Na Seann Dòighean Ùra / The New Old Ways

Bho mo chiad chuimhne bha baile fearainn aig mo phàrantan – bó, caoraich, cearcan agus gàrradh. Gheibheamaid éisg bho ‘n chòbh le lìontan agus giomaich le cliabhan. Bha iomadh baile fearainn ‘sa choimhearsnachd an uair sin ach bha ‘ad uile a’ dol á cleachdadh beag air bheag. Bha mi ach gann a’ fàs gu ìre ‘nuair nach robh air fhàgail ach fear no dhà dhiubh aig seann daoine. Chaidh sinn uile air tòir obrach ‘is thuarasdail ‘is airgid. Na àit’ a bhith togail ar cuid bhìdh, cheannaich sinn e agus tha an suidheachadh sinn air a mhairsinn gus latha an diugh.

Ach cha robh mi riamh comhfhurtail le bhith ceannach rudan a b’ urrainn dhomh thogail no dhèanamh leam fhìn. Mar sin, ‘nuair a fhuair mise ‘s mo bhean taigh mo phàrantan an déidh do mo mhàthair gluasad do thaigh eile, chuir sinn amach an stòbha ola ‘s chaidh sinn air ais do na stòbhan fiodha. Cha robh sobhal ann airson bheathaichean ach chuir sinn gàrradh ann. Am bliadhna cheannach sinn curagh Innseanach agus thòisich sinn ri éisg a ghlacadh ‘sa chòbh a rithist. Mhothaich mi cho mór ‘s a tha sinn air dol air ais do na dòighean a bh’ aig ar sinnsearan!

Ma thogar sùil mu ‘n cuairt air an Eilean Cheap Breatainn, chìthear caochladh dhaoine a’ dèanamh mar a tha sinne. Bidh gàrradh aig móran agus beathaichean aig cuid bheag cuideachd. Bidh margaidhean tuathanach ann an iomadh baile ‘is iomadach rud ri cheannach annta.

Ann am margadh Bhadaig bidh ionad aig Dennis Laffan ( fear aig a bheil beagan Ghàidhlig ) ‘s a bhean Judith ( Fàs-bheartach Aibhneadh a Tuath ). Chunna mi anns an Àrd Bhaile ionad aig Bainne Fàs-bheartach Oirthìr an Ear. ‘S e sin am bainne a bhios againn ‘s chunna mi ri fhaotainn e ann am Badaig ‘s ann an Hogomah. Bidh taghadh mór de ghlasraich ann bho Bhaile Fearann a’ Ghlinn Dhreachmhor.

O chionn ghreis thòisich iomairt ùr ann an Uagmatcug, Leann Sprùise Móire. ‘S e meanbh thaigh ghrùid’ a tha sin agus cò chual’ a leithid a riamh a bhith ann an Ceap Breatainn? ( Gu laghail co dhiù! )

Fad bliadhnaichean chuir sinn ri cùl dòighean beatha ar sinnsirean, a’ sireadh airgid ‘is bailtean móra. Dh’ fhaodadh a ràdh nach robh dol ás againn ‘sna làithean sin, ach an diugh bidh cuid mhath de dhaoine airson a bhith tighinn beò air an dùthaich agus tha cothroman aca air teachd-asteach piseachail fhaighinn ann a’ sin.

Tha na seann bhailtean gu ìre mhór fàs, le craobhan ‘s drisean tighinn thairis air na h-achaidhean dha ‘m b’ àbhaist a bhith ann. Tha aig daoine ri sobhail a thogail, craobhan a leagail gus an talamh a chuir fo bharran agus… air cho fada air adhart ‘s a tha sinn air dol, nach ann glé choltach ri ar sinnsirean a tha cuid againn fhathast?

 

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 The New Old Ways

From my earliest memories my parents had a farm – a cow, sheep, chickens and a garden. We’d get fish from the cove in nets and lobsters in traps. There were a lot of farms in the community then, but they all went out of use little by little. I was barely an adult when there were only a few left, being tended by older folks. We all went after work, wages and money. Instead of producing our own food we bought it and that method has lasted until today.

But I was never comfortable buying what I could grow or make myself. Therefore, when my wife and I inherited my parents’ house after my mother moved to another house, we got rid of the oil stove and went back to wood stoves. We didn’t have a barn for animals but we planted a garden. This year we bought a canoe and started to catch fish in the cove. I noticed how much we’ve gone back to the ways of our ancestors!

If you look around the island of Cape Breton you’ll see a number of people who are doing as we are. A lot of people have gardens and a few have animals too. There are farmers’ markets in many towns and a wide variety of goods to buy in them.

In the Baddeck market, Dennis Laffan (who has some Gaelic) and his wife Judith have a booth (North River Organics). I saw in Halifax a booth belonging to Eastcoastorganicmilk. That’s the milk we buy and I’ve seen it for sale in Baddeck and Whycogomagh. There’s also a wide variety of vegetables available from Scenic Valley Farms.

Recently a new enterprise has started in Wagmatcook, Big Spruce Beer. This is a micro brewery and who ever heard of the like in Cape Breton? (legal ones anyway!)

For years we’ve turned away from the lifestyle of our ancestors, seeking money and cities. It could be said we had little choice at the time, but today a good number of people want to make their living off the land and there are opportunities for them to make a successful living there.

The old farms are mostly empty, with trees and brambles growing over the fields that used to be there. People will have to build barns, cut the trees to put the land under crops and…. for how far we’ve advanced, aren’t some of us still very much like our ancestors?

Blog post written by Aonghas MacLeod

Na Seann Dòighean Ùra / The New Old Ways

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