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Good Mountain Press Monthly Digest #108
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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Robert Culp (1930 - 2010) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ "I Spy" TV series ~~~~~

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~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #108 Published August 1, 2010 ~~~
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Quote for the Vacation Month of August:

Words — magic utterances by which we enthrall one another in everyday trances.
Bobby Matherne , inspired by Joseph Joubert's Notebooks

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Editor: Bobby Matherne, Asst. Editor: Del Matherne
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~~ Click on Heading to go to that Section (Allow Page First To Fully Load). ~~
Archived Digests

             Table of Contents

1. August's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for August
3. On a Personal Note
       Movie Blurbs
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Cucumber Salad
6. Poem from 2010 Orange Beach Trip:"On the Beach of Time"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for August:

8. Commentary on the World
9. Closing Notes - our mailing list, locating books, unsubscribing to Digest
10. Gratitude

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#1 Jul  #2, Aug  #3, Sept  #4, Oct  #5, Nov  #6, Dec  #7
2001: Jan  #8,  Feb  #9,  Mar #10, Apr #11, May #12, Jun #13, Jul #14, Aug #15, Sep #16, Oct #17, Nov #18, Dec #19
2002: Jan #20, Feb #21, Mar #22, Apr #23, May #24, Jun #25, Jul #26, Aug #27, Sep #28, Oct #29, Nov #30, Dec #31
2003: Jan #32, Feb #33, Mar #34, Apr #35, May #36, Jun #37, Jul #38, Aug #39, Sep #40, Oct #41, Nov #42, Dec #43
2004: Jan #44, Feb #45, Mar #46, Apr #47, May #48, Jun #49, Jul #50, Aug #51, Sep #52, Oct #53, Nov #54, Dec #55
2005: Jan#051,Feb#052,Mar#053,Apr#054,May#055,Jun#056,Jul#057,Aug#058,Sep#059,Oct#05a,Nov#05b,Dec#05c
2006: Jan#061,Feb#062,Mar#063,Apr#064,May#065,Jun#066,Jul#067,Aug#068,Sep#069,Oct#06a,Nov#06b,Dec#06c
2007: Jan#071,Feb#072,Mar#073,Apr#074,May#075,Jun#076,Jul#077,Aug#078,Sep#079,Oct#07a,Nov#07b,Dec#07c
2008: Jan#081,Feb#082,Mar#083,Apr#084,May#085,Jun#086,Jul#087,Aug#088,Sep#089,Oct#08a,Nov#08b,Dec#08c
2009: Jan#091,Feb#092,Mar#093,Apr#094,May#095,Jun#096,Jul#097,Aug#098,Sep#099,Oct#09a,Nov#09b,Dec#09c
2010: Jan#101,Feb#102,Mar#103,Apr#104,May#105,Jun#106,Jul#107,Aug#108,Sep#109,Oct#10a,Nov#10b,Dec#10c
2011: Jan#111,Feb#112,Mar#113,Apr#114,May#115,Jun#116,Jul#117,Aug#118,Sep#119,Oct#11a,Nov#11b,Dec#11c
2012: Jan#121,Feb#122,Mar#123,Apr#124,May#125,Jun#126,Jul#127,Aug#128,Sep#129,Oct#12a,Nov#12b,Dec#12c
2013: Jan#131,Feb#132,Mar#133,Apr#134,May#135,Jun#136,Jul#137,Aug#138,Sep#139,Oct#13a,Nov#13b,Dec#13c
2014: Jan#141,Feb#142,Mar#143,Apr#144,May#145,Jun#146,Jul#147,Aug#148,Sep#149,Oct#14a,Nov#14b,Dec#14c
2015: Jan#151,Feb#152,Mar#153,Apr#154,May#155,Jun#156,Jul#157,Aug#158,Sep#159,Oct#15a,Nov#15b,Dec#15c
2016: Jan#161,Feb#162,Mar#163,Apr#164,May#165,Jun#166,Jul#167,Aug#168,Sep#169,Oct#16a,Nov#16b,Dec#16c
2017: Jan#171,Feb#172,Mar#173,Apr#174,May#175,Jun#176,Jul#177,Aug#178,Sep#179,Oct#17a,Nov#17b,Dec#17c
2018: Jan#181,Feb#182,Mar#183,Apr#184,May#185,Jun#186,Jul#187,Aug#188,Sep#189,Oct#18a,Nov#18b,Dec#18c
2019: Jan#191,Feb#192,Mar#193,Apr#194,May#195,Jun#196,Jul#197,Aug#198,Sep#199,Oct#19a

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1. August Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to the Digest, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the website.

The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.

This month Violet and Joey learn about Dreams.

#1 "Dreams" at

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Each month we take time to thank two of our good readers of Good Mountain Press Digest, books and reviews. Here's our two worthy Honored Readers for this month. One of their names will be in the TO: address line of your email Digest notification. Our Honored Readers for August are:

Patrick Thomas in Texas

Mark Hein in San Francisco

Congratulations, Pat and Mark !

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Out Our Way:


This month started off with a double-header challenge for us: a new Black-Cherry Maxima and two new Blackberry cell-phones. Why blackcherry? Well, the only 2010 Maxima on the lot was black, but with cherry metallic particles embedded which causes its color under direct sunlight to have a cherry cast to it. We call it the Cherry-Max to distinguish it from our White-Max. Why Blackberry? Why not? Even though we mentioned them both in last Digest, this month was a steep learning curve for us on both devices. I use the word 'device' to refer to the Maxima because its intricacies match that of any electronic device I have ever purchased.

Our annual trek to Orange Beach to our beach units came at a good time to learn to use both devices. Never had a car which could be linked to a cell phone before and the long drive each way gave us an opportunity to connect up our two Blue Tooth Blackberry cells to the Cherry-Max as we affectionately call her. We read about doing it on the trip to the coast, but the connection had to be done while parked, so we waited till we were at the beach unit in the parking lot to do the connection, and then we could try out making calls completely hands-free on the way home.

When I say hands-free, I mean, hands on the steering wheel while you say, "Phone", then say, "Handheld", say the name of person you wish to dial, choose whether home or office, and say, "Dial". Then you hear the phone ringing through car's sound system and when the person answers, you begin talking until you say goodbye to them and press the Hang-up Phone button on steering wheel next to your left thumb. This took a lot of reading and practice to figure all this out.

It began first with simply learning how to activate the car's voice response system. It can also be used for Navigation and several other functions. We gave the voice response a good workout when we tried to get it to set our destination as Josephine, Alabama for dinner and music. It couldn't find the small, two-pirate town of Josephine which nestles against the western end of Perdido Bay where Pirate's Cove Yacht Club rises above the edge of the water. Would have been better had we found the zip code for Josephine before we left. But we managed to get the navigation to follow us as we used a paper map to find the several minor highways we needed to negotiate.

As for the sound system, by the end of the month we are still probing, testing, and enjoying its many features. The Sirius/XM satellite radio is a delight with its many channels. Our favorite channels so far is the 40s, 50s, 60s music channel and the Margaritaville channel (56) starring Jimmy Buffet. Our least favorite feature is the weather alert feature. I tried to find a way to turn off the dummy saying, "Hot Weather in local area" every day — that's like an announcement saying the Sun came up this morning in this region! Hey, we know it's hot and it will be hot until September — Get Over It! On the few days when we had cloud cover thanks to cooling showers, the obtrusive voice came with "Flood warning in local area". What? More useless information! Streets may flood any time we have rain around here, but ain't nobody gonna get gully-washed into oblivion in these flatlands. Get over it! So I got riled a bit and wondered how I could disable the dummy alerts. If anything big is going on, I can switch to local AM radio stations for actually useful information. I don't need some synthesized floosie's voice interrupting my Beethoven's 9th Symphony on the Music Box. Yesterday the payment information came for the Sirius/XM radio broadcasts and I was deliriously happy! They are charging EXTRA for the weather alerts! We can save money by turning them OFF! HOORAY! We are keeping the rest of the satellite broadcasts because they truly have no commercials. They provide what we thought we were getting with Cable TV, but which never showed up: true commercial-free broadcasts. And broadcasts that stays with you as you drive out of town or out of state, so your music is always available.

