Sunday, April 10, 2011

Farm News from California and stories from Africa

Still Cold in Sunny California, but the Drought is Officially Over.

We had a lot of rain this winter. Governor Jerry Brown saw that the reservoirs were full and the snow cap was substantial. He said the drought was over.

But here it is April and it's still cold like winter. We had a frost twice this week -- pretty late for our territory. I had to rush out in the dark of night and throw a plastic tarp over the tomatoes.

Meanwhile some nasty little bug is eating the turnip leaves. Geez, they got a lot of critters in California. Half the precious baby turnips were gnawed by these nasty bugs.

I take this personally. Or I did, but I got over it. I don't know how to fix it. I just planted more turnips.

Then the ground squirrels come out at night, or during the day when no one is around, and nibble the edge of the Romaine lettuce. For those guys, I douse the lettuce patch with cayenne pepper -- buy it in bulk and spread it around. This slows them down.

That's how you get to sustainable agriculture, because a few nibbles on the lettuce is something you can live with. There's enough for everybody, if you don't get too piggy.

Malibu Garden Club. We drove to Malibu to hear a lecture on sustainable landscaping. I'm what you call a sustainable gardener. I try not to work too hard, and then I don't get all worn out -- in other words, I work on a sustainable basis.

Now all I have to do is write about a book about this and give lectures. I could make a bundle of money. But I would need to make it much more complicated, so people would believe that I am an expert.

Anyway, the guy at Malibu was a pretty good speaker, and Malibu is wonderful. It's a magical, beautiful seaside village. All the movies stars and wealthy Hollywood people live there, and I can see why. If I had four or five million dollars to buy a house, I would buy one in Malibu and watch the sun go down from my deck...... although I don't know if four or five million is enough for a good view in Malibu.

Some people are put off by the pretentiousness and total social-climbing atmosphere of Malibu -- but I just ignore it. I'd go there anytime -- it's a little piece of heaven on earth.

Politics. The rich Democrats live in Malibu and the rich Republicans live in Santa Barbara. Let's raise their taxes.

The Song of Bathabile, the Song of Africa. I'm seeking a title for my new work about Africa. Bathabile is a girl's name in the Ndebele language of Zimbabwe. It means happiness. The new work, this "Song of Bathabile," will be a book, but it starts now as fragments on Facebook.

That's right, I'm going full over to the new social media. I write fragments and pieces of this story and post them on Facebook along with a photo. People write comments. I am not going to write this all by myself, but will include the words of other people.

Fact or fiction. Don't even ask. This is so way beyond the derelict category of fact/fiction. But it will be good and it will be meaningful.

I urge you to go to Facebook and friend me (awful new verb, to friend, as the English language is both corrupted and beautified by new usages) --

But, on Facebook, you will find me at "LaConner Views." -- I know, I know, everyone on Facebook uses their real name. But I don't. It's the way I got started, posting photos of nice places in my old hometown of LaConner, so I called it "LaConner Views" -- because I didn't know that you're supposed to use your real name.

Anyway, go to LaConner Views and be my friend. Then you can read and join in the "Song of Bathabile."

Frog Hospital and Farm News Annual Spring Subscription Drive. This newsletter, going for 12 years now, relies on subscription revenue from a few faithful followers. Some readers send a check every year and I am very grateful for their continued support.

Other readers send a check as the spirit moves them, and those checks are most welcome.

As I have said before, these checks keep the writer from getting cranky. When you starve the writer, he is liable to get self-righteous and don the martyr's robe and begin preaching and hectoring the readers.

But with a small bit of income, the writer can take a more detached and benign look at the many joyful events in our lives, paying equal attention to the suffering and pains we endure.

So, if you can afford it -- after you pay the rent, the mortgage, the groceries, and what ever you need to save for the education of your children and grandchildren -- then ...

Send a Check for $25, made out to Fred Owens and mail it to Fred Owens, 7922 Santa Ana RD, Ventura CA, 93001.

Or Use PayPal. Go to the Frog Hospital blog and use the PayPal button.

Either way I will very thankful.

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