Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Polytunnel étiquette!

I am taking my studies extremely seriously! Its nearly full time at the moment - Horticulture and the  Training & Development qualification. Today I could tell you nearly everything about propagation via hardwood cuttings, the legislation around health and safety and the manifold techniques one can and probably should use to evaluate training programmes. Fascinating material once you get into it!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Chapter Two: Don Juan - Forthcoming Second Book

I am a dog with issues. I watched my Mum and Dad get kicked around by their settled traveler masters. I'd only just been born so at first my eyes were closed but even then I heard the harsh voices and smelt the danger. At two and a half weeks my brother Cupid and I did a runner, or more of a scramble. In fact I can't remember now, so our parents might well have picked us up by the scruffs of our necks and dropped us, in the burnt out house up the road. I was terrified and hid in the hedge but Cupid would scuffle out to meet every passerby and make friends. That's how I've got by in life, on account of a really popular big brother. He can only be about ten minutes older than me but his paws and all have always been twice the size.

I was named Don Juan and as some could argue the greatest lover of all time, I was almost a self fulfilling prophecy. The postman loved me and she had a beloved golden chihuahua, exactly like me. It was to be an arranged marriage. Then it became apparent that my issues weren't going away. The postman brought newspapers galore as my master didn't get one but no matter how much people cried 'on the paper', I widdled and worse on the floor and in my bed. Even when the dog flap arrived - a direct access to 'the paper', on a grand scale - I wouldn't go out. The chihuahua in me really didn't want to get cold. I don't know if the two things were related but then the vet chopped my goolies off. My brother had never put a foot wrong and it happened to him too, so it mustn't have been punishment. It must have been what the master called 'responsible pet ownership'.

At one point, it was decided we would have 'ad lib' food. Because of being a veggie household, up until then we'd all had breakfast cooked together. To start with, Her, the horse and us were all sharing the porridge oats and I loved that. I felt I was part of a real family. Later, chick peas and rice were shared but then 10kg of biscuits arrived. I suddenly had a new issue. This time with food. I would guard the mountain of biscuits, sometimes several mountains, and couldn't relax into the possibility that there would always be plenty.

Growling and guarding , widdling and worse, were all affecting my relationships. It might have been that my waterworks weren't fully developed at first but, after a while, everyone knew I had a bad attitude. Cupid was the personification of sweetness, light and unconditional love. He was white, soft-furred, loyal and forgiving of absence and of being sat on, or growled at. Me? The whole house smelled of me. I was just too small to be demoted to an outdoor kennel. Eventually, I did the unthinkable, I ate a fifty euro note, that came in the post. Shredded and Strewn. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I could see that everyone kept looking for the love in their hearts but I could feel the hostility too. Then I did it again! I can just sniff out those big notes. They've passed hands so many times. So it was make or break time. Everyone knows that negative attention seeking is just attention seeking gone wrong. Well, luckily my master did anyway, as she made a split second decision to take me to dog training classes. Just me and her, every week. It was the happiest times of my life so far. It was Sit! and Stay! and Lie Down! and Wait! and Good Boy! and treats, every second minute. But it was the Good Boy! I liked the best. Positive reinforcement, I think they call it. No one noticed that I wasn't a puppy like the others as I'm still so small, even now I'm four.

This particular story has a very happy ending as my master has a lot of good ideas and solutions up her sleeve and a lot of patience, that meant I am still welcome here. I am pleased to report that I have managed three months with only one or two accidents. I've cracked it, everyone loves me, everyone's happy. My main job in life is to help my master show people that even if they or their animals have issues, you can turn things around.

She asked me yesterday, how can we engage peoples' hearts and show them how valuable animals are? That's the sort of thing we talk about. I was sorry to have to tell her that there is a culture of habitual abuse we have to stop first. While animals are farmed, raced, skinned for by-products and other people buy the stuff, there can't be true compassion or value. Too much denial is required to care about nothing. This unconscious defense mechanism has to stop profiting people first. So we'll be onto sorting that out, for this next while. It will mean extra treats for me too. What sort of treats can a veggie dog look forward to, you ask? An unexpected brown bread nugget, a kind word, a cuddle up and plenty of quality time are all relished by yours truly, Don Juan.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ireland is in disarray.

Here is my radio show New Directions. Its a way to navigate through what is going on but not get bogged down! Now is the chance to vote for change. Take a chance and vote for a councillor you know of who is not colluded or corrupt - do not even tick a second or third choice if you don't like the cut of their jib - as we come to the election.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Shell Ireland (not that Ireland get much of a share) get a quick 100 million to trash the place further

Even lying in the bath with the tumble drier on, in the vicinity, is intolerable. Imagine what drilling does to sea life, their sonar and other subtle senses.


