Most of the photos here at Rabbit Run Cottage
can be enlarged just by clicking on each one!
There you go...see? Easy!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Just An Ordinary Spring Evening Here On Planet Tatooie...

So Grace says, "Darth? Honey? We need to talk. Why don't you give all this dark clothing a rest. It is Spring! Lighten up a little big guy. Try some pastels...pink would go so well with your eyes!" Tonight's event at the Philharmonic was "Heroes and Villains : A Tribute To John Williams" Of course, no tribute to Mr. JW would be complete without a rousing send up of the score from "Star Wars". At least that is what the little boy fidgeting in the seat next to me said just before his Mother told him to hush and leave the grouchy old lady alone. Of course there were a few stormtroopers, one Lord Vader brandishing a light saber but not one Indiana Jones or Han Solo in the bunch. Dang. The music was amazing, as always. Grace got tired and fell asleep, as always. But Mom and I loved it. More tomorrow....must run. I need to check the hoses & pistons on the Millennium Falcon.
Hugs,
Susie Q

Friday, March 30, 2007

A Lovely Day

I have not forgotten about my 300th post give away! I have been compiling a few treats and making a list of all who have left a comment over the last few days. Grace will pull names out of a hat on Monday morning so remember to leave a comment! Just say "Howdy", "I think your blog is a stinky bit of fluff" or "why do you actually LIKE grocery shopping Sue you goof ball"?
Isn't this old card sweet? I adore old postcards, the colors and graphics.
A busy day and we are headed downtown this evening to hear a Philharmonic performance. A tribute to the film music of John Williams. It should be wonderful.
I will hop back on tonight if I can...
The sun is glowing and the trees are beginning to pop. The air is warm but fresh.
Have a smile filled weekend dear friends...
Hugs,
Susie Q

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spring Fling

Okay. I have been moving this and re-arranging that. Just playing a little, or a lot if you ask my husband. I put the bakers rack back in the laundry room and added some bits and bobs from other places. Then my sweet husband finally hung my stained glass piece in front of the transom window in the kitchen! Okay, I am a happy camper now. He is no Bob Vila (But I always said I would rather have Norm Abrams anyway. Bob just talked. Norm did the work. The man can build furniture and houses. Now THAT would be sumpthin' to have around the house) but since I am no Martha Stewart (Although we both highlight our blond hair and love animals, I do not own several houses, a line of housewares at K Mart, have a magazine, television show or a prison record. Dang. I just have not lived)), we compliment one another don't ya know. But the man hangs a great stained glass piece right? (And he is cute to boot) Hey, it is still up there...T minus 24 hours and counting....
As soon as the baby leaves we are heading over to Mom's. It is our Thursday Extravaganza! Dining out! Grocery shopping! Could it get any more exciting that that? Nah...Grace always chooses the restaurant on Thursdays...I wonder where we will go tonight? I know, I know. You are green with envy right? Grocery shopping!! Dang. Okay, here is where I will admit that I LOVE grocery shopping. Really. But you knew I was just a titch off didn't you? I hope your Thursday is going well and that you have found many things to smile about today.
Hugs,
Susie Q

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

301 And Counting...Sweet Treats!

You don't have to grow a garden like Mr. McGregor's to have a family of rabbits show up at your house on Easter ... or any other time!

RECIPE INGREDIENTS: A cupcake (baked from your favorite recipe) White icing Shredded coconut Pink decorators' sugar Jelly bean nose Chewable Sweet Tart eyes Large marshmallow Mini marshmallows

1. Frost a cupcake (baked from your favorite recipe) with white icing and sprinkle on shredded coconut fur.
2. Cut a large marshmallow in half widthwise. Squeeze each half slightly to give it an oval shape, then decorate the sticky side of each one with pink decorators' sugar and set them in place for ears.
3. Add a jelly bean nose and either jelly bean or snipped Sweet Tart eyes, and mini marshmallows for cheeks.
For a finishing touch, draw on decorators' gel pupils or whiskers if you like.

And You Call This A Good 300th Post?

Instead of blogging Monday night, I actually jumped into this
bed and slept! I should feel guilty but hey. I needed to sleep!
And, then, last night, instead of blogging, we cuddled up on
this bedroom love seat and read... Okay, so this is a lousy excuse for a 300th post. I will make it up to you I swear. I have been so busy here at home and with the kids, my family, pets, etc. and blogging took a little back seat. I know, how can THAT be?? I LOVE blogging but there it is. Now, this is not exactly the sort of post I had planned for my 300th...not even close. But that aside, let me just say this. I think the world of all of you. You have become an important part of my day, my week. How I enjoy hopping online and visiting your spaces and sharing a bit of my life on mine. I often think my blog is nothing more than vain self indulgence on my part...vapid and serving nothing and no one. Still, I do have such fun with it. I thank you for welcoming me and making me feel a part of such a wide, sweet, inspirational and creative blog circle. Meeting all of you has made my life far richer and sweeter. I do plan a giveaway in honor of the 300th...so do not forget to post something. Anything! I will get back to you on the particulars! Now I am off to have dinner with the family. We are driving over to Mom's after dinner and going to get ice cream, all of us, even the dogs! Have a sweet Thursday. Hugs, Susie Q

