Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my weekly report.
Once again the wind is howling down the chimney, coupled with torrential rain. It has pounded our world without a break for many weeks now, and then when we got some lovely sunny hours on Saturday and Sunday can anyone blame us for getting out and making the most of them. It’s a whole month since I ventured out and had no inclination to go because of the weather as well as the lockdown but the warmth of the sun and the smell of the freshness in the air, was a God-given invitation to get my five k’s. Lots of others got the same notion, because the world outside had come to life since the last time I was out. It was a joy to see them heading up the mountains leaving the car parked for once and stretching the legs. For obvious reasons I travelled in my car, travelled the highroads towards Mushera where I encountered large numbers of people of all ages. Some on foot others like myself driving plus a good number of elderly folk being taken out for the day by a caring friend or family member. It was all there to be enjoyed and savoured, before the next bout of storm and rain. A gift from God to be grateful for.
How many times do we say that the garden is one of our blessed assets. Always ready to come up with something new and surprising. A few days ago I thought I saw some extra activity outside at the birdfeeder. Could hardly believe my eyes when I saw a hawk attacking my little feathered friends as they pecked away at their peanuts. Mind you I didn’t have a lot of time to study him, he was come and gone in a flash and without his dinner I’m glad to say. I know the poor hawk has to live too, but not in my garden. He was about the size of a jackdaw, medium brown in colour. I’m sure there is another name for this particular species, but we always called any fellow who came after our young fowl a hawk. I studied a lovely handout on birds which came with the daily paper last week, an unbelievable 51 birds were displayed on it, including two birds of prey. The buzzard and the red kite, I think the former was the one who paid my garden the visit. Hawks always played a big part in our lives in the days when every yard was full of hens with chickens, turkeys, ducks, guinea hens all leading their young with gay abandon in a place where there was plenty of picking in haybarns, grain lofts, as well as their twice daily feeds. It was a hawks paradise and it was the farming family’s nightmare. People young and old were keyed in to the different sounds of the world around them. Pigs had their own ways of sounding the alarm among their bonhams so had the horse a gentle neigh to let her kin know that all was well or say glad to see, but a more vigorous retort if she wasn’t pleased. But the hawk didn’t bother them, they were out of his league, However the vulnerable feathered stock were fair game for the ever watchful bird of prey. The hawk and the grey crow the main ones. You’d see the caring mother hen turn her head sideways and scan the sky at the least sound ,which was out of the ordinary and with her inlayed intuition she would let out a certain sound which her brood recognised as warning to run for cover and they would literally disappear out of sight while their mother shouted obscenities at the lad in the sky. Then when the danger had passed she merrily played a different tone ,sounding the all clear and inviting them all out into the open again, to get on with their day. As children we were familiar with all these goings on in the yard and were always on the alert when anything threatened our birds. I can remember many times as we were all around the dinner table and the busy yard going on outside the open door, next thing we’d hear the hens sounding the alarm and everybody rushed from the table shouting vengeance on the hawk but sadly sometimes too late and using unsavoury language as the hawk made off into the blue with a screaming chick and feathers flying. The clever fox was another threat to the farmyard but everybody had a sheep dog or two and maybe a terrier as well which made life hard for the sneaky predator. However he wasn’t without a meal. Ducks and Geese were part and parcel of every farmyard. But they liked to go further afield. Any waterway or stream posed an open invitation for them to venture off in search of tasty morsels they wouldn’t get in the yard. Geese loved to graze the land along with the cattle and it was estimated that eight geese eat as much grass as one cow. The ducks on the other hand loved the water and it was lovely to hear them chattering away as they sucked to goodness out of the river banks. After their morning feed they would head off in high spirits and wouldn’t return until they were rounded up and ordered home at nightfall. But alas they often became ‘sitting ducks’ for the clever fox ,in every sense of the word, many was the time when we were one short after the day which was always a great disappointment. Geese were very big and strong and were well able to ward off the fox like the cows they rested on the grassy field between feeds and it was a lovely sight to observe them all snowy white ,basking in the warm sunshine, heads tucked under their wing fully confidant that they were safe, once in a while the lordly gander would get up flap and stretch his wings ,just to show the world that he was around and then lie down again, and God help any fox who thought he was man enough to overpower him and have a goose for his supper.
