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Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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Buy American

Early in my blog writing a woman who I really didn’t know messaged me “don’t yell. No one listens to someone who is shouting at them.” Or something like that. She became one of my best friends and I trust her judgement often and always.

But it is apparent that many people don’t listen to anything that involves thinking and change.

I will try again, though. I am Taurus = stubborn.

So we have the start of the growing season here. The earth is warming and food crops are being planted. In large mechanized commercial farms, much of planting can be done by machines with one worker covering a large field. And some food crops can be harvested mechanically also.  However, many require hands-on. And that needs a work force.   Part of our national history is the transition from an agrarian economy to an industrial and now a post-industrial economy.  Almost 200 years ago most people living in the United States were involved with farming. You can see what has happened over time. 

In the past twenty years more and more of these farm jobs have gone empty until filled by migrant workers. Many are Latino and here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon we very much recognize that our vineyards, orchards and large commercial food farms need these workers.

It’s hard work. I know. I took a farm hand job three summers ago. Me. At 60 years of age, overweight, arthritic and with a bad back. The high school worker was heading back to school in August and the farmer needed someone until the end of the season. I never had done this kind of work and my body let me know. But this is not impossible work. So anyone who can walk, can bend, can use their hands, can do this work.

However, it seems that in most areas of the country, white people do not want to do this work so much. And so, others fill in. They are not taking jobs away. They are helping feed us. Some are not legal workers. 

Trump ran for President hollering (hey! he yelled and people listened……or maybe they didn’t, but that’s a different blog) that it was important to put America first. That we needed to get rid of all the bad hombres and that has translated into all people who are here without full legal status, no matter the agreements in the past.  Trump supporters have not yet woken up to the fact that when the work force is removed, something will happen.

In this case, it means the food raised here on large farms in the United States most likely will not be successfully harvested. One farmer we know lost his work crew last year when the blueberries matured early. His strawberries matured late. All that is because of the weather. But it meant his picking crew went off to attack the blueberries, which are easier picking than strawberries. He lost thousands of dollars and many of his strawberries rotted on the plants because there was no one to pick them.  This situation will happen again more and more in more places, not necessarily because of the weather but because of a shortage of willing workers.

Trump’s policies are convincing many people without family roots to head back south to their native lands. The risk of imprisonment and deportation is high. So, many people are leaving. There are also many people who are not leaving because they have been here for 20 or more years. Part of their family was born here. Others may have legal status.  The undocumented workers are still here, but there are fewer than before and many are not taking jobs because of the risk of being arrested.

As this situation will exist in the coming months everyone, including Trump and his supporters, are going to feel it. They may be cheering now, but the time is going to come when they realize there may have been a better way. They’re already feeling it in southern California and in Florida where harvests happen several times during the year.

How?

  • Prices will go up. To keep your business and their profits supermarket chains will contract for produce from other countries.
  • Flavor will go down. That long distance produce gets harvested a bit early, a bit green or immature, to give time to the transportation process before it starts to rot. Flavor just does not develop that way. If you buy produce from overseas, you miss the flavor of how it really should taste.
  • Farmers here in the United States will not be able to continue to farm. Or at least to farm food. (Much of the Willamette Valley farmland is used for wine grapes, hops, hazelnuts and landscaping plants.) Farms will fail financially, and the land will go fallow. That will have a ripple effect on the economy, too.

So, Southern and Central California are where the bulk of supermarket produce is grown. And harvested. Or not harvested…and then not shipped to your grocery store. 

So, why do I say BUY AMERICAN when I also am saying food raised here in the US is going to have smaller harvests and higher prices?  Because if we don’t support American farmers we are going to see our food production, like our manufacturing, move offshore.

There are ways to buy produce at affordable prices but it means a commitment to change your shopping pattern. Only you can decide if giving your children and grandchildren a chance to buy American food is important.

