Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Poem, Very Topical for early 2018


By Constantine P. Cavafy  

translated from the Greek by Stratis Haviaras, 2004

What are we waiting for, gathered here at the agora?

  The barbarians are supposed to show up today.

Why is there such indolence in the senate?
Why are the senators sitting around, making no laws?

  Because the barbarians are supposed to show up today.
  Why should the senators trouble themselves with laws?
  When the barbarians arrive, they'll do the legislating.

Why has our emperor risen so early this morning,
and why is he now enthroned at the city gate,
sitting there in state and wearing his crown?

  Because the barbarians are supposed to show up today.
  And the emperor is waiting there to receive
  their leader.  He's even had a parchment scroll
  prepared as a tribute:  it's loaded with
  all sorts of titles and high honors.

Why have our two consuls and  praetors turned up
today, resplendent in their red brocaded togas;
why are they wearing bracelets encrusted with amethysts,
and rings studded with brilliant, glittering emeralds;
why are they sporting those priceless canes,
the ones of finely-workked gold  and silver?

  Because the barbarians are supposed to show up today,
  and such things really dazzle the barbarians.

Why don't our illustrious speakers come out to speak
as they always do, to speak what is on their minds?

  Because the barbarians are supposed to show up today,
  and they really can't stand lofty oration and demagogy.

Why is everyone suddenly ill at ease
and confused (just look how solemn their faces are)?
Why are the streets and squares all at once empty,
as everyone heads for home, lost in their thoughts?

  Because it's night now, and the barbarians haven't shown up.
  And there are others, just back from the borderlands,
  who claim that the barbarians no longer exist.

What in the world will we do without the barbarians?
Those people would have been a solution, of sorts.

Another Poem, This One Evocative


By Constantine P. Cavafy  

translated from Greek by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard, 1992

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistragonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon  don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrogonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon - you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind -
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has  nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood what these Ithakas mean.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Day Hikes in Everglades Around Flamingo

We attempted day hikes around the southern ranger station at Flamingo in Everglades National Park.  There were multiple issues going on, some of which are evident in photos:
-  Water flow from Lake Okeechobee has been cut by Big Sugar and there is not enough fresh water flowing down.  See second photo of desiccated ground.
-  Multiple hurricanes have hit the area and inundated with storm surge, killing even salt tolerant plants and leaving seaweed stranded high in the trees.  Evident in second, third and fourth photos.
-  Many trails and facilities are destroyed.
-  There is not enough funding to maintain and repair the park.
-  When we were there the government shutdown meant no services at all.
-  Invasive Burmese Pythons are killing the mammals in the park.

Mangrove roots above.
Regenerating vegetation below.

This was the natural color of the water in 'Snake Bight.'  The trees were still dead there from Hurricane Irma storm surge.

Day Canoeing Everglades, Flamingo

Fairchild Botanical Garden

Coral Gables Biltmore Hotel

Miami - North Beach

Miami Beach Sunset-Sunrise

First, a sunset, looking west from Miami Beach.
Then two sunrises, looking east.

The very last sunrise was actually in the Everglades.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Build It and They Will Come; Finished Just in Time

The next 18 'chapters' document stone landscaping improvements from the beginning of September through the end of November 2017.

When you reach the bottom of each 'page' of posts, look for the button on the lower right that says OLDER POSTS.  Clicking that will bring up the next series.

Although blogs generally go back in time, the next 18 are organized so that you start at the beginning and get an idea of the different sub-projects:

Creating a terrace around fish pond next to carport
dig  trench
build a concrete block wall and stucco it
put in plants and boulders and beds
levelling, non woven geotextile fabric and gravel on top of non-bed areas

Stone Arrangement at street corner, see photo  below

Building steps from street corner up to terrace and around carport

Building a Zen Garden in back of the house
Clearing decks
Digging and constructing an infiltration trench
Stabilize the slope edge
Place smaller limestone  slabs
Testing and visualizing
Place large Wissahickon path slabs
Place large vertical limestone slabs
Delineate planting beds:  plant shrubs and line with cobbles; mulch
Lay non woven geotextile fabric and gravel

Landscape stones were  appreciated by local children.

The stone landscape project finished just in time.  Two days later snow and winter came.

The stones were just a few days earlier the children had been playing.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Transform Your Landscape; Transform Your Life

Peter Jon Snyder, Artganic Design, Bernville PA

" I am very good with people and design.  I know how to make them feel good.
When I create things, afterwards people feel different about
their property,
their friends, 
their lives.
I look at a work project as an exchange of energy.
I bring creativity, craftsmanship, knowledge and hard work.
The client brings their input, dreams, support and appreciation."

Turns out to be true.  Look at these before and after shots:

peter jon snyder images