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Dreaming in Green

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(To head you off of any confusion, I’ve never been to Ireland. But maybe, some day.)

Zwartbles sheep, coming through the mist, early March.   Photo credit to zwartblesireland.com
Zwartbles sheep, coming through the mist, early March.
Photo credit to Zwartbles Ireland zwartblesireland.com

Cead míle fáilte ,

a hundred thousand welcomes to you,this sunny St. Patrick’s Day

from Southern Vermont.

This morning there were no kids in the house for me to harrass with my brogue, which I don for this day each year.  I’m blaming that for my moodiness.  I added a green scarf to my ensemble, though, in order to pick things up a bit.

When I was in Fourth Grade, I wrote a report. I convinced myself that because I was an expert and had read and re-read the one non-fiction picture book about Ireland in our school library, that it certainly was in my future to visit the land of leprechauns.

My favorite color is, and always was, and probably always will be, green.

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.

(No worries, there is no shortage of comfort in our home.)

I suspect the popular American dish of corned beef and cabbage is an adaptation from poor sanitation or past hardships in which boiling your meal was a way to keep everyone from developing food poisoning.  Pistachios are my preferred green treat, but for non-green food, I make a mean roast leg-of-lamb and shepherds’ pie which I’m sure are popular dishes in the Emerald Isle. Hands-on in some Seanmháthair’s kitchen would be my first choice, and if I were to dream, I’d sign up for something like this cooking school.  Meanwhile, I’m keen to develop my knowledge of Irish cuisine and found a nice looking cookbook:  The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews.

Also, I can drink about a third of a beer before that’s plenty of beer for me, thank you very much.  So I’m not your best date for a pub.  What appeals to me, though, is that apparently in an Irish pub, you’re a guest on your first night, and after that you’re a regular. I love the jollity of serving food and drink to folk that come to relax together.  So I could work in a pub very happily.  Perhaps this one, because, seafood.

My friend Kerry holds her own céilidh every year for her birthday celebration, and it’s always good fun.  Wouldn’t it be such a pleasure to witness the gathering in some North Ireland home in which the attendees regularly practice sharing ballads and stories amongst friends, though?  I imagine it to be so rich.  I’ve got “My Lagan Love” down, and I could share, shyly, if necessary.

You see, I need to go to Ireland to develop my brogue and indulge in the pastoral nostalgia of singing sean-nos while shepherding my Zwartbles in County Kilkenny.  I would learn how to stitch traditional patterns and visit this little shop in County Kerry because their window-display makes me swoon.

If God sends you down a stony path,
may he give you strong shoes.

Mostly, though, today I am yearning for a place with a gentler climate.  From my research 40 years ago, I remember that Ireland’s climate is influenced most by the Atlantic Ocean.  In general, it doesn’t have the extreme temperatures that other countries at similar latitude would have. The average temperature is 50°F.  Today it’s maybe cracking 10 above, and that’s in the bright sunshine.  A major warm ocean current, the North Atlantic Drift, keeps sea temperatures mild too. Hills and mountains supposedly shelter the rest of the island from strong winds coming off the ocean.

After shearing half the flock this past weekend and lamenting with them while they shivered in the minus 5 degree barn this morning…

After finding my second bird loss in 3 days in the coop and having to find a place to put it’s light, feathered but frozen body to rest….

After filling cold, but chubby, Princess Peppermint the pig’s bowl with hot water for the third time this morning….

After exciting near-misses and gymnastic recoveries from slipping on the ice in my coveralls…

After spending 40 minutes defrosting the waterers for the bunnies and poultry, banging ice out of buckets in the pastures and paddocks…

I’ve got strong shoes.

I’m just ready for some green.

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