Am I exaggerating? Unfortunately, no.  I remember my parents complaining that it was getting harder to buy American made when they replaced our black and white television with a color model in the late 1960s. At that time, Magnavox was only one of a few and they are still in business today.  All the other tvs that are manufactured here are by Asian corporations who have built factories here to save on shipping and other costs.  How did this happen?  Simple-we consumers like to buy based on price, not patriotism.

Yet I bet you believe you are a patriotic American.  Demonstrate it by investing in America’s economy.  This is a consumer driven industry! Buy locally raised food. Go to a website like Localharvest.com to identify when your farmers markets are, where the farms are near you that offer CSAs, where you can pick your own produce. Perhaps this whole discussion is meaningless as most Americans do not eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, but if you do try to eat in a healthy way, this will affect you unless you also grow your own food. 

And get those teenagers to take summer jobs working on farms….they’ll buff up, tone up, and get a great tan!

 

 


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A Next Step

Like many others I was hoping, but not expecting, the Electoral College to act in an unprecedented but authorized way to negate the Trump presidency. Had that happened, however, it would have opened other doors of unknown outcome, so maybe this is the best way.

This way, we can hold the incoming President to his Constitutional duties and responsibilities. We do have guidelines for that and will know when he inappropriately strays.  I expect he will stray, as his prior comments indicate he is not clear on much of what is ahead of him.

Meanwhile, enough angst. Each of us either feels distress now or will soon. Each one of us. The efforts of a Republican Congress backed up by this President will mean we have big changes ahead.  It is the anticipation of some of those changes that have people already upset. However, the rest will join the fray when program cuts begin to affect them. When campaign promises go by the wayside. When life does not get better for the many many people who expect the Federal government to fix things for them.

So, onward.

I have said often on my Facebook feed that I will stay vigilant and be as active as I can to help retain the rights won by all of us to give equal access and protection of the law to all our citizens. I will stay vigilant and be as active as I can to make sure the least of us continue to be helped regardless of any political stance.  I will stay vigilant and be as active as I can to make a positive difference.

Back in 1970 when Earth Day was initiated I heard a slogan that resonated. “Think globally but act locally.” We know the earth has overwhelming issues, not only environmental but in every aspect of life.

Image result for think globally act locally

We have a choice, each one of us.

  • We can ignore and carry on, dong what we do that may help or hinder any situation, self-centered and choosing to stay apart from the community of the world.
  • We can get stirred by all the need in the world and affected so deeply we can’t deal with it, so we freeze, stuck in despair.
  • We can opt to get involved in one or two issues that deeply resonate. We may send money or sign petitions or write letters or emails or even show up at our state capitol to join a protest.
  • We can chose to get active in our own communities, making our voice and action count where it will show a difference.

I’ve done each of these. Earlier in my life I was focused on my own young adulthood and all that involved including building a career and raising a family. I had a nodding relationship with a few issues but not much money and not much time, so not much involvement.

I’ve been on listservs that overwhelm me with need. It seems that I receive more than 20 a day with hands outstretched asking for $1, $5, $25 or more. It was with extreme pleasure that I unsubscribed from almost all recently.

I sign petitions and sometimes post them on Facebook urging others to take the minute to add their  support. It seems to be the LEAST anyone can do.

Mostly, I am active here in my town. I have chosen three main areas and participate as much as I can. I do what I can, offer my skills to forward the mission of the group. I self impose a limit on what I feel I can do and ask for the group to respect that. (If the group doesn’t, as some have in the past, I moved my energy elsewhere.)

I hope by this example you can see how you might work through the coming years when so many of us feel what we have known about the United States of America will be changing. I plan to keep on keeping on. Joining with other like minded people empowers all of us. emplowerment


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Pursuit of Happiness

Long ago I knew a man who wanted things, and so he would arrange to take them. Secretly. Sometimes other people would get blamed and he would not care. His pursuit of happiness was severely flawed as it not only did not take into effect the feelings of the owners of those stolen things, but the restricted freedom or life changing events that affected those that took the blame. He didn’t care. The Declaration of Independence provided him an inalienable right to pursue happiness and damn everyone else. Him first. Only him.

