Europe’s Largest Outdoor Festival.


On Wednesday and Thursday last week myself and the farmers headed to Europe’s largest outdoor festival ! . When I think of festivals I think of summer time, loads of music, face paints, shorts and fancy wellies and very trendy famous people with farming being the last thing I would think of. Europe’s largest outdoor festival is actually all things farming, food and enterprise with a little bit of music and dancing thrown in but no muddy fields full of tents. The National ploughing Championships this year were on Tues, Wed and Thurs the 19th to 21st of September and was held in Screggan in Co Offaly.  The ploughing is a yearly event that over the three days attract over 200,000 people, they come from far and near to see millions of euro worth of machinery, livestock and food. This day out is planned from one year to the other in a lot of houses and we haven’t missed it in years. This is an event for not just the farming community but for everyone as there is just so much to see and do and even though the weather this year on the Wednesday was crap we still wouldn’t have missed it, after all isn’t that what rain gear is for ?

This year was also a little special as the eldest farmer ( on the right) received his award from Dairymaster on the Wednesday and was presented it to him by the Minister for Agriculture, Micheal Creed. The two lads worked hard ( partied hard )on their thesis and it payed off in the end, they both started college together and received their awards together as well.

There were lots of cute animals to see and also a pink Valtra tractor for breast cancer, I couldn’t convince the farmers that we really needed this tractor.

For the last couple of years I have curated the @IrelandsFarmers twitter account on the Wednesday of the ploughing, taking photos and some videos during the day to share with the over 12k followers the account has, this year I got to curate for two days, the Wed and Thurs and it was made extra special as on the Wednesday it and myself were number 1 in the top 5 journalists to follow for the plouging which I was delighted with as its a great account giving people a inside view of real life on a farm. Here is the link below.

We put together a list of the top 5 journalists tweeting from #ploughing17. https://t.co/MLUMACCPCH

So that’s the ploughing over for another year and we are all looking forward to next year already, Roll on September 2018.

 

Freeing Up My Time.


As I type this I am on my last day of my summer nine week break, the time has just flown by summer days creeping into Autumn days. I am back to work tomorrow but this year after four years I am starting in a new school, new kids, new parents and new staff to work with. This is a school I have hoped to get a job in since I started back Montessori teaching six years ago and tomorrow is my first day.

I can’t wait to get started but one of the main reasons I am really looking forward to it is I think my new hours are going to free up my time so much more that I will be able to help on the farm and do more with my horses. I have always worked mornings, leaving home at 8am and not getting home till 2pm, this left me with no time hardly to get anything else done. I had to go collect Sid at 2.40pm and again he was home, had a snack, got his homework done and clothes changed it could be 4.30pm before we were ready to do any work and then it was nearly time to make the dinner and that was it, day done. I missed out on so much that was happening on the farm and even the horses missed out because I only had time to see them at feed times and even that was rushed most days.

Now I will be working afternoons, home every evening by 6.10pm, Sid will be with me and will have his homework done so when we are home we will have nothing to do only make the dinner and relax for the evening and I will be off for all school holidays. I will be free in the mornings till 12.30 once Sid is gone to school to do what ever is needed from jobs on the farm, riding some horses, doing the food shop to just drinking coffee for the morning in peace before I go to work. Our lives this summer have started to move at a fast pace and I don’t want to be so busy that it all happens while I am in work, I want to be part of the changes and also have time to some things I enjoy as well. My new school also has no uniform to get ready and no work to bring home and spend my weekend trying to get done which is also a first for me.

So tomorrow the adventure begins, new routines and excitement for all the possible things I can get done, roll on 6.30am !.

 

Back To School He Goes.


It’s only me and him now heading to school in this house the two older farmers are all finished school and college, where does the time go? . Today it was Sid who headed back and into 2nd class. He looked so handsome in his uniform and so grown up it’s nearly heartbreaking, what has happened to the littlest farmer.

We had a great summer, doing loads and having fun which made going back today feel a little less hard because we really made the most of our time off. This is a big year for the littlest farmer it’s his Holy Communion year which also means a busy year but that’s nothing new to us, being busy! .

I still have a few more days till I start in my new school, I am not starting back till the 4th of September and this year I am working afternoon’s which is totally new for me. Since Sid started school I have always worked mornings, coming home nearly the same time as him and then getting nothing done in the afternoons between homework, lunch and dinner making there was never any time. So this year I am home all morning to get as much or as little done as I like while Sid is in school, gone to work for the afternoon and home by 6.10pm to make the dinner and relax for the evening, Sid’s homework and all done before I ever get home. I am hoping this will free me up so much now the farm is starting to speed up and even the horses are getting busier I will have the time to get lots done before I ever go to work or that’s the plan.

So this term is starting off with lots happening and lots of changes which I am really looking forward to ( remind me I said this when I complain about being too busy) , here’s to a new beginnings and a busy school year.

What I Learned This Week.


  • That you need to visit new places to see your home/ farm with fresh eyes.
  • That the summer weeks have started to speed up a little on me.
  • That we are going everyday to the RDS Dublin horse show our tickets arrived yesterday.
  • That high waisted jeans are the only way to go to stop that god awful over hang on my jeans and possibly stop eating so much junk but we will start with the high waisted jeans.
  • I have found a way of stopping Sid telling me he is hungry all day long, make him a breakfast smoothie. He isn’t half as hungry now during the day.
  • The summer heat has disappeared.
  • That my blogging plan went arse ways this week.
  • That I am going to do the August Break with Susannah Conway and I can’t wait. I have loved her blog for years now.

