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July 19, 2007

raspberries

Raspberry season makes me very happy. There is something extra special about yummy fresh, ripe, local, organic fruit.

July 17, 2007

Lawn Care Humor

This is my view on lawns exactly. I am not sure who came up with this joke but it is too funny not to share.

Lawn Care Humour

GOD AND ST. FRANCIS DISCUSSING LAWNS

GOD: Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD: And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD: Enough. I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have they scheduled for us tonight?"

ST. CATHERINE: "Dumb and Dumber", Lord. It's a really stupid movie about.....

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

July 15, 2007

rinse and repeat and repeat and repeat

I've had that chorus stuck in my head for a few days now. It keeps going round and round. I leave it, dance a few steps but fall right back into the same old rhythm. Other times I leave it, sing a few notes, make up some words, learn a new rhyme, and then fall right back into the familiar chorus.

Accepting the repetitive nature of life has never been easy for me. At age 16 I felt like I was making a huge commitment by getting bracing. The thought of wearing something in my mouth for 3 years straight was overwhelming. It never even occurred to me to find a chorus I liked and could return to regularly for 80 years.

I knew learning to dance would be enlightening - but I thought it would be more about communicating with others - it never occurred to me that I would find an analogy for how to balance my love of exploring and learning new things with my need for a solid steady foundation.

Wow.

July 13, 2007

dancing for two

Last night I went swing dancing for the first time. I love to dance - by myself. I get into the music and it speaks to me and I move and have a great time. I forget about the external universe, I forget about other people (except to avoid bumping into them) and just sink into a world of movement and music.

However, recently I decided that it is time to learn to dance with other people. Hogging the music to myself is selfish and frankly, I am ready for the challenge of including other people in my fabulous world.

So two weeks I went Cajun Zydeco dancing twice (and loved it - I totally dig that music) and even went Salsa dancing for the practice (I am just not super crazy about that music) and finally went Swing dancing last night.

Dancing was a revelationary - perhaps it was that I finally got the right lesson, the right dance partner, or the right music. Or perhaps it was how enchanting it is to watch other people swing dance and dissect what they are doing. Regardless the way dances fit together awed me as I realized that the dance steps are the chorus in a dance.

To any dancers out there this may seem like "duh" but to me it was an eye-opening concept. This is why I have to learn the steps - not just in my mind but in my feet. No matter what happens, no matter what I do, how I mess up or get distracted, I need to be able to fall back into the rhythm with the music and my dance partner.

This brings up a lot more concepts too (like how no one really likes a song that is all chorus and explains a bit about how musicians can "jam" - never mind all the communication analogies I could easily spin from this idea).

And I am sure there are a zillion more things to learn about (and from) dance. As a beginner I plan to marvel and appreciate the revelations as they come.

July 12, 2007

Organic Farming Wins

WASHINGTON - Organic farming can yield up to three times as much food as conventional farming in developing countries, and holds its own against standard methods in rich countries, US researchers said on Tuesday.

They said their findings contradict arguments that organic farming -- which excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides -- is not as efficient as conventional techniques.

"My hope is that we can finally put a nail in the coffin of the idea that you can't produce enough food through organic agriculture," Ivette Perfecto, a professor at the University of Michigan's school of Natural Resources and Environment, said in a statement.

She and colleagues analyzed published studies on yields from organic farming. They looked at 293 different examples.

"Model estimates indicate that organic methods could produce enough food on a global per capita basis to sustain the current human population, and potentially an even larger population, without increasing the agricultural land base," they wrote in their report, published in the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

"We were struck by how much food the organic farmers would produce," Perfecto said.

"Corporate interest in agriculture and the way agriculture research has been conducted in land grant institutions, with a lot of influence by the chemical companies and pesticide companies as well as fertilizer companies, all have been playing an important role in convincing the public that you need to have these inputs to produce food," she added.


So There!

July 11, 2007

summer high

Summer has finally seeped through me, imbued me with energy and even gotten me hurt (just a minor pulled muscle). Lately I have felt like a balloon full of hot hair rising higher and higher, continually needing to be popped. I think I am ready to come down now. I kind of miss the solid feeling of earth beneath my feet.

July 04, 2007

Sicko

Reluctantly I saw Michael Moore's latest documentary tonight. I say reluctantly because I was tired and looking forward to spending a quiet evening at home - but I really did want to see the film so was lured out by friends. It was worth it.

Moore is excellent at tugging at your heart strings and making you laugh at insanity. This movie really plays up to his strengths. His weaknesses are in his arguments - facts and figures always take a back seat to anecdotes and personal face time. Therefore any logical person can shoot holes in his thesis.

However, despite how much he simplifies the argument - or perhaps because he simplifies it so much - it is still hard to argue that people should not have access to basic health care. That is the power of this movie. It takes good idea and makes it common sense.