Fighting the good fight.

     Enjoying the farm life for a little longer now, I have a December fifth appointment with the Mesa County Justice System for driving my Vanagon without registration. Despite how inconvenient this is in delaying my plans, I am finding things to get done. I was adamant that my Vanagon was my “domicile” and not my “motor vehicle” since there is absolutely no commercial purpose that I use her for. That combined with my right to travel freely as mentioned in Thompson vs. Smith, 154 SE 579 stating “The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by horse drawn carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city can prohibit or permit at will, but a common Right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Now you may think that this is just a fight over me paying my one hundred dollars a year to have a sticker on my van, but the real issue is the constant overreach of the government into our pockets, and the acquiescence of the public to allow it. The revolution starts with yourselves, despite how inconvenient it may be to give up a days work to show up to a court hearing. Maybe refuse to pay your obamacare penalty for not purchasing health insurance FROM A PRIVATE ENTITY! The fact that health insurance is mandated to be purchased and is subsidized (money going to the insurance companies-from tax dollars) by the Government is criminal. Too many people are busy in their daily lives to give a hoot anyhow. Our national debt is up eight trillion in the last eight years; Arriving at twenty trillion dollars to date. Perpetual war(terrorist farming), corporate subsidies, tax loopholes, and bureaucracy overgrowth are the cause. Maybe if there were more people like Henry David Thoreau around, who refused to pay taxes to fight the mexican-american war and was subsequently jailed, we could fight this thing together. I know that Adam Kokesh at least has the right ideas anyhow. We just need a nation of moral character again.
     Woke up to rain this morning, wet bike seat on the way to the head, but compensated by the aroma of fresh rain. I have been harvesting my pot plants the last couple of days! Hooray Colorado! I opted to trim the plants initially while they were still in the ground, then chopped them for drying. This img_0017is my first harvest so I’m learning as I go. I used the trimmings to make oil, which is better than clogging up the alveoli in your lungs by smoking it. The whole process has been fun and interesting; just as watching any plant take form over a season. First the plant is scraggly and weak looking, then beefs up the stem as a response to being rocked by the wind, finally to bud out with blossoms ever filling with THC and CBD’s. Interesting fact: cannabis was fist made illegal due to competition of hemp in the paper industry with the cutting of forests for the same(pulp): it was a backdoor move by William Randolph Hearst to solidify his power and to push his own ideologies. How did the legislation get past the doctors and farmers who then relied on producing cannabis plants, species with and without THC, for paper pulp, clothes, seed oil, etc.? Manipulation of a word was the culprit. They called it marijuana. Seems commonplace today, but everybody referred to it as cannabis in the day, and so the alarms were not raised. Remember, it is through words that laws have their power. i.e. motor vehicle. I will not delve into how the word “income” has been twisted and manipulated over the last two hundred years, perhaps another time.

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     I did get a nice four day retreat over the last interval of writing. I was planning to spend some time alone bouldering and hiking, I ended up meeting an Australian that was on a sort of extended holiday in order to pay for his kids college tuition. He put his house up for rent ,and his indoor plant business was running well enough that he could take care of anything that came up from the road. Dave referred to it as “fucking off” in his native dialect. We had some great hikes together, with many beers and much laughter to follow each day around the campfire. He had a lot more hope in the ability of humanity to change things for the better and curb our destruction of the planet, and spent a good part of the weekend trying to convince me of the possibility. Certainly anything is possible. It is really just a consciousness shift, people understanding that they need to enact changeimg_0004(now) to protect the prospects of their children: to leave a habitable planet. One thing that we both agreed on was that “free time” is the most honored of all our possessions. It is something that money can never buy back. To surf, ski, snowboard, kite, spend time with loved ones, bicycle, play music, and all the other infinite possibilities of things to do while creeping toward death are much better use of time than busting your ass to make a dollar. Happiness is an internal circumstance, it does not have to yield to externalities, though it often does. The only picture I got of Dave was when he was climbing a tree to check out a nest, I thought a Raven. Pretty agile for being over fifty!

