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Road Crew Ahead

We live far down a dirt road….
We’re pretty remote….
I understand that other folks with higher population densities would get the highest level of service….
That makes economic and social sense

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few
~Spock~

   Nonetheless…. our road occasinally gets to a really bad condition, such that people get their tires flattened and rims broken, and shocks breaking through the vehicle due to the huge potholes they hit…. at speed (not good to drive fast down a twisty dirt road with occasional washouts).

   There are some local folk looking to sue the county for the poor condition of the road….
   In principal I disagree with this thinking. The ones who ruin their vehicles year after year are always the same people… everyone else just gets unusually high wear and tear…. and there are going to be occasional accidents due to people trying to evade potholes at the exact second someone comes around a bend…. yet we can’t expect the county to get back into this remote area after every rainstorm… they’ve got an entire county full of dirt roads to maintain, and they have people along each of those roads with the same story.

   In return for me not messing with the county… I’d like to have a reciprocal agreement that the county, state, Feds, and all other governmental agencies would leave me alone.  But I know that won’t happen. Every one of those agencies seems to want to stick their fingers into the pie… while they stir it up and knock your own hands away such that you can’t even cook.

A joke:
What does a libertarian eat for a salad dish?
Answ: Lettuce alone

     There are many people who like the security of a ‘Nanny State’, taking care of our every need… ensuring employment and medical services etc.
   Such a state would also have the right to decide when, how and where you live your life….

U.S.A. Saying:
When you’re living under my roof… you’re gonna follow my rules

  If we wish the government to ensure medical coverage… then we should also expect that the same agencies would want to reduce overeating and alcohol/cigarette/drug abuse.  This would greatly reduce the amount of health costs for the nation.  Salts, fats and sugars should also be reduced in the diet…. In fact.. to ensure the best health/life care… we should have all people living in large apartment complexes, with a communal dining area. We’d not have to buy food either!  And all we’d have to do is sign over our lives to the state.

   Here’s some photos of the grader maintaining our dirt road.
   The fellows on the crew do a good job… they give a proper crown so the water rolls off to the sides… the ditches along the edges are maintained and lead to culverts underneath the road, carrying the excess water to the creek….
   I think the county could save some money by permitting some of the locals to help maintain the road between the big grading jobs they do… we could all show up on occasion to scrape the road with our tractors to smooth it out and fill the potholes… but that’d bother the union the county workers belong to…. and there’d probably be someone who’d plow into a car, or have their blade tilted too much and ruin the crown… road-maintenance by committee is probably not too efficient either. And besides…  the county road is a mile from our house…. and it takes forever to drive a tractor a mile. So I’m happy enough having the county do the maintenance… thank you very much.

  Life can be a bit complex sometimes… even with something as simple as a dirt road. 
The complexities come from the people.

 

 

 

 

the people chaffe

From e-mails I’ve gotten….

READ AND TAKE NECESSARY CORRECTIVE ACTION.
 
 The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new Virulent strain of Transmitted Disease. The disease is contracted Through ignorant, promiscuous, and irresponsible behavior. The Disease is called Gonorrhea Lectem and pronounced “gonna re-elect them.” Many victims contracted it in 2008, after having being “brainwashed” Promised change and then screwed.  Naturalists and epidemiologists are Amazed at how widespread this disease has become since it is so easily Cured….by voting out all incumbents!

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 Congress  has the lowest approval of any entity in Government, the entity that represents us. We need to get a Senator to introduce this bill in the US Senate and a Representative to introduce a similar bill in the US House.   
These  people will become American heroes..  Please send any ideas on how to get this done. Thanks,

 A Fellow American

 ***********************************

 Congressional Reform Act of 2010

 1. Term Limits: 12  years only, one of the possible options below.

 A. Two Six year Senate terms
 B.  Six Two year House terms
 C. One Six year Senate term and three Two Year House terms

 

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

 

 2.   No Tenure / No Pension:

      A congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

 

 Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

 

 3.   Congress (past, present &  future) participates in Social Security:

    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund moves to the Social Security system immediately.   All future funds flow into the Social Security system, Congress participates with the American people.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

 4.  Congress can purchase their own retirement plan just as all Americans.

 

 Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

 

5.  Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

 

 Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.
 

