For the next few months, we are sharing writing that happened during AWA’s marathon weekend of writing workshops, Write Around the World. This is one way we are celebrating the AWA-certified workshop leaders & writers who joined together to raise money in support of AWA. Thank you to those who shared their voices in each workshop and especially to those who have offered their words to be shared in this space. If you’re inspired by our work and would like to be part of the fundraiser, please donate!

Writing from Iona Writers in Glasnevin Dublin with Eilís Coe:

When I was a child and living on a farm in the West of Ireland, my mother, a widow, applied for and was granted a license to run a poultry farm. It was exciting for us children to have more than sheep and cows to tend but all the regulations that came with the new enterprise fell heavily on us children.

We were introduced to the new hen pin, the roosts on which the tidy little Leghorns rested for the night, the door for hens only, the laying boxes padded with golden straw which had to be changed twice a week so that when we were collecting the eggs, all were clean and ready to be packed into the cartons of White eggs for the local shop, where we bartered them for our groceries, which consisted of items needed to supplement our fresh produce from our farm.

Perches and roosts had to be scrubbed each week and for this we had to carry them to the river and steep them to remove the droppings. The dropping boards had to be scrubbed and fresh sawdust spread on them. We had to watch the hens and chicks carefully and if the fox or the hawk got any of them, we would suffer a just punishment, o eggs for breakfast the next day.

 

The big day was when the Poultry Inspector arrived. Miss Flynne would remove the eggs form their snug little cartons and put them through a fertility test. The hens were given a blood test. All the information was neatly entered in her book. This was all a lot of red tape and Foolology, I thought, about something as simple as a carton of eggs.

Ita Mullany

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