Monday 8 July 2013

Taking up the Slack

County Roscommon swelters under the hot sun. There is no wind and the stultifying heat takes away all desire to do any physical work, so 'attacking the bank' gets parked up. The dogs get their mid-Summer (3 mm) clip and look like bright white newly-shorn lambs. It's much cooler for them, though they are still panting for the cool indoors once we have done the walk. Fair play to Andy Murray for even being able to play tennis in this heat, never mind at his level.

The rabbits get their shade covers to give the baby bunnies a bit of relief from the sunshine. They are now in to try to sell them. No calls yet so far on that one. It is also a good opportunity to take up the slack on the poly tunnel cover. When we put the cover over first off on St Patrick's Day it was sunny but not especially hot (Being March!). The advice is that you erect the frame set to the lowest hole on your ground tubes, knowing that after a couple of months of the wind flapping it about and also in the heat of summer, you will have built up a bit of slack, no matter how careful you were in March. You then pick a hot, windless day and take your 'assistant' into the sweltering heat of the tunnel. You brace yourself and lift the ends of each arch 2 inches or so, while your 'oppo' whips out the stop-pins from the first hole and drops them back in the next hole up. You repeat for all ten (in our case) legs and thereby take 3-4 inches of slack out of your cover. A taut poly tunnel with less movement should last longer, it says here.

We swap jeans and polo shirts for cotton shirts and shorts. In the garden we are spotting new flowers in all sorts of first-time places. This pink rose (L'Aimant = "The Lover") is doing its thing in the 'Jam and Jerusalem' hedge, geraniums come into bloom where we had forgotten we had planted them, a gift Campanula is showing delicate pale blue in the front-drive bed and the hollyhocks are about to start there. The hedgerows are a white froth of ground elder flowers (like a smaller, more delicate Cow Parsley) and elder (tree) flowers.

When we last posted we were about to be invaded by the Silverwoods who had been out on a car-based 'Treasure Hunt' trying out the new-ish 'game' of Geo-Caching. We had little idea what this involved but it sounds like and enjoyable way to get out and about visiting places you would not normally go to and getting some fresh air and exercise into the children. The 'Treasure' is generally a cache of small trinkets and low-value nice things stored in a closed Tupperware box and hidden at the location, maybe behind a stone, between some sign posts, half buried in a bucket etc. The person doing the hiding will then record on the website ( ) the GPS (Global positioning system) co-ordinates. The hunters then use either their car sat-nav, or a modern fancy phone, or a purpose-built GPS hand held gadget to get to the right area, then start hunting on foot.

There may be easy or difficult clues on the website as for old fashioned Treasure Hunts. The idea is that when you find the box, you take one of the pieces of 'treasure' out and place something of your own into the box. There will also be a log-book to record your presence finding the box plus you score your find back on the website. Some of it gets a load more complicated than that and there are even fancy 'geo-coins' with serial numbers which, if you look them up, you can see where they have traveled around the world being found and the re-lost by the geo-cachers. There is quite a community 'out there' now doing this; it's quite a thing. It has really taken off in Germany but not really got going to the same extent in Ireland, so if you have an inkling then get out there, hunt a few caches down, find out what the game is all about, and then plant your own cache and watch the 'traffic' through it.

The Silverwoods had a day at it, aiming to find 5 caches and found 4 of them. They then headed here arriving at 7 pm to a superb tea cooked by Liz, who had been working off and on all day creating bacon/mushroom and ricotta cheese/onion savoury tarts, pizza, green salad, paté and home made bread, plus lemon drizzle cake, flapjacks and a rhubarb loaf. They had a good run around the farm and a nice cuddle of as many of the baby rabbits as each could catch. It was a tired, well fed Silverwood party who got back into the car at 9:30 pm for their 2 hour run home, but they were up again on Sunday, bright and early for some hot sun horse-riding and a trip to the seaside where, if Facebook is to be trusted, they spent a good part of the day burying children up to their necks in the sand. Hope they remembered to dig them all up again at going home time.


Mr Silverwood said...

Opps, better get back to Wexford and dig them out, you don't think anyone would have noticed do you?

Anne Wilson said...

What a pretty rose, is it perfumed?

Matt Care said...

Yes, Anne, it is indeed.