Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

farming

E.B. White: Song of the Queen Bee

A great poem by E.B. White, published in the New Yorker Magazine 1945, even back then people loved their bee’s .

These days they need lots of love and care as it feels like its getting harder and harder of find them !!!!!

“The breeding of the bee,” says a United States Department
of Agriculture bulletin on artificial insemination, “has
always been handicapped by the fact that the queen mates
in the air with whatever drone she encounters.”

When the air is wine and the wind is free
and the morning sits on the lovely lea
and sunlight ripples on every tree
Then love-in-air is the thing for me
I’m a bee,
I’m a ravishing, rollicking, young queen bee,
That’s me.
I wish to state that I think it’s great,
Oh, it’s simply rare in the upper air,
It’s the place to pair
With a bee.

Let old geneticists plot and plan,
They’re stuffy people, to a man;
Let gossips whisper behind their fan.
(Oh, she does?
Buzz, buzz, buzz!)
My nuptial flight is sheer delight;
I’m a giddy girl who likes to swirl,
To fly and soar
And fly some more,
I’m a bee.
And I wish to state that I’ll always mate
With whatever drone I encounter.

There’s a kind of a wild and glad elation
In the natural way of insemination;
Who thinks that love is a handicap
Is a fuddydud and a common sap,
For I am a queen and I am a bee,
I’m devil-may-care and I’m fancy-free,
The test tube doesn’t appeal to me,
Not me,
I’m a bee.
And I’m here to state that I’ll always mate
With whatever drone I encounter.

Mares and cows. by calculating,
Improve themselves with loveless mating,
Let groundlings breed in the modern fashion,
I’ll stick to the air and the grand old passion;
I may be small and I’m just a bee
But I won’t have science improving me,
Not me,
I’m a bee.
On a day that’s fair with a wind that’s free,
Any old drone is a lad for me.

I’ve no flair for love moderne,
It’s far too studied, far too stern,
I’m just a bee—I’m wild, I’m free,
That’s me.
I can’t afford to be too choosy;
In every queen there’s a touch of floozy,
And it’s simply rare
In the upper air
And I wish to state
That I’ll always mate
With whatever drone I encounter.

Man is a fool for the latest movement,
He broods and broods on race improvement;
What boots it to improve a bee
If it means the end of ecstasy?
(He ought to be there
On a day that’s fair,
Oh, it’s simply rare.
For a bee.)

Man’s so wise he is growing foolish,
Some of his schemes are downright ghoulish;
He owns a bomb that’ll end creation
And he wants to change the sex relation,
He thinks that love is a handicap,
He’s a fuddydud, he’s a simple sap;
Man is a meddler, man’s a boob,
He looks for love in the depths of a tube,
His restless mind is forever ranging,
He thinks he’s advancing as long as he’s changing,
He cracks the atom, he racks his skull,
Man is meddlesome, man is dull,
Man is busy instead of idle,
Man is alarmingly suicidal,
Me, I am a bee.

I am a bee and I simply love it,
I am a bee and I’m darn glad of it,
I am a bee, I know about love:
You go upstairs, you go above,
You do not pause to dine or sup,
The sky won’t wait —it’s a long trip up;
You rise, you soar, you take the blue,
It’s you and me, kid, me and you,
It’s everything, it’s the nearest drone,
It’s never a thing that you find alone.
I’m a bee,
I’m free.

If any old farmer can keep and hive me,
Then any old drone may catch and wife me;
I’m sorry for creatures who cannot pair
On a gorgeous day in the upper air,
I’m sorry for cows that have to boast
Of affairs they’ve had by parcel post,
I’m sorry for a man with his plots and guile,
His test-tube manner, his test-tube smile;
I’ll multiply and I’ll increase
As I always have—by mere caprice;
For I am a queen and I am a bee,
I’m devil-may-care and I’m fancy-free,
Love-in-air is the thing for me,
Oh, it’s simply rare
In the beautiful air,
And I wish to state
That I’ll always mate
With whatever drone I encounter.


Cows, a Poem by Paul Muldoon

Paul Muldoon (born 20 June 1951) is an Irish poet. He has published over thirty collections and won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the T. S. Eliot Prize. He held the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1999 to 2004.

At Princeton University he is both the Howard G. B. Clark ’21 Professor in the Humanities and Founding Chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. He has also served as president of the Poetry Society (UK)[3] and Poetry Editor at The New Yorker. More ……

Cows by Paul Muldoon

Even as we speak, there’s a smoker’s cough
from behind the whitethorn hedge: we stop dead in our tracks;
a distant tingle of water into a trough.