Monday, March 26, 2007

Blissful Business

Uh huh, I HAVE been AWOL since Thursday haven't I? I have been able to check into many of your blogs but did not leave many comments. Just know I was there and will try to get back on schedule this week! It was a whirlwind week of housework, babysitting, party planning, shopping and dental appointments. Grace is now wearing an orthodontic retainer and is, for the most part, not complaining or whining about it. Whew! She seems excited to begin the whole process. Her orthodontist is the son of the man who put on Danny's braces, who is the son of the man who put on mine. Is that a family tradition or what? Silly I know but fun. On Thursday, one of my dearest friends, B., and her husband drove up from their home in TN. Her 50th birthday was Friday and our mutual buddy, T., and I planned a celebration. T took a personal day on Friday and I did not have the baby to watch. We joined B. and her sister, F., for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and dined on huge, delicious salads. After lunch we shopped and shopped and shopped. None of us spent a lot of money but did get some really cute things. I got some great shoes at Coldwater Creek that were 75% off. Can't beat that now can you? Late afternoon, T and I headed back to my house to prepare for the party. Thankfully we had Bill to do some of the food pick up for us! B. and her husband are from here and moved to TN just 4 years ago. They return often and we visit them at their home in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. B. had voiced, years ago, that if she had only one day left on earth she would want to dine on certain local foods. So, in honor of her 50th, we decided to go with that theme. We ordered Bar B Que brisket and pulled pork, potato salad and baked beans from City Bar B Que, Super Cheese pizzas from Marion's Pizzeria and chicken wings from North China. We had a cheese and fruit platter with dip, veggies and dips, a beautiful AND delicious cake and topped that off with an assortment of Graeter's ice cream flavors. We had quite a few people here and no one went home hungry! The first picture you see is a special cookie basket T. and I had made for B. as a treat. B. is a talented florist so we went with a flower theme...it really was cute. We all had a great time together and I know that B. had a party that she loved and so deserved.
I will hop back online later to post about the rest of the weekend but, till then, I hope your week will be a good one. Spring is here and the air just smells a bit fresher, sweeter.
Be kind to yourself....oh. And here is a heads up. My next post is Number 300!!!
Hugs,
Susie Q

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Rabbits At Work And Sweet Gifts

The rabbits felt it was high time to begin our Easter decorating.
While the baby I watch was sleeping, we began to
do just that. So much more to
do of course, but it is a good start.
The rabbits are all quite proud of the work they
have done so far...
The tree is almost finished...

Ssh...let's keep our decorating plan a secret Clarice!
I think that is the perfect spot for an egg Daphne!
Sweet gifts from dear Missy! What a surprise awaited me in the mail!
Spring stickers for scrap booking, a delicious Hershey Kiss and the most wonderful Susie Q Diner calender! How special is that!?
Thank you Missy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy Springtime

Welcome Spring!
Washington D.C. Cherry Blossoms for dear Jen...
For winter's rains and ruins are over, And all the season of snows and sins; The days dividing lover and lover, The light that loses, the night that wins; And time remembered is grief forgotten, And frosts are slain and flowers begotten, And in green underwood and cover Blossom by blossom the spring begins. ~Algernon Charles Swinburne
Happy Spring to all of my dear friends!
A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King.
~Emily Dickensen

Two By Two

A Two By Two list from dear Missy...
Answer with things that are relevant to you RIGHT NOW.
Two Names You Go By:
Susie & Mom
Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
Sweatpants and a T shirt
Two Things You Have in a Relationship:
Love and Friendship
Two of Your Favorite Things to Do:
Travel & Go To The Movies
Two Things You Want Very Badly At The Moment:
A Good Night's Sleep & Bill And I To Have More Time To Relax
Two Pets You Had:
Had? As in, they are no longer here? The past tense? Okay...Mandy, our
red, long haired doxie. We got her just after we were married in 1978. Hannah,
our first cat. We got her, in 1987, from a friend who had rescued her Mama.
Two People Who Will Fill This Out (Maybe):
Terri and Valerie
Two Things You Did Last Night:
Folded and put away A LOT of laundry and read to Grace.
Two Things You Ate Today:
An Apple & Scrambled Eggs
Two People You Last Talked To:
In house? Daniel and Bill (Unless you count Kipper & Lucy.
*I* talked, they listened. Daniel and Bill never listen!)
On the telephone? My Mother and Brother.
Two Favorite Places:
I could say my home, and that would be true, but I think
I will go with something else...
New York City & London
Two Things You're Doing Tomorrow:
Watch the baby & Dust the upstairs rooms
How exciting right? I know you are SOOOOO
envious of my exciting life huh? A constant social whirlwind...
Two Longest Car Rides:
Dayton, Ohio to San Diego, California
Dayton, Ohio to Corpus Christi, Texas
Two Favorite Holidays:
Thanksgiving & Valentine's Day
Two Guilty Pleasures:
M & Ms and Coca Cola
Two Things that Make Me Laugh:
Watching Seinfeld & Any Monty Python Routine
Two Things I Last Got in the Mail:
A sweet gift from dear Missy & my April Country Home magazine

