Little Citizens of the World


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Funderland!

My dear friend stopped by this afternoon and mentioned that there’s always a fair that comes to town at Easter called, Funderland.  She asked is we would be interested in going.  I thought, “sure we would, lets plan for it!”  “Ok, get your shoes.” she replied!

So I wasn’t prepared for that, in fact I had just finished coating my hair in coconut oil and clipping it on top of my head.  She offered to wait while I took a shower, but the kids looked so excited to run out the door that I just said, lets go!

It was about a 45 minute walk from the city to the fair grounds.  When we got close, you could see the biggest rides up over the buildings.  The kids were over the moon thrilled.  I was excited because I felt bad that they would miss the Ag Fair on the Vineyard this summer, which is tradition.  So here we were, at the gates of this beautiful fair and I was so relieved.

Everyone going on rides requires a bracelet and because it’s fairly pricey, I just got the kids bracelets.  The front of the fair grounds was mainly younger kids rides, but we’re not adventurous when it comes to rides, so carousels, Dumbo rides and those little cars that go round and round in a circle are just fine with us.

As we made our way through, there were big slides, obstacle courses, bumper cars and a medium sized roller coaster that was not too big but big enough to be awesome!  They also had fairground hot dogs, which I’m just going to believe were 100% organic beef, and we finished off the night with Hook A Duck for €3 a pop.

We spent about 4.5 hours there before walking back home.  It was an amazing, surprise day and we all had a fantastic time.

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This ride left one of mine in tears.  Bad call on my part.

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Some of the rides were wild!

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…And some were just our speed.

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A silly fun house

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This swing can be seem from over a mile away.

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Fostering Puppies

The kids have always wanted a dog, what child doesn’t, but because we travel, a pet just isn’t a possibility right now.  However, the idea that we could foster was a revelation, and I immediately called a local rescue on the Vineyard to see if there was any need for foster families.  There was!  After a very impatient week, we took in a mama and her 2 insane puppies.  Mama was brought to the Cape from a high kill shelter in Arkansas, and was absolutely terrified.  Her puppies were typical licky, jumpy, pee on the floor, crazy.  We had a pen for the puppies, and Mama had a bed nearby so she could get some peace.  It was tragic to see Mama with her tail tucked and her head held low all the time, but after a few days, she did start to relax a teeny bit.

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Walking the 3 of them was like some kind of nightmare I can’t even describe.  I had Mama’s lead and the girls each had a puppy.  Within seconds of walking out the front door, the puppies had crossed paths, gone behind the kids, between myself and Mama and thoroughly tied everyone in a knot.  Oblivious to their predicament, they continued to try and make a run for the driveway.  This continued for the entire walk down to the beach (approx. 15 minutes away) and back.  The girls tried their best to swoop and dive over and under each others lead as the puppies ran back and forth.  We managed to get there and back without any major injury and I concluded that, in future, the puppies would be walked separately.  This was also a plus for Mama as she could go alone with the girls and walk without tripping over leads, and pee without one baby jumping on her face and the other trying to sniff her bum.  I honestly felt her pain as a mother on that first walk.

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The babies have a bit of Jack Russell in them, so besides being energetic because they’re puppies, they are super charged.  My brother came over and fenced in a portion of the backyard so they could run, which was a lifesaver!  (I had expected the puppies to be only a few weeks old and do a lot of sleeping)  Thankfully, I didn’t have to get up in the night to take them out, they were paper trained, but when they figured out how to escape the pen, and did their business all over my new rug, then walked through it, climbed/jumped (?) over the baby gate and came upstairs, the fun was over.

Puppies went outside while I cleaned.  Mama, who had always been too afraid to climb the stairs, had followed her babies up, and was now stuck.  Sparrow and Sky took turns sitting with her on the landing for 3 hours until my brother could come over and carry her down.

I had messaged the shelter on the Vineyard at 6:10am, while scrubbing my carpet, to let them know, it just wasn’t going to work out anymore.  Once the puppies figured out how to jail break their pen AND the baby gate, it was too out of control for this OCD mama to handle.  So as sad as it was to watch them go after only 7 days, we brought them down to the ferry the next day, and they went to another foster family.  I still miss Mama a lot, but I know she’ll be happier with a true dog person.  I really lean more in the cat direction..