In the past half-hour—since a cattle truck
all but sent us shuffling off this mortal coil—
we’ve consoled ourselves with the dregs

of a bottle of Redbreast. Had Hawthorne been a Gael,
I insist, the scarlet A on Hester Prynne
would have stood for “Alcohol.”

This must be the same truck whose taillights burn
so dimly, as if caked with dirt,
three or four hundred yards along the boreen

(a diminutive form of the Gaelic bóthar, “a road,”
from bó, “a cow,” and thar
meaning, in this case, something like “athwart,”

“boreen” has entered English “through the air”
despite the protestations of the O.E.D.):
why, though, should one taillight flash and flare

then flicker-fade
to an afterimage of tourmaline
set in a dark part-jet, part-jasper or -jade?

That smoker’s cough again: it triggers off from drumlin
to drumlin an emphysemantiphon
of cows. They hoist themselves onto their trampoline

and steady themselves and straight away divine
water in some far-flung spot
to which they then gravely incline. This is no Devon

cow-coterie, by the way, whey-faced, with Spode
hooves and horns: nor are they the metaphysicattle of Japan
that have merely to anticipate

scoring a bull’s-eye and, lo, it happens;
these are earth-flesh, earth-blood, salt of the earth,
whose talismans are their own jawbones

buried under threshold and hearth.
For though they trace themselves to the kith and kine
that presided over the birth

of Christ (so carry their calves a full nine
months and boast liquorice
cachous on their tongues), they belong more to the line

that’s tramped these cwms and corries
since Cuchulainn tramped Aoife.
Again the flash. Again the fade. However I might allegorize

some oscaraboscarabinary bevy
of cattle there’s no getting round this cattle truck,
one light on the blink, laden with what? Microwaves? Hi-fis?

Oscaraboscarabinary: a twin, entwined, a tree, a Tuareg;
a double dung-beetle; a plain
and simple hi-firing party; an off-the-back-of-a-lorry drogue?

Enough of Colette and Céline, Céline and Paul Celan:
enough of whether Nabokov
taught at Wellesley or Wesleyan.

Now let us talk of slaughter and the slain,
the helicopter gunship, the mighty Kalashnikov:
let’s rest for a while in a place where a cow has lain.


Irish Landscape Photography :  Morning in the fields

Irish Landscape Photography,
Morning in the Fields,
Nigel Borrington 2018


Images of Summer 2018 : Down in the Barley

Images of Summer Down in the Barley
Nigel Borrington 2018


Kilkenny Landscape images : Rain clouds return , July 15th 2018

County Kilkenny Landscapes
Rain clouds return
Nikon D700
50mm AIS f1.8 lens

Return of Rain

The cloud drops on my lip
On the tip of my nose
I get hugged by the drip
Ah, rain is so close!
The heat is now a story
The balm seems so near
Regaining its lost glory
Surely the monsoon is here!
Tip-tap on my windowpane
Dark floaters are busy
Pouring on men and women
Life is once more easy!
I’m glad the rain is back
To awaken the soil’s green
Wipe out the summer’s crack
Dance on my parched roof tin!

Tip-tap on my windowpane
Dark floaters are busy
Pouring on men and women
Life is once more easy!
I’m glad the rain is back
To awaken the soil’s green
Wipe out the summer’s crack
Dance on my parched roof tin!


Cutting Turf , Irish landscape History

Irish Bog lands and Turf cutting
Irish landscapes
Nigel Borrington

On Wednesday I posted some picture showing the results of a Wildfire on the bog lands of Littleton in country Tipperary, having done so I just wanted to share some more images from another Bog land in county Waterford and share some of the history of these amazing places along with some details about the history of turf cutting in Ireland.

The Irish tradition of turf cutting

In the past, Irish people heated their homes and cooked their food using turf taken from from the bog as fuel. Turf was cut from the bog by hand, using a two-sided spade called a sleán. Entire families often helped to save the turf on the bog.

Saving the turf involved turning each sod of turf to ensure the sun and wind could help in the drying process. The turf was then placed upright or ‘footed’ for further drying. Footing the turf was a back-breaking job and involved placing five or six sods of turf upright and leaning against each other. Finally, the turf was brought home and stored in sheds or ricks.

In the midlands and the West of Ireland, the tradition of using turf or peat as fuel has continued in many homes.The turf is mainly cut by machine nowadays, but saving the turf still involves lots of work and requires good weather.


Kilkenny Landscape Photography, Images of July 2018

Irish Landscape Images
County Kilkenny
Barley fields
July 3rd 2018
Nikon D700
Nigel Borrington

Irish Landscape Images
County Kilkenny
Barley fields
July 3rd 2018
Nikon D700
Nigel Borrington


Summer Poems : Haymaking, By Edward Thomas

Summer Poems : Haymaking

By Edward Thomas

Aftear night’s thunder far away had rolled
The fiery day had a kernel sweet of cold,
And in the perfect blue the clouds uncurled,
Like the first gods before they made the world
And misery, swimming the stormless sea
In beauty and in divine gaiety.

