Sunday, 3 June 2012

Life with Girl

Usually I get home from work and spend an hour or two reading, playing games and going over lessons, and then spend the weekends taking her to museums or the forest. We went camping for the first time a few weeks ago, and she can’t wait to go back into those deep woods again.

 This week, however, I’ve been busy every night building our chicken coop, and every time I get a little farther something happens to slow me down – rain, hail, dry rot, me stepping on a nail and having to drive myself to the emergency room.

Yes, a nail. I wanted to use the pile of old lumber left behind by my late father-in-law to save money on lumber or a finished coop, and learned that, after you have inspected each piece of lumber for protruding nails, you then assume you missed one.

The Girl is excited about getting the chickens, though, just as she is about the beehive I bought yesterday, with the money I saved using the lumber with the protruding nails. Bees, too, have been a long time coming for us – I took a course in beekeeping three years ago and have been saving up for a hive ever since. While my suit can be rolled up for her use, she wants a Girl-sized one, and her piggy bank now has a note taped to it in a child’s scrawl: “bee suit savings account.” Every day she puts a few more coins in, knowing only that it will take her a few steps closer.

I had to explain that, while we will have the box, the bees themselves will not arrive anytime soon. The crash here created a swift revival of the self-sufficient skills that were briefly forgotten during the Celtic Tiger, and while the local beekeeping courses brought 20 or so people a year in the prosperous decade, I took it with 70 of our neighbours. Thus we sit in a long list of people waiting for the next swarm, and the bees do not hurry for our economic fortunes.

Such a busy schedule, however, means I owe The Girl some time, so today we took the bus to Dublin and see our favourite science galleries, Viking exhibits and the Dublin Natural History Museum – the last one locals affectionately call “The Dead Zoo.” We managed to hit all of them in a single afternoon, with a lot of running down city streets to get from one to the other before they closed.

We needed to run more than we had expected, for as our bus driver explained to us in weary tones, Dublin city officials apparently thought it was a great idea to commission stock-car racing in the middle of the city. Not just any city, but a city where everything is claustrophobically close, the streets narrow and winding. And large chunks of the city were blocked off, the screech of Formula One cars causing babies to scream and adults to cover their ears for miles around.

“If I ever find the people who did this," The Girl swore, "I will shake my fists at them!”

****************

The Girl and I are preparing to come to the USA for our first visit in years, and I put out messages to friends and family in the Tea Party, Green Party, distributist organisations and various churches and dioceses, asking if they would be interested in having me speak. I can happily say that I have been invited by Occupy St. Louis to speak at their Fourth of July event at 7 pm at Legacy Books & Cafe, near the corner of Delmar and Union in the city. Anyone who lives in the area is welcome and listen to me and a few other speakers -- I don't know who, yet -- talk about how people can become less reliant on the mainstream economy.

I was also supposed to speak at the Walker Methodist Church in Minneapolis, but tragically, the day after I talked to them the church burned to the ground. No one was hurt, but it was a blow to the community, and to me. I don't know yet where or if I'm speaking in Minnesota, but I will keep readers posted.

Top photo: The Girl in the bee suit. Bottom photo: The Girl on a bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin.

1 comment:

Andy Brown said...

I hope you manage to get your bees. I got my own colonies 5 weeks ago now. I have three this year, because last year I had a single hive and as a new beekeeper you have no frame of reference about what is going on. Already, this year I can tell which colony is the slowest to draw comb and drink the syrup I've given them. I'll keep an eye on that one.