Please forgive me for leaving you dangling with a dozen Gooseberry Jam Doughnuts for far too long. I was hoping praying the jammy delights might be special enough to linger on while we ventured off-farm for a spell, so thanks for hanging in there. I’ve missed you!
After much ado, the farmers and I were finally able to hatch a plan to trek off on our annual whirlwind Stateside tour. We spent three weeks visiting family and friends, three farms + a sugar bush, two cherry orchards, a cidery, one fish boil, one drive-in cinema, a state fair, the sandy beach, a friendly film editor, and basically all things Americana. I managed to keep up with my weekly column for Irish Country Living, but wanted to wait until we were homebound to write a proper blog post.
We are now back at the farm and I am experiencing my “re-entry syndrome” which is basically what I like to call the stealth combination of massive jetlag + a heady cold/flu. The bad news is that for whatever reason, it never fails to strike after spending a few hot summer weeks in the USA (despite coming home to mostly sunny Irish weather this time), but the bonus is that it always ends up also being a major detoxification which I like to think makes up for being a complete glutton a somewhat overindulgent holiday.
In between popping copious amounts of cold tablets, slamming Berocca by the litre, and sleeping for long stretches, I decided to read a book that I had been dying to dig into ever since my book proposal was “politely passed on” by Berkely, the publishing house who was already releasing Rurally Screwed, My Life Off the Grid with the Cowboy I Love, by Jessie Knadler. Rurally Screwed is a tale of a woman who left her journalism career in NYC to marry a cowboy that she meets on assignment in Montana. I devoured the book over the course of two days, and particularly enjoyed her frankness and honesty on adapting to a new life outside of the city, which now included rearing chickens, bible study, a wood-fired stove for heating, and Wa-Wa-Walmart. I chuckled at the irony in her visit to Brooklyn years later to find that so many cityfolk had morphed into hipster-style countryfolk . She didn’t realize that “farming” had become foxy. This is likely because when you really are farming, it’s anything but. It’s not a cookbook, but a memoir (she also has a preserving book), still, reading about deer (venison) neck tacos and her take on balancing the right amount lemony goo to pastry for lemon bars will surely make your mouth water.
That’s it for now, I will be back soon with a special new recipe that I’ve been dreaming up for some time…..it involves a different take on a classic Irish cake + some farm fresh homemade ice cream, so please stay tuned.
Photos by Imen McDonnell