All Summer in a Day

 

This weekend’s wet and windy weather got me thinking of Ray Bradbury’s iconic short story, All Summer in a Day. I’ve thought of it often since moving to Ireland, a trip down the memory lane of primary school required reading. It left a lasting impression on me and today it reminds me that no matter how much it rains or for how long it’s grey outside, we truly never have to wait very long before the sun will be shining again.

Imagine this…

You live on a planet where rain falls continuously, except for every seven years when the sun comes out for just one hour. Now imagine you’re nine years old, once lived on Earth and, because of this, you’re the only child in your class who remembers experiencing the sun. Your peers don’t understand; it isn’t possible for they were only two years old when it last shined and they have no memory of it. Their envy of your knowledge fuels a wicked decision that results in you missing out on seeing and feeling the long-awaited arrival of the perfect sunshine.

It’s a short story but the message is huge, depicting a true principle of the human condition–jealousy, an emotion that can cause people to hurt other people because they want something that they have and don’t want others to have it if they can’t. Groups of people can behave surprisingly, even do unethical acts that most of the people wouldn’t do if they were acting alone–mob mentality, gang bullying–and it isn’t pleasant. Continue reading

Maya and The Book of Everything

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I was really looking forward to reading Maya and The Book of Everything by Laurie Graves in a way I hadn’t looked forward to reading a fiction book in a long time. Even though it’s a young adult fantasy novel and a gift to my 13-year-old daughter, something about the plot caught my attention. The cover art charmed me also and I ended up reading it before she did.

The story begins in modern times America (coincidentally the same area where I grew up) and it centres around the young heroine Maya and the magical secret Book of Everything. In fulfilling her destiny to protect the book from an evil syndicate that would like to control and alter its purpose, she travels through time and space encountering dangerous situations and tough decisions at every turn. Many other compelling characters are superbly developed and give much to the plot which twists and weaves into such an intriguing storyline, I found it hard to put down. Talking books, a royal toad, a magic forest and Shakespearean references are just a few of the books creative highlights for me. The story grips you right out of the gate and continues straight through to the last page. In fact, the ending caught me by surprise as much as it did Maya and gave me the thought ‘this could easily be a movie’.

Ms Graves has a unique trait to her writing where she summarises some of the happenings in the book by way of revealing a comment or action to be carried out at a future time. She accomplishes this with the introductory phrase, ‘Later he would say…’, cleverly adding depth to the characters as well as the reader’s understanding of the bigger picture, all in a single sentence.

Even though the main character is a young adult, I believe the story would have appeal far beyond that age group. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and eagerly await Book 2 in The Great Library Series.

My daughter Margaret Maeve is a bit uncertain about writing her own book review for Maya and The Book of Everything. I was thinking I could interview her, asking some questions that would draw the review out of her and then publish it here in a Q&A format. What do you think? So I’m asking you, my dear readers, so please give me some suggestions about what questions I might ask her. All ideas will be thoughtfully considered!

Maya and The Book of Everything can be purchased from the following:

Order directly from Hinterland Press
Maya and the Book of Everything
$14.95 Quality Paperback

Get Maya and the Book of Everything from Amazon.com
$14.95 Quality Paperback
or $3.99 Kindle e-book

Get Maya and the Book of Everything
from Barnes & Nobel
$14.99 Quality Paperback

Get Maya and the Book of Everything
from Amazon.co.uk
£12.20 Quality Paperback

Have a look at Laurie Graves blog, Notes From the Hinterland, or her Facebook page, where she expresses her creativity through her writings about “nature, home, community, books, writing, the environment, food, and rural life”.

Wishful thinking

After working extra hard to shed its seed coat, this one’s likely going to produce the biggest melons of the lot.

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The truth is it could probably go either way. Maybe it isn’t gaining strength; perhaps it’s actually falling behind the others. As far as I know, there’s no scientific research to back up either thought. I’ve been known to interfere and remove the seed coat from peppers. Their first leaves are much smaller (weaker?) than the melons in comparison to its seed coat and my gut instinct was that there would be a struggle to shed it themselves. I’ll give this melon another day and if it busts out, then I’m thinking it will be stronger, and if it takes any longer it probably needs my help and there goes my gut theory.

I’ve seen this scenario dozens of times, if not more, and have never really contemplated it until now. Oh, the power of a photograph to get one’s mind wondering! Thank you, Sandra and Cathy for this fun and inspiring weekly challenge.

A Story of Rain

Anywhere there’s a dip in the land of our homefarm, there’s a puddle temptingly waiting to be waded through by duck or welly boot.dsc_0020-2

The earth around us has reached its maximum water holding capacity and is now overflowing in many areas.

