All Asunder.

by ericavanhorn

1 October Saturday

Jim has a way of presenting his vegetables at the Farmer’s Market. He makes them look like exactly what we want.

2 October Sunday

Sorting out the freezer is a job best done before winter sets in. The freezer is out in the shed so if I do not get an idea of what is inside it now, it will be too cold to spend time out there. Trying to figure out what is inside is more difficult when I walk across to the shed with a torch in the darkness. All frozen parcels look the same in the dark. Today I made a list of what is in there and I hung the piece of paper in the pantry, but I know that after a little while we will no longer look at the list. We will not cross things off the list as they are eaten nor will we add more things to the list. Soon there will come a point when the whole freezer must be emptied, scraped of ice and ancient food tossed or moved to the top and a new list made. It is a job I always approach with optimism. Carmel told me that the last time she cleared out her own chest freezer was in 2013.

4 October Tuesday

I met Tomás coming up the road on his quad bike. His herd of cows were plodding along behind him. They were going to his far field which is a one kilometer walk by road each way. I marveled that cows are such large animals to be walking such distances with ease. Tomás said, “If they are allowed to go at their own pace, they can just go and go.” I pulled over to allow them to pass. In truth, I did not have a choice. The cows took up the whole road. It is the kind of waiting in the car that I am required to do frequently.

5 October Wednesday

There is a hole dug deep into the grass of the meadow. The hole has been made by a swarm of wasps. There are hundreds of them swarming around the apple trees, making the path feel dangerous and impassable.

6 October Thursday

I pick apples and I make applesauce and I pick more apples and I make more applesauce. A pie. More applesauce.  I give apples away.  I give applesauce away. A good year for apples. Not so good for figs or plums.  Apples. Raspberries.  They just keep coming.

7 October Friday

I often use the word Doctor when I should be using the word Mister. I always call a dentist Doctor, but a dentist is not a Doctor. A dentist is never a Doctor. A dentist is a Mister. Some Doctors are called Doctor and some are called Mister. The Surgeon is a Mister but the General Practitioner is a Doctor. I am better at using the right form of address than I used to be, but I continue to get it wrong more often that I would like. Some of these people do not mind but some get upset and they correct me immediately. These people say “I am not a Doctor. I am a Mister.” They correct me so quickly that it is as if they fear someone will overhear them accepting a title which is not rightly theirs. I have never learned definitively who is who nor when who is who. And because everyone in this country is quickly on first name basis, the medical person very often becomes someone with a name rather than a title. My dentist’s name is Ryan.

10 October Monday

The sheep farmers who come down from the mountain always take time to chat at the petrol pumps in the village. These older farmers from up the mountain are never in a rush. They spend a long time talking to anyone they meet. Farming on the open expanse of the hills can be a lonely life. Traveling down to fill up a tractor and various containers with diesel is a Day Out.

11 October Tuesday

I drove Tommie into town for his shopping at Dunnes’ Stores. He likes our Tuesday trips and he likes that I collect him at 9.30 sharp and that we are back at his house with his bags in the kitchen to unpack in his own time well before twelve. He likes the pattern we have developed together. He likes suggesting which roads we travel and whose farms to drive past. Today he did not have so many standing up conversations with other customers in the aisles of the store, but on the way home he remarked that when you go to Dunnes’ you feel like all of the people who work there are happy that you are there. He punctuated every sentence with the expression You Know Yourself, which is just his way of saying You Know What I Mean.

13 October Thursday

Richie came to service the Stanley stove. He said he had To Take It All Asunder. Which he did. While vacuuming out one red box from within he found the messy remnants of a mouse nest. He thought the nest was old, and from well before the stove came to us. He thought maybe the stove had been in a shed for a while. He said Taking It All Asunder was the only way to learn everything about the insides. Before he left he asked us to keep an eye out for a woman who might like him. He said he is a good cook and he is handy with the jobs about the house, but he finds the long dark winter nights lonely ever since his daughter moved out to make her own home.