Archive for October, 2007|Monthly archive page

All Smiles

It has been a bank holiday weekend here and with the wedding, I have hardly seen a computer in the last few days (sometimes I should rejoice at this, but I feel a lot of unfinished business).The wedding was great. Lots of friends, lots of old faces and everyone enjoying themselves. There was wind and rain, but once inside in the reception … all was forgotten about. In fact I suppose I forgot about farming and everything else on a normal day until today that is and I’m back to normal this evening.

The picture above is of the happy couple on top of their wedding cake. A thick layered chocolate cake. Lovely, but oh my god it sat in my stomach for ages.

As in the picture, everyone was all smiles on Saturday. It’s a different story today. Everyone is tired and in need of lots of extra sleep. So maybe it’s time to put the figurines into their shoe box and let them rest.

Advertisements

Corrado Sue gets sick

The other day I was walking through the dry cattle on the opposite side of the farm, when I saw that one of my dry cows was all on her own, a sure sign that there was something wrong with her. So I went over to her, and she seemed nervous of me, and of all the other cattle. She moved slowly, but deliberately. She was in constant pain, grunting slightly.So I brought her back to the yard where I could get close to her and give her a proper inspection. The cause was quickly found. She had an e-coli infection of the udder. Now e-coli is bad news for any cow. It hits quickly and hard, and can release enough toxins into her systems in the first 48 hours to kill her stone dead.

So I rang the vet immediately, and he was up in ten minutes. He came to the same conclusion as me, so he treated her with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory into the vein, so that it would work quicker. That evening she was up and eating again, but it will be a slow struggle for her to get back to full fitness again.

I wonder how this kind of thing can happen at this time of year. On perfect pasture, no flies in good condition … but then this happens. It’s very disconcerting to be honest. One of those knocks that we need to take every now and again, and they just come and hit you when you least expect it.

But priorities first, she seems to be doing fine again which is good.

Saying “I Don’t”

While we’re on the topic of weddings at all, here’s an article from the Irish Independent on the changing face of society in Ireland. It’s an interesting read, a social trend that’s been happening all over the western world.

We imagine that all women want weddings. That they long for the day when they’ll drift down that aisle in a dress of their dreams. Not so! Marriage, it seems, is going out of fashion.

British statistics show that by 2031, married couples will be in the minority. The number of couples eschewing marriage has increased by 65pc in the past 10 years. There are now 2.3 million co-habiting couples.

The same trend is happening in Ireland. The 2006 census showed that co-habiting couples are the fastest growing family type. They now comprise 11.5pc of all family units compared with 8.4pc in 2002.

Continue reading

A Big Day Out

My friends M&D are to wed today, three years to the day since they first met. They are a very nice couple and have mellowed a lot since they first met. They are inseparable you might say.

I am glad to say that I had a small hand in getting them together that fateful weekend three years ago. I had gotten an invite from my friend C to her birthday party in Limerick, and she added that there would be lots of single girls there (She had told her friends we were coming … but said we were not their type). That was bait enough for a single man.

I had mentioned the party to the lads a few weeks before it was to take place. They seemed eager to go and chance their luck. The evening of the party, and of course everyone had forgotten it was happening, I suddenly thought of it and made some frantic phone calls around. DMc was willing, two more were doing other things, and D was at the bog and feeling lazy. I pushed him a bit … and he gave in.

So off we headed about 8pm, the three of us expecting a big night. It was about an hour and a half of a drive. Feeling we might be a little too early, and the thought of walking into a house of leering women, we stopped, picked up some alcohol, and went into in a pub for a quick one before heading in.

True to her word there were lots of women there, with the odd fella thrown in for good measure. We walked in and noticed the odd glance, desperately trying to avoid eye contact as they scanned us from head to toe. A few familiar faces smiled and welcomed us, and we were in and part of the schemozzle. I found a spot for myself beside the fridge (beer fridge to be more precice) and within arms reach of the finger food that was going around. I was introduced to the bowl of fruit cocktail (laced with many bad alcoholic things) … and took it from there. We had a quick conference between the three of us: DMc hadn’t seen anything spectacular, D had spotted something he liked from a distance, and I had my eye on a girl in the corner. We went our separate ways to join up later.

Some hours later, DMc wasn’t feeling too good. Too much fruit coctail, and other beverages were weighing heavily on him. I took him out the back door into the garden to see if fresh air would do him any good. It wasn’t doing any good, but the prospect of heading back into a cauldron of heat and air thick with various fumes did not appeal to him either. I looked in the kitchen window and low and behold, I saw my long lost comrade D in deep conversation with the girl he had spotted earlier. Then suddenly the conversation started getting deeper …… [use your imagination]. Then they disappeared.

