latter – eat those slugs!!).

Saves me digging that crap or poisoning it, too.

The daffodils are so close to opening! Maybe this weekend. Note the cheeky viola that didn’t bother to die over the winter. I’m rather regretting growing violas – they self-seed everywhere and collect aphids and other nasty bugs.

The clematis are going crazy – well over 6ft high now, and the frost and snow we have had lately doesn’t seem to phase them one bit. I have them growing up a trash-tree that I also accidentally grew (in my strawberry patch) and relocated. My neighbor on the other side of the wall hates this tree! I want my one last surviving lilac from seed to fill this spot, but it is only a couple of feet tall still. I’ll feel bad about digging out the grey willow, as the birds (and the clematis) love it so.

Top pic – first year. Next pic – second year. This is what they looked like February 27:

And a week later:

I’m not sure about all those wee ones coming up. They are so tiny and fragile that the wind we’ve had lately did a number on them since I took this pic. I also picked a rake of little nodules off of their stems last year, and potted them up indoors to see what they might do. They got leggy and soft, so not a great idea!

Still wondering what is growing in that pot that has cotelydons – I’ll leave them until they prove they are weeds.

Well, I Never Saw THAT Before.

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Unfortunately, the THAT in question wasn’t something awesome and cool and deadly and spiffy and gnarly.

It was poor Spot having a sudden and shocking case of projectile vomiting.

He had been running around the house like a kitten, despite being…13 or 14? (I actually don’t want to know how old he is, despite knowing him since the day he was born. I worry too much.) I know for sure he was born after 9/11. Oh crap, that makes him thirteen. He doesn’t act or look it….

So. Spot was rocketing around the downstairs – kitchen, hallway, living room – up and over the back of the couch, as a cat does – and back to the kitchen again. Apparently he had also recently had a big drink of water from the dog bowl. Evidence provided of the big drink: a sopping wet front paw and splatters all over the floor from where he shook said paw dry, several times.

Bengals love water. Nutters. Seriously, that cat makes a bigger water-mess than the dog when she is just back from a walkie and drools her drink in parabolas around the kitchen.

Spot came haring into the living room, across my lap and launched a torrent of water onto iDJ’s lap.

Well, I’ve never seen that before.

He was as shocked as we were, and proceeded to avoid me and drool a lot. I think he aspirated some of the water, and as cats aren’t great at coughing, he just swallowed a lot for the next hour. Of course we kept a very close eye on him, and I rubbed his throat and his belly several times to make him feel better.

He’s fine today, but – for the third time – well, I’ve never seen that before. Have any of you?



Throwing my Weight Around

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I still haven’t gotten another chance to go firewalking, and I’ve been so damn bored around the house. Sure I have projects I could do – but cleaning mildew off the bathroom ceiling isn’t nearly as fun as goofing around online and/or/while drinking beer.

I’ve been wanting to do something physical. I can’t play team sports worth a hoot, or run far, and cycling is not of any interest to me (I’d rather look at the scenery up close than see it as a blur). Swimming means a drive and a massive dose of chlorine, or a drive and a wetsuit that won’t keep me from freezing my proverbials* off. Plus its still dark when I get home from work, ugh.

(*proverbial balls. I don’t literally have them, so I call them my proverbials.)

When one of my coworkers – who is also a FB friend – put up a notice that he would be teaching a self-defence class starting at 6:30 in the evening, I jumped on it. I could get there just 15 minutes late each class, if he didn’t mind? ‘Not a problem.’ Anything I need to buy or know in advance? ‘Not a thing.’

So I jumped online and did some research on the type of art he teaches. It is called Krav Maga. Here’s the Wiki definition:

“Krav Maga or “contact combat” is a self-defense system developed for the military in Israel that consists of a wide combination of techniques sourced from Boxing, Judo, Aikido, and Wrestling along with realistic fight training. Krav Maga is known for its focus on real-world situations and extremely efficient and brutal counter-attacks. It was derived from street-fighting skills developed by Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld, who made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler as a means of defending the Jewish quarter against fascist groups in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in the mid-to-late 1930s. In the late 1940s, following his immigration to Israel, he began to provide lessons on combat training to what was to become the IDF, who went on to develop the system that became known as Krav Maga. It has since been refined for civilian, police and military applications.”

Well, hell. That sounds okay to me. Not exactly what I was looking to do, but it’s something! Deciding factors: I like that it was developed to help the oppressed, I know the trainer, I can get there nearly on time, it isn’t on a awkward day of the week, and it sounds bad-ass.

Who doesn’t want to be a bad-ass?

While I can’t (at this time) see myself going for belts and whatnot, I have had two classes now and have enjoyed myself immensely. I’m pretty strong from walking 10+km per day and hefting boxes five days a week at work, and pretty much everyone knows I have excess aggression to work off. That said, I’d never worn boxing gloves or thrown an actual punch in my life until last week. Proud to say I’m not timid about it: I only go lightly until I think I have the move down and then I try to hit as hard as I can! I find if I stop focussing on the pad and look at the human behind it, I hit harder and more accurately.

I think that means I want to beat people up, not objects. Or maybe I just really get the point? I do see quite quickly the reasons why you do or do not move a certain way – how you can leave yourself open, for example. This is not polite dancing around, this is the stuff that teaches you to break fingers, arms, legs, poke out eyes, rip off testicles. I never saw the need to fight nicely, so it suits me. If someone comes at me, they should pay for it.

I’ve discovered that I don’t care for being the body that is used for examples. My wrists are flimsy and thin – wrists and fingers are some of the main points you use against an attacker – amazing how many ways your wrist can be bent that makes you fall to the floor in agony. I also bruise easily, so in addition to the numerous bumps and whatnot I magically seem to grow on a daily basis, I also have new ones from being pinched in the bingo-wing (holy crap that hurts: a good move if you don’t really want to beat the shit out of your opponent but stop them cold).

I really enjoyed the sparring, fists only, during my first lesson. I bet if anyone had taken video, I had a smile on my face the whole time.

I’m better at the kicks, for power only. My accuracy sucks. My left leg is only really good at side-kicks, so far. I think my wonky back makes it hard for me to move certain ways, too. I’ve gotten quite good at ignoring my back over the years. My right shoulder decided to give me shit after the first lesson – never had that happen before. Rotator cuff? I didn’t baby it during the second class when I did an elbow punch that let me know right away that that was what my shoulder didn’t like the week before. The Boss said I could stop but I did another, and I think I feel better this week. Screw you, shoulder!

Other than that, I’ve not been very sore at all after a class. Either The Boss is taking is easy on me, or I am ignoring the aches and pains as I’m used to doing, or I actually don’t hurt. Hard to say.

This week, I learned how to keep someone off me while flat on my back on the ground. This involves lots of spinning about on your spine while holding your head up to see. My neck got quite sore during, but what got me the next morning was my lower back. I felt bruised to the touch. So last night, I asked hubby dear to have a look at my lower back to see if there was a mark.

Him: “Yep, you have a Tijuana Licence Plate!”

Me: “Say what?”

Him: “A tramp-stamp of a bruise!”

Maybe I should get it tattooed on – I get the feeling I’m going to have a lot more.

Inbox = Cleared!

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It has taken months, but I finally have gotten my inbox down to ZERO unread emails. This is both my private email, and my blog email! Yes I know I have been rubbish at commenting these last few months, but now I feel as though I can be me again! No pressure! No backlog!

I’m looking forward to being able to read everything you crazy, beautiful people post. Let’s hope it happens!

We won’t talk about the Hotmail account I’ve had since 1997 or so that I probably haven’t looked at in a year…