Friday, May 29, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On the Farm

I've been working here on the O'Regan Farm for exactly 2 weeks now, feels like 2 months. Everyday has been long, hard, exciting, educational and absolutely beautiful.

I begin everyday at 9am, reluctantly jump out of my warm bed and into my cold clothes, lace up my boots, brush my teeth and head to the kitchen. I have 3 fresh eggs every morning that I collect from the chickens, 2 slices of Fields of Skibbereen toast topped with pure Irish cream butter, orange juice and a cup of hot tea with honey.
Our Cuckold and chickens

The eggs from our 10 hens
After breakfast I feed the chickens then spend the rest of the day in the garden, earthing-up potato spuds, weeding, and turning soil for our new crops. We'll be planting carrots, lettuce and sunflowers very soon, currently we just have lots of potatoes and onions.

The potato spuds, and frame for polytunnel we'll put up soon.

Most of the worms I find in the garden are about this size.

We compost just about everything here

I work all day until Reuben gets home from school at 3pm and then we go off on adventures, running through the hills and doing cool stuff like making wilderness shelters.

The beginning of our shelter.

The house.

Window box on the left is my room.

The kitchen, where I spend every evening making dinner.

Okay, thats enough for now. There's so much more that happens around here and I have A LOT more photos but I think thats good for now.
Okay, one more. This is a prelude to my next story. Um, shit. They're running straight for us. Stay tuned...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Holy Day

What an extraordinary day. It began by attending First Holy Communion at Castlehaven Parish, my first Catholic experience of any kind. It was basically exactly what I expected. I enjoyed it, lots of prayers, kneeling, standing, then kneeling again. I even ate the eucharist wafer and made the sign of the cross while mumbling half of some prayer I'd heard a few times throughout the service. Reuben was singing in the choir and they sounded lovely. Here's a recording I got of them. Click HERE to listen.

The weather this morning was dreadful.

After Holy Communion Barbara's sister Susan came to collect Reuben and I and bring us back to Baltimore where she lives. Baltimore is a beautiful seaside sailing village about 20 mins from here. In the past week I've actually contacted a lady, Anne, in Baltimore on that has a 100 year old sailboat that needs help repairing. I told her I'd call her when I got into Baltimore. To my pleasant surprise Susan informs us in the car that we're stopping in Skibbereen to a attend a protest. Due to the economy the government is making lots a cuts, most recently they've planned to terminate the bus route from Drimoleague to Baltimore. This is the only bus to Baltimore and many people rely on it as their only from of transportation, like school children and elderly folk. A local politician organised the rally with signs and banners for us to walk through the center of town. As we were all gathering and huddling under eachothers umbrellas I was introduced to some of the locals. I kept noticing a lovely lady with long dark hair looking over at me and smiling. She eventually approached me and introduced herself as Anne, I politely responded by introducing myself but I was getting the feeling like I was missing something. It took a second to click but then I realised it was Anne from Baltimore with the sailboat. She had already figured out who I was by my American accent and heard my name as I was introduced to others. We both had no idea either one of were going to be at the protest, pleasant surprise. She introduced me to her best friend Becky, beautiful half Spanish half Irish woman, and the three of us spent the rest of the evening together.

The little one on the left is Reuben. It was his first protest and he loved every minute of it. The photographers from the local paper loved him too.

After the protest we stopped for tea then piled in the car and drove down to Baltimore. Some of the most beautiful part of the country I've seen yet. Rolling green hills with shimmering coves and sailboats in every direction. Anne and I were dropped off on the side of the road and she led me through a field, over a barbed wire fence and down to the shipwrecked cove where Atlantis Adventurer lay sleeping.

Anne gave me a full tour of the 50ft beauty inside and out then we sat in the cabin for a bit to chat. In 2 weeks when I'm done here at the O'Regan Farm I'll relocate to Baltimore and begin living and working on the boat. She's having a sea wright come to do some work and I'll be his assistant. I'm beside myself to say the least.

