Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Family Ties

It's a different country when the sun is out:
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and it’s lovely.
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and green
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Today I made brown bread, did some laundry, walked the loop (source of these pictures) and then settled down with my textbook to do some homework. Around page two my Aunt asked if I wanted to go for a ride. Textbook closed.
You can’t waste the nice days
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We first stopped at a the plaque of the Hurling champs of 1900 where someone in my family was on, but I don’t remember the relation. I think my great grandpa or his brother.
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Go team!
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We headed down the road where my great grandmother road almost 100 years ago at this point selling peat they had dug out of the bog and sold on the streets in their horse and cart. Nana K was the eldest of nine siblings (I always thought it was 14 siblings, so, my facts are served with a few grains of salt) Down the road was her youngest siblings house whose son and family live next door. We stopped in for some tea and cake. Matty makes a mean scone and Shamus makes some mean lemon cake. I love this family.

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We headed to the farm where my great grandma met my great grand father in Upper Church, Tipperary. She was working in the house cooking, sewing, cleaning. She had a great sense of style (clearly this did not pass down to everyone in the family) and the ladies she worked for would have her do their hair or dress her or dye their clothes. Great grand father was out on the fields working. Her father wanted to marry her off to another lad, but she met great grandpa here (around age 23, pushing in it that time) and then our history began.
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In the most cheesiest of ways this made my few days living on a farm this summer all the more poignant. It’s in our blood.
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My aunt is writing a book on our ancestry so I don’t want to divulge everything, but I also don’t remember half of all the facts she was giving me anyway.

Next up was an estate where great grandfather's parents lived. They worked for the family and stayed on their property. The gate had a bunch of hoopla about no entry and private property and prosecution.

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Whatever that means

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Inside we passed these delightfully orangey trees that sort of make me dizzy

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To find the estate they worked on/inBalligara 013

across from the boat house

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We then went into another town to see if we could find what would be my great uncles grave. He was my great grandma’s first son who only lived for about two months or so. We couldn’t find it, but got the name of the priest of the parish to ask for the records of where it might be buried.

The sun was going down so we quickly hit where the first flag of Ireland was erected. Don’t wanna clean up the backdrop here, guys?

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“The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the orange and the green”

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And stopped on the side of the road to get a quick snapshot of “Devil’s bit” where me and some cousins will hopefully be hiking this Saturday. It is really hard to see the bite here.

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And then off to Thurlus for dinner at Four Seas for some deeeeelicious veggie spring rolls

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and vegetable satay (peanut sauce). Holy hell it was tasty.

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First hitting a health food shop and then an angel store (angel store?) where they had freshly ground granules! Made out of real angels! (this place was weird).cows 742

But I did score some buckwheat groats from the health shop, yea boi.

On our way home we were passing thru Templemore and decided to call in to the laha house for some tea and biscuits. (“call in” means drop by. “biscuits” are cookies” I learn new Irishisms every day). We went to catch up with D just home from work and he happened to be checking on a heifer (female cow before her first calf) who will be calving soon (having a BABY!). They have a small farm and the calves here get to stay with their moms for a good while, 8 months or so, where as big farms they’re usually separated immediately. I put on some wellies and we headed down the farm. She was a little skittish to see us and not in labor. Or amused.

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He took me to see the turkeys they’re keeping for Christmas. I would like to eat one of these lovely ladies. They bought them when they were the size of a grapefruit and will care for them and fatten em up until Christmas time for eating. They have about ten.

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There’s a ton of room, feed, heat lamps. Someone comes in to do the snapping of the necks when the time comes, but until then they’re well coddled. They were so calm, even when he was holding her. Nothing like the psycho chickens I was dealing with on the farm this summer when collecting eggs.

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I may just be an American vegetarian (does that read as “snob?”) as meat and poultry are raised so differently here. This is all being said without ever being on an American beef/poultry farm, so I know my basis are not covered to make blanket statements, but if I found out that it was the same deal in the states I think there’d be a lot less vegetarians.

We hung out with the turkeys while D told me stories about his time on a pig farm. Most of them hilarious. It was a farm where they “service,” raise, fatten and send them off. No slaughtering, just the nice stuff (if you think artificial insemination is pleasant). I would LOVE to see this. If not just to hang out with little baby piggies, or bonnivs, I think they’re called in Irish.

And now I am home with my two cousins who I haven’t seen all day vegging out from a family tour around the country, stuffed and smiley. I could have stayed home and done my homework on nutritional genomics, but I think this was a much better use of my time. So, suck it, DNA. You are not that important.

I’m going to see if I can sleep at their house tomorrow so I can see the calving :O

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