O I could gush! Spring has arrived and underfoot things are hotting up.
Although these wild couple of acres give fantastic cover to all sorts of small animals, every field outside of these boundaries is now preserved for a local a gun club. The guns are a worry for a wandering photographer like myself. Another reason to avoid climbing over a ditch into the wonderful lakeside meadows. That and spraying, which is a more invisible threat.
But you don’t have to wander onto farmland to worry about chemicals. The verges, hedgerows and ditches of Ireland are now fair game for trigger happy Round Up gadgets. I see people out spraying their “road frontage” everywhere with the bloody things.
Gardeners and farmers rarely seem to wear protective clothing and masks. Their level of exposure over many years is appalling. There are so many documented cases of cancers and other illnesses connected to the use of herbicides and pesticides. But many don’t seem to want to know…..
So now I look out for those patches on the roadside where everything is dead and brown. Usually this is what has been sprayed. Remember now, not to pick blackberries there, I remind myself. But you could end up walking on a patch that has been more recently sprayed. There will be no telltale signs to tell you to avoid the area. You won’t know and no-one is going to tell you.
So now I feel like I have to be careful on paths and roads. There are less and less locations for wild walking off the track. I tend now towards public walks where I hope my health is being protected by someone. Do the forestry and the public walks and tracks have policies about pesticides and herbicides? I would love to know.
I suppose in many ways rural Ireland is still a developing country. But we have good information now about eco building and no excuse when it comes to organic growing and gardening. We can make our gardens and our homes chemical free zones, we can recycle, we can give the planet a helping hand.
Our seashores, forests and wetlands are vulnerable. Some of the older and more honest scientists are now warning that it is already too late. That there may be no way to reverse the decline.
Meanwhile Spring has sprung and tiny wild flowers are appearing again. Rabbit families have taken refuge in the long grass, making burrows and babies. There are three nests outside the studio window, Great Tits, Blue Tits and Goldfinches so far.
I’m still grateful to be able to find speedwell, blackthorn blossom and dog violet. Tiny treasures underfoot in the Fenor Bog and the Anne Valley. Can we be optimistic? I don’t know but I still care…..