After the boat we walked up the road, climbed over a weathered stone wall into Anne and Becky's back patio, stepped through the small garden and into the house to make lunch. We spent the rest of the evening together preparing and eating a delicious vegetarian meal, drinking tea, lounging in the sunroom and listening to their travel stories and of the many years they lived in the commune called Atlantis in Columbia South America. It was an absolutely delightful day. I'll be joining them again this weekend.

Life gets better everyday.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fishing with Reuben

After a long day of earthing-up spuds, Reuben and I took his rods and walked down to Castletownshend, the old fishing village a few miles down the road. No luck with the fishing but we didn't mind, he found lots of treasures on the shore and I love being down at the beautiful cove with all the fishing boats.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Friends at Sandy Cove

Took the bicycle for a ride through the countryside and along the coast today. Met this lovely pair down by the cliffs with their dogs. Kevin and Bet Hanley were their names and we spoke for a while on the shore.

It was a cold and windy day but the sun was warm enough for me to take a nap in the plush green grass on the bank of Toehead cove. This is were I extinguished my use of a cellphone by ceremoniously throwing it into the sea. This is a new age that demands us to inherit the old.

Maybe I'll settle down here someday.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Living on the Emerald Isle

So much has happened in the past 5 days that I've been in Ireland, where to begin? After a long eventful, delicious, sexy and incredibly fun weekend in NYC I said my goodbyes and boarded my plane at JFK. It hadn't really hit me that I was finally going to Ireland until the lovely flight attendant began speaking in Gaelic. My heart leaped out my chest.
Flew in to Dublin Monday, had a layover so I spent a few hours walking about the city. It was sporadically raining and much colder than I was expecting. My digital camera is still being fixed back in the states so I didn't get to take any photos, I could buy a disposable but haven't been able to bring myself to spend 18 euro on one. Just my luck it was a bank holiday so not much was open, but I did get to go to the Temple Bar district, saw the Guinness Brewery, walked through the gorgeous Merrion Square, passed Oscar Wilde's house, and ran across O'Connell Bridge to catch my bus back to the airport. Took a short flight to Cork then another bus to Drimoleague where I was to be picked up by Barbara my farm host. I was supposed to take a bus to Skibbereen but because of the holiday not many buses were running. The bus ride through the countryside was breathtaking, rolling rich green hills, sheep and cow pastures every bit of the way and sun showers all the while. I was fading in and out of conciseness due to the jetlag, constant travel, and lack of sleep in past 24hrs. Everytime I woke up I was pleasantly reminded I was in Ireland. Drimoleague is a very small village and the only thing open when I got off the bus was May Dean's Pub across the street from the stop. I stumbled in and threw my massive backpack from my shoulder, all eyes on me as I hear a voice mumble "jaesis lads, lookat we got ere". Besides the fact that everyone knows everyone here I definitely stand out. I had to pee sooo bad so I thought I could drop in use the toilets and phone Barbara. After about 30 seconds I decided not to leave my bag unattended and I'd rather just sit outside at the bus stop where Barbara could see me. Atleast half the town wouldn't be staring at me in the pub. I spoke too soon. On my way out the door my wide ass backpack gets stuck in the reeeeally bloody small doorway, as I try to shift and maneuver my way through it I panic and just take it off. I turn around to see the bartender coming to give me a hand, I jerk my pack through, say thanks then speed walk down the street hearing an uproar of laughter behind me. Pretty embarrassing but mostly hilarious. Moments later Barbara came to collect me.
Since I arrived on the farm I've been working long hard days and loving every minute of it. I'm living in a 150 year family farm house, we have chickens, potatoes, lettuce, onions, raspberries, gooseberries, rhubarb, and sunflowers. There is loads of work to be done remolding the house and landscaping and when I'm not busy with everything else I've got to mind after her 8 year old son Reuben. He's a real chancer and gives me an awful pain in the gulliver, but we get on just fine. Though he continually tries my patience we're actually becoming quite good friends.
I've borrowed Barbara's digital camera and taken a few photos around but haven't the time to upload them all now. Here's a peak.
To be continued..

the road to our house