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Archive for the ‘House’ Category

May the force by with her

It’s with great sadness, again that I announce that there has been another passing in Woodhaven. My blog posting was on hiatus for a bit and will be for a bit longer. But I’m going to take this time to tell you all that Yoda has been put to sleep after an emergency visit to the Vet.

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Yoda was a lone stray kitten when Richie’s cousin, aptly named Cat (short for Catrina), found her on the side of a road in Co. Wicklow. Cat and her boyfriend Derek, brought the little tike home to nurse her back to health and she became their pet and companion.

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She was a content house cat and rarely went outside, and this allowed her to observe Catrina’s day to day routines. She even knew when to wake Catrina up in the morning by licking her nose gently. It wasn’t uncommon to see Yoda perched on the shoulder of Derek as if she was replacement for a pirate’s parrot.

Catrina spilled luxury on Yoda. She had the best pink litter tray palace and all the best foods and treats. This luxury would be removed when she came to live in Woodhaven. As it happened Catrina and Derek moved to Canada (they are there now and hopefully reading this with a sense of fondness and nostalgia), so Yoda became a new resident of Woodhaven.

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We tried to slowly break Yoda out of the luxury she was used to and help her adapt to other comforts and to begin a life outdoors. She slept happily in the boiler house and was indoors most of the day, always longing to be close to one us. We were her creature comfort. She made valiant effort to the transition outside and we’ve seen her hunting with success. This, we hope, opened her world to a bigger life. Or well, that’s what I’m telling myself, the poor little thing.

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When she came to us, I was used to Victoria and her youthful ways and Yoda arrived with a quiet maturity that I didn’t understand all the time. But this didn’t take away from the fact that she was to become a member of the family. Sometimes I thought she acted peculiar but I can safely say that this was probably down to her new found condition and reason for her passing. You see, Yoda, or Yody as Catrina mostly called her, had underdeveloped kidneys. We sometimes felt she looked off but would bounce back. Obviously this was causing her pain and it all came to a head yesterday evening. Richie could see she didn’t look well at all and seemed to have lost weight overnight. He went to the vet and it was confirmed about her kidneys and the vet confidently expressed that they believed Yoda hadn’t very long to live. The pain was likely unbearable.

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The decision was made to allow Yoda to be put to sleep. Richie wanted to be there for her and stayed with her until the end. I don’t think I could’ve done that. He found it very upsetting, for Yoda, for himself and for how Catrina and Derek might feel, especially since they are now in a different country.

I can only take consolation in knowing that Yoda is in a better place and probably with Victoria. Her passing has left another sense of melancholy in my heart, as it has with the rest of Woodhaven. RIP Yoda.

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I popped up to pay Paul and Mark a visit at their home, in Dublin, the other other day. The two of them have been hard at work getting their garden in order, over the past year. They both laboured long and Mark is the maintainer and pretty much spends a lot of time their during the summer months, checking plants are doing well and adding constantly to his collection.

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We’ve been having a very wet summer so when the sun eventually shines, the flowering plants make full use of it and immediately put their energies into blooming. And that’s how their garden is, in full bloom.

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They live in an area close to Dublin city centre which I’d consider urban/suburban, and seeing their garden really confirms what you can do in a nominal amount of space.

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They have a wide range of plants and flowers. I’m jealous of these flowers, since Mark said he only sprinkled the seeds on the soil. We brought these seeds back from the US (Beekman 1802 seeds), in May. We never planted our ones, so I’m sure you feel our envy.

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This tiger lily is absolutely gorgeous.

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Their plum tree is fruiting generously. Won’t be long for these to be fully ripe.

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Mark couldn’t resist some garden work while I was there. You can tell it’s more his baby.

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A little oasis in Dublins Fair city.

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My green-eyed monster broke out when I saw his newly purchased Wisteria already planted and readied for training up the back of their house. I went and bought two of them myself.

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And this lily. Cut back every year and this pops up every summer.

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The garden isn’t only gem where they live. They have a 2 year Bernese Mountain dog called Charlie Brown and new addition in the form of a very tiny (almost toy) kitten called Woody. How cute are they.

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Charlie is protective of Woody and will even pick her up and put her back to bed. Both of them are female, though you wouldn’t think it by the names.

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They get on adorably with each other.

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Every year we cut this bad boy back to its butt and every year it replenishes itself and starts to slowly creep its way around the conservatory with ambitious take over plans. This Passion plant wouldn’t grow normally in Ireland but the heat in our conservatory sustains it. It get so large and overbearing that we’ve nicknamed it Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.

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We really don’t do much with it. We might water it every now and again but I think it gets most of its moisture from outside. It’s planted directly into the earth in a corner of the conservatory so the roots may even be below the foundation line.

