He who has water and peat on his own farm has the world his own way. -Old Irish proverb.

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Amazing Grazing

There is no happier day on the farm—if you’re a grassfed steer, that is—than that day in spring when the farmers finally deem the grazing fields open for business. Today was that day.

Scott Russell Sanders

“People who root themselves in places are likelier to know and care for those places








than are people who root themselves in ideas.






When we cease to be migrants and become inhabitants,







we might begin to pay enough heed and respect to where we are.






By settling in, we have a chance of making a durable home for ourselves,








our fellow creatures,






and our descendants.”







–Scott Russell Sanders

Boys 1, Girls 1

Calf #2 was born this morning. It’s a girl!!

She’s been adorned with a very stylish #39 earring and officially welcomed to the clan.

Tally so far? Boys 1, Girls 1.


The Official Start of Spring

Most people don’t tend to think of spring as a date on a calendar.  Sure, March 20th is the first official day of the season, but if it’s a blustery, wintry March 20th does that really count?  And if it doesn’t, what does? 

For example, I’m friends with many birdwatchers.  I can’t count how many times I’ve heard them talk about their fist robin or red-winged blackbird of the season, exclaiming “Spring is here!”. 

And what gardener doesn’t joyously exclaim “Spring is here!” when they see the first daffodil, with its bright yellow petticoats, adorning the yard?

But on the farm?  On the farm nothing quite says “Spring is here!” like the first calf of the season.

In Irish Grove, Spring officially started on April 8, 2011.


  At 9:23 a.m. to be exact.

Litter-ally Disgusted

We live a half mile from the corner.

Just a half mile.  It’s not far.  

The kids and I decided to take a walk down the road to get a little exercise and enjoy the sunny afternoon.

We brought along a garbage bag to pick up some litter.

Can you believe we filled a 30-gallon black plastic garbage bag to the very, bursting top BEFORE we got halfway back?

People are pigs.

No, nevermind.  I’d hate to insult pigs.

Some people are just nasty and disrespectful and lazy.  GRRR.

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Hey, it’s St. Patty’s Day!  Luck o’ the Irish to you!

I’ve gathered up a few Irish tidbits for your enjoyment.  The website I took them from–Ireland Fun Facts–calls them facts.  Not accusing anyone, of course, but the Irish have been known to embellish once in awhile, especially when telling a story.  And I’m simply too lazy to verify.  (Now there’s the real truth of the matter!) 

Truth or not, they’re fun to read through…and fun is one thing all Irish men and women can agree on.  Enjoy!

According to some historians, over 40% of all American presidents have had some Irish ancestry.
In olden days, a pig was often allowed to live in the house with the family on an Irish farm. He (or she) was commonly referred to as “the gentleman who pays the rent.”
Saint Brendan is said to have discovered America 1,000 years before Columbus.
The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia, in County Galway.
The original Guinness Brewery in Dublin has a 9,000 year lease on it’s property, at a perpetual rate of 45 Irish pounds per year.
One traditional Irish cure for a hangover was to be buried up to the neck in moist river sand.
Historians believe St. Patrick’s real name was “Maewyn Succat.
The tune of the “Star Spangled Banner” was composed by the great blind harper Turlough O’Carolan, who died about 35 years before the American revolution.
Ireland is the world’s only country with a musical instrument for a national symbol: the harp.
An “An Fáinne” is a lapel pin, worn by some fluent Irish speakers to invite others to speak to them in the traditional language.
It’s not the custom in Ireland to wear green ties, hats or other green clothes on St. Patrick’s Day. A sprig of shamrock in the coat lapel is the preferred display.
Now a few quotes from some famous Irishmen:
“The Irish do not want anyone to wish them well; they want everyone to wish their enemies ill.”
– Harold Nicolson
“I had that stubborn streak, the Irish in me I guess.”
– Gregory Peck
“Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.”
– Sean O’Casey
“Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.”
– Flannery O’Connor
“You know it’s summer in Ireland when the rain gets warmer.”
– Hal Roach
“Ireland, sir, for good or evil, is like no other place under heaven, and no man can touch its sod or breathe its air without becoming better or worse.”
– George Bernard Shaw
And my personal favorite:
“This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.”
– Sigmund Freud (speaking about the Irish)
Finally, an Irish blessing or two…
Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through
Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you. 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  And Happy Birthday, Laura!

A View from Afar

Please enjoy the view from Panama!

Madelina showing off a Christmas present:

Bebo, Yami, Chelo and Dilsa dancing the night away:

The twins, Ashley and Darinel, enjoy their first ever visit to a swimming pool:

Ana and I grinding corn for bollos, a traditional Panamanian dish:

Elsa, filling corn husks with the bollo masa:

A lovely tarantula:

The kids, alligator ‘hunting’:

The lovely Panama landscape:

The lovely Panama landscape, i.e. mud, all over my boy:

Fun at the beach:

Armando in his Panama digs:

Ana, enjoying a laugh with her Aunts:

Marcel, being a goofball as usual:

Our nephews, Chelito and Joseph:

Yami and I, mixing up the tamale masa:

The view, when we returned:


The Farmers Have Flown the Coop

Being the Midwestern, rural, hospitable and generous people that we are, we’re giving our family a long-lasting Christmas gift this year:  the wonderful and most desirable opportunity to experience winter chores for 3 weeks! 

And while they’re here basking in the winter glory and having the time of their lives…..

we’ll be in Panama, suffering with the heat and the humidity and the terrible, terrible company of friends and family.  

 We’ll suffer through the tropical fruits….

 the mountainous vistas….

the comfort of mom/grandma….

 the pristine beaches….

the fun with cousins….

the jokes and hilarious stories told by brothers…

the reminders of why you fell in love with your husband…

and the comforts of home.

It may be a long ways from Irish Grove, but it’s home all the same.

Yes, it’ll be rough.  But we’ll make it through the next few weeks somehow.  And so, since we won’t be seeing you for awhile….we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See ya in 2011!

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