Monthly Archives: August 2016

Don’t try this at home

I passed supermom mode one bar of chocolate ago and am now in a fuzzy, confusing place. This day started way too early ago with my second little darling starting school. Let’s just say my blue-eyed challenging humdinger of a baby has made it out into the real world. To say that he inherited his mommy’s spirited streak does neither of us justice but it is safe to say that around this day, some five years ago he looked into my eyes on his arrival (trust me, this kid could see), and I knew it was going to be an interesting journey, to say the least.

So at nine am, I left him at the classroom and with him my heart for he for all his wildness is the funniest most lovable rogue that a mommy ever had the pleasure to know. He was happy, I was happy-ish. Arriving home, I was intent on making the day perfect (eeek) and started into baking the first-day-at-school-cake while trying to give our third son a bit more attention given that he was now the centre of all my attention. So the cake, think jam and jelly and cream and fruit squashed between two sponge layers. Delicious. But no, why stop there. My eldest was starting into a new class too, why his favorite, he would have to have meatballs. And the third little boy could help. Sigh.

And then I would fold the washing with the third. Then we would play and read stories and chat and have tea and call Daddy for lunch. Dizzy yet? Then we would collect our newest school go-er and chat about his day at school. And then, we would try and fit in another number of jobs and then we would collect Primo. And then we would cook the meatballs. And have a first day at school party with the cake. By now, believe me, we’re tired. And then, we would go to bed for pity sake. We would read. We would eventually fall to sleep. And then, yours truly would go and get organized for the next day. Nope, not over yet.

As the craziness continued, I felt it most necessary to take out the agricultural notes I had spent all summer avoiding and of all nights begin revising them tonight. Tonight. So as I sit here writing a blog post (why not), I am up to my oxters in diagrams on the external features of a Beef animal (I would say a cow), feeling like a bit of a rag. Someone show me the way to go home. We do it though. We go too far. And don’t we know it. And don’t we have to reel it back in. Wherever you are out there, mind yourselves and for God’s sake, don’t be stuck if you need to know what end of beef animal (aka cow) you’re looking at. Sleep tight.

Second Cut Silage

I’m stuffed from cold chips. It’s that kind of a day. You grab meals while you run between the two smallest boys who want a drive on one of the five tractors bringing in silage outside the door and the kitchen where you run getting the tea ready. By now, I can time it well enough. They have another five acres to collect, the sky is holding, so the silage men will eat before they cover the pit. I’ve got a half an hour.

It was an early start. As always, we were in a rush around the farmhouse, our usual tardy selves catching up with the day. I put the bacon onto boil while I made the scones; a dozen brown, a dozen fruit. With the oven still hot, I put the bacon now smeared with honey, mustard and cloves into bake and it’s scent wafts into every corner of the house. I lay the table and have to run to town. I never know when the crew are to eat until closer to the time so I have the food ready to go. Scones covered, ham cooling, salads ready.

All the way home from town the boys ask if the tractors have arrived. I’m not sure. Maybe. Probably. Every five minutes or maybe less, the same answer. Soon. Probably. Maybe. We’ll see. And then as we drive along our road, we can see the big machines in the silage fields sucking up the grass like a straw in a green field with their forage harvesters. To placate the boys who just want to go to Daddy, I set two chairs up in the field so they can watch the trailers emptying their loads of grass onto the pit and see the awe-inspiring packer climb over the grass even-ing it off expertly. I know it would take my boys in wellies about five minutes to get to the gate so I run between them and the kitchen. With the tractors parked up in the yard, I can switch on the oven and fill the kettle all the time running between the children and the oven.

All plates were eaten whilst watching an Irish athlete go for gold at the Olympics. He broke an Irish record as we all watched on drinking the tea and eating the ham, satisfied. No rest for the wicked, the pit has to be covered, the children have to watch on and I have the ware to wash. The cow’s feed saved for the winter. I might just flick that kettle on again before the running starts again. Second cut silage saved.

Ah, Sleep

I think if I were to read the blog tags retrospectively they would mention sleep and children quite often. It’s been a consideration of mine these past seven years, an obsession really, given the time of our lives.

‘Did you get up last night?’ he might ask. ‘No, they slept through.’ High Five.