All this time I was still helping DMc. By this time. most of the mix causing him problems had freed itself from his renching stomach. So I returned to the fray, but luck was not on my side, as the party had begun to dwindle, and take it’s eventual course. Those of us resting the night found a place to put our weary heads, until the morning when lots of water, and orange juice and a small fry were consumed in the hope of easing the pain.

We gathered our stuff, prised D&M apart, and headed for the hills. That was the start D&M. “Not their type”, how wrong C was. Just look at them now!

So that’s my very very small part in putting them together (I placed them in the same house as 40 other people). It’s a funny story all the same.

It promises to be a great day out for everybody. I wish them all the best today, followed by a life of joy and happiness.

Lucky

My friends D&M are getting married this Saturday. But they are lucky that is is all still going according to plan. Last Tuesday at 7:15am, M headed off on the normal 40 minute drive to work, her second last day with not much on her mind but the wedding. As she drove along, she noticed a slight smell in the car, she didn’t really identify what it was. It got stronger and realised that it was the smell of petrol. This worried her, but she drove on, mindful that it was still fairly dark and cold outside, besides having only countryside all around her and nobody else on the road. It got worse still, so she opened the window and carried on. She made work, and went inside. Rang a local garage who came out to see what the problem was.

Their conclusion was that she was lucky to be alive. One of her beloved cats had bitten a small hole in the fuel line, and under pressure, the petrol was leaking. They said that if she had stopped the car, and reignited the engine, that the car would have gone up in fire. She shivered, and could not work with the thought for the rest of the day.
She’s a lucky girl, and we hope everything goes swimmingly from now until Saturday. Swimmingly to us is golf this afternoon, followed by a game of ball and last drinks tonight *sob* (another good man down). Oh, leisurely life of a farmer :).
Note: There will be more on the wedding tomorrow morning, well not the wedding really, just my small part in getting them together.

Autumn Hydranges

With a shrill blow of the breeze, one knows that the autumn is here with a vengeance. Until last Sunday the temperatures were good, the air was calm and the sun was shining. While most other flowers on the plant have faded and withered and faded, this Hydrangea flower survives and sticks out like a sore thumb. It is not very colourful, maybe that is a reason why.

In the background the beech and sycamore leaves build up on the drive to the front gate. It is a lovely sight, but when it comes to cleaning up the whole mess … oh, someone help me please me. When that golden wet mush that sticks to the ground, it’s so hard to move.

On Being Famous ….

I don’t know Desperate Horse Wife. The other day I ended up on her blog, though I don’t know how … and dropped a comment in passing. Now she has TAGGED me in a game of “When I become Famous…”, and says I’m to list my demands.

Aaaaaggggghhhhhhhhhh! It’s not usually something that I’m into to be honest. At first I thought it was one of those chain-mails … well it is kinda, and this is a weak link in the chain, because the other end of my link ain’t attached to another link … so the games ends here for the moment (sorry). Her own effort at the extravagances of being famous (which I will presume means being rich into the bargain as well), seem to have a lot to do with comfort and chocolate. Nothing wrong with that I say. But, it has gotten me thinking how I would react to becoming rich and famous.

1. Well obviously my first item would be to get one or two people to run the farm for me, so I could go about my business of doing things that famous people do. That goes without saying. Of course there’s nothing like going back in every now and again for an hour here, a day there to get the hands dirty and to feel good about myself again, to get away from the stresses of being famous. A bit like Mel Gibson, George W Bush, Tom Selleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Roberts etc etc

2. Of course I’d have to bring the house up to standard. It takes a lot of time and money to bring an 18th century Georgian house up to standard. Obviously money would be no objective. Only the best will do if you’re going to have your famous friends around. Appearances have to be kept up.

3. On the matter of having famous friends around, I would of course have to transform the old Georgian farm buildings into deluxe apartments, so that visitors could have their own privacy while on the estate.

4. Needless to say, I would have my own butler & team of servants to run the estate and everything from walking the dogs to shining the sliver to serving up meals on request.

5. Security would be key as well. A nice 12 foot wall all around the estate should keep out most of the riff-raff. While on that thought, half the farm used to hold deer in the past. It was known as the “deer park”. Wouldn’t it be nice to bring that back and have some deer hunting on the grounds, as well as grouse. Of course it would be all managed, and stocks replenished. Lots of horses, and maybe an elephant for the novelty factor so my famous friends could talk about me. Oh, I could just about imagine Wesley Snipes taking out a poor unfortunate deer. Oh the excitement!

6. Shep and Buttons would become pampered pups, but they would still lead the happy life they currently have. Not a lead in sight, rabbits a plenty in the horizon to chase, and maybe the odd dangerous liaisons along the way with a bitch of equal fame.

