Story for the Day: Farmer's Exertion
I'm in the middle of rewrites for book 1 but I had to get this out of my head before I could continue.
After a long day of immense exertion spent within the auspices of the barn and between the crop rows in the open fields, Jaicobh returned to the house with all the happiness of aching limbs, tired feet and a sore back could afford a farmer and landlord of Tyferrim. He stepped over the threshold of the back door and sighed with the most cordial felicity. It had been a day he had longed to experience since his first day returning to his land: a day of work, a day of peaceful solicitude, and day well-spent doing the necessary reparations of his prospects.
His property had been well cared for by Aiden and Adaoire, but the barn had been bare for the past few years and was in need of livestock with new pens to bolster them. He had done well to secure a few cows for milk and sheep for shearing from the Donnegal farmstead, but the animals that had been so used to one place for so long should not prefer another. The cuts and bruises on Jaicobh’s arms were the telling signs of war he endured throughout the day, and he smiled to himself regarding them, reflecting on all the mischief and application he had missed during his absence.
He entered the kitchen expecting to find one of this numerous guests in the farmhouse to be awake at this hour. His concept of time from being in the world between was slightly altered but as the sun had only set a few hours ago, he supposed it must not be so late in the evening as to have everyone asleep. He looked about the kitchen, however, and found every sign of the time being much later than he originally conceived. He thought to find something to eat before he should settle in himself, but was too exhausted to bother and went to his favourite chair in the den beside the kitchen to enjoy a few moments by the fire to consider how fortunate he was to return to his farmer’s life.
He plunked into his leather-bound chair and exhaled with deep satisfaction. He soon grew too comfortable to move and was disposed to spend the remainder of the evening in the warmth of the den. He closed his eyes but opened them again when he heard the sound of his daughter’s footfalls tread down the stairs. She entered the room with a genial smile for him and came to sit at the chair by his side.
“Are you well, father?” she said warmly.
“Aye, darlin’. Better than I ever was.”
“The marks on your arms say otherwise.”
“Bhess is giving me trouble. She doesn’t like her home.”
“Cows are always the particular sort. They must have the world done for them if they are to cooperate,” she simpered. “I do hope she did not kick you.”
“No, just a few nibbles on the arms while I was puttin’ the fence up. Nothin’ to worry about.”
“Yes, as bites hurt much less than kicks do.”
Jaicobh laughed and remarked the blemishes along his arms with a pleasant sigh. “She can’t hurt me much. A few days and these’ll be gone sure enough, darlin;.”
“Cows are always such unforgivable snobs,” the commander scoffed. “Give them the largest pen in the barn and they always wish to have one bigger.”
“Well,” Jaicobh said laughingly, “I hope she won’t kick it down ‘till the monrin’”
“She has about three hours to try.”
“It’s almost sunrise?” Jaicobh exclaimed. “Better get a few minutes of rest, then.”
“Don’t trouble yourself about the fence, father. I’ll fix it while you sleep in for the morning. I’m certain it’s not easy for you to adjust to our notion of time. Certainly worth all the exertion, however.” She smirked at her father’s bruised arms and gave his shoulder an affectionate pat. “Would you like me to ask Aiden and Adaoire to take care of the fields while you’re indisposed?”
Jaicobh made a diffident grimace. “I don’t want to ask a favour of ‘em.”
“I daresay they should rather consider it a honour. I will be mildly offensive in my asking, claiming they do so little during this time of the year and they should come right over.”
Jaicobh made a few more weak protestations but they were not enough to deter his daughter from a task she sought. She ignore his entreaties, kissed him on the top of his head and left the house, leaving him to enjoy the ease of his leather armchair and the comforting crackles of the fire in the hearth.
The commander was not half way between the MacDaede and the Donnegal farmsteads when the Den Asaan leapt upon her from his hiding place in the high grass. He was enjoying Frewyn’s wild countryside as much as his hunter’s senses would allow, but when the commander told him where she was going, the giant agreed to relinquish his sport of killing field mice and attend her.
The walk took a mere thirty minutes, but by the time they approached the edges of the Donnegal plot, the sky had grown a light azure and the stars had begun their recession for the day. They crept over the stone hedgerows and went to the back entrance of the farmhouse. As it was ever the business of young mothers to be up at all hours tending to their infants and it was ever their equal business to be peering out of windows while feeding them, the commander and Den Asaan crept therefore around the front of the house and came to the back door only to see Aiden and Adaoire already awake and standing in the larder. Upon closer inspection, they observed the twins stuffing their mouths with dried Tyferrim sausage, and the Den Asaan’s interests were instantly roused.