Healing by Franc releases podcasts every thursday and saturday. Healing From Harmony Hall and past shows is at the link above. New Directions is at http://newdirections.creatingcalmnetwork.com

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Day Kilkenny Council at last faced the High Court

It is with the joy of great vindication that I bring you news of the High Court… Save Kilkenny vs Kilkenny Council. Last summer, 200 alternating citizens stood firm on an old stone bridge to try and protect the River Nore from the tons of unwashed stone of foundations and the pile driver destruction to the river bed. We were trying to stop the erection of the dual carriageway CAS bridge, straight into the Medieval Mile of Kilkenny City. There were so many reasons it should never have gone on. People stood around in twos and threes and sometimes great gatherings and manned the entrances 24hours a day, for 5 months. 11,000 signatures on a petition, the dedication, the clarity, the arguments, the moral high ground, the financial awareness of how public money should not be spent, the environmental impact to water life and bats. The fact that the bridge was to land nearly on the steps of St Canice's Cathedral, our oldest round tower…oh yes and that planning permission was not granted for a road to meet EITHER END of the bridge. The absurdity was too much to bear and one concerned citizen, Christopher O'Keefe, brought the council to the High Court.

To the council, nothing was worth conserving, they would answer no questions and most county councillors who had been voted in as being 'against' the CAS soon changed their minds. But we are coming to know that elected councillors cannot influence the county management team anyway. Don't worry if you've not even heard of them as you will soon enough … when you ask why something horrible, destructive and only benefiting a very few is being built in your own area!

So back to our court case. I gather the ruling was that Christopher O'Keefe's expenses should be paid and that Kilkenny Council were disallowed their request to carry on regardless. They had tried to back date permission for their practice of dumping stone in the river and it was denied by the court. It is completely insane that the council still get to build the bridge and it is a disgrace the hardship that a citizen had to go through and risk to even get the council to answer to this situation. I myself spent some full nights there, trying to hear the moment when they would try and smuggle the pile driver in - 4am one morning it arrived. The guards were used as heavies for the contractors and went back on an early promise that no one would be charged even if they were 'moved along'. One great councillor, Independent Breda Gardner asked a question about the CAS in the council chambers and was told to retract her statement. Another courageous councillor Malcolm Noonan had been trying to raise awareness for years, of the madness of the CAS scheme and how it had got 'passed' as part of a County Plan.

After this, the rest of the council and government must be coming to see that the people are seeing through their abuse of power. Their crippling plans for individuals and attractive plans for international companies. My personal dream is to stop the 2020 Harvest. It is my least favourite plan as it is a Department of Agriculture plan to increase meat and dairy production in Ireland by 50%, by the year 2020. Down the corridor in the Department of Environment, they are promising that every industry will be carbon neutral by 2020. The two cannot both happen so they might as well have that conversation now before more farm animals are killed and the intensification of farming ruins more lives and land. A bit further down the corridor again, someone is handing over €2million to an English company to kill all our badgers and smuggling in plane upon plane of white mice and other animals for pharmaceutical companies to experiment on. Here in Kilkenny, the council also want to give the animal shelters to a company that profit from the disposal of animals and research. It is as if no one has the freedom to respond. Even when Ireland, a supposedly neutral country, joined NATO last year in Wales, the media were told not to cover it, mention it. I only found out from an American friend who sent me an article from there. Goodness knows what's happened to that elderly lady at the US's Shannon Airforce base…Oh, I mean Shannon Airport! She stood around for years with a sign saying that perhaps American war planes shouldn't land and refuel there. She was carted off to prison and may be there still. We really do have to take the power back and manifest a country where transparency, good sense and kindness are rewarded.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Misunderstanding of Mine - sorry about that!

