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The nor’easter went charging past on Sunday, giving the coast a shot of snow and making the groundskeepers hustle to prepare for the Patriots-Bronco’s football game, but even that close to the coast by game-time the snow was gone, and a cold wind roared. Inland we never got any snow, and only shreds of lower clouds sped south in the rising winds. The higher clouds expanded out from the gale, all the world like the anvil-top of a thunderstorm, and then fell back towards the sea. By afternoon the sun was starting to appear as a silver smear in the high, gray overcast,  and then  it peeked under the clouds as it set, alighting the high cloud’s bottoms with orange. Dry leaves were scuttling like herds of brown crabs up and down the streets and over the fields, and anyone who  had their lawn raked will need to rake it again, while some lazier men looked out their windows and smiled, as their lawns were blown clear.

By Monday morning the wind was slackening a little, but it was very cold, with temperatures in the wind just below freezing. Interestingly, it was colder down south, as the storm drove the cold air right down to Georgia.

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The few remaining tender plants that have escaped frost, tucked in southern exposures or hidden in weeds, were found by the searching gusts. Only the tougher plants like Brussels sprouts survive. Winter nears.

At the farm-childcare the children were bounding with energy, partly because they likely spent most of the weekend indoors, and partly because brisk weather just seems to make kids faster. I took a bunch of the older kids out to wait for the bus in the wind and brilliant sunshine, and they bounded about and attempted to tackle me from all sides and angles, and failed, but did stay warm.

I had a lot to do, but also needed to face a State requirement that I be educated, as a child-care-provider, which involves watching seven hours of slightly offensive and patronizing stuff on line.  I managed to sit through two hours. The class is about developing good eating habits in children.  They informed me that vegetables are good for you.  Duh.

They informed me that there is more nutrition in freshly picked vegetables than in vegetables that have been refrigerate and shipped long distances, and which are six days old. Duh.

They informed me that whole wheat flour is better than enriched flour.  Duh. I knew that 45 years ago, as a young hippy munching granola.

And on and on it went. They really did seem to be assuming I was some fat lady in curlers, chain-smoking while watching TV, and baby-sitting a couple kids, and calling it “childcare.” They really are dealing with some sort of lowest common denominator, talking down their noses, and demeaning old and wise dudes like myself.  Grrr. I’m likely twice their age.

It is worse than preaching to the choir, for I was warning everyone who would listen, back in the 1970’s, that processed food lacked the nutrition of farm fresh food,  and there would be hell to pay if people kept eating junk. I stated that, besides the thirteen “essential” vitamins and minerals, there were all sorts of other trace chemicals which nature put in food, and processed food lacked those mysterious ingredients, and therefore we were not properly nourishing children.

Well, now they at least have a word for those trace chemicals. The word is, “phytochemicals”. There are over a hundred of them. They don’t exactly know what they all are or how they all work or how they work in conjunction with each other, but now they have that word they think they are smarter than me, and sit up on a high horse and lecture me. Grrr.  If they had listened to  me forty years ago we wouldn’t now have a generation of fat, pasty kids.  However they are the ones who made “cafeteria food” a byword for for inedible blandness, serving up processed concentrations of sugar, salt, and hydrogenated oils, with the vitamins removed and then added as thirteen supplements, and then decided the kids needed Ritalin, when they started bouncing off the walls . I’m the one called “radical” for opening a childcare that focused on fresh air, exercise and farm fare, and said shocking things like, “Recess is important.”

If anything these government bozos should come to me fawning and grovelling, and beg for my forgiveness. Instead I resemble Rodney Dangerfield, “I don’t get no respect.”  Sigh.

In any case, I only have five more hours of the on-line classes to go.  I am going to try to be good and not swear at the computer screen too much.  I do learn a few things,  even if it is merely a word like “phytochemicals” for something I already knew.

However it does irk me that these government regulators seem to think I have seven hours to spare.  They themselves must have a lot of free time, as they sit about dreaming up ways to make my life harder. (For a while even opening a childcare on a farm seemed impossible, because they call manure “fecal matter,” and don’t want children exposed to it. Fortunately we met a good government official who helped us find a way of calling a trip out to the stables to feed chickens and goats a “field trip.”)

After sitting and watching my computer for nearly three hours, (it takes longer than an hour to watch an hour-long-class, as you need to click various tabs and answer various questions, to prove you are actually present and not “skipping” the class,) I did manage to rush off and pick up our pork from the slaughterhouse.

Today we will cook up little cubes of pork at the ends of long sticks, and roast potatoes dug from the garden, by a campfire. The little children will be exposed to the dangers of blazing coals, pointed sticks, hot grease, and saturated fat. Surely a government regulator would take one look at us, clutch their hearts,  and keel over. However the children don’t seem to mind it, and the parents sign the permission slips, so I assume they don’t mind it either.




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