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Sweet Spring Treat

Strawberry-Lime Stuffed Cupcakes 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
Icing:
1 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 drop green food coloring
6 large ripe strawberries, hulled
Green sanding sugar
Fresh mint leaves or candied leaves
Equipment: 6-cup jumbo muffin tin
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line the muffin tin with cupcake liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. While beating, gradually pour in the butter and then the vanilla. While mixing slowly, add half the dry ingredients, then add all the milk, and follow with the rest of the dry ingredients. Take care not to over mix the batter. Divide the batter evenly in the prepared tin.
Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove. Cool on the rack completely.
For icing:
Mix the confectioners' sugar and lime zest in a medium bowl. Add the lime juice and mix with an electric mixer to make a firm but pourable icing. (If needed, add up to 1 teaspoon more juice, but take care if the icing is too loose it doesn't set properly.) Add food color to make a pale pastel green icing.
To assemble:
Remove cupcake from its liner. Cut and remove a strawberry (coned) shaped portion of cupcake from the top of each cupcake, leaving about 1/2 to 1-inch of cake in the bottom. Stuff each cake with a strawberry and cover with a little bit of cake. Spoon and spread icing over the top of the cupcakes. Sprinkle with green sanding sugar. Top with small mint leaves or candied leaves.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Precious Peonies

For Andi....
Peonies
~ Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies
are getting ready to break my heart
as the sun rises, as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers and they open ---pools of lace, white and pink ---
and all day the black ants climb over them, boring their deep and mysterious holesinto the curls, craving the sweet sap, taking it awayto their dark, underground cities ---and all day
under the shifty wind, as in a dance to the great wedding, the flowers bend their bright bodies, and tip their fragrance to the air, and rise, their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness gladly
and lightly, and there it is again --- beauty the brave, the exemplary, blazing open. Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into
the garden, and softly, and exclaiming of their dearness, fill your arms with the white and pink flowers, with their
honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling, their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are nothing, forever?

Sweet Lilacs

Oh the sweet smell of lilacs...
I have such precious memories of my family's back yard...the backyard of my childhood. To a young girl it seemed a fairy tale world. A place to lie on a soft, weathered quilt and dream the dreams of a young girl.
Willow trees provided deep shade while
this haven's flower beds were filled to capacity
with tulips in the Spring....roses in the Summer.
But oh, the lilacs...purple, pink and white lilacs. I would gather them and place them on my night stand. How sweet their scent....making pleasant dreams a certainty.
The Lilacs Mother Planted
I listened by the doorstep as the evening shadows fell,
While from the distance floated the faint tinkling of a bell,
The night hawk circled overhead then dropped straight down below,
The same as when I first lived there, in childhood, long ago.
The trees have grown much taller in the yard where once I played,
And now looked so majestic in their summer robes arrayed;
And near the walk the lilacs flung their fragrance to the air
The lilacs that my darling mother planted for us there.
Ah, yes, what tender memories are forced on us again,
Who leave our home in boyhood days and then return grown men;
To seek again the playgrounds which in youth we loved so well,
The shade beneath the apple tree, the old pump at the well,
The woodpile, and the cellar door, the dear old blacksmith shop,
The granary that held the corn with martin box on top.
But dearer than the playgrounds was the perfume in the air,
From those dear lilac bushes that my mother planted there.
Oh, sweet and fragrant lilac, the one she loved so well,
Thy fragrance brings to memory sad thoughts I cannot tell;
Sweet lullabies of childhood sung at the evening rest,
By mother clasping closely the one she loved the best.
A voice that gently whispered sweet words of love to me,
A face so kind and gentle, a heart with love so free;
Still yet my heart throbs feel them, still yet I see them there,
When lilacs that she planted with fragrance fill the air. ~Ed Blair.
"If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends and nature; and the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature."
~Naturalist, John Burroughs Wishing you all a sweet week... Hugs, Susie Q

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tis I, Declan P. Dugan L.I.T.

"St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time... a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic!"
~Adrienne Cook
A top o' the mornin' to ye....tis I, Declan P. Dugan, L.I.T. (Leprechaun In Training) at your service. A more handsome leprechaun ye will not find in alla me land. I have come all the way from me house, dear Ballybrack Cottage in old County Cork don't ye know...
Aye but isn't me home lovely?
...to speak to ye in hope that I could be o' service to one and all. An L.I.T. must perform many good deeds or, dash it all, we simply will not be promoted! Tis a shame I tell ye. And me, bein' as poetic a lad as I am and all. But, to quote me dear Sean O' Casey,
"All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed. " But o' how I digress...
So me lovelies, what canna do to help ye?
I am here today on Suzie Q's blog (A sweet lass but a bit daft I tell ye. And not a drop o' Irish blood inner. Tis a shame...the lass has me all flummoxed!) to ask ye just what canna do for ye. Just ask and old Clancy will do his wee best. Now, I canna no promise anything but I canna promise I will do me best. So, whether your name be Flannery , McGhee, Donnelly, Finnegan, Sullivan or, *gasp*, DENNEHY (Oh but this lass has it bad for this Irishman),
I am but at your service.
Now, I canna be no help to make ye Irish...there bein' only two kinds o' people in the world, the Irish, and those who wish they be ye know. But onna day like today, all people can be Irish.
I speak no blarney! Just like that! Poof. It lasts but 24 hours...sadly for ye...tis but a wee thing for me to do...say thank ye!
Now, I gotta get back to me bowl of carrots and parsnips.
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!
Éire go Brách