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It’s miraculous how nature can seem to be beat and still come back for subsequent battles. We do our best to train it along the roof beams, but like unruly hair, it definitely has a mind of its own. Seems there’s no chance of fruit here. I’ve tried pollinating between the flowers. I think I might need another plant for that.

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It’s only now how much of an appreciation we have of it. Audrey II owns his spot, a rather big spot, but his pretty wildness is hard to deny.

Here’s the extent if his dominance.
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I snapped this pick in the Cabinteely Park, opposite where I work. At the start of the year, they cleared a large piece of open space and rotovated the soil. I initially thought they were preparing for a new games field or possibly tennis courts. But no, I’m very jealous! They now have a wild flower meadow. No just a beautiful display but brimming with bees, butterflies and insects. Not many wasps, thank god.

Richie and I bought a load of wild flower seeds to sow amongst the trees of Woodhaven but got lazy and never planted them. So you can see why I’m envious. I look forward to having a similar display to this, next year.

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Behind the Green Door

A while back we were clearing out the junk from the garden sheds and other ‘rubbish’ dotted around the place. As part of this we cleared out the old small building we call the Boiler House, because it contains an ancient oil burner that was used rather inefficiently to heat Woodhaven.

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We had to trawl through numerous cans and tins of used paint. Richie and I would be of the opinion to keep all the useable paint but since we were taking no prisoners, I had to remain strong and force him to throw out a lot of stuff. He hoards away things like a squirrel with nuts for the winter, except the stuff he keeps will never be used. There were a few unopened and never used paint cans and one of these was a Dulux Hawthorn Green – Gloss. I remember buying it for an old clock but never bothered with the project.

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Richie said he’d use it again and I made him question his decision to keep it. ‘I’ll use it on the door to this place’, he said with a satisfied look. Not a bad idea, I thought.

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While we were still rummaging and dumping, Richie asked Mark (Laura C’s boyfriend) if he wanted a little task to while away an hour or so. Mark accepted and ended up spending most of the day sanding and painting the door of the Boiler House.

I figured the brass fittings needed a new lease of life and broke out the Brasso and some elbow grease.

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Didn’t it turn out well? One more thing on the ‘to-do’ list done.

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The changeable weather has limited our time outside and getting to things that really need to be completed. Richie has used every opportunity to keep the lawns down. And fine job he’s doing of it.

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I’ve managed to pot some flowers too. Though we joined forces for our window boxes.

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We’ve become more American and erected a Mailbox. There was a debate on whether the postman would actually use it but we came home after day one and the little red flag was pointed skyward.

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Logs, logs and more logs. This is one thing we need to get on top of. We want to have them all chopped and dry for the winter, though we’ve been lighting the stove and it’s the height of summer. That’s how cold and miserable it is this year.

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Some of us are able to laze around still though. This is Yoda, a new addition to Woodhaven. Richie’s cousin is moving away and need to give Yoda a new and welcoming home. There was a bit of stand off with Victoria but they’ve found a mutual respect now.

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And we still have a few noisy neighbours, popping over to the fence for the odd cup of sugar. Check out the wig on this one.

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Over the past few nights we’ve been hearing a strange noise coming from the adjacent cemetery. We assumed it was a fox or fox cubs or possibly a weasel and our immediate thoughts were to the safety of our ducks. But since installing the electric fence, they’ve been as happy as ever and after receiving the punch like impact to my index finger, I knew the fence was doing its job.

Last night we decided to do some more investigation. There seemed to be two animals making the same sound, as if calling to each other. It sounded like a whistling screech. A quick search on google and youtube pin pointed what it was for us. It definitely wasn’t a mammal. I recorded the racket for compassion to any youtube clips. Turns out we have two young Long Eared Owls, hungrily calling out in the night sky for their next meal.

Long Eared Owls are one of few owl species in Ireland. They don’t actually have long ears, just tufts of feathers that look like them. I don’t know why we didn’t even think of an owl initially, especially since a night last week. We were sitting outside as it turned twilight and something caught our eyes flying through the trees and rapidly swung away into the back field. If we hadn’t of seen it, we wouldn’t have heard it! It was an adult owl and it stealthily swooped over our heads like an F-117 Nighthawk, ready to drop its payload. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen an owl out in the wild, and it’s beyond me why we didn’t think that it would have nearby chicks. The internet tells me they like to nest in large conifers. Well that’s what the graveyard has plenty of. I must say, I’m delighted we have another unique visitor to Woodhaven. Our list of wild animals is increasing all the time. I should probably mention that we have bats too. At dusk they take flight and zip, zig and zag across the navy blue sky, snatching at insects they’ve echoed on.

As an aside, my boss reported a strange noise in her back yard last night. It sounded like sawing wood and continued for an hour. I could tell you the whole story, but she never found out what it was and it didn’t seem as though a neighbour was doing some very late night carpentry. Google told us both that it was a Leopard or Panther. I wonder???

Image courtesy of Bird Watch Ireland
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