Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Monday, February 28, 2005

Dear Jesus,

I’ve been reading up on this selling Absolution stuff lately. Do you still do that or was it just something that all those corrupt popes came up with?
Is this option open to a simple guy like me, or do you have to be a king, or at least a duke or an earl or something? And do you have a sliding scale of prices or do I have to, like, launch a whole Crusade or something? And is that what the President is really up to?
Anyway, I don’t have a lot of money but I’ve got some pretty cool stuff to trade. Can I barter Absolution?
I’m sorry about occasionally taking your name in vain. If I give you a case of broccoli, can we just call it even? How ‘bout two cases?
I’ve got lots and lots of plowshares, which I know interest you. What’re they worth? I mean, if I covet my neighbor’s plowshares, can I just give you mine?
Remember that girl from San Francisco I was sort of going out with a few years ago? Were you by any chance watching when we went to Seattle that weekend? If so, I guess we have to start negotiations.
What’s the deal with cannabis? Like, Catholics can drink and Baptists can’t, but what are your thoughts on herb? How about a toaster and a non-stick skillet?
I confess to impure thoughts from time to time, but I’ve never been able to reconcile that with all that go-forth-and-multiply stuff. Can you tell me what that’s all about, or do I actually have to go to church or something?
The honor-thy-mother-and-father stuff is a big one for me. I’ve been to therapy. Believe me. I’ve read lots of books and even went through this rebirthing workshop, once. I have a feeling you made that rule in a much simpler time and it’s no longer applicable. Now that I think of it, that’s actually one of your Father’s rules, isn’t it? I bet that pisses you off.
I’m sorry about being into Buddhism. I’ve got some antique furniture that may interest you. Just so you know, he doesn’t mind that I’m writing to you.
Is listening to the Rolling Stones a sin? How about Snoop Dogg? If I listen to the Rolling Stones and give you a Handel’s Messiah CD, are we even?
I guess you probably have a copy already.
That’s about it for now.
Hope the Pope’s feeling better.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


The rains came late, after dark, when I was inside and sautéing some chicken and some broccoli. But that was alright – the fields were already torn up, disked so that last years grass tufts were torn up and upside down and sliced to pieces and able to harm me no more.

There are narrow windows of opportunity this time of year – you get one day to plow in January, maybe, and if your tractor has a flat tire you’re out of luck. You get another day in February, maybe two, and you’d better not miss it because it will surely rain that night, when you’re sautéing some chicken and some broccoli. It starts to dry out a bit toward the end of March – the days are longer and a bit warmer and the fields are dry maybe three days after it rains instead of seven. But the grass is more tenacious then, what with the days being longer and a bit warmer …. You’ve got to slice the stuff up now, slice it to pieces and let it rot. Let it warm up and come back to life and it’ll get the better of you, every time.

I’m talking about the fall beds – where I had cabbage and brussel sprouts, and didn’t put in a cover crop. The beds got a little weedy toward the end of the season, but the frost killed them down. It’s the grass that’s a problem. They become solid little tufts with matted roots, and they stop a hoe in its tracks. But not if you disk the living hell out of them in February.

The rain’s coming down now – I can hear it drip off the roof and bounce off all the debris in the front yard – and I don’t care. I disked.

The rest of the fields are in rye, or clover/rye. On a dry day in March I’ll plow an area for potatoes and peas, and toward the end of March plow the whole Spring field, and plant lettuce and cabbage and broccoli and etc.
The summer fields have the clover in them now – by early May, the clover will be waist high and ready to be cut down. That field will be plowed and planted in tomatoes, squash, beans and etc.

