Happy Easter to All!

This is the life! Some coffee and half an easter egg. Nom nom nom! The dogs will be getting an Easter treat too…but it won’t be coffee or chocolate. Come back tomorrow to find out what they got! What are your plans for the day?

Happy Easter Everyone!

And a gentle reminder not to share your chocolate with your dogs. Mine put on their most expressive begging eyes, but I stay firm. No chocolate for dogs in this house!

No Chocolate for Dogs!

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Flurries, a Fall and a Daring Rescue!

Jimmy at Wicklow MountainsWe have been having a very strange spring here in Ireland. From what I’ve seen on the news, we are not the only country to be experiencing unseasonal weather at the moment.

A week or so ago, right at the end of March, we woke up to a blanket of fresh snow! I couldn’t believe my eyes. We decided to pack up the car and headed out for a drive in the country with The Lads.

We drove through the Dublin Mountains and onwards into the Wicklow Mountains. Funnily enough, the further we drove, the less snow there was. There are many public walks throughout Wicklow, so we decided to stop off at one of these and take The Lads out for a hike.

Pogo the Poodle at Wicklow MountainsIt was really a lovely day. The Lads enjoyed exploring the forest, sniffing every inch of the place! They even had fun doing their own version of agility, jumping tree stumps, climbing steep banks and running along felled trees. While we were walking, a sprinkling of light powdery snow fell delighting us all.

Unfortunately, the day was spoiled considerably when Jimmy fell down a steep embankment!

Mr Fluffytufts had stopped to take a photograph of a waterfall while I continued along the path with The Lads.  Jimmy was trotting along the edge of the path when suddenly a pile of shale slid out from under his paws and he went rolling down the embankment. At first, I couldn’t see him as he had rolled into the undergrowth. Thankfully, when I called out to him, I spotted the red of his jumper moving.  Next, was the question of how to reach him… I tried but wasn’t able to climb down myself.

Me with Casper the BichonJimmy got himself out of the undergrowth but in his panic he went to bolt in the wrong direction. I don’t think I ever yelled so loudly in my life! Pogo and Casper joined in by barking, and together, we were able to catch Jimmy’s attention.

I maintained eye contact with him and asked him to ‘climb’. The others were encouraging him on by barking and whining for him. He tried, but the bank was too steep and he kept slithering back down.  I then instructed him to ‘wait’ and was relieved and proud when he waited perfectly till I was able to attract Mr Fluffytufts’ attention.

Mr Fluffytufts was the hero of the day! He came running up the mountain path and without hesitation, climbed down the bank through gorse and brambles until he reached Jimmy. We checked Jimmy over and apart from a few scratches, he was fine. Needless to say, everybody went back on their leads till we got back to the safety of the car!

The Lads enjoying a hike in Wicklow Mountains

Poodle Picnic! (Wordless Wednesday – 6 March 2013)

Don’t forget to check out our new Fluffy Tufts Facebook page for bonus updates and photos!

Pogo at a Picnic, Marlay Park

Fluffy Tufts is participating in the Blog Paws blog hop! Come and join the fun!

A Roll in the Hay (Wordless Wednesday – 27 February 2013)

Jimmy the Maltichon rolling in the grass, Marlay Park

Fluffy Tufts is taking part in the Blog Paws bloghop. Come and join the fun!

Don’t forget to check out our new Fluffy Tufts Facebook page for bonus updates and photos!

Water – Cee’s Photo Challenge

Fluffytufts is taking part in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge! I’m a bit behind on these challenges, so this week I am going to look at the water challenge!

One of the first photos I took as a photography student was the outside tap in the back garden.  I experimented with different shutter speeds – with a fast speed you could capture each drop of water in the flow, but if you used a slow speed, the water gained the appearance of silk pouring from the tap.

I was delighted with one of the photos I captured that day. I processed the film myself in an old-fashioned dark room. Then, I printed the image and watched it magically appear as I soaked the paper in developing fluid. I still have this photograph and when I look at it, it invokes memories of my carefree student days, the smells of the chemicals in the dark room, the pride I felt when my image appeared.

Unfortunately, I do not have access to a scanner, so am unable to share it with you. However, here are some water images from more recent times!

Elephant at Dublin Zoo

Howth Harbour in Dublin. Ireland

St Fiachra's Garden, County Kildare, Ireland

A Single Flower – Cee’s Photo Challenge

Fluffytufts is taking part in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge! This week the challenge is to post images of a single flower.

Since getting back into photography over the last year, I have developed a previously undiscovered appreciation for the beauty of flowers. I enjoy getting really close to the flower and using the macro setting on my camera to capture every intricate detail.

Here are two of my favourite captures!

White Flower at the Botanic Gardens

Rose in Rathmines, Dublin

Spring has Sprung (In Ireland Anyway!)

DaffodilsYesterday was the 1st of February.  Not exactly an important date around the globe, but here in Ireland it marked the first day of Spring.

It was only very recently that I found out that Ireland is the only country in which Spring begins in February! I made the discovery while working as a teacher for children who had English as an Additional Language.  Most of these children were born in Ireland, but their families hailed from many countries across the globe.

While teaching months and season, the children were quick to ‘correct’ me!  They thought it was hilarious that, in their eyes, the teacher didn’t know the months of each season.  It happened enough times that I went online to check and lo-and-behold discovered this:

“In terms of complete months, in most North Temperate Zone locations, spring months are March, April and May… …In Ireland spring traditionally starts on 1 February, St Brigid’s Day.”  [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_(season)]

The Celtic/Gaelic Calendar

It would seem that Ireland’s traditions are firmly rooted in the ancient Celtic calendar.  There are eight highlights of this calendar: Yule (Winter Solstice), Litha (Summer Solstice), Ostara (Spring Equinox), Mabon (Autum Equinox) and the four ‘quarter-days’ Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain (marking the points between the Solstices and the Equinoxes).

Celtic Wheel Calendar

St Brigid’s Day/Imbolc

St Brigid’s Day (or Imbolc) marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.   It is an Irish festival celebrating the beginning of spring and the returning of the light.  Children in primary schools all over the country make St Brigid’s crosses out of reeds or rushes.  According to tradition, a new cross should be made for the household each year.

Here is an Irish Traditional Blessing that honours St. Brigid’s Day:

“May Brigid bless the house where you dwell, 
every fireside door and every wall;
every heart that beats beneath its roof,
every hand that toils to bring it joy, 
every foot that walks its portals through. 
may Brigid bless the house that shelters you.”

More Information

I have only scratched the surface, but if you would like to know more, I have come across some interesting sites that go into greater detail!

The Real Celtic Spring: The Festival of St Brigid

The Light Returns…Imbolc

The Festival of Imbolc and St Brigid

The Religious Foundation of Groundhog Day

How to make a St Brigid’s Cross