This blog contains 1000 posts. Posting to Blogger with such a large archive has become unwieldy. Also, your blogista, who is sewing a kesa, is not writing much at present. She has ceased adding new posts. Still-active links are here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

She can hardly wait

Palm sunrise
After eight weeks away, more or less, Risa is en route home. She's writing this from the train station in Washington, DC. A very busy place. She knows she's moved a long way north overnight, because the temperature was about 80 (F) when she clambered about the Silver Meteor, and here her thousands of fellow  travelers are bundled up against an October snowstorm that is assailing many of their destinations.

She's heard she will be lifting potatoes, cutting cornstalks and sunflower stalks, spreading cardboard for the next potato patch, and doing repairs, repairs, repairs. In the rain. In the rain. In the rain. She can hardly wait. She's seen enough SUVs and superstores to last any sane person several lifetimes.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


A place of refuge
Risa continues to walk in an effort to stay out of trouble (with her waistline, among other things) and write (she's working on a treeplanter's memoir). She has tickets for a journey home, though, things in Florida being as they are, she doesn't know for how long.

Beloved is holding down the fort with help, but the farm, except for the poultry, isn't making it onto a lot of the chore lists -- tomato vines, cornstalks, sunchoke and sunflower stalks are still standing, and the potatoes haven't been lifted. Also, Risa's wholesale food club has had to skip two months.

While zooming around on errands in (alas, the shame) an SUV, Risa's hungry eyes seek out evidence of agriculture and simplicity, and she's not finding much. Here's a hayfield near Satsuma:

While looking it over, she mused on agricultural culture, so to speak: the round bales give evidence of the presence of one or more very large balers, which are a sign of dependence on petroleum-based (and coal-fired or nuclear electricity-based) industries and transportation, with paved roads and all that goes with that. So, it's thought of as a bucolic rural scene, but in terms of the drain-down of resources and the production of pollutants, this might as well be downtown New York City.

On the phone to her son last night, she shared some of her thoughts, remembering an article she had seen about Europe's economic unravelings -- that the troubles are erupting in those countries that basically have no oil of their own, but whose citizens want the same lifestyle as those of countries that do have oil.

In a country, or world, in which one expects to live within one's means, transportation (and much labor) may tend to look like this:

Vietnam Diary
Just so we know where we stand. Most people in the world actually live this way, though advertising and other media are clamoring to give them aspiration they, and we, would have been better off without. There is the checkbook you're used to balancing, and there is the one which throws in the ignored costs. Your ultimate banker is Mother Nature.

And your grandkids are gonna need a helluva bailout.

Son listens to the rant, then points out: "In the country you get to do a lot of cool stuff but you make a lot of carbon emissions coming into town. Me, I'm rice and veggies and a bicycle. Middle class lifestyle on next to nothing, just for not having a car."

"Yes," says Risa, " well, somebody has to practice what I preach."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Four days of rain and wind, and even a few fatalities; Risa does not remember Eastern weather being this exciting but apparently the new normal is as advertised. She has been cooking, eating, driving her mom to the grocery store, and cooking and eating, and the weather is her latest excuse for stumping around on her walks like an old elephant Carrying a walking stick, no less.

During a break in the weather, she attended a birthday party for a couple of old Marines and got to eat without being the one doing the cooking, as well as listen to harrowing tales of Korea and Vietnam. The canal was very still and pretty, but a bit too civilized; gators that try to colonize it are usually disposed of in the interests of the hundreds of small-breed dogs that live in the vicinity.

The neighborhood is very pretty, but there is a lot of wear around the edges. Many houses are no longer occupied; about half of these wear half-hearted "for sale" signs year after year, and the weeds become an issue as they can harbor enormous Eastern Diamondback rattlers. The snakes are beneficial; they live on pesky squirrels, rats and armadillos, but stepping on one can be problematical. 

It's not an urban area, which is hard for Risa to realize as it's very high density for what she thinks of as rural. With practice, she has come to regard herself as immured in a wild area, peppered with rattlers, wild pigs, bears, and other interesting things, but also with a high population of of socially maladjusted young males. She's cultivating the old Marines for added security; to a man, they are what in former times were called gentlemen.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Starvation Ridge


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Karen Rutledge had grown up in seclusion from a devastated world. But now she was alone in the open to face the unknown. Would she find a place among those seeking to rebuild civilization? This second edition contains the novels These Will I Bring, Abide the Fire, and Bright in the Skies in one volume.


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

They turn and wave

Risa is in Florida assisting her parents. Twice a day, to keep herself mentally and physically healthy, she walks through the retirement park to the river and back, a distance of just under six miles a day. There is a dock at the turnaround point, and sometimes there is a heron there to greet her.

The park's not unattractive, and there are live oaks with Spanish moss along almost the entire route. She dresses in white, with a white hat, and ambles along at a reasonable pace, using a favorite cane so as not to build up too much fluid on her left knee. She carries water. The hottest day last week was 98F, so the walks are very early and very late. She thinks about Dogen as she walks, who said "You must let fall (release) body and mind." Curbing one's expectations while retaining one's courage and perseverance is key.

Most people remain indoors in this park, watching television. It is a waiting place, with a hint of sadness. But sometimes some step out to visit neighbors. As Risa passes by, they turn and wave.


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