Extract from the “Art of Birds”, by Pablo Neruda

Just came across this and back in Spain with the birds and the Spanish Language and my first year of blogging. Thank you for all the amazing connections we make all you bloggers out there and especially those who want to help in the conservation of this beautiful planet. Me gusta mucho las obras de Pablo Neruda, muy profondo. And I love the birds and have just bought bird seed to attract the wild ones so I can see more of them! Might work. Might not!

standingoutinmyfield

Also see his poems Ode to the Apple and Oh Earth Wait for me.

Extracted from “Art of Birds”

“… A people’s poet,

provincial and birder,

I’ve wandered the world in search of life:

bird by bird I’ve come to know the earth:

discovered where fire flames aloft:

the expenditure of energy

and my disinterestedness were rewarded,

even though no one paid me for it,

because I received those wings in my soul

and immobility never held me down.”

– Pablo Neruda

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Living Simply, Living Sustainably: Wildlife Friendly Farming and Awkward moments.

Being back in the UK over the festive season has many positives when being with family and friends but the pace of life begins to get hectic and at times bewildering. A friend of mine said that she finds when she speaks to people for goods and services it can be so much more frustrating nowadays. Hers was – have you had an accident or breakdown – for a pothole blowing a tyre. Took longer as she had gone through on breakdown and was told she would have to ring again for accident! Her cry was but I just need road side assistance.
My frustration came in a local well known supermarket. I was looking for where the muesli was. I decided to ask but the young girl didn’t really understand. This can happen in London as there are many non native speakers ( enter the awkward linguist who struggles with her Spanish). However,the young lady was very helpful and took me to a group of suited managers and asked. They didn’t seem to want to understand her attempt to say muesli so of course I chip in too. Then the reply is – We don’t sell that product here – of course, I am now exasperated as I know they have their own brand of It. I try to re pronounce it. I do this so often with my Spanish. Can I not now pronounce Muesli? I go for MEWSLI after trying MOOSLI. I then end up saying – well cereals then- . The lovely young girl takes me along and there is the big sign CEREALS next to another big sign MUESLI. So is muesli not cereal now ? Oh well, never mind. I give the young girl a brief English lesson on the origin of the word muesli and a comment that she now knows more than her managers. Here ends the Awkward Linguist part of the post and we then move onto the Awkward Environmentalist. The awkwardness is thanks to a great blogging site for wild flowers : The Awkward Botanist; A great name for a great blog.

Then I explore the endless variety of muesli products. Usually we opt for the cheapest and most simple mix but I thought to add in a granola; not a type of muesli? I am looking at the packaging for sugar content and product origin. Shopping can be so complicated now. I am not going to do product placement but the product I bought had an aim of only buying the cereals used from wildlife friendly farmers. Have tried a photograph of the packetand it does advertise the name all the way through the comments on how they help wildlife. So maybe that’s ok. If they really do. So complicated to know the whole truth but at least a company taking a step in a positive direction.
I bought it because of this. Good advertising? Responsible choices? Should we demand more of this? It was a bit on the expensive side and I remember a friend commenting on why she couldn’t afford free range eggs. For me, I couldn’t afford not to. Dare I say quite tasty and less sugar if added to bog standard MOOSLI!

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Good news for Vaquitas in Mexico

Am really pleased to get this email from Greenpeace after a petition.Probably via facebook which I am sometimes criticised for using! Most of the time there is such ignorance about the damage being done to wild creatures and their habitats. If social media can raise awareness and help conservation and go straight to the corridors of power to create change, then lets keep doing it. Hope these little creatures now have a fighting chance to recover their numbers.

Vaquita: only 97 left, a type pf porpoise  endangered in the bay of Mexico
Vaquita: only 97 left, a type pf porpoise endangered in the bay of Mexico

Hi Georgina

Success! You’re making a difference for vaquitas. I’m delighted to share some great news about these Mexican porpoises with you:

The Mexican government has just published a proposal to protect the entire vaquita habitat. It covers 5,000 square kilometers, and includes a 2 year ban on fishing with gillnets. These nets are single-handedly responsible for entangling and drowning so many vaquitas, there are now just 97 of these incredible creatures left. The proposal also sets out compensation for affected fishers.

You helped build an international outcry that reached the highest levels of government. An incredible 320,000 of us sent messages to Mexican president Peña Nieto – and it’s clear there’s huge pressure to protect these little porpoises.