It was a great experience for us though, and I really think that anyone on the fence about adopting a pet, should foster first, that way there are no regrets!

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Third time’s the charm, right?

We are headed back to Ireland in April!  Our plan has always been to stay long term, but little glitches here and there have kept us from realizing our dream.  This time, however, I am hopeful that with a little extra paper work and several international phone calls we will be successful in our wild pursuit of Irish living.

We will be cruising, as always, but on a new line this time.  This time, we will be taking a Princess cruise.  As you may have read in my past posts, we absolutely LOVE Holland America Line, but they don’t get us close enough to the British Isles.  We have taken Queen Mary in the past and experienced the worst cruising possible, as you may also have read.  So although they are the most convenient to us, it’s not going to happen.

I am really excited to see what Princess cruising is like, but also apprehensive, as  I like to know what to expect ahead of time.  (Seriously, I Google Street Map my way through a new area before I go there, so I feel more familiar with it when I get there!)   I think I’m just a little wary due to our problems with Queen Mary II.

We’ll be staying in Cork City, our favourite place in the world, and we’re already planning all the places we’ll be visiting as soon as we get there.  The kids want to go to Fitzgerald Park and the city library, I can’t wait to go to the The Natural Foods Bakery (oh my gosh, their spelt hummous sandwiches!!) and Waterstones bookstore. And of course, we are desperate to see all of our friends again!

The previous two times we’ve been to Ireland, we’ve arrived in late summer/early autumn, and been back in the States by Christmas.  This time we get to spend spring and summer there!  I’m really looking forward to being there in different seasons, although the temperature in spring and summer is not much different than that of autumn!!

So we are planning and planning, I know it’s still 8 months away, but we have so much to do to get our house ready for rental season next summer.  Because we just bought our house, there are a lot of things we have to do immediately, rather than as needed, like we would do if we were staying in our home long term.  We’ve had to spend quite a bit at the garden center, so the yard will look nice come next spring.  I also have to consider having irrigation put in.  That’s not an expense I was anticipating.  Right now, we are going through a heat wave and everything is so dry.  Most of my neighbours have given up on watering their yards, which are now as brown and crunchy as overdone chocolate chip cookies.  Because I’ve got new plantings, I have to water everyday, early in the morning and after the sun goes down.  My sprinkler is on close to 8 hours a day.  I don’t want to know what my water bill is going to look like.

We have the last of our furniture being delivered early next week and, hopefully, that will be the end of big purchases for a while.  I’m hoping to spend most of September and October going through boxes in the basement, many of them have been packed up since before our Australia trip in 2012!

So that’s what’s happening in our lives right now, it’s all go as usual!

If any of you have taken a Princess cruise, I’d love to hear about it.  Leave a comment, or a link to your blog post!  In the meantime, enjoy some photos from the garden today!

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The Butterfly Weed for the Monarchs is forming tall seed pods.

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Bees are incredibly difficult to photograph, they’re all over the place.  Busy bees indeed!

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I love my wild roses

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One of three resident bunnies that have been feasting on our new plantings.

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The Holly berries are starting to turn!!!

 

 

 

 


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Leaving Home for Home

Leaving the Vineyard is always a bit sad.  The girls miss it so much, and even though we are just across the sound on the Cape, it’s a world away.  We had a great time at the fair, but it’s time to head back to our house, and continue to unpack and sift though all the boxes I have yet to open.  It’s strange to now live on the Cape instead of the island, but we’re making it work, and enjoying our new neighbourhood.

We took the freight boat back, and watched the Vineyard slowly drift away.

Until next time…

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Let’s go to the fair!

On the third weekend in August, on the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard, the air is tingling with the thrill of the annual Agricultural Fair.  This year was the 115th fair and it didn’t disappoint. There are only 2 occasions where we have missed the Ag Fair, and that’s when we were out of the country.  I have pictures of Sparrow at her first fair when she was 3 months old!

