I’m up late, boiling maple sap on the porch, and feeling the chill creep in at the edges of the house, as the temperature is down to 25° ( -3.9° Celsius). To be honest, it doesn’t feel much like April at the moment. Yet another in a seemingly endless series of arctic high pressures has sunk south over us, getting in the way of balmy Chinook winds that make places like Montana warmer than New Hampshire. (Click map to clarify and enlarge.)
Looking at the above map, it looks all the world like the high pressure will move east and some nice, south winds will move over us, from the west. However I’m skeptical, due to seeing such golden promises before, and seeing that all that gets to us is a brief patch of mild rain, or even an occlusion, with all the mildness aloft, and things down where I live cold, gray, and clammy.
I’m not all that grouchy about how things have turned out, for we have been through a sort of drought, and the deep snow cover has slowly but steadily shrunk, without the floods you might expect. At the start of March we had towering snowbanks and four feet of snow on the level, and if you had offered me even money on a bet that we would get through the entire month of March without a major snowstorm or, worse, rainstorm, I would have taken the bet, and would have lost.
In essence winter had us up against the ropes, and could have slugged us to tweet-tweet; look-at-the-birdie-land with even a modest nor’easter. However somewhere someone must have prayed a good prayer. You don’t see it too often in boxing matches, but dropping to your knees and praying for mercy when you are up against the ropes is apparently a good strategy, providing you remember to jump back to you feet before the referee counts to ten.
In any case, we’ve made it to April. I walked out into the garden today to measure how deep the snow is, and it is less than a foot now, in places. However it is “corn snow”, which is granular crystals of ice which, if you measured them, each would be a cube with sides of an eighth of an inch, or a little more. It is dense stuff, and needs some nice days with temperatures up in the seventies ( above 21° Celsius ) to get rid of it. We are having trouble getting up to fifty (10° Celsius).
This is exasperating to me, as a farmer. In the Spring of 2012 I already had my peas, spinach, lettuce, onions and Potatoes planted. This April it is so cold that tonight even the maple sap will stop rising. (This is actually a good thing, if you are a farmer who supplements his income with maple syrup sales, but even these cold nights will not salvage this season for many. It has been so cold the season was very late to start, and the bright sun will convince trees to bud out even if temperatures stay cold, so many farms will only produce half as much syrup as last year.)
The landscape is still snowcovered, and the buds on trees haven’t even started to swell. When it does warm, what I am faced with is having to plant in a hurry. It looks like we will move from Winter to Summer with very little Spring. Rather than just sitting back and relaxing, I need to hustle and start flats of seedlings indoors, and then, when the snow finally is gone, to transplant like crazy.
For example, it takes lettuce roughly ten days between the day you plant it and the day you see the first tiny green plant. I can’t sit around waiting for the soil to thaw. Why not? Because as soon as the weather gets hot, lettuce “bolts”, which means it turns, sometimes in only 48 hours, from nice leafy stuff you would want in your salad into a flower stalk that is amazingly bitter. Conclusion? If I wait for the soil to thaw, by the time ten days pass and the lettuce sprouts, the prime cool-weather lettuce-growing weather will be swiftly passing, however, if I plant little lettuce seedlings as soon as the soil thaws, the lettuce will be thriving during those same ten days, and I’ll have fat heads of lettuce to sell, and will get rich and drive about in a Cadillac.
Or maybe not. However this does give you a hint of the fact farmers cannot hide from Truth. The weather is what it is. Climate Scientists may be able to “adjust” and “homogenize” temperatures to get the results they want, but farmers face a Truth that can’t be fiddled with.
One time, when I was attempting to explain this Truth to a very secular person I deeply respect, he became exasperated, as if I was merely an idealistic airhead without any foundation in reality, and he told me, “You haven’t a clue how politics operates.”
Hmm. Perhaps I know all too well how far politics has drifted from Truth.
Politics over-focuses on power, with the mentality of a schoolyard bully, who has no idea it is better to be friends with people than to dominate with fear.
As a sort of proof, I ask you this: When you think of the word “power”, do you associate it it with the word “friend”, or the word “fear”?
Most of modern politics is scare-tactics. “Global Warming” is all about fear, and has little to do with love, trust, and friendship.
Truth, on the other hand, turns out to be closely associated to a thing called “Love.”
The proof is in the pudding. The farmer who attends to Truth has a garden that blooms, while the politician that fosters falsehood can only heap hate upon hate.
Eventually they have to throttle the voices of Truth, as is now occurring on “Twitter” where Steave Goddard and others are banned from stating the Truth about the “Global Warming” dogma.
I really don’t have time for this trivia, which Politicians think is so Big. Maybe if I was young and loaded with hormones I could get suckered into a fight with fat fools, but I’m old and it takes a bit more than moronic behavior to rouse the dying embers of my old fire. As far as I’m concerned, lettuce seedlings are more worthy of attention than a doomed president. However occasionally some nitwit provokes the gray ashes of my dying fire to a shower of sparks, as occurred when I read,
“I have read somewhere only one in two hundred is actually a leader, and to control a group all that is needed is to identify and break that leader.”
I had to respond, and my response was,
“The fallacy in this thought is that it fails to recognize the true power, behind the scenes, is Truth. For example, the boiling point of water doesn’t care who wins an election; it is what it is.
Over and over people are so seduced by the attractiveness of power that they resort to falsehood to grasp it. One way or another, they justify their wrongdoing, promising tomorrow to repay for today’s ripoff, making a mantra of “the ends justify the means”.
Then over and over you see such powerful people slowly rot, (often from the inside out), as their facade of well-being is slowly corroded by Truth. In the end Truth trumps all the cleverness of power politics, and even kings come to understand they are powerless before it. Maybe it isn’t as obvious as Nebuchadnezzar going mad for seven years, but it is a reality.
Perhaps it is due to something as simple as the fact that studying Truth leads to wisdom, while studying falsehood leads to ignorance, and ignorant people do ignorant stuff that, in the end, ruins them.”
Within those words is some poetry, and other artsy stuff, including the stuff that grows real lettuce. However politicians are interested in false lettuce (IE: the green leaves of dollar bills). Politicians are not interested in the cream, atop the milk of my life. What they are snorting after is my feces, the byproduct of my life.
If I seem bitter, it is because rather than writing poetry, I have to do my taxes. I have to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”. (The Bible politely calls this “filthy lucre”, but a truer translation is “feces”.)
Don’t get get me wrong. As a farmer I value feces. We call it “manure” and also “brown gold.” We understand it is not to be hoarded, and is best used to fertilize the fields. To be a miser of manure makes no sense. The sooner you can get rid of it and mix it into your garden, the lusher the lettuce crop will be.
If politicians and the IRS merely wanted to gather a huge pile of manure, deeming it the source of political power, it would be demented, but at least they might promise to dole it out to the actual gardeners who actually grow stuff. They would be like mothers who are more interested in collecting milk than in nursing their babes. However the madness of political correctness and “smart politics” has gone beyond even this.
It has even gone beyond the rare situation that dairy farmers occasionally see, wherein a mother cow or goat sucks her own teat for nourishment.
Things have gotten so out of hand that the current crop of politically correct politicians are not merely hoarding a huge heap of feces. They have actually started to eat the stuff.
As much as I resent the lack of appreciation the government displays towards poet-citizens like me, as they demand more and more of me, I sort of like the fact that, as their taxes take the byproduct of my hard work, they are eating my shit.