Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

A Day in the Life of a House Sitter – Heath, Ma

This is the third blog in my series “A Day in the Life of a House Sitter”. The first one described an average day during our two-week house sit in The Villages, FL last December and the second one reported on our days in Kent, CT for three winter months.

Every house sitting assignment is different and the tasks, requests and expectations depend on the house, the property, the owners and the pets. Some home owners require you to do some yard maintenance, water the house plants or collect the mail; all of them, naturally, expect you to keep the house tidy and “return” it as clean as you found it or better. Usually there is at least one pet to take care of, which means setting food out once or twice a day, making sure the water bowl is always filled with clean water, taking the dog(s) out for daily walks, and sometimes administering medicines or brushing the animal. Although not every pet owner expects it, Mark and I have the tendency to shower dogs with love, attention and company. It goes without saying that a responsible house sitter is prepared to take the pets to the vet or emergency room when necessary and reports general issues back to the owners, while trying to fix or solve problematic situations. And yes, sh*t happens.

Jenny loves the front porch

Jenny loves the front porch

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Six Word Saturday – Reaping the Fruits of our Garden

The fruits of our labor have been very tasty in the form of a  small selection of vegetables we produced in our (current) yard. It was our first ever attempt at gardening

My  Six Word Saturday is full of vegetables. How is yours?

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WW – Carnival is Fun!

I have decided to post photos of past travels in general and our eight year sailing adventure on SV Irie in particular for Wordless Wednesdays. I hope you enjoy them. Also, I can’t manage completely “wordless”, but I try my best at “almost wordless”. 🙂

Since I have archived thousands of photos over the years and can’t easily pick what to post, I use the weekly prompt of the Daily Post to inspire my Wordless Wednesdays. This week’s Daily Post photography theme is “fun“.

A lot of things are fun to me: hanging out with friends and family, attending festivals, doing exciting activities like tubing or rafting, spending time with pets or going on vacation (soon!).  But, for this entry, I followed the lead of my best friend Rosie who is still cruising on her sailboat Wandering Star (for over a decade already!) and is currently enjoying Grenada. She recently immersed herself in the island’s carnival scene and that brought back memories of vivid colors, beating drums, big smiles and lot of fun…

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Hiking to Tannery Falls

Sign at the park entrance, a few miles off Route 2 (Mohawk Trail)

Sign at the park entrance, a few miles off Route 2 (Mohawk Trail)

A few months ago, I did some research about interesting sites in our current area of the Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts. Tannery Falls in Savoy Mountain State Forest seemed like a great afternoon excursion. Especially after driving by the State Forest sign on Route 2 – also called the Mohawk Trail – frequently when running errands in North Adams, I moved the trip higher on my list of “Things I want to do before we leave Heath”.

Mark and I decided to make the trip to Tannery Falls the day after we attended the annual reggae festival in Charlemont. Continue reading

6WS – Feeling Irie at the Reggae Festival

Having thoroughly enjoyed cruising the waters of the Caribbean for four years in our sailing catamaran named Irie, we knew we would have a great time at the Charlemont Reggae Festival.

On this Six Word Saturday, we are still feeling the irie vibes…

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Can you describe your Saturday in six words?

WW – Morning Scenes

I have decided to post photos of past travels in general and our eight year sailing adventure on SV Irie in particular for Wordless Wednesdays. I hope you enjoy them. Also, I can’t do completely “wordless”, but I try my best with “almost wordless”. 🙂

This week’s Daily Post photography theme is “morning”.  Since Mark and I live everywhere and nowhere, our morning looks quite different depending on which place we call home for the time being. Here are some morning photos of the past and the present…

A morning along the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway), heading south to Florida with Irie

A morning along the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway),  taking the dogs ashore

A typical morning from Irie in Huahine, FP - front view

A typical morning from Irie in Huahine, FP – front view

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Monthly Expenses – July 2016

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Every month, I post a report of our expenses to show that it is possible to live a comfortable, exciting and relatively adventurous life without being rich. Or even without owning/earning a lot of money. That being said, Mark and I seem to manage one big expense a month for some reason, whether it is car, plane, travel or computer-related. Luckily, we live totally rent-free and in comfort, wherever we end up. 🙂

This report includes ALL of our expenses, in US$, for the two of us. Under groceries we incorporate all the food, produce and non-alcoholic drinks (100% orange juice, oat milk for Mark and organic 2% milk for me) predominantly bought in supermarkets. Toiletries belong in that category as well. Dining out means eating at a restaurant/event or purchasing take-out food. I read somewhere that "dining out" is meant to happen in fancy places. Not here! But, I do like the term "dining out" better than "eating out", so I'm keeping it. The health category covers medicines and Mark's vitamins and supplements. Utilities are always Skype-related, now that our internet is free and our phone costs are business-deductible.  You don't see heath care costs, because Mark and I are eligible for free health care in the state of Massachusetts, since our income is  in the lowest bracket. I still pay a small three-monthly fee in Belgium for health care (required to keep my citizenship), which I will report on at the end of the year.

Here is an overview of our expenses in July.  After months of trying to stay under $1000, we finally succeeded! Still, our daily expenses while traveling on our sailboat or our camper were much lower.  Blame it on all the seducing and endless choices of and in US stores... Consumerism is slowly getting to us. Help!

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IWSG – Writing Articles

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing.  Last month, I gave a summary of my book project. The question IWSG would like to see answered this month is “What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer and where is it now?” Since my only success as a freelance writer is getting articles published in boating magazines, I would like to share some insights about article writing.

Caribbean boating magazines

Caribbean boating magazines

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WW – A Narrow Path to Safety

I have decided to post photos of past travels in general and our eight year sailing adventure on SV Irie in particular for Wordless Wednesdays. I hope you enjoy them. Also, I can’t do completely “wordless”, but I try my best with “almost wordless”. 🙂

This week’s Daily Post photography theme is “narrow”.  My mind wandered back to all those times we snorkeled in between tight coral alleys to enjoy the underwater animal world. More stressful were the moments we had to find a way to the beach or to open water through a maze of shallow coral heads in our dinghy (or our “big” boat).  These are photos of enjoyable coral encounters… Tunnels are also relatively narrow.

How to get to the beach without hitting precious reefs?

How to get to the beach without hitting precious reefs?

Narrow paths in between coral heads for amazing snorkeling experiences.

Narrow paths in between coral heads offer amazing snorkeling experiences.

Have you had narrow escapes? Do you know narrow-minded people? What narrow objects have you photographed in the past? What comes to mind when you think about “narrow”?

The Art of Being Flexible (and Realistic)

One of the greatest perks about house and pet sitting in different states (or countries) is that you can explore new areas at will. If you decide to take on longer term sits, like us, these explorations can be done in-depth with destinations galore for weekends away. Mark and I only have about one month left of our 4.5-month house sit in Heath, MA and I feel that we are running out of time for my “to visit” list. Of course, this list is so extensive that it is humanly impossible to actually do it all, unless we could devote ourselves to our roaming ways every single day of the week, which we can’t, because of our business.

Town Hall in Great Barrington

Town Hall in Great Barrington

I had a few “to do” things planned for our weekend in SW Massachusetts: climbing two mountains, Mt. Everett (partly) and Monument Mountain (wholly), strolling around two historical towns, Stockbridge and Great Barrington, hiking to three sets of waterfalls, Bash Bish Falls, Bear Rock and the cascades of Race Brook, visiting Guilder Pond and driving back from Great Barrington to Lee on a scenic road, before heading home on Sunday. Oh, and as a back-up or if we had extra time, I had more waterfall destinations up my sleeve.

View from Mt. Everett

View over the Berkshires

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