Rolling a rock down the road

by ericavanhorn

13 January Tuesday

The Jackpot in the village GAA Club Weekly Lotto has still not been won.  There were a few weeks after Christmas when there was no weekly draw, but now things are back on schedule. The Monday night draw had 9 winners of three Match Numbers with each of the 9 people winning 20 euro each.  The Lucky Number for one person was also 20 euro.  The Jackpot is now 10,250 euro.  Everyone continues waiting and watching to see who will win it.  People who never usually buy tickets are now buying tickets.  It is too large a sum of money not to be interesting.

14 January Wednesday

There was a little covering of snow this morning.  Looking across the yard I could see that the barn roof was completely white.  Not a slate could be seen. The ground was covered with snow and anyplace where the grass was not too long was all white.  Tall grass remained visible and uncovered so I could tell the snow was not a big snow without looking much further.   The fields and the hills in the distance looked lovely.  Everything looked lovely and it all looked completely different.  It is so rare to look out and not to see bright green fields that it looked like we were somewhere else.  Here did not look like the same place. Being here while being elsewhere did not last for very long but it was nice while it did.

The birds have been eating from their feeders like maniacs.  Some days I fill the feeders and they are empty again in just a few hours.  The cold and the storms must make them hungrier than usual or else the hours available for getting food are just shorter due to the bad weather.  To provide more food for them, I have started spreading some out on the table.  At first I was nervous that a table covered with seeds would attract rats but instead I see 12 or 15 birds on the table eating away.  Not a rat in sight. Every so often a pair of magpies come along.  They scare all the small brown birds away.  I think the pickings are not filling enough for them so they do not stay long and very soon the small tits and finches are back. Today the food was completely eaten off the table before all the snow had melted.

The lower barn is full of the sound of chirping birds.  It sounds the way it usually sounds in the spring.  There are a lot of young birds up in the roof.  It is not normal for there to be babies and nesting at this time of year. Everything is a bit off.  I hope the parents are finding enough to feed the infants as they are promising that the cold will now get much worse. It is really cold down there already.  It is cold outside and it is cold inside.  We have been packing and organizing books all week and we have to keep making trips back up to the house just to get properly warm.  We wear hats and scarves and sweaters all the time but still it is cold.  Sometimes the noise of all the birds makes it hard to even hear the radio while we are working.

15 January Thursday

Rocks fall out of the walls and the ditches of the boreen.  They fall out and into the track and then it is not possible to drive without hitting them.  The space for driving is barely wide enough already.  There is no room to go around anything.  Sometimes the rocks get dislodged because of the rain and the softening of the earth. Other times it is the foxes and pheasants and cats and badgers who traverse up and down along the edges of the boreen in and out of the woods and fields who loosen the stones. Today I found a huge stone in the middle of the track. It was far too big for me to lift.  I pushed it and rolled it and kicked it downhill for a long way.  There was no where to get it out of the way.  The banking and the ditches on either side all went up. Eventually I got to a place where I could roll it off and into some undergrowth.  It was hard work. Oscar was walking with me and he was impatient with my slow progress with the big stone.  I was enjoying the struggle.  He jumped up and down with excitement when I finally finished with the rock and started to walk normally again.

16 January Friday

After several days of wild winds and storms, today the sky is blue and bright.  The Galtees and the Knockmealdowns have snow on them. It is still bitterly cold and there are sticks and branches down everywhere but I have not seen any fallen trees.  Most parts of the country have had it much worse than we have had it here.  I took Molly for a walk and found that I was babbling away to her the entire time.  Children and dogs give freedom to talk any amount of nonsense.  Or maybe it is not always nonsense but it is just the freedom to talk out loud. I really enjoyed my conversations with her. Walking with another person is nice but a dog is something else.