Monday, March 9, 2009

Pictorial Views

The open road is always nice, and Ed and I were going for a drive, up to Eugene to see our friends, Robbin and Matt. They’re great people, come up from LA two years before us. Matt is a chiropractor, and my back hurts. So it’s prefect. We drive up, get our backs adjusted and go out for dinner. Last time when we went up, we had looked up Vietnamese restaurants, because it’s been far too long since I had Pho, but the restaurant was nowhere to be found. We learned from a passerby that the restaurant had closed, so we settled for a nearby diner. Well, when we came up this time, Matt and Robbin had done some more research and found an open Pho restaurant. Well, not only was it a restaurant, but a little Vietnamese market as well. I was so glad to find Vietnamese coffee and a drip cup there, which is something I’ve been looking for for many years. The Pho wasn’t the best, (I want to learn how to make my own) but the company was splendid. We picked up the conversation when we got back to their house, and Robbin started to break some things down to me real quick.
So I’m learning, as I look into creating my garden, that some seeds need to be re-purchased every year. There is a company, Monsanto, which creates seed that has been genetically modified so that the seeds it produces cannot grow a viable crop. Trying to control our food, all under the auspices of “public food safety.” Well, this interrupts nature, which in turn can cause dependency on the provider, those who have the next year’s seeds. I should be able harvest seeds from my crops that I can plant for my next year’s crop. Genetically modified crops? Streamlining, making all the plants genetically the same? Not a good idea. Do we think we have mastered nature? Diversity is strength. Taking away options is a loss of freedom. You can’t patent life! We don’t own life, we just borrow from it.
Then Robbin started to tell me about a bill jumping around various committees on the Hill, that every ‘small farm’ would have to register all of their livestock. Every chicken, horse and pig. In a country that prides itself on small business, it tries to strangle the small farm. I’m not sure what all this means, but my intuition says, wait a minute.
It was all very nerve-racking, and it also makes me feel really small. What is one person going to do in the face of multi-million dollar, multi-national corporations, and a long list of Washington law makers? Go Local. I once heard that the only ‘real’ power the little guy has, is that of his ballot and consumer power. Go Local. I have an ex-vegan friend say that she would rather eat a local chicken than a corporate made soy-bean. And isn’t that part of the American dream? The self-supported community. To know the farmer who milked the cow, and the mom and pop who run the store. I think we need to learn how to trade again. One can provide fruit, and another can provide meat, and we can share our skills/wares, and help our neighbors.
I’m still learning, and you may say I’m a dreamer. But through the back of my head runs “Sixteen Tons”, Saint Peter don’t you call my cause I can’t go; I owe my soul to the company store.
The next morning, we had coffee, and went and hung out with the Alpacas. Robbin raises them. They are so cute, and their fiber is so soft. And she loves her pacas. Their barn sits on a little hill from which you can see the rolling greens and the trees. It’s amazing what beauty there is on earth.

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