Friday, September 25, 2015

The Koreans in Northern Ireland

Three of us spent the last week of May
in Northern Ireland,
touring with the guidance
of local folk known
through mutual friends
and internet connections.

Our mutual friends
arranged for us to stay at Skainos,
a community center in the inner city of Belfast.
The accommodations were simple
but the people we met were lovely
and rich in hospitality.

When Gary gave us a tour of Skainos,
he explained the deep symbolism
in architecture and decor,
with all the elements of the building reflecting
important concepts of theology
and identity with Belfast.

I usually had no trouble
understanding the Northern Irish accent,
but when Gary talked about the recurring importance
of the color yellow in the decor of the facilities,
I was a bit confused.
"It represents the Koreans."
What Koreans?
When pushed, he finally explained,
"the yellow CRANES, the H&W cranes
in the shipyard, visible from many parts of Belfast.
Right.  The Koreans.
Sometimes we just need to retrain our ear
to hear simple truths.

Photos: 1) The biowall in front of Skainos. 2) A yellow crane through a window at Skainos. 3) One of the two H&W cranes, pictured from the vicinity of the Titanic museum.  4) Another view of a crane from my bedroom window at Skainos.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Unexpected Guest

I will admit
that I shrieked just a little
when this rather large spider dropped down
as I closed the gate
to the chicken yard last night.

I can't say
that I'd ever previously seen
an arachnid
who looked like her
in color 
or dimension.

With a little google
of "yellow backed spider,"
I found that she is a
Marbled Orb Weaver.
I'm somewhat fond of her
when she is not catching me by surprise.

I had noted that letting the chicken yard
go wild a bit
encouraged the wildlife.
Perhaps it is worth
the occasional shriek.

Better pictures and more infomation on orb weavers.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Ice Cold Water on a Hot Summer Day

On a hot day in August
we hopped in the car
and drove up to a favorite hike
off the Parkway.

The air was much cooler
on the hike
than it had been at home,
but the effort of hiking
warmed us back up.

We could see the signs
of people who had crossed this way
before us,
stones stacked
in simple art.

At the end of the trail
we reached
the ice cold swimming hole.
The swim was short
due to the frigid waters
and approaching thunder.

We walked back in sprinkling rain
cool and refreshed
in body and in spirit.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Going Wild

When we bought the house
more than ten years ago,
the area behind the garage
served as the garden area.
The ground consisted of hard baked bare clay.
After a few years we moved the chickens
to this area
and moved the vegetable garden to the back yard.

The first summer ran hot,
and we strung up tarps around the coop
so the chickens would have shade.
They also lacked shelter and protection from
watching hawks and airborne predators.

So we decided to let the goldenrod grow
for shelter and shade.
As beekeepers
we also knew that goldenrod nectar
provided a source of the bees' winter honey stores.

We've watched the goldenrod
grow taller than our own heads,
and the subsequent gathering of so many
varied pollinators coming to drink of its nectar.
Often bumblebees spend the night
hanging on a golden bloom.

You could say
our back garden is full of weeds,
I've come to think of it
as the most beautiful garden
I've ever grown.

For further reading on wild lawns...