Music Box, what is that? A Juke Box in the car without skipping disks when you hit a bump. You set it to AUTO RECORD and when you play a CD, while it's playing track 1 and 2, it will record simultaneously tracks 1 through 17 of a music album, for example. Then when you get home, you can remove the CD from the car because all of its music is already in your Music Box, with name of albums and titles of songs (unless it's some low cost CD of a local artist). So, at any time we select a song from the Tony Bennett album to listen to we get all the info on the digital display.

The CD player also plays every kind CD or DVD including CD's with MP3 encoding on them, as I verified with an MP3 study course I have been unable to play on CD player in our 2000 White Maxima. DVD movies, Blu-Ray, no problem viewing them, if you want to play Drive-in Theater on the edge of Mulholland Drive over Hollywood or by the side of Lake Pontchartrain on a cool October evening in New Orleans.

You will want the parking brake set for steep Mulholland Drive, but you'll need it regardless for the ultra-flat Lakeshore Drive because the idiot-box requires the car to be in Park and the Parking Brake to be set or it won't work. Some how I gather this is designed for the majority of drivers who can't distinguish from the road and a movie and will drive off the road if a movie is playing. For any long time reading-while-driving expert, this is a cruel restriction to place on me. If I knew how get around the system, I would, because I have a Teaching Co. course I would like to listen to, but it is DVD format so I can't listen to the course on my daily lecture runs to the PJ's coffee shop and back.

What more could a fully equipped A/V system offer? How about a USB port which accepts my iPOD filled with songs and displays the iPOD screen on dashboard, allowing me to listen with crystal clear clarity over my BOSE system to all of my collected songs, to go from BeeGees "More than a Woman" to Charlo's "Belle Terre" in Cajun French in an instant. By the end of the month we were learning how to Auto-Record CDs into our built-in Music Box.

Waking up in bed reading emails or watching "When Harry Met Sally" as the sun sets over Lake Pontchartrain at our private Drive-in Theater, the new world of the 21st Century is at our fingertips and literal beck and call.


We were. We have enjoyed a four month's hiatus from news broadcasts thanks to BP. I read the Times-Picayune each morning and that gives more than enough information about the oil spill for one day. I don't want to listen to other people's ranting to decide how I feel about the situation. The BP spill will cause the oil industry to undergo a similar type of regulation as the nuclear industry underwent after Three Mile Island. No more cowboy antics on oil rigs in federal waters. I went to work at a nuclear power plant in 1981 and discovered for myself the amount of procedure development which had been mandated to prevent another nuclear incident. No more deviating from procedures, so you had better ensure that your procedures are comprehensive because any deviation from them will require high-level review and subject your company to onerous fines and shut-down.

I feel optimistic for this region, because the types of regulations which are surely coming will mean a lot of work for local people over the next decade, work that will be necessary just to continue drilling for oil, but drilling safely.

Procedure writers will converge on this area from elsewhere, but they will need lodging, food, materials, broadband access, vehicles, and entertainment, all of which will provide sources of revenue for local residents and businesses.

So, yes, I was glad to be at Orange Beach. I wanted to see the territory for myself, after hearing all the maps that people had about what the Gulf coast beaches looked like. There were some tar balls, but as I like to say, they were quiet — didn't make a bit of noise, even if you stepped on them, which I didn't, but the same people who would drive off the road if you allowed them to watch a movie DVD in their car they stepped on them and got to spend time complaining about them and using the solvents provided for washing them off. The tar balls were a whole lot quieter than the people who stepped on them. In honor of the tar balls, our neighbors made some spherical cakes iced with black icing for a 4th of July BBQ and called them tar balls. As for me, I'm a poet, not a baker, so I wrote this poem about the tar balls while I was sitting on Orange Beach on July 4th:

The tar balls are quiet
      and the crowds elsewhere,
The gale blowing from the east
      is lifting my chair,
And I bob up and down as if on a skiff,
      the beach like a fluid stage
Upon which I sit and write into the wind
      as a biplane sputters noisily by.

Yet the tar balls are quiet
      into the night
As they slouch towards the shore
      for a nocturnal encore,
To be welcomed with open arms
      and buckets of well-fed cleanup crews
In orange and blue.

Yes, the tar balls are quiet tonight
      as ghostly crabs slip noiselessly by
And the sea rolls on to the shore.

Yes, ever and again the sea rolls onto the shore, washing clean the mistakes of our human folly. It is a robust planet, this great mother Earth which we live upon. It healed the wounds of World Wars I & II, Chernobyl, Hiroshima, Nagaski, Three Mile Island, Exxon Valdez, and it will heal the wounds of the BP oil spill.

The cap is tight, the oil has stopped flowing, the drilling of the relief wells was suspended during the non-storm named Bonnie, and by the end of July, things will be back in cleanup mode with plans to permanently seal the well.


After my two long digressions, I thought I'd give you the rest of the month as it happened. A day before the end of the month I drove us in the Cherry-Max to Rouse's for a small grocery trip. Great fun driving that new car. Filled up tank with gas from Brother's Mart (where the pre-Katrina Danny & Clyde's used to be)which has just opened. Driving away I reset the trip odometer to 0 and wondered what the 72 was doing on top of the 0. Hard to figure out numbers sitting on a new display. Is it an error code, perhaps saying one of my monitored tires has low air pressure? Hmmm, I pondered the situation and suddenly it dawned on me: it must be the lifetime odometer! Only 72 miles since it was delivered! I had never seen an odometer, even on a new car, under 4 digits long! It had only 17 after we test drove it, and that would be about right.

Before we left for Orange Beach, we got some good news when McCann Electronics called to say our HD Mitsubishi Projection TV had been repaired. They had to trace and repair a loose connection in the Power Control Circuit which was causing the power to drop 3 seconds after pressing the button on our remote to turn it on. It had been broken for a month or two and we didn't realize how much we missed it till it was working again. It is a rectangular box with a flat top that supported our new LG flat screen TV. All new TVs are flat screens, which means you can no longer stack one TV on top of another TV. If this TV had not been fixable, I would have had to have a case built to put one TV on top of the other instead, something I preferred not to do. Plus new TV do NOT have multiple inputs from cable which are switchable like the Mitsubishi which allows me a flexibility in my Screening Room setup that I would lose with a newer TV. I do not buy a TV without checking the connections on the back and now you have only one cable/antenna input, and that's all! Luckily cable operators found a way to stream local broadcasts into that one input — that solves one problem for me but creates several problems with being able to switch between my multiple signal sources.

For example, in my five TV setup, I can display one image on all five screens simultaneously. Can't do that easily without multiple inputs. By the time of the World Cup final of Spain and the Netherlands we were home, I got to watch on my five TV setup in our Screening Room.

Before leaving for a week, our St. Augustine grass had to be mowed, and there was still a lot of moisture in the St. Augustine. The heavy grass sometimes fills up the chute carrying it up into the grass hopper and causes the motor to stall. This happened on the day before we left for the beach, and in the process of trying to restart the motor, I pulled the rope out of the starter. I wasn't sure how to replace the rope, I took the assembly apart and carried it with me to the Snapper Dealer a few miles away. As I was standing waiting to be served, I noticed a notch in a corner that if you rotated the pulley system to that place would allow you to thread in new rope and knot it. Why don't I just use a battery-operated starter? I've learned from years of owning kick motorcycles that if the motor don't start after a few kicks or pulls, it needs a new air filter or plugs or both. I keep ether starting fluid for cold mornings and the beginning of grass-cutting season. After that it starts on the first or second pull. It only cost me $6 for new rope and handle, cheaper than a new battery, and they will last me over twenty years! Find a battery that will last so long, or stay charged over the winter. When I got home, I put the entire rope in, but it wouldn't return all the way, so I pulled rope out several inches, re-cinched the retaining knot and cut off the excess. I was ready to mow! St. Aug said to me, "A little off the top" and away I went.