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Little March Madness Is Good For You

The game is on....guess where we are? In front of a television? Uh huh...our alma mater is in the tourney. Bill and I both graduated from WSU is 1978. I was a Sociology/Elementary Ed/Art major. Bill was an Enviromental Studies, Anthropology major. Dan is still attending, a psychology major. What a great team this year...
Go Raiders!

An Irish Tale...Or Two

The Field of Boliauns One fine day in harvest - it was indeed Lady-day in harvest, that everybody knows to be one of the greatest holidays in the year - Tom Fitzpatrick was taking a ramble through the ground, and went along the sunny side of a hedge - when all of a sudden he heard a clacking sort of noise a little before him in the hedge. "Dear me," said Tom, "but isn't it surprising to hear the stonechatters singing so late in the season?" So Tom stole on, going on the tops of his toes to try if he could get a sight of what was making the noise, to see if he was right in his guess. The noise stopped - but as Tom looked sharply through the bushes, what should he see in a nook of the hedge but a brown pitcher, that might hold about a gallon and a half of liquor - and by-and-by a little wee teeny tiny bit of an old man, with a little motty of a cocked hat stuck upon the top of his head, a deeshy daushy leather apron hanging before him, pulled out a little wooden stool, and stood up upon it, and dipped a little piggin into the pitcher, and took out the full of it, and put it beside the stool, and then sat down under the pitcher, and began to work at putting a heel-piece on a bit of a brogue just fit for himself. "Well, by the powers," said Tom to himself, "I often heard tell of the Lepracauns, and, to tell God's truth, I never rightly believed in them - but here's one of them in real earnest. If I go knowingly to work, I'm a made man. They say a body must never take their eyes off them, or they'll escape." Tom now stole on a little further, with his eye fixed on the little man just as a cat does with a mouse. So when he got up quite close to him, "God bless your work, neighbour," said Tom. The little man raised up his head, and "Thank you kindly," said he. "I wonder you'd be working on the holiday!" said Tom. "That's my own business, not yours," was the reply. "Well, may be you'd be civil enough to tell us what you've got in the pitcher there?" said Tom. "That I will, with pleasure," said he, "it's good beer." "Beer!" said Tom. "Thunder and fire! where did you get it?" "Where did I get it, is it? Why, I made it. And what do you think I made it of?" "Devil a one of me knows," said Tom, "but of malt, I suppose, what else?" "There you're out. I made it of heath." "Of heath!" said Tom, bursting out laughing, "sure you don't think me to be such a fool as to believe that?" "Do as you please," said he, "but what I tell you is the truth. Did you never hear tell of the Danes?" "Well, what about them?" said Tom. "Why, all the about them there is, is that when they were here they taught us to make beer out of the heath, and the secret's in my family ever since." "Will you give a body a taste of your beer?" said Tom. "I'll tell you what it is, young man, it would be fitter for you to be looking after your father's property than to be bothering decent quiet people with your foolish questions. There now, while you're idling away your time here, there's the cows have broke into the oats, and are knocking the corn all about." Tom was taken so by surprise with this that he was just on the very point of turning round when he recollected himself - so, afraid that the like might happen again, he made a grab at the Lepracaun, and caught him up in his hand - but in his hurry he overset the pitcher, and spilt all the beer, so that he could not get a taste of it to tell what sort it was. He then swore that he would kill him if he did not show him where his money was. Tom looked so wicked and so bloody-minded that the little man was quite frightened - so says he, "Come along with me a couple of fields off, and I'll show you a crock of gold." So they went, and Tom held the Lepracaun fast in his hand, and never took his eyes from off him, though they had to cross hedges and ditches, and a crooked bit of bog, till at last they came to a great field all full of boliauns, and the Lepracaun pointed to a big boliaun, and says he, "Dig under that boliaun, and you'll get the great crock all full of guineas." Tom in his hurry had never thought of bringing a spade with him, so he made up his mind to run home and fetch one - and that he might know the place again he took off one of his red garters, and tied it round the boliaun. Then he said to the Lepracaun, "Swear ye'll not take that garter away from that boliaun." And the Lepracaun swore right away not to touch it. "I suppose," said the Lepracaun, very civilly, "you have no further occasion for me?" "No," says Tom, "you may go away now, if you please, and God speed you, and may good luck attend you wherever you go." "Well, good-bye to you, Tom Fitzpatrick," said the Lepracaun, "and much good may it do you when you get it." So Tom ran for dear life, till he came home and got a spade, and then away with him, as hard as he could go, back to the field of boliauns - but when he got there, lo and behold! not a boliaun in the field but had a red garter, the very model of his own, tied about it - and as to digging up the whole field, that was all nonsense, for there were more than forty good Irish acres in it. So Tom came home again with his spade on his shoulder, a little cooler than he went, and many's the hearty curse he gave the Lepracaun every time he thought of the neat turn he had served him.