6.   Congress looses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

 7.  Congress must equally abide in all laws they impose on the American people.

 

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.
 

8.  All contracts with past and present congressmen are void  effective 1/1/11.

      The American people did not make this contract with  
congressmen, congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

 

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

 If you agree with the above, pass it on to all in your address list. 
If not,  just delete.

Wasted Sugar

 

Believe it or not!
There are lots of people out there that can make impressive web pages showing anything imaginable…
You can save the world if you just listen to them…. or maybe not… but what does it matter if you CARE.

   Just caring is worth so much…. and it’s popular too!

 

1infographic

On people in governmental leadership

  Whatever you want in your family can be transposed over to your local government and governmental agencies further up the chain. Any weak link can snap causing all to fall down… and the higher-up this weak link is, the more potential damage, and the heavier the weight of chain falling.

   The head of a family has to be able to hold him/herself together in times of adversity… people are dependent on you to maintain stability in the face of adversity….

If the Lord of the Country flits about like a fool,
He will lose his leadership
Tao Teh Ching

   This idea extends all through all governance and business….

   Many schools of thought insist on high morals…. most people see this as merely an effort to surround oneself with moral people…. but perhaps the ‘hider of secrets’ might not be the one you want hiding the secrets of your government or company.

   There’s a reason governments and businesses often insist on people being open about their past when applying for work. If a person in power has deep dark secrets, they might be inclined to ‘tweak’ policy in order to keep this information being divulged through blackmail.

  During the run-up to the war in Iraq there was a weapons inspector named Scott Ritter who gave huge amounts of alarm to the world… he said that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous person… that he had weapons that we’d not want loosed upon the world… he seemed to give the impression that Saddam needed to be stopped for the good of his people and for the safety of the world.  Then he made an abrupt about-face. Quickly he became one of the staunchest opponents of the war.  What happened to make these changes so quickly?  Could there have been blackmail involved?

   This is why morality among our elected and other governmental people is paramount. Even more than pure morality however is the fact that there be no hidden issues.  All people have different levels of tolerance for moral issues. For some the bar is high, for others much lower…. so it can’t be morality alone that is the deciding factor… it is the hidden moral issues that matter the most.. these are the ones that can cause security issues.

   

If Pres Bush was an idiot

   While President G.W. Bush was in office it seemed anything he did would enrage a large proportion of the population. Even things I’d expect a lot of his opponents would approve of were dismissed or oddly critiqued. In the same vein… a lot of what Pres. Obama is doing is causing major hand-wringing among some quarters… I feel the extremists on either side will never accept the good in the opponents… politics is really strange….   Much of this point was brought up in an e-mail a friend sent me…. I suppose it’s making the rounds… and I think it carries some validity…. 

IF GEORGE BUSH WAS AN IDIOT….

 

If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a teleprompter
Installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have
Laughed and said this is more proof of how he inept he is on his own
And is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take
Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan’s holdings of GM
Stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you
Have approved?

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special
Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and
Incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a
Thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing
Videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly
Narcissistic and tacky?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia , would you
Have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the
Non-existent “Austrian language,” would you have brushed it off as a
Minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with
People who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you
Have approved?

If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to “Cinco
De Cuatro” in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of
May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again,
Would you have winced in embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had mis-spelled the word “advice” would you have
Hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoe as proof of
What a dunce he is?

If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a
Single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he’s a hypocrite?

If George W. Bush’s administration had okayed Air Force One flying low
Over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown
Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they
Actually get what happened on 9-11?

If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims
Throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in
New Orleans , would you want it made into a major ongoing political
Issue with claims of racism and incompetence?

If George W. Bush had created the position of 32 Czars who report
Directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is
Happening in America , would you have approved.

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major
Corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so,
Would you have approved?

If George W Bush had proposed to quadruple the national debt, which
Had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you
Have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed to quadruple the debt again within
10 years, would you have approved?

So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant
And impressive? All this in 7 months.

This is too much

   I was reading an article on the environmental consequences of livestock production in the Brazilian rain forest….