He’s not alone. There are many other flawed people who have “me first, the hell with all of you” attitudes.pursuit-of-happiness-2-728

And so, here we are, a nation that has been driven to division based on religious expression, women’s rights, the rights of people of color and sexual identity and expression and so much more.

The fundamentalist mindset is that anything else but their expressed beliefs are evil and must be stopped.  Al Qaeda and ISIS are doing that by murdering thousands. So far, it has not come to that here in the United States with our own citizens. But the time seems to be coming and not from Middle Eastern terrorists. This will be home grown.

Are we in for a civil war because some people believe THEIR pursuit of happiness depends on others being subordinate? Am I to be murdered because I have posted about my food preservation business and they want my stored food? Am I to be murdered because I have been outspoken about equal access to rights for all?  Am I to be murdered because I am a Jew?

There are a lot of challenged people in our communities. People who want what they want and have no ability to work out a plan to achieve it. They may be the poor, the people who are on public assistance and eat at soup kitchens. They may be the homeless with problems that are rooted in drug abuse or mental instability. But most likely the ones who have the largest problems are people who are living a life of struggle and they don’t know why.Pause Pursuit-Of-Happiness

These people are inhibited by their inability to self educate, their inability to develop a plan of action, their inability to consider the effects and consequences of their actions. These challenged people are our neighbors, our friends on Facebook, our childhood friends. These struggling people are angry and listen to the voices of Trump and other conservative talking heads that fuel that anger.

The pursuit of happiness is an “unalienable” right. That means it is the desire to be happy that is natural. The Decalration of Independence does not say “happiness”. It says “the pursuit of happiness.”   We are born with minds and talents that we may use to pursue happiness.  Many of us have had our minds and talents squashed and skewed in ways that make it hard to recognize that a path to happiness is one we must make on our own and together. Not through divisiveness but with cohesion and community. And it is not instant gratification but the actual working towards that goal that brings the greatest happiness.pursuit-of-happiness work


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Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Several years ago I called a local print shop to order some brochures and the guy gave me a quote for the job. I emailed him the file and stopped in there a week later to pick them up.

WRONG!!!!!

WRONG!!!!!

The phone guy was not there but my brochures were, without an invoice. The boss had me take the printed brochures, saying he would send an invoice.

Three months went by, no invoice. I stopped back in and prepared to pay. Still no phone guy and the boss man still had not prepared the invoice. I told him what the quote was and he had me pay that. But he marvelled that I had come back in, saying most people would not.

I said that was sad. I then said that I try to live by the Golden Rule.

“Oh yeah,” he sneered, “screw them before they screw you.”

“No, wrong attitude, ” I reminded him I HAD come back in. “Treat people the way you want to be treated,” I reminded him. He laughed, not a happy sound.

Today I saw a meme on Facebook where Elizabeth Warren challenges us Americans to consider where we are as a society. If most of us have the attitude that the printing shop owner has, we are in big trouble.elz warren

So, why have we become a very selfish, self-centered, I need I need I need I don’t care about you society? This is not because Black men don’t stay with their families. This is not because today’s music undermines the morality of our children. This is because most of us are hurting and resentful and above all, it is because most of us want what we want and many have forgotten that you need to work for it.

Many people are unhappy with the way things are.  Many people, like me,  have passion for one or two issues but never move beyond them to consider the common good in choosing a candidate.Bengazi

If you abhor abortion, and you’re a woman, don’t get one. If you’re a man, don’t get a woman in a position to need to consider one. Support widespread education about how to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. And then, be responsible not just angry.