The first morning at Orange Beach, it was raining all morning, so I decided to brave the rain and go to Dizzy Beans, the only decent coffeeshop I'd found so far in the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores area. Well, the dizzy gals at the coffeeshop are at it again. First thing happened was that Dizzy Bean's place was closed and a hand-written sign said "Moved to the WHARF". Now that is probably enough information for locals, but I had no idea where the "wharf" is. But that was all the info I had. So I called Dizzy Beans via Google 411 and got a phone answer that said "Cannot take messages", and mentioned its location somewhere on 2nd Street. I put that address in as a destination in my GPS on the Cherry-Max and followed it down the street northward to a hard right and drove along that road until I noticed East 4th Street. Then E. 5th st. Ooops! I realized that the address they gave was the old address which had not been updated on 411. So Dizzy Bean's moved and left the old phone number broken and obscure directions on the store front.

How could I find this place? I really didn't know. We come here once a year and have always gone to the old location which I didn't know the address of but could find it driving through the state park. It was a pleasant drive both ways, and now they've moved. Where could they be? Wondering what to do, I was driving along a seemingly endless road with a waterway on my left and only a few homes on streets off to my right. Drove past 9th St and nothing, water on left was a good sign, as it may mean a wharf is coming up. That would be lucky. Soon I passed the toll bridge road from Foley to Orange Beach and noticed a hi-rise building near its base. Then I passed something called Wharf Avenue and bells went off! That must be the Wharf. Likely place to move a coffeeshop to. I drove deep into the partially developed property, by the seat of my pants since there were minimal street signs and mostly empty lots, checking for food icons on my GPS panel, and finally asking a woman smoking outside a hair dressing place in one of the large buildings but she didn't know a Dizzy Beans. Then I stopped in a turning area, allowing room for the SUV behind me to pull around me while asking another gal for help. She was working on a tram, cleaning it up, and said she'd look it up in her guide. I rolled my window down and signaled the driver behind me to pass and instead he pulled alongside me to tell me I couldn't stop in that spot. I asked if he was a cop, no, but . . . . so I asked him if he knew where Dizzy Beans was and he pointed to end of a long building said it was the last one. Amazingly, I had come to exactly the right place and my latte was just a few blocks away. Or so I thought.

I walked into the Dizzy Bean coffeshop — it was larger, new, but empty, cold and uninviting. I saw one person, an overweight gal reading some personal magazine or something. I asked if they still sold coffee as I was ready for some after my long adventure in the wilds of Orange Beach. She asked what I wanted, what size. I said, "Latte, whole milk, with extra foam, medium". I always add "extra foam" because it makes the latte easier to sip through the standard go cup. No one at PJ's or even Starbucks has ever balked at just giving me a cup of coffee if I ask that way. Only Dizzy Beans. It happened the first time I went to the old location about 6 years earlier. I explained to the owner there that I didn't want a cappuccino with stuff sprinkled on top, just a latte with extra foam and finally she acceded and after a couple of years just gave it to me the way I wanted it. So the hefty gal at the new, empty place, in which I was the only customer at 10 am, said, "You want a capuccino, not a latte." Here we go again! I don't want to do this. Either she's going to sell me a latte with extra foam, or I'm leaving! No coffee is worth an argument! I held my ground, "No, I want a latte with extra foam." "That's a cappuccino," she said, repeating what the difference is. I suddenly lost my appetite for staying in that store buying anything. If she doesn't know the customer is right and if he tells you he wants a latte with extra foam and you can make that, you should simply make it, not argue with him, especially after you've already told him once that he is wrong. I decided she was right: I was wrong — I was in the wrong place! I had discovered America accidentally (got lost) and I would never return to Dizzy Beans or to the entire Wharf area. And likely none of my family of coffee drinkers will either. I left, turned left as I knew it headed to Orange Beach, but not how far it would take me away from my path home.

Eventually the road turned right and soon I was back on Beach Road heading west to our beach unit. Then all the traffic in both directions stopped still. Apparently a busload of kids in uniforms and a large patch of water on the beach-side of the road had stalled traffic momentarily. Came home and fixed my own coffee after my morning learning opportunity.


This year John and his two sons, Kyle and Collin, got the second beach unit at Orange Beach and I must say they enjoyed it to the fullest. That first night we ate the shrimp fettuccine that was left over from one of Del's garden club meetings. I told the boys, "Grama slaved over a hot checkbook to bring this meal to you." The next night we enjoyed my Red Beans-Eggplant Étouffée which was also frozen and made the trip very well. The boys enjoyed it all. After two blustery days on the beach with intermittent rain, the skies finally cleared on Wednesday and John and I set up the canopy. Rather difficult with the stiff breeze still blowing, but we managed. With that we could sit at the edge of the water and watch Kyle and Collin playing in the sand and water. By the next day they each had a boogie board for body surfing and the both had a blast. I had enough sun by Thursday and enjoyed sitting with our bedroom glass door open to the pool, sand, and waves on the beach as I read out of the Agriculture Course, an important series of lectures by Rudolf Steiner in 1924 which formed the basis for BioDynamic farming and gardening.

One night we took the boys to dinner with us at the Old Oyster House, only to find that its food quality had dropped considerably since the last time we'd been there a couple of years previously. What had a been a great place to visit with lots of outdoor spaces had been all repainted and spruced up, only to have the food quality drop. Will likely be a long time before we try it again. It was not easy to get to because they had already begun blocking off the Beach Road for the Jimmy Buffett free concert on Sunday night. On Saturday Tim and Carol Hicks road over from Pensacola Beach about 5 pm.

We drove them in the Cherry-Max to Pirate Cove for dinner and some music and dancing in the open air yacht club alongside the western edge of Perdido Bay. Guthrie Trapp, a local favorite, was back in town with his band "82 South" and the place was packed and jumping. I ordered "Mel's Garbage" pizza sans meat and hot peppers and it was delicious plus a couple of refillable Barq's root beers. Del said it was like an old-fashioned date and it was.

On Sunday morning we packed up to leave early. We had done a lot of the packing work the night before. Maids were out in the aisles early. One nearly ran me over with her cart as I turned a corner. She said, "Concert today!" She was heading to the Jimmy Buffett free concert in Gulf Shores later. Everything went into the Cherry Max just fine and we sped home. Later I received a note from an old friend who grew up on the Gulf coast telling me about the Jimmy Buffett concert being re-broadcast on th Comedy Channel and I DVR'ed it for us to watch and enjoy later.


Like Dorothy said, "There's no place like home." And we were ready to be back from the beach. We unpacked and I drove over to PJ's to get my first latte in 8 days.

"Seven Days
Without a PJ's
Makes one Weak!"

That's my motto, and I'm sticking with it. I'm glad to be back in PJ Land. Next thing was to cut the early July fast-growing St. Augustine grass which desperately needed my cutting touch. Then there was a new task: our LSU fig tree was fruiting. I had decided to pick the crop and make fig preserves before I decided whether to keep the fig tree and replace it with our favorite Celeste fig trees. I had planted two 2 foot high Celeste fig trees last fall to supplement or replace the LSU tree if it didn't make good fig preserves. I'll save you the suspense and tell you the LSU fig tree is a keeper — the figs were delicious.

Del and I picked a couple of quarts of figs. This fig tree is having its "breba" crop, a new kind of tree and a new word for me. Figs are only produced on new growth of limbs each year. Consider a tree as a mounded garden with plants growing on the limbs tips, each plant producing one or several figs. That was the only kind of fig tree I knew before. This one has a bonus crop on last year's new "plants" in July, the breba crop. Already the normal crop is showing tiny buds of fruiting for the November crop (which was the only one we saw last year). I'm planning to make some fig preserves to compare the flavor with our normal Celeste figs. We also make two crops of potatoes each year: May and December, plus many other veggies. Heat is so intense that most veggies don't grow in mid-summer, but okra does very well. Still getting some cucumbers, tomatoes gone, eggplants are hibernating till Fall when they will produce again.

We have had the Cajun Stir Fry a couple of times a week while the veggies are growing in the garden. It's the last week of July as I type these words and I'm picking about 10 large okra every other day, enough for a stir fry. For the stir fry we get from our garden, eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, basil, and parsley. By the end of the month the tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplants are gone.