    All I see currently is a continuation of daily life as if we were all going along on a fine path. Off to work again today! Maybe you can legislate people into being greener? That is the method used in the past when concerned with a “tragedy of the commons”-a resource that would otherwise be abused if not for judicial action. Examples include grazing on BLM land, where perhaps the land would be abused, grazing too many cattle per hectare, if not for legislation. The same goes for fishing, legislating a catch limit based on fish availability in order to ensure everybody gets a bit. Dave and I talked a little about how, maybe it would be good to have a benevolent dictator. We can save this resource, planet earth, together. Lets build bullet-trains, mag-lev transport, and more solar infrastructure. I personally am a proponent of a ten dollar per gallon gasoline tax which goes wholly toward renewable transportation. Then we will see how many people drive across state lines for the weekend. We were late to save the Great Auk and the Passenger Pigeon was thought to be impossibleimg_0018 to drive to extinction until we shot them all down. Currently we are dealing with the collapse of the Atlantic Cod fisheries due to overfishing. Not on your radar? Well it is now. Go and do something about it. Grow a carrot!

 

 

     The secretary of state crushed initiatives 75 and 78 this year, which would have let local communities decide how their public resources are being developed, including fracking on public land. Tell me again how voting makes a difference in a corrupted and divided society?

     If you can’t tell, the climate has weighed heavily on my mind lately. It often does. Thank god for weeds ability to allow us to forget. It doesn’t help that the climate wasn’t even mentioned in any of the debates that were “performed”.

     On a positive note, the birds that still are finding this planets resources sufficient to avoid extinction are migrating, back from the boreal forest in canada to the deep amazon in brazil. There are several mallards who have stopped by the pond at the back of the farm on their way back. I have seen many dark-eyed junco’s here around the orchard, checking me out while I trim. A Cassin’s Finch stopped by to say hello as well. Yesterday while I was driving into the orchard there was an American Kestral on the power line eying his next meal. It gives me a little hope that all of these beautiful birds are flying around and managing to be a beacon of beauty to the world out there.

Expending fossil fuels to amplify climate change

     Day by day the tasks ahead of me fall to the rear. This weekend my dad and myself completed the monumental task of moving everything I’ve ever collected into a storage unit, or as for gardening stuff, to my old hunters cabin, which is on the land I bought in a kind of mid-life crisis while going to 20161007_183928school. I need to get some rain barrels, but I hope that place will be a great spot for me to build once my wanderlust has subsided into the ever present aches and pains of aging. I surmise that if I go to the property to post up for the winter, it would be possible that I would become comfortable and never leave on a sailing trip: Hence my persistence to run to the ocean. The most interesting thing that I saw on the drive was certainly a red motorcycle, a crotch rocket, which passed us three times while we were driving, at twenty-five miles per hour up monarch pass. The first time we had just started up the pass, and he passed us going down, knee out and leaning into the curve. The second he was unnoticed until he passed us at probably sixty miles an hour heading up the pass. Before we could make it to the top, again he was screaming downhill for another go at the curves. What a way to risk it all! Sheer cliffs on the south side if ever a tire should slip loose from it’s grip would deter me from ever making such a bold statement of my motorcycle skill. On a track is one thing, but WOW!

     I harvested all of my squash in the garden including pumpkins, australian butternut, and a few patty pan. The garden is barely alive after many of the plants were wiped out by the freeze. There is a low spot at the bottom of the20161007_110236 hill which allowed for some air movement, so that the tomatoes I have in the upper part made it out alive, this time. Even though my weeds have been neglected in the garden since the end of the peach season, I am sad to see it all go. I will certainly need gloves to get at the potatoes when I dig them due to all the sharp weed capsules. I hope I can roast a few of these squash over the campfire for dinner, perhaps in the deep red desert of Utah.

     I am embarrassed to say that I saw the presidential debate on monday night. The presidential election has turned into a blatant entertainment event. Neither of these people are worthy of the presidency, and the country should act accordingly. The revolution does not start at the poling booth, it starts when the people refuse to submit to the tyranny that has crept up on them over the last two hundred years. Its YOUR job to fight it citizen.