‘To preserve the Amazon, we need to stop eating meat’

    The comments section was even more interesting…. there were folks on both sides of the ‘meat divide’ making their own (sometimes) reasoned, and usually passionate arguments for and against the basic premise of the article…. One particular comment I found was made by ‘presidio’ who brings up the fact that almost any occurrence or danger can be manipulated by anyone to gain control or compliance from others who they wish to force into their manner of action….

 

This is too much.

The Marxists are using Climate Change to promote a Proletariat agricultural revolution

The Maoists are using Climate Change to get us back to year zero

The Corporates are using Climate Change to promote carbon trading

The Govts are using Climate Change to tax us until the pips squeak

The Vegans are using Climate Change to promote vegetarianism

The One Worlders are using Climate Change to promote one govt with a single point of tax and control

The West is using Climate Change to dump pollution on the Third World

The Eugenicist/Malthusians are using Climate Change to cull the population.

The Greens are being used by all of the above, and they don’t realise it.

 

 

   I suppose anyone with a more-extreme concept can seize onto almost any concept to show it has to be implemented ‘this way and that way’ to prevent catastrophe… otherwise we are all doomed. Usually it is the more extreme portion of population that will do this. In this way… the demand by Nazis for ‘living space’ can be used to gain approval from the masses for foreign conquest… in the same way the ‘domino-theory’ gained approval for troops in Vietnam…. and the outright rejection of violence will enable easy conquest by oppressors. Of course this all depends on with whom you are dealing. Gandhi was able to use non-violent means to defeat the British in India…. they are a cultured civilized people… the same would not work with the Nazis… laying before panzers would just enable an easy takeover….

   Like many things that are important…. the fringes attract the radicals… the middle of the road is full of the masses…. understanding and caring little about the matter… yet in order to enable real action, it is the masses that you need behind you…. so the radical fringe will cry havoc and try to instill a sense of fear-and-doom onto the masses to be given approval and ability (legislation, money and manpower) to enforce their vision upon the masses.  The opposite can also occur…. absolute denials of potential problems is sometimes the easiest course for the public to follow.  When a fortress city has defended itself for generations, the people crying that an invading army has been seen approaching may not merit the demands the structure be fortified further… “it’s been fine this long, it’ll be fine” is the declaration from those needed to stack the stones.  Surveillance might be cherry-picked to support either side of argument. Those demanding the building of structure will show the data that this army has new siege machinery, so the old fortifications need upgrading to meet new demands. The ones not wishing the outlay of expenditures and the disruption to their lives will look at the data that showed some of the machines mired in mud en route… “those machines are too complex, and won’t ever make it here.”

   Sometimes a matter is a high threat, the public will see it as such and respond with full approval and their ‘hearts-and-minds’ to enable the full effect of effort to be made…. this happened in WWII when the US population, not wanting to get embroiled in “their fight” steadfastly refused the appeals (through the political process) from Britain for involvement, and our own President’s entreaties and arm wrangling to join forces with the Allied Powers and defeat the Axis Powers. It took a sneak attack along with a delayed declaration of war from Japan to gain the enmity of the US populace allowing the politicians to marshal forces. 

   It is often said “The only thing you find in the ‘middle of the road’ is road-kill”.  But it is the masses that any movement needs to gain momentum. And any fact that is found can be twisted around to suit your own needs…. an image can be manipulated with other images around it to appear deceiving…. but the facts remain the same….it just requires a skilled tongue to turn black into white if you open your eyes to only the facts as they are laid out. Deep reasoning and suspicion of the motives of others might be seen as distrust… but the world is so full of manipulations that it is unwise to not look at the facts as given by both sides…. and on the far fringes the facts are loosely interpreted, and data left out if not conducive to the goal… which is control of the people.

  The people are the real driving force behind the world economies and politics.  We usually don’t think about that, because we are in the middle of the road…. it’s easier going… you don’t have to worry as much about threats implied or real….. the cars whizz on by at speed… but you’re straddling the line…. no hard bushes and spiny plants to push through… not like those folks on the edges that desperatly meander through the brush, concealed while they gaze across the expanse of road… looking at the masses in their endless line… following one another….. unknowing of the dangers that lurk in these bushes…. they just need to reach them…. what a power that would be!