Later the eggplants will start fruiting again and I'll replant some bell peppers for the fall crop. I'm saving up enough chopped okra in the freezer for a large seafood gumbo later on in the month.

I spent most of the day writing and arranging the photos for my review of Vesa Loikas' book of photographs. Never tried to do a review of a book in which there was no writing before! It was a challenge, but he and Dr. Viikari were so kind to send me a copy of his book, that I girded myself up for the challenge. I worked with him to get good digital copies of the photographs I wished to use and the result was rather spectacular. I hope those of you who mostly look at the photographs will notice the photographs are his and not mine and stop to read some of the words. We have a new HP Color Laser Jet printer in our office and for the first time I printed out an editing copy of a review in full color. Usually I'm content to have the paper copy of a review in black and white (even if it has a color plate or two), but the essence of this review was the colorful photographs.

On our first full day home from the beach, the Cajun Stir Fry was a delicious treat for supper, with some sliced cucumbers. Afterward, we went into the Screening Room to watch The Closer on DVR. The show comes on at 8 pm, but we usually let it record for a half hour or so and we can fast-forward over the obnoxious commercials on our Pay TV Cable. It was a great first episode with Brenda's gang settling into newly renovated offices, the Pope maybe getting a promotion, and Brenda all flustered about a murder which also involved a renovation. This is the only first-run TV program we watch and we look forward to the new episodes in January and June with great anticipation. Kevin Bacon does a masterful job of directing and the script-writers are constantly surprising us with new sub-plot twists.

The next day was very busy getting ready for our daughter and her family to stop by for a visit on their way back from their annual vacation in Michigan near her husband's family. I made groceries at Rouse's and refilled our pantry just got home in time for Greg, Yvette and kids to arrive. They are seriously interested in a vacation or summer home on a lake in Michigan, one big enough for us to come up and visit them each summer. I could go for a break on the lakes in summer where it's cool during the day and at night.

Was a great visit. We went out and picked, Yvette and I, a big basket of figs, then a bunch of cucumbers for Yvette to take home. Okra weren't quite big enough to pick yet, not having regrown from our neighbor's picking while we were gone, as we asked them to do. Once they get too big, they grow stiff and inedible, good only for the seeds they contain to plant next year.

We went to DiMartino's for lunch. I had just the eggplant strips, and Del gave me her seafood gumbo, filled with shrimp. Then we came back and Yvette and I walked around the lawns and I showed her our various plants and flowering shrubs. After they left, I took a too long nap and got no work done the rest of the day. Del fixed us salmon sandwiches for dinner with a cucumber salad. It's good to be home again.

Final days of July: our son Rob showed up with his three kids, Sierra, Walden, and Emerson. Sierra spent most of the time with her Aunt Maureen doing grown-up stuff (for her) and kid stuff for Maureen. Walden and I spend a couple of hours applying tissue paper to the wings, elevator, and rudder of my B-17 balsa and tissue model airplane. I began it with my first grandson, Chris, when he was only three, so this project is 21 years old. Before this one, my immediately previous airplane model had been completed in 1954, in my early teens, when I did several dozen of them. The large B-17 model was a chance to do the largest model I had ever attempted and as an adult. With the hurricane and moving, the boxes of completed parts somehow stayed together and required only my attention to complete it. By the time Rob left he had papered the fuselage, and doped the tissue paper. Doping a tissue paper model is like applying a very layer of plastic to protect the otherwise fragile paper from water and inadvertant holes. It also provides the base for a coat of colored dope for the final finish. The next stage will be adding the plastic gunnery and pilot covers, the propellor nacelles, and wheels.

The kids left on Sunday morning after paying a visit to Grandpa Buster, my dad, in Mimosa Park west of here about 20 miles. After they left, we took Dad to High Mass at Holy Family Church where an 85-year-old fill-in priest presided. He said his mother was a Babin from around Houma as was my mother, so we may be related. He received applause after the Mass, a rather singular tribute and rare in Catholic Churches in my experience. After Mass we went to Sal's Highway 90 West Restaurant in Boutte for a delicious softshell crab entree, and found that the place was closing its doors after more than twenty years as that very afternoon. Zydeco's will be moving into the place, but the people, the menu, and the ambiance will never be the same again. Sal's will join the Creole Kitchen, Fillup with Billups, Breaux's Motel, and Gator Stop in the pantheon of historical landmarks, the ghost places I drive past in Boutte from now on.


Till we meet again in September, God Willing and the Levees Hold. August will be a wonderful going back to school month for many kids of all ages. A time for last minute vacations to the Beach or Mountains or to distant Family. Whatever you do, wherever in the world you reside, make it a great August for yourself! ! !


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  • New Stuff about Website:
  • Five "Yes and Even More Poems":

    Yes, there's allways even more "Yes, and Even More Poems"! I wrote the book of poems between 1995 and 2000 and thought the world of the 20th Century wasn't ready for them. But, maybe, just maybe, the 21st Century is. Note I use the word "allways" to mean both "forever in time" and "in all the different ways possible of doing something". As such the ambiguity is incorporated into the meaning of the word, "Allways". The below five poems were written in August and September of 1996. [Poetry and Text ©2010 by Bobby Matherne]

    1. All That Matters.

    From the invisible sheet of falling water
           a human being emerges
           shattering the form of the watery sheet.

    It is the shattered form that matters.

    It is the shattered form that permits us
           to perceive, to secrete, to digest

    That we are flashes of Intuition
           actuating the sinews of Inspiration
           motivating the structures of Imagination.

    We are the shattered form that matters,

    We are all that matters


    That’s all that matters.


    All That Matters: Written on September 17, 1996 in my bed in Timberlane master bedroom at 10:50 am. I stayed in bed all day to keep company with a head cold so it would be encouraged to leave after three days. I spent all day reading and sleeping and it felt wonderful not to have to call up a supervisor to get permission to stay home.
           I read the remainder of The World of Senses, The World of Spirit and was reading page 62 when the inspiration came for this poem. Parts of the poem were written on the inside rear cover and other parts on page 62. The operant quote is:

    When form sprays into these activities, when shattered form, that is to say matter, is driven into the organism it brings about sense activity, gland secretion and metabolic activity. Hence it is evident that in these activities we have to do with breaking form, with a form that breaks to pieces. It is nothing more than special manifestations of the destruction process in form that meets us in sense activity, gland secretion, and the activity of digestion. They are particular processes of what we can describe in general as the destruction process in form, or as the shooting of form into matter.
    Steiner talks about two sets of men, “the man of senses, glands and digestion, and on the other hand the man of nerves, muscle, and bone.” The first set is transitory, as the reports of the senses, the secretions of the glands, and work of digestion takes places in short time spans of seconds to hours. The second set is more permanent, lasting for years or a full lifetime. How are these two sets of man related to each other? By the living blood that flows between the two sets. Steiner gives more information on the importance on blood on pages 60 through 65. See my poem Building Stones, in this volume.
           Later that evening, Del came home from work and I read it to her.
           She said to me, “What you’re writing about, Bobby...”
           “Yes?” I asked.
           “All that matters,” she replied.

    2. Building Stones

    When the earth has evolved apace
           and scattered dustwise into space,
    Will it disappear without a trace
           or what will be there in its place?

    When Man has eaten up his food
           from all the earthen fields and wood,
    Will he disappear in a surly mood,
           or leave behind something that’s good?

    When Spirit seeks to build new homes
           as over the empty space it roams,
    Will Man provide the building stones
           from his nerves, his sinews, and his bones?


    Building Stones: Written on September 17, 1996 in my bed in Timberlane master bedroom at 11:26 am. I stayed in bed all day to keep company with a head cold so it would leave early.

