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We Shouldn’t Be Quiet

My friend from across the river presented me with a problem that on some level we’ve all been faced with. She lives in a somewhat congested area, where one’s neighbor’s house is right on top of the next person’s. In other words, everyone knows what everyone else is up to. My friend knows that I’ve been reading incessantly about race, racism and equity, so this particular problem seemed like something that I’d have an immediate reaction to it. Her next door neighbor recently hung a confederate flag across his front door for all the world to see. Now , of course, he legally has a right to do so,but a few thing jumped out at me. First of all, it is a reasonable assumption that the guys is an enthusiastic racist. Second, he probably hates Jews(my friend is Jewish) as well. Thirdly, he has no sense of the horror and pain that the image of the confederate flag causes when displayed in public. In other words, this is an individual that has racist views that are more important to him then any pain he might be inflicting elsewhere.

My friend’s question was simply “what to do, here?”. This was my response. Of utmost important is to be safe. People like my friend’s neighbor could be volatile. In fact, she has evidence that this is the case based on his reactions to other goings on in the neighborhood in the past. Having said that, there’s also the important fact that we can not remain silent when faced with such blatant symbols of racism. We can’t. Another important factor, my friend will never convince this person to think otherwise. Ok. Putting all that together, it is my opinion that she, my friend could tell this guy how his display of the confederate flag makes her feel and that she’d be open to talk to him about it, if the conversation could remain civil. Otherwise, there’s her opinion-take it or leave it.

There’s bravery in speaking up. And sometimes, the circumstances that require one to speak out will surprise you. This is, of course is just one of many confrontations with racism that we are met with. If you’re a POC, the rate of that confrontation is unquestionably that much higher. Work situations, family gatherings etc. all are places of challenge.

Write me back and let me know what you’d do. These small situations can become building blocks to bigger solutions. I’ll publish some of your ideas the following week.

In other news, next week, we’ll be auctioning off the first bunch of carrots of the season. As I’ve said before, we are very very proud of our successful early carrot campaign. These carrots are literally crawling with sweet flavor and crunchy texture. Guaranteed to make you leap in the air with delight. Guaranteed. The proceeds of the raffle will go again to Unitad Latina de Accion from New Haven. This mighty organization is trying to help the undocumented in CT enjoy the same benefits as our other citizens. So, that’s next week.

Lastly, recovery is the word for me. Its going to take a while, but everything is going in the right direction. Thank you for your well wishes.



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Affordable? I Sincerely Doubt It

We are (and I’m just reporting here, not bragging) kicking butt. Spring, as you know, has a way of exploding onto the scene-literally an avalanche of bursting buds, new flowering trees and radishes. Let’s not forget the radishes! Its hard to keep up with how exciting this time of year is. And to add to, we’ve now got way over a hundred tomato plants in the ground in Sven (named after grandchild number 3). For the next several weeks, we’ll slowly be filling it up with both cherry tomato plants and Juliets (the famous ones). And in between the rows, we’ll do lettuce, turnips and radishes. Kind of making the soil do double time work. But as long as we are respectful to the soil (and we are), I’ve never seen it refuse to come thru for us. Soil, is like an engine- needs fuel in order to operate. We are constantly loosening soil, adding compost, alfalfa and organic fertilizer. Come to think of it, soil is just like a border collie, loves to and needs to work and gets despondent if it can’t do its job. And that’s what’s so beautiful about organic farming. Its sustainable beyond ones wildest imagination, just feed the soil and the soil will feed us. Its a beautiful relationship- so lets not messed it up.

