Tuesday 20 September 2016

Road Trip(s)

'Golden Hornet' crab apples ripe for the picking. 
We do very little driving around for its own sake but since the last post I have found myself on two very different but equally remarkable road trips, one in an olde tractor and one in the 'normal' car. The tractor ride came about because a good friend of ours was having his little old 2 wheel drive John Deere fixed at a workshop down beyond Castlerea - only 28 km but that's a decent tarmac drive for a tractor, likely to take an hour and a half at least. He didn't fancy the job so when I volunteered he looked at me as if I must be mad but readily accepted.

A few more weeks and the pears will also be ripe.
All the serious farmers round here and the contractors have, by now, much bigger machines - big 4 wheel drive 100 hp+ with fancy sprung, air-con, sound proofed cabs, very comfortable seats, all automatic drive and gearing and assorted bells and whistles. It is only the old boys on the tiny farms who retain the smaller, simpler tractors which I would know; which I would have driven back in my farming days 40 years ago. Or the restoration/vintage enthusiasts, of course. This was one such - I was going to be bounced around and deafened all the way home but I have a kind of masochistic nostalgic delight in these rattle-buckets.

A '365' pic of the road down to the old graveyard.
I ran the route on Google Maps and wrote down the following figures, just for interest. The journey was only 28.3 km (17.6 miles) but took 1 hour and 50 minutes so I was able to average only 15.43 km/hr (9.58 mph). Total hearing loss was about 70% (Wha'...? Pardon?) and I was delighted to finally get the tractor home, 'strangle' the engine and park the hydraulics. For some of the route I was following the road markings painted down for the half marathon a few weeks back - 5m, 6m and so on. I actually FELT like a marathon man slowly creeping towards his finish and anticipating the cheers of the crowds.

Kilrooan old graveyard
The other road trip was a very different affair, my 2nd down to Co. Tipperary (I was down there for my pig training course 2+ years ago  http://deefer-dawg.blogspot.ie/2014/04/its-long-way-pig-school.html ) and our first to Cashel (as in "The Rock of.."). As the song goes - it is, indeed, a long way and we planned a 3 hour run down to the funeral (brother of friend) to be in time for the midday Funeral Mass. We made it and did the honours at church and then at the graveyard but ended up with no time at all to look round what looks like a beautiful town and the castle/rock itself.

The 'posh' shoes don't get many outings. I had to brush the
dust off for the funeral. 
The journey home was a little longer but we broke it with a small diversion into Mum's place for soup, tea and cake. That was a long old day. It was also the day of the 'All Ireland' GAA football final between Mayo and 'the Dubs' (they drew) so Liz (outbound driver) picked up some traffic reminiscent of our Kent days on what are normally empty roads, with all the Mayo lads heading up to the capital.

Nice harvest moon - this would be a 'Hopping Moon' in Kent
(from the hop-picking)
In other news, young Deefer, our oldest dog made her 10th birthday (17th Sept) and the Guinea hen (Min) may have gone broody. She went AWOL Sunday and Monday nights and was not there at lock-up. We had a quick patrol but not with any hope of success as it was getting dark. We reckoned that as we have seen no mating behaviour or eggs for months, she might be doing a sneaky stash somewhere and on Monday we kept a bead on the 'boys'.

An early breakfast for the ewes on Funeral Day. 
When they were both loitering with intent, looking guilty. next day between the caravan and the 'Mad Max' vehicle, we deduced that she might well be among the old rafters slid under the caravan, where she might be quite safe as it would be a tight squeeze for Mr Fox (if not the mink) and, anyway, we'd not be able to extract her. Subsequently she has been off the eggs and wandering round with the boys enough to make us doubt her commitment to this broody thing but we keep and open mind since so many hens we have doubted have, in the event, produced the goods. Tonight, though, she is back roosting in the coop up in the rafters with her beau, so that might be that. I will keep you posted.

Existing tiny 8' square kitchen, looking at
the window which will  soon be a bigger
Finally a start soon on a house project which has been on the cards for a while, the kitchen extension. We have put up with the old floor plan since our rebuild. This includes a 50's "council style" extension to the back of the house which holds the kitchen downstairs and a flat-roof bathroom upstairs. The kitchen is only 8 feet square which dictates that a lot of stuff (fridge, freezers, crockery and cutlery) end up in other parts of the house and pretty much fixes the design options (path up the middle, oven one side, sink the other)

The 'Pottery' and that window from the
Ours, however, came with a tempting opportunity to expand with a lean-to or conservatory style (ish) extension. The west facing window looks out over a bit of concrete 'path' between the exterior house wall and the out-building we call the Tígín (wee housey), an area we optimistically named the 'Pottery'. It was going to be a garden for pots, planters and tubs but hey, the best laid plans etc. It never happened and it exists merely as a pad of concrete where the chickens come to scrounge cat food through the open window. It is an 8 feet wide and 11 feet long blank bit of wasted space inches away from the poor over-crowded chef who is crying out for more elbow room and storage area. Well, not for much longer. More on this soon.

1 comment:

Mr Silverwood said...

Yay, bigger kitchen, fair play.