The smooth white empty road was lightly strewn
With leaves—the holly’s Autumn falls in June—
And fir cones standing stiff up in the heat.
The mill-foot water tumbled white and lit
With tossing crystals, happier than any crowd
Of children pouring out of school aloud.

And in the little thickets where a sleeper
For ever might lie lost, the nettle-creeper
And garden warbler sang unceasingly;
While over them shrill shrieked in his fierce glee
The swift with wings and tail as sharp and narrow
As if the bow had flown off with the arrow.

Only the scent of woodbine and hay new-mown
Travelled the road. In the field sloping down,
Park-like, to where its willows showed the brook,
Haymakers rested. The tosser lay forsook
Out in the sun; and the long waggon stood
Without its team, it seemed it never would
Move from the shadow of that single yew.

The team, as still, until their task was due,
Beside the labourers enjoyed the shade
That three squat oaks mid-field together made
Upon a circle of grass and weed uncut,
And on the hollow, once a chalk-pit, but
Now brimmed with nut and elder-flower so clean.

The men leaned on their rakes, about to begin,
But still. And all were silent. All was old,
This morning time, with a great age untold,
Older than Clare and Cobbett, Morland and Crome,
Than, at the field’s far edge, the farmer’s home,
A white house crouched at the foot of a great tree.

Under the heavens that know not what years be
The men, the beasts, the trees, the implements
Uttered even what they will in times far hence—
All of us gone out of the reach of change—
Immortal in a picture of an old grange.


5 Images for the Week , Wednesday _ All that remains

All that remains
Wed 21th Feb 2018
County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington


Land Divided Into Farms

Land Divided into farms
County Kerry
Ireland
Nigel Borrington


Land Divided Into Farms

The land it was divided, into farms for cattle and sheep,
Some land they grew the corn, for the workers to keep,
Some they had wheat to sell, was taken to the mill,
Their stone ground for bread, the baker’s shop and his van to fill.

Some land it stayed in woodland, itself to regenerate,
As old ones fall and lets in light, young saplings they do await,
A long cycle of new to old, from the old forestation to new
Fenced all round now, and preserved for this nation.


Images from 2017 – Winter days in the local landscape


The week of the winter solstice – Ardgroom Stone Circle, County Cork, Ireland

Ardgroom Stone Circle, County Cork,
Ireland
Nigel Borrington

Ardgroom Stone Circle, County Cork, Ireland

The Ardgroomon stone circle is located on the Beautiful Beara Peninsula, county cork. It has to be one of the most magical of all the Irish stone circle, it also has the best of locations and views, sitting about the Atlantic ocean. There is something so exciting and mysterious about visiting a stone circle. The Ardgroomon circle is located in an area were there is an abundance of these historic sites, as well as wedge tombs, ring forts, boulder burials and fulachta fiadhs.

As well as being used for the Solar Spring and summer Equinox’s along with the Summer and Winter Solstice, many of these stone circles would also log the Movement of the Moon, Planets and Stars as during the year they changed their positions along the horizon. The standing stones in a stone circle would have in combination with a feature on local hill sides, have been lined up with astronomical objects(Sun, moon, planets and Stars). This would have given an almost daily measurement for months of the year.

The reason that ancient peoples needed to log the movement of the heavens was mainly for practical reasons such as farming, they needed to know when to sow seeds, bring cattle down from the mountains and bring in the crops, also they needed to know how long their store of food had to last before the new growing season started, no imports in those days.


December on the Farm, A photo-story …..


The Farming landscape of county Kilkenny : Cows, Bulls and a field with a view …..

Farming landscapes Grange hills
kilkenny County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

The Hills above Grange in County Killkenny, offer some of the most stunning landscape views in the county, here you are looking across the boarder into county Tipperary.

The day I took the following images I had been walking for a little while when I took a rest at a gate, there is that moment in the county when you see some cows resting on a sunny morning and they spot you from a distance. It only take a little time before they all stand and walk over to the gate, I think they are wondering if your the farmer and it time for their feed. Sadly for them I was not and all I could do for them was take some pictures of them to share on WordPress 🙂 🙂


Evening Poem : By Alice Oswald

We have many old forgotten farms around county Kilkenny, its hard to know just how old they could be?