Both Middlefield and Durham have begun looking at the issue of affordable housing. Its a state mandate. But the mandate is only to “look at the issue”. It doesn’t say that both towns will come up with action on this. Let’s be candid here, affordable housing to some people means that figuring out a way for more people of lesser means to be able to live in each town. And to be even more candid, it sounds to a lot of people that this is an effort to have those people of lesser means to be POC. Along with this line of thinking is a common theme that allowing certain people in the town would alter the “character of the town”. The zoning in both towns is 2 acres. Obviously, 2 acre zoning puts the purchase price out of many people,including POC. This can be tricky because maybe the 2 acres zoning is about the proper square footage for septic fields and drilled wells. That, I can’t comment on with any authority. And, if this was the case, then there are ways to design existing homes to include an affordable rental apartment, or duplexes. It can be done but only if there’s a will for it. At the informational meeting for Durham a few weeks back, I actually heard someone on the zoom say that they didn’t understand why people of lesser means had to look in Durham, when there are so many other options out there. Going to go out on a limb here and speculate that there are many of our fellow citizens who are feeling threatened by the prospect of people who are not white moving into our town and “changing the character”. There’s that phrase again. I, for one would welcome a change from an all white (or nearly so) town. This subject is not going to just go away and when we’re faced with figuring out how to provide real affordable housing here, we need to assume that there are ways to make this work, we just need to work hard to arrive there. I recommend reading the report that the consulting agency wrote about affordable housing which debunked all the common myths that people hold. Property values do not go down, duplexes can look and function great. Apartments in existing buildings are also great ways to make our towns more affordable. Our towns would be richer and more rewarding for everyone. Our children (who are mostly white) would also benefit from diversity. I’m guessing that it wouldn’t be impossible that these notions that have I’ve written about might offend some people, while others will hopefully agree. My intention is only to help move the conversation along, so that when there’s an opportunity to diversify our town, we might be able to do so. I hope so.

Thank you to all of you who joined our raffle last week to benefit Unidad Latina en Acción New Haven. This amazing organization is dedicated to helping the undocumented Latino population with both day to day situations and legal problems. We are, thru this raffle support those among us who need that extra help. You are all wonderful.

Please stay safe. The pandemic is still alive and dangerous for many of us. Consider, if you haven’t already, to get the shot. Dr. Faucci recommends it.



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Seeing Is More Than Believing

We’re doing a raffle this week of a small jar (8oz) of maple syrup that we made right here on the farm. Homemade syrup is so much flavorful than stuff you buy at the store! Our syrup takes on a smokey quality, which I find close to heaven. All proceeds will go towards helping our Undocumented friends get through the pandemic. Please consider taking a small chance and buying a ticket.

I’m going to forewarn you that this blog will again be about voter suppression. But before diving into that, let’s talk about the farm. I’m not bragging, but reporting when I write that we’re already on the top of our game. Remarkable, considering that it isn’t yet April. Except for recent years, we’d start making the ground ready for seeds around the beginning of April. And yet, this year, we’ve already planted so much over the past few weeks. This is largely due to two things. First, would be Joel and Jen’s aggressive approach to early planting. Second, having low tunnels outside really pays off. Because they’re protected from continual rains, it is substaintially drier, earlier under the low tunnels, making the ground ready to receive either plants or seeds so much faster than unprotected ground. The result is that we are now even more loaded with greens, both salad, braising greens, kale, and spinach than we were last week. Which means more supply for all of you. Hopefully, there were few disappointments in the “sold out” department last week.

In a few weeks, we’ll be making available vegetable, flower and herb starts for your own gardens. I’m not sure exactly what we do to make the tomato plants work out so well, but consistently, people are telling me at market that ours has worked out so much better than anything else they’ve tried. Again, just reporting, not bragging. (well, sort of!)

Our stand of carrots in the High Tunnel is really starting to “root” up. I’ll go down there to pull a few, because they need a bit of thinning and am surprised by how big the carrots already are. If you’re looking for the perfect Mother’s Day present, a bunch of our carrots is perfect and so welcomed. Better in some ways than a bouquet of flowers, which you can’t eat.

I bought a new toy for Star Light last week. Its a temperature sensor that will alert me (or Joel) by a phone call if the furnace fails in either the tomato house or the nursery. There’s a sensor that will send a signal to my phone if the furnace breaks,putting our plants in jeopardy. Although somewhat expensive, it is also true that a broken furnace can cause the death of hundreds of our tomato plants. With a quick alert , we’re in a great position to fix the furnace problem on the spot. In the past, I’ve had the awful experience of getting up some cold morning in April and go out to the house and find that for one reason or another, the furnace had quit, leaving rows of frozen toms. That’s a sickening feeling. I felt that the world had ended. Luckily, tom plants are resilient and eventually new leaves would come out of the main stalk. However, now we’ve lost weeks of great growth. This system will help prevent that.

