Monday, September 29, 2008

l'shana tovah

L'SHANA TOVAH. L'Shana Tovah to one and all -- that means Happy New Year in Hebrew. This evening, at sundown, the Jewish New Year begins and the rabbi will blow the ram's horn. So bring out the apples and honey and be happy. We've had a good year and, God willing, the next year will be a good one, too.

JUST LIKE THE HUXTABLES. If you want to know what America will be like once the Obamas move into the White House, just find a re-run of the old Bill Cosby Show with the fictional Huxtable family. Bill Cosby was the pater familias with a Father Knows Best attitude. It was a fairly conservative program in terms of social dynamics. The road ahead was made very clear to the Huxtable children -- You will do your homework, you will stay in school, and you will respect your parents. And when you grow up, you will work for a living, get married and raise your own family, and serve your country and be of good service to mankind.

It's a good image. For those of you conservatives concerned about Obama's liberal objectives -- keep in mind this conservative aspect of his character.

EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY. Every day is a new day for Senator John McCain. He has cast himself free from the burden of memory. Critics point out that he said one thing on Monday and another thing on Tuesday. He wasn't lying or being inconsistent. Not at all. He simply doesn't remember. I call it the joy of forgetting - one of the true blessings of advanced age.

FINANCIAL TURMOIL. Things are happening too fast. That's never good. Markets are in turmoil. What is the cost of not knowing what the cost will be? I support the bailout proposal as I have studied it. Sure, we're all paying attention now -- but who can we blame for being asleep two years ago? There were warnings and concerns, but the good times were rolling in, and few of us became alarmed. I see no point in blaming anyone right now. In fact, our best chance to is use the talents of the very people who screwed it up. I do not hate Wall Street. They have created a river of wealth for America over the generations. Of course, we have to spank 'em good right now.

ON FIR ISLAND. September has been a glorious month. Wonderful sunrise, sparkling air, apples falling off the trees. The swallows are gone. One day I looked around and they were all gone. I watched them with delight all summer, darting about the house. They had a dozen nests under the eaves.

But they're gone now. I asked my neighbor Meynard Axelson where the swallows sent. "South?" he said. You don't know?" I replied. "Nope," he said. The thing is Meynard is a renowned local expert on waterfowl and geese. He raises more than forty kinds of ducks on his farm property, and he is highly in tuned to the fall migrations. But apparently he knows squat about the other birds.

Anyway, Meynard did say that the snow geese are starting to trickle in and he expects the main flock -- over 100,000 -- to arrive in mid-October.

Meanwhile the slough in back of the house has gotten plugged by a beaver dam. The adjacent farmer removed the dam once, but the beaver put it back the next week. Then the farmer put up a wire fence around the culvert which the beaver had dammed up. Do you think the beaver will give up now? Stay tuned.

Farmer Dave reports a fairly good year in agriculture. He and I have concluded an ongoing alliance. I said, "You gotta keep farming as long as I keep eating." He said that was fine with him.

The potato crop is off 20 percent this year because of the cold, wet spring. But the price held up so it isn't too bad. The spinach and cabbage seed crops did fairly well. The cucumber crop came in incredibly late. They usually finish the harvest by early August -- but they were more than a month late.

Thankfully, the warm weather held up in September and the cucumber harvest was decent. Skagit Valley farmers compete with farmers from India -- that's right, India -- in growing pickles. The big pickle company can sometimes get a cheaper price by contracting out to farmers way over there. But Farmer Dave said, if they want to go to India to buy pickles, then let 'em. He said there was a price that made it worthwhile for him to grow pickles and he wouldn't do it for less.

So they bargained a decent price with the pickle company. You can grow pickles cheaper in India, but you can't get them here cheaper.

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