“The country is in deep trouble. We’ve forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than you found it. We need the courage to question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and patient with people, the courage to fight for social justice. In many instances we will be stepping out on nothing, and just hoping to land on something. But that’s the struggle. To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word.” — Cornel West So, I wake up this morning, well, all night really, listening to this rain just coming down and coming down and incessantly coming down thinking we’ll be lucky if we don’t wash away. Then I climb into my car and settle in behind the windshield as I do all too often and tune in to NPR to get me going for the day – to be greeted by the weather report, it’s raining, obvious choice. And then I feel fortunate not to be in Minnesota Lake where they have received 7 inches overnight and Lord knows you don’t need a river to flash flood in conditions like that. So, it’s not so bad…. there’s not even water in the basement. And just when I think perhaps the news will get better I am verbally assaulted with this pukish notion of yet another *brilliant* (laced with sarcasm since the internet just doesn’t carry the tonal quality of voice) idea from the Republicans who are touting the Pledge to America that insists on extending tax cuts (tax cuts? really? during war time, not that I agree with the war, but seriously…we, the citizens, should continue to not sacrifice any of our way of life?!) and repealing the new health care law (even though I think sick care needs a major revamp into real health care and wellness preservation before I care to participate… movement is better than stagnation) and cutting government spending by $100 billion… even though proponents of the pledge admittedly have no clue about how the legislative branch would entertain that proposition. Disgusting. I don’t typically feel the necessity to vent my political frustrations as all who know me or even dabble in reading my entries have me pinned to the liberal front, but this was just more than I could take today. All these people who are pissed at the President – how the hell is he, one person who doesn’t hold the decision making magic wand, supposed to undue all the bullshit from eight years of an ignorant bumbling previous administration. At least he is starting conversations. Patience. No one has any damn patience. Reminds me to keep practicing to be less like them. Apple Cidering 2010. This year at George and Ann’s in Albert Lea, and you can see we had some good ATP donation – this is my nod to the fact that I really should be studying for my Anatomy & Physiology test instead of posting a blog… ATP: adenosine triphosphate, the body’s energy currency. Selina, Andy and Izzie (geesh, I apologize if I can’t spell anyone’s name), and Sam who was in on round 2 and not in this picture – they had phenomenal persistence as this beauty of an antique cider press is completely manually operated. Tom was clever enough to procure the parts we needed to keep the crank wheel from slipping off the drive shaft (watch your toes!) so that we could feel incredibly efficient in our 4 gallons in 3 hours production. Yes, it was delicious and completely worth all the sore-in-the-morning-forearm effort. 🙂 The harvest carries forth on the at least somewhat sunny days. This bounty is simply the result of having the day off from my regular one-day-a-week gig down at the garden near Kanawha due to overnight and morning rains. Butternuts and spaghetti squash in the back, vining and bush type sweet potatoes to the left and the flint corn as well as Tom’s bloody butch there in the right foreground. I think I have had spaghetti squash every night since. Man, it is deee-lish! This was my flint corn harvest helper. I was having an internal debate about how much corn to take and how much to leave, knowing that it is very important for me to share what grows with the animals I share that space with – the birds and deer and raccoons, and if they are wise they will save some of it for the winter. I don’t doubt their wisdom. It’s mine that is questionable. But the ears of corn-hosting grasshoppers were left, as that was an anything but subtle clue. Yes. This is a real sweet potato. It is really the size of my head. WOW! This behemoth came from the planting of vining sweet potatoes – it was blessed with unimpeded sunshine and apparently enough moisture. The bush type, they were planted (not too thoughtfully, but lovingly so) between the flint corn and tomatoes, so they kept cool and shaded and the tuber size was very indicative of that – I am glad I dug that row first. Nearly all of the vining plants had about four of these monsters apiece – you would be correct to assume that a little quality control ensued, as I was afraid that a potato this big would take like plywood, but it still had a reminiscent sweet and earthy quality. I must admit that I still prefer the more robust flavor of the smaller potatoes, but the Big Red takes the cake for shock value. Pumpkin harvest started Tuesday evening as well, even amongst the mosquitoes and lady beetles. Shelise and Ula came to play amongst the wildness of the garden and pick about the incredible spread of vines of the pumpkins I am firmly entrenched in believing that my father planted. I don’t care that I had to deal with the wrath of the squash beetles because to have my father’s hand in my garden humbles me and steal my heart and breath and I feel the big way we all remain connected – stretched far and wide, near or no longer tangibly present, carrying one another with every movement thoughtful or rushed for the simplicity that we have touched each other profoundly. We each impact and change the course of movement for one another in ways incalculable and unnecessarily so – challenging one another to constantly become better versions of ourselves. Even all the cynicism in the world and Pledges to America can’t spoil that for me. How undeniably important and big it was that I was able to share a few precious moments in my garden with plants that have a mind of their own and with this woman I love like a sister – it was pretty swell.

“I haven’t the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.” — David Sedaris (Naked)