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Himself has a friend from back home who plays in a Dublin band. We were informed several weeks ago that he would be playing in Cork city, at Crane Lane Theatre. Since he is a childhood friend and we haven’t been out in ages, it was duly marked on the mental calendar. I wasn’t sure about the “psychedelic garage rock” genre, but some things trump skepticism.

We didn’t bother getting in to town till about 10pm, since the band wasn’t on till midnight. Himself was hungry so we grabbed a slice of pizza then headed into Counihans pub for pre-music-venue pints. A Bob Dylan tribute band was playing, and while I’m not usually a fan of tribute bands these guys were good! The lead singer, sporting a black hat and gray beard, clearly had a Cork accent when he spoke, but his enunciation and articulation when singing were spot on Dylan. The atmosphere was so enjoyable we stayed till closing!

After my final round (He was driving – poor Him) we walked across the street to Crane Lane. The inside of this venue is really cool! I don’t know its history but the main stage has traditional red velvet curtains, fitting with the name. I was actually in the mood for a chocolate martini, which they did not serve, so the barman recommended ….. something I could not understand. I agreed (you only live once, right?). He poured one or two dark liquids into the glass, dropped a slice of orange in, and then asked whether I wanted orange juice or fizzy orange. I opted for fizzy. The drink tasted like an orange creamsicle! Which, in the moment, was yummy! (though the alcohol mixing and excess sugar weren’t so yummy the day after!)

So, the Northern Drones (the band Himself’s friend is in) sounded kinda like…. the Doors. Ok, so maybe not. But they had that trancy, deep sound you imagine playing as background music in old footage of people in the 60’s tripping on acid. What? You haven’t seen that footage? The music sort of drifted in and out, with a constant push ahead, even though I couldn’t really tell where it was going. That was the theme of the music, for me. The push…driving forward to somewhere…. His friend plays bass. His friend spent the entire set with his back turned to the audience. Afterwards, I didn’t ask why. I didn’t want to. I preferred imagining he kept his back to the hungry eyes of modernity while seeking his inner illusion of solitude and oneness with the psychedelic sound waves of bliss. Groovy man…..

Needless to say, we had a GREAT time and for some mysterious reason I had a headache the next day. :whistles while looking around innocently: Himself needed to lodge some cheques and post a few business letters so I ventured in for fresh air. We stopped at the butcher and then the market for dinner items. He was about to toss in biscuits when I stopped him.

Why don’t we make our own cookies …. from scratch?

So, into the basket goes light brown sugar (which I was out of) and semi-sweet chocolate chips. When we got home I whipped up some scrumptious cookies while he finished work. It was nice indulging one of my favorite childhood past times and it made me miss my Mother. I have fond memories of her making cakes or cookies and me helping her… in the best way possible. By licking the bowl!

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It struck me today, like a bolt of lightening…. Eating local is the shizzle!

There is an amazing farmer’s market every Saturday in town. We like to buy our veg there, and pick up delicious rashers and sausages, bring home farm fresh eggs, grab scrumptious coffee sprinkled with chocolate, and listen to live music. We cooked a late breakfast after the market today and as we sat there in the kitchen enjoying conversation and good food, it dawned on me….

“Everything we are putting inside our bodies is grown right here! Right where we live!”

The pigs have felt the same rain we have. The chickens, the same breezes that whip our trees to and fro. These animals live in the same vale we do. The pig farm is on the horizon, just on the other hill. I can see their little houses from the front garden. The blackberries for the jam came from our hedgerow. I began to imagine I could taste even the scent of our townland in my mouth.

I put up my own St. John’s Wort this year, in preparation for the dark winter. I gathered blackberries and made jam. I foraged rowanberries and apples for jelly. My sloe gin is stewing, and my herb cabinet is stocked with the wholesome goodness of tinctures, oils, and salves made with plant material collected from my own laneway. I feel a distinct pride is this bit of self-sufficiency. I also feel thankful.

Besides all the environmental reasons for eating local (reduction in carbon emissions, etc), I am supporting economies of scale. Which really means… I’m ensuring the family farm lives on! My family was unable to withstand the changing landscape of farming in Texas and what my great-grandparents, and my grandparents after them, worked so hard to build has fallen to parceled-out-and-broken-up-heart-wrenching-to-look-at-five-acre-tracts-with-crappy-houses! I have a choice where I spend my food money and I prefer it goes into the hands of women and men who are cultivating the land they live on, and husbanding the animals in their care. And… it just tastes better!

It might be all in my head but, seriously, I could almost taste the sweet breeze that blows across this gentle ridge.

OH! I mentioned apples….. This is the first time in my LIFE I’ve picked my own apples! We never grew them in Texas, at least not where I lived. It never got cold enough. They are everywhere here in Ireland. Well, I don’t know about everywhere, but there seem to be loads of apple trees where I am. We were on our way to get 99’s the other day and spotted a laden down tree by the side of the road. Unsure if they were available for public consumption we stopped and asked in at a nearby house. A German lady with little kids was living there and she said the trees were hers but for us to pick as many as we wanted! “There are more than I can use.” She even got us a bag!

Feeling quit like the farmer I’m sure my Grandfather wanted me to be, I am about to get my own chickens! We have a little stone chicken house in the back that surely longs to be put to proper use. I just need to build a secure wire door (to keep the fox out), put up some perches, and build a few nesting boxes. My little BIG is coming to visit soon (for the entire month of October!), so maybe it can be a group project! I have been told there is a man nearby that sells hens for €4 each. Maybe I can find someone closer who is willing to sell me a few starter hens. I would love to get chicks, but I’m not sure I could (this close to winter) or whether it would be a good idea (this close to winter). I wonder whether you can still get an egg a day out of layers here…with the shorter winter days.

Another group “farm” project on the autumn horizon is preparing the garden beds. We have a great raised garden area that gets almost full sun all day (when the sun is shining). I plan to lay out a few rows, turn up the sod there and cover with good compost for the winter to prepare them for spring planting. I really am a complete novice regarding what to plant here and when. Fun times ahead.

Speaking of the long winter…. I felt my first hint of S.A.D. day before yesterday. It was sort of gray and cold here, and I unexpectedly felt gloomy, a little hopeless, and had a craving for chocolate. Himself noticed these signs right away and asked when my St. John’s Wort would be ready to go! He mentioned getting a sun lamp. I wonder… Anyone reading this…Have you ever suffered from S.A.D., and if so, what success did you have coping with it?

we live on a hill and look out over fertile fields…. today the mists have enveloped the world and all horizons are white…

those are cattle just visible past the hedgerow

only in Ireland??

…that are different! They don’t have 3 ring binders in Ireland or a 3 hole punch. Why? Because they only have 2 ring binders. I learn something new every day!

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