Ok. About Voter Suppression. This note will only mean something to you if you believe that every person registered to vote should be able to easily vote without tremendous hardship. Recently, Governor Kemp of Georgia has passed a “Voter Reform” law that limits the days, hours and places where one can over. Mail in balloting, something that is a boon to older or limited financial means voters, has become even more difficult. There’s also a provision to limit a person’s ability to vote based on their literacy ability. And most curious, there’s a penalty to anyone bringing food and water to people waiting in the voting lines. Does anyone have a plausible reason for such laws? If I was a legislature , I’d be thinking of good ways to help people get to the polls, rather than a million ways to prevent people from voting. Georgia is just one of several states that are trying to churn out ways to keep people away from the polls. And let me be clear here, the people that they’re targeting are POC. Essentially, this is a Republican move to keep non white people away from voting. For me, a reality is that Republicans are in the minority. The former President (you know who) lost both elections in the popular vote by an impressive margin. Its as if, if you’re the minority, you’ve got the power to make your voice be the one that’s heard. Republicans can see the writing on the wall. Largely a party of whites looking at a change is what’s the majority. A scary thought for them. So therefore, they’ve loaded the courts with their kind of judges and pushing for more and more restrictive voting practices throughout the US.

H.R. 1, or the John Lewis Voting Act is crafted in such a way to get the laws back to the historic Civil Rights Voting Act of 1964, a law that has been gradually shrunk down till it almost means nothing. Earlier in 2013 , the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision gutted section 4 of the Civil Rights Act which would eliminate the need for states to have voting rules ok’d by the federal courts. Southern states particularly had shown themselves unable to leave the voting rights alone in their respective states, making voting more and more impossible for POC. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg said: “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you’re not getting wet.”

This kind of behavior is pretty easy to understand. Republicans feel like their way of life is being challenged. If they can’t beat the new wave of progressive thoughts at the polls, then they’ll simply try to keep the people away who are going to vote them out. One very direct way to help defend ourselves from this onslaught of legislation is to donate to the ACLU. They are working to combat this way of terrible legislation. And yes , I know that I said I’d touch on affordable housing, but without good voting laws, we’ve got nothing.

I hope you have a great week. Remember to stay safe and continue to practice social distancing. We’re not done yet. But we will be.



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Covid Covid Covid

Not too long along, when we had the former President in the news all day every day, he was quoted as saying something like “covid covid covid, that’s all I heard about these days” as if it was a nasty mosquito that never quits and is always around. The context, in my opinion, implied that why aren’t people talking about me (the President). This was, of course, a misdirected and dangerous view of the priorities at that moment. The trouble was that the President thought that if the press isn’t talking about him, then its wasting its time. We now see so clearly that this was an abuse of power. His insane drive to keep the news feed about him cost lives simply because he minimized the threat and danger of the virus. Weak and pathetic. Oh and transparent, too. And yet, not everyone saw it that way. Think of all the masses of people who attended “unmasked” rallies and other super spreader events, headless of the obvious danger of such behaviors. Truly, there are times when I contemplate what this period is going to look like to subsequent generations and know that they’ll say “What were they thinking?”

The former President (and you’ll note my reluctance to actually put a name to him-mostly because I don’t want to contribute to any more press time for him) had, as his guiding principle, the notion that politics aren’t nearly as important as making sure of taking care of Number One. Allegiance to him was imperative. Looking out for the welfare of the planet was not on his radar screen. We’ll be feeling the effects of his “me first” attitude for generations to come, I fear.

Which brings me around to my experience yesterday at a rally in New Britain in support of making sure the undocumented are being taken care of in the same manner as US citizens. CIRC (Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition ) sponsored the event. There, I heard sad, tragic and unfathomably unfair stories about Undocumented Immigrants being refused medical treatment because of their status. The situations just boiled my core. After all, most of us are either immigrants or children (or grandchildren) of immigrants. We got our place in the sun, so does that mean done and finished? By the way, economist have shown over and over again that the value that the economy gets from people who are undocumented is essential and of real worth.

