Snow

Last night it snowed. I like this, it seems to quiet the world. Preparation for this season has ended…unless you farm.

There is corn and soybeans to be combined. Due to the wet fall, the harvest got started late and we ran into the winter season. And for farmers of a certain age, the specter of the 1985-86 winter is visible.

That winter the snow came and stayed. Lots of corn went unpicked. If we don’t get our crops, everything else comes to a standstill. Because we can’t deliver our grain, we don’t get paid. And it cascades from there.

I remember the anxiety of that year. I remember when spring came that in some fields I picked corn by hand; we needed to combine the fields with larger stands.

We remember the anxiety, the depression, but also joke about the year we harvested our crops twice.

The sun is out now, light is bouncing everywhere, the snow is sparkling, the wind is blowing the snow from the spruces. And it has covered the leaves I haven’t raked.

Happy 4th of July!

This is a fantastic day!

Long, long ago, it began with people seeking a newer world, a new beginning. and that search is what still brings people to our land. A second chance, isn’t that remarkable!

This country is grounded in some remarkable ideas, here are a few that we should never forget:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”  Declaration of Independence

“…and that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth.” Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln 

“We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Preamble to the Constitution of the United States

This country is still a work in progress. Our ancestors aimed high, so should we.

Happy July 4th. Enjoy.

All the hills are covered with snow

Not many hills in this are, a lot of flat lands around here, farm fields and spruces are beneath the snow. A few weeks ago when we had the same conditions, I curled up with some of the books that I have been accumulating. One of those was The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan. A well researched and finely written book about people’s hubris when it comes to the world around us.

The Great Lakes astounded the Europeans. An expanse of fresh water which seemed to be an inland sea. Then the exploitation started without thought of the consequences: over fishing, introduction of non-native species, pollution, connections to the seas. And it continues today. But Dan Egan is hopeful. Because of people. Because we see the beauty,of the lakes, the need to protect such a large fresh water source, the pleasure of being on lakes.  One person at a time. Good book, take time to read it.

Remembrance

As we put finishing touches on family and friend gatherings, we need to pause and remember the tragedy of five years ago. We should send our prayers, good thoughts, and regrets to the families of Sand Hook Elementary School and the community of Newtown, Conneticut.

Twenty children were slaughter with six adults that taught and cared for them. A person who should never possessed a gun shot his mother, then the children, then himself.

The last prayer we say today should be for ourselves, to help understand what we have become through our inaction.

We could have done better, didn’t and still haven’t.

 

Power

This is my take on the recent reports of sexual misdeeds involving every level of our society.

Sexual misdeeds(all levels of it) are about power, who has it and who doesn’t.

Women did not have power or perceived that they didn’t. Now we do.

One woman and the sixty-six million people who voted for her changed that.

Thank-you Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Do we have the grit to enact the changes that are needed in the United States to address this.

November 2017

Yesterday I would have said that this fall was reminding me of this spring’s weather–rain interrupted by a few days of good weather.The crops got planted in spurts. It looks like the crops will get harvested the same way. With this morning’s snow, I’m thinking that it reminds me more of the winter of 1985-86. That year the snow came , then kept piling up. We finished harvesting in the spring.

So, with snow on the corn, we will wait until it melts off before finishing the harvest. It may be that we will finish in December–haven’t done that in a while.

I’m working on it–honestly!

Enjoyed this weekend, relaxed, caught up with friends, and didn’t think about work. But it kept coming up in conversation.

“What book are you on, the fourth?” Noooo, I’m doing revision work on my third book.

“Have you published your next book yet?” Noooo, I’m working the revisions.

“When do you think you’ll have it done?” I shrug my shoulders.

But I promise to continue the revisions after one more week of doing nothing…really.

I think all the interruptions in the past year have added up to a better book,at least I hope so.

 

“Public education is not broken.”–Diane Ravitch

I heard Diane Ravitch on WPR talking about public education. She is a research Professor of Education at New York University, she was an Assistant Secretary of Education from 1991-1993. I am very interested in the education of our children, so I read her most recent book book, Reign of Error , published in 2013. It is details what many nationally prominent educators got wrong in the 1990s into today. “Public education is not broken.”

She further states that the problem is: “Our urban schools are on trouble because of concentrated poverty and segregation”

What follows is a  delineation of her solutions:

-Pregnant women should see a doctor early in their pregnancies and have regular care and good nutrition.

-Children need pre-kindergarten classes that teach how to socialize, listen, learn and communicate well.

-Children in early elementary grades need teachers who set appropriate goals. They should learn to read, write, calculate, explore nature, and have plenty of time to sing, dance, draw, and giggle. Class size should be small.

-A balanced curriculum for upper elementary, middle and high school should include: reading, writing, match, sciences, literature, history, geography, a rich arts program,physical education every day.

-Staff for these schools should include: librarians, media specialists, nurse, psychologist, guidance counselors, social workers.

-After school program should be available.

-Teachers should write own tests while using standardized tests only for diagnostic purposes.

“Public education is a basic public responsibility. The future of our democracy depends on it.” –Diane Ravitch

I agree.

Rain, Rain Go Away

This spring we planted about two hundred acres of corn, then the rains came. They went away for a day, day and a half, not enough for the ground to dry out. We started using the childhood chant of “rain, rain go away, come again some other day”–it didn’t work. For almost three weeks the rain spigot was not turned off. It reminded us of 1974.

Then the rain stopped. The ground dried. And it became a dash to get the rest of the corn and soybeans planted. We did it with help from a brother-in-law, many thanks to him.

Then the rain didn’t come. And the ground continued to dry, creating a crust that the shoots might not break through. We waited, and waited. Finally, the rains came again.

We’re hoping that this isn’t a repeat of 1974–there was an early frost that year.

With farming, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another.

 

Book Review–Low Tide by Dawn Lee McKenna

Nightmares of her rape had faded to the point where Lieutenant Maggie Redmond could control them. She never reported it, she never saw her attacker again. Until she was assigned to investigate his murder. What a dilemma!

If she takes herself off the case, she’ll have to report the rape, then she’ll become a person of interest in the case.

If she stays with the case, can she overcome her revulsion of the dead man to see that justice is done?

And as one dead body leads to another, those nightmares resurface.

Low Tide is a good read. Character and setting are wonderful. At the end, I needed to know the rest of the story. Riptide, the second book in the Forgotten Coast series, did not disappoint me.