Fair, Brown, and Trembling - An Irish Cinderella Story King Hugh Curucha lived in Tir Conal, and he had three daughters, whose names were Fair, Brown, and Trembling. Fair and Brown had new dresses, and went to church every Sunday. Trembling was kept at home to do the cooking and work. They would not let her go out of the house at all; for she was more beautiful than the other two, and they were in dread she might marry before themselves. They carried on in this way for seven years. At the end of seven years the son of the king of Emania fell in love with the eldest sister. One Sunday morning, after the other two had gone to church, the old henwife came into the kitchen to Trembling, and said: "It's at church you ought to be this day, instead of working here at home." "How could I go?" said Trembling. "I have no clothes good enough to wear at church; and if my sisters were to see me there, they'd kill me for going out of the house." "I'll give you," said the henwife, "a finer dress than either of them has ever seen. And now tell me what dress will you have?" "I'll have," said Trembling, "a dress as white as snow, and green shoes for my feet." Then the henwife put on the cloak of darkness, clipped a piece from the old clothes the young woman had on, and asked for the whitest robes in the world and the most beautiful that could be found, and a pair of green shoes. That moment she had the robe and the shoes, and she brought them to Trembling, who put them on. When Trembling was dressed and ready, the henwife said: "I have a honey-bird here to sit on your right shoulder, and a honey-finger to put on your left. At the door stands a milk-white mare, with a golden saddle for you to sit on, and a golden bridle to hold in your hand." Trembling sat on the golden saddle; and when she was ready to start, the henwife said: "You must not go inside the door of the church, and the minute the people rise up at the end of Mass, do you make off, and ride home as fast as the mare will carry you." When Trembling came to the door of the church there was no one inside who could get a glimpse of her but was striving to know who she was; and when they saw her hurrying away at the end of Mass, they ran out to overtake her. But no use in their running; she was away before any man could come near her. From the minute she left the church till she got home, she overtook the wind before her, and outstripped the wind behind. She came down at the door, went in, and found the henwife had dinner ready. She put off the white robes, and had on her old dress in a twinkling. When the two sisters came home the henwife asked: "Have you any news to-day from the church?" "We have great news," said they. "We saw a wonderful grand lady at the church-door. The like of the robes she had we have never seen on woman before. It's little that was thought of our dresses beside what she had on; and there wasn't a man at the church, from the king to the beggar, but was trying to look at her and know who she was." The sisters would give no peace till they had two dresses like the robes of the strange lady; but honey-birds and honey-fingers were not to be found. Next Sunday the two sisters went to church again, and left the youngest at home to cook the dinner. After they had gone, the henwife came in and asked: "Will you go to church to-day?" "I would go," said Trembling, "if I could get the going." "What robe will you wear?" asked the henwife. "The finest black satin that can be found, and red shoes for my feet." "What colour do you want the mare to be?" "I want her to be so black and so glossy that I can see myself in her body." The henwife put on the cloak of darkness, and asked for the robes and the mare. That moment she had them. When Trembling was dressed, the henwife put the honey-bird on her right shoulder and the honey- finger on her left. The saddle on the mare was silver, and so was the bridle. When Trembling sat in the saddle and was going away, the henwife ordered her strictly not to go inside the door of the church, but to rush away as soon as the people rose at the end of Mass, and hurry home on the mare before any man could stop her. That Sunday, the people were more astonished than ever, and gazed at her more than the first time; and all they were thinking of was to know who she was. But they had no chance; for the moment the people rose at the end of Mass she slipped from the church, was in the silver saddle, and home before a man could stop her or talk to her. The henwife had the dinner ready. Trembling took off her satin robe, and had on her old clothes before her sisters got home. "What news have you to-day?" asked the henwife of the sisters when they came from the church. "Oh, we saw the grand strange lady again! And it's little that any man could think of our dresses after looking at the robes of satin that she had on! And all at church, from high to low, had their mouths open, gazing at her, and no man was looking at us." The two sisters gave neither rest nor peace till they got dresses as nearly like the strange lady's robes as they could find. Of course they were not so good; for the like of those robes could not be found in Erin. When the third Sunday came, Fair and Brown went to church dressed in black satin. They left Trembling at home to work in the kitchen, and told her to be sure and have dinner ready when they came back. After they had gone and were out of sight, the henwife came to the kitchen and said: "Well, my dear, are you for church to-day?" "I would go if I had a new dress to wear." "I'll get you any dress you ask for. What dress would you like?" asked the henwife. "A dress red as a rose from the waist down, and white as snow from the waist up; a cape of green on my shoulders; and a hat on my head with a red, a white, and a green feather in it; and shoes for my feet