20161011_153328     I changed my timing belt on my truck yesterday, having a few loose ends to finish up today: a gasket for the radiator hose, and tensioning all of the belts. I have always been fascinated by mechanical things. What genius to control so much by gear ratio’s an20161011_153304d spinning pulleys. Working on cars feels like a fun puzzle. You take it apart, with a wrench here, or a socket and extension there, all the while keeping careful track of your sequences and parts. Unlike taking something electrical apart, you get the gist of the way something mechanical operates.

     Since this is the first time I’ve talked of mechanical things, I also have to address climate change. Yes, it is a real thing. There are three facts that show the peril we are in, and each of these can be validated by a quick google search. Remember that it is your job to educate yourself ever since the internet made all information available to anybody and everybody? First, global temperature follows atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Second, the historical atmospheric carbon was cycling between 250ppm and 280ppm(by measuring the gas proportions in ice core samples way back). Our current ppm CO2 exceeds 400ppm, and in my lifetime atmospheric carbon will never be less than that. Third and finally, we have not slowed down the amount of CO2 that we are spewing into the atmosphere, and at the same time continually destroying our carbon sinks in the amazon and boreal forest. Four hundred ppm was a theoretical tipping point, at which some of the earths temperature mechanisms exacerbate the problem instead of fixing it. Permafrost, frozen for centuries, will thaw and release vast amounts of methane, which is an even more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. As well, the melting ice caps will reduce the reflectivity of the planet(less reflective surface) causing more energy to be absorbed. As atmospheric temperature rises, so does the air’s ability to hold water(physics). We can all expect stronger storms(more thermal energy-enthalpy), localized droughts, flooding, sea level rise, and loss of habitat for many of the plants who established themselves hundreds of years ago. If you look at the forest service map of projected habitat change (temp and precip) it becomes readily apparent that long established trees are going to find themselves without adequate precipitation in the near future, needing to become higher in elevation(precip and elevation are correlated) instantly, but being rooted in the earth, unable to move. Sudden aspen decline is an example of this in Colorado.

     The changing climate may be in a battle against capitalism. Both cannot continue to exist in my opinion. It is up to YOU which comes out on top. It all starts with your daily activities. Are you flying to LA again this week? Maybe give that job up. In reality, it will take system wide social changes to actually combat our problem, yet those changes would be considered fringe by most. I’ll try not to be despairing about our plight, but it sure is hard to watch the bleaching of coral reefs(CO2 absorbed by the ocean is one of the largest carbon sinks) and the die off of our forests.  We certainly are not on a good path.

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Orchard wildlife, including mice who eat the wires which deliver temperature indication.

The wildlife here at grandpa’s orchard is incredible, one of the reasons that I wanted to come back to the orchard. I have lived in my VW van every summer for the last five years, so I have the opportunity to choose any of the wonderful habitats across colorado to view wildlife. Grandpa’s is special though. There is a shallow pond with cattails and other marsh-like plants growing throughout that the red winged black birds have taken to nesting in this summer. In the early spring I would see the colorful wing bars of the males as they chased the females around looking for a cloacal kiss in order to ensure the survival of the species. The chattering in the early dawn of all this years young is a testament to the success of their endeavors. Every morning there is an abundance of chatter in the marsh, and as I walk or ride my bike by to head back up to the house for another day of selling a stillness becomes where there was chatter while I was in bed. Two nights ago there was a great horned owl that graced my camp while I was laying in my hammock enjoying the stars. He/she made moves around the camp, silently due to the special feathers they have, perching in various spots and giving the quintessential hooting most people associate with owls. Whowho, whowhowho. WhoWho, whowhowho. Earlier in the season I saw frequently a family of foxes that dug a hole into the embankment which confines the irrigation water which runs through the property (what we water our trees with is piped, this open ditch water comes from farms upstream). When I’m lying in bed I occasionally will still hear the screech of the foxes. Yes, that is what the fox says: Rrreeeeaaaaahh, in a high octave, and with a short burst of vocal sound. Last night approaching my van after being out in town my dog and myself encountered a skunk. Which I obviously was quite panicked about, shouting to muddy to “leave it”, and taking a detour through the trees and across my garden to the van. The skunk must be looking for mice, like the ones that had taken up residence in a cupboard in my van that is my library. Nestled in my books earlier this week, I found that there were mice (a mother and three babies) that had taken the liberty of removing fiberglass insulation from the back of my refrigerator and making an nice cozy nest in the middle of my jumbled books. I went to remove these scoundrels three days later to find that the mother had moved her three offspring to another location. I haven’t moved my truck in a while, but I’m thinking that is where they went, a good ¼ mile away from the van, another well insulated home for winter she thought. I only assume this because I hear the chirping of the little rascals when I popped the hood to inspect the wiring under there to find out why my temperature gauge no longer moves from the cold setting. The wires that the little bastard chewed though are at least pretty accessible for repair, being right on top of the engine block. I may have to take that truck four wheeling to deter any further residence. On a sadder note, one skunk and two baby foxes perished this year due to their curiosity. They crawled into the irrigation piping while grandpa had the cap off after flushing out sediment, only to be trapped there when grandpa came back to cap it and put water back on. Flushing prior to capping may have saved them, but didn’t get done. Just another thing for this old farmer to remember. We also have occasional deer, which muddy does good at chasing from the garden area. The Deer are the reason that grandpa has never planted the lower field with young trees, bucks raking their antlers and destroying the phloem around the trunks.

