Sunday, 15 July 2012

AWOL Annie and Romantic Meals

Mum announces on Weds 11th that the forecast was for frequent heavy showers all day and she wasn't wrong. Dad was wrangling a log store (stops for rain) out of some wood and (stops for rain) left over tar felt (stops for rain) and it felt like every other saw-cut (stops for rain) and change of tool (stops for rain) he was stopping to avoid a rain shower (and relax). Never mind, the job got completed and he has now stacked what we thought of as our big pile of logs into it and the new store has swallowed them and is asking for more. Is that all yer got? Come on! We are going to have to go logging again, so today's mission to the lovely "Connacht Gold Garden Centre and Agric Merchant" will have chain-saw chain-lube on the list.

The Lovely Girls, meanwhile, have bizarrely decided that afternoon is a better time to lay eggs than morning. Not a one has laid an egg prior to midday for the last couple of days. We'd been hanging on keeping them in the run till we had 4 and then letting them out to free-range, but now we're letting them out even if there are no eggs and they can catch up with that side of things when they get back. Not a bother. We are currently on 4 eggs most days but we think all 5 are laying, just 2 of them might be doing it every other day (or 3 of them 2 out of three days?) Whatever, you get the drift.

Thursday 12th
As they say round here "Wait 'n'I tell yer!"; I have a bizarre and unique tale for you this morning; possibly an "Only in Ireland" one or possibly an "only in our unique circumstances" one.

A day of carpentry for Dad, building wee housey round the gas canisters and for Mum, Domestic Goddessery and painting said housey. Then Dad is mowing in the west field when neighbour one side Una shows up with bag full of rooted slips and cutting of broom and lilac. We feed her tea and biscuits, Dad nips out briefly to finish the mowing as it starts raining and Una is well enough entertained by chatting to Mum who then walks her home. At that point (about 6pm) we feed chooks and they are all present and correct.

We retreat indoors and Mum goes wild in the kitchen creating a gorgeous romantic meal of lobster, a green salad from our garden, pork ribs in lovely sticky peanut sauce and rice salad with peppers. She has Dad light the range for extra cosiness and they light the candles on the wrought-iron stand and one on the table. There is wine and nice linen. Mum and Dad are settled to a lovely romantic evening....sigh. They progress through lobster (yummy) and are just at the last scrape out of meat bits from among claws, cracking the claw shells etc when there's a knock at the door. It's other neighbour, John Deere Bob 

A bit non-plussed but not yet at the stage where they can tell this lovely old boy to scram on his tractor as it's not really a good time, Mum and Dad invite him in, flapping away any objections. He shuffles through in farm boots to sit by the range in 'his' chair, completely un-phased by the romantic scene and candles. Mum serves him tea and biscuits and returns to the table. Mum and Dad start back into the rather in-your-fingers, messy-eating ribs in sauce course, all a bit weirded out by having to wipe their mouths every now and then to hold snatched conversations with Bob, who alternates between sitting happily silent looking around him, or commenting on the car-port or the garden, weather etc. 

Dad soldiers on through my ribs and salad and wine and eventually finish, and Mum tries to do the same but eventually (as she puts it) her nerve cracks and she pushes aside the last ribs and salad pretending to have finished the meal, and clears away. Dad goes to help but they are curiously un-nerved by Bob and Mum always says to Dad, "No, you sit still, I'll do it!" as if she is worried Bob might think the less of us if a man is helping in the kitchen.

They all chat some more, now a bit more relaxed around the cleared table and glasses of wine half-hidden behind 'stuff' so it's not quite so in non-drinker Bob's view. Eventually he gets up and goes, put-putting back down the drive on his tractor and Mum and Dad both breathe out simultaneously, but any pretence of the romance being re-awoken vanishes when I go to lock down the chickens and find the one missing. One of the Lovely Girls seems to have gone AWOL. We don't yet know whether that's AWOL=lost and will wander back, AWOL=gone broody and is hidden up somewhere on a clutch of eggies or AWOL=snatched by Brer Fox. We searched everywhere but to no avail. Dad was rather hoping William's crowing on Friday morning would guide the 'lost' her back like Siren Song and she'd be standing on the porch all apologetic this morning. No such happy ending, so far anyway.

An everyday tale of country folk?
Friday The 13th
Dad decides, as it's not windy, to 'drop' the 2nd ugly Leylandii at the top of our woods, figuring that if he cuts the required wedge on 'that side' nearest the concrete wall and then slopes a cut through from 'this side' it would neatly fall 'that' way across the wall which would then act as a neat saw-horse while he logged up the trunk. Mum is happily weeding out to the side, 90 degrees from the expected (some of you may have spotted a pattern here!) direction of falling but is, cleverly, more than the tree height away. This turns out to be a salutary lesson to all readers who might fancy playing with a chainsaw one day. An argumentative Leylandii will not necessarily do what it's told. Still, no harm done and Mum was shaken but not stirred.

AWOL Annie stays AWOL. There is, so far, no happy re-union and Dad’s dream that William's enthusiastic crowing in the morning would guide her little lost but unharmed self home so she'd be waiting when we came to let the rest out, was not to be. Never mind. We have not yet given up hope. We keep the other chickens close through the day; they stay around our logging and weeding activity and we round them up well before the end of the afternoon and lock them up by 6pm. Little foxy chum (if indeed there has been foul-play (fowl play?) and he/she is the culprit) is not getting another one. 

Bizarrely, black and white doe-bunny, Padfoot. who has spent a week excavating a neat hole and tunnel under the fence of her run till she was down two body lengths (We're WATCHING you, Padders!), suddenly fills it all in again in half an hour in the evening, just before 'lock-down' and seals it up by stomping the soil down as if it had never been. She even leaves a bigger stone on the top as if to mnark the spot. We have no idea why. Perhaps she was upset at Mum and Dad poking a stick down it to see how impressively deep it is.
We have a bimbly day where not much is achieved but AT LAST the ground is drying enough that Dad can get onto the 'allotment' and hoe! He can enjoy the sight of decapitated and uprooted weeds wilting quickly in the sun's heat and the breeze. Up to now this has been impossible because the grass started growing again immediately it landed on the sodden ground (sodding ground?). Facebook still seems to have all our old Kent lot suffering under the still-relentless rain, so we sympathize with them.

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