with the toes red, the middle white, and the backs and heels green." The henwife put on the cloak of darkness, wished for all these things, and had them. When Trembling was dressed, the henwife put the honey-bird on her right shoulder and the honey-finger on her left, and, placing the hat on her head, clipped a few hairs from one lock and a few from another with her scissors, and that moment the most beautiful golden hair was flowing down over the girl's shoulders. Then the henwife asked what kind of a mare she would ride. She said white, with blue and gold-coloured diamond-shaped spots all over her body, on her back a saddle of gold, and on her head a golden bridle. The mare stood there before the door, and a bird sitting between her ears, which began to sing as soon as Trembling was in the saddle, and never stopped till she came home from the church. The fame of the beautiful strange lady had gone out through the world, and all the princes and great men that were in it came to church that Sunday, each one hoping that it was himself would have her home with him after Mass. The son of the king of Emania forgot all about the eldest sister, and remained outside the church, so as to catch the strange lady before she could hurry away. The church was more crowded than ever before, and there were three times as many outside. There was such a throng before the church that Trembling could only come inside the gate. As soon as the people were rising at the end of Mass, the lady slipped out through the gate, was in the golden saddle in an instant, and sweeping away ahead of the wind. But if she was, the prince of Emania was at her side, and, seizing her by the foot, he ran with the mare for thirty perches, and never let go of the beautiful lady till the shoe was pulled from her foot, and he was left behind with it in his hand. She came home as fast as the mare could carry her, and was thinking all the time that the henwife would kill her for losing the shoe. Seeing her so vexed and so changed in the face, the old woman asked: "What's the trouble that's on you now?" "Oh! I've lost one of the shoes off my feet," said Trembling. "Don't mind that; don't be vexed," said the henwife; "maybe it's the best thing that ever happened to you." Then Trembling gave up all the things she had to the henwife, put on her old clothes, and went to work in the kitchen. When the sisters came home, the henwife asked: "Have you any news from the church?" "We have indeed," said they, "for we saw the grandest sight to-day. The strange lady came again, in grander array than before. On herself and the horse she rode were the finest colours of the world, and between the ears of the horse was a bird which never stopped singing from the time she came till she went away. The lady herself is the most beautiful woman ever seen by man in Erin." After Trembling had disappeared from the church, the son of the king of Emania said to the other kings' sons: "I will have that lady for my own." They all said: "You didn't win her just by taking the shoe off her foot; you'll have to win her by the point of the sword; you'll have to fight for her with us before you can call her your own." "Well," said the son of the king of Emania, "when I find the lady that shoe will fit, I'll fight for her, never fear, before I leave her to any of you." Then all the kings' sons were uneasy, and anxious to know who was she that lost the shoe; and they began to travel all over Erin to know could they find her. The prince of Emania and all the others went in a great company together, and made the round of Erin; they went everywhere,--north, south, east, and west. They visited every place where a woman was to be found, and left not a house in the kingdom they did not search, to know could they find the woman the shoe would fit, not caring whether she was rich or poor, of high or low degree. The prince of Emania always kept the shoe; and when the young women saw it, they had great hopes, for it was of proper size, neither large nor small, and it would beat any man to know of what material it was made. One thought it would fit her if she cut a little from her great toe; and another, with too short a foot, put something in the tip of her stocking. But no use; they only spoiled their feet, and were curing them for months afterwards. The two sisters, Fair and Brown, heard that the princes of the world were looking all over Erin for the woman that could wear the shoe, and every day they were talking of trying it on; and one day Trembling spoke up and said: "Maybe it's my foot that the shoe will fit." "Oh, the breaking of the dog's foot on you! Why say so when you were at home every Sunday?" They were that way waiting, and scolding the younger sister, till the princes were near the place. The day they were to come, the sisters put Trembling in a closet, and locked the door on her. When the company came to the house, the prince of Emania gave the shoe to the sisters. But though they tried and tried, it would fit neither of them. "Is there any other young woman in the house?" asked the prince. "There is," said Trembling, speaking up in the closet; "I'm here." "Oh! we have her for nothing but to put out the ashes," said the sisters. But the prince and the others wouldn't leave the house till they had seen her; so the two sisters had to open the door. When Trembling came out, the shoe was given to her, and it fitted exactly. The prince of Emania looked at her and said: "You are the woman the shoe fits, and you are the woman I took the shoe from." Then Trembling spoke up, and said: "Do you stay here till I return." Then she went to the henwife's house. The old woman put on the cloak of darkness, got everything for her she had the first Sunday at church, and put her on the white mare in the same fashion. Then Trembling rode along the highway