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We celebrated Tim’s birthday by traveling by bus to the start of our next walk. Again it would have been helpful to read a little more about what we were getting into. Gaiters were highly recommended. Don’t we know it. We wash the mud off our pant cuffs daily. And I think this next walk along the Dingle way covers 100 miles or so over 6 days, yep that’s a lot of miles. The highlight is the last day when we will walk 16.2 miles and climb 2644 feet.  What was I thinking?!

Rather than carry a gift all this way, I brought a photo of one of Tim’s gifts. I am weaving a wool rug for the cabin and left it set up on the loom at home. This next gift makes me giggle when I think of it. We keep a toilet seat hanging on the wall of the cabin to keep it warm and ready for use outside. It looks like a toilet seat hanging on the wall.  No longer. I stained it and then stenciled ivy leaves around it. This photo doesn’t show the last inspired touch. Finally, I wove a kumihimo braid to hang it up and to also work as a handle. I thought of mounting it in front of a mirror (mirror, mirror on the wall) but thought that might be over the top.

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We went to a bird of prey exhibit outside Ballyvaughan, ( a sleeper day covering only six and a half miles) and it was fantastic. The birds soared overhead while the handlers talked about them. We met one of the handlers on the bus to Galway and she hunts with falcons! I may have to rethink my archery plans.

Here’s Jesse, an adorable owl.

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Our walks have covered much ground that looks like this.

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Photos don’t do it any justice.

I had my first soft boiled egg, because it had its own knit hat. I have now sunk down to taking photos of my food.

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Today’s a light day in Tralee while we gear up for the Dingle walk. I hope the weather is half as nice as the first leg. Much of our walk is along the Wild Atlantic Way. I finally figured out their logo. First I thought it meant river crossings, then electric lines.

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But it is the WAW! Ha.

Every B & B and lodge we have stayed in uses the same style key, I wonder if it’s actually the same key. Some work easier than others. For this one, I have to get on one knee and look into the keyhole.

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Spring is the perfect time to visit Ireland. There are lambs, calves and foals in every field. I saw a drama where a lamb couldn’t find its mother until she let out a bleat of her own. They are in the background of this video clip.

Here are a few that are more content.

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Look at this heart!

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Some of the animals are faring poorly because they had a winter that lasted 8 months and  culminated with a blizzard in March – the first snow here in decades. I am not posting the photo of the skinniest cow and hungriest calf I have seen on the walk.

We are about halfway through our walks and have covered 51.4 miles mostly on untraveled country roads, through fields, muddy paths and small forests. We have climbed over a lot of stone walls. My worst day was when we rode bikes on Inishmor, the largest of the Aran Islands. My bike didn’t fit and it wrecked havoc with my body. Nuff said.

But we got to a natural pool carved into the cliffs, recently used for a cliff diving competition, with dramatic seas washing over the wall.

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Today was a half day and tomorrow is a travel day on 3 buses. Time to rest my tootsies.

We’re enjoying a lovely holiday in Ireland where I am literally walking my butt off.  This is the trip we booked instead of the one Tim wanted to do where we would have climbed 3000 to 5000 feet elevation gain every day for 10 days or so. We are sauntering through Ireland, first through the Burren and then the Dingle peninsula.

In my mind we were walking 6-12 miles every day. I didn’t look close enough. We are walking 12-14 miles every day, which turns out to be fine. Especially when we can finish the day with delicious food, a pint of Guiness and/or a shot of  Jamieson’s whiskey.

People we met early in the week kept telling us how excited they were about the weather. At first it merely looked like it wasn’t going to rain all day but indeed it has been glorious for the past couple of days.

Leaving the Adirondacks in the spring that is winter is never easy. Our flight to Boston was cancelled and we drove to a bus in Concord, NH. Turned out to be much better than I expected.

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Lovely state capitol.

We walked along the Cliffs of Moher in drizzle and 35 mph winds, along 500? foot cliffs above the sea. Even Tim had the willies a few times. It did not stop this intrepid bride and groom who posed for the photographer and may have even staged their wedding atop the cliff. They look like small dots in white.

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Looks a little precarious to me.

We are walking on our own with only day packs and our tour operator, Mac’s Adventures booked all the inns AND transports our bags from inn to inn. At least I read that fine print.