  

A socially-Conscious Holiday Greeting

I saw this posted somewhere and did not find out who came up with it, but thought it is so clever that I’d go ahead and post it here. I mean no copyright infringement if it is applicable. If this is your writing, and you wish it removed or accredited, let me know.

 

 

    Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

 

    I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

 

    By accepting these greetings, you are accepting the aforementioned terms as stated.

 

    This greeting is not subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself/himself/others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Laetitia Vineyard nighttime harvest

Our neighbors Laetitia Vineyards have started their grape harvest.
They work around the clock and through the nights so they can get
all the many hundreds of acres harvested on time.
At nighttime they truck in these large lights operated by generators.

In general I know they try to adhere to sustainable practices.
They use bio-fuels where they can. They use drip systems and install raptor perches.
They have been inspected and found to be holding to sustainable ag principles

However sustainable agriculture has different interpretations.
And I don’t like that they seem to be sucking up all the water.
Sustainable means it can be sustained at that level indefinitely
(that means generation after generation for like… a thousand years!).

I also start to get an uncomfortable feeling when local ‘big-business people’
actually spend much of their time a hundred or miles away on another place…..
and when they have several of these large farms here and there….
Maybe that’s the European Kulak in me…
and the Southern small farmer

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

When I drive this road at night, usually there are miles I go with no lights to be seen…..
then to all of a sudden come around the bend and see these lights,
like some movie being filmed is disconcerting.

But I am glad to see work being done, production etc.

Yet a number of us have allied together to fight the latest expansion of these fields….
an expansion that includes a ‘Dude Ranch’
with stables, private houses, and rental cabins.

 

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Yet I am also conflicted with all the fuel used for lighting,
and the massive use of water the vineyard takes.
Since they put in the vineyards, the water level in the creek lowered,
and it has now stopped running for several months.

 

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

My sense of capitalism says a person can do what
they want with their land within limits….
but do those limits extend to overdraft of the limited local water supply?

Lao Tzu
Chapter 53

The gentry wear elaborate richly embroidered clothes,
eat and drink in excess with their sharp swords at their sides,
these are surely the robber barons.
This is not in keeping with the Way.

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

These several thousands of Corporate acres are owned by one person,
and many of the people in that field are given work
for a short time during this harvest season.
How much better off would they and me all be if this land
was held by several hundred small growers?
Each trying to live a regenerative low-impact lifestyle, growing local foods…
and pooling resources to send co-operative food to further areas.

Lao Tzu
Chapter 77

The way of nature is much like the drawing of a bow.
That which is high is lowered,
and that which is low is brought up.
The excess is removed,
and where there is deficiency more is added.
The way of nature is to reduce the excesses
and spread them to where there is deficiency.

The way of Man is otherwise,
Mans way is to take from those who have little,
and give to those who have much.

Who is it that can offer more to the world, and have still more to offer?
Only the person of the Tao.

Therefore the sage acts without laying claim to the act.
He can accomplish without boasting.
He has no wish to appear superior.

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

They could be using water-capture techniques to hold rainwater
so they’d pull less from the ground.
Individual small landholdings of five acres of good soils like this
can be effectively and intensively farmed.
Resulting in overall less water use than currently, more infiltration,
less water run-off and more of a diversified environment.
The mono-culture of hundreds of acres of one plant encourages insect and disease issues.

No wonder grapes are one of the most intensively sprayed crop in California.

Luckily, although we consider them neighbors…
they are still some four miles from our place.

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

Nighttime grape harvest at Laetitia Vineyard on Calif Central Coast

 

Tao teh Ching
Chapter 80

I see a small country of small population.
A simple folk, who even if highly skilled work simply and easily.
Tools are seldom used. They do not bother to invent time-saving appliances.
They would dearly love life, and would take care to avoid death.
Since they would love their homes and land, they would not care to wander.
Even with their horses, boats and carts, they do not wish to travel about.
Though they may have armor and weapons, these are kept out of sight.
These people would return to simple techniques for record keeping.
Their food would be tasty but simple; their clothing would be unpretentious.
They would be content with their simple homes,
and the simple pleasures and customs of a simple people.
And even though there might be a neighboring land within sight,
so that the crowing of roosters and the barking of dogs can be heard from it;
these people will have lived their entire life without ever having gone to that country.

