February Pleasures, Terribly Purchased

(#248) — Over the weekend, a brief trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania was full of surprises and pleasures.  In checking out some very affordable, large volume high tunnels for growing food year round, I saw crocuses and daffodils 6 inches tall, garlic beginning to push up through the thick hay mulch and marvelous asparagus also starting to reach for sunlight.  Back home for supper, the highlight was another mix of spinach and other salad greens that we could wait until just before the supper hour to cut because of the greater day light and continuing moderate temperature. The only heat in the hoop house is from the sun and some supplemental heat by adding a little fresh manure once a week. The salad just crackled with energy and vibrant color.  Even the large pan full of pulled pork that had been cooking slowly for 20 hours on a lifter just above the wood burning stove and its aromatic whiskey sauce fabricated by a farm apprentice didn’t  gather as much appreciation as the fresh salad.

The warm weather provides these pleasures and more. The chickens are laying more eggs.  There has not been a single loss of baby lamb or goat in this busy birthing period.  That’s a first in 40 years.  More than half of the fire wood is still available, same for the hay in the barn.  All the animals like being outside most of the day and as long as we move them frequently and prefer to graze more than feed from the hay bunks. The pleasure and convenience of all of these and many other benefits from this winter that isn’t winter, really have the effect of a boon to daily life.

It is also a good feeling to know that the neighbors are spending much less on fuel which not only saves money but also saves on the amount of green house gases spewed into the biosphere – that gossamer 15 mile strip of earth which provides for life on this planet.

Let’s remember that human history only gets 3.6 degrees F rise in global temperatures before unimaginable catastrophe occurs.  Every day let us get more aware that we are more than half way there, every year moving faster than the year before toward conditions that destroy life here and already engulf billions of people in horrific injury.

To do so requires a great deal from us. In the last 4 years, the warmest weather ever, the petroleum industry has been very successful with the general public and with elected officials in moving 30% points higher in denying the importance of climate change.  This success corrupts and weakens our economy while it rewards petro corporations with tens of billons in public subsidy and hundreds of billions in profits that could be spent in more affordable, safe, renewable energy and energy  efficient technology that other countries now deploy to our competitive disadvantage. Some corporations think of the trillions of carbon deposits they can still burn.  We must invest in the beauty and rich energy abundance of daily solar and wind power that can bring security and prosperity to everyone and everything.

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