Halloween is one of my favourite time of year. Colours are changing. Its not quite the dead of winter. And we have an excuse to party ;-). Over the past few years I’ve also come to experience the importance of the changing rhythm of life at this time of year. Its a time when nature prepares for the coming year: store food for winter, start sewing spring seeds, sort the survivors from the rest in new families (foxes, rats and squirrels are most obvious casualties). The symbolism of a bonfire is appropriate to getting rid of dead wood from our lives if we want to make a new start. The pagan ritual was symbolic of a sense of respect for those gone before – the dead; this also is useful grounding in the modern consumer culture of credit driven desire for more stuff. I hope you have a chance to reflect on past and future this Halloween. If you need a bonfire to help … come and stand around ours to be lit at 7pm. Here are a couple of links for more on the traditions of this time of year: Halloween, Samhain (from ancient Irish).
I’ve started mountain biking on the beat as briars and nettles slowly retreat. Its great! But a bit dangerous. I’ve kissed the nettles and nearly bathed in the Slaney a couple of times, but its getting a bit easier each time. Its definitely adults only (or with adult supervision). If you want to join the fun, please let me know.
Yoga is in full swing: 8pm at Teach Bride, Tullow or Thursday at 7.30 at Mount Wolseley, Tullow. Give Pam a call for more info 086 0891141.
Pam has set up PestalozziWorld Ireland an affiliate of the group that sponsors children’s education in Asia and Africa. We’ve always believed education is the best way to improve lives and communities and this charity helps the least advantaged. If you would like to know more, check out the website or chat with Pam or me. There’ll also be an information reception on 7th December – please let us know if you’d like to come.
The tomato harvest is winding down now as the weather turns cool and humid and will only be available for another week or so.
We had a couple of tours of the garden since last months offer. The garden infrastructure and history has become more interesting to me since reading Joseph Paxton’s biography. Paxton rose from garden boy to member of parliament and advisor to many in the first half of the 1800s. It was a time of great interest in horticulture when new propagation techniques and global expeditions to find new species took place. It is at about this time that the walled garden would have been constructed and the rhododendrons planted. The interest in horticulture then was similar to the investments in IT today. The biography is A Thing In Disguise if you’re interested.
The experiment with a blog seems to be going well – web traffic doubled last month so somebody’s reading it!.
If you want to complement your video browsing with something a bit more scientific, check out SciVee. It has two main types of video: those accompanied by documentation for peer review and those without peer reviewed papers. For example, there’s a video of 6 science bloggers discussing their blogs or a lighthearted look at transgenic mice.
A friendly website with facts about our planet from how big it is to how it works. Lots of information and educational tools. Planetpals.com and the main earth related page.
UNEP FI Global Roundtable, Awareness to Action: Sustainable Finance for today’s global markets, took place on 24-25 October. The website now offers presentations, summaries etc online.
Under the byline of A Sense of Urgency, TIME’s annual celebration of heroes spotlights the most innovative and influential protectors of the planet. Congratulations. You may not agree with all their picks, but its a great roll-call of people who have changed systems to save the planet. See them all here.
Examples of those feted are: Interface chairman Ray Anderson, carbon market pioneer Richard Sandor, Japanese rock stars and green-finance leaders Kazutoshi Sakurai and Takeshi Kobayashi, Cradle-to-Cradle innovators William McDonough and Michael Braungart, next-generation solar entrepreneur Shi Zhengrong, Ahmet Lokurlu creator of an emission-free solar cooling system, and wind-power magnate Tulsi Tanti.
Next month, the New England Venture Network, a regional social group for venture capitalists, is launching VentureNetwork.vc, an online social network for professionals looking for another channel to connect and talk shop. It would be great to see a global portal of this nature, especially if it contains substantial public access.
This video (God The Universe and Everything Else) records a discussion between Stephen Hawking, Arthur Clarke and Carl Sagan, moderated by Magnus Magnusson. It is a very forward looking and, although recoded in 1988, offers insights today. Worthwhile viewing.
Spotty died last night. He was a beautiful Faverolle cock. He looked quiet last night when I put him to bed. This morning he was still slightly warm and supple, but otherwise lifeless. There were no signs of injury or sickness and he’s less than a couple of years old. Very sad. We’ll miss him.
The Australian government has launched an anti-whaling video aimed at Japanese children. The video, which carries Japanese subtitles, urges all countries to stop catching and killing whales. (Japan opposes the international prohibition of commercial whaling. Every year it hunts hundreds of whales in Antarctica under what it describes as a scientific research programme. This year, it will hunt 50 humpback whales – an endangered species – as well as more than 900 minke whales, a move criticised by anti-whaling nations.)
I finally got some overdue chores completed in the garden.
The tomato harvest is in full swing and they need to be harvested at this time of year or they can deteriorate quickly. Although the greenhouse is warm enough for them to grow, the low temperatures overnight combined with seasonal humidity result in high condensation on the fruit which accelerates disease and rotting. Once they’re harvested they can be removed to a cool, dry area and last longer. We also make jars of pasta sauce and freeze bags of cherry tomatoes which can be used for culinary delights later in the year.
It is also a good time to control weeds which are growing in uncultivated space. Ideally proper weeding would be done, however, that is not really possible for me because of the large area cultivated and the limited time I have. Even if I had time, it would be uneconomical. (That is why Africa can import fresh veg to Europe – the wages are very low and allow for the air freight cost. A friend with 10,000 hectares under cultivation in Africa reckons the that for every Euro of European local labour, Africa substitutes 20c of African labour and 80c of air-freight!) So today I tilled 3 of six plots and the expansion plot – that’s about 700 sm with a 2-wheel tractor.