I have also determined by my observations that goatheads are evolved to transport themselves by petroleum based tires, and doing a good job. Most, if not all, of the main driving zones here at the orchard are covered with them, which also accounts for the three bike tubes that I had to buy while working here this summer: Two of which were thorn resistant and several mm thick.

My nuclear days, and my hope for single handing glory

More and more I’m starting to harden my conviction to leave on a sailboat. The maximum amount of cash in hand that I will be able to accumulate by my departure date comes to the sum of eight thousand dollars. Most of the boats that I have seen that would be “comfortable” to travel in for five months are selling for between five and ten thousand dollars. Something with a tiller, and preferably a gimbled stove would be nice, but at this point I’ll leave on the least of the seaworthy boats available. When I was in the navy I raced laser’s and 420’s on the Chesapeake bay. My hope is that I have enough experience to ride on when a storm picks up and I have to head up into the wind during gusts, or reef the mainsail when I see ominous clouds on the horizon. My single-handing experience leaves a lot to be desired. It has always been with a crew that I’ve sailed, with exception to racing the lasers. Just thinking of all the fun I had crashing through chop and small waves makes me soooo excited to depart on my own larger boat. I’ve been reading through Andrew Evans “Thoughts, Tips, Techniques & Tactics for Singlehanded Sailing” and broaden my perspective and knowledge on the subject daily. Still my gravest concern is financial. Not being able to pay for repair of a ripped sail (going to buy an awl), or some piece of failing standing rigging, or poor running rigging. I only plan to spend five months out there, but I don’t have any basis for expenditure aside from reading a blog or travel writeup on the internet. Most of those sailors appear to be affluent, and spend lots on docking fees and booze at foreign ports. All of them have it in common with me that they want to run away from real life to a sailboat. I don’t consider myself to be “well off” but certainly I carry many of those traits. My parents have always provided a roof over my head, until my embarkment upon my navy adventure. Their cushion allowed me during my high school days to put all of my saving into games. I would play paintball, golf, hockey, ski, and do all sorts of other fun recreational activities. When I was six months short of sixteen I got a workers permit to work on the food prep line at Taco Bell; some summer days even riding my BMX bike 5 miles to get to work. That only lasted one summer. The next year I worked at the local city golf course, driving the tractor to pick up range balls and washing golf carts. This was during my obsession with golf, and I could not have chosen any better way to spend my time. At the end of high school I worked bagging groceries and mopping the isles occasionally at City Market, until they had lay offs due to other grocers opening up downtown. I even got a job cutting diodes, led’s, installing bracket mounts, and other miscellaneous tasks at a factory which built the circuit boards which are installed in the Diesel tractor trailers that are currently taking our food and other goods from point A to point B all across the country. This was perhaps the most boring and therefore hardest jobs I have ever had. The monotony was incredible. Of course I fell into the pitfall of wanting to make more money and looking for more of a career, so I didn’t return to the golf course and went off to join the navy. There I learned the trade’s which are associated with nuclear reactors, mainly chemistry and contamination mitigation. I also got the benefit of two years of a sort of crash course in physics, electrical theory, mechanical theory, steam turbines, piping systems, fluid dynamics, and of course fission and decay reactions. I consider myself a sort of honorary engineer. I never got a degree (and don’t believe that such pieces of paper entitle you to anything aside from being pompous) though I could have taken a few credits with an online university, Thomas Edison University, which readily provides degrees for the “nukes” as we called ourselves. Not a glamorous position, in the belly of the ship making steam for hot water, electricity, catapults, and propulsion. During some point on my time on board National Geographic was doing a documentary of sorts on the carrier, which of course focused mainly on the airplanes and pilots and flight deck “skittles” and the control tower, etc, etc. They only saw half of the ship!

