As promised, and not nearly as late as the New York State budget, this is
the "what I did this summer" report.
Many years ago in Camden, New Jersey, an instructor told a group of
technicians being trained on the latest and greatest Video technology that
he was convinced most of the learning happened in the coffee breaks.
And so it was again in Decorah at Heritage Farm July 16-19.
Oh, the talks, tours and all that were informative and even
inspirational.... I'll get around to that eventually. But unless you've
been to something like this, where everybody shares what you thought was a
unique and somewhat weird obsession, it's hard to explain.
I met a number of people I'd seen on my past two trips, and renewed old war
stories. Hopefully I was better company this time; the first trip was not
long after major changes, ranging from wonderful to awful.
The farm itself has grown hugely, due to a big chunk of adjoining land
purchased last year, and there's a new reception center about to go up by
the entrance road.... I saw the huge pile of oak beams that would have
framed it in, were it not for the monsoons...but there is a concrete pad to
mark the spot.
Lots of expanded plantings, including several _acres_
of garlic! I walked
along the end of the rows, meeting old friends and new.... Chesnok Red,
German White..... more trails for walking, and a new memorial bench for
sitting under a big white oak. The more formally religious will have to
work on that forgiveness thing, but God is a lot closer under such a tree
than in a huge cathedral with "smells and bells."
The keynote speaker was David Kline, an Amish dairy farmer from Ohio.... a
very practical guy, who lives very simply and makes a very respectable
living while taking time to write. The big thing I learned about his world
is that the eight-grade education the plain folk consider sufficient is by
no means the end. They're avid readers, and they really do practice
A Frenchman spoke on the difficulties of seed saving and selling
non-standard vegetables in the European Union, and especially in France,
where things are regulated to an insane degree. I hope we never get there
in the U.S. but **
when I see what has happened to the
U.S. Constitution recently, I fear it could. Good for Big Business; Bad
for Everybody Else.
I came away from that talk with a resolve to better manage and test my own
seed collection; it looks like a vaguely subversive deed these days, and we
could use more of them. To steal and compress a favorite song: "If one
person does it, they'll think you're a nut.........if a whole lot of people
do it, they'll think it's a movement..."
I did a number of stops on the way out to Decorah and back; my odometer
says I might as well have driven to San Francisco. But all good this time:
good friends, beautiful scenes, and I got to pump the bellows of an old
Tracker organ once played by Antonin Dvorak!
Simultaneous bad and good news:
No pictures, owing to a hard disk disaster that was mostly self-induced,
with only a little help from Bill G.
My personal page is moving, somewhat erratically to a new and more
competent ISP. URL in the .sig below. Garlic spreadsheet being updated as
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~gwoods
Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G