Because thatching is so unusual in this country, I thought it might be fun to offer a series of posts showing the work in progress on our little cottage. For as long as I can remember, I have been in love with thatched cottages, so what you are seeing is the fruition of a lifelong dream come true. Our home has long been dedicated to Our Lady under the title "Our Lady of Knock" (in honor of her appearance in County Mayo, Ireland many years ago) and to St. Patrick, the great saint who brought the Faith to our ancestors.
Scaffolds are erected, and the rain gutters are torn off. Rain runs off thatched roofs so there is no need for gutters. This is a good thing too—our gutters were a mess.
Where do you find thatchers in this country?
Fortunately, we are a nation of immigrants. We managed to find a man born and raised in the north of England and trained as a master thatcher.
A day or two into the project, the thatch arrived.
Tons and tons of it! It looked like enough to thatch an entire village, not just one small cottage, but thatch is laid on a foot deep, so every last blade is needed.
These golden wheels look like hay, but they are actually water reed, something we have in plenty here on Long Island. Where did we get the reed, you ask? See if you can choose correctly:
a. Cold Spring Harbor, New York
b. Connemara, County Galway, Ireland
c. England's Isle of Wight
d. Aberdeen, Scotland
The answer is—"none of the above."
The reed comes from China! And, having waited eight weeks for it, you might say it came on the proverbial slow boat from China. (This joke was stolen from the thatcher—my guess is that he uses it frequently!)
At the moment, the first side of the roof is nearing completion, so I will be posting more pictures soon. It is looking good!
We watched our gopher creep slowly out of his hole and pop right back in as soon as he caught sight of us. He did this about twelve more times, and oddly enough, he seemed to be taking dirt in with him. Slowly, he turned his hole into this:
In a matter of seconds, he was gone, and left only a mound of upturned earth in his place. Oh, if only the Great Pate had done the same--I honestly would have prefered to eat my lunch by a pile of dirt. Oh well.