Sometime in July the rain will stop. The water – so much in abundance now, making the road slick and making a muddy mess in front of the wood shed and always getting my socks wet – will shut itself off and the fields will dry out and raise a dust cloud when I disk. And I’ll hope the irrigation pump keeps working and I’ll pray for rain.
But all that seems a universe away right now. I sat on the tractor today wearing insulated overalls and two sweaters. I kept an eye toward the sky, guessing at when the rains would come. Damn near got the tractor stuck in the mud down near the chicken coop. Had to plow a drainage canal toward the end of the driveway to keep things from getting too soggy. February’s like that. It’s cloudy more than it’s sunny. It’s muddy, not dusty. When it rains, you’re out of the fields for at least a week, so when it does dry out, you’d better have your shit together.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Running to Paradise

We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d’oeurve for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depressed head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.
Walt Whitman

The wind is old and still at play
While I must hurry upon my way,
For I am running to Paradise;
Yet never have I lit on a friend
To take my fancy like the wind
That nobody can buy or bind:
And there the king is but the beggar.
William Butler Yeats

Imagine darkness.
In the darkness that faces outward from the sun a mute spirit woke. Wholly involved in chaos, he knew no pattern. He had no language, and did not know the darkness to be night.
As unremembered light broke about him he moved, crawling, running sometimes on all fours, sometimes pulling himself erect, but not going anywhere. He had no way through the world in which he was, for a way implies a beginning and an end. All things about him were tangled, all things resisted him. The confusion of his being was impelled to movement by forces by which he knew no name: terror, hunger, thirst, pain. Through the dark forest of things he blundered in silence till the night stopped him, a greater force. But when the light began again he groped on. When he broke out into the sudden broad sunlight of the Clearing he rose upright and stood a moment. Then he put his hands over his eyes and cried aloud.
Ursula LeGuin

Strange is the story your eyes tell me
And quiet all the few words that you say
So come and hold my hand for, you see, I'd understand
And remember that the only time is now
The Grateful Dead

The next time you have two hours to kill, watch a two year old peel an orange.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Welcome to the Revolution

In eleven long years, John Bergson had made but little impression on the wild land he had come to tame. It was still a wild thing that had its ugly moods; and no one knew when they were likely to come, or why. Mischance hung over it. Its Genius was unfriendly to man….
One winter his cattle had perished in a blizzard. The next summer one of his plow horses broke its leg in a prairie-dog hole and had to be shot. Another summer he lost his hogs from cholera, and a valuable stallion died from a rattlesnake bite. Time and again his crops had failed….
Willa Cather
O Pioneers!

I can’t bear to go to the marketing conference this Saturday, even though I have a free ticket. The sorts of people who will be milling about, bright eyed and eager, will tire me, brutally, at a time when I’m already too tired. They’re going to be looking for ideas on farming and homesteading, looking for exciting new marketing opportunities, and mostly, looking for a dream. I can dream no more, nor can I tolerate those who can.
The weather is dreary. It’s misty and it’s rainy and I have to wear boots at all times because I can’t get from the front door to the truck without getting covered in mud. The land in its Genius unfriendliness prevents me from wearing wingtips.

Last sunny day we had I got to tractoring and busted a sprocket on the oil pump. It’s fixed, but only after a full day of crawling around underneath it, dropping the oil pan in the rain, and peering up into its bright and promising insides.

Okay, if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s a Massey.

What to say to those eager conference participants?

Go back, while you still can. Go back to your traffic lights and your strip malls and your neat suburban lawns, and dream of the good life no more. Burn your Mother Earth News, every fucking last one of them, and read Wendell Barry no more. Dream not of dew glistening on blades of grass in the morning sunshine, nor of the moonlight reflecting on a stream at midnight. Yearn not for the lowing of cattle, the cluckle of the hen, the baaing of the sheep. Content yourself with honest toil in a cubicle. Find God in the automobile or the stop sign or the sewer.

They won’t listen. They want to churn butter and chop wood and dig themselves from twelve-foot snow drifts in mid-December. They want to can tomatoes and shoe horses and beat the dirt from their rugs with a stick.
They need conferences like this, like people need jewel-encrusted birds. It’s a service we’re providing for them, perhaps, and our genius is in being friendly to them, perhaps.

