I realize that we haven’t updated the blog since we basically arrived at Mill Little Farm in the west of Ireland, Country Cork, just west of a lovely town called Bantry. We’ve done so many things since getting here that I hope this post can cover it all.
The farm we’re staying at is 60 acres, complete with three old goats, 8 chickens, four ducks, two polytunnels, many garden beds and a sweet and loving boxer named Lexi. Christine, our host, is an English woman whose been living in Ireland since the 80s when she purchased the property. She is vegetarian and cooks all the meals for us though there were a few nights where we cooked for each other. We are not the only wwoofers here either. Jerome and Arnoud are from France, Clementina is from Spain, and Christine’s personal friend Agi is from Switzerland. The two French guys are our age while Agi and Clementina are older like Christine. We’re a quiet bunch usually but once Agi gets started, it’s hard for her to stop.
Our typical day starts at 9:30 when Christine comes down from her house to the big blue house where we all stay to give us our chores for the morning. For me, it’s usually digging trenches and filling them with manure from her goats, I usually have either Reilly or Ashley helping with that too. Every morning around 11 or 11:30 we stop and have a coffee break and Christine checks up on our progress. If we’re finished, she gives us the next task. We work again until 1 or 1:30 when we break for lunch. Usually lunch is a soup and whatever leftovers there are from the previous night’s meal, after that the leftovers are given to the chickens. After lunch we go back out and work until we’ve completed our tasks or 4:30, whatever comes first.
As I said, most of my time here has been in the garden beds preparing them for planting. What I do is dig a trench about a foot deep along the bed, fill it with goat shit, then cover it up with the dirt from the next trench. I work my way down the beds until I’ve reached the end. So when I’m done with a bed, it’s flat on top and the manure is worked into the soil- it’s ready to be planted. Other chores I’ve done is cleaning the polytunnel with a long brush because over the year moss and general dirt builds up on the walls. Polytunnels only work if they let in sunlight. One of the big tasks that took all three of us was mucking out the goat pen. Reilly was a boss and actually did the mucking while Ashley and I transported it via wheelbarrow to the compost pile. It was a dirty job, it smelled horrible, but it actually wasn’t that bad. Mostly it was tedious and just a part of life. The other thing that we’ve done a lot of is weeding. Since we’re here in the early spring most of our tasks were preparation for planting for the year to come. Still, it was a good time and Christine even said we’ve done a good job.
Now, I know this post is long but I’ve got two more thoughts to get out. The first is about Ireland and the country landscape and the second is about getting to Dublin this weekend.
Since coming to Ireland, I’ve been away from those great majestic rocks we call mountains. Like a spine they follow a line running north and south and the only reason most of us ever know which direction we’re facing is because we know the mountains are west. But the Irish hills they call mountains here surround you. The whole place is mountains. Instead, we’ve had to orient ourselves by the sea. We know the sea is west. But you can’t always see the ocean because of all the mountains! It has been strange adjusting to this, I feel direction-less, like a compass without a magnet. And just now that I’ve got my bearings here in Bantry, we are off again to Dublin.
Which brings me to my second point. We just got word of a bus strike happening across Ireland at the moment. I don’t know the details of it (the why’s) but I do know that on Saturday we have to get to Dublin to meet up with our next host. The public bus system in Ireland is not good, buses only run to the big cities and not usually to the smaller ones and even if they did it doesn’t matter now since they’re on strike. But luckily this area around Bantry has an amazing taxi driver named Vincent who is, besides hilarious, a great guy. He has offered to take us to Cork, about two hours away, via taxi for only 20 euros each. That’s actually comparable to what we would have paid for the bus. Another lucky break we’ve had is by a private bus company called Aircoach which allows you to book online and is privately owned, therefore not on strike. Reilly just confirmed that we have tickets on an 11am bus from Cork to Dublin. So while the bus strike sucks for everyone, we are lucky that we were able to find another way to Cork.
Here’s to hoping that our next host has better service or wifi. But I think all of us loved our time here at Mill Little. Hopefully some of you got to see our adventures in pubs and at the cliffs on Facebook.
Much love from Mill Little, Bantry, County Cork, Ireland ☘️