Sept 23-Oct 8 Ballingarry

September 23, 2012
Our first night at the farm in Ballingarry petrifies us and we think about leaving.  Our host Theresa yells at her kids and has none of the gentleness of Kathleen.  Emily, a 23-year-old history graduate from Minnesota, is here and she seems grand so we will stay. 

The road that takes us from the castle gatelodge (above with new addition shown) to Theresa’s is lined with large trees and climbing vines (below).  It is completely different from the chest-high bushes that line the edges of the dairy’s of Kerry.  We spotted a hurling stick in the gas station down the street. 

October 3, 2012
My back felt strong today as I worked and I didn’t mind my dirty mop of hair as I bent my knees to shovel manure for the garden beds.  Emily, Lindsey, and I are quite the crew.  I’m glad Emily is here for Lindsey because I’m so often in my own thoughts. The weeded beds are in the photo. 

October…a few days later
At the Irish woman’s country association we learned how to make wine from a vibrant middle aged woman with a Napa Valley air to her and, more importantly, we learned that Irish woman do indeed grow beards at a certain point.  I imagine away the fluff of hair they arrange around their faces and see that they look just like elderly men.  Gender seems to me to be something that rises and blossoms during the middle of one’s vitality and quietly disappears as it is no longer needed.  Of course, their hands and words and movements carry their womanhood.  You should have seen them fight to be the one to help serve and clean the dishes.  And the woman they call Bunny sitting next to me snatched up the little sandwiches and cakes to go with her tea.  It was ten o’clock at night and these sharp-eyed women sipped caffeinated tea in their neatly matching suits and made plans for next week’s meeting. 

View from Knock Fierna toward Theresa's farm.  Typical field pattern but with more trees than Kerry.  

 shelter for cows on the knock fierna fairy hill in ballingarry--just a little mortar in center of the thick walls and a thatch roof

October 5, 2012

Walking down the street with 12 sausages in one hand and a wine bottle in the other.  Lindsey has a bag of carrots, some toilet paper, and a bar of dark chocolate.  We keep having to stop so we won’t knock ourselves over with laughter.  Too many folic grocery items and talk of aphrodisiacs will make us succumb to this kind of hilarity.  

October 6, 2012
Caledonia at the Ballingarry pub: “let me tell you that I love you and I think about you all the time, Caledonia….and if I should become a stranger, it would make me more than sad”.  Then another song: “All the radio said/was another shot dead/and he died with a gun in his hand/but they didn’t say why/billy reed had to die/he died to free Ireland”.  Billy Reed was part of the IRA fighting in Belfast during the English occupation. 

cookies at the gas station--tea time will be tea time

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