First thing in the morning I like to get the day started with a milky decaf coffee, made with no water, just fresh goats milk straight from the pasture, and a spoon of unrefined sugar crystals or organic honey. Usually the rest of the family are still sleeping, or just beginning to stir and I bring Dan his cuppa in bed where we ponder the chores for the coming day.
On this particular sunny misty morning my neighbour who owns the joining field to our goats was digging his potatoes into his lazy beds. We waved as I chatted to my goat girls and got the milking underway. Ten minutes and a litre of milk later he meandered over with a little gift he had unearthed. Its the remnants of a clay pipe and he proceeded to tell me a little of its history.
During an Irish wake the host would provide each of the guests with a clay pipe and a pouch of tobacco, which would be used for the duration of the wake. When it drew to a close the mourners would take home their pipe and place it to rest on the top of their barn walls. In years to come, they would get knocked off by various creatures in passing, onto the manure below. The manure would then be shovelled out and spread on the field, and hence rediscovered years later by those of us digging new plots for vegetable growing. Number 46 is imprinted on the pipe, we don't know the significance of this ... perhaps its a pipe size? or the 46th wake of the parish that year!