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This happens quickly on the island in relentless rainfall because the soil is shallow and just a few feet below, if not a few inches, are masses of solid limestone. Continue reading

Making a comfortable living from a small piece of land

As the word smallholding implies, we do what we do to support our family through a combination of cash crops and subsistence farming. We do all the work ourselves between the jigs and reels of raising a family and various other obligations and distractions. There’s no design laid out before us. Instead, season to season over the past several years we figure bits out and do it, always incorporating two essential qualities. The first and most important for us is to provide food for our family. The second is to do so while designing a modest, simple and functional area where others can discover that it’s possible to create their own supermarket on just one acre. We may not be making our entire income from it yet, but day by day and year to year we get that much closer.

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Three new outside beds were added to the garden in the last week. All three are at the north end of the polytunnel, one is actually an addition to the artichoke bed. We also divided the artichoke plants to double the amount we now have and there’s still room for plenty more.

Continue reading

Taming our wild side

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I’ve never understood (or admittedly bothered to research) how other gardeners manage to have their ducks live in harmony with the precious fruits and veg of their labour. When we first introduced our five eager quackers to our gardens, we were pleased with the efficiency with which they hoovered up slugs and bugs. Oh, how quickly these feelings changed. The sight of our steamrolled lettuces and carrots soon saw them evicted from the gardens, separated by a chicken wire covered wooden post fence. Continue reading

Life is Lovely

It won’t be long and the evening ferry will be arriving back to the island in daylight; for now, the artificial lights guide us into port. It’s hardly what I would describe as a romantic site. Picturesque, definitely. I’ve even thought it idyllic, but, other than the first time I visited fifteen years ago, not romantic. Johnny waiting for me on the pier is a scene we’ve shared a hundred or more times, but tonight I felt a little starry-eyed. It had me thinking later how I’ve probably been taking this gesture for granted. He’s always there, always. It felt so good, I’ll never again view my arrival back home as unromantic or fail to see the gesture of love he’s showing me.

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While I’m gushing on (it is the celebratory day of love ❤ ) I want to share a comment received last week that made me feel especially warm and fuzzy about writing and blogging, and towards everyone here who does the same- writes from the heart for the love of writing, appreciating connections made with their readers.

“Just to say I read you off and on, not a real follower though I “follow” you, and that I really enjoy the way you write about your life and the things you do, the everyday things that are so different from what I do and yet I connect with the art of doing life. You live in a beautiful part of the world. Be blessed always.”

My family & I appreciate with all our hearts each and every remark, opinion, and reflection that is shared here on our blog. Some of us share similar lives and many live very differently than we do. Either way, what we all have in common is the doing of life, and while it’s not always romantic, it’s certainly worth appreciating and occasionally even celebrating.

Joining in the one a week photo challenge, my interpretation of this week’s word ‘artificial.’ Thanks Sandra and Cathy!

With love, Melissa Xx

Hello, Monday Morning

 

We kicked off spring with a marathon weekend in the garden. Weeded, tidied, ground cover on, stones moved, some seeds planted.

Johnny and the boys finished removing the creig from one of the new tunnel beds; loads of work but we get needed depth and stones to use elsewhere in the garden.

My hands are sore from wild blackberry thorns, fingernails look unrecognizable, whole body is aching, and pulled a muscle in my bum from a running slip while racing the rain to get laundry off the line, but feeling accomplished and happy, happy! 

Have a wonderful Monday everyone, Melissa Xx

p.s. Daisy duck was no help at all, only poking her head up to see was I bringing her food or something like that, but we love her no matter.

 

Happy St. Brigid’s Day 2017

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It’s a beautiful first day of spring here on the island and we put the St. Brigid’s cross up on the house first thing this morning. The children are more wrapped up than usual as they head off for school because we had just returned from a wee trek to collect the bundle of reeds that Nuala is holding; they’ll be used at school to make crosses of their own.

The first day of spring here in Ireland falls about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  One of the traditional ways of celebrating is by making a St. Brigid’s cross which is ‘placed on doorways to ward off evil, fire, and hunger from homes’. It’s also called the Feast of Imbolc, an ancient Irish celebration of the change of seasons from the short, dark winter days to the longer and brighter days of spring.

Here’s a link to a post I did a year ago that shows step by step how to make your own St. Brigid’s cross. It also has links to more information about St. Brigid’s Day, the meaning of the cross, and the Feast of Imbolc. https://thearanartisan.com/2016/03/15/spring-willow-project/

Joining in with the ‘One a Week Photo Challenge‘, word ‘happy’ and with Ronovan Writes haiku challenge, words ‘please & blow’.

please wrap yourself up

on this first day of springtime

the wind is blowing

Getting up early and taking a walk with the children was an amazing way to start the day and has me thinking we ought to do it more often. I’m wondering though if the adventurous feeling to it would soon wear off? Perhaps it was just the novelty that made everyone so happy and they would be less excited to do it regularly. I suppose there’s only one way to find out.

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