Sunday evening came to a blissful end when at night fall I ventured out to the garden and the singing of the birds was sheer magic. I couldn’t but say ,well God bless ye, and wondering how they do it. We have come through the most severe weather that I have ever seen. Yellow warning every day of rain and storms capable of doing dreadful damage advising us to batten down the hatches and take cover, and the rain and storms came as we held tight in our well secured homes. Compare that to the existence of the little birds. Wouldn’t you love to know where they were during those awful days and nights of extreme weather, and here they are at the dusk of Sunday evening, singing their little hearts out, perched on the highest trees . I stayed on to hear their twilight chorus ,wondering how they could be in such great voice in this ongoing wet blustery weather . God works in mysterious ways.
Our hearts are very sad this week owing to the death of our beloved Dr. Pat Casey. A wonderful caring doctor he was also a great community man. He gave a lot of his time and had an interest in making Millstreet a better place. He was the first chairman of our Community Council when it was founded in 1977, and his dedication to the functions of that body was immense to name but one the building of the Canon O’Donovan centre.. As a medical Doctor and active community man he will be sadly missed. Along with his devoted wife Nora, they worked hard together to give us that sense of confidence in our health care that we will be ever grateful for. We offer our sincere sympathy to Nora and all his family. May the Lord console them in their great loss and grant their gentle Pat Eternal rest.
Our sympathy also goes to all those who lost loved ones in our locality in recent times and we remember Dr. Tony Holohan, who was our main stay ever since the pandemic began, he brought us comfort and advise in spite of his own personal worries, we sympathise with him on the death of his beloved wife Emer. May they all in Peace.
It’s great when we hear of some good news, new businesses starting up or existing ones expanding. Our best wishes go to William and Claire O’Leary who are about to open their Munster Fire and Safety business in the Main Street where his parents William and Mary ran a successful supermarket for many years and have been sadly missed ever since. It’s great to see our town centre getting this important injection of new life which will be of benefit to us all.
There are many rumours of places of business and schools opening but with the present climate it is hard for the powers that be to make any steadfast decisions. Trying to please the public on the one hand and save them from an all out recurrence on the virus again. All we can do is pray for them to succeed in the end. Vaccinating is the main topic at the moment with no more to go on than rumours. We hear of some locals who have been treated but little conformed. I was contacted about four weeks ago and gave my assertion that I’d be a willing candidate, but haven’t been contacted since then. So we’ll wait and see.
The floods this Tuesday morning are the highest I’ve ever seen, fields covered like never before, roads impassable, with the rain still falling and the high winds blowing and would you believe, the little birds are outside my window feasting away on the grains which I threw out to them. They look as unconcerned as if it was a lovely morning. Where I ask again did they sleep the night which enabled them to emerge dry and unruffled even the crows haven’t appeared yet. God bless their stamina and the way they cheer us up.
And talking of God, the first week of Lent is past even though we are going through some trying times we must never give up our faith and trust in God. We have a wide choice of Masses on line and regardless of wind and weather we can attend in the comfort of our own homes. We are very limited in what we can do ,either for ourselves or for others, but prayer is the one thing that we can do, and it’s the only thing that matters at the end of the day.
I’m told that the best thing you can do for your Camellia tree is to give it a cup o’tea. It being a member of the tea tree family its the best thing you can give them and a great way to get rid of your tea bags. Save them from the bin and give them to your Camellia tree and it will give you some beautiful blossoms in the summer.
Many thanks to all those who got in touch in praise of my song/video, Millstreet town, which can still be sourced on line.
Slán agus Beannacht libh go léir .