Seeing those among us who believe that its important to supportour Undocumented brothers and sisters, stands in deep deep contrast to the former President (well, at least I’m capitalizing the name of the office!). The list of his “me first” items is long and deep. We need more people who think that its imperative to work for the greater good.

So, I will leave this thread for now, and at the same time tell you that I look forward to talking about affordable housing in our town. Soon. This, I promise, will be a flashpoint for those among us, who feel threaten by the idea that we, as a town, could have people of lesser means (meaning potentially POC) live on our street or around the corner. More to come. Just a thread about many of us who wish for our actions to translate to a bigger good. I’ve developed a theory- anything that we do that wasn’t in the former Presidents repertoire is probably a good thing. Right. A bold and easily refuted statement. I could probably blow holes in it myself. Still, I’ll let it stand as something to think about.

And then there’s our beautiful farm. Check out our Instagram Page, lots of great pictures, including sugaring season video and a planting video with our paper pot planter that will knock your socks off. Well, it does for me. It would only take one quick afternoon of transplanting the old fashion way to know that the paper pot planter has revolutionized the world of transplanting on the small sustainably run farm. Check it out.

Supplies are almost perfect. My prediction is that the sold out label is much less likely to show up now. And think ahead to your own gardens, where we can supply you with vegetable and herb starts. Our nursery is teaming with potential right now. Teaming.

Oh, two last thoughts. One, we’re on the edge of planting our first tomatoes in Sven Greenhouse (named after my grandson number 3). Early early April is how it looks from here. Oh happy day. The second thing is Big Bad Truck. We’ve really stepped up our game by this new purchase. On market days, I’ve watched how Joel somehow figures out how to fit more than is imaginable in our Red Ford Transit. And even then, we’ve had to send Jen is a second car. No more. Big Bad Truck is at least twice the size of the RFT. By the way, Bad, in this case, is a good thing.

Oh, another thing. (They just keep popping up!). Carrots. For dinner last night, I included carrot thinnings. Sure, the carrots themselves were a tad small, but the greens were delicious as were the carrots themselves. They’re going to be ready for Mother’s Day. I’ll wager that there aren’t going to be an earlier carrot in all of New England. We are ok with being first.

Have a great week. Enjoy our food-its so easy.



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If We Don’t Do Something Quick We’re ___(fill in your own expletive)!

It was all I could do, to not actually spell the f word in the title. There was a moment’s hesitation where I debated the wisdom of even remotely making a suggestion of the word, but realized that we can’t close our eyes to voter suppression in the country. Ever

I’m going to start with something basic. Joe Biden won the presidential election. The former president lost by a considerable margin. There was never any evidence of widespread fraud or deceit. The Republicans disputed votes only in Democratic states and specifically in areas that are composed mostly by POC. The fact that so many people have embraced the myth that this election was rigged to me is frightening. Absolutely frightening. But, also it should be noted that we spent 4 years with so many lies coming out of the past administration that people became use to an “alternative truth”. This is a dystopian situation, dangerous to our democracy-a place where many voices are suppressed in heinous, insidious ways. This is democracy slipping out of our grasp.

And as a side note, for any of you who don’t agree that January 6th was a dangerous and near miss attack on our way of life-considerate this. The election would have turned out differely if the former president was able to talk the former vice president to exercise a right (that he didn’t have) to throw the election back to the states, whereby each state had one vote. And from an arithmetic point of view, there’s more Republican states than Democratic. In other words, a home run for Trump. And that scenario looked like the end of the great Democratic experiment to me.

Republicans are doing every thing they possibly can to legislate new and restrictive laws that are specifically designed to make it harder and harder for POC to vote. The list of strategies include closing convenient poling stations, making mail in ballots harder if not impossible to do, changing the times of when you can vote, strict and sometimes arbitrary i.d. requirements. These are the new Jim Crow rules. Same ideas, but a slightly different look. Republicans see that there are more and more POC who are eligible to vote and are typically Dems. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that they’re seizing power on the state level in order to have a Republican result in these states. Between that and the filabuster rule, its becoming a fact- the minority has a clear path to call the shots. That’s not a democracy.

