Our Wwoofers from New Zealand are wonderful people, they have settled in well and a lot of extra work is getting done. Last week we all went to help our neighbour save some turf from the bog (or 'bawg' as they say in Leitrim). Turf has been used for generations by many Irish rural dwellers to heat their homes. It's a concept that proves difficult for visitors to get their heads around .... burning slices of earth! These days turf is no longer cut by hand, instead it's scooped up by a digger into a large mixer then squirted out in lengths along the ground. Our job was to stack the turf 'sausages', a task called Footing. The Footings are built with wide gaps which allows air to circulate and dry the turf. It's then either taken home and stored for winter or built into close fitting large Clamps (seen in the background of this photograph) in a manner that allows rainfall to trickle off the surface. The structures themselves are quite beautiful and remind me of the beehive huts on the Skellig Islands.
With four adults and three children we made short work of five rows and managed to Foot what would take an individual a whole day within an hour. There was a spirit of competition as each person took a row to themselves and a little bit of distraction tactics were employed with some keen contestants chucking bits of turf at the each other. As usual Dan won and I came last!
When the work was done we took leave to what is akin to the 19th hole for golfers. In our case it was O' Callaghan's pub in Mohill for a swift rehydrating lunchtime Guinness. Like many of the traditional pubs it's not just a place to drink but also a grocery shop, as you can see by the tea bag display in one window and horse tackle in the other.
As a child my Father and I would play a game when walking through Irish villages called 'Guess the Shop By What's In the Window'. Not as straightforward as you might think. I remember on one occasion we saw a shop front which contained a ball of string and a jar of sweets. It turned out to be an Undertakers (funeral parlour) and a pub. In the countryside people often diversify their shops in order to survive eg estate agents and car spare parts under one roof.
You'd think that at my age I'd know a pint at lunchtime means the rest of the afternoon is spent in an unproductive lazy stupor, but sometimes that's the best way to spend a day.