The lovely long warm days over the weekend were just what the doctor ordered for all those who availed of them to get as much outdoor enjoyment as they could before the Winter sets in. It’s surely that because of Lockdowns and restrictions on every front ,that people are prepared to go a little mad when the tension is eased a bit. Confirmations on Friday and Saturday led to many family celebrations ,the fine weather helping in no small way. There were tractor runs to choose from and more to come when the great historic Village of Carriganima will show their colours next Sunday, which is held in support of their local transport CART. In Aubane where 110 vehicles took part ,and Gerdie Buckley created a record by reversing a Tractor & Trailer 5Kms in 46mins 27secs. And all proceeds in aid of their wonderful Community Centre. We’ve heard of nothing like that since the time that I reversed a 42seater Coach through 12 North Cork Towns to raise funds for LTV2 at the time. It was unusual and risky, and it worked. Buíochas le Dia. The Centenary Commemorations in Dromtarriffe/Derrinagree were also blessed with a fine day, Not everybody was that lucky, Two of our friends who embarked on a Walking holiday four days last week got rain every day. So a fine spell is nothing to be taken for granted. The rising sun of the past week took on a rather mythical,or magical touch,with the hills around coated in delicate fog and the slanting sun turning the scene into silver as it came through the trees. Lovely.
When our climate was more predictable ,with the approach of the end of October and the start of November, any signs of Summer would be waning and cold and wet days and nights became the norm. The growth in the fields slowly came to a halt, and the unwelcome task of Wintering the cattle became a reality. Like everything that has to be returned to, like children going back to school after the holidays or the teachers and office workers , all hating the very thought of it , the farmer didn’t welcome to task of bringing their livestock in from the wide open pastured where they merrily grazed all Summer, yielding oceans of milk and beef from nothing else except the grass. But with the days getting shorter and colder there was nothing for it but house them ,before they’d lost weight . Preparing the houses took time to make them suitable dwellings for pregnant cows which would be stalled by the neck ,side by side for the long days ahead. They were left out to drink from the nearby stream once a day,and left out for a few hours depending on the weather. They made good use of their freedom by licking themselves and sometimes each other ,if there was a fallen limb of a tree or bush within their reach they treasured the opportunity to scratch a part which the tongue couldn’t reach.While they basked in the out of doors the farmer or farm hand was busy ,tossing out their residue, the mound of which grew and grew over the following months ,making it harder for him to do the needful. Bads were replaced with lots golden straw , which was carefully saved at the threshing ,Their feed of hay had also to be replenished, and when all was ready the stock were allowed back in. Each animal knew her own stall and if another mistakingly took it, all hell would beak loose until the wrong was righted. How I loved to hear them crunch to sweetsmelling hay ,I can still get the aroma and the satisfying sound of the crunching to this day.
Housing the Cattle was one the thing ,then the was there the all important Wintering of the horses. Horses were as important that time as the car and tractor of today. They were an almost sacred possession, and they had to be treated with the same care and attention as any motorised vehicle of today. There were different kinds ,breeds, the Draught horse was the most common farm horse, some black, others bay , A cob was smaller , and while he had to take his place before the plough, with the other animal, he was deemed very handy for less strenuous jobs . The little creamery pony was loved and petted by all, yoked to a smaller car, he made short work of trotting to the creamery, churns of milk dancing to his movement, going to the mill to take the oats and barley to be crushed, and in some cases the lady of the house ,got the ‘man’ to tackle him to the trap on a Friday when she wanted to take the eggs , etc. to the market. Not every lady was allowed such privileges, but for those who were, it gave them a great air freedom, time to sell her own produce, make a couple of secret purchases for herself, and talk to her friends, perhaps while enjoying a ham tea with a friend in one of the many tea rooms in the town of the time. These were the days when she went to the draper shop and selected the cloth for a new coat for one of the children , which she often made herself, or a piece of nice silk or taffeta to made a Holy Communion or Confirmation dress for one of her little girls. More often than not the money would stretch to a loaf of town bread or even a caraway seed loaf for the supper when she came home. And when she arrived with the goodies the flock of children would rush out to meet her, the ones who helped to bring in the massages often got an extra ‘sweetie.’