We’ll welcome them, and tell them to grow organic strawberries. They’ll build cold frames and make compost. They’ll learn to play the dulcimer.

Dream on, O pioneers, as relentlessly as the inexorable spread of late blight. Your discontent lies not in yourselves but in your surroundings. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Tales From Organic Agriculture

I'm doing my part to support the war.

Christ, the season hasn't even started yet, hardly, and I'm already up to my ass in the 21st Century.
Up early (too early, but nevermind) to drive into Leicester for to purchase four (4) separate petroleum products.
In order of expense:
1 tank gasoline (truck)
15 gallons hydraulic fluid (tractor)
1 case motor oil (tractor)
5 gallons kerosene (greenhouse)

We're well on our way to becoming a superfund site. (And I just discovered that "superfund" is not listed in Microsoft Word's Spellcheck Dictionary.)(What does that tell you?)
Oh, and I managed to bust the front door off the hinges (I'll save that for a different post) so I had to buy a 2 X 4 to fix it. Add deforestation to my list of today's accomplishments.

Supposed to get down to 20 tonight, and I've still got the plug-in electric heater in the well house. Three light bulbs burn in the house right now; the radio's on; the heat mat is plugged in beneath a tray of seeds; the fridge is humming; I'm going to run the laundry machine tomorrow (if I remember;) the computer, obviously, is plugged in; and everytime I flush the toilet the well kicks on. Burn more coal.

I've got to drive all over just about the whole world next week: tomorrow to see MB (my permanent intern for life,) Tuesday to a meeting in Marshall, Wednesday to a meeting in Asheville, Saturday to a conference in Swannanoa. It's only gasoline. We know how to get more.

I've finally gotten around to starting to put a permanent water line to the greenhouse. A hundred feet of plastic tubing and a plastic bag full of little plastic connector thingies. ("Thingies" is not in Microsoft Word's Spellcheck Dictionary.)(Things get curiouser and curiouser.)

("Curiouser" is not ...)

Evening is a time for contemplation. It's dark outside. I'm tired but well-fed. It's cold outside but I'm warm in here. Another glass of wine, I'll post a little something, and brush my teeth and go to bed. I reflect on my day and things seem to adopt for themselves an air of significance. Believe you me, the environmental impact of my doings occur to me only when I'm sitting down and thinking back about it all. This morning, my main thought was: "There's goes that hundred dollar bill." And all day, as I was using the afore-mentioned litany of war causing liquids, my prime thoughts were "Man, it's cold today." And "I'm hungry."

But that seems trivial, now. I'm alone. Just me and my Creator and Microsoft SpellCheck. I think about the endless expansion of the universe and the relentless progress of Time, a million years of human progress to get me to this point, the ineffable mystery with-in a single brassica seed, the miracle of the sun, half a world a way, on its way to rising in the morning. There is a season, turn, turn turn. And even though I've taken a shower and done the dishes, I've still got motor oil under my fingernails.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Cabbage Is Smiling

I couldn’t resist.

I dug up a cabbage seed.

I knew I would. I do it every year.

They’d been planted a few days ago. I go look at them every day. They hadn’t come up yet. I knew they wouldn’t have. So I dug one up.

Yep. I little white sproutlet – known in the trade as a radical – had emerged from the seed.

And if that happened to one, it means it’s happened to all of them. All 864 of them.

And it’s safe to assume the same is true of the kale and the broccoli.

But I didn’t check. No. I let all of them be, nestled in their little cubelets of potting soil. I talked to them, though. I talk to them every time I pass them. They’re all with me here in the kitchen, stacked up about four feet high, close to the wood stove.

They’ll poke their little leaflets up tomorrow or the next day, looking for the fat old sun, and I’ll take them to the greenhouse.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


I may have solved my deer problem, and the solution, as can be expected, has come from a golf course. It’s one down in Haywood County, and it had a driving range right alongside a highway. They’ve solved the busted windshield problem: nets beside the driving range.

