31 Aug 2009, 4:03pm

This way to pics

Typing on a touch screen of an ipod makes me extra economical with words. Sooner or later we will walk thru a wifi and this will post…

Photos we’ve uploaded so far are here. It’s lagging behind us since we’re in France at time of writing, maybe Italy by time of your reading.

Quote: B: “Hurry along now.”
P: “It’s the journey not the destination”
B: “Let’s get journeying then. A half hour walk means walking. With photos, it’s 2 hours.”

25 Aug 2009, 8:14am

Back in Dublin

Let’s see, since last post…
I spied the sign we were looking for and called out to Brian…hey look at and whomped my shin and knee on a bollard at the word this!. The bollards are supposed to keep pedestrians safe from traffic. They promise nothing about keeping pedestrians safe from themselves. Ah well, bruises heal.

After a couple nights in a bed more like a diving board, after a few nights in a bed so large that we could have sub-let 3/4 of it, we got one that was made for good sleep.

The room we got conveniently close to a reading at the botanical gardens, we actually made it to there, despite not knowing there was a big match in Dublin (but the route by M7 and M8 by coach bus was heaps better than the other bus line). And the room was lovely, with a jucuzzi even and was conveniently close to the…wrong botanical garden. (Irish Botanical Garden vs. National. Oops). We realized within a hour before start time but luckily within the block could hail a taxi to go to the other side of town and made it with time to spare.

The book launch by Mary Melvin Geoghegan was lovely with well-crafted poems in When They Come Home. The few centuries old gardens were lovely as well and the security friendly.

We successfully navigated buses back across town and thanks to Michael O’Dea had a lineup of poetry because he tipped us off to more readings thru the Poetry Ireland site.

The one last night at the International Bar run by Stephen James Smith who apart from being a great host and organiser is funny and the slam poetry champ. It was an amazing amount of talent in the room, with songs and poems.

And who should I happen to sit beside upon entering but Niamh from the other end of Ireland where we left from that morning as well, who was one of the people at the Christian Bok reading at the AB Series at the Tulip Festival in Ottawa. Small world! Her blog is at various cushions.

I plan to re-enrich this with hyperlinks but there’s one hotel computer and a lineup so that’s about it for now.

A last tidbit, while Hubby was trying to hop onto an open wifi, I tried to cover my guilt with random photos. I was aiming down a less pictuesque alley and a guy turned back from where he came with a what-can-she-possibly-be-photographing look and startled to see his old friend behind him. They greeted one another and figured out they’d been both back in Dublin unbeknownst to each other for 6 months and walked off chatting.

A couple more days in Dublin then on to London…

22 Aug 2009, 2:25pm

Ireland thus far

We’ve taken in tours, museums, trad music and a fair whack of cathedrals, each with a different character. The amount of history soaks into everything like damp air. There’s a deluge of pasts and we have taken about 600 photos to present, but I don’t know how to upload one. What Brian took with his iPod he can, like this mossy ferny wall in Cork.

Ferns and moss in Cork

We weren’t, incidentally, on the Dublin train where the viaduct collapsed after the train passed this morning. Getting back to Dublin might be a bit tricky for another reason… Apparently there’s a big football game of Dublin vs. Cork so even with extra service all the trains and busses are booked.

The cross country bus ride was informative so far as Yes, green country confirmed. And apparently my bladder can stretch for that long and I can be motion sick for sustainable hours. Wee. And um for “express route” make those quotes extra heavy — with 16 stops thru every windy road over 3 hours. That’s a stop every 11 minutes as we cross back and forth over the motorway.

Brian and I are coming down with a cold but it feels like one on fast forward at least. Travelling brings one back to core things…where’s the next meal, next toilet, shelter from wind and rain.
And to the importance of sitting and obeying requests of the body.

16 Aug 2009, 4:08pm

Darndest Kids

I never got around to mentioning to niece and nephew hijinks, such as a morning conversation of “I ate 151 meteors for breakfast! and 1000 frozen dinosaurs!”

