It's the longest day of the year tomorrow and the beginning of the four or five days of the Summer Solstice...then it's downhill all the way to Christmas !
Quiet enough today...not much activity because everyone down the street has finished their hay and silage making. It used to take weeks at one time to cut and turn and save the hay...it'd be put into stooks on the fields to dry out before being taken to the barns for winter feed. Then everyone's hens would be let onto the fields to eat the seeds and insects. Father had small chicken houses that could be moved every day...they were on little metal wheels.
After the cereal crops were cut was also a favourite place to let your hens out...the egg yolks would be dark yellowy/orange from the birds eating the left-over grains. And the fields were usually ploughed almost straight away to be left fallow over the winter months 'to sweeten the soil' .
It's far too stony to grow cereals here in the north-west, so farmers hope for another smaller crop of hay and of silage in the late summer...
Himself has seen the big boar mink crossing the road when he's taken Millie and Bobby out first thing in the mornings...it comes straight across where Adam is planning to have his garden and then onwards to the river. Poor Adam and his chickens...he did look crestfallen when we told him about the local mink which will kill chickens purely for the sake of it...and foxes do as well but it's more to shut the chickens up than through a blood lust...when they're all squawking like fury, it's easier to murder them than have the racket they make attract a humans attention.
Quite why anyone would want a coat made from mink I honestly don't know...they look like overgrown ferrets, even if their jackets are black and shiny. They can't be made pets of, unlike ferrets who make nice pets when they've been tamed. Mink are savage and will actually attack humans if they feel under threat, so are best left well alone.
I recently joined a group on Facebook for Irish Gravestones...it's not just me who enjoys trawling through ancient burial places! One of the members put two photographs on of headstones with skull and cross bones carved on them...I've nicked them and I'll put them on tomorrow.
There are various theories about such carvings...it was commonplace for the returning Crusaders to have such...said to act as a dire warning to others because the returning Crusaders or Knights Templar suffered terrible tortures before they finally succumbed and died. Another theory is that such headstones were to remind visitors of their own mortality...but the most popular, and probably quite wrong, is that they mark the graves of victims of the Black Death...wrong, simply because those victims were buried in some haste in mass graves.
I didn't stay on Ancestry for long today...so embroiled with these wretched early settlers who owned vast tracts of land and murdered Indians...when they weren't thinking about the possibility of enslaving them...which they began to in the 1700's apparently, along with the first Black Africans.
But I did find out that my Irish great Grandfather...the one who was a Mariner...sailed to America several times docking in Philadelphia...next research is to find out if the ships he sailed on took emigrants or had a more mundane cargo.
Caitlin has just called asking us to sponsor her in a gymkhana...it's part of the run up to the famous Rose of Tralee contest. She realised immediately that Jamie's new tattoo is the symbol of the National Front in England whereas it had taken a day for it to dawn on us...that child will go far.
For those who are unfamiliar with the N.F. they are an outspoken and racist organisation trying to keep England ' white'...skinhead thugs mostly. Thank heavens it's on the stupid boys leg where few people will see it...