Dear Julia…

The following is a work of fiction based on recent events and experiences in Ireland.

Dear Julia,

I am writing to say hello and tell you about my day because it has been a few months since we have seen each other and our family misses you more and more. It is Saturday, which typically,  a lot of people do not work, but a farmer’s job never ceases. My morning begins with the alarm clock distinctly ringing in the background as my eyes make the daily struggle to open. The morning sun is just beginning to peek through the darkness of the night, casting a golden shadow. I look over at the beside table… the numbers in red read six o’clock… time to start the day. There is a distinctive smell that flows throughout the tiny bathroom.. eggs.. bacon.. white and black pudding.. hashbrowns.. sausage. A combination of smells that is not new to me. Cara has made breakfast for the family. I quickly shave, rinse off, and put on clothes for the day. I make my way downstairs and see my two sons, daughter and wife assembled in the kitchen accompanied by the familiar soothing smell of peat burning in the fireplace. On the table, a traditional Irish breakfast is laid out along with freshly baked soda bread anxiously awaiting hungry hands. Everyone gets their serving, and sits down to give thanks. Having recently moved, my family and I live on a beautiful 80 acre plot on the mountain side with an immaculate view of the ocean accompanied with bogland as well. We have numerous sheep, cows, horses, and goats all divided up between different paddocks. Our biggest source of income these days is sheep herding competitions. You will never believe this…wool sheared from sheep has dropped in price to where one fleece has become worth 25 cents! It is taking a real toll on the family but the litter of puppies Bailey (Border Collie) just had will help. She has acquired a big name through sheep herding and her puppies will be worth a few thousand euros each. Today, I took Liam and Murphy to watch a demonstration of Bailey rounding up the sheep. “Come by,” “away,” “walk on,” “that’ll do” are the commands that echoed through the valley. Preceding that, the three of us went off to shear a few dozen sheep considering July is yearly marker. My sons have become experts and are a big help when I need extra hands. We have begun to use scissors to shear the sheep by hand and not electric razors simply because electric razors only seem to cut and hurt the sheep. The job gets done quickly considering one sheep takes around 3 minutes to shear. Meanwhile, my daughter (who recently engaged in horseback riding) tends to her horse and my wife is busy preparing lunch. Tonight, we will be doing more sheep shearing and looking after all of the other animals that reside on the land. Just your typical day in the life of a farmer… hope to see you soon sister!

Much love,