Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Too much of this and not enough of that"

We have too many sweet peas and not enough labor to take care of it all.

We have weeds crawling up in BeauDee's garden and no one to spread the mulch -- if we could spread mulch we could smother the weeds, but it would take one worker all day, carting loads with the wheelbarrow and then spreading them out.

We're just short of people right now. Oh well, weeds growing is a sign of soil fertility.

We raked up three huge leaf piles in January, so we have these piles ready to deploy -- tiny oak leaves, huge sycamore leaves, and a third kind from this tree, but I don't know its name.

Cool weather. Cooler weather has prolonged the sweet pea harvest. We have too many flowers and not enough buyers. Last night Andy made contact with a wholesale buyer and if the deal comes through, the wholesaler will have us pick the place clean and take every one of them.

Except we don't have enough pickers for that, so we're making phone calls and sending out emails, and help should be on the way.

I used to worry about stuff like this, but it's always that way -- too much of one thing and not enough of something else.

Bugs. After the late-spring rain, if the sun and the heat come back, we will have bugs and more bugs, so it's a good thing to see swallows flitting about, because they will have plenty to eat.

Too much lettuce. We planted too much lettuce and it will bolt before it gets eaten. Then we planted a lot of beets but for some reason they won't grow -- got these puny little beets and a few leaves -- I don't know why, because the turnips have been a bonanza. Solution -- eat turnips and forget about the beets.

But mainly too many sweet peas. Mainly we have too many sweet peas and that's a good thing.

My Arab Friend. My friend is from Syria. He owns the mini-Mart and liquor store down the road from the farm. He always has Arabic TV news going on when I come in to buy some Fig Newtons or beer. He's the only person I know from Syria. So I'm not on his side exactly, and I can't say whether he's right or wrong, or if what he is telling me is true. I can only pass on what he told me.

He likes President Assad. Assad is a good man, he says. That surprised me, but I followed the clues. He sells liquor and he's not a Muslim, but a Christian. Then I looked up "Syrian Christian" on Google. I found several news stories. Ten percent of Syrians are Christian, they have always supported President Assad, and he, in turn, has favored and protected them. Syrian Christians fear the Sunni majority. They fear the mob, so they support the tyrant.

Most of us will have a strong dislike for President Assad and his brutal troops, and we may be right that he ought to be deposed. But keep this in mind -- in the Middle East, things are far more complicated than they seem at first glance.

African Story. The African story surges ahead on Facebook. I use Facebook differently. I do not care to write about my personal angst or indigestion, but want to tell this story because I think it is interesting.

I will be giving more background information -- some facts and figures and maps about Africa -- to make things more familiar to the readers.

Africa is a pretty strange place. For instance, there is a small country in West Africa that used to be called Upper Volta.

There was no Volta, or Lower Volta, just Upper Volta -- like some country in a Marx Brothers movie.

So they changed the name of the country to Burkina Faso, which is not an improvement, to my mind. Who lives in Burkina Faso -- the Burkino Fascists?

Worse, the capital of this country is Ouagadougou. Say it fast three times, "Ouagadougou, Ouagadougou, Ouagadougou." Like a choo-choo train.

It's a funny name and they never get any tourists in Burkina Faso, unless some one traveling to Chad gets lost.

Chad is a very big country with a nice, short name. Nobody ever goes there, all desert and poverty and civil war.

You never hear about these countries unless there's a coup.

Learning about Africa. I will be presenting simple facts like this about Africa as background information. My advice is do not try to remember any of this, but say the words out loud slowly, so you get used to it.

And get over to Facebook and find me at "Fred Owens" to follow along with the story.

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