If you are terrified that any Muslim is going to kill you, get educated. Believe it or not, Harvard offers FREE online courses. You have a computer, after all you are reading this. So, take advantage and learn more in a way that will not be slanted to one political ideology. Here is the link for the free courses offered about religion.   Xenophobia is not attractive and your fear means the terrorists are winning. They may not have to kill you to show they control you.

If you believe the poor are sitting back and taking advantage of social programs so they don’t have to work and you believe they are the cause of our national deficit, time to realize that the most expensive welfare program in our country is to corporations in the misguided effort to keep big business here at home, hiring our workforce.  Large corporations despite huge profits are eligible for huge tax incentives and other programs that put money in their corporate pockets.  They take advantage of the laws and STILL move offshore with their manufacturing plants, also taking advantage of the law.  In the effort to keep food commodity prices low, large corporate factory farms are given money NOT to grow food. Your tax dollar, in other words, is NOT being abused by the poor. The programs may not be effective but don’t cut services without offering a better alternative.politifact-photos-Budget_pie_chart_meme

If you notice a recurring theme, it is get educated.If you are angry about something, dig in more, using all sources, not just the ones that make you happy when you read them.

And then, get back to considering my first question. Are you your brother’s keeper?

We are part of a nation with vast differences.  Those differences have made us what we are.  We have different heritages, different living situations, different educational experience, different work experiences. The people who seem to be most upset are those stuck in the past when the White majority had all the power, and those on the edges who are trying to gain their equal place in the sun. We should not have different attitudes about everyone living in peace, everyone living in a safe place, everyone having access to education to improve their world and the world around them, everyone doing their best at their chosen work.

If we don’t lose this “me versus the rest of the world” attitude, we are in for more divisiveness, more anger, more home-grown people choosing to use their legally acquired guns to exhibit their anger.

It starts with YOU and how you raise YOUR children.  Work it. Be responsible and educated.

If this blog irritates you….there she goes again with more liberal ranting….please take the time to respond and explain why wanting all us of to work together is against your sensitivities. If you agree with the concepts here, please comment and explain why and, if you are willing, go a step further and explain how you put those feelings into action. After all, some people need a road map. Let’s build one together.roadmap


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Do You Vote?

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”  Plato

I remember when the law was changed and the minimum age to vote became 18. It was the year I turned 18 so I was excited. Do you know why the law was changed?

If you’re of a certain age, you will remember that we were in a war in Vietnam. The powers that be told us we MUST fight there to keep communism from taking over. Over 58,000 Americans died fighting there and you know what?  Our side did not win. (This may sounds familiar regarding some other recent wars.)

So, the argument was if an 18-year-old was mature enough to die for our country, an 18-year-old is old enough to vote. And yet, most don’t vote now.

Do you know that only 36.4% of  registered voters actually participated in the elections in November 2014?  In India, who proudly declares itself the largest democracy in the world, the last election had a voter turnout of 54.43%. In fact, year after year, country compared to country, the United States ranks the lowest of any major developed country in registered voter turnout.

Using voter turnout is an indication of how people participate in their government. So why do you and your neighbors skip acting on your opportunity to vote?

Many people think their vote does not count. And yet, here in Oregon, where voter turnout was better than the national average, about 30% of registered voters did not act.  In several districts the difference between the winner and the loser was under 1000 votes. The difference between the yes and the no vote for GMO labeling was 837 votes.  If you now have a result you don’t like and you didn’t vote, you are responsible. Understand that.everyt vote counts

Many people say they are too busy to vote.  Here in Oregon we vote by mail. In the upcoming election, the ballots will be sent to us April 29. Election Day is May 19 and ballot drop boxes are open until 8p.m. for those people who did not mail them back. If you read the voter packet with information about each race and each candidate, market your ballot, put a stamp on it and walk it to the mailbox, it might take you 15 minutes.  You can vote any time. You can even vote in your pajamas.

