Posts from the ‘Things’ Category
Bees are a kind of ancient technology, nature’s tireless messengers between worlds. They gather cultures around them and help propagate crops and ideas. Texting and twittering are the great-grandchildren of bees.
The future of our species is inextricably linked to that of bees, so if they don’t survive, even our phones will cease to buzz. (Interestingly, our “buzzing” mobile phones is stressing out hives – learn more here.)
Listen below to bumble bees living in the doorway of Alan’s cottage:
In the Marble Arch Caves Geopark bees continue to ply defunct smugglers routes with bags of valuable honey, even now that the borders between “north” and “south” are open. Honey is a rich prize guarded fiercely by the bees, but even now there are people who happily risk their wrath once or twice a year to steal it from them. Farmer, Ignatius McGuire, shares his family townlands with wild bees and in summer the temptation is sometimes just too great.
Listen to Ignatius McGuire describe the delights of honey from the field here:
Or ponder the importance of bees dreaming with Kaylynn TwoTrees in her article, “Nature’s Dreaming”………..
“Regeneration comes from dreams, where the energy from a sense of possibility is stronger than the fear of the unknown. So even today, as the bees are struggling for survival and hives are collapsing, a taste of honey or the hum of bees in my garden re-enlivens my belief that the sound of nature’s dreaming is the hum of bees and the audible activity of the hive…..”
Looking for the beesong audio to share with you I discovered this file of Susi playing her violin while we washed up. Lucky us…. So here it is. Click here and you will understand why it belongs to this post:
Bees are also extraordinary architects, the makers of honeycomb, which forms their hive. Honeycomb is a product of the living system of the beehive, a collection of hexagonal wax cells built collaboratively by honeybees in their nests or hives to cradle their young and store honey and pollen for winter. We are intrigued and inspired by the geometry of the bees and often spot honeycomb hexagons along our journey. This game of “Honeycomb I-Spy” actually began several years ago on another journey…..to hear and see more click here.
Are you an adventurer teaser, deep delver, descender, tunneller, get swalloweder, explore underergrounder, catch sighter, day benighter, holey moleyer, badluck frightener?
Are you a squeeze througher, death defyer, dive downer, swim upper, happy go lucka, good time smuggler, listen to the darkness in silencer, truth weazler, get scared by nuffin’ er?
Are you a bravehearter, underworld dreamer, mole tamer, knee crawler, luck bringer, light swallower, gone undergrounder, bearer of prayerser, night reveller, dark hounder, rights of passage saver?
Are you a cavern punter, into the wildernesser, fear fighter, just passing byer, wanna be blinder, vision questioner, fast believer, pitch blacker, potato snuffer, slide by nighter, fear flunker, stagnencey stirrer?
Are you an Alice in wonderer, downderryer, badger terrier, earth enterer, otherworld finder, fast believer, pitch black minder, caver saver, light exterminator, hyena trainer, edge througher, never guess whoer?
Are you an illegal stiller, underworld tiller, albino signer, drop downer, paddler to other worlder, see in the darker, bear scarer, little deather, pure air breather, landmark dealer?
Are you an imagination brewer, leach purveyer, excitement seeker, porqupine squiller, fashion slayer, lifestyle illuminator, bat trainer, land of deather, light transformer, future healer, cave reader?
Many years ago in Spain I had a dream. The image I saw in it was so powerful and so surprising that in the morning I took up my colours straight away and tried to paint it. I painted a lucid yellow coat with patterns of people and things spilling across it. I called it “My dream coat”. I can still see “my dream coat” in my minds eye.
I’ll try to find that picture with its clear yellows and oranges so you can share my dream. I wish Claire and I could wear such a coat for to dream in. Everyone knows about Joseph and the amazing technicoloured dreamcoat. But if you don’t click here. but this would be our special Dreaming coat.
Or do you think P.J’s are fine?
~ THANK YOU! ~
Our deepest thanks to the people, places and things of Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark for hosting DREAMING PLACE. Your generosity helped create a wonderfully fruitful project with an exciting future. Our 40 days and 40 nights at Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark was really productive as well as an enriching experience. Thank you for helping shape DREAMING PLACE by sharing your wisdom, specialist knowledge, places, things and good craic with us.
As you know, our fieldwork is over, but we are still blogging…..so join us at our blog here to continue the collaborative adventure!
We are also in the process of creating a short radio series with the multitude of audio recordings from our stay at MAC Geopark and we are working on venues to exhibit our collaborative drawings from this traveling residency.