I don’t want a career. I don’t want a job (though I like to work). I want to see the planet taken care of by the stewards which are here currently, you and I. My uncle, from SLC, asked me “what are you contributing to society?” to which I replied in somewhat of a rant that by not making a bunch of money I was not using resources and therefore having less of an impact on the planet by not purchasing a bunch of junk I don’t need. My own sister and her husband have decided to have seven children, in accordance with the scripture “be fruitful and populate the earth”. It is my job to at least counteract her fertility somewhat by not spreading my own seed, then the average will come out as 3.5 kids for the two of us. All of her kids have the same mitochondria that I have anyhow (maternal lineage), and I am going to enjoy helping mould them into wonderful critical thinking human beings. I’m not sure if we as a race can remain “fruitful”, or if our constant attack on the environment with estrogen mimics and other hormone disrupters will render the population sterile. I hope for the latter. I do also hope that my writing will be some kind of contribution to society as a whole, hopefully as a mirror in everybody’s face showing where our major societal faults lie. I do think there is a chance for a healthy thriving planet, but that It involves local agriculture and close knit communities. Sustainability starts at the local level.

I can honestly say that I didn’t even like the ocean until I found a girl in Charleston, SC who was a beach bum in all regards. We spent many days on the beach, some of my most memorable. I remember distinctly reading all day long while watching the tides go in and out; we moved our chairs along with it so that our feet were always being touched by the cool waves. We watched baby turtles in their escape toward the white curling waves. I didn’t learn to surf until I moved to connecticut, where my buddy jeff gave me a really old fish board to get me started. I also broke the skeg off of his long board when learning because I didn’t realize that the tide was going out with all the fun I was having and clipped a rock pretty good. Sorry Jeff! Love you buddy! We would surf just over the Rhode Island border in Westerly. I can’t say that I was any good, but I got a few short rides before getting crumpled up by the huge sets. There was a beach bar in New Haven that I would frequent for two-man volleyball, and just plain good beach vibes and entertainment. I had a Suzuki GSXR 600 at the time, and it was also a great excuse to go for a ride. My last three years of duty in the navy was spent in San Diego, where I continued to surf, in lieu of concurrent advancement examinations, and took on the nickname Ronjohn. Well, thats about enough about myself, but I did want to give some background so that It was less of a mystery how I came to have the demeanor that I do. Love YOU. I hope that we can change all this together so I don’t have to isolate myself on the open ocean indefinitely.

Ahhh fossil fuels! I love my grandma anyhow.

The other day Grandma was in the kitchen preparing something for grandpa and I, like she has been for most of her life. Grandpa only now is learning how to cook his own egg, since grandma is tending to sleep in and wake up complaining of her stomach and her left leg which cramps because “its the one I sleep on.” She asks several times now the same questions, “did you want one egg or two?” or “can I get you some juice?”, even though I don’t think I’ve had juice since I got here a month and a half ago. She tells the same stories, as does grandpa. Just part of the aging process of life I guess. Sometimes I become a little frustrated at being talked at (since grandma is certainly not listening, or remembering, anyhow, what I say), instead of being talked to. I have to leave the relatively cool confines of the house for the packing shed and intermittent cooler time, sorting peaches or getting a box to sell. Being alone out there feels much better than being yaked at about this person who died, that person who died, or how her mother was a twin and that the two sisters would trick the husbands and switch some evenings. This one moment though, with her in the kitchen and me walking out the front door adjacent, I got the overwhelming sense of love that god must feel. Even with her failing mind she is the sweetest person at heart. She just loves everybody and wants the best for them. From when I was still in the early grades of elementary school she would feed us gram crackers and milk, spoil us with ice cream, and still make sure that we ate all the pickled beets we put on our plate (I used ketchup to get the wretched things down-now I love beets!). I try to my best to listen to her stories, but I find myself not making eye contact, and just giving the occasional “hmmm”, as she relays her remnant memory one more time. I think grandma and grandpa are far from realizing their own mortality, though they are both certainly close. I would want to be close to death if I were in their shape physically and mentally.

