Haverfordwest Wales; life in the country

We are here at the southwestern tip of Wales, in Druidston near Haverfordwest out on a small farm and taking care of sweet Nell, the border collie.  We do not have sheep for her to herd so she must make do with us.Nell full netShe loves walks in the fields but really loves to chase the ball.  Here she is catching the ball.Nell catches the ball netWe have been in the city for all of the sits this year, so coming out to the country is an entirely different feeling.  We can see the sea from our bedroom. Those tiny dots on the hill are cows.ViewFromOurWindowThis was a clear and sunny day, but most of the days have been overcast, windy and rainy, which is fun for us since California hardly ever gets rain.  Yesterday, we went to two small beaches near us,  Little Haven and Broad Haven. (“Haven” comes from the Norse havn meaning harbor.) The wind was almost 40 miles per hour, which made the waves very large and strong.  I was up on a promontory over the ocean and I nearly blew away taking this photo.little haven splash slow closer netIn the harbor it was a different story.  The waves were small because they were protected by the high cliffs.

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Little Haven harbor

Here is a photo of me being blown away.linda little haven closerWe then drove over the hill from Little Haven to Broad Haven beach, which is a very long and sandy beach .

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Broad Haven beach

We also went one evening to Druidston beach, which is by where we are staying.  After walking down a very steep dirt lane we were able to watch the sun set over the beautiful and almost empty beach.  You get a feeling of being alone with nature here.

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Druidston Beach

Here is one of my favorite  photographs of David walking on the beach.druidston beach david netOne day we drove through the tiny lanes they call streets to Pembroke castle.  This is a 13th century castle that has been restored so that you can climb the stairs in the various towers and read about what life was like in the Middle Ages.

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Pembroke Castle

They have set up a tableau of what dinner in the castle would have looked like in the 13th century.Pembroke castle ddinner tableau netAnd they have free castle tours around four times a day.  We went on the tour and learned a lot about the history of who lived in this famous castle and what they did.

We mostly have been hanging out and enjoying the country and the beach.  Reading, playing with Nell, working on photographs, doing art in my journal and doing laundry. It is so beautiful and peaceful here.Wales country side net

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Our next stop is a return to Stratford-upon-Avon to take care of Enzo the border terrier.  We took care of him last year, and I am looking forward to seeing him and Anne and Steve again.

A cross-country relocation RV trip

We have always wanted to take an RV ( recreational vehicle) to see if we would like to purchase one.  An opportunity came up to relocate a new RV from Iowa to Las Vegas for $1 a day plus gas in 10 days, sounded like a dream come true.  We took this trip from May 4 to May 16.   We include my sister Sandi in this trip. We flew into Minneapolis and drove to Forest City, Iowa to pick up the RV.  RV photo I will not talk about the particulars of how the trip went as David has promised to deliver one of his data packed posts to fill you in on the details and the actual costs of the trip.  What I will say is that we had a great time in the places that we stayed, but there was way too much driving for me inspite of the fact that we purchased 2 extra days at $150 per day to extend the time.

The first place we stopped at was Mount Rushmore.  It was quite inspiring.  None of us had been there before and we enjoyed the spectacular mountain carvings.mt rushmore heads 5x7We then drove to Yellowstone National Park.  This was my favorite part of the trip.  The park was still snowy in places and the animals had just had babies.  The hot springs and geysers were stunningly beautiful.  Here are some photographs.

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Moma buffalo and baby Red dog

 

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Dave on right checking into Madison Campground

 

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Yellowstone hot pool

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Sandi and David

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Old Faithful

We spent 3 days here and it was wonderful.

We then moved South through Jackson Hole.  It was so cold and rainy there we only stayed overnight and then headed south to Bryce Canyon.

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Jenny Lake, Grand Tetons

Bryce was sunny and warm.  It is hard to capture the magnificence of the rock formations in photographs, but I tried.

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Bryce Canyon

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Linda & Sandi on the Bryce Canyon Lodge porch

We drove to Las Vegas the next day , spent the night and returned the RV in the morning.  Rented a car and drove home.  I was so happy to sleep in my king size bed with my honey that night.

