Friday, October 22, 2010

No way out

Sabbath eve, October 22, 2010

To begin, I’m about 3/4s through with Eric Herm’s book, Son of a farmer, child of the earth. Pretty good considering I just began reading yesterday, (or bad perhaps, if you consider I have a job and work needing done).

Because I haven’t finished reading Eric’s book, I’ll not offer a review, but I can say that Eric addresses many of the conundrums I too face. We share a strikingly similar view of the world.

Unfortunately, just about every solution Eric proffers raises more questions than answers with me, as I’d guess, my ideas would with Eric. To his credit, Eric’s book is not the theoretical work of some cloistered academic, but instead that of a working man, trying to implement lessons he teaches in the real world.

Ralph Nader recently said, (I paraphrase), if you’re in a hole up to your waist, grab the banks and extricate yourself. But when the hole is 30 feet deep, a different plan of attack is required. The hole we’re in seems so deep it’s hard to discern light at the surface. Generations now alive on this planet were born late in an ongoing game and so much was set into motion before our arrival. There’s little we can do to avoid the consequences of cumulative human behavior (you can’t un-pave the ground, un-burn the oil, un-make the cars, un-fly the miles, un-kill the trees, un-extinguish species, or un-shoot rounds that have already been fired). That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to alter the way we operate from this day foward.

For me, what it does mean is that there is no solution absent collapse of our current way of living. I’ve become disinterested in politics of late. Why get worked up over fights where neither viable political party is willing to ask the right questions, much less look for honest solutions? I don’t see even the remote possibility of a workable nation-wide arrangement without going through a thorough ass kicking first.

But do not fear: The ass kicking is on the way (at heart, I remain an optimist).

It will be up to us or others like us to rebuild from the ashes. That begins today, while we can still salvage a few critical resources like heirloom seeds, patches of salvageable fertile ground and clean water. Cumulative survival techniques and knowledge developed over thousands of years by varieties of peoples and cultures remains alive and documented, although rather tenuously it seems. We can’t go back entirely to these ways in one great leap but we can take the short time we have left in this paradigm to begin building arks of sorts, preparing for the journey, marrying old ways with bits of the new, striding toward a new epoch.

An inmate I met in prison once told me he couldn’t do the sentence he’d been given. My reply: You have no choice, other than dying.

There’s no way out of this mess but down that I can discern.

But we must keep fighting.

The fate of future generations is at stake. And this difficult time will pass, sooner or later.


Back at the ranch we’re preparing for pecan harvest, picking up limbs and shredding grass under the trees. We hoped to start shaking trees today, but the shaking device had a bad hydraulic oil leak and we will have to wait on a part until Monday at the earliest to begin.

The wind blew today, with it, pecans began to fall to the ground. Substantial herds of deer eat the fallen pecans. Feral hogs will be out as soon as the sun sets, along with raccoons, squirrels, etc. I can’t help but think that if we were to harvest by hand, we’d harvest more pecans, but mechanization is factored into the price of doing business on nearly every level.

I am tired of being a slave to machines.

I must also note that most pecan farmers spray insecticides and fungicides abundantly, in particular on larger improved varieties. For whatever reason, smaller native pecans seem less susceptible to disease and insect infestations and are more likely to be raised organically.

I have a lot to learn before I can consider raising pecans organically. Shit, I have a lot to learn about raising pecans, period.

But I look forward to learning. The bottoms are absolutely beautiful and there’s something about trees…

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