The Road to 65, Mile 285: Kombucha and Quixote

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September 8, 2015, Prescott- I have a couple of pieces of starter for kombucha.  It is a sort of fermented tea that, combined with organic, unrefined sugar, and mixed with the starter, will be a very strong digestive aid. Penny and I made it, around 2006-7, and used it for both of our abdominal well-being.  I will do this again.

This, and milk-based kefir, were the topics of a Slow-Food Prescott gathering, this evening.  Of course, there were a wealth of GMO-Free and organic dishes, as part of the festivities.  Given the pressure that our U.S. House of Representatives, and various conservative judges, around the globe, are putting on us to force the public to buy Genetically-Modified products, I think we need to have more events like this, to safeguard our health.  Someone asked, not long ago, if I would go to jail for my beliefs.  This is one area where I would do so.  No one tells me what to eat.

I heard on the radio that this year marks the 400th Anniversary of the publication of “Don Quixote de la Mancha”.  Miguel de Cervantes wrote of the consequences of a belatedly examined life, and of how a man’s not living his dream, until late in life, leads to so many bouts of foolishness.  Don Quixote’s idealization of the chivalrous life is not so different from the modern day fascination with Super Heroes. I was surprised, as an adolescent, when none of the Classics Illustrated comic books, which I relished, included a version of “Don Quixote”.  I didn’t read the novel until my third year in university, and I read it in Spanish.

I wonder at times, whether all we do to counteract the power structure in this world is actually a tad quixotic.  My heart, though, tells me “No, keep going.  Our children deserve a better, less materialistic system.”  So, onward I will tilt my lance.

The Road to 65, Mile 165: Seeds

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May 12, 2015, Prescott-  I planted seeds of confidence in a young girl’s mind, this morning, and she guided the lot of us to revisiting a small detail, which made all the difference in a key part of the lesson.  This evening, the concept of seed banks and libraries was shared with thirty of us, who were gathered at a Slow Food chapter meeting.

I am into the sowing of seeds- of vegetables, fruit, grasses and ideas.  Sowing friendship seeds is the best such activity, and I am getting better at that.  The physical seeds will most likely wait until next Spring, but I will check the planting calendar, and see if an early July planting will work for this mountain climate. The seeds of amity can be planted anytime, and are well worth watering.  The seeds of ideas must be planted, and watered daily.

A gentleman at tonight’s meeting offered the opinion that individual seed banks are critical to preventing a USDA/Monsanto joint takeover of our food supply.  While the Feds are big on Genetically-Modified anything, I don’t see that ending well, for anyone.  Any given individual has a hundred places to hide seeds, and after all, the “success rate” of the war on drugs is not exactly earthshaking.  We who seek to grow our own food will be just fine.

This brings me to the bad seeds:  Suspicion, closed-mindedness and power-craving.  The first grows out of, and feeds, the second.  Both are a natural reaction to the the third.  The more those in authority overreach, even with the best of ill-informed intentions, the more those on the ground will push back, overreact and invite more overreach.  See the tiger, the dog, the snake chasing their tails?

Monsanto is responding to a reasonable request from the State of Vermont, to label Genetically Modified Organisms in foods sold there, by dispatching an army of attorneys, to sue, appeal and obfuscate- thus wasting millions of dollars and months of man-hours, while complaining about the cost of such labeling.  Then, there is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade Trojan horse, by which the President, and at least two of his predecessors, hope to use to force the GMO-free nations of east Asia to buckle under and get with the Monsanto program.  Go figure.

I am not against science.  The research ought to go on, move beyond monocultures and poisoning of the soil and water, and get over the idea that revenue, the building of fortunes, alone, should be the be-all and end-all of the accumulated knowledge.  We ought not eat what we can’t digest, no matter whose children are being put through college, with the generated profit.

I digress.  The seeds of knowledge, as well as those of sustenance, belong to all mankind.

The Road to 65, Mile 148: Slingshot Day

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April 25, 2015, Prescott– I woke this morning, at 2:35, got shaven and dressed, then headed down to Phoenix Zoo, where an Oral Cancer Awareness Run/Walk was being held.  My volunteer position was the Raffle Table, where I sold tickets, oversaw the placement of tickets in various jars that were in front of prizes being raffled, and encouraged a couple of high school students who were walking about the grounds and selling tickets, as well.  The activity was most enjoyable and our happy mood drew many more people to the table, as they were curious as to the joyful atmosphere.  The old saying goes “Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Cry, and you cry alone.”  I have always found that to be a bit harsh, but I will go with the first part of it.

Around 8:20 AM, I left to go back up to Prescott, the reason being that I also planned to help out at the School Garden Project, at Mountain Oaks Charter School, where I have a loose association with the administration.  Plus, Slow Food Prescott has made school gardens a priority, and I support that group’s legitimate activities, even if I don’t always like the people it attracts.  Anyway, I got back home, napped for an hour, and got over to the school in time to put together a woven bamboo fence, in front of the back vegetable garden. After a quick lunch, the project ended with weeding a section along the front fence, and spreading manure, for the sunflowers, gourds and corn that were planted there.  These activities, also, were done in a joyous atmosphere.

That’s what service should be.  Contrasted with the sometimes grim and guarded posture that I find myself adopting, when dealing with aggressive homeless veterans, today’s activities were a breath of fresh air.  Tomorrow, I will focus more on paying respects to my departed friend, who served others constantly, in her own way.