    I was reading page 64 of The World of Senses, The World of Spirit by Rudolf Steiner when I was inspired to write this poem. The last line and the title comes directly from the text of the following quote:

    But something is saved through man from the material process of the earth and lives in the general cosmos, in the universe; and it is what can arise through Inspiration, Intuition and Imagination. In this way man gives to the world that wherefrom the world builds itself up anew. Man, as it were, provides the building-stones.
    Just as we humans bear our individual souls through the gate of death, so too “the earth bears over into the Jupiter existence what has come of the Imaginations and Inspirations and Intuitions of man.” Steiner points out that the outstreamings of the bones provide the Imaginations, the outstreamings of the sinews provide the Inspirations, and the outstreamings of the nerves provide the Intuitions that will be the building stones of the next cycle of creation. From the destruction of present nerves, sinews (muscles), and bones comes the seeds of Intuitions, Inspirations, and Imaginations from which the next cycle of creation will spring.

    Entropy (stuff happens) is the on-going process of life as it decays ever so slowly into disorder. To remain alive requires devoting energy to overcoming the natural entropy of life processes. What Steiner is saying, in other words, is that the on-going processes of entropy in the nerves, sinews, and bones create outstreamings of Intuitions, Inspirations, and Imaginations into the cosmos. He cautions that “these words are not very happy, but we have no others.”

    3. Allways Even More

    Like one hand
           washes another hand,

    One thought grows
           out of another thought,

    Expanding without end,
           with only thought-imposed limits,
           up until now.

    Allways Even More: Written at 5:55pm (probably on Timberlane swing) on August 26, 1996. The initial idea was written in the margins of page 72 of The Karma of Materialism by Rudolf Steiner on August 20, 1996.
           Heinrich Jacobs quoted by Steiner:
    When it comes to the human soul’s ability to grasp truth it is as if it were capable of elasticity of expansion.
    Steiner in his Philosophy of Freedom said, “One thought grows out of the preceding one.”

    4.Into the Deep

    Japanese ships hugged the coastline
           in samurai times.

    They were not good navigators
           because they feared the deep.

    They set sail in the known
           and avoided the unknown,
           up until now.

    Into the Deep: Written on September 8, 1996 in my bed in Timberlane Screening Room at 11:19 am while watching Shogun on Channel 63 on Cox Cable, the History Channel. On the other three screens were Playboy, Latin lessons (Ch. 8), and on Bravo, Dam Busters.
           This poem was inspired by a line in Shogun where Rodriguez tells Anji-san that the Japanese hug the coast line because they were afraid of the deep. It would be easy to think that the Japanese no longer have that fear, after all, didn’t they mount a huge navy during World War II? But that would be missing the point.
           Look at the deep structure. To fear the deep is to fear the unknown. One cannot be an innovator if one fears to set sail into the deep, into unknown waters. The Japanese learned how to navigate from the Occident and only then did they dare to sail the deep, because it was no longer unknown. The process of fearing the unknown still lives in Japanese culture. They are excellent implementers, once a new idea has been discovered by others. Until then they are content to be the very sailors hugging the coastline of the known.
           America was founded by sailors who, contrary to the Japanese, braved the unknown to discover new lands across what was thought to be the end of the world by the majority of people living at the time. Good thing Columbus didn’t take a vote before sailing!
           That brave spirit infuses America yet today and shows up in its invention of computers, genetic splicing, and the burgeoning Internet. Thank god for the Japanese, those skillful implementers who bring us new improved versions of our electronic and automotive inventions. Yet today as in Shogun times, an Englishman (probably from the United States) stands at the bow of Japanese ships to navigate them safely over the deep unknown waters of new technology.
           “If you feel that way, Bobby, how come the last line?”
           Because of habit. I’ve learned, whenever I express a limitation, to add up until now, even if it’s someone else’s limitation perceived by me. For all I know there is evidence that the Japanese are overcoming these process of fearing the deep. For evidence that they’re not, look at the field of entertainment. The Japanese can built a great Disneyworld according to Disney’s specifications, but to come up with a whole new field of entertainment is not likely. They are still hugging the shore there, up until now.
    (July 24, 2010 Note: As evidence of an exception in recent decades we note the innovation of the field of anime by Japanese cinema.)

    5. The Law of Karma

    In a lifetime,
           more or less,

    You must clean up
           your own mess.

    The Law of Karma: Written on September 17, 1996 in my bed in Timberlane master bedroom at 11:31 am. I stayed in bed all day to keep company with a head cold so it would be encouraged to leave after three days.
           I spent all day reading and sleeping and it felt wonderful. Got out of bed in the late afternoon to run to Joe Henry’s drugstore on Bellemeade to buy some zinc tablets. I had just read how a comprehensive test showed that taking them would likely reduce the extent of a head cold from 10 days to 3 or 4 days.
           I was reading The World of Senses, The World of Spirit by Rudolf Steiner. The operant quote was on page 65:
    Thus, what we ray forth from us falls into two parts; that which is gladly received by the cosmos and that which the cosmos rejects. The cosmos is not pleased with the latter and leaves it alone. It remains where it is. How long does it remain? It remains there until such time as the human being comes and himself destroys it by means of outstreamings, which are a kind able to destroy it; and as a general rule no other man has the power to destroy outstreamings that are rejected by the cosmos than the one who himself sent them out.
    As I read the last sentence of the above passage, this thought came to me, “You must clean up your own mess.” Shortly after I shared that with Del the first line came to me. The new line make explicit the thought that the messes we must clean up extend over lifetimes.

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Movies we watched this past month:

    Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, and all of the original dialogue. Often you get the Director's Cut Edition which adds back excellent footage that was cut from the theater releases.
    P. S. Look for HD/DVD format movies which are now available from NetFlix.
    Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise ignore.):
    “The Last Station” (2009) Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer star as Countess and Leo Tolstoy in the docu-drama of the last days of his life in a railroad station at the end of the line. “Everything I know, I know because of love,” from his “War & Peace”. Watch the extras for interview with Plummer. Marvelous period piece, superb acting, make this a A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
    “Valentine’s Day” (2010) hits Los Angeles like a firestorm of flowers, kisses, and engagements and a movie in a cemetery. In the game of musical chairs known as life, how can two people find each other and get married? It’s a mystery. “All About Steve” (2009) Sandra Bullock zany to the Vth or Ph Degree! As Mary, she fills empty spaces, stalks Steven or Stephen, ends up in a hole, happy at the last. Definitely
    A DON’T HIT MISS ! ! !

    Foyle's War: Set 6: Disc 1 (2010) D. C. Foyle is back in action and his path crosses with Milner and Sam’s when a secret Russian deal is stirring up the natives and the aliens in Hastings and Brighton. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
    “Rescue Dawn” (2006) gives one new appreciation for Christian Bale’s skills as an actor, especially his gustatory delight eating the crawling worms and bugs in Viet Cong primitive prison in Laos during early years of war. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
    “Incendiary” (2008) One mother tries “to blow the world back together again” — does she succeed?
    “Play It to the Bone” (2000) Woody Harrelson and Antonio Banderas are best friends who must box each other to get a shot at a title fight and Lolita Davidovich is the catalyst to keep them together long enough to make it into the ring.
    “The Lost and Found Family” (2009) or Beverly Hills goes to the sticks or a woman discovers paste doesn’t go with hush puppies, scarves not with blue jeans, and a found family is better than none at all.
    “The Hangover” (2009) Worst nightmare: throw a bachelor party in Vegas and lose the groom! Everyone too drunk to remember what happened. What else can I say: “Double your pleasure, Double your fun, Watch the Unrated One!”
    “Walkabout” (1971) 16-yr-old girl and 5-yr-old brother are taken to middle of Australian outback and left after their father kills himself and torches his car. Can this survive the grueling trip back to civilization? Can their aborigine friend survive civilization? Worth the walk and the watch.
    “Adam” (2009) a poignant story of a high-functioning autistic of 29 having to deal with loss of his only parent and a job in quick succession. Can a family of raccoons in Central Park turn his life around? A DON’T MISS HIT !
    “Shakespeare in Love” (1998) How can one write a play about a play inside of the same play? I don’t know. It’s a mystery. And A DON’T MISS HIT! ! ! !
    “Fados” (2007) filled Portuguese music of that genre, Fados. A series of love songs to Fados, great videos, music, dancing.
    “Dear John” (2010) Nicholas Sparks stars as the writer mining this cliched title for a gem. Great opening metaphor of soldier as stamped out coins. It was worth repeating and it was. Can love survive a “Dear John” letter?
    “Saint Ralph” (2004) Ralph Walker became a runner, inspired by a priest’s comment that it would take a miracle for him to win the Boston Marathon shortly after a nurse told him it would take a miracle for his mother to come out of her coma. This is the story of the dweeby kid in the catholic school who becomes the hero of his classmates. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
    “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2009) Michael, convicted of libel, undertakes a 40-year-old murder investigation for an aging billionaire. He gets gratuitous help from a mysterious girl soon the game is afoot. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
    “Dresden, Disk 1 of 2” (2006) about the events on German and English sides which led to fire-bombing of the city of Dresden during waning days of WWII. In German and English. Downed English pilot, Robert, is saved by a German nurse who falls in love with him.
    “Dresden, Disk 2 of 2" (2006)The firestorm arrives just as Anna’s father has the family making their escape. Robert has been captured when he broke up her engagement party and is locke in attic sedated with morphine. The entire city is burning, can the family, can the lovers get away? How? It’s a mystery. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
    The Invention of Lying” (2009) Want to live in a world without lying? C’mon, tell the truth! If you say yes, perhaps this account of a world without lying will convince you otherwise. Ask yourself, “What would the Man in the Sky do?”
    “Not the Messiah” (2009) a musical Oratory by Monty Python celebrating the most famous non-Messiah who “Always Looked on the Bright Side of Life”.
    “Bob Hope: Hollywood’s Brightest Star” (1996) Great review of the Vaudeville, Broadway, Hollywood, Radio, TV, and USO career of this beloved comedian and American icon.
    “It Might Get Loud” (2008) Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, U2's The Edge, and Jack White of the White Stripes. Didn’t know either of these, but was fascinating to watch them reminisce, jam together, play their own favorite songs. We get to see how even Heavy Metal rock had its origin in lowly blues singers of the South.

    Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.

    What a LUCKY MONTH! No AAACs!

    Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:
    “The White Ribbon” (2009) not worth the watch, B&W with subtitles, hard to follow WWI period in Germany, ethos of country people displayed warts and all.
    “August” (2008) about the bubble which burst in July and August was an august time for owners of companies with $.5B in stock value and no identifiable profits. Look at one owner’s plummet to earth breaking the sound barrier.
    “Brooklyn’s Finest” (2009) is a sarcastic title about cops taking drug money and dodging bullets, sometimes successfully, in the dark streets and darker apartments of Brooklyn.
    “From Paris with Love” (2009) and Arrogance ala Travolta with lots of killing, car crashes, sans kissing and sans script. Get the H2SO4, this partnership needs to be dissolved before a sequel breaks out!
    “Maldemores” (2007) perennial bad guy Luis Guzman stars in this medley of love gone bad and good. Parallel stories of old love, young love, and familial philandering. I hope I never have to watch a movie of old people slurping soup again!
    “The Book of Eli” (2010) is a dark, long waste of film on a silly post-apocalyptic world idea. Kill people in order to get the only copy of a book which will teach people to love. Pollute the lakes in a search for clean water would make more sense.
    “Fotonovela” (2007) Andre Guzman plays Angel, a stud of a tyro photograph forced to work around beautiful scanty-clad babes without looking at them.
    “G. I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra” (2009) a movie about futuristic weapon which resembles an old converge on the isolated cabin and have a shoot-em-up Western. My dumb radio alert system signaled me: “Continuous Mayhem in local area tonight”. Two pairs of old buddies fighting each other and silly love affair flavor the riotous stew.
    “A Serious Man” (2009) in a serious religion full of serious people following serious commandments.
    “From Paris with Love” (2009) and Arrogance ala Travolta with lots of killing, car crashes, sans kissing and sans script. Get the H2SO4, this partnership needs to be dissolved before a sequel breaks out!

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    Boudreaux is eating in a new fancy French restaurant in Breaux Bridge and has ordered the iced vichyssoise. The black tie waiter delivers it with a flourish and it looks beautiful. It's in a small silver bow set in a bed of crushed ice and inside is this wonderful creamy white soup with chopped chives and sprinkles of mace spice on the top.

    Boudreaux looks at it for a moment then calls his waiter back over to his table and points to the fancy soup bowl, and says, "Taste de soup!"

    "Is the soup not cold enough, Monsieur?" the waiter asks.

    "Taste de soup," the Boudreaux repeats with insistent tone.

    "Mais, pardon moi, Monsieur, but is there perhaps a fly in the soup?"

    "Taste de soup," the Boudreaux says once more.

    Finally the waiter gives in, knowing that he was breaking all the rules of the restaurant in tasting a customer's soup. "Mais, pardon moi, Monsieur, I'll taste your soup."

    The waiter looks around the soup bowl and finally asks Boudreaux, "Mais, where's your spoon?"

    Boudreaux looks up, smiles, raises one finger in the air and says triumphantly, "Ah-ha!"

    == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
    5. RECIPE of the MONTH for August, 2010 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
    (click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Cucumber Salad

    Background on Cucumber Salad: Okay, everybody knows how to make cucumber salad, sure, but everybody makes theirs a little different. Here's the way Bobby Jeaux makes it for me and Del. This has been a daily addition to our evening meal because our cucumber patch has being pumping out 6 to 10 large cucumbers a day for over a month. We eat about two a day and give the rest away. This month we picked a twin cucumber: two cucumbers attached at one side. They made interesting figure-eights on the plate (See Photo Below). This recipe is simplicity with a little flair of design. Give it a try while cucumbers are plentiful. The scored sides add a flair; it was popular when I was a kid and it is worth extra minute or two, plus: you get sprinkled with a little holy water as you score.

    2 Cucumbers
    1 Dash of white vinegar
    Sprinkle of Sea Salt and freshly ground Black pepper

    Wash cucumber.

    Cooking Instructions
    Peel the sides with a sharp Cutco knife, either in square or pentagon pattern, leaving a green stripe at the corners. This cutting technique allows you to take off excess white areas in large diameter cucumbers. Run a fork with sharp tines along the outside of the cucumber, scoring parallel lines into it. Slice by hand to vary the thickness and thinness of each slice for texture. Sprinkle sea salt and grind black pepper over the slices. Carefully a dash of White Vinegar. Should be only a few drops which will coat the slices without leaving any in the bottom of the bowl. Then turn over the slices, add salt and pepper again and shuffle the slices to spread the salt, pepper, and vinegar throughout the slices evenly.

    Serving Suggestion
    Cover and chill till ready to serve.

    Other options
    Cucumbers prepared this way may be added as decorative and delicious border to other salad ingredients, such Creole tomatoes.

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    6. POETRY by BOBBY from 2010 Orange Beach Trip:
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    On the Beach of Time

    On bare sand
           my feet awaited
           the wave
           which engulfed them
           with green delight.

    When it retreated
           it unveiled a wondrous sight —
    A sparkling bounty
           of undersea treasure
           arrayed on the sand

    Like a jeweler sliding open
           a display case, saying,
           "Look at these beauties!"
    And, before I could grab a single gem,
           sliding it shut again,
    Never to reopen it.

    But in the DVR of my mind
           is a freeze frame of beauty
           which I can reopen at will.

    The gems you grab with your hand
           only exist for a time,
    The gems you grab with your mind
           exist for all time.

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    7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for August:
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury. NOTE: these Blurbs are condensations of the Full Reviews sans footnotes and many quoted passages.

    1.) ARJ2: Photographs 1986 - 2010 by Vesa Loikas

    Perhaps to love is to learn
    to walk through this world
    To learn to be silent
    like the oak and the linden of the fable.
    To learn to see.
    Your glance scatters seeds.
    It planted a tree.

    I talk.

    because you shake its leaves.

    From ‘A Tree Within’ by Octavio Paz, translation by Eliot Weinberger,

    I loved this book! Especially the wintery scenes of Finland. It took me a while to figure out that it was the author's shadow which graces the cover of the book. If you look carefully it becomes clear it is the shadow of a photographer on skis taking a photograph of his own shadow!