In a funny twist of fate, it turns out things are not as they had seemed. I thought I was a great networker, spreading the word about ways to get well, ways to be successful and empowered, ways to live compassionately and still do well in life. I was exploring consciousness and helping others too. I was just making people feel bad and guilty after all, I gather! Sorry about that! The song - "You don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do?" has come to mind. People know that I don't eat meat, drink dairy, use leather, smoke cigarettes or anything stronger. I intended to represent a healthy happy person, independent of the main stream. What seems to have happened is that I just bring up the awareness in people of their own inner conflicts. They are faced with a choice to close the discrepancy gap by changing things in life or just blame me for bringing it up! The latter is the option of choice! I am delighted to announce that I have withdrawn my energy as of this week, in order to write a book. No one can level the accusation at me that I am domineering in my opinions, upset about animals, unrealistic about the environment and/or going on about things that I don't know enough about. I have even heard this week that everything would be well and lots of people would have given up abusing animals and eating them years ago, if I hadn't gone on about it so much. I have also been told that I should do more research and that I should trust the scientists of CERN as they have brought us great technological breakthroughs. I have even been told that I just get the answers I want to hear, from divining. People, with half the self discipline I have, have been finding water and oil for thousands of years using this method. I have taken the ability to do a dispassionate assessment a lot further and have dealt with many uncomfortable truths along the way for myself and others. The way I work is intuitive. I am objective, progressive, imaginative and compassionate. So now, if anyone wants to hear what I have to say, they will have to contact me, read my blogs or read my books. Seek me out or don't, it doesn't matter to me.

For those interested in what happens at Harmony Hall, I can only recount that each day is different. In the last few days I have done a law assignment, a horticulture assignment, a training assignment, some taxes, some legal advocacy, three soul retrievals, several letters - for clients and from Healing by Franc - to the minister for Agriculture, Environment, a Senator, a National Newspaper and my brother (the only one of all this lot who doesn't have an admin department and yet the only one who will write back!) two energy clearings by phone, a space clearing for a professional horse yard and occupants and got the geodome ( a sacred geometry polytunnel) up. I exist here with my herbivore animals and I am very grateful for this wonderful life.
Magic brings alchemy
Sophie brings wisdom
Gizmo brings love and affection
Cupid brings unconditional love
Don Juan brings passion and the will to passionately defend that which we love (Aristotle)
Wish brings hope
and I just bring the sense of humour, the every increasing synergy and the ability to take note of things!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Jonah, the labrador's perspective: Forthcoming 2nd Book

Chapter One:
I do understand and I do care but the real question is, do you? Its a bit inconsistent how much you appreciate Jesus giving up his life for you but you don't feel one thimble full of gratitude for the cows, pigs and sheep who give up their lives in abattoirs every day or soldiers and civilians in wars. From the loss of one life you derive oceans of meaning and still munch away on others. As you have explored the questions 'How did Jesus want us to live?"  and "What was his message?", this book is to explore what animals are here to tell us.

It is all awry to make a distinction that, for Jesus, it was self sacrifice. They were both "led away". Both, in this instance, being Jesus and the 70 million animals killed every year. When you are "led away" you have no choice. You are not a martyr, you are a victim. Led away willingly, led away ignorant of your fate, led away to prove you believe in eternal life, led away kicking and screaming. It is all the same and there is no honour in it. If, as I believe, our one duty on earth is to live, being led away to die is only pitiful, tragic and wrong.

Somewhere, in-between pity and responsibility for yourselves and the other animals, fish, birds and bees, there is a chance. The chance we have is to recognize our own interdependence. As a dog, I unconsciously hope you will notice my meal times, a limp or a splinter, when I need to go out. As a cow, I unconsciously hope you will notice my sentience, benevolence and the merits of being a large herbivore, like the horse and like the herbivores among people - they are spiritually advanced, nurturers and blessed by Nature with strong constitutions, thank God.

Punishment by death and other penalties should not be the signs of success that we seek. In Jesus' story, Pontius Pilot won, his men colluded, Judas compromised himself and his friendships. All Jesus had done was speak his truth, live simply and heal people. He brought hope perhaps and an expression of a greater purpose in life, of service. His reward and acknowledgement was suffering.

Soldiers are worse again. Aneasthetized to suffering, they dehumanize themselves and others and kill away, to their hearts' content. Except the heart is not their guide, it is a distant order of command. Hang on, in what way does even Jesus' story bring us hope? Do the right thing, live a compassionate life and be killed for it. Is that really good news?

In this day and age, it is only animals who can teach you about innocence, unconditional love and loyalty, to the end. It is only by people matching those qualities and LIVING TO TELL THE TALE (this bit is important) that we can change the ending.

It is not enough to recognize innocence, love some animals, pity some animals, worry about some animals, rescue some animals, spend all your money on some animals, hope some will protect you, some will win races for you, some will breed others for you, some will look adoringly at you and some will not mind it they are 'led away'. As far as I remember, one thing Jesus was clear about was 'thou shalt not kill' Don't take another's life, is what that means in plain language.

