I headed for the bins at the front of the shed. En route, I couldn’t help but smile as I saw the youngest, littlest lambs hop and skip across the straw-carpeted pens. I reached into the bin for a handful of nuts, returned to where the boys were waiting and dropped the treat into the bucket. They’d barely hit the bottom before the cow had her head buried in it. With Mammy distracted, the boys tried again, this time with success, to get the newborn calf to latch on and suckle.
And so, this was Sunday.
Not for the first time since moving back, I found myself thinking: what a difference a year makes.
At the end of 2013, after close to a decade living in the US, I made the decision to come home to Ireland. I was ready to put down roots, and I wanted to do that in the only place I knew they would take.
I handed in my notice, moved out of my rented accommodation, sold my car, and in early 2014, I made the move. I was happy to be home, but at 30 years of age, single, jobless, and back living with my parents, I was anxious and uncertain as to what the future might hold.
It wasn’t long, however, before the future began to clue me in.
Dublin beckoned, and just over a month later, I headed South — to start my new job with a tech startup, and a new chapter in my life.
Several months later, I met Jack.
A “banker/farmer” was how he described himself, and my interest was piqued. Having landed in the Porterhouse, Temple Bar, straight from work, he was in a suit. It was a Thursday, and, clearly not having planned on meeting anyone on whom I wished to make an especially good impression that evening, I was in jeans and Converse.
We got to chatting. He explained how, Monday to Friday, he commuted from Kildare to Dublin, where he worked as an accountant. At the weekends, he helped out on the family farm. Farming was in his blood and, with land of his own, it was there that he saw his future.
I was born and reared in Portstewart — a small seaside town on Derry’s north coast. The daughter of a pharmacist and a journalist-cum-author, what I knew about farming at the time would have fit on the back of a postage stamp.
But one date turned into two, and then into many. When we met, Jack had actually just entered into what he had decided would be his final year of a decade-long stint in banking. His parents were getting older and it was becoming more difficult for them to manage the demands of a thriving farm alone.
So, in February 2015, he made the leap, trading in the pressed shirts and daily commute for wellies and tractors.
The change has ushered in a new way of life for me as well, and while year one hasn’t been without its challenges, more than anything, it’s been an education.
I came back home looking to regroup, reconnect, and rediscover the joys of living in Ireland. Love was on the list of “nice to find eventuallys”, if not quite an “immediately must find.”
Falling for a farmer certainly wasn’t something I saw coming . . .
It’s funny how things turn out 🙂