But not just nets. No. That would never do. Not in Haywood County. The nets are strung from a cable that runs between twenty foot poles. It looks like a curtain.

That can be replicated, with very little difficulty, here on the farm. I’ll run poles along the perimeter of the field, cable from pole to pole, and hang deer fence from that. I’ll even use zip ties the way they did. Maybe not as many.

It’s further evidence to support a theory I’ve been busy developing lately, that all challenges facing agriculture today can be addressed with solutions borrowed from corporate America. If golf course don’t hold the answers to the problems of organic farmers, then we may as well all give up right now.

The divisive attitude taken by so may in my field is truly troubling to me. (Yes, that was a pun.) (One of my favorites.) Only by working together with golfers can sustainable agriculture hope to thrive in the future. We need to welcome them and all they have to offer. Celebrate our commonalities.

Mark my words. The biggest mistake the movement ever made was to start pulling the old holier-than-thou liberal crap. We need to work together. Why, just last month I was talking to a friend with a background in soil science. He was starving to death working as a consultant to farmers, so he (like so many who have failed in agriculture) went to a golf course. What the greens needed, he told them, was a boost of nitrogen, with a side of molybdenum and maybe some potassium. He recommended spraying ground up fish guts all over the fairways. Well, to make a long story short, they’ve become one of his biggest accounts, and he’s seen frequently bending elbows at the clubhouse.

We need a bit more of that these days, people. I’m no happier with the results of the election than you are. The new attourney general has more in common with the German speaking ex-patriot contingent in Buenos Aires than he does with Thomas Jefferson. The Patriot Act makes mulch of the Fourth Amendment. And there will be Supreme Court nominations made, perhaps even before we start cutting Fraser Firs again. I could go on and on. But instead, I chose to embrace those with views different from my own.

The next time you feel your problems are becoming just a little too much, don a nifty little sweater vest and take a walk to the nearest golf course. That’s where the answers are.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Further Evidence, As If You Needed Any, That Your Government Cares About You

Farms are disappearing from the landscape faster than haberdasheries, so those of us here seem to be bucking some kind of trend..
We are, as it turns out, a farm, and the United States Department of Agriculture recognizes us as such. They mail me things from time to time, just to let me know they care.
Friday they sent me my own copy of the 2004 Farm Succession Survey. They want to know who’s gonna take over the operation after I croak.
It took them 8 pages and 34 questions to ask this. I told them I don’t know. It took me three words to tell them I don’t know.
They stumped me on page 7, question 29.

29. What will you miss most about farming when you retire or semi-retire?

I stared at the survey for a good fifteen minutes. My mind refused to wrap itself around the concept. What will I miss?
What did they want me to say? Weeding?
What will I miss? I’ll miss seeing herons on the pond early in the morning when I walk around the fields. I’ll miss seeing gold finches perched on the tomato trellis. I’ll miss staring at weeds in carrots for three or four hours and then looking up and seeing the mountain behind H*’s farm and I saying "Ahh …" I’ll miss spending two hours on the phone with other farmers talking about chicken manure and alternaria leaf spot and sources for certified potting soil. I’ll miss pouring bags of ice over eighty pounds of broccoli. I’ll miss fixing the tractor at midnight so I can use it the next morning. I’ll miss selling food to people.
How do you say that to a statistician? Do you try? And will I really miss any of that?
Will I be an old geezer, sitting on my porch, longing for the days of truck farming? Will I go to Florida and learn golf? Will I live in a cave and write poetry? Will I sell Amway products? These questions and others I want to ask the Department of Agriculture, but I fear they will have no answer for me.
Will I be different after I retire? Will I still see herons and gold finches? Will I still talk to my friends? Will I still fix broken stuff? So what’s the difference?
I had trouble explaining these things in the space provided. I responded to the survey, anyway. I always respond to their surveys. Whatever else I say, I am able to put into one more computer in Washington the notion that there are 3 acres of vegetables being grown on Spring Creek, and that, compiled with all the other 3 acres out there, may make a difference, somehow. Like Arlo Guthrie said, "They’ll think it’s a movement."
The Farm Succession Survey addresses some significant points. That they are even conducting the survey shows they know there’s a problem. They want to know if farmers know who will succeed them. They want to know if plans are being made for the land.
That’s the other reason I answered the survey. I got to answer question 34. That’s the inevitable Other section that surveys have. Other comments on farm succession. I told them the biggest obstacle to keeping land in agriculture, the biggest obstacle to young people getting into agriculture, is rising land costs resulting from urban sprawl and development. That must be addressed by all of us, quickly, or there will be no farms. And as the bumper sticker says: No Farms, No Food.
I still don’t know how to answer the question about what I will miss. Maybe I’ll just send them a link to this post.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