The garden is putting out a good bit of fruit. I have tomatoes and peppers coming out of my ears! Not quite enough to do a big batch of salsa yet, but maybe by this next harvest. Every three or for days I get ten pounds or so of tomatoes. Haven’t pulled too many onions, but the ones a week ago were really starting to bulb up. Nor have I dug any potatoes. My friend at small potatoes farm in Paonia told me a story during wartime when peasants would leave their potatoes buried in the field during the winter, perhaps covered with straw, so they would not end up feeding invading troops. I’ll dig them all before I go on my adventure: sailing or homesteading. I saw a sailboat in florida on the internet going for only 3,500 dollars, a 30′ sloop. At that price I’m sure I can venture around the Islands to the south for several months! I don’t really want to go alone, but I also really am having trouble enjoying the company of others. Being fucked over by a girl before leaving Gunnison to come here has shattered what little heart I had left for humanity. People can be the shits. I had a tough time going to sleep last night thinking about all that is happening, not just to me personally, but to the planet. We are wreaking havoc on the atmosphere with all the road trips and flights halfway around the world for a weeks stay. I want every generation down the road to know just how wasteful we were with their resources, for this generation is transient indeed. I see airplanes by the scores, carrying hundreds of passengers everyday. Some people will fly from New York to Los Angeles several times in a week for business with no thought of their impact, only slightly more worried about their increased risk of radiation flying at 30,000 feet for prolonged periods of time, at the edge of earths atmosphere. Is the whole planet filled with selfish assholes?

The biggest problem may be that we are all indoctrinated into this system at birth. We give toy plastic cars for our children to scoot around in, powered by their own feet, at the age of two or three. I spent my childhood being driven around to soccer matches, judo tournaments, and to visit family in far away places. We drove twelve hours I remember as a very young kid to spend a few days in California around christmas. That may have been the first time that I saw the ocean. I don’t think that we all necessarily need to stay where we are born our whole lives, but minimize the ratio of amount of CO2 produced to time spent at location would be ideal. Even better would be to demand a five dollar per gallon tax that would be put toward renewable transportation infrastructure, or at least trains. It is working well for europe. Also a tax such as that would deter people from taking two cars somewhere, or of not carpooling when traveling to work. Of course this tax could never be because it is taking away from the freedom of the individual, something the United States was founded upon (though under constant attack). But what of the freedom of the next five generations of individuals? Do they not deserve a livable planet and not one scorching hot and an atmosphere that has more PPM CO2 than ever in the history of the planet! There are naysayers, even now they are scoffing under their breath that the climate change hoax is being perpetuated by scientists who want more funding research or corporations that may benefit from selling their carbon credits (CO2 captured vs emitted). What childhood didn’t teach them is how to think for themselves, and how to be smart. Hardly a soul reads a book anymore. Everybody is so captivated by “10 best” lists that they could not possibly have time to read anything else outside of their Facebook feed. Ten fruits not to eat to avoid belly fat, ten exercises that will improve your health, ten drugs that are derived from plants, ten best sex positions, ten most atrocious drug addicted child celebrities now in their 30’s. If it is in a list it is finite, and can be comprehended. Just about all that the current high school graduate can suffer through reading.

What would the world look like if there was a society wide education system that didn’t focus on nationalism, but on personal exceptionalism. Less focus on training more engineers and geologists for mining, and more of a focus on how to grow a garden and be helpful in your community. What would the world look like if people were content to stay where they are planted, since it would be unthinkable for them to leave the people that they have developed so close a relationship with. With the internet any one person is able to learn how to do anything and everything that they want. They have infinite possibilities for their brains to dream and aspire toward. But they don’t, we all are still driven more by our biological urge to fuck the opposite sex than logic.