Things to do, in my opinion: talk to everyone you know and get them thinking about how they want their democracy to work. Do they want a voting system that suppresses legitimate voters? Support financially institutions that are actively trying to loosen rather than tighten the voting rules. Two examples of this are the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. There are many others. Let’s make sure that every legal voice gets heard.

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You’ve Got To Be Taught Before Its Too Late

I was exposed to musicals pretty early. Growing up, The Schubert in New Haven was the testing grounds and world premier for most the classic musicals you can think of. I would go a few times. The most memorable show was “The Sound of Music” staring Mary Martin and Theordore Bikel. Breathtaking. But there was also the Oakdale, which at that time was a huge tent with seating around a rotating stage. Now, of course, both venues have changed radically. The Oakdale is a fancy indoor auditorium, and The Schubert host traveling Broadway shows rather than premier them. I don’t remember when I first saw South Pacific, the epic show based on James Michener’s novel about life on a Polynesian Island during WW2. But what I do remember is my father explaining to me the prejudice that the American military showed to the natives of the island. There was one song in particular that still haunts me to this day. It was called “You’ve Got To Be Taught”. The substance of it was sung by an officer who has had his heart smitten by a young, beautiful native woman of the island. He explains thru the song that even prejudice begins right at birth. People are taught to “hate all the people, your relatives hate.” Here’s a link to the segment from the movie where it is being sung. It has always sent goose bumps down my spine because of the cold hard truth that its conveying. Yes, it is true that right from the beginning, parents give their children messages about race and who to trust and who to be with, so that by the time of adolescence, children find themselves leary of people who don’t exactly look like them.

My big takeaway from all this is that its hard to not find myself thinking my own racist thoughts. I’m not proud of knowing this about myself, but am working hard to eliminate prejudice where and when I can. This is no easy task. Reading, thinking, being a member of our local Social Justice Committee, working for Immigrant Rights. All important and difficult. The point is that we live in society that supports a white world having the upper hand over POC. Like many white folks, my eyes opened up to how rampant racism is in my world after the murder of George Floyd. Sure, I knew a lot about how the world worked before that, but this event has permanently catapulted me to a place where my goal is to become an Anti-Racist. Not being racist is not good enough. I don’t see every future twist and turn in front of me, but will embrace what’s ahead. I wonder what comes up for you about this? Did you receive suptle messages from school or parents or other relatives that had to do with race and your place in it? At my earliest moment, I”m going to ask my own grown up children what kinds of suptle messages we might have given them, as they were growing up.

I’ll leave you with a more or less accurate lyrics to the song mentioned above in hopes that you’ll see the actual performance of it: You’ve got to be taught before its too late/ before you are six or seven or eight, /to hate all the people your relatives hate/ you’ve got to be carefully taught.

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Reparations: A Really Unpopular Subject

HR 40 is a bill before Congress to address the question of reparations for ancestors of slaves. I remember the first time that I heard about this concept, I thought it was a very long shot. Further, it seemed that this was something that happened a long time ago and had nothing to do with present day African-American people. Besides, the expense of such an endeavour, it seemed that it was time to “move on” for everyone’s sake. After thoroughly immersing myself in learning more about the history of enslaved people over the past year, the subject was not so clear cut as I had originally thought. Because POC have been held back from gaining monetary wealth since the moment they were captured in Africa, they find themselves as a race far behind whites. Subsequent to that were the Jim Crow laws, the Great Migration, Red Lining and their being cut out of the GI Bill, which sent countless white GI’s to college and a better chance at more lucrative jobs. And lets not forget the less than average educational experience for a typical Black child, whether its in the rural south or some large city: it puts these children at an even further disadvantage than most white children. I might also add here that a Texas congress person in the early 1800’s just flat out said ,”This country exist souly to benefit white people only.” He was honest, anyway. All of this means that beginning from day one and up until today, African Americans have had to work harder than almost any white person for each and every dollar that they earned-not to mention all the obstacles that white society has put in their way. This is not a popular notion for a lot of white people, particularly for white people who have admirably scratched their own way out of their own poverty, and overcome incredible obstacles. I can’t and won’t argue with them about this experience, but rather remind you that as a race, Black people have been held back from gaining assets and education for over 400 years.