And Then Everything Was Upside-Down

We have said nothing about Chiraco until we take into account his most personal views about the artichoke ….
-Andre Breton

There’s five pounds of bloodmeal under my kitchen table.
There’s half a pallet of potting soil in the back of my truck.
There are twelve cardboard boxes of seed on my bed.
I have enough odd-shaped plastic planting containers to fill a banquet room at San Simeon. Twice.
I have blue plastic containers full of kerosene.
I have garden hoses, garden hoses, garden hoses.
I have well organized planting sheets, dutifully copied at Kinko’s and stored in a 3-ring binder.
I have Bic pens.

I have stared death in the face and laughed. I’m not yours today, I said.

Cover crop is coming up strong.
Rye in the lower field. Clover in the upper.
Strawberries are lined up in straight little jam-anticipatory rows.
Spinach stands ready to do battle with Brutus.

I am not afraid, I told the Grim Reaper. I’ll watch you spin around me, and I’ll sneak out the hole in the middle.

There’s new points on the plow.
New fuel lines on the tractor.
There’s a new handle on the pitch fork.
Irrigation line stands prepared on the edge of the field, ready to be deployed.
The tiller stands in the shop, its transmission woes a thing of the past.

Is this what it’s like when it’s all over? I wondered. Can you go back?

There’s new brake lines on the truck.
A new steering gear is in the mail, on its way here.
The doors and the cab are primered, ready to be painted.
As of yesterday morning, there’s a new donut at the exhaust manifold, and as of tomorrow morning, there’ll be a new gasket at the water pump.

I can dive into volcanoes. I can cross the sea. I can fly against the Red Baron. Death be not proud

I rode a freight train through the artichoke capital of the world, once. It’s out there in California, somewhere.
There’s a jar of artichoke hearts in the pantry. I don’t know what to do with them.
Put them in a salad?
My mother made breaded artichokes.
I remember we’d eat dinner on the back porch, sometimes. In the summertime. I remember the table and I remember where my mother would sit and I remember where my sisters would sit. We’d had dinner inside far more times, I’m sure, but I can’t remember what the table looked like.
I don’t have the breaded artichoke recipe, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find. The image of the table on the back porch forms in my mind at any mention of an artichoke, any sight of artichokes in a jar on a grocery store aisle, upon reading about artichoke seeds in a catalog. It’s a peaceful image. It’s full of the wonder and mystery of childhood, and provides me with the warmth and security of a mother’s presence.

Circumstances put me today at a place where I once crashed my truck. I decided it would be a good time to reassess.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


