I called Tom Cloud at Filaree Farm in Omak, Washington, over on the east side of the mountains. They raise more than 100 kinds of garlic to sell as seed to gardeners all over the country.
Tom said that he expected a drop in sales because of the recession, but he reports happily that orders remain strong and business is good.
Why? I think it's because gardeners are long-range thinkers. You pay your money up front in the fall to order your garlic seed. You plant it in October for best results, and then you must tend your tender garlic for nine months before you get a harvest.
Growing garlic is not a matter of instant gratification, but requires prudence and forethought. This is a quality that many home gardeners develop, and such people tend to not run out of money during a recession.
That explains why Filaree Farm has not seen a drop in sales -- because gardeners are smarter.
However, if you didn't plant your garlic in October, it's not too late to plant them in the spring. Tom says the softneck varieties do well for that.
Haiti is Closer to Home. I have been watching the news like every one else. It's very awful and disturbing. I expect aid will be getting to the people more and more each day.
The delay was not surprising. One man, with the experience to know, said, "That's why they call it a disaster."
The longer term situation will inspire a debate: Did all the government and NGO aid over the years do any good? Should such aid be increased, or does it foster a climate of dependency and dysfunctional habits?
Either way, Haiti is our neighbor, and we could better serve those closer to us if we were not bogged down with unrealistic military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Charity begins at home.
The Recession. I went to the Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham this Saturday to exchange a pair of cordoroy pants -- a Christmas gift from my daughter.
I went to the Gap. They didn't have my size, so I got four pairs of colorful socks instead, and I look pretty sharp.
But what surprised is that the Mall was mobbed -- full of shoppers. I thought we were all going broke, but what do I know?
Many Canadians come down from Vancouver to shop at Bellis Fair. It's an hour's drive for them. Maybe they still have money.
Baking Cookies. I am learning how to bake cookies, because I am getting kinder in my old age. You see, the people need good bread, but what they want is cookies.
I have baked a lot of good bread, but I think I have been a little strict about this, and it's time to give the people their cookies.
Predicting a Democratic Win in Massachusetts Tomorrow. I have a one dollar bet that says the Democrats will win Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts tomorrow.
The people of Massachusetts are ready for a change in leadership. And it might delight them to scare the Powers that Be by threatening to elect a conservative Republican. But I don't think they will go through with it.
Massachusetts voters have elected liberal Republicans to high office in the past. William Weld became Governor, and years ago Edward Brooke became a Senator -- both liberal Republicans.
But it's still Massachusetts. The Democrats will win.
Happy MLK Day,
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