As a labrador, I have chased and retrieved many young lives and inanimate objects, in my time. I caught a mole once but then became concerned it might be a kindred puppy. Similar coat, colour and shape, I said to myself and delivered it safely back to the garden. I held on to the rabbit I caught for longer. I was impressed by my own achievement and performance as a 'working dog breed'. As Kanye West said "My only regret is never having seen myself perform live" That always makes me laugh but ego is one of those matters that is only funny, if its not true. Anyway, back to the rabbit. I eventually agreed to drop it and had not harmed a hair on its head. No animals are savages. It is people who are savages, scavenging pickings from another's kill, irritated by coming across grissel in mince or a sausage, chuffed to chew on crispy pork scratchings, complete with brittle body hair.

"Sorry about tipping over the trawler" my good friends, the fish, just asked me to say. "There's 30,000 miles of ocean with nothing left alive in it. The nets stretch so far and they have heat seeking equipment to find whole shoals and scoop us out." As a labrador, I know a thing or two about being a greedy gut bucket but people are on a different scale. The incessant greed was bound to tip the balance: Trawlers this week, world wars next week and Earth on its axis the week after.

Therein lies the reasons we must not let the Archon, Barkon and other Dark-ones in or win. See them off! Like any intruder. Team with your animals to guard life on Earth. Play with your animals to create a good atmosphere again around Earth. Replace the dodgy principle that the good die young with the handy aspects of a self-fulfilling prophecy like 'the meek shall inherit the Earth."

I have decided to "blog my book" this time. It will look from a different animal's perspective each chapter and see what they have to say for themselves. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Dear Lord, I prayed, Please Let Merck Pharmaceuticals Not Be in Ireland

But this time, my prayers were not answered reassuringly. Merck, who the FDA (America's version of the DAFM) knew about their five year spree with Vioxx Osteoarthritis Drugs that caused 65,000 heart attacks and  more deaths before taking it off the market. They are here in Ireland and provide 2,300 jobs, 9000 more indirectly and they have invested 2.2billion in Irish operations! That might have been difficult to say no to but we really should have anyway. They have not got our interests at heart. Their slogan is 'The Most Important Condition is The Human Condition and they have milked it for what its now worth! I don't know which is worse, company or authority's lack of intervention. Also in America the pharmaceutical companies have a sales target of getting every citizen on at least 4 prescribed drugs, throughout their lives. If we have the same companies, we are now part of that strategy. Stay out of hospital, heal yourself. You are now officially pretty much guaranteed to at least do less harm than the medicines being pedaled!

Letter to Minister For Agriculture to ask for him to intervene on the Dog Shelter Tender and Animal Welfare in General

Dear Minister,
I note that you have not had a chance to reply to my last message. I would like to point out the simple maths. If you don't pay the public contracts to the shelters, like the one below, local authorities will have to pay the ACS for every horse in there.
Kilkenny council pay 980 euro for each horse the ACS Animal Collection Service - Four Seasons - take away.

In court last week, PAWS Animal Shelter who take care of another 100 animals was held accountable for a minor dog bite, by a dog that was no longer in their care and had been rehomed 6 months previously. They have been fined €7,500 and this is a financial crisis too as they already manage personal loans of three times that figure in their attempts to offer food, basic care, veterinary treatments and spay/neutering to dogs before they rehome them. The local authority pound would become responsible for those dogs again, if the shelters are made bankrupt and weren't there. The ACS would profit again from disposing of the animals for the council.

In conclusion, please make sure that court decision is overturned as it would be a disastrous precedent for animal welfare organizations to be penalized and the people who neglected, surrendered, or owned the dogs at any point to be unaccountable. Also please make sure that Four Seasons Promotions - trading as acs do not get the Carlow Kilkenny Dog Shelter or other local authority pounds or horse disposal contracts. Four Seasons have already snatched and killed 34 horses in Kilkenny this year - 8 last week on Mansfield Park, where there is a planning application for housing. 

I guarantee that all healthy horses and dogs will be rehomed  and we will get into every school in the country and educate on responsible pet ownership and stop the tide of unwanted animals. Your responsibility, dear minister, is to make sure the public money and contracts go to the carers (PAWS, ASH, DOG Trust, MADRA, Healing by Franc etc etc etc and not the killers. Right now, Four Seasons Promotions - trading as ACS are dominating the Animal Welfare situation. They are scooping up all the contracts, have no welfare, care or re-homing policy and no educational capacity to improve things for the future.