Monday, November 22, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
I've been thinking about some of the mad-cap shamanism I came across in Norway. What with all the sublime nature around me on the farm, I picked up a thing or two about how nature could probably take on a hospital in a wrestling ring and emerge roaring and victorious, cracking Hospital's back over its knee and delivering The People's Elbow from the corner post. (Not being a boy, all the wrestling terms come care of my friend Davy.)
For instance, one day, in the throws of launching myself killer-gardener style on doc leaf plants and trying to haul them out of the ground, I realised I was surrounded by a sea of nettles. I copped all too slowly that the tingling sensation that had been running all up and down my legs had little to do with my newly toned muscles and more to do with nettles blistering my legs to bits.
"Do not worry," smiled the wise old head gardener, "nettles are Nature's cure for Arthritis."
Nature had done it again and there she was, doing laps of the wrestling ring; victorious and boastful, tossing nettle leaves to hoards of her adoring crowds.
Similarly, if you ever find yourself in the forest and are struck down by a toothache, reach for the nearest slug. In the slime of slugs, Nature has gifted us with a natural anaesthetic.
Native Americans knew all about Nature's prowess in the wrestling ring. They used slug slime as an anaesthetic for years before the dentist's needle came into vogue.
So try them out today! If you find the nettles too stingy on your joints, rub on some slug slime salve to numb the sting.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I've been away in Norway for the past month. It was a great big last minute decision to take off on an adventure there. My friend Brenda had smoked out a great place in the south-central mountains where we could volunteer on an organic farm.
The organisation we used is known as WWOOFing. A ridiculous acronym if ever there was one, and tricky too when you encounter someone who hasn't heard of it. Roaring, "I'm a wwOOfer here!", over acres of chickens sqwaking wildly behind me wasn't too easily patched up.
What WWOOF actually means is Willing Workers on Organic Farms. You can contact listed farms on the wwoofing website to offer to volunteer for a few weeks or months, in exchange for food and board. It's a wonderful idea and makes loads of sense because organic farming would break the heart of any hairy-cheeked enthusiast. Have a look at wwoofing here.
It was a proper adventure too, all tumbling mountains, pearly clouds and glassy fjords. We'd our noses pressed to the windows on the drive from Oslo, scouting for lynx and elks and bears and wolverines!
I learned how to milk a cow, polish white eggs to a startling brightness (without them exploding in my hands), how to extract honey, what to do in the event of a calf breaking loose, where to scavenge for wild blueberries, but most of all, oh God, most of all...how to weed. If only I'd had the presense of mind to smuggle a box of pesticide through Norwegian customs. There was nothing left unwed: Kolraibi, carrots, onions, lettuces, cabbages, tomatoes, courgettes, maize.
For some welcome respite I would help my friend Maja with the cows. There were 20 milking cows and 8 calves. We'd open the gate to their pasture and bellow "Kom Igjen", which in Norwegian means, "Come on ladies, let's see some of that creamy goodness".
It would take a while, but then, like magic, they'd all lurch forward together, jolting their knees out from under them. They'd stumble their hind legs into half a stand and then slowly, and god love them, ungracefully they'd rise to their feet, all knuckles and hooves. Their cow bellings clanging, they'd start the long, amble down the hill like old relics from the past. Such lovely creatures. I think I loved them because they were so warm and slow and docile. Everthing you'd love in a big, wheezy dog.
The farm was host to so many great people. Wonderful storytellers and hunters who told stories about wild elk and badgers, how to gut a fish and smoke an elk's heart.
Lovely to be back to put some order on the tales. Expect more nature table updates soon.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
I'm taking part in a wonderful Arts Festival this weekend which is being curated by the great Brenda Kearney.
I've made a children's book which I'll be reading at 2pm on Sunday with accompanying music by Georgia Cusack and Patrick Groenland. I've loved their music for so long, it's an absolute pleasure to collaborate with them!
I've also submitted 5 drawings to the exhibition which will be on show (and for sale!) over the weekend.
There's heaps more happening over the weekend including jazz, short films and theatre and lots more besides! Do drop in if you're in the area.
The festival takes place in The Back Loft, just off Thomas Street and is €5 in.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
1. Red Riding Hood waves goodbye...
3. Little Red Riding Hood asks a few pointed questions in Granny's house
4. A woodcutter hears the commotion
5. And chases the wolf away
The kids in first class are going to paint the mural. I'll put up photos of the wall once they're finished.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Half way through
I was maybe a little too excited at the imminent satisfaction of stripping away broad sheets of gumpaper. I thought it'd be fast and incredibly satisfying. What actually happened was that the paper had formed some unholy bond with the tiles and was stubbornly refusing to go anywhere. Soon it became a battle of wills between me, the adult, and the gumpaper, a precocious monster-toddler refusing to go anywhere.
The drenching begins..
Sometimes the gumpaper barnacles would take tiles with them when removed..
Exhausted and fed up, I called over to a friend's house and conversation turned to her delight as a kid of picking at pebble dash on walls. We sat in her kitchen wondering how many Irish pebble dash walls were now bald because of children's eager little fingers when I realised I could use children's thirst to pick and peel to overcome the monstrous gumpaper!