It’s been a horrid and ugly winter on Spring Creek, and it promises to get a lot worse before the first daffodils show their faces.
First, it’s raining. That stuttering, just above freezing, it started just at dark kind of rain. The kind of rain that comes before an unexpected two feet of snow.
Bob Caldwell tried to remain calm before his computer generated graphics on WLOS at lunch time, but you could tell he was scared. He tried to distract everyone with temperatures and barometric readings and high pressures and low pressures, but when the camera went in for a close up, he looked like an animal caught in someone’s headlights. He started to give everyone a song about a nice weekend, then he cracked. "Don’t panic!" he implored his viewers. "If you see flurries after mid-night, don’t panic!" He regained his composure for just a minute and started to talk about a low pressure system over Nebraska, then fell apart completely. There’ll be a Winter Storm Warning tomorrow, he cried, and went running to the back of the studio, howling like a lunatic. As he passed the Sports Desk, he screamed something about accumulations in the northern mountains, and then the screen went blank.
Bob Caldwell used to be the best in the business, and it’s no accident that in these parts "Bob Caldwell says" has become synonymous with "The forecast is." Most of the locals just call him Bob, and there’s no other face they’d rather have on their TV screens when they sit down for supper. He used to be a trusted family elder, and it’s sad to see him reduced to the status of an eccentric uncle who bathes irregularly and mutters to himself while others pose for family portraits.
But it’s not surprising. Not this winter. Cars are rolling over left and right on the back roads, and it’s not because of defective tires. It may have something to do with strong drink, but it may be something in the stars.
Animal carcasses are everywhere. Maybe they’re carcusii. I don’t know. But you can’t walk from your front door to the woodpile without stumbling over the grotesque remains of some animal that wild dogs have drug around. More dead animals line the sides of the roads. Wild dogs chew on them like jackals, and have become so vicious and brazen they no longer hide at the sound of an approaching car.
Some friends had their driveway kidnapped. There was a dispute with a grading contractor over the price of gravel, and he parked his dump truck on the road and refused to move it until the bill was paid. I like to think he had been meditating the night before on the virtues of Martin Luther King, and the dump truck sit down strike was his way of celebrating Black History Month. Somehow, though, I doubt it. More likely, it’s another example of the stupid white trash behavior that I’ve seen a lot of this winter.
Friends have been calling me complaining about their personal relationships, or their room-mates, or their jobs. There are dark clouds hanging over all manner of things this winter.
My blog was accused of being pink.
S** bulldozer hasn’t started in a month.
RM’s washing machine broke.
And a tragedy from my friend M*. She started to give her horse some kind of dietary supplement. For a thick black coat. With luster and sheen. It was supposed to make the animal beautiful. But it didn’t. It turned his hair red.
The Native Americans had some kind of special name for the February moon. I forget what it was. Not The Moon Of Horrid and Ugly Happenstance, but something like that.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Cultivating Jesus

Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.
Vince Lombardi (among others, it turns out)

