Have you finished filling in the census form yet? No, me neither. I suspect a lot of farming families are completing it in stages, a bit like the Basic Payment Scheme.
Last Sunday evening, they got the important stuff done, properly accounting for everyone who was present. Now the fiddly bits are outstanding. Is the internet fixed broadband or a dongle? What’s the difference between a public group water scheme and a private one?
One lad suggested in reply to question 23 on regular unpaid help that he was providing such help and support to a family member (his dad) for an issue know as “an incurable addiction to store cattle”.
With everything else completed, there remains the time capsule, our chance to send a message into the future. It’s a fascinating concept.
There are all kinds of joke ones, like “have Mayo won an All-Ireland yet?” “Is Brian Cody still Kilkenny manager?” and “Could you check if my lotto numbers ever came in?”
Some people are opting to comment on the extraordinary times we are living through right now.
Some are placing political messages and sharing them via social media.
For farming families, there is also much to document. People are sharing the scary prices we are paying for feed, fuel and fertiliser. It’s likely that in 100 years, fuel and fertiliser will mean very different things to now.
The reality is that if people want to read about world events in 100 years’ time, they will go to whatever is the 2122 version of Google or Wikipedia.
What people will be looking for when they search for the words of their own grandparents and great-grandparents in 100 years’ time is a connection.
Farming families are connected through the land, through their sharing of a place through time.
So talk of the grass/multispecies varieties in the reseed you are doing in the top field. Speak of the trees or flowers you planted by the river. Share your daily routine, or the breed of sheep you herd, or the name of your bull.
A lot of people are including their pets in this section, as they can’t be included elsewhere.
Others, who have lost relatives, particularly children, are sharing precious memories to be stored through time.
It’s easy to be cynical or dismissive, but the time capsule is a wonderful idea. Let’s hope people are around in 100 years’ time to see what we have shared there, and in a fairer world.