Sunday, 15 May 2011

Life With Girl

This weekend, with The Girl keeping me company, I picked bushels of nettles before the season ends. I boiled some nettles and blitzed them, and separated it into liquid -- nettle tea – and solid puree. Let the tea cool, and bottled it for later this week. I froze the puree for dishes later in the year.

I tied more nettles into bundles and hung them from the ceiling of the greenhouse, where they can dry over the next week or so and yield tea all through the year.
Most of the nettles, though, went with some lemons, sugar, cream of tartar and yeast into my first experiment with beer. The yeast is bubbling along happily when I last checked.

Also this weekend, The Girl and I ran all over the garden, playing the game of “Raw, Cooked, Poisonous.” Cowslips raw, elderflowers cooked, foxglove poisonous. Hostas? She asked. Ummmm ... I don’t know, I said. Assume anything is poisonous until you find otherwise.

Later that day she asked to go fishing, so I dug up some worms and we walked with her fishing rod down our driveway to the canal. When I showed her how to bait the hook, though, she began to cry, saying she felt sorry for the poor worm.

I’m proud of you for caring about how others feel, I said – but there are millions of worms under our feet, appearing and disappearing. When it’s their time to go, they become part of Mr. Robin, or the naughty magpie, or the fish. And the fish becomes part of the big heron that lives outside our front gate, I said, so when we wave to the heron, we’ll be waving to the worm too. She looked dubious, but the energy spent working that thought over was energy not spent on tears.

I promised we could go camping Saturday night, but it got chilly and damp again that evening – only ten degrees or so in May, that’s Ireland. So we set up a tent in the living room, and camped there. I read her favourite fairy stories to her, and as I sang the Sesame Street song “That’s About the Size of It,” she fell asleep curled up in my arms.

The next evening I asked her if she wanted me to read the next chapter of her fairy book, and she said slyly, “I already got a chapter.”

Of what book, honey? I asked.

“Not out of any book,” she said.” I got a chapter of the Papa Fairy.”

You’re right, I said, you got a chapter of my life this weekend, and I got a chapter of yours. Thank you.


risa said...

And ... we got a chapter. Thank you, well-lived, well-described.

Brian Kaller said...


Thank you, and I'm sorry to see that the Red Mullet is shutting down. Thank you for all the work you've done over the years, and please keep in touch.

don bates said...

just to say that I really enjoy and appreciate your style. Very refreshing.


Padded Cell Princess said...

What a sweet memory! If worms are too much for your little girl, you could try small bits of cheddar cheese. I used to catch fish with it when I was a little girl...but then again I was in America and junk food bait may only work for American fish ;)