There are so many memories lost in these places, so many working days following by family evenings resting out in the fields and the yards ……

Evening Poem : By Alice Oswald

Old scrap-iron foxgloves
rusty rods of the broken woods

what a faded knocked-out stiffness
as if you’d sprung from the horsehair
of a whole Victorian sofa buried in the mud down there

or at any rate something dropped from a great height
straight through flesh and out the other side
has left your casing pale and loose and finally

just a heap of shoes

they say the gods being so uplifted
can’t really walk on feet but take tottering steps
and lean like this closer and closer to the ground

which gods?

it is the hours on bird-thin legs
the same old choirs of hours
returning their summer clothes to the earth

with the night now
as if dropped from a great height

falling


Monday Poetry : These Farmers; These Fields, By: Don Bouchard Jul 2015

Monday Poetry : These Farmers; These Fields, By: Don Bouchard Jul 2015

Don Bouchard Jul 2015
These Farmers; These Fields

Who are these farmers,
And who, these fertile fields,
Verdant under native grass,
That stand un-plowed,
That shake beneath the plow,
That lie now fallow,
That bear the planted seed,
That wear the heavy grain,
That await the Harvest pain?

And who, these Harvesters,
And who, these close-shorn fields,
Desolate in short-cut stubble,
That stand, stiff in silence,
That wear the heavy tracks,
That have endured the harvest,
That yielded up their dead,
That bristle through the falling snow,
That whistle wind-song low?

And who, these merry Farmers,
And who these stubbled fields,
Glistening beneath the melting snow,
That warm beneath the glowing sun,
That host the migrants of the sky,
That tremble the biting plow,
That accept the falling seed,
That wait beneath the welcome rains,
That cycle through the seasons once again?


5 Images for May, Friday

Sunday by the lake 1

Ok , Today is more of a collection of images than one single image, to close the week 🙂

May and the local farms are getting busy, Irish farms are usually a little smaller than in Mainland Europe, so for some of the work a small tractor is still needed in order to work the smaller fields.

These images are a study of a little tractor most likely still used for many tasks around the farm over the next weeks of this busy month …..


The Manor Farm, By Edward Thomas

On the Farm Irish landscapes Nigel Borrington

On the Farm
Irish landscapes
Nigel Borrington

The rock-like mud unfroze a little and rills
Ran and sparkled down each side of the road
Under the catkins wagging in the hedge.
But earth would have her sleep out, spite of the sun;
Nor did I value that thin glilding beam
More than a pretty February thing
Till I came down to the old Manor Farm,
And church and yew-tree opposite, in age
Its equals and in size. The church and yew
And farmhouse slept slept in a Sunday silentness.

The air raised not a straw. The steep farm roof,
With tiles duskily glowing, entertained
The mid-day sun; and up and down the roof
White pigeons nestled. There was no sound but one.
Three cart-horses were looking over a gate
Drowsily through their forelocks, swishing their tails
Against a fly, a solitary fly.

irish-farms-county-carlow-nigel-borrington-02

The Winter’s cheek flushed as if he had drained
Spring, Summer, and Autumn at a drought
And smiled quietly. But ’twas not Winter—
Rather a season of bliss unchangeable
Awakened from farm and church where it had lain
Safe under tile and thatch for ages since
This country, Old already, was called Happy.

Edward Thomas


Landscape drawing, Boolabrien lower, nier valley, county Waterford.

The view of boolabrien lower nier valley ireland nigel borrington

The view of
boolabrien lower
nier valley
ireland
nigel borrington

The Nire valley in county waterford offers some of the most amazing landscape views in the south east of Ireland, I used a Wacom MobileStudio Pro tablet to draw this sketch of one of my favorite positions, sitting on an old stone seat that looks across at the farm fields as they slowly make their way up into the hills above.


A Winters day on the farm …..

WinterFeed in the barn County Kilkenny Nigel Borrington

WinterFeed in the barn
County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

Winters on a farm are a hard time of year, dealing with the weather and the cold, the dark evenings and early mornings. Life as a farmer must have many great moments but its not hard to imagine that there are less of these in the winter months than in the summer.

I took these images while out on a walk yesterday and as you can see, on this farm some of the cows are still out in the fields while some have been returned to their winter shed, soon all of them with be inside. In the Barn close by is stored some of the feed that will be used for the cattle over the next few months. In an area of the barn next to the feed is the farmers haybob that would have been used only a few weeks back to help get the hay bales ready.

The next few weeks are all about rest for the land and keeping the live stock warm and health in the sheds, life slows down and less work out in the fields is needed. While welcome in some ways you can imagine that this lack of activity can at times feel a little to slow but this is farm life.

Here in county Kilkenny each year you develop a great sense of the farming seasons and the activities that go along with them.

winters-day-on-the-farm-165-nigel-borrington

winters-day-on-the-farm-166-nigel-borrington

winters-day-on-the-farm-167-nigel-borrington

winters-day-on-the-farm-168-nigel-borrington

winters-day-on-the-farm-169-nigel-borrington