However, there are some missing measures that must be included for this proposal to be fully effective. The most important is to strengthen surveillance and enforcement. Illegal gillnetting in the vaquita habitat is common and must be eliminated. We’re also urging the Mexican government to make this a permanent ban on gillnet fishing.

By the end of this month the proposal will have passed through consultation and be ready for a final draft. This doesn’t mean the campaign is over, as there may be more campaigning needed – and you and I both know there’s a big difference between what’s written on paper and what happens on the water. If we need more action soon, I would love to have you on board to make sure we secure a bright future for the vaquita.

Thanks again for everything you do!

Victoria

2015: International Year of Soils

This looks interesting and fits into my new year of improving my soil and permaculture. Am finding more worms!

JoAnn Chateau

Happy New Year – 2015 is the International Year of Soils!

I 'heart' soil

The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils (IYS)….

The IYS 2015 aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions.

— Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN

Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life

From food production to climate change, healthy soils are vital to life on this planet. The 2015 International Year of Soils aims to heighten awareness of our dependence on soil and to protect the soils of our Earth.

Soil Infographic

The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth

Soil/earth/land has inspired passion and poetry… for a reason. Let’s keep our soils vital and healthy. Watch and share this beautiful video about soils.

William Bryant Logan said that ‘soil is the ecstatic skin of the Earth.’ Living, life-giving, complex, misunderstood, so mysterious, the connector, the protector, the…

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Festive fun and fears from snowy, sunny, Sheffield. And Happy New YEAR to new year babies and to us all!

imageAfter Christmas in Manchester with my daughter and friends we set off to cross the Pennines to visit friends in Sheffield. There was no sign of snow in Manchester but as we approached the edge of the city we could see snow on the hills. This short but high journey across the spine of England is one I have the utmost respect for. For England these are high hills( yes, I know) and attract harsh weather conditions. Maybe this is our only experience of isolation although not far from several major northern cities. There are several high road passes and these can be closed in bad weather. Many years ago I traveled across the motorway pass with an American friend in her great big jeep. As to why an enormous American jeep broke down on one of the most remote parts of any English motorway when the snow was setting in for the night, I have no answers for. However, this is why I have a respect for wild places where humans shouldn’t be in the snow, or a fear! We were  finally rescued by the local police and taken away from the vehicle. Some may think little ‘ole’ England hasn’t any really high mountains and usually has mild weather. But some of the moorlands can be quite dangerous when the weather takes a turn for the worse. This can happen very quickly and walkers need to beware and take care too.

We headed up and over the Woodhead Pass in steady but slow moving traffic. It was very heavy with fog and there were few good views until we got to the Sheffield side and then there was snow and sun galore over the hills. I hadn’t seen snow like that for a while.
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In Sheffield most of the roads were well gritted except the suburban side roads. These were probably the most treacherous with compacted ice. But we had arrived in good time, with the sun shining. So what do you do with a two and half year old. Out we went into the pristine snow of the garden and made footprints and then a snow cat. No, not a snow man, the snow was too soft and attention spans for both  of us quite short. Instead we built a snow cat and collected twigs for whiskers.
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The following day, in brilliant sunshine we headed out along well gritted country roads and into the Loxley Valley. The village of Bradfield and the reservoirs looked stunning in the snow.  I love to come out of Sheffield into the hills as once I lived and taught in this once great city of steel. ( En route we had passed Stocksbridge and saw the sign TATA, now the steel industry that is left is owned by  the mighty industrialists of India) The head teacher knew that many of our students never had or took the opportunity of a bus ride into the country and so each year the whole school would be taken out for a sponsored walk around the Ladybower reservoir.  The beginnings of environmental education.

We walked around the  Bradfield village green. covered with snow men, not cats, and also saw the orange bicycle sculptures. These were left over from the Tour De France….EE by gum, Yorkshire section. The hills round here were supposed to have been the steepest for the cyclists. I know this well, as once years ago…. my dear Ford diesel Escort got stuck going up one of the hills. This really is not a dig at American cars.  Maybe I should have had a bicycle instead!  Or maybe I need to get on my bike now and work off festive food and carbon foot prints. A resolution for the new year…..

Hoping we all have a prosperous and more sustainable 2015 and so all the new generation, one born today on New Year’s Day, can enjoy the wonders of this planet. Congratulations to the parents, grandparents and Great Grand Mama of the Manchester new year new born babe!