Here they are inspecting construction…
Our nephew was dropping sticks down the storm drain when granddad saw him.

Granddad: (palate click) “Sticks down the drain, uh-oh.”
Our nephew: “Uh-oh”
Granddad: “You know what will happen? The drain is going to get blocked up and it will flood and the road will wash away and no cars can go through.”
Our nephew: “Uh-oh. A big time out.”

By the time you read this we’ll be off on our jet plane and likely toddling about somewhere near Trinity College.

But we’ll be back again. Don’t know if I’ll blog in the interval or how much. We’ll see.

Poetry Links: Rosmarie Waldrop, Clear and Obscure is cool. Pesbo and 40 Word Year likely have some new things since you were there last.

Peace Link: Patricia Donegan on peace and meditation.

Quote: “The four little puppies asked one another, “What is he doing?” and they went down to see, roly-poly, pell-mell, tumble-bumble till they came to the green grass; and they stopped short.” — The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey, 1942

13 Aug 2009, 9:11am
Consumerism Farming

Farming State

Gary and Marj
Dropping in at Purdyfest were Gary and Marj. They came by because they said poets care about the world, think and listen and can spread the word. An honour of them to say. Hope we can live up to standards that high.

They were talking about the state of the farm in Ontario today, (grim, land turning fallow, people choosing to buy 85% of food supply offshore) the Ontario landowners association has watched the farms dwindle, and MP Randy Hillier has tried to raise awareness of the problem.

They said there’s a cattle cycle problem as well as a lack of foresight in not rolling back targets for air and water pollution.

To live we each need air, water and food, clearly to them, me, you.

Yet we are building dumps and mines near our water supplies. We don’t have an independent sustainable food supply that is competitive. Canadians like cheap over good. This doesn’t come at cost. On one hand we reinforce the global village, help some far market but at the same time, what are the hidden costs of transport, underpaid workers there and opportunity lost at home by these decisions?

In Canada, with short growing season and high labour cost and high cost of living, we need market subsidies to compete and we need the public to invest in local and we need protection for small farmers in bust years so they don’t go bankrupt or give up.

Over the last 40-some years, in their immediate neighbourhood, they’ve seen the number of farms go from over 40 to 3. Among the farmers that drove to the tractor brigade for attention to Parliament a few years ago, only 20% of those people are still farming.

One farm that remains is 20,000 acres with 9,000 cattle. To my mind, to protect and treat cattle ethically can’t be done on that scale. If there were a disease outbreak, many individuals would be impacted before the situation was monitored and controlled. It concentrates the market in a way that leaves us vulnerable if one farm folds.

Beyond what they were saying of cattle farming, there is the issue of what cattle are fed on large scale feeder lots which is not healthy for the cattle. Besides that, the ecological footprint of the model of beef farming mean each person needs 10 times the area to feed oneself compared to vegetarians. Or something like 5 times the area as for chickens.

Driving across Ontario, land is for cows, for oil, for sugar, for fuel, that is, soybeans, rapeseed, corn, hay and barley. We could be growing people food if the market would buy it.

John, who was at Purdyfest was talking about the impact of the size of our human population and scale of consumption. Because we demand so many strawberries, that much rye for bread, we force growers into higher yield varieties that have less flavour, sometimes less nutrition than even the strains that were grown and sold 30 years ago. Fruit is grown to be marketed for eye appeal and how well it ships rather than taste and health. By growing and eating local rather than shipping the most at the cheapest possible price, we shift market dynamics. We are already shifting them, distorting the markets by choices. By being conscious, we can flex it in another direction.

A lot of models have to shift in order to ensure we have a reasonable model of what we do with this land we stand on.

Link: Houses for the homeless in Vancouver, each 64 square feet, costing $1500 (about the price of a lean-to car shed here)

Quote: “”If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.” Robert Fritz [via Deanna]

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