The farm is in dire straights these days. I wonder if we'll be able to make it, and if we do fold, when?
Our sorry state can be attributed to many things. We've always been under-capitalized, and have always gotten by on nothing. We've had two years of challenging weather. And I'm beginning to think, more and more, that just as much of it all has to do with my management skills. Perhaps I've blown it. I've thought, for years, that I was steering this ship through rocky waters with consummate skill, but, to mix metaphors, we're perched on the edge of a precipice, one foot on a banana peel and the other in the grave.
And I've come to realize that this is a result of my sorrowfully inadequate interpretation of the message of Jesus.
I was led astray early in life. Misinformed, delusional people spoke to me of things like universal love. I believed them. I tried to be a vessel of the Lord. I meditated and prayed. I did unto others. I welcomed every half-baked crack-pot and basket case who crossed my doorstep and tried to minister to them.
I've been too soft. I've been too accepting and, let's face it, too wimpy. I've accepted anyone who has showed up, and given them a place to stay. I've allowed people to hang while they were dealing with personal problems, or getting their shit back together, or recuperating from some life crisis. I've been welcoming and understanding and compassionate. But no more. I've found Jesus.
You've got to tighten up, Frank, MB, my permanent intern for life, tells me. No more basket cases at Let It Grow, Frank.
She's right. And this will happen no more. I've converted to the charging rhinoceros branch of Christianity, to the people who knew what Jesus was really talking about. People who led Crusades. People who flogged naked savages. People with no tolerance for the weak or the sorry. Self-absorbed, self-righteous people who stomped the shit out of anyone who got in their way. People who, in short, were successful.
The first step, I've decided, is to move the pink flamingoes. They hang out near the shop, or around the bus, or down by the packing shed. They're fun during holidays. They kiss on Valentine's Day. They perch on the flagpole on the Fourth of July. They make an interesting addition to a nativity scene. No more. They'll be moved down to the end of the road, symbolically guarding the gates of the empire from infidels. They've got to earn their keep. From here on in, anyone showing up at the farm without valid business will be attacked, mercilessly, and chased back to the highway.
The next step is to change the farm motto. I'm open to suggestions. Contributions will be accepted on the Comments page. You will not be credited. You will not even be thanked. From now on I take what I can and consider it mine.
Next, I judge everything before me based on its monetary value. Friends included. You exist to make me money or you get dropped from the Christmas card list. You don't get a second chance.
After that, I redefine my relationship with Nature. Something more in line with the true message of Jesus. Nature is not something to live in harmony with. Or live with in harmony. (See. You can't even express that in a grammatically sensible way. I've tried five times. I'm tired of the Backspace button. Jesus didn't Backspace.) Nature is there to serve me. It does what I want it to. It's there to make me money. (See how easy those sentences were? Hemingway could've done it.) Vegetables grow or I plow them over. They do not exist to be loved or cultivated or cared for. They are a commodity. Their value is not expressed in terms of universal unity or cosmic oneness. Love has nothing to with it. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange assigns a dollar value to everything and that will not be questioned.
You may want to stay away from me for a while. I'm feeling zealous, and I'm hungry for converts. No Phillipian nor Corinthian was subjected to the wrath of righteousness and faith and opinions that my friends will be pummeled with in the coming months. I will not tolerate divergent views. Agree with me or die. "Take no heed of what is diverse in manners or laws or institutions." St Augustine said that. And people learned to stay out of his way.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

It's February, I Must Be Ripping Up Linoleum

I've been saving as much copper pipe as I can from the greenhouse job in Waynesville.
It's the best way to get contraband into the Hot Springs dump - slip the attendant a handful of copper pipe and he'll leave you alone while you unload your truck. I've brought enough copper pipe up from Waynesville that I could sneak a Sherman Williams warehouse into the Hot Springs dump. If I so desired.
With me, though, usually, it's not the nature of the items I am bringing to the dump, but the sheer volume. The intern house is a case in point. The intern house was waist deep in garbage when I got here. It was like five families had lived in there on top of each other and all left on the same day. And bequeathed to me a pile of polyester clothes, five cans of Crisco, twelve boxes of coloring books, fifteen mattresses, a stove, a washing machine, a refridgerator and two hundred baby shoes.
Two years ago I started to clean out the intern house. Five truckloads (including three trailer loads) of garbage later, the house was empty. There were five layers of linoleum between the garbage and the kitchen floor, and each and every layer ended up in the Hot Springs dump. Last year, I ripped the linoleum out of the bedroom. (Nothing is too good for my interns.) This year, I'm replacing the floor in the bathroom. That necessitates, you guessed it, ripping up linoleum. (Only two layers.) Tomorrow morning, I'm bringing it down to the Hot Springs dump. I'm sure they'll be happy to see me.
Detritus from the 'Seventies has become something of a theme around the farm. The ten truckloads of garbage I hauled out of my house when I first arrived included the de riguer polyester clothes, boxes of thirty year old True Romance, baby shoes, and (the archaeologist's dream!) an 8-track. I saved some of my favorite relics, including a jelly glass commemorating Apollo 15. The fields have spit up, over the years, a quarter panel from a '74 Pontiac, enough Mountain Dew cans to boggle the mind (sans pull tab,) and baby shoes. So much for arrowheads.
And so much for the dream of a farm nestled in the Appalachians. Living in a trailer just isn't very Foxfire. I have friends who are always digging up all kinds of cool stuff - horse shoes, milling stones, hand operated drills, Confederate muskets, covered wagons, horse drawn plows, Victrolas .... Nevermind. I'm happy with my own little collection of garbage. If you need commemorative plate decorated with scenes from the Bicentennial, you know you to ask.