Voting registration is a process that can be intimidating.  There have been times when people were made to answer difficult questions before they were given a ballot. Many were turned away. Women fought for the right to vote. African Americans have the legal right to vote but there are still some places where obstacles are difficult. Here in Oregon you can register to vote at the DMV. When you go to renew your license or your car registration, you can register by filling out a form that takes about 2 minutes. Recently the state passed the Motor Voter law, making voting registration very easy. In fact, to refuse to register takes more time. You can, of course, register at the County Clerk’s office. The last day for registering for the May election is April 28.

Apathy is probably the most common reason for not voting. People often do not vote because they do not like the bickering and infighting or mud slinging between candidates. People believe with a lot of justification that politics is a dirty business, and they want nothing to do with it. As a result of the mud slinging, many choose to not pay attention to politics, or ignore it completely. However, those same people often complain the loudest about how bad things are, while not doing anything to make it better. Voting is the LEAST you can do. Getting involved helping a candidate you admire is much better.vote-hands

Some people say they do not vote because they do not like the two candidates that are on the news every night. What most people do NOT realize is there are many political candidates and choices beyond the first two that are on the nightly news ‘programming’. Find out more about third party candidates. If you have a smart phone, you have access to lots of information that your regular tv news probably won’t bother to tell you.

Some people believe all political candidates are bought off by corporations, so why bother voting, because the votes have already been bought and sold. People who hold that belief are actually correct in a way.  CORPORATIONS DO NOT CONTROL VOTING!

Many voters turn out for Presidential elections but don’t bother with local issues.  On the local level your voice is so important!  We are voting for the local Board of Education  on May 19th. There will be a McMinnville candidates forum held in the Carnegie Room of the Public Library Wednesday, April 29 at 7p.m. Come listen to the candidates speak. Then you can make up your own mind who sounds like they can represent your interests on the school board.I-VOTE

More about Yamhill County election dates and other information can be found here.

WHEN ORDINARY PEOPLE DON’T VOTE, THAT LEAVES THE WEALTHY MINORITY WITH THAT MUCH MORE CONTROL AND POWER


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The Way It Looks

The Way It Looks…….It’s not going to be pretty tomorrow when the Grand Jury hands down its decision in Ferguson, regardless of what the ruling is. Presumptions have been made. Regardless, it is not going to be friendly.

The Way It Looks…..People are going to remain bigoted, righteous in their position, and angry as hell. There will be no effort to work it out.

The Way It Looks….there will be many people hurt, many people arrested, many people who feel they have no other way they can express their feelings.

The Way It Looks…there will be many people who will take advantage of the situation to break the law.

The Way It Looks…the cycle will continue.

Unless YOU  change YOUR ways.

Unless YOU step up to help offer solutions.

Unless YOU look in your own neighborhood, your own town to make sure everyone is treated equally and fairly.

The Way It Looks…you will be just as apathetic tomorrow in your anger as you are in anticipation of it today.


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The Seamy Side

Graham and I spent about two hours in court today. We had been notified by the Victims’ Division of the Assistant District Attorney’s Office that the sentencing hearing for one of the guys involved in the rental scam would be at 10:00. Well, it was the LAST of six sentencing hearings scheduled for 10:00 so it gave us time to reflect on the pathways people take in life.

  • If you drink to get drunk or do drugs, expect to get into trouble.
  • If you don’t get at least a high school education, expect to get into trouble.
  • If you think the world is your playground and all of the rest of us are suckers, you will get in trouble.

It may take time, but your day will come.

And no, I didn’t believe the guy in our case who said he had unknowingly gotten caught up in the sleazy action.  By the time he opted to deposit the second check from another person, let alone the third one, that was for the same rental house  he should have been wondering about the ethics of the situation.swearing

He did admit he knew there was not enough money in the account when he went to pay for not one, not two, not three, but four used cars.

The judge, on this case as on the other ones, was fairly lenient. He is balancing the cost to us taxpayers for long term incarceration. He did mandate community service for all as well as other things.

And we supposedly will get our money back. I’m not holding my breath.uneven scale