Anseo in Feckin' Ireland

on Sunday, July 12, 2009

So here we are, in the Graceland. A lot has happened since I last posted anything…just haven’t had time and energy to sit down and focus on writing I guess. I realized I haven’t spent much time writing on the blog about the work we’ve been up to, but more the sights we see when we have time off. Rest assured, we have been working and learning….almost too much at this point. We are starting to count down the days and research Vanagons for cross country. Seems as though we’re turning into farmers these past few days with sun kissed faces, sore legs and stained teeth.

Our last few weeks in Italy were spent living in a mud hut in the Bay of Baratti on an Etruscan ruin with a Dutch woman who grows flax and cannabis and has yet to wash her clothes in any conventional manner. We built an entire garden from scratch again in the tough clay soil of Tuscany…lettuce, carrots, misticanza (sounds like a porn name right?…its lettuce), beans, peppers, you name it. We got to label the garden and named it ‘Anterif‘. I drew a guy farting on the rock label for the beans…they loved that. We worked with a team of volunteer architects on the construction of a proper Etruscan mud/clay hut that will eventually house an enormous weaving loom where Frida (or the “Fritz” as we later nicknamed her) can spend her days living like an Etruscan weaving clothes out of cannabis, drinking too much wine, pooping into small clay pots and sacrificing small animals. Fritz loves Etruscans….she loves them…she really, really does and they were quite an amazing bunch of civilians but you have to pity people who try so hard to live this ancient, alternative lifestyle. There is a reason behind evolution. It’s similar to the Amish and Republicans…I mean, electricity is great! And a flushable toilet is certainly a real treat.
Of course, everything is a novelty for a weeks time. It’s fun to cook over fire and live by candlelight…poop in the woods, shower under a hose stream of ice cold rain water, plant and harvest for dinner, barter with the neighbors for wine and eggs, etc. Makes you really appreciate what you have IN YOUR HUGE REFRIGERATOR back home.

Fritz’s Dutch accent (paired with her outlandish and never-ending storytelling sessions), the arrival of Antonio, a drunk Italian 40yr. old Wwoofer (who looked exactly like the scary old man in Scooby Doo), combined with the process of wiping and placing your toilet paper in a separate basket (which was no fun to accidentally peak into) and the relentless mosquitoes…really made the final weeks in Italy a painful slide into a pool of homesickness. We longed for public toilets, airport food and speaking English…maybe even telling a joke or making a witty remark under your breathe to share a bit of laughter with some stranger. Landed in Dublin, ran to a pub for a pint and chicken wings and hopped on a train headed west to Sligo county.

As soon as we sat down to out first meal in Ireland, we missed Italy. Not that we wanted to go back….but my God the Irish can’t cook. They don’t spend any time eating together, preparing or presenting the food they boil….and they don’t drink wine with every meal. I think we just miss home…we miss the idea of doing all of these things back in our kitchen and in our own house.

We are on an organic farm now that grows crop to bring to market. We’ve been learning a lot about how the Irish compost, we are building polytunnels, sowing, planting, harvesting….cleaning plots of land planting potatoes…eating potatoes…learning a lot.

Started reading more Irish authors and I found ‘Murphy’ by Samuel Beckett at one farm to take with me on the bus. I must say the first page of the novel is probably my favorite of all time…and maybe it’s just because it was so definitive of where we’re at right now…or maybe it’s because of the way it sounds like a poem when you read it out loud…either way, I love it. The books not bad either. Irish writers are in a realm of their own…they know some secret about fiction and how to manipulate the language to fit a thought exactly….

‘The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. Murphy sat out of it, as though he were free, in a mew in West Brompton. Here for what might have been six months he had eaten, drunk, slept, and put his clothes on and off, in a medium-sized cage of north-western aspect commanding an unbroken view of medium-sized cages of south-eastern aspect. Soon he would have to make other arrangements, for the mew had been condemned. Soon he would have to buckle to and start eating, drinking, sleeping and putting his clothes on and off, in quite alien surroundings.’

Maybe the directional’s are a bit off, but I feel like this is part of what this trip has done for us (taken out of context of course because this is describing something with a completely different meaning in the story). Being far away from who you are and where you live makes the view so much better. We can’t wait to return home and look at America with different eyes. America is friggin awesome. There is this gradual point that we have reached where we can see an unbroken view of how we live, where we live it…with who we choose to surround ourselves…etc. And it is surely, now more than ever, “unbroken.” Our lives, sitting far away, have this different light on them…the same size cage as any other life around the world, but ours looks absolutely perfect from where we are. Finished, polished, brand new…we will be returning to a place we know nothing and everything about.

Shit…the green acres call….I could write about these feelings all day…but I have to get out to the farm. Rick will be getting some photos up soon, hopefully before we get home. We’re replanting cabbage, broccoli and carrots, rebuilding a shed and possibly going bogging for turf today…then climbing some mountain where you can see Scotland from the top…yippy skippy.


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