to the front of the house. All who saw her the first time said: "This is the lady we saw at church." Then she went away a second time, and a second time came back on the black mare in the second dress which the henwife gave her. All who saw her the second Sunday said: "That is the lady we saw at church." A third time she asked for a short absence, and soon came back on the third mare and in the third dress. All who saw her the third time said: "That is the lady we saw at church." Every man was satisfied, and knew that she was the woman. Then all the princes and great men spoke up, and said to the son of the king of Emania: "You'll have to fight now for her before we let her go with you." "I'm here before you, ready for combat," answered the prince. Then the son of the king of Lochlin stepped forth. The struggle began, and a terrible struggle it was. They fought for nine hours; and then the son of the king of Lochlin stopped, gave up his claim, and left the field. Next day the son of the king of Spain fought six hours, and yielded his claim. On the third day the son of the king of Nyerfói fought eight hours, and stopped. The fourth day the son of the king of Greece fought six hours, and stopped. On the fifth day no more strange princes wanted to fight; and all the sons of kings in Erin said they would not fight with a man of their own land, that the strangers had had their chance, and, as no others came to claim the woman, she belonged of right to the son of the king of Emania. The marriage-day was fixed, and the invitations were sent out. The wedding lasted for a year and a day. When the wedding was over, the king's son brought home the bride, and when the time came a son was born. The young woman sent for her eldest sister, Fair, to be with her and care for her. One day, when Trembling was well, and when her husband was away hunting, the two sisters went out to walk; and when they came to the seaside, the eldest pushed the youngest sister in. A great whale came and swallowed her. The eldest sister came home alone, and the husband asked, "Where is your sister?" "She has gone home to her father in Ballyshannon; now that I am well, I don't need her." "Well," said the husband, looking at her, "I'm in dread it's my wife that has gone." "Oh! no," said she; "it's my sister Fair that's gone." Since the sisters were very much alike, the prince was in doubt. That night he put his sword between them, and said: "If you are my wife, this sword will get warm; if not, it will stay cold." In the morning when he rose up, the sword was as cold as when he put it there. It happened, when the two sisters were walking by the seashore, that a little cowboy was down by the water minding cattle, and saw Fair push Trembling into the sea; and next day, when the tide came in, he saw the whale swim up and throw her out on the sand. When she was on the sand she said to the cowboy: "When you go home in the evening with the cows, tell the master that my sister Fair pushed me into the sea yesterday; that a whale swallowed me, and then threw me out, but will come again and swallow me with the coming of the next tide; then he'll go out with the tide, and come again with to-morrow's tide, and throw me again on the strand. The whale will cast me out three times. I'm under the enchantment of this whale, and cannot leave the beach or escape myself. Unless my husband saves me before I'm swallowed the fourth time, I shall be lost. He must come and shoot the whale with a silver bullet when he turns on the broad of his back. Under the breast-fin of the whale is a reddish-brown spot. My husband must hit him in that spot, for it is the only place in which he can be killed." When the cowboy got home, the eldest sister gave him a draught of oblivion, and he did not tell. Next day he went again to the sea. The whale came and cast Trembling on shore again. She asked the boy "Did you tell the master what I told you to tell him?" "I did not," said he; "I forgot." "How did you forget?" asked she. "The woman of the house gave me a drink that made me forget." "Well, don't forget telling him this night; and if she gives you a drink, don't take it from her." As soon as the cowboy came home, the eldest sister offered him a drink. He refused to take it till he had delivered his message and told all to the master. The third day the prince went down with his gun and a silver bullet in it. He was not long down when the whale came and threw Trembling upon the beach as the two days before. She had no power to speak to her husband till he had killed the whale. Then the whale went out, turned over once on the broad of his back, and showed the spot for a moment only. That moment the prince fired. He had but the one chance, and a short one at that; but he took it, and hit the spot, and the whale, mad with pain, made the sea all around red with blood, and died. That minute Trembling was able to speak, and went home with her husband, who sent word to her father what the eldest sister had done. The father came, and told him any death he chose to give her to give it. The prince told the father he would leave her life and death with himself. The father had her put out then on the sea in a barrel, with provisions in it for seven years. In time Trembling had a second child, a daughter. The prince and she sent the cowboy to school, and trained him up as one of their own children, and said: "If the little girl that is born to us now lives, no other man in the world will get her but him." The cowboy and the prince's daughter lived on till they were married. The mother said to her husband "You could not have saved me from the whale but for the little cowboy; on that account I don't grudge him my daughter." The son of the king of Emania and Trembling had fourteen children, and they lived happily till the two died of old age.