Our Summer Adventures: Week 1 and 2.


Sorry there was no post yesterday but I want to share with you some of our adventures we are having this summer so I will be posting on a Tuesday now instead of a Monday. For the summer Mondays are mine, the farmer and Sids day off so we are trying to head away from  the yard for that day. So last week it was the farmer who decided where we went and we headed to the beautiful city of Kilkenny. This is a beautiful place to visit with so much to see and do. We parked in the car park beside the river which wasn’t expensive, we were parked most of the day. We headed to the shopping centre first and then back down the town to get some lunch. Now being coeliac getting food out when we are away is always a little nerve wracking because you want to get good food and also not limit the farmers as to where they can eat so we tried Langtons, they had a huge choice for us all and there was no problem with me getting gluten free. After lunch we headed to see the castle which just like something out of a fairy tale. You can go on a tour of the castle but we didn’t we just enjoyed the grounds which has a playground, acres of grass to play on and a beautiful rose garden.

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We then headed back to look at the rest of the shops along the streets of Kilkenny and stopped into a little cafe just across from Kytelers Inn for the best scones and tea I have tasted in ages they even have gluten free. We spent the whole day in Kilkenny and enjoyed every minute of it, its a beautiful place and Sid didn’t get bored once.

So yesterday it was my choice and I brought the farmer and Sid to the Irish national stud and Japanese gardens in Kildare. There is free parking at the stud, there are picnic tables in the car park if you didn’t want to buy food when you were there. It cost 29euro for the three of us to entry the stud which isn’t expensive when you see the size and the up keep of the place. We went to see the gardens first and they are so pretty with a stone track to follow and a map to explain each stop on the way.

Sid loved exploring the gardens and looking into all the little tunnels and caves. When we were finished in the garden we headed to the restaurant for our lunch. It was 33euro for the three of us for our lunch and there are lots of gluten free options on the menu.

We ate our lunch out on the terrace and this was our view along with a swan and her baby.

 

After lunch we headed to the best bit or for me anyway, the stud farm. This place is just a horse lovers dream but it is equally beautiful for anyone. On the stud you get to look around all the stable yards, the stallions have air conditioning in their stables!. You get to meet some mares and their foals, see some of the top stallions they have and meet some legends of racing like Hardy Eustace, who we got to rub he is really friendly.

We got to visit the racing museum, see a video of a foal being born in the stud and learn a little about the man who started the stud back in 1900, Colonel William Hall Walker and how he believed the stars sealed the faith of each foal born and that every horse should be able to see the stars from their stable.

There is a playground near the mares and foals and also a fair door trail right around the stud for the kids to follow. Each fairy they find has an important job on the stud and each child gets a map for them to follow. Sid loved this but he did want to take home this foal, she was such a friendly little thing looking for rubs from everyone who went past. This is a great day out for all the family even if you have no interest in horses and its fully accessible to buggies or wheelchairs.

So there are our first two summer adventures, where have you been this summer on your adventures ? would love to hear all about them.

My Perfect Childhood Summers.


My summer childhood memories are some of the best I have of my whole childhood the only thing that might beat them is the horses. My summers started about May when I started to pray the last few days of school away and head to my Grandparents house for the summer, the whole summer, I very seldom ever went home and at the end of the summer I never wanted to go home but that’s another story. The excitement of the last day of school, knowing that possibly that evening or at the latest the next morning I was heading to Courtown for at least two months.

The time was spend swimming everyday twice a day no matter what the weather, playing for hours on the beach with the constant stream of cousins that also came to visit. We spend it getting ready for the kids/teenage disco that was on every week, spending all our money on sweets and bars of Chocolate, having adventures, having many summer crushes and just being kids and teenagers. There was no technology to distract us from our own imaginations, the freedom to come and go as we pleased even with no phones to keep track of us. We went outside in the mornings, managed to be home on time for lunch and dinner, no one ever got lost or into trouble. We were free to be kids, free to explore and free to make friends.

This weekend got me thinking about my summers after I meet some of the many kids/teenagers we spent our summers with for the first time in 25yrs. It got me thinking about my own kids summers, how 25yrs can go by in a flash and how times have changed now for kids.

We used to just sit and talk for hours, kids wouldn’t be able to do that now. We were happy if our Gran gave us enough money to go to the shop in the local caravan park so we could get a bar of chocolate, Mars bars were my weakness. We were happy with swimming everyday and getting the Tv only in the afternoons or evenings. Kids now, even my own kids couldn’t cope with a summer like that they would be bored and have withdrawl symptoms from all the technology they need now. Where has kids getting bored and having to find ways to keep themselves happy gone? My Grandad used to have a saying that drove me mad every time he said it ” only boring people get bored ” , this is what you would hear if anyone said they were bored and now I am older I see he was right. Kids are missing out now on summers like we had, a chance to make amazing memories, a chance to be bored and having to make your own fun so you aren’t bored and the chance to really take in the world around them. I worry that when our kids get to my age they won’t be able to cope with a time when they might not have all the distractions they have now.

I am 39yrs old now and every summer I miss my childhood summers, there are times I wish I was 14 again and for just one day could go back to that time of freedom and fun. A time when the biggest problem we had was if it was a wet day and everyday was an adventure. I haven’t been back to see our old beach or where we used to hangout in years but I will have to take a trip soon and maybe bring Sid minus any technology,let him have a fun day on the beach just me, him and his imagination maybe we would even get a Mars bar at the end.

What were your summers like? what do you miss the most about them ?