Quite the interesting times. . .

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.  The students from Creighton have come and gone and they accomplished quite a bit during their few days of social justice/care of Creation “bootcamp”.  They made bread and biscuits and whole wheat chocolate cake and soap and built a shade structure, planted potatoes and asparagus, did a bunch of chores and “deep cleaning” at two rural food banks, delivered meals and clean socks to homeless people, learned about conserving water and energy, and the basics of permaculture. They made a lunch soup (tomato/beef/bulgar), whose leftovers became part of the next day’s Shepherd’s Pie at dinner, and on the third day, they made another soup (tomato, beef, potato, cheese) from the leftovers of the Shepherd’s Pie, and all three meals were quite tasty.

They also learned what “If it’s yellow it’s mellow, and if it’s brown, flush it down” meant, and why that is an important aspect of water conservation. 

Meanwhile, out in the rest of the world — well, these are quite the interesting times.

I think that Stephen Colbert probably summed up popular opinion on his popular television show as he wielded a pitchfork and called for a torch wielding mob to storm AIG. Folks, you just can’t make up stuff like the AIG meltdown.  Have these people never read history?  Aristocrats are supposed to be the ones with the money for education, but somehow I guess history was too boring or something and they never quite got around to understanding the basic historical lessons.

Now, the commentariat is worried about populist anger, because once that beast is unleashed, well, you just don’t know where it will turn next.

Meanwhile Mr. Market has been testing new lows in the current bear market and today is making a nice dead cat bounce back up. Tomorrow, who knows?

But industrial production/utilization is in sharp decline, and the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke himself himself, made an appearance on 60 Minutes where he explained that everything that he is doing was for Main Street, because (surprise!) he himself himself was from Main Street.  He was pretty shaky at times during the interview, and he seemed to want very much for everyone to believe him.

I guess I am a hard sell, because after watching his 60 minutes peformance, I think Ben Bernanke is a very worried man. 

This is what the birth pangs of the future look like.  Living in such times can bring a lot of hardship, but the hole we’ve dug for ourselves is deep, and it will take a lot of effort to get out of it. Especially since there are lots of structures designed to pull us back in the hole, and the basic political plan these days is for us all to stay in the hole and hope that somehow the hole gets better. We’re all going to need some of that Olympic “Citius, Altius, Fortius” going forward to break free from the machine and do something better.  (Justice, temperance, fortitude, and prudence will help, also wisdom and beauty.)

Since last we spoke, the cucumbers and tomatoes (Beefsteak, Ace VF, red cherry, Amish paste, yellow pear, Sofia, Roma, Principe Borghese) are sprouting nicely.  I hope all who are reading this are well into your spring garden routine (appropriate to your location and climate in the northern hemisphere anyway, folks in the southern hemisphere are hopefully relishing the fruits of their summer gardens as winter comes closer).  While fall is generally the best time around here to plant fruit trees, nurseries usually don’t have much stock then so now is the time to buy your perennial food producing plants.  For pictures of my spring garden, check out my 2009 Garden Diary.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day (well, it’s after midnight but it’s still St Paddy’s day on the west coast anyway)!  I come by my Irish quite honestly from my mother who was a Cassidy, descended from a Patrick Cassidy who left Newry, Ireland in the mid 18th century and ended founding a town after the Revolutionary War called Newry, Pennsylvania.

P.S. I published a new “printable flyer” this evening — given the way things are going, I thought now would be a good time to finish — What to do during an extreme civil emergency — and get it out and about. This is customized for Oklahoma City, but here is a rich text format version that you can adapt for your particular situation. Other flyers in the series.

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