Travel To The Land Of Poets

Donegal Donegal is the northernmost county of Ireland and was one of the last areas of the island to succumb to English rule. First established as a Viking fortress, its name stems from the Irish "Dun na nGall," or "Fort of the Foreigners." From the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, the region was ruled by the O'Donnell family, who made their home at the imposing Donegal Castle. The castle, recently restored, is now one of the county's major tourist attractions. Visitors also flock to Donegal to visit Slieve League, the highest sea cliffs in Europe, as well as the region's miles of sandy beaches. The coastal town of Rossnowlagh is as famous among surfers as Donegal's golf courses, including the fairway-less hole of the Murvagh course, are among golfers. Each summer, Donegal hosts the Ballyshannon Folk Festival, a celebration featuring traditional Irish music.
Tralee Located in southwestern Ireland, Tralee is the capital of County Kerry. Since the late 1950s, Tralee has hosted the annual Rose of Tralee International Festival, a week-long celebration including street entertainment, music, singing, and dancing that ends with a contest to name the "Rose" of Tralee. The "Rose" is the woman deemed to best match the attributes relayed in a traditional Irish song called, The Rose of Tralee: "Yet 'twas not her beauty alone that won me; Oh no, 'twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning, that made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee." Today, thousands of tourists come to Tralee each August to take part in the festival, which has become one of Ireland's best-known traditions.
Cork Cork, Ireland's second largest city, is found near the country's southeast coast. Irish legend says that Cork was founded in the late sixth or early seventh century by a saint who was sent there to kill Ireland's last dragon. Through the years, Cork and its people have played important roles in the resistance movement, which explains why the city is sometimes referred to as "rebel Cork." Tourists are drawn to Cork to visit the world-famous Blarney stone, which is housed five miles northwest of the city in Blarney Castle in the village of Blarney. The Blarney stone is believed to endow anyone who kisses it with the gift of "blarney" or eloquence. (According to Irish folklore, Blarney Castle was once saved from destruction by its defender's gift of gab.) Each summer, the city hosts the Cork Film Festival.
Waterford Waterford is the capital of southern Ireland's County Waterford. The area, which is extensively involved in dairy farming and tanning, is also well-known for its marble and limestone quarries. The town of Waterford, however, is famous for just one thing: handmade crystal and glassware. In 1783, George and William Penrose founded the Waterford Glass House in Waterford, Ireland. By the mid-1800s, the artistry and brilliance of their crystal had won acclaim throughout Europe. But in 1851, the factory was forced to close due to a poor financial climate and a heavy tax burden. In 1947, spurred by a renaissance of the traditional Irish arts brought on by Irish independence, a group of businessmen collaborated with the country's master artisans to reopen the Waterford Glass House. Just four years later, Waterford Crystal was re-launched into the world marketplace. Demand was so high that, in the late 1960s, a new, larger factory was built. By the 1980s, Waterford had become the largest producer of hand-crafted crystal in the world. Today, the company exports its glass and crystal to more than 100 countries.
Dublin Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland, as well as its largest city, with over a million residents. Dublin was founded in the tenth century by Vikings, who then had control of the country. The name Dublin comes from the Irish phrase "Duibhlinn," which means "dark pool" and refers to the color of the Liffey, the river that divides the city. Famous for its old-world charm and frequent rainfall, the city is home to Dublin Castle, a fortress constructed in 1204. At one time or another, all of the following people have called Dublin home: George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, William Butler Yeats, and Bono (Paul Hewson), lead singer of the band U2. Dublin is also home to the St. James Gate Guinness brewery, founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759, which still produces 2.5 million pints of the world-renowned stout every day.

Who Was St. Patrick?

Who Was St. Patrick? St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. But for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling. Taken Prisoner By Irish Raiders It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.) Guided By Visions After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice-which he believed to be God's-spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation-an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission-to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. (Interestingly, this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.) Bonfires and Crosses Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. (Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick's life became exaggerated over the centuries-spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life.)

St. Patrick's Day Is Almost Here

St. Patrick's Day – Celebrating the Green St. Patrick is believed to have driven the snakes from Ireland. Once a pagan himself, St. Patrick is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. The modern secular holiday is based on the original Christian saint's feast day also thought to be the date of the saint's death. In 1737, Irish immigrants to the United States began observing the holiday publicly in Boston and held the first St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City in 1766. Today, the tradition continues with people from all walks and heritages by wearing green, eating Irish food, and attending parades. St. Patrick's Day is bursting with folklore; from the shamrock to the leprechaun and to pinching those that are not wearing green.
The First Parade St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for thousands of years. On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage. The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland, but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers to reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army. Over the next thirty-five years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called "Irish Aid" societies, like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums.
No Irish Need Apply Up until the mid-nineteenth century, most Irish immigrants in America were members of the Protestant middle class. When the Great Potato Famine hit Ireland in 1845, close to a million poor, uneducated, Catholic Irish began to pour into America to escape starvation. Despised for their religious beliefs and funny accents by the American Protestant majority, the immigrants had trouble finding even menial jobs. When Irish Americans in the country's cities took to the streets on St. Patrick's Day to celebrate their heritage, newspapers portrayed them in cartoons as drunk, violent monkeys. However, the Irish soon began to realize that their great numbers endowed them with a political power that had yet to be exploited. They started to organize, and their voting block, known as the "green machine," became an important swing vote for political hopefuls. Suddenly, annual St. Patrick's Day parades became a show of strength for Irish Americans, as well as a must-attend event for a slew of political candidates. In 1948, President Truman attended New York City 's St. Patrick's Day parade, a proud moment for the many Irish whose ancestors had to fight stereotypes and racial prejudice to find acceptance in America. Wearing of the Green Goes Global Today, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of all backgrounds in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated in other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore, and Russia. In modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick's Day has traditionally been a religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick's Day as an opportunity to drive tourism and showcase Ireland to the rest of the world. Last year, close to one million people took part in Ireland 's St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions, and fireworks shows.