Reparations are not a new concept , nor is it a concept that hasn’t already been put in place by the US government in the past. I’ll mention three examples. Japanese-Americans who were interred during WWll were awarded $20,000 each for compensation. Along with the monetary grant to each of them, came a formal apology from the government. And although the 40 Acres and a Mule plan put forth my General William Tecumseh Sherman never came to pass, there was actually reparations paid in the South-to Southern Plantation owners to help to rebuild their dynasties that had been built on the backs of “their” unpaid slaves. In 1862, before the Emancipation Proclaimation, President Lincoln ‘s”Compensated Emancipation Act” was pushed thru congress. Over a million dollars (value at that time) was paid to slave owners as compensation for the loss of their slaves. Again, in 1862, the Homestead Act gave away to white settlers 80 million acres of land for virtually nothing . To quote the language of the act, it serves to “undergird its White peasants.” All this was happening at the same time that the government refused to doing anything for the Black population. Whenever a race of people are faced with a destruction of life, spirit, their culture and their identity, they are due for reparation-meaning the repair for damages inflicted.

This is not a new issue. Not by a long short. Back in the late 19th century, there were a few cases of former slaves that had been kidnapped back into servitude that later sued and won compensation for their sufferings. In modern days I refer you to the very eloguent and powerful article by Ta-Nahesi Coates that was published in the Atlantic 2014. Here is the link. This is not an easy or short article to read, but it should at the least give you something to think about. This issue will never go away. And it shouldn’t. Here’s the link

This is not by an stretch of the imagination an easy subject for the American people to address. I will admit that I do not see or understand all the factors here. What I do know is that it needs to be looked at with empathy and real compassion for those among us who have been subject to racism. As I said a few lines up, this issue will not be going away.

Before leaving you this week, I’d like to briefly touch on how we’re able to provide you with real food without the use of extra heat or artificial light. The short story is that some plants, like kale and spinach have a special antifreeze system that concentrates the liquid within the plant cells thus changing the freezing point of the moisture. Here’s a link that I use every Winter that can explain it all better than me.

Please stay safe. While it looks like we’re gaining on the virus, now more than ever its imperative to keep wearing mask and maintaining social distance. Many of us are going to refuse the vaccine, which means that the danger will exist for a while (I’m not in a position to say how long, of course).



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If The Truth Had Teeth, It Would Bite You In The Butt Right Now

The popular notion now is that Trump’s assertions about the election being stolen from him will be known from here on in as The Big Lie. I like that because it says it all. But, having said that, we should not forget that this is not the only lie that has been going around these days. To me, the truth is irrefutable. Trump had instigated and inflamed his base for months. He asserted a long time ago that the election was rigged against him. Over and over, he created an unlit bonfire until that January 6th date when he tossed on fuel and flicked a match on the whole thing. And then poof! Now , but only now , we know how terrible close (a matter of feet), the insurrectionists came to put their hands on both Mike Pence and Nancy Polosi. Just recently , Republican Representative from Washington Jamie Herrera Beutler released a statement recounting a bitter conversation between Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the former president. Trump refused to call off the rioters and actually appeared to be taunting McCarthy by saying that the rioters were “more upset about the election than you are”. Strong words, I know, but I say that the former President’s action are criminal and devoid of humanity. Minority Leader of the Senate , Mitch McConnell was explicit in his own feelings- that Trump was in every way possible responsible for what happened on January 6th. The only reason that he voted to not convict was “you can’t impeach a former President”. This of course is the epitome of two face-ness. He said that he’d refuse to take up the article of impeachment before the inauguration and now that a new president is installed, states that he doesn’t believed that constitutionally, the Senate can do so to a former president. He wants it both ways. Of course, his main motivation is that he doesn’t want to see Republicans lose future Trump votes.

This feels like a moral dilemma-vote your conscious or try and keep your seat. It strikes a chord with me, wondering how true I’d be to my own values. How true would any of us be when being tested by life’s difficult questions. I’d like to say, first of all, that I’d never be a Republican. But what about being part of a vote that could mean your position in life? And this line of thought brings me straight to Black people marching for their rights on the Pettus (a confederate hero) Bridge. I wouldn’t begin to assume that I’d know what it feels like to walk into those police with batons, dogs and horses. There’s a moral dilemma with a real physical cost to it. Full disclosure. I’ve admired those people facing such opposition, and it makes me scared, too. Just saying

This all boils down to, (as far as the recent 43-57 impeachment vote) the utter importance that people voting their conscious are the ones that I want on my side. The McConnell’s , Cruz’s and the Hawley’s -not even close. (I’m being polite here. I can think of worse to say).