We will keep you posted as the project develops. We hope you will stay in touch with us as well! We plan to come back to “your neck of the woods” one day!
Continue reading here….
Talismans are an important part of our DREAMING PLACE toolkit. Talismans are objects of power with the capacity to change our perspectives. So we like to give talismans of found or modified natural materials to our participants to act as guides. The talismans act to influence or transform their experience. With a pony hair bracelet or a piece of string fashioned out of soft rushes as guide to an experience, the world becomes new.
Something curious happened to us at Crom Estate. Cradled in the mossy lap of an ancient oak tree close to the Crom Estate church we literally became “human talismans”. A happy shift in scale and perspective….
The lower flanks of Cuilcagh mountain are now cosily blanketed in revived boglands rich in species who make up the ecology of this very special habitat. Incredibly, as recently as the nineties this elemental bog was endangered because of the commercial extraction of peat for fuel. It looked like a giant carpark (parking lot), a land with its skin peeled back. A lot of TLC later and these “badlands” are again home to a huge variety of wildlife.
We are not experts but the commercial rape of the land by the large turf industry seems like quite different thing from the traditional small scale harvesting of neighbourhood turf for winter fuel. This image shows the peat after it has been cut drying in the Marble Arch Caves Geopark breeze.
Funnily enough the drizzle doesn’t seem to affect the drying process too much.Turf has been burned here since the bronze age and in the Geopark, we noticed burnt mounds that look a lot like burnt peat. (The demands of blogging mean that I may not have time to check all this info so do feel free to comment and correct please.) And a turf fire, as it is called here, is surely the smell of home. Adan a young guy who farms his family homelands on Galloon Island could NOT believe we had NEVER smelled a turf fire, not ever. He simply rejected the idea, what total deprivation….
We vowed to light a real fire and found an opportunity at MacGrath’s cottage and lit one just for the craic. Our English, Valencian and New Mexican burning experiences have led us to burn mostly wood and never turf. The very idea of burning the earth itself seems strange to us. But it was the first fossil fuel.
I know that lots of you have no tradition of burning turf fuel. So here is a short explanation. Turf is peat and comes from the buildup of mosses and other vegetation where the accumulation of dead vegetation exceeds the decay. The reason this can happen is that in the wetland environment the mosses are not able to break down for lack of oxygen. The fungi and bacteria that recycle the dead mosses cannot live in this waterlogged environment and decay is halted. Gradually, gradually there is a buildup of vegetation which becomes compacted and swallows up the surface stones and features. Peat that forms in these conditions on the sides of mountains is called Blanket Bog. Lowland bogs are slightly different, but essentially the process is the same. Turf that is burnt in homes in Northern Europe have normally taken hundreds or even thousands of years to form.
Turf extraction, as we know, is not sustainable, (mostly) which is why lots of us now prefer to buy non-peat based composts.
In these Geopark lands, turf drying in the fields is still a relatively common sight; one that attracts our attention. And many families have a cut in a newly harvested field. They must go down and shift the peat once it has dried and stack it at home. Tur, as we found out, burns almost without flame and is red hot. It burns more like coal rather than wood. We stoked and blew under the turf all night trying to get some flame before we understood the error.
Have you ever found yourself inhabiting another person’s dream?
Well that’s exactly what happened to us one rare bright and sunny morning, when through a series of surreal events, we found ourselves dreaming in the posh front seats of John McAllen’s dream cars – a classic red Jaguar and a jet black Porche with cream leather seats.
These DREAM cars were brought to us at Knockninny jetty as we cooked our porridge. Part of John McAllens’ love affair with danger and risk-taking they are two of just nine fast cars that he owns. Though they are good looking vehicles their allure for him is less about beauty and more about the “danger flavours” he craves.
“There is no such thing as courage,” he says, “There is either fight or flight and I always choose fight.”
For him experiencing the exhilarating edge of danger is a kind of dreaming. Along with his single engine airplane and other fast cars these two cars are just some of his “danger dreaming props”.
On this same sunny morning we were able to update our “Alan Count“, having met 1-John McAllen. (John is a descendant of the Allendes via a shipwrecked sailor of the Spanish Armada . The original Allendes changed the name to McAllen to blend in with their new country of Eire) And 2-Alan of the lovely cottage and canoe, who has already been referenced on this blog. So that take us up to five Allens so far….. and how many Macs?