Sit with me here on the landing
and watch how the moon hangs
like some pale, winter fruit
in the branches of our crabapple tree.
I noticed it last night, but you
had gone to bed. And since last night
the moon has ripened and is full
and looks ready to plummet off the tree
and drop below the horizon.
Sit down here beside me.
It’s not something we’ll see
every month. The leaves will hide it,
or the clouds. One of us will be away,
or we’ll both be asleep and it will rise
and hang in the branches without us.
How odd not to have seen it before now;
to have lived in this house a year
and not had a cloudless night when the leaves
were down and the moon was waxing.
How soon will it be before clear weather
again reveals it in its brightest phase
hanging in those bare limbs?
We ought to watch the skies more faithfully
and try to be here on the stairs
to catch the next rare conjunction
of the moon in our tree
Come sit with me in the dark for awhile.
I think rainy Sundays at the end of October are best for….making quiche with all the eggs that are piling up, whipping up some tasty pate with all the chicken livers we saved while processing our meat birds, and poetry. Oh, and several cups of hot tea! ( The chicken liver pate recipe is from the Silver Palate Good Times cookbook).
Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity,
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.
Since being home from Ireland we have been finishing up with our winter’s wood supply. We view firewood as an important economy in our household, a full shed of seasoned hardwood is like money in the bank. Better than money in the bank, I think. I like living a life that places value on commodities besides the almighty dollar. Firewood, a hefty storage of root vegetables , a pantry full of preserved foods, freezers full of meat, sourdough starter, are all considered precious assets. Let’s not forget pesto…..very ritzy! What we choose to value in life is really a choice. We may all do this differently, and that’s o.k., we certainly value personal choice. Here we not only value the things we can provide without having to spend a great deal of money, we also value time. We value our community. We value our friends. We value working at a lifestyle that allows us all to spend time together. Rick and I eat lunch together almost everyday……I love and value this. Fall is a busy time here at the nursery and farm. Securing our ‘savings’ in the way of the commodities I’ve mentioned takes time. We are always careful not too spend too much time trying to place a monetary value on the time it takes us to provide many of these things. We would probably feel pretty defeated, wondering what we are doing wrong. But then we remind ourselves that true value …….enormous, over the moon value….. can be placed also on feeling good about one’s life. We value our life, we value the freedom to make these choices, we value the energy that we have to make this life work. All of a sudden we feel incredibly rich…..and we are.
Two days of beautiful weather had us out foraging again. This time it was to collect some greenery to make a few fall wreaths. So much green here in Ireland! Lots of Ivy (Hedera helix),native holly ( Ilex aquifolium), and even the berries of St. John’s Wort ( hypericum perforatum). A plethora to choose from! Of course we started with young shoots of the ‘Sally Tree’ or native willow (Salix) that grows here in Ireland. This gave us our wreath form to add our greenery to. So, we set up shop outdoors and made some lovely wreaths, all with locally foraged plant material. Can you tell that I’m having tons of fun? Hope the fall weather where ever you are has been enjoyable!
It’s funny that while I’m in Ireland I enjoy doing many of the same things that I do back home in Maine. Foraging is one of them. This morning Sally and I were up visiting the donkeys and harvesting some of her apples and pears. We had a plan for making some homemade chutney. Chutney….good on toast, good on roasted turkey, good on sandwiches…..we are definitely falling short on our chutney consumption in the states. I’ll make up for a bit of that while I’m here, no problem. The blackberries are also plentiful at the moment. Our friend Frank came along on his way to feed his livestock, ” jump in” he said, ” I’ll take you up to the field to see a new mare we just bought”. When we arrived at the field, not only did we meet a very striking mare that appears to be Frank’s pride and joy, the outskirts of the field were laden with ripe berries. We picked as much as we could before heading back to the house. Right now the blackberries that grow wild here are in abundance. It’s hard to stop picking! I probably can’t bring them home in my suitcase, but you know I would if I could. What will we do with all these berries? A blackberry buckle maybe? Ginger blackberry scones? Hmm?
It’s these quiet rambling days that I love best when I’m here in Ireland. A few long walks, many cups of hot tea, and some cooking. Sounds like home, hey? ( without the pace and the work!) Here’s a dandy chutney recipe if you have the mind to make some. I know it’s been an exceptional apple harvest back in Maine. Plenty of time to make a nice chutney to go along with your Thanksgiving turkey. Enjoy! Oh, and here’s a picture of that fantastic mare and Frank…
Ginger Apple/ Pear Chutney
2-2 1/2 lbs. apples and pears ( or just apples) peeled, cored, chopped
3 medium red onions peeled and chopped
1 1/2 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 3/4 cups of dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups of apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups of raisins
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to avoid burning or sticking. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Well, at least he is technically just a passenger! After several days of traveling through Ireland…….the horse fair in Ballinasloe, a visit to the Aran Islands, and a few stops as we made our way south west to Kilorglin, we are finally settled in at Sally’s home. Ahhh! It always feels fine and dandy to be back here. After a long growing season, days from sunup to sundown, coming to Ireland is the most restorative thing I could do. I find delight in every moment being here. I’ll post a few photos from our first day at the horse fair. I love the kids who whip around the fair grounds on their ponies. The great faces and smiles of the Irish. Later, I’ll fill readers in on a very special visit to Inis Mor to meet a friend whom I’ve been corresponding with. Most definitely a highlight of my visit. When I get back to my own wonderful place on earth……home to Maine, there will still be plenty to do. Two pigs to butcher, 70 meat birds to process, and several lambs to put into the freezer. The apple harvest has been amazing this year, so lots of cider pressing and another fruit to preserve for winter. For now, I won’t think to much about these chores, I’ll just savor my time here in Ireland for a bit!