Sunset today is 5:22! There’s so much more sun. That means that all our little plants are speeding up photosynthesis, and shortening the time it takes to have a finished mature plant. Good news! The carrots planted last November are with true leaves and beginning to take on height. We plan to have them ready for Mother’s Day presents. I’ll send you pictures after I learn how to use the new websites photo gallery!

Meanwhile, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you. This is a holiday created by a card company (Hallmark), but still the message is about love. I hope you have a way to show your love to those around you, not just today , but every day.



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Some Things Are So Utterly Simple

With the political lines being so adamantly drawn in this country, I would think that the issue of the confederate flag would obviously be an easy one to handle. Nope. For those of you who have noticed, there’s been several articles written about the wish of the Durham-Middlefield Racial Justice Team to ban all sales and display of the confederate flag at the Durham Fair this coming September. There is a surprisingly robust amount of people who adamantly believe that limiting its access in any way is an infringement on their rights as free citizens Along with this way of thinking, I also hear many people insist that their wish to see the flag hung without any limitations has to do with “heritage”.

Let me address the second issue first. Heritage. Sure, its true that if one comes from a long line of slave owners that that history becomes part of your heritage. The facts are that all illusions to the confederacy will always swing back to the undeniable fact that this war was about preserving a way of life where one group of people(white slave owners) lay claim on the freedom of another group (slaves) and tried to remain in a position of supremacy. In other words, revearring the flag is a means of celebrating racism. Its a racist action. If there’s ANY other way to look at this, please tell me.

As for the issue of limiting free speech and people feeling threatened by these kind perameters, let me say this: Free speech does not mean that one gets to say anything they want when ever they want to. A private organization has the right to limit what can and can’t be seen under its purview. But most importantly is considering trauma and empathy. These two concepts refer back to the title of this piece “Some Things Are So Utterly Simple”. First concept that I hold as fact is that African Americans have been deprived of their rights and kept in a second class position for over 400 years. The collective experiences of slavery, “Reconstruction”, Jim Crow laws, KKK, years of being killed (many times unjustified by police), segregation, verbal abuse and on and on have resulted in a particularly heinous and terrible form of trauma that is passed on from generation to generation. The confederate flag sympolizes all that American society has denied to African Americans and all the hurt and pain that racist people have inflicted on them (over hundreds of years. Hundreds). So the flag becomes an unwelcome trigger for these feelings of trauma. The therapist and social worker, Resmaa Menakem has illustrated this sad but true situation in his book “My Grandmother’s Hands”. You can also hear him being interviewed by Krista Tibbits here: In my own heart, I would never knowingly do anything to create trauma in another human being. Why would any of us want to subject someone to something that could trigger trauma. The Racial Justice Team is not alone in this endeavour to make the world a more welcoming place to ALL peoples. NASCAR no longer will allow the flag to be shown. Many state fairs throughout the country have banned it from their shelves. North Carolina will no longer be issuing a special edition license plate. Mississippi has removed the image of the flag from its own state flag. This is a growing movement. Its certainly not the most important step in creating equity but the fact that its being aired has helped put the issue much more in the forefront of the public.

Simply put, the flag can create trauma and large unnecessary pain in African American people As a country, why would we want to create horror and pain for our fellow citizens?

This is what I mean by “….Utterly Simple”. If you come to this “flag situation “with your heart open to the possibility of love, you’re going to come out in favor of empathy. Isn’t that the one true thing that should guide all of us?

We’re going to talk about tomato grafting in more detail soon. For now, for those of you who haven’t heard of this procedure-its a method for blending two different tomato plants. One is the flavor and the other is the root stock, which we think of as the engine. To graft, one literally cuts the tops off of both and sticks them together. I’ll go over the ins and outs soon.