Can’t we eat the fruit with a scar?

Things are in full swing in the orchard for the last week. We have one four hundred box order every year from a guy in Kansas(southwest of Garden City) who grandpa claims is the representative of a church group, though he told me he puts an ad in the paper. The cooler is Jam packed, and having some trouble keeping up with the daily heat sink of one hundred boxes of ninety degree peaches(with a specific gravity very close to 1- that juice!). Thirty years plus in years of service delivered by the compressor unit already; the R-12 refrigerant must have been grandfathered in. At least that is what I can devise from the maintenance man who changed our defrost clock and topped off our refrigerant during the sweltering heat of july. The days and nights are much cooler now. I even woke up cold this morning, having only a mexican blanket and a T-shirt on. It is a struggle at times to determine which peach it is that we are picking exactly. It is easy enough to determine that peaches are ripe and ready, but the maps that I made last year from grandpas failing memory have some drawbacks. The early varieties are two rows here two rows there, and really indistinguishable unless you are a peach aficionado. There are seventeen different varieties on the orchard. The peaches that I have marked as Red Globe, and these are some that I’m most certain of, have been debated at a market that we sell to in denver as some other variety. Obviously this puts that vendor and myself in a tough spot. People in general want some kind of conflict in their lives, and I’m imagining little old ladies at the fruit stand putting up a fuss because the peach they see is not as they remember the Red Globe to be. “There are no red striations around the peach seed.” I can hear them saying it now, despite that I found some redness surrounding our peach seed here. Those peaches were juicy and delicious and of a good size. I don’t think I can do this next year just for having to deal with the denunciatory consumer.

Why is it that even the slightest blemish is regarded as a mark of the inedibility of a piece of fruit. Some scaring from rubbing on a nearby branch is enough for many people to scoff at a box of peaches. The same for tomatoes, squash, peppers, and the like. I understand that you don’t want to cut into an onion and find that the outer half of it is soft with fungus, but there should be a much lower threshold for edibility than there is. There is significant waste at many farms due to this fact. One farm I won’t name that I worked at previously marketed their kale as “swiss cheese kale” in order to make their weekly consumers aware that there are ubiquitous holes due to the overgrowth of aphids. His customers are surprisingly enlightened about our food systems, for what other group would buy any kale with the slightest of defects. There will only be more problems as monoculture farming continues to dominate agriculture, largely due to subsidies provided by government such as the farm bill.

The generation of which I am a part has been slow to make changes to the status quo, in regards to fossil fuels. For the most part, if a person can find a way to make a descent living then they don’t care. It matters not that you drive an hour to work, or sit in traffic for longer durations. Talk shows in this age capitalize on people stuck in traffic. How can we all be dismissive of anybody flying to Florida or California for the weekend. I have the biggest problem with older people who are set in their ways, the first group to travel via motors in droves. Grandpa was born in 1932. He tells me about some of the family history, because that is really important to both my grandparents. We have German blood I guess. My red blood cells carry oxygen just like any other. My great, great grandfather tried to grow some produce when he first got here from florida, but moved back to Kentucky where they had come. I see the planet as one big family, and we are all in this together.20160728_154411-1

The orchard and me

The orchard is a magnificent place in the middle summer, despite the heat(102 forecasted for the next four days). It is somehow subdued by the essence of peach in the nostrils, the shade that it provides, and of course the sweet sticky juice that runs down your face. I myself have to hide certainly from the sun, my anglo-saxon genealogy making me prone to outbursts of redness and blistering when exposed. Sunscreen works. I have a garden in the orchard this year, with squash, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, a few carrots, dahlias and some other flowers. It was a new friend in Paonia, CO that supplied my peppers and tomatoes, which certainly are the highlight of the garden. Thank you Don and Daphne!

Today is the very first day that I’ll be eating completely from the garden. The 25th of July. I have one onion that has just started to bulb, somewhere between a golf ball and a racquetball, a few cherry tomatoes, some small peppers, patty pan squash, a lemon cucumber, basil and thyme. It will be wonderful to have some purple viking potatoes later in the season.