The Burren in County Clare Ireland

We have been taking a couple of short field trips while pet and house sitting here in western County Clare in Ireland.  Lisdoonvarna is considered the gateway to the Burren.  I had never heard of the Burren before.  It is a special area on the west coast of Ireland that was left without topsoil by the ice ages.   It is a place of stones, and almost no people.burren 5x7 net  There are prehistoric artifacts and tombs throughout the Burren.  We went to a stone ring fort (Catherconnell) that has been settled from the 7th century AD  and was used up to the 15th century.  Here is a model of what it might have looked like in the past.  ring fort model 5x7 netYou can see that there are thick stone walls around the settlement.  These walls were made in the simplest way with local stones just stacked up upon themselves.  burren rock wall 5x7 net  It was fascinating to see how people lived on this land. There are tombs that have been found from the neolithic period (4000-2500 BC). Later,  we drove out to this communal tomb called the Poulnabrone dolmen tomb. Poulnabrone dolmen tomb 5x7 netIt was dark, windy and cold when we walked up the stones to see this ancient monument.  It was quite moving.  It humbled  me to see how transitory our lives and problems are in the scope of the sweep of human time. There are dozens of these tombs around, and many more still buried and waiting to be discovered.

If you get to spend some time on the Burren, you will find it fascinating.

We are in Maui to see whales and turtles

It has been easy to fall into the rhythm of everyday life at home.  Time slips away without our noticing it.  The goal of doing the senior gap year was to use as many minutes as possible while we are still physically able to climb, walk and enjoy the surprises of the earth.  So we decided to go to Maui to see the whales.  They come here every year from Alaska to have their babies from December to March.  A dear friend of ours was lamenting that she could not go this year.  Linda said to David, ” This is a bucket list item, let’s go.”  So dear David planned it all and here we are in heaven.  And on Monday before we left on Friday David tore the meniscus  in his knee.  But luckily it is not bad and we went anyway even if David has a cane.

We flew Virgin American from LAX to Maui.  Here is a logo from the side on one of their planes.  maui-2-17-virgin-air I thought it was funny.

We are staying in a small apartment in the northwest of Maui.  It is small and on the ocean with a small beach on the side.maui-2-17-little-beach-5x7-net  This is where turtles come ashore to eat and rest. maui-2-17-turtle-5x7-closer-net  They need to rest as the surf can get quite rough , like it did today.maui-2-17-splash-5x7-net   There are beautiful flowers everywhere so I thought I would share this lovely orchid with you.  maui-2-17-purple-orchid-5x7-net

I got to see a whale breach on the sea horizon ( I did have binoculars) and one whale lift his big fin up in the air and splash it down 3 times.  Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me when I saw them.  Whale pictures will be coming as we are going to take a whale watching trip sometime this week.

Needless to say,  this has been an exciting trip already.

We are back in Rosarito Beach

We managed to get the house packed and ready for the estate sale before we left for Mexico.  It was very sad and emotional to leave.  Our dear son is taking care of our dog, Mac.  I miss both of them already.

When we got to our condo that we are renting for 2 months, Dave immediately came down with the stomach flu and I caught it next.  So our first couple of days here was spent inside being sick.  We are much better now.

We went for a walk on the beach today and were shocked that all the sand was gone.There was 4 days of storms here on the coast of Mexico and California.  We talked to a man who was staying here.  He said that all the sand disappeared during those 4 days of storms.  Here is a photo of what we found.  The second photo is what it looked like last year.

But  the sunsets are still beautiful.16 1 8 sunset clouds small

some more photographs from the big island of Hawaii

This is a place that makes you very aware of how wonderful and intricate are the creatures and beauty of the earth.  We are snorkeling almost everyday.  Here are some creatures that I have gotten to take some photographs of.  This is a rockmover Wrasse.  He gets his name because in order to find food under the rocks and sand he lifts them with his mouth.hawaii 12 15 rockmover wrasse face Next is a snowflake moray eel; hawaii snowflake eel small  He slithers along the bottom of the coral looking for food to smash; he does not have teeth but 2 very hard disks in his mouth.hawaii turtle 5x7 smallThis is a Hawaiian turtle.  He was looking for food in the rocks on the side of the bay.  That box on his back is a radio transmitter. He must be in a scientific observation.

And finally , this is one of my favorite photos taken as the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.  This is a man looking at the sunset.  He is dwarfed by the ocean, clouds and sun.  This reminds me that we need to take care of this beautiful land and this fragile earth.hawaii sunset clouds 5x7 small

Aloha

Gibraltar cave stalactites from our cruise to Rome in April 2015

Found some time today to clean up some of the photos I took of the stalactites that were in the St. Michael’s caves.    Here is a quote from Wikipedia about them; “St. Michael’s Cave or Old St. Michael’s Cave is the name given to a network of limestone caves located within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, at a height of over 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level“.

On our tour we went through these caves and saw these amazing rock formations under the ground.  Here they are for you to enjoy.gibralter Stalactites  green 5x7  wm gibralter Stalactites  green close up Stalactites  interrior  close up 1 Stalactites Gibralter rocks wmcave green lace 5x7 small cave blue lace 5x7 small