In the meantime, please stay safe. Keep wearing that mask. Hope you enjoy what we have to offer this week. Oh, one more thing of excitement- we’ve received our turmeric /ginger tubers this weeks from Hawaii. They’ll be put in large flats to get them to start growing.



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Plato Knew About Trump A Long Time Ago or Trump/ Facism Is “Gentle On My Mind” (with a nod to John Hartford and Glenn Campbell

It’s been too hard to get the right title for what I’m writing today. Both statements are so true. Plato saw a Trump-like character 2300 years before hand. Quite simply, he warned his readers that there was a danger that a person totally ill equipped for the job would gain power and claim that they and they alone would bring things back to the glory that once was. Further, Plato saw that this person would make the majority fear the minority/immigrants and instill in them a fear that they would be denied material wealth because of the minority’s insistence that they be treated fairly, too. Sounds familiar, right? The current white supremacist (see my very first foot note below, please) has always insisted the superiority of the white race and in the process have tried to eliminate the possibility that equity can be found someday in this country. Sadly and disturbingly, Trump was every bit and more that kind of person that Plato warned us about. There is a lot of talk about Trump, the want to be dictator and Facism. I see him definitely that way. Here’s why I think that way.

First off, he exploded truth in a way that we’ve never seen before. Its part of Kelly Ann C. statement about “alternative facts”. Trump lied everywhere. Maybe not because he’s a chronic liar (he is, though), but because by lying about everything, he succeeded in lulling many people into a normalcy. Although Hitler wasn’t the only one to do this was great facility, he comes to mind as a great example of “killing” truth.

Trump’s catch phrase “Make America Great Again” fits into the mold of how I see Facist behavior. MAGA is only true if you’re a white elitist. Try that phrase out on people of color, and they’d probably look at you strangely(and angrily). “When was it ever great”? And that’s the point, he wasn’t saying to make it great for everyone-just white people . He had been pulling nostalgia moments (most of which weren’t even true anyway) back for white people to remember and help them to realize that Immigrants and African Americans can threaten their well being. Nothing could be further from the truth. But none the less, that is what he was pushing. And least we forget, Trump had said on more than one occasion that he and he alone would be the only way to accomplish those goals. What a crock!

The second title for this blog “Gentle On My Mind” refers mostly to my wish that difficult things could indeed be gentle on my mind. They can’t. Well, for me , anyway. But I can hope.

Trump is now the former President for sure. But Trumpism, and people embracing conspiracy theories are here to stay. QAnon , or whoever he/she is (probably a guy!), lost many followers when, inspite of The Plan, Biden was able to assume the office of President. But he/she didn’t lose all of them. People who live in Alternative Universes will become less influential, I hope. They have to, because they and Trump and the whole Republican Party threaten democracy. Biden will disappoint me from time to time, for sure, but what else is totally true is that he’s returning the government to a place where its main aim is to actually help people, not just rich elites. Science is also real and instead of “Covid! Covid! Covid!”, as Trump had said, the present administration is doing everything it can to get vaccines into arms. For those of you who read the Vogue issue that exposed how the Trump administration, with Jared leading the pack, gave up on fighting the pandemic, you would know how irrelevant our needs our to these people

The future? There’s going to be Cruz, Hawley and even Tucker Carson’s trying to become president, but their success is far from inevitable. We have to keep in mind that without real social justice, equity in both the work place and in education that the Have Nots (which predominently will rightfully remain angry, short on understanding about waiting for what’s rightfully theirs and all for good reason.) If, in protesting, there is a total lack of patience, those of us who have white privilege need to remember -how long must they wait? Injustice for one is injustice for everyone.

Star Light will be gaining on volume of available products starting shortly. We’ve passed that remarkable moment when there’ll be more than 10 hours of daylight, the magic spot when photosynthesis will kick in again. This will mean that you’ll start seeing less of the “sold out” sign in the store.

FOOT NOTE: While proof reading this paragraph, I noticed that I had spelled white supremacist with capitol letter initially. When coming across this spelling, I looked at it and thought “this isn’t right to make that word a proper noun. There’s nothing proper about the term. My googling brought up this “make sense” article that confirmed my wonderment. You can find it here:

Please, have a safe and peaceful week. Talk to you soon.