While taking a bike ride earlier this week, I looked to my right to see green hedge lined rolling hills all the way to the horizon spotted with cows and cottages, and I looked up to see streaks of sunlight peaking out of the grey sky. This was the moment it finally sunk in that I was in Ireland and would be for the next little while.
So far, I am loving Ireland. It looks a bit like home with less mountains and more magic. They say something is “good crack” if it’s fun, and have tea time at 10 which also involves plenty of bread, scones, or fruit cake, and butter, my one true love.
The past week has been filled with learning, new friends, good meals, and plenty of time spent outside. My hosts, Ann and Phillip, are kind and their home is warm and cozy. They have a very small plot of land next to their house with three hoop houses, some apple trees, and a small green house. They also have several plots of land around the area where they keep black angus cattle, a rare breed of Irish Moiled cattle, chickens, and turkeys.
Phillip makes a fertilizer tea from comfrey, seaweed, and tomato leaves and places a comfrey leaf under his cabbage plants. He says another WWOOFer told him another farmer said it can provide a plant with all of its nutritional needs. I haven’t done research on this but plan on looking it up.
Ann and I have made sourdough bread together that turned out beautifully, and she’s definitely contributed to my baking desires once I return as she has made two apple pies, a half dozen loaves of bread, several fruit breads, and the most wonderful scones I’ve encountered since I’ve been here. We had pizza today all home grown and home made in the pizza oven right outside the house.
My first day in Ireland was a long one. It started in Chicago and didn’t end for about 26 hours or so. After my bus arrived late, one of my patient hosts picked me up in Cavan town, drove me through Ballinagh (the small village near here), and told me all about her family of 7 kids, the farm, and herself during our ride to Corduff. They fed me breakfast and tea, ushered me to my lovely room shared with another WWOOFer from Australia, and offered me time to sleep. I declined and spent the day picking beets, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, and playing apple catcher as one of my hosts and the Aussie climbed apple trees tossing the fruit to me on the ground. I went to bed right after dinner and slept for the next 13 hours.
On the second day I woke wonderfully rested, ate breakfast, and packed the car with “veg” for the market. Then we checked the two pregnant heifers that should’ve had their calves by now. I’m still waiting and hoping I can see them give birth before I leave for Galway Thursday evening.
The third day was market day, and I went to a very small market with Ann. She was one of five vendors in Cavan. I took a walk around the small town then got a ride back to the house where I lazed about reading writing, and drawing until Monday.
Today is my fifth day in Ireland, and I spent most of it cutting and stacking wood. I really enjoyed it, and my little robin friend that followed me around yesterday continued to today but refused my potato offerings. I listened to Gravy, the Southern Food Alliance’s podcast while I worked, which seemed fitting. I’m hoping to find some guidance with my next steps in life over the span of this trip , and listening to this podcast has me even more excited to pursue a career as a chef when I return to the states.
I have two more days left here at Corduf, then I’m off to Galway to visit my friend Holden and hopefully have my first beer of this trip. I’ve only spent € 17 so far!