By Fred Owens
At Our House. Laurie has picked over 150 pounds of Concord grapes from the solid old vine in the back garden. These grapes are for juice and jelly or just to eat fresh. We processed seven gallons of juice for the freezer, and to enjoy on special occasions throughout the year. Then Laurie posted on the Internet to sell the rest of the grapes at $2 a pound. We also expect a bountiful harvest of passion fruit in October, some hundreds are green now but will develop that ripe purple color in due time. Last year Laurie sold her passion fruit at a dollar a piece and took in over $300. The almost ancient avocado tree, which has not had much fruit in the nine years that I have been present on this hacienda, is showing hundreds of ripening fruit which will be ready for harvest in March. So, in summary, it has been a good year for grapes, passion fruit and avocados, but the reliable golden delicious apple tree is taking a well-earned year off and not yielding much fruit.... Laurie just reminded me that the apple tree had a ton of fruit just last year and made many pounds of apple sauce.
We are sad realizing that the Thanksgiving party at her brother's house in Manhattan Beach will likely be cancelled this year. Not this year the happy house jammed with loud boisterous relatives, not the table overburdened with food, not Uncle Sam sprawling on the couch in the den watching the football game the whole time. But it will be like this for many families and we will all get by.
The Cat Caught the Rat. Laurie's cat caught a small rat the other day and brought it into the house to play with. She let it go and ran around and caught it again, numerous times as we sat on the couch. Laurie grabbed it with a pot holder and took it outside.Sasha is 14 years old, a brown-grey tabby of a shy nature. She is not known to be a hunter, but this week she is showing us that she can hunt if she wants to. Sasha loves Laurie more than anybody else. She always wants to sit in Laurie's lap when we watch TV. She will sit in my lap if Laurie is busy, but I am clearly her second choice. Laurie got Sasha as a kitten, from a friend, who had two cats from two litters. So Laurie picked Sasha and Ripple to take home. Ripple was the same age but from the other litter. Ripple died a few years ago and Sasha's life changed in a big way when she lost her life-long buddy. She became more needy, less distant, which was understandable. If you come for a visit to Laurie's house you are not likely to meet Sasha. She will hide in the bed room until you are gone. That is her nature. Sasha loves to go down to the garden and nose around, but she almost always waits until someone goes with her. -- well, she isn't stupid, there are big creatures out there.
What was the Little Red Book?
Quotations from Chairman Mao and chanting slogans from the Little Red Book -- In 1969 I saw a group of students from Michigan chanting these sayings when I attended the SDS convention in Chicago that summer. SDS stands for Students for a Democratic Society. Anyhow I attended for one day and as fate would have it I was seated directly behind Yippie Elder Abbie Hoffman. Now Abbie was the weirdest guy I knew at the time, but he was within established parameters. He was an All-American weirdo, you might say. Anyway, at this SDS convention, groups were competing for the chance to be super hostile to established norms. The Maoists from Michigan chanting with Little Red Books were the most extreme. Abbie Hoffman thought they were round the bend and off the chart and if Abbie Hoffman thought they were too much, then you know they were really too much. Well, he got up from his folding chair and left the meeting. So did I.
Keep in mind that in the late summer of 1969, hundreds of young American men were dying every week in Vietnam.(242 in one week, according to Wikipedia) So who was being extreme?
The question coming from a small-town conservative friend was "Are these Maoists still around?' The answer is yes, Elaine, they are still here, still active in small numbers, kind of like small pox spores in a freezer. Avoid contact.
Political comment deleted
We are proud to be publishing our first cat story, celebrating the fabulous life of Sasha, our cat. Why disturb that peaceful passage with harsh words about the political climate? I did write something about the election a couple of days ago, but I looked it over this morning and found it depressing and fearful -- we can't have that. So I shared this gloom with Roger Barcant, my old friend in London. He is more consistently cheerful than most people. I think it comes naturally. But he made it all better, so thanks, Roger.