7. Clothes, well the current bunch of rags would just not cut it at all. So I’d have to get my own wardrobe assistant, to be at my beck and call. Even while on the estate, I would need to be impeccable looking.
8. I couldn’t be without a personal fitness instructor. I’d need to be pushed when I need it to get into shape and stay in shape … all for the adoring masses. A big gut just would not go down well in the glossy magazines now would it!

9. Get myself a mistress or two. Something on the side just to keep things interesting every now and then when I’m getting bored of my partner of the moment … a bit like those French upper class: “A French gentleman thinks no more of proclaiming that he has a mistress than that he has a tailor” – William Makepeace ThackerayThe Paris Sketch Book

9. I would have to purchase the land from under all the neighbors, or find some obscure rule of law, to evict them from their plots. Can’t be seen to be living too close to anyone unimportant now.

10. Hmm, chocolate.Oh, I could go on, but I wouldn’t want to offend those living outside the estate walls.

You know when all is said and done, I’m not really enamored by fame and fortune at all. There’s lots of emptiness and posturing involved in the business of being famous. I’m just not me, and I’m very happy happy doing what I’m doing, with the friends I have. Yes I’d like to lighten the load a little, but wouldn’t everyone.

Note 1: follow the link to Tom Selleck … it’s just funny

Note 2: I quite enjoyed the writing this, which surprised me very much. Thanks to Desperate-Horse-Wife for the push.

Note 3: A recent survey of British teens, concluded that the majority just wanted to be celebrities … and not have any particular career or talent. There’s an awful lot of them in for a big bump. Sorry, I can’t find the link now. I may find it later.

A Solution for Rough Hands

My blog is (obviously) located on wordpress.com, and they give you blog stats … and it’s interesting to look at the google searches that brought people to my site.One funny one the other day was “A solution for rough hands”. So that gets me thinking, and I’m wondering who wants rid of me? So I’ll have to stop blogging again, and get people back on my side 😉 Nooooooooo. That’s not going to happen this time again hopefully.

So how do I deal with rough hands since I’m in a physical job. These are a few points:

  • When milking, wear gloves. It may seem obvious but so many people I know do not do this. It’s usually okay in the summer when the water is hot, but for the rest of the year, I find that coming in contact with cold water, and chemicals are very harsh on the hands. A few years ago when I was not wearing gloves, my hands used to crack and were very sore and unsightly. So I got sense, and found that wearing latex or nitrite gloves does not dim the sense of touch (which is very necessary for milking) too much, and my hands are pretty good.
  • When doing physical work, wear gloves. This will stop blistering and severe welts forming. It does not need to be explained, but is overlooked a lot of the time. Any old glove that is thick enough and still allows a good grip is good enough.
  • Use moisturizers. Unmanly as they may be, they do help. Now don’t get the ones that will make you smell like a summer garden of flowers, just a simple one that will do the job quietly.
  • When it gets cold, wear thermal gloves.

Ah, you know what I’m saying. Wearing the correct type of gloves will save your hands. If they are in a bad condition, it doesn’t take long to get them back into shape. Maybe three of four weeks.

It’s simple advice, but all too easily neglected.

We can’t run on Empty

Passing behind a visiting car in front of our home, I saw this back window sticker looking up at me. I’m fortunate that I’ve never had to receive blood in my past, and hopefully never into the future either. Even more fortunate that my blood is good enough, and clean enough to be able to give to others. So, three to four times every year, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service lorries roll into town, and I happily donate to them a pint of my blood. It’s just one of the small things that I can do for others, and if it saves even one life… . I would encourage everyone that can afford to give their blood to do so, but it’s a matter of free choice.

Anyway, I liked the way my silhouette came out in the photo, sort of representing the unknown recipients … and the people that don’t know they are going to be recipients.

That Lucky Thistle

I don’t really like to see weeds grow up under the feet of the cows, so this is one lucky thistle. It’s under the electric fence wire, and beside one of the stakes, so when I was clipping that pasture in July, I obviously missed it or just couldn’t reach into it.

So there it was yesterday, and I was trying to get a picture of some autumn flowers, and this even though it’s a weed, is still a flower. At the time I hadn’t noticed that there were half a dozen winged insects on it until I went a little closer, and then the spiders web too.

Even though it is a weed, it’s supporting some other form of life at this time of year when food is getting scarce for these bees. These flowers are a precious resource, and of course a spider has realised this and set up it’s web around the best parts to claim it’s prize also.

Note: The detail of the picture is best seen if you click on the above picture, which will take you through to a larger size.

Note 2: I don’t use any sprays to kill thistles, I wait until a wet day in July, until they have become big and strong, and cut the stem so the hole inside the stem is exposed to the sky. If the rainwater manages to get in there, it will rot the plant to the roots, and kill it properly. It is a nice trick, and works well here, such that we have very few thistles … except this one and a few more hiding out in the shadows.