A List Called Later

by ericavanhorn

6 March Friday

The lawn is a mess. Cows have been in and walking about.  I am not sure if they came in from Joe’s field after breaking through the fence or if they came down the boreen from the other Joe’s farm.  No doubt we will be able to figure it out in the daylight.  In this fading light, the churned up grass, the patties of manure and the broken daffodils stems look terrible.  It is best not to look too closely.

7 March Saturday

The sun is out.  It is cold and bright.  The lawn looks even more dreadful.  There are no breaks in the fence that we can see. It is easy to see that the invading cows came down from the farm above. The grass in the middle of the track is trampled all the way up and the tyre tracks are churned up with hoof-prints and manure.  As we drove up this morning on our way to the market, Joe was there just opening a gate.  He apologized for Friday’s invasion.  The winds were terrible for the whole day.  The winds are still terrible today.  The gusting wind had closed the gate which he had left open across the track while he was bringing the herd up from a field.  They all took off  and rushed down as far as our house.  Cows get excited to go somewhere new and especially to go in a crowd.  He said he ran after them but that only got them going faster and he could not get in the front of them all to turn them around.  Since it was a downhill run they were able to go faster and faster. By the time he got to our yard they were eating everything they could find, tearing the young grass and rushing around. He offered to come down to scrape up the manure and to try to flatten or fill some of the hundreds of holes.

8 March Sunday

A big white sign with red letters is stuck up in the door of the shop.  It reads NO TRESPASSING.  It seems like an odd thing to have on the door of a shop which you want and need customers to enter.  I commented about the mixed message.  John said that the signs are very popular with farmers.  He said they want that exact sign especially now in lambing season.  He said they forget that they need such a sign until they get out to their fields.  They want to know where to get one so it is good to make the sign both visible and available. Some fields have signs made from odd bits of tin which has been hammered and flattened out and painted with these same words.  Often the signs have been up for so long that the painted words have flaked off and now there is nothing but the piece of flattened metal on a gate.  It is easy to know the intention of the farmer just by seeing the piece of tin.

9 March Monday

Joe has been down and scooped up a lot of the manure.  We were not here when he came.  There is not much to be done for the broken and squished daffodils.  The snowdrops were dying back anyway so their wreckage is not such a pity.  The lawn looks crazy.  The grass has been growing already and growing fast, so it is long and the impressions of the cows feet are deep.  The whole area looks madly bumpy.  It is treacherous to walk over the grass as many of the holes are potential ankle-breakers.  The holes are deep and slippery. It would have been worse if the ground had been very wet when the cows arrived.  It is all so rough that I think it will take a long time for it to even out. The idea of running a lawn mower over it all is hard to imagine.  Joe must have looked at the problem of all the holes and decided to pretend it was not there. Nothing has been said about it.  Nothing has been done.  It has never been a smooth croquet playing kind of lawn but now it is a more like a lumpy mattress with a lot of trampled grass and broken daffodil stems.

10 March Tuesday

There continues to be no winner in the village lottery. The jackpot now stands at 11,450 euro.  At last night’s draw, seven people received 25 euro each for matching three numbers and one person got 20 euro on the Lucky Ticket.  The wait for a winner continues for another week.  The conversations and speculations continue. I must ask someone what is the largest amount this lottery has ever reached before being won. From most of what I hear there has never been a jackpot bigger than this one.

11 March Wednesday

I always have A List Called Later.  When I am going away for either a short or a long time I begin the list in the days before I leave.  The list is comprised of the things I have not had time to do before I go.  It has things that have been put on the Long Finger maybe for quite a while.  The list contains things which I want to remind myself not to forget when I get back.  The failure of the List Called Later is that I can avoid looking at it for quite a while after my return so later becomes even later.  Making the list does not guarantee that I will look at it.