Sunday, March 23, 2008

We're Off

We're off....we're outta here....we're gettin' the heck outta Dodge. Yep, we're headed to sunny Florida to spend a nice week relaxin' in the sun, swimmin' with the kids, and coaxin' my freckles out of hiding.

We like to take advantage of spring break around here, seeing as April kick-starts the farming season into full swing, and we won't be comin' up for air until late October or early November. (Whew....makes me tired just thinking about it.) Last year we went to Panama to see the family, this year it's Florida to meet up with my cavortin' mother. Of course, we have a few trips planned this summer as well, but it gets waay more complicated when you've got hay that needs cuttin' and especially some mama cows giving birth.

We're leaving this afternoon, so Marcel's off filling hay cages with hay for all the animals, and after church we'll be grinding feed for the beef cattle. The kids are helping immensely by eating lots of Easter chocolate, and spreading their Easter basket grass all over the floor.

We might be a little stressed at the moment, but it will all melt away once we're poolside (or even better, ocean-side), sippin' umbrella drinks in our bathin' suits. Ahhh. See ya when we get back!

And, of course, have a very happy and blessed Easter.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Ahh, St. Patrick's Day. A day that celebrates fun, laughter, and a playful spirit. A day for blarney, for embellishments, for a few tall tales here and there. The Irish are no strangers to hardship and misery, but they are good at reminding us to lighten up a little and to take life's troubles with a grain of salt, or perhaps more accurately, with a glass of warm beer.

So it is with an Irish spirit that I salute you, with a raised glass I toast you, and with a wink I remind you that if you’re lucky enough to be Irish...You’re lucky enough!

Enjoy a bit o' Irish culture, if you may....

Irish Diplomacy...

is the ability to tell a man to go to hell so that he looks forward to making the trip.

An Irishman's Philosophy...

In life, there are only two things to worry about—Either you are well or you are sick. If you are well, there is nothing to worry about,

But if you are sick, there are only two things to worry about—Either you will get well or you will die. If you get well, there is nothing to worry about,

But if you die, there are only two things to worry about—Either you will go to heaven or hell. If you go to heaven, there is nothing to worry about.

And if you go to hell, you’ll be so busy shaking hands with all your friends you won’t have time to worry!

Irish Bravado...

The Mouse on the Barroom Floor: Some Guinness was spilled on the barroom floorwhen the pub was shut for the night. Out of his hole crept a wee brown mouseand stood in the pale moonlight. He lapped up the frothy brew from the floor,then back on his haunches he sat. And all night long you could hear him roar, 'Bring on the goddam cat!'

Irish Family Values...

A family of Irish birth will argue and fight,
but let a shout come from without, and see them all unite.

An Irishman's Character...

An Irishman has an abiding sense of tragedy which sustains him through temporary periods of joy.

Irish Ego....

The Irish, be they kings, or poets, or farmers,
They're a people of great worth,
They keep company with the angels,
And bring a bit of heaven here to earth

An Irish joke...

An Irishman, an Englishman and a beautiful girl are riding together in a train, with the beautiful girl in the middle.

The train goes through a tunnel and it gets completely dark. Suddenly there is a kissing sound and then a slap! The train comes out of the tunnel. The woman and the Irishman are sitting there looking perplexed. The Englishman is bent over holding his face which is red from an apparent slap.

The Englishman is thinking "Damn it, that Mick must have tried to kiss the girl, she thought it was me and slapped me."

The girl is thinking, "That Englishman must have moved to kiss me, and kissed the Irishman instead and got slapped."

The Irishman is thinking, "If this train goes through another tunnel, I could make another kissing sound and slap that Englishman again!!

and an Irish blessing......

May the lilt of Irish laughter
Lighten every load,
May the mist of Irish magic
Shorten every road,
May you taste the sweetest pleasures
That fortune ere bestowed,
And may all your friends remember

All the favors you are owed.

And happy birthday to my lovely and, yes, blarney-filled sister Laura. An Irish toast for you, Laura....

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I added an old Irish proverb to my heading: He who has water and peat on his own farm has the world his own way.

This proverb speaks a rural language that is endangered in today's urban society. It embodies the deep connection between farmer and farm, and illustrates the pride and sense of hope that comes with owning your own piece of rural land.

Today, our connection to Irish Grove deepens, as my mom, my siblings and I become full owners of this beautiful family land. We are realizing a dream that has been passed down to us through numerous generations of strong, rural Irish men and women, not the least of whom was my father.

Dad lived most of his life on this land, and had a deep and loving relationship with it. His desire to possess this farm for himself was not born out of greed or dominance or potential profit. He wanted to play a part in his family's history as Irish landholders, and to lovingly nuture this farm for future generations. And he wanted this farm so he could ensure that our family had a place to call our own, a place to keep us grounded and united, a place that would instill a humble respect for the land, for hard work, and for our heritage.

Dad wanted to be the connection between the past and the future. He was, and continues to be.

Dad died two years ago today. At first glance it seems ironic that we would close on the farm on the anniversary of his death. At second glance it feels, quite simply, bittersweet.

A Gaelic Blessing, for you, Dad.

May the roads rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

We love you, and are so thankful.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Irish Grove Politics

I hate campaign season.

I hate that they call it a 'season' when it lasts 2 long, painful years.

I hate how the candidates want us to think they care about us, but really only care about our vote (and campaign contributions).

I hate the non-stop political reports, the requisite scandals, the knit-picking of every syllable spoken by every candidate.

And I especially hate the endorsements made by those who take themselves and their political sway way too seriously.

Does it matter to you that Ted Kennedy loves Obama or that Arnold Schwarzenegger favors McCain? Do you care what Eva Longoria (Clinton) or Chuck Norris (Huckabee) think about our political future?

Well, I certainly don't. But then again I don't speak for all of Irish Grove, do I?

Suddenly I'm curious as to what my Irish Grove cohorts think. Let's go find out.

"Hillary really moooves me. She's proud. Articulate. Ready to face the world. I can relate to that."

"O-baaah-ma, baby. He's multi-colored, err racial, just like us."

"I'm single, progressive, and like to treat all animals in a herd equally. Plus I like to run. Over and over again. Just like Ralph Nader. He'll take my vote this November."

"The candidate that best resembles, err represents me is John McCain. He'll keep the country in line, just like I keep the cows in line."

"I just wish John Edwards was still in it. He made me giggle and feel tingly all over. I never did get a chance to bat my long, luscious eyelashes at him."

"Huckabee. He's as persistent as a rooster in a flock o'hens. Oh, and he eats possum; a nasty habit that is, nonetheless, a relief to chickens everywhere."

"Who me? I'm an independent. Ain't nobody takin' my vote for granted. If they want it, they'll have to work for it."

So, folks, there you have it. Straight out of the horse's mouth...and the cow's mouth, and the....well, you get my drift. And these? Well, these might finally be some endorsements I can take seriously.