House-sitting in West Ireland
We have arrived at our house-sitting assignment in Ireland.
It is a home out of the tiny village, and on the way down a small road that leads to the sea (we see the bay from the sitting room window, and the rolling Irish green hills from the kitchen window).
Down our little road are farms, and a lot of cows. There has been so much rain in Ireland this year. In fact it is their record year since they have been recording it!
Daffodils grow just up the lane – and spring is here. In fact there are many wildflowers in bloom, and it is lovely.
We have chosen to come to Ireland for this house-sit. We wanted a rest. Peace and quiet.
Away from the shops and the never ending consumerism.
It is time for family. Catching up on blogging. And the associated jobs.
We “world-school”. It is where you use the environment around you as you travel to be the living classroom. Visiting places including history sites, art galleries, museums and cities and towns. It includes learning local foods, language, budgeting, currency conversion and a whole lot more.
Explorson loves to draw, and also uses on-line programmes to play and learn. But I have found with travel there are areas he is way ahead on, and some ares he struggles with. So we often get activity books and keep them for house-sits when we have time to work on these areas together. So here, we have been spending time on weaker areas of my sons learning (i.e.: spelling, writing, and mathematics).
And we have been enjoying some time caring for the farm animals.
So here we have a dog, an outside cat, 10 chickens, a rooster, and 6 ducks.
It is nice to see my son outside running around with the dog and the animals.
Soon we head off to the beach so both Explorason and I get some fresh air – past the cows, and onward we walk.
We usually collect driftwood, shells, interesting pebbles (we are rock painting) and whatever a boy of 9 year enjoys to collect on the day.
At the end of our stay, we turned some of the collectibles into art.
The dog gets a good workout with throwing and fetching the stick in the river, and we have in the past skimmed pebbles.
Sometimes we go for a bit of a run too. All good free fun.
One day we went with a local lady who has a seaweed business. Seaweed Gatherers Ballycastle.
She makes all sorts of herbal remedies, and see weed packs for cooking. So she taught us about the different types of seaweeds, and their uses. It was really interesting!
House-sitting is a good chance to learn new skill for both of us. I am a qualified landscape gardener, so it is easy to care for plants, but in Ireland there weren’t may as it was too cold. Just a potted indoor one – that was easy.
One great thing my son learnt was how to care for the hens. Each day he would help me with the food and water, and with collecting the eggs. He loved doing this and wanted to do it alone.
We then would have to call in the ducks before dark. This sometimes needed a bit of help with flapping of arms and pretending we were ducks calling “Pato, Pato” as they came in.
If they refused to come, we would shake a container with seed, and they would appear out of no-where.
The not so glamorous job, in this case, was cleaning out the chicken coop, and the duck house each day. Fortunately, gloves, boots and a hose worked for the ducks, but not for the chickens. That was more hands on (yuk) with a spade, but I handled it as part of the chores OK.
We did end up with a lot of eggs, and were able to use or sell them. So that was great to cook with, and keep the grocery bill down a little. It was lovely to have the whole home, and a great kitchen, so I did quite a bit of baking. It was great!
Even though we were not locals, we were able to meet some locals, and shared our skills with helping them set up some computer programmes they needed – so that was nice!
We really enjoyed having a place to ourselves. Not unpacking. Having a washing machine. Cooking. My son having PJ days. Reading a book by the fire, and for me, catching up on a lot of work!
We even managed to get a jigsaw done.
I really recommend house-sitting if you are travelling long-term.
You can’t travel at a fast pace all the time. Don’t be afraid to take the house-sits that are in remote areas (as long as you can access food), as the time away from the constant travelling really is great. As a single parent, I really need it. I really appreciate too when housesitters trust me with their home. We are careful, and very neat. We love their animals and take good care of them.
And at the end of the day we can have a warm bed.
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