It’s been a showery month, but I guess the rhyme exists because April is famous for showers, so why should I complain. At least at the end of this month it’s been RAIN showers instead of all the snow showers (and storms) we in the first part of April.
I haven’t been out walking much because the weather has not been cooperating, but last week one day I did go out, with trusty little pocket camera, and took this photo of Mt. Ascutney from about l/2 mile from my house, where I was walking on our dirt road.
You can just barely see that the green of the meadow is starting to show through the brown remains of last year’s grass. In the few days since I took this photo, much progress has been made, though the grass isn’t as high as I’d like it. Still, there’s two more days before the sheep need to go out on pasture, so maybe by then…sometimes in Spring, the grass grows more than an inch a day, so there’s still a possibility that there will be six inches by Wednesday, when the sheep hit the grass, right? Dream on!
Last night instead of sleeping, I pondered the movie we had watched the night before, “Magdalene Sisters”, set in Ireland in 1964, about unwed mothers and other women considered “loose” or”likely to become loose if left to their own devices”, who were incarcerated in these 10 asylums all over Ireland, and did laundry, lived a strict life of repentance for their sins or potential sins…the documentary on the DVD suggested that there were about 30,000 women incarcerated in these places between 1900 and 1964, when the movie was set. What I was pondering, however, was what set of circumstances sets the scene for the particular ways in which a culture relates to the institutional church. It seems to me (but what do I know?) that Italy, for example, has a very different relationship to Roman Catholicism than Ireland does (or perhaps “did” is a better term.) What are the differences? Well, I don’t think the Roman Empire conquered Ireland or established themselves there…but they had in England, yet the church developed very differently on that island neighbor, cousin to Ireland. England was very gung ho Catholic Church all it’s centuries before the current one(s), but never very happy with Roman dominance, either sacred or secular, so it did its own brand of Catholicism, formalized with the break in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Both Ireland and England were very earth religion-y, goddess-y, Celtic in nature. Hmm..what about Scotland: the Romans stopped short of the Picts, Scotland was never colonized by Rome, either, but when the Reformation took root, the Reform Tradition took root in Scotland, with a gusto. Ireland was dominated by England for centuries, that’s for sure, and maybe the RC church gave them hope in that time of cruel domination, and so, they clung to it…no idea. But it does seem, in reading, that Ireland has a particular and unique relationship with Roman Catholicism not present in other cultures…perhaps a love/hate relationship, I don’t know. There certainly are the Celtic influences. But there is such a thing about sins, and particularly sexual sins, which seem to weigh in heavily in Irish culture, novels, etc, more so than in the literature of other countries…or am I imagining this. Any thoughts out there in blogland?
Anyway, it’s a rainy day, and the sheep are now fed. Half of them decided to eat in the shed, and several brave ones decided that rain or not, outside was nicer than inside.
Dead center is Elnora, who is eleven, and skinny as a rail: she feeds her twins a LOT, never suggesting to them that she’s tired, or they could eat hay and give her a break. She is the one ewe that I DO wean the lambs from at three months, or she’d still be feeding them all from all the years of twins, I’m sure! She’s just a girl who cain’t say no.
To the left is Isabelle and the one little shetland ram lamb from this year, Hamish. (We were watching “Monarch of the Glen” and Hamish Clark plays one of the characters, Duncan…it seemed to fit.) The lambs are all growing (sure wish the grass would grow as quickly!). Wow, suddenly it has gotten VERY dark out. What a cloud cover. I can’t see Hawk Mountain out the front window, nor Ascutney out the side window. Too much rain and clouds up in the sky.
Well, today’s the day I have to order meat chickens, figuring back from when Ray, the portable chicken killing man can come with his travelling butcher shop/slaughter house, and do in 50 chickens and a dozen turkeys this fall, and ordering the chicks to arrive 11 weeks before, roughly. And Ian Stewart, a fellow writer for Black Sheep Newsletter is arriving at noon for a quick visit. I haven’t seen him for a couple of years…lots to catch up on. He spends his life travelling around the world, farm sitting and such. He will be here in June, while we go to Ireland to take care of the sheep, pigs, turkeys, chickens, poults and chicks, not to mention cats, dog, and maybe even mother in law! He’s a very knowledgeable and interesting character who spent the first part of his life as a sheep rancher in New Zealand.
I look forward to May 1 tomorrow, and am inspired by Jo at Celtic Memories to do something special to celebrate May Day/Beltaine. Don’t think I’ll go out in the woods with a strange and attractive male or two or three to celebrate in the old way, but perhaps I can hug a tree or two and take a walk in the woods. Maybe there’ll be some wildflowers in bloom, though I think it’s probably just a mite too early up here in snowland.