    Vesa Loikas and I like to take photos of similar objects and scenes. For example, the close-up of the spruce bud, I love to take very close shots of tiny wildflowers which most people walk by without noticing. When they see the full size view of the wildflower, it seems fresh and new even though it is a flower they pass daily. Another one I like is the night scene reflected in a puddle, which depicts multiple layers of reality as Escher showed in his drawings. Then there’s the ice wall which reminded me of a photograph I took one year of icicles hanging from an open work table which later appeared in an Entergy calendar.

    Other favorites were of winter Finnish scenes, such as the church in winter by the light of the Full Moon. At first I thought it was a residence, until I looked to the right side of image and discovered the crosses on the roof and the cemetery in the yard.

    His 'Yellow Street' composition of Gamla Stan in Stockholm, Sweden feeds into my love of taking photographs of architectural features and is one of my favorite photographs in this book.

    Vesa wrote to me recently, "I do approach photography in a way where the object in the image is not the subject of the photograph. And they are open to interpretations like a poem or a fictional book. I'm interested in the technique but ultimately it is not about the camera or the equipment, but the feeling of the photograph that it projects and/or conveys."

    This is something I understand very well, as for me also, photography is a feeling. I spot something, then move the camera until what I feel is just right shows up in the view finder. Afterwards, there is no way for me to explain why I took the photo the way I did, as there was no conceptual thought or logical rationale, but simply a feeling which prompted the photograph. It is also an act of faith for me — faith that the feeling I had which tripped my shutter will be the feeling that a viewer of that photograph will have as they enjoy the image.

    At first it seemed too difficult to write a review of a book in which there is scant text. But after I decided to do it anyway some words came to my mind and some came from the photographer himself about his work. "My approach in this book is that every photo is a story or a poem by itself. And it is a collection like a collection of poems where there is a certain trend, but no continuous plot from one photograph to the next."

    Being a writer and a photographer, I cannot leave home without a couple of ink pens and a camera with back up memory cards and batteries because every place I go is filled with possible subjects for my pen or my camera. It is now summer in Finland as I write this review, one of the warmest summers since 1914, and Vesa writes, "It is Midsummer Fest in Finland this weekend. People are off from work for a couple of days and spend their time with family and friends, and mostly in their summer cottages. I'm heading to the archipelago also tomorrow. The sun is up late and it doesn't get dark at all. It is a great time to photograph because of the special lighting conditions."

    During a recent Baltic Sea cruise I took many photographs as we cruised the archipelago from Stockholm to the open waters of the sea. I was much impressed by the variety of large homes on the numerous islands we passed along the way, and wished I could return to take photos at other times of the day and seasons of the year.

    Allow me to cease the words so that you may enjoy some of the photographs by Vesa Loikas, my favorite Finnish photographer.

    The Review can also be read directly by Clicking Here:

    2.) ARJ2: Agriculture Course, GA#327 by Rudolf Steiner

    We live in a world in which we expect a scientist to put the world under a microscope and come up with answers for us. That leaves most people completely unprepared for Steiner's look at agriculture, because he puts the world of agriculture under a macroscope and comes up with answers for us: how we should farm, how we should nourish our plants, how we should eliminate weeds and insects, and how we should schedule our activities in synchronism with the moon, planets, and stars which comprise the macrocosm in which we live and breathe.

    What is a macroscope? It's a name I coined for Steiner's technique of looking at the big picture, explaining how to understand agriculture holistically. Contrast Steiner's approach to that of the horticulturist with a microscope identifying minute parts of plants or a chromatograph to identify minute percentages of zinc or lithium or silica, etc, and prescribing chemical sprays to combat fungi and wilt, insecticides to combat pests, and herbicides to kill weeds.

    What do we see when we put our eyes to Steiner's macroscope and peer through its lenses? Marvelous things! Breathtaking things!

    We see that there are no unhealthy plants, only unhealthy soil; no weeds to be killed, only healthy plants where we don't want them to be; no insect pests, only insects that are attracted to feed on plants made weak by chemical fertilizing. We see how to treat soil to make it healthy so that fungi, mildew, wilt, rot, and other so-called plant diseases rarely happen in our gardens, and are immediately remedied when they do appear. We see how to make our garden unattractive to insect pests and weeds. And best of all we see how healthy the food we eat from our garden makes us.

    Steiner's macroscope is not some computerized, electronic marvel, but a way of our interacting with the macrocosm in which we live; it revives for us the way farmers lived in harmony with their environment for millennia before the advent of so-called modern farming. You can choose to grow your own vegetables and fruits this way or not, but I guarantee you that the food you grow using these techniques will be the best-tasting food you've ever eaten, and time will bring you robust health as a side-effect.

    In the 1958 Preface of this book, we read about pests and the deleterious effects of chemical fertilizers and pest control. The situation over the fifty years to now has grown worse, not better, as one can easily verify by a quick walk through a garden center with the numerous Weed-and-Feed products on display.

    [page 16] Pests are one of the most interesting and instructive problems, looked at from the bio-dynamic viewpoint. When the biological balance is upset, degeneration follows; pests and diseases make their appearance. Nature herself liquidates weaklings. Pests are therefore to be regarded as nature's warning that the primary forces have been dissipated and the balance sinned against.

    According to official estimates, American agriculture pays a yearly bill of five billion dollars in crop losses for disregarding this warning, and destruction of some of the insects succeeds only in producing new, more resistant kinds. It has been established by the most advanced research (Albrecht of Missouri) that one-sided fertilizing disturbs the protein-carbohydrates balance in plant cells, to the detriment of proteins and the layer of wax that coats plant leaves, and makes the plants "tastier" to insect depredators. It has been a bitter realization that insect poisons merely "preserve" a part of moribund nature, but do not halt the general trend towards death. Experienced entomologists, who have witnessed the failure of chemical pest-control and the threats to health associated with it, are beginning to speak out and demand biological controls. But according to the findings of one of the American experimental stations, biological controls are feasible only when no poisons are used and an attempt is made to restore natural balance. In indications given in the Agriculture Course, Rudolf Steiner showed that health and resistance are functions of biological balance, coupled with cosmic factors. This is further evidence of how far in advance of its time was this spiritual-scientific, Goethean way of thought.

    Rudolf Steiner chose to give this course of lectures, not in some classroom in a German university in a big city, but in a house on the large farm of Count Keyserlingk in the northeastern section of what is now the Czech Republic, the region of Koberwitz. The hardest part to believe about this agriculture course is its all-encompassing nature: all of human life on Earth and in the universe are involved in the process of sowing, tilling, harvesting, and enjoying the fruits of gardening. You will be skeptical, believe me, about this aspect of the course, but you do not have to believe or understand fully what it contains in order to benefit from its contents and prescriptions. You only have to suspend your disbelief long enough to follow the prescriptions and observe for yourself the results. If you are not willing to suspend your disbelief, I believe you would be better served to stop reading this review now, and buying yourself a booklet about how to weed and feed your garden about Vigoro or Miracle-Gro or Roundup or any number of fertilizer and pesticide products. You will find that you have lots of products to buy and plenty of friends to commiserate with about your gardening woes.

    One cannot look at a plant in isolation from its environment. Take a simple beet: it is red, grows underground, is a root vegetable, and a modern scientist can analyze its chemical, organic compounds, and the various vitamins it contains. Nowhere will the scientist find under her microscope that eating beets is good for one's thinking ability! There is no thinking vitamin, but beets produce an impetus to think.

    That reminds me of a story. When I was a small boy, I hated liver and refused to eat it, but I loved beets so my mother gave me a lot of beets. I recall her saying on more than one occasion, since you don't eat liver, it's good for you to eat beets because its red like the blood in liver. Even as a six-year-old that statement seemed weird to me, some kind of faulty thinking, but since I liked beets and that enabled her to feel good about giving me beets instead of liver, I didn't care what reason she used. It wasn't until I began read about beets (beetroot) in Steiner's work that I appreciated the boost of thinking power all those beets I ate as a young child.