Younger cattle to be wintered were kept untied in sheds where a furze bed was the norm, and to provide it was a long and arderous task, like everything else at the time. The plant by nature is very full and thorny and springy, and formed a matresslike bed ,for the young stock, but only with the roots and sticks removed. A large quantity of furze was cut from the ditches and brought into the yard where the man with a billhook chopped all the bushy part off and put the sticks aside to be used later to start the fire. A very large amount of the bushy foliage was then placed in the shed and walked on by men in hobnail boots, to press it into place and then covered with lots of straw ,until the thorns were completely covered and posed no problem to anybody walking on it. And the springy base allowed any wet to seep away while the top remained warm and dry. While the layer of straw had to be renewed regularly, for obvious reasons, the base of furze remained in place all Winter long. When Spring came it was removed and added to the heap of dung, which was spread in drills to grow our crops for the next season,and the old people used to say that the best of spuds could be found where the furze was. Horses being the royal member of the farm animals got choice treatment ,and even though they had to be chained to the manger , they had much more space to manoeuvre. But still when they were released to go for water,it was a joy for us children to see them in full gallop, tails in the air before burying their mouths in the stream. God love the poor little donkey I never saw him getting any special treatment , but we loved stealing treats for him and he was never without a place to lie.
The fox brought a half grown cub with her this week. And when I looked out at this beautiful creature,with it’s shiney coat and bushy tail, and said to myself ,why am I not like that. Here is a mother who never had to work or save or worry and she has her beautiful family reared up and ready to fend for itself in this crazy world. The silly things that come into the head.
The Virginian Creeper is coming in to its own just now. For a plant which had remained hidden among all the greenery of the countryside all Summer, it is brightening up the world now in places least expected, Never noticed until it’s green leaves turned to red and yellow and russet, an array of lovely Autumn shades, all there for our enjoyment. I took one of the lemons from the little tree today and put it on the window to ripen, time alone will tell if I’ve done the right thing.
Here are the results of this weeks lotto draw which was held on Sunday night. Numbers drawn were 8.19,24, 27. and the Jackpot was not won. E100 went to Tadg McSweeney, Carriganima.The seller was Colemans and they got E50 sellers prize. E50 went Caroline & Kelly Cronin,Rathcoole, E20 each to Donal & James Cronin, c/o Colemans, Lena Healy, Lombardstown, Andrew & Mary c/o Guys & Dolls, Kathleen McCarthy Carrigamima, Ann & Meg Dublin,c/o Pat Randals, Katie Hickie Mountleader, Eveny Costello, Priests Cross, & Bally Gang c/o Marie Twomey. Next Draw Sunday night.Oct 17th. Jackpot E16,400.
The weekly 45Drive continues at the Canon O Donovan Centre every Tuesday night ,starting at 8.30 sharp, Adm E7. If you come without a partner, one will be provided for you. All proceeds go to the Centre Fund.
I’d like to wish many years of Happy Retirement to Ambulance Driver supreme Declan Ryan ,following forty years of dedicated service, and to thank him for the times he was there for us when we needed him.
And many congratulations to the boys and girls who received the Sacrament of Confirmation at the weekend.
Many people are being invited by our medical centre, recently, to receive their booster and flu jabs. I got them both last week and suffered no ill-effects as a result. TG. And many thanks to our wonderful medics and their staff, who take such good care of our community, against the difficult conditions created by Coronavirus.
Our Active Retired Group continue to hold various events ,which are open to both men and women every week. Morning Coffee at the Wallis Arms on Thursdays at 10.30, Aqua Arobics in Killarney, and Yoga on Fridays at the Canon ODonovan Centre at 2. Bingo ect at the same venue on the last Friday of each month. For details ring Mary 0870537172 . Mens’ Shed open at their own premises in Church Street.
All Masses from our parish church are streamed which enables us to attend them anywhere ,if we cannot be in the church . Please keep up the prayers ,and say a word of thanks to God who has kept us going since Covid 19 became a household word. It’s as important as ever that we still wash our hands and wear our masks.
I hope my plea for the residents of Minor Row didn’t fall on deaf ears. As far as I an aware, no response has come so far. In general alot has been done to make Millstreet an age friendly town,But there is still a lot more to do.
Agus sin a bhfuil a cáirde. Have a Good week. Slán is beannacht.