Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my report.
New seasons gooseberry jam and fresh homemade bread. Can you think of anything nicer? Nicer of course because of the wonderful taste, but nice also that a little bush in one’s own garden can produce such wonderful food in a matter of a few months. Raspberries, strawberries, not to mention the succulent green peas that have grown in a bucket are all yielding good returns. I planted twelve pea seeds all around the rim of a bucket full of compost and waited for them to grow, which they did and when they grew high I staked them with bamboo canes and lattice wire.They grew over six feet tall and are now hanging down with the weight of their crop. The great thing about doing this sort of thing is that people who have no more than a doorstep or balcony can enjoy the fruits of nature just as good as landowners. My crop may never see the pot but when I’m passing I can help myself to a large or small helping of lovely green peas. The magpie has taken a great liking to my raspberries. He sizes up his target, which could be as much a four feet above him and take aim. I watched him from the window and he never once failed to land his prey. I don’t deter him. We are all entitled to our share. I have a rather interesting fruit coming on that didn’t ripen yet. It’s a cross between a gooseberry and a blackcurrant which we picked up in some garden center years ago, very tasty when its ripe.
I plant potatoes anywhere that I can find an idle patch of soil. To one I gave the honour of being sat in my grow bag. Along with other things. Alas it got blighted. It’s my on fault, I didn’t watch it, even though the weather was muggy and a recipe for blight. Spraying was too late, so I left it be and watched it bearing in mind the terrible curse that caused the Famine of the 1840’s. The leaves slowly turned brown and limp so in time I cut it down in case the fungus traveled to the other plants around it. Funny I have several stalks in other parts of my garden and they are no affected. I think it was Churchill who said “Failure is not Fatal” so we press on.
We are fairly used to our freedom now following the strict lockdown and people are still finding new ways of how to use the freedom that they are allowed. Hairdressers I’m told are finding it time consuming to get the clients locks back in shape after all the damage of the previous months, but ti’s all good for trade and once the crowning glories are in order both in shape and colour, contentment will reign once again. Some people like to drive out and admire the countryside and those who do don’t come home disappointed. I do it myself and find the number and size of all the new houses baffling. It’s a pity they are not named, it would make the journey so much more interesting. The rule of only one person per car, except family, is a great loss because there is nothing more enjoyable than two friends out admiring the beauty of nature together. But it mustn’t stop us from it just the same. This vast change in our lifestyle is giving us time to look at things in a different light. I can never get enough of the beautiful scenery on the mountain road to Ballyvourney. We used to go there by pony and trap with my parents when I was a child. My Dad being from that general area, often took us on a visit to see his relations and he would know all the houses and tell us of the people and their history. When we went by the birth place of An tAthair Peadar Ó Laoghaire he never missed the opportunity to tell us about him. The roads were rough and hilly, the land poor in spite of the hard work that went into it. I have travelled that way many many times since often in a hurry, often pre-occupied ,but recently I drove there on a bright sunny afternoon and it was as if I was going there for the very first time. The time of day and the weather can change the look of a place enormously. Even to travel the opposite direction on any road makes the scenery look different. The road from the top of Keim to the Mills in Ballyvourney is in wonderful condition now with the scene changing all the time. From sheep farms to miles of forest and more sheep farms, lush grazing places for them. Acres of trees reaching to the sky. In my young days mountains were poor places, high and inaccessible, remote. But look at them today, afforestation didn’t take off in Ireland until about the fifties or sixties. Our people went to countries like Austria and Switzerland to see how they were able to grow trees at great altitudes on rocky ground and they came back and tried it at home. The results speak for themselves. At the moment the great forests at Curracahil are being harvested and the lorry loads of huge logs that pass our way every day are something to be proud of. Aside of that let us turn our minds to windfarms. Again our mountains swinging into action to provide the perfect ready made grandstand for this new eco-friendly form of power to be created and giving financial support to the landowners. It would be amiss of me not to mention the great stone quarry at Keim. Again the mountain providing the raw material to surface our roads and a host of other uses. Perhaps these things don’t go far to impress younger people. I don’t know how much younger. But for those of my vintage ,it’s a different world. If I could bring my Dad back now and take him along the mountain road to Ballyvourney, how could I convince him that this was the same route, show him the spire at Mullaganish, the nerve center of global transmissions, other mountains showing off a wealth of timber and electric power and ranges of rich reclaimed land producing thousands of well cared sheep to grace our tables with mutton . It is both important and rewarding to take stock. It would be so easy for me to as it were to fall in with all of these changes and move on but for me to look back and take stock, gives my life, my living, so much more meaning. So much to be thankful for. It’s as if the Lord held the mountains in trust for us until we needed them and to a time when he gave us the machinery and technology to carry out the work. Developed walks on our mountains are now a favoured by many , so much to our tourist industry. It’s all good and fills me with hope for those coming after me, happy in the knowledge that they too will be able to see great things in their lifetime and be appreciative of it. Hope springs eternal.
Still with taking stock, don’t forget to admire the lovely planting in the town. The beautiful display by Liam Flynn in the church yard, with the delicate ivy almost completing its round of the alcoves. Take a look at O’Regan’s Mill, it purrs away there year in year out for over a century now I guess, it never loses its familiar aroma of the many ingredients that go into the variety of animal feeds that are made there. It’s such a lovely part of what we always were. We have many more nice things to see in Millstreet and now that we have time to stop and admire them, let us do it. Never miss an opportunity to praise someones work or even to stop and talk to someone, social distancing of course.
There is a marked increase in the number of people who are attending Mass in our Church. It all has to be done in such a regimental way which is so far removed from the norm. But if that is what it takes to stay safe then it’s a small price to pay. The 11.30 Mass this Sunday will be for Keane. RIP.
We are continually asked to please shop at home. Please support our local food providers. We are fortunate to have a fine variety of eateries in the town and with our support they will survive the hard times they are going through at the moment. By all accounts many people are holidaying at home this year and at the weekend, caravan and camp sites were booked out in many places. WE must continue to pray and pray with all our hearts that the Good Lord will keep us safe and free from Covid19.
Don’t for get to tune in tonight at 9.30 for Sean Radley’s wonderful show on Cork Music Station. Its the place where you will enjoy the best of entertainment as well as snippets of news and chat. The Meals on Wheels service is there for everyone who cares to avail of this wonderful service. And the menu keeps on changing .Give them a ring at 029 70926 for all the details. Sin A Bfuil from me. Have a good week. Slán .