Last Saturday morning, I found myself early in a park in Cork. At nine in the morning to be precise. And there I met a woman with her children who was at nine o’clock in the morning trying to ‘wear them out so they’ll sleep the night.’ At 9am. In the morning. And because we’re just coming ourselves out of the crazy torturous sleep schedules of young children, I had to bite my lip so as not to offer this lady advise. You see, she admitted that she hadn’t sleep in two and a half years. The age of her eldest daughter. Two and a half years of no sleep. And it’s not too distant a memory that I’m unaware that the cruelest thing to do to any poor creatur in such a state is to offer her advise. Because she has tried it. How do I know? Why, I’m a mother of young children, I have tried it. All.

And whatsmore, even though I have children who were relatively good sleepers (mainly because if they looked like they wouldn’t sleep, I’d drive them to the local beach and release them like labradors to run until they looked tired), I would have lied. Because as you know, worse that the person who wants to advise you on how to give your children a nights sleep, is the person who tells you (smugly) that their children always sleep. Until ten o’clock in the morning mind you. I haven’t slept past eight o clock in seven years (and it was 6.30 until three months ago).

If she hadn’t been a perfect stranger, I would have told her to go off for a sleep for herself on the park-bench while I watched the children. Odd, definately. Instead, all I could lend this lady was a listening ear. Listen to the delirium of a body who has not slept in a long time as she raved on incoherently about children and the suggestion that her mother recently gave her of putting diluted whiskey in their bottles. It’s how it was long go. Apparently. Happily, we laughed that suggestion off.

So, if you’re off to bed in the sweet knowledge that you will sleep soundly, my friends, sweet dreams. As for all the rest of you night warriors, keep the faith and the whiskey in the cupboard. If you must.

The Takeaway

Thursday night I found myself having a takeaway with my lovely sisters in the city. Just like that, we ordered from an Asian cookhouse before leaving the homeplace and collected it on the way to my middliest sister’s house. From the extensive menu, we ordered Asian food and it came to us so easily in the cutest little cartons. And while I tried to focus on my sisters, I couldn’t take my attention away from the food, so fresh and hot and aromatic. I thought, there has to be more, these are very small cartons but on opening them up there appeared just the right amount of food for all. Delicious. Easy. An accessible meal.

Everything consumable in the city is easy.

I was telling my sisters about our attempt to have a Chinese takeaway some weeks back as our eldest indignant that his classmates had all eaten takeaways, would like to try some. Fair enough. Now, I must add, that others may have tried and may have been more successful but it is not an easy task and after one or two attempts, women stronger than I have said to have given up. So I know of a lovely Chinese restaurant in our nearest big town, Listowel. It’s good enough food and reasonable. What more does a seven year old want for his first takeaway experience? It’s about 15 km away. Problem number one, how to keep the hot food hot and tasty. It’s manageable enough. But alas, there is always the problem of directions.

The entrance to our house has red gates, symphony red according to the colour chart and they are a beauty. Aside from being aesthetically lovely, they are a beacon to lost delivery men when looking for our homestead. If you see the red gates, that’s us. Alas, at nighttime, the red gates, in the absence of street lamps or streets in fact are not visible. Problem number two. So having called up and ordered we waited an unusually long time before I got a call from the village from a forlorn delivery man to say that he was lost. Not the best at given directions (reference red gate), I handed the phone to my farmer who explained the way to our house.  Some ten minutes later, I received another call to say that he has been driving up and down the street and village, he just can’t find the turn off to our house. ‘Stay right where you are’ I said and hopped in the car to go and find the lonesome delivery man.

‘I didn’t think that road led anywhere’, the man said shocked that anyone would even think of living up ‘such a lonely road’. ‘Everyroad leads to somewhere’ I said now channelling my inner hungry Buddha. ‘Amazing’ he said and started to chat about living in the country and how he could never do it. Ordinarily, I would have been delighted to engage but I was aware of the luke warm package in my hands that needed feeding to the wide-eyed expectant family. ‘Rightso,’ he waved me off, standing in the village street-light watching me off not quite believing that there was a road beyond the sportsfield; one he had dared not to travel. ‘Townie’ my Buddha whispered while sending him much good tidings for his return journey.

As for his first takeaway experience, my young son ate it up. Not bad he said.

The moral, everything consumable in the countryside is not so easy. But you can curse the darkness or learn to make a very good Chinese meal. Now to find some of those cutesy cartons.