 

 

It has been a long, cold winter. Much of the early season had temperatures too cold, for me, to comfortably play. The mid part had some nice snow and we were able to ski right from the front door. Then there was a melt and freeze, late in the season, which turned all our walkways into skating rinks.  That’s when I keep my micro spikes on my crocs so I can get to the hot tub without breaking a hip.

This week had a glimpse of things to come. The temperature rose to the 50’s for one day and the river’s ice melted,  happily without flooding our road. Here’s the view upstream.

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Then we had a sun filled day, which warmed my heart.  A mackerel sky predicted the next day’s warm weather and rain/snow.

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Spring is almost in the air.

Sweater stretch

I’ve been on a knitting tear since the summer on Protection Island. I think I made four adult sweaters since April.  I started the Dublin Pullover in August. I knit it with Jamieson’s Shetland spindrift yarn, which turned out much softer than expected and will definitely use again. It took me about 5 months to knit and a week to sew in all the ends. Here’s one night’s waste yarn.

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I needed a wooly board to block it and found plans online. You can buy one for $150 or spend $8 on material and have fun in the process. Mine can block sweaters from 32″ to 48″. I will warn you however, dowels in the hardware store are WEAK! They snapped in seconds on my first attempt to stretch a sweater. I perused the hardware section (one of my pet pleasures) and found an alternative, a 1/4″ metal something or other.

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I initially hang the sweater in the boiler room, because there’s a drain in the floor,  then move to the wood stove where it dries in 1/2 a day. The stretcher doesn’t stand on its own but balances nicely.

This is the Dublin pullover.

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It fits Tim much better than me so he wins.

This vest had gradually gotten smaller and shorter. Now it fits again! I’m pretty sure it was the sweater shrinking, not me getting larger, although I’ve been a little lazy this winter.

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In contrast, this last sweater, knit in Lopi bulky yarn, took one week to knit! It was a little big so I purposely shrunk it but went a bit too small. The wooly board let me stretch it to a proper size. The neck remains a little wonky and I have to do something about that. Back to planning and looking for more sweaters to knit and stretch.

 

 

 

 

 

And so it is Christmas

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We celebrated early with the family away and never brought a tree into the house. My geranium, salvaged from Seguin Island several years ago, brings holiday color to the room.

This year’s family craft project was paper cutting animal snowflakes.

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Be careful, it’s another worm hole to fall into. We used the book, 100 Amazing Paper Animal Snowflakes by Marion T. Nichols. For some reason, the templates are available online on this website if you feel the urge.

My work area looked like a warehouse from Thanksgiving until now. I knit, wove and wove. I finished my final ? project yesterday but didn’t take a photograph it yet. I made tablet woven tiebacks for the log cabin’s curtains.  Tim also received a wool rag rug for the cabin in the white elephant fiber exchange. The cabin may be complete – never.

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There were hats, scarves, slippers, rugs, bath and hand towels to name what I can remember.

We sneaked a quick trip in to Montreal to listen to a choir perform in the Notre Dame Basilica. Despite the slush and the Montreal shuffle it demands, it is a beautiful city in the winter.  Our new NEXUS passes let us sail across the border.

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My fair isle sweater is almost complete. It’s knit but there about a million ends to weave in. I built a wooly board yesterday from plans I found online to block it. The pattern was for a man and it fits a little wonky. I hope the stretcher will help. For now, it looks just as nice inside out.

FCC9AF5C-F8D4-48E6-93DD-9F16030E60A4Today is a lovely snowy day to sit by the wood stove and finish this task. After I use the snow blower to clear the driveway.

 

Why do we ever leave?

It’s hard to say because where we live is so beautiful and peaceful. Our county has the second lowest population density in New York, so we aren’t driven away by the crowds. We have mountains and lakes and a hand built log cabin. I’ve been following the current Maatsuyker caretakers on Instagram and they summed it up quite well. It’s for the simple life unhindered by schedules. A typical day includes lots of time to create: music; weaving; knitting; and food. There’s always plenty of time and energy to exercise. And time to read and reflect on nature, seascapes, and sunsets. We try to maintain it at home but it’s much harder. I work a few days a week, as beautiful as our home is, we live far from family and travel to see them. Life gets in the way of life?

But here we are.

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Tim tears me away from my knitting and weaving to take walks, ride our bikes or swim.

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We visit family and friends.

657DA3B8-0F07-4AD0-B550-33470A6DD101A90358FB-0B21-4011-A804-A354DECE187BI find inspiration in our local color.

IMG_4511IMG_4513And try to keep it simple.

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