Originally, the fair was 3 days, but due to the massive summer crowds, they’ve expanded to 4 days.  Friday night is fireworks night, so to encourage more people to the fairgrounds, and discourage deserters to the fireworks, bracelets are sold for $25 a piece, ensuring the wearer free, unlimited rides from 6pm – 10pm.  This is, of course, much more cost effective if you have children that go mental and ride everything they make the height cut off for over and over and over.  Most of the rides are $5 a piece, and when 2 kids can ride close to 70 rides between 6 and 10, the bracelet is a god send.

The organised chaos of the rides, the jubilant crowds, the sounds from the barn, the beckoning smells from the food booths, it all makes for an overwhelming feast for the senses.

We arrived clean, fresh and full of anticipation at about 4:30pm and left filthy, exhausted and completely satisfied at 11pm.  Everyone needed a shower before bed, you just can’t get 6.5 hours worth of dust off with a sponge bath.  Sky and Sparrow were both asleep before I got out of the shower.  All in all, another successful year at the MV Ag. Fair!

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Seal Release!

We went to Scusset Beach in Sagamore this evening to see 3 seals released.  The release was part of the National Marine Life Center of Buzzards Bay’s rehab program.   It was fantastic!  We went a few hours early so the kids could play and at around 7pm, the seals were carried down to the shore in large dog crates.  A huge crowd gathered around as close to the taped off line as possible, and everyone stood frozen with anticipation as the 3 staff members each opened the crates simultaneously.  Everyone held their breath, expecting the seals to take off towards the water, but they didn’t.  They sort of came out slowly, had a look around, gave each other a sniff, looked around some more, then tried to head back up to the beach.  The staff members held  boards to block them from the crowds and beach and, eventually, they wandered casually into the surf.  They goofed off for a bit a few feet offshore, then decided they wanted to come in again.  So the staff again got their boards out and tried to keep the crowd (that had thinned by now) back and let the seals explore.  We were there watching for about 2 hours after the release, and because the seals didn’t go far from shore, the staff had to stay until it was quite dark, just to make sure none of the spectators got too close.  I spoke with one of the staffers, and she said they will probably come up onto the beach for the night, and maybe go through the Cape Cod Canal towards Chatham.  It was a great experience, the kids really enjoyed it, and learned quite a bit.

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Ready for the release!

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Hundreds of spectators turned out.

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After a quick swim, they decided it was time to come back on shore.

You can’t go to Ireland without making a stop at Blarney Castle, it’s just not on.  It’s so incredibly easy to get there from Cork City too, there’s a city bus that takes you right to it in about 25 minutes.  The castle itself is a ruin, there are no artifacts or recreated rooms, it’s basically a shell.  But if you can brave the claustrophobia inducing narrow spiral staircase, that seems to go on for days, the views from the top are outstanding.  This is where the famous Blarney Stone is located.  No, I did not kiss it, germs aren’t my thing.  It’s all in good fun, you say.  Well, it’s the same as kissing all 200+ people wandering around the grounds.  I’m all set.  If you do decide you want to give it a smooch, it’s not for the faint of heart.  I saw grown men looking pretty terrified as they leaned backwards and pulled themselves out into mid air, with nothing but a few bars between them and a straight drop to the ground below.

The entrance fee is very inexpensive and, although there’s a children’s rate, mine were not charged that day, nor was my friends child.   There are 2 small playgrounds, a poison garden, giant trees to climb, acres and acres of running space, waterfalls, trails, and so much more.  It’s a truly magnificent place that I will be visiting again and again.

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Blarney House from the top of the castle

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From the top looking down

The grounds are something out of a fairy tale.  They go on for miles and they are superb!  My Irish friends say, you can go there a hundred times and still find new places.  It’s truly magical.  I can’t possibly post enough photos to do it justice, but if you ever get the chance, go to Blarney Castle, You won’t be disappointed.  http://www.blarneycastle.ie/

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I’m telling you, it’s incredible.

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Willow tunnel

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Careful now!

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This is one tree!

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