Friday, February 04, 2005

How Do I Spend My Time?

Maury Povitch is having men's DNA tested to see if they're the real father.
Asheville should be clear tomorrow, highs in the 50s. A low pressure system, however, lurks to the west.
There's congestion on 240, with a wreck near Amboy Road.
On Thursday nights, you can watch King of the Hill for three hours straight. (Not that I would do that ...)
On Sundays, you can watch Little House on the Prarie for six hours straight.
Octopussy is on. Somewhere in the world, there is always a James Bond movie on, somewhere.
Buy a new Ford at 0% down.
Oscar and Felix are still quarreling.
Condelleeza Rice is in the mid-east. In a brown blouse.
George W Bush is in South Dakota. In a blue suit.
New England is favored in the Super Bowl.
The Weather Cam, perched high atop Mt Pisgah, shows blue skies.
A number of scary looking movies will be released this week.
The commentators on Fox approve of very little.
Tony Danza knows how to tap dance.
Gregory Peck is saving Debbie Reynolds from marauding Indians.
There's a NASA channel.
If you're bored at 3 AM on a Tuesday, you can watch Dharma and Greg.
There's all kinds of drugs you can buy to make you feel better.
May cause constipation and high blood pressure.
Nicole Kidman will be at the Oscars. In a blue suit.
Things are being blown up.

That's right. I have friends with television.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Beady Little Red Lights

The little red lights have me on edge. They blink on and off on the modem. I sit before the computer not glancing at them, not noticing what ones are on and what ones are off. I could just cover the modem with a towel or a hat or a newspaper, but that would be admitting defeat.
The one way over on the far right has to be on in order to get online. I don't what it means, I just know that when it's on, I connect, and when it's off, no way. Even Pavlov worked with creatures in tune with such things. There's a bunch more lights in the center of the display. I don't know what any of them mean, but when they blink furiously, it means the computer is downloading something, probably something with lots of pictures, and when they hardly blink at all, it means I'm about to get kicked off line.
I always know which lights are on. Even when I'm not using the computer, I know what lights are on. It's like the way you always know what strange sounds your engine is making, or what's in your house that's gonna choke your baby, or what you're about to do that's gonna piss off your girlfriend.
Everything could and sometimes does work out perfectly, and you still harbor this ominous feeling that everything's about to hit the fan.
I used to not even have a computer. I didn't have a refridgerator, a TV or a washing machine. Now I just sit around waiting for those things to break. But I digress.
Perched on a ladder a hundred feet above the ground this afternoon, unbolting a greenhouse, I suddenly realized that I needed to know the entire history of the Milton Bradley Corporation. More specifically, was there a Milton and also a Bradley, or, was there just one, Milton Bradley. I asked each and everyone one of my co-workers. None of them knew, but they all immediately regaled me with details of other things they knew. Home, I called my friend I*, who knows everything. That was six hours ago, and he hasn't called me back. Maybe his pager is broken. I looked up Milton Bradley in my Encyclopeadia Britannica (oh, if only this keyboard had one of those things where the a and the e together, what do you call that? But I digress) and found no listing. I thought about calling a reference librarian, but they can be humorless people. So I settled on Google. I clicked on what looked like the most promising of the search results, but the lights started to blink erratically. Like, the about to be kicked off line erratic blinking, and I immediately stopped what I was doing. I checked my email. Yahoo, for reasons not known to me, downloads more slowly that almost anything I check on a regular basis, and causes me to be kicked off sometimes. It can be unnerving. But I made it through this time. I then looked deep with-in myself to see if I had the gonads to persue the Milton Bradley issue some more, and found that I do not.
I thought it might be therapeutic to write about all this, so here I am.

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