 

 

The End of Rivenrock? Will the tin soldier ride away?

The Law in its majestic equality,
forbids rich as well as poor to sleep under bridges,
to beg in the streets,
and to steal bread

~Anatole France~

   Since 1993 we’ve been an organically certified small farm in California. I had a job with a contractor which paid our household expenses and kept us solvent even when the farm sales were less than our farm expenses. But two years ago when the factory in town closed down, and most of us were laid off, I decided to go into the cactus growing more full time.  We grow a unique vegetable which we’ve shipped throughout the country.  Initially we shipped the cactus leaves as nursery stock, then governmental regulations tightened and we became more aware of the laws and regulations of shipping nursery stock into other states.  So we switched to shipping the younger leaves for people to eat themselves as produce. Our goal has been to ship to Health Food Stores, and restaurants as well as individuals who might be interested in the leaves we grow. Through the years our customer list grew slowly but steadily at a steady 30% rate. As the years progressed the governmental regulations seemed to grow more onerous… and the last year we’ve lost many of our older customers due to the recession. Other businesses have quit, some people seem to have stopped their regular orders. Yet, due to aggressive marketing, our sales this year are the highest we’ve ever had due to many new customers. Yet this was done at the expense of any profit we might have had.  And again the government has come down on us harder. Now we have been notified that we must complete a fifteen hour ‘continuing education’ credits in water pollution and conservation. I’m all for education, but these government-mandated classes for all farms in the state are not provided for free… we must pay for them ourselves.  The worse part is that they are given in the major population centers of Ventura or Monterrey to which we must take ourselves, and pay for our own lodging for the three days of the course.

   It is this extra bit that has me stymied.  We don’t really make any money doing this cactus business. All of our money goes to shipping, governmental fees of several thousand dollars yearly in order to maintain our licenses, permits, and associated fees and overhead expenses.  Knowing that this trip will lead us into negative financial territory makes me reluctant to want to go.  Knowing that due to these regulations, we must take  a sample of our water and have it analyzed monthly at unknown costs…. I am seriously aggravated at the state of our laws and the level of compliance required even for tiny little micro-farms.

   We have some months in  which to take the classes, and maybe I’ll find some classes nearby, but this more personal posting than usual is to let the people know that governmental regulations are  a double-edged sword. While they give the USA good traceability in produce, and  what is perhaps the safest produce in the world, it also makes for stronger economy-of-scale issues that stymie the small grower… right at a time that we are needing MORE small farms, not less.  If we were a huge corporate farm, with many employees, still we would need just one person to go to the classes, but when it’s a one-man operation, the standards are the same. The costs are the same, but they are a larger share of the profit in a small operation like ours.

     My usual outlook is of hope and positive thoughts. Rarely am I dragged into this level of aggravation.    I am sure I will sign up for the classes in Monterrey, they seem very informative and interesting.  But people need to know that excessive governmental regulations strangle small business, they hamper the process of business formulation.  We need to seriously look at what we want for this country, a place where people can transact business legally and efficiently with little governmental interference. If the government requires classes such as this, it should place them within the reach of the people, if it requires monthly water sampling, it should have a method to make such sampling efficient and inexpensive, (the paperwork mentions some samples might cost $8,000 yearly).

   Excessive governmental regulations hamper small business more than the large. If due only to ‘economy of scale’.