    Scientists study living organisms in isolation when they consider the beetroot separate from the medium in which it lives, the soil of the Earth, but these same scientists would not consider treating the magnetic needle of a compass separate from the Earth! They do not take apart the metal of the needle looking for the cause of its pointing North, no, they examine the needle in the context of its connection with the Earth (and its magnetic field). But lacking understanding of the cosmic forces which operate upon the beet, these same scientists ignore the Earth and the planetary forces upon the beet, up until now.

    Human beings represent the highest form of life on Earth and as such we are the most free from our connection with the surrounding cosmos, more than animals, and much more so than plants. Steiner gives a couple of examples of how our connection to the cosmos appears. One is the seven-day period of fevers, and the second is the connection of menstrual cycles in women being tied to the phases of the Moon, not to the cycle of the artificial calendar months. We humans react to cosmic cycles, such as the 11-year sunspot cycle, but our reaction is not in sync with the sunspot cycle, so we do not notice.

    Now we get down to the nitty-gritty of all plant life: the Earth, its composition and soil and how it directly affects the plants which live in it. There are two materials of immense importance to soil, limestone and quartz. Limestone contains calcium and carbon whereas quartz contains silicon.

    What does silicon do for our plants in the soil? In the field horsetail, equisetum arvense, we see a plant which is almost all vertical construction, green hollow tubes, growing directly from the ground, up two to four feet in the air. Plants which can grow tall and skinny require silicon. What does limestone do for our plants in the soil? It provides a balance to the silicon effects that is needed to produce our plants. Without this balance we would have either the thin long-stemmed plants (silicious effect) or short, stunted, full-bodied cactus shapes (limestone effect).

    Next we must understand how the planets pour forces into the silicon materials and limestone materials in our soil. The planets beyond the Sun (namely in an orbit beyond that of Earth), the so-called distant planets, pour their forces selectively into the silicon materials of our soil. This concept will become very important later. To summarize what we have found so far: Silicon makes plants tall and reedy; limestone makes them short and fat. The distant planets send their forces into the silicon in our soil; the near planets (Moon, Venus and Mercury) send their forces into the limestone in our soil.

    In other lectures, Steiner discussed how one particular seed from a plant may either be eaten for food or planted to produce another plant. It cannot do both! Consider this as a farmer. He needs to eat potatoes and also needs to keep potatoes for seeds to produce more potatoes. This applies to all plants: they can be used for reproduction or nourishment. In this next passage Steiner explains that the near planets affect reproduction and the distant planets affect nourishment. One easy way to remember that the near planets affect reproduction is recall how the nearest planet, our Moon, is deemed to be romantic, thus affecting human beings and indirectly leading them into matters which lead to reproduction.

    Given the above information, we can ask how might we affect the life of our plants by enhancing the effects of the near or distant planets on them. When we reach the point of asking this question, we are ready to receive in useful ways the information of the rest of this agriculture course.

    Most gardeners have heard that it's better to plant at certain phases of the Moon, but why would that make a difference? Old-time farmers knew what to do and had old sayings which guided them in planting in the proper relationship to the Moon and the amount of rain for the best effect on their crops.

    Which condition on Earth bears the same relationship to the distant planets which water bears to the nearest planet, the Moon? That condition is warmth. The near planets with their short orbits affect the plants we call annuals, whose life cycle is only one year. Those plants, such as trees, that live for many years, are affected by the distant planets and we must take the location of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn into effect when planting them, to achieve the best results. For example, when planting an oak tree.

    [page 27] If someone wishes to plant an oak, it is of no little importance whether or no he has a good knowledge of the periods of Mars; for an oak, rightly planted in the proper Mars-period, will thrive differently from one that is planted in the Earth thoughtlessly, just when it happens to suit.

    What does any of this have to do with real science? you may be thinking. If so, then by "real science" you mean materialistic science which specifically and proudly ignores the influence of forces it cannot measure with its man-made instruments. But Man is an instrument who can understand and measure these forces and Rudolf Steiner was a man who knew how to do this in his own time. The rest of us will have to wait for this to become a common human ability, but that time will come. Till then one can consider and perhaps come to understand rightly that hard scientists live in the clouds of abstract logic and dead thinking.

    Yesterday while working on this review, I looked up equisetum or horsetail which Steiner discusses in this next passage. I discovered that the "dinosaur grass," as I called it, is actually equisetum arvense or the common field horsetail grass and is full of silicon, 90%, and a tea made with its stems will prevent mold, mildew, etc, such as beset our crepe myrtles annually at the Roadhouse (Steiner explains this later in this course). And for 3 years I searched for this plant that I remembered fondly from my youth as being everywhere and was no where to be found, especially difficult as I did not have a name for it. I had no idea why I wanted to find it, but I did — only now do I know why I was searching for it! I was going to need to have a supply of it to apply what I am learning in this agriculture course.

    How do we ensure that we have right mixture in the natural manure we use for our plants? It is a simple matter of having an appropriate number of cows, horses, pigs, etc. on our farm and then the mixture from using only their manure will be exactly right. Steiner points out that the best combination of plant and animal life takes place where Nature is on Her own, without the so-called help of Man. One can begin to see the greatest problem with so-called modern agriculture is that farms have been scaled up into huge factories and the right amount of animals no longer exists on any mega-farm, so artificial manures — one-sided chemical fertilizers -- are pressed into service with all the attendant ills such as lack of nutrition, susceptibility to so-called plant diseases and insect pests, all of which requires additional chemical fungicides and pesticides, causing a decreasing quality of nutrition in exchange for an increasing cost of production! The result is that humans are induced into eating planting grown far distant from their own homes, plants which have no chance to adapt to the protein needs of the person eating the food.

    The five bearers of life form the German word for beautiful: SCHÖN, namely Sulfur, Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen. Steiner tells us the origin of the word sulphur, coined in a time when humans could still see the spiritual world and light-bearing qualities of sulphurous and phosphorus. The "phorus" come from the same root as "ferry" which means to bear across. What is the "Philosopher's Stone" which recently obtained notoriety in the first Harry Potter book? Steiner reveals it to be the element "Carbon" which everyone is familiar with, but which in ancient times was held as very tight secret because of the amazing modifications the ancient alchemists could make from it which it was deemed necessary to keep from public understanding and likely misuse.

    Carbon's secrets were guarded back then like we guard the hydrogen bomb secrets today. Carbon becomes the carrier of the ethereal world in Nature. Want to see evidence of the ethereal world? Look at a child. I saw a young boy about five in a doctor's waiting room. His mother was busy at the counter and the boy never kept still for a second. He rotated around the open room in a counterclockwise fashion, looking at one thing then another, never pausing, but moving constantly. As I watched his rotations, I wondered if he ever might go in the opposite direction. He never did. Time and again he moved around the inside of the room looking everywhere, never tiring of looking or moving. One dozen, two dozen or more orbits of the room, never jading, always seeing the room anew, till I began to understand that his motion was the reason for his movement and his looking was merely a by-product of the never-ceasing motion. His strong etheric body kept him in motion; it is what the etheric body does: move without ceasing.
    Adults can experience their etheric body when lost in a forest: they will move in circles unless they force themselves to use a compass or other distant landmarks. A circle is the most natural motion a human can make because our etheric body loves circles, thus our love for dancing. Carbon attracts the etheric body and allows it to move while remaining attached to the physical world of our flesh and bones. The substances carbon and sulphur need oxygen, coming right after hydrogen in the SCHÖN pentacle of life, to carry them throughout our physical body. "This physical element which with the help of sulphur carries the influences of life out of the universal ether into the physical, is none other than oxygen. . . . For the ethereal moves with the help of sulphur along the paths of oxygen." But the oxygen known by physicists is not living oxygen, that is, oxygen in close contact and part of living processes, no, the oxygen of physicists is the raw and quite dead element of oxygen and thus physicists can know nothing of living oxygen.

    There are three elements which fill and are most closely associated with our three basic human bodies as follows: physical body-carbon, etheric body-oxygen, and astral body-nitrogen. It is fascinating to read Steiner describe how these elements work together in our living bodies in this book. He treats these elements as spiritual principles, because in the beginning spirits infused these elements to coordinate their activities and that coordination is present, