Tuesday 25 July 2017

Pods and Poetry

Sheep after a shower. 
Friends of the Blog will know that we are both, separately, quite keen on the Social Media, veteran users of Facebook and Twitter and, more recently, receivers of that recent format "podcasts". Some of my readers are, I know, not well versed in these formats, so a quick description may help. Please bear in mind that I am not very good as a computer 'nerd' anyway and do not even own a smart-phone so I'd ask you to read these and smile indulgently if you know better and I have it all wrong. This is the blind leading the even blinder!

Dahlia. Some kind of 'Bishop' relative
Twitter is that fast-paced space where you can rattle in , using no more than 140 letters, what ever is in your head. Maybe a good thought has occurred or something amazing has happened, or you might be "re-tweeting" (sharing on) a good link or a picture that someone has put up. You collect as many followers as you feel the need for and people will follow you if what you are putting out pushes their buttons. I currently follow around 500 people and 500 follow me - not the same 500 but there is quite an overlap. I'd be a fairly minor user at this rate, mainly because I use Twitter from this computer under the stairs, so I can only get to it for small parts of the day in between activities in the real world. Twitter is mainly enjoyed by city types who can go round all day with smart phone in hand, walking into lamp posts etc.

The podcasts were originally a way of listening to bits of radio programmes which you had missed when they were first aired. Radio stations (like BBC Radio 4, particularly) would save the pieces digitally and you could go in much later and download them to your machine to listen to. More recently all manner of specialist media companies have sprung up just to do interviews for saving and releasing as pod casts (pods). This especially around the Donald Trump win and presidency and USA politics, but we have found plenty of other subjects on offer - Brexit, food, science and "how stuff works" and so on.

Cider apples looking promising. 
My most recent find, which actually came through Twitter, is a farming pod called Rock and Roll Farming. It has precious little to do with R+R bar the guitar-break introductory music. It is presented by one of my Twitter friends, Will Evans and he gets to interview for an hour all manner of farming great-and-good, plus people who have made a mark on the Social Media sphere; "famous" farm twitterers or people involved in big farming projects (Farm Safety campaigners, factory farming, experts on the current contentious area of badger culls against Bovine Tuberculosis and so on).

I find those pods fascinating but I should hasten to say that I don't necessarily agree with or believe all the opinions stated and no more would Will expect me to. He comes at it from the point of view that the 'pro' and 'con' camps in each area (usually farmers and 'townies' but sometimes organic vs non-organic or other splits) need to talk to each other sensibly and respectfully till we find common ground. Will puts the question to them in a form like "what would you say to the non-farmers, to convince them that....." . Some of them, though, are dyed in the wool commercial boys, trained in all the corporate wisdom and only able to see that they can make a living IN the system. I don't know how they will ever  'convince' we small-holder, trying-to-be-organic and eco-friendly types. One big Lincs arable farmer, defending the use of Glyphosphate said (and I quote) that "Glyphosphate is the safest chemical in the world" (!!!!). Quite a claim and not one likely to win any admirers as a sound-byte. The badger-cull guy was also frustrating in his one-track only-solution argument. Ah well. They all have the same rights to express their views as I do and fair play to Will for putting it all 'out there'.

Stumpy's chicks growing fast
As an amusing aside to all this serious discussion, one of Will's other guests set a ball rolling which I have been having some fun with back in Twitter in the @SmallHolderIRL account where I do most of my rabbiting. This was a farmer who has since been all over Twitter but who started, jokingly, following a boozy pub night with some fellow farmers, deciding to 'tweet' about his farm life in Haiku format. He became @FarmingHaiku and tried to do a Haiku every day for about 18 months most of which, he says, were absolute rubbish.

For the unfamiliar, Haiku is a very short style of 'poem' where you try to express an idea or a high thought in only 17 syllables, across 3 lines in a 5-7-5 format. They do not need to rhyme. You are also meant to avoid similes and metaphor because you are all about simplicity and directness of expression. Metaphors would introduce another image between writer and poem. Besides, with only 17 syllables you'd barely have room. They suit Twitter as they are short.

Lovely Birthday lunch with Sue and Rob at the
Golden Eagle in Castlerea (Hester's). Barman even
wrote 'ROS' in the beer head to celebrate our county's
recent win in the Connaught GAA champs.
I decided to try a few within the small-holder account and quite a few people found them amusing and came back with Haiku(s) of their own. Some examples of mine, which are nothing special were...

Early morning hen. Tapping at the window pane. You HAD your breakfast!

Meet the need to knead. The dough alive in your hands. Baking smells to come.

Timed to perfection. Golden dome of bread is here. Warm from the oven

Loud farmyard noises. Clamouring for their breakfast. Morning livestock rounds

Getting a bit braver with the sourdough. This a date and pecan
wholemeal loaf (with rosemary and cinnamon).
All good clean fun, I guess. They are actually quite difficult to write or, more precisely, to pare down to the right number of syllables. You try it and see.

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