    When my dad grew up on an Ozark farm in the thirties and forties, they raised corn and wheat, raised hogs which they sold every fall and winter, and had a hundred or so chickens from which they sold eggs daily. They had five or six milk cows which they milked by hand, using the milk for food and their dogs, and one milk-can daily which they left on the roadside for the milk company to pick up.  They also went to neighboring farms to supply skilled farm labor.  Nowadays they would have to have many more permits, and each operation would require specialized equipment and permits and licensing.  As all these regulations pile onto business, you must streamline your operations, drop aspects that have no profit and require permits,  then you start to specialize. Yet a small family farm should not be a specialist farm, it should have a wide variety of foods and animals to create the ‘loop system’ for bio-diversity.  Yet through the years we have had to drop livestock from our farm, first initially because we did not have proper butchering facilities,  so we stopped the breeding of animals, until we had no more. We stopped using manures for fertilizer years ago because the government is worried about contamination of the soils with bacteria from manures. We stopped bringing in mulches for weed control and soil building because we could not vouch for the exact trees the wood chips came from. We are now a closed system with no outside inputs, and only material going out at a rate of a ton a month. Yet even this production is priced so low, and the shipping and governmental costs are so high, that we make no profit.  One day, it might just get through my head that I’m better off just enjoying the property ourselves, and stop working so hard to make a business out of it.  Yet, I know I can’t, we have such great customers….

   While mulling these thoughts over in my head, I decided I needed to go for a walk. So with my camera in hand, I went down the road and took photos of the things I love about living here.  And it is when in the wilderness, when I am furthest from people and the government, that I am closest to God and nature.  These photos are my world, they are my daily activities and sights…. it is what is most in my heart.

 

 

‘One Tin Soldier’
`Lambert-Potter’

 

    Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago,
‘Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below.
On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath the stone,
And the valley-people swore
They’d have it for their very own.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.

There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.
So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure,
Tons of gold for which they’d kill.
Came an answer from the kingdom,
“With our brothers we will share
All the secrets of our mountain,
All the riches buried there.”
Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.
Now the valley cried with anger,
“Mount your horses! Draw your sword!”
And they killed the mountain-people,
So they won their just reward.
Now they stood beside the treasure,
On the mountain, dark and red.
Turned the stone and looked beneath it…
“Peace on Earth” was all it said.
Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.

 

 

 

Painted Ladies

A reprint from something I wrote on April 1, 2005

   Painted Ladies, the small butterflies that resemble the large monarchs have made a huge pilgrimage to the Central Coast the last couple days. Huge volleys of them roam the countryside, I see thousands crossing the highways before me. On my travels along the coast I have had my windshield splattered with yellow spots from their fragile bodies as I drive heedless and full of wonder through these little colorful denizens of the fields and vales.

   They make their yearly pilgrimage from Old Mexico to the hills of the American West at this time. And this year with the huge amount of rain and the recent warm weather their numbers that have survived the trek this far are beyond any I recall ever seeing.

   At this moment the world waits as a Pope lies dying in a dark room in the Vatican. This Pope, a deeply committed man, the idol of my deceased grandmother is soon to pass from this world. He will come into the arms of a loving Creator and will sit at the feast tables of the New Jerusalem. My thoughts and prayers go out to him, and to all who regard him with the high level of respect he has accrued throughout his papacy. He is a refined man, yet a common man, one of the men of the earth. Born into a common family in Poland, he worked with his hands as a young man, and never lost his touch and connection with the common man. On the wall in my grandmothers room to this day is a photo of the Pope. A photo of a strong man, firm of face and rugged in body and spirit. His connection to the peasants of Eastern Europe is perhaps what drew my grandmother to him. She was also of common peasant people of Eastern Europe, and the Nazi and Communist invasion of her homeland was the same as what the Pope encountered. Yet from both families, triumph from the ashes and smoking ruins of a devastated Europe was the end result. True, none of our family made it to the height of power and influence of the Pope, but when you come from starvation and nothing, to get to the point of even a warm house and plentiful food is a high achievement.

   And now, with butterflies stuck in my grill, and the sad news on the radio, I travel these lonely roads; alone, but not lonely. I am surrounded by the awesome beauty of these coastal hills, the verdant green, rolling on in wave after wave of velvet-lining over geologic formations squeezed and folded by seismic forces. The Pope came as a seismic force into our lives through Poland from God, and the butterflies come with the soft flutter of wings through Mexico from God. And my tires roll on, through the day, a continual succession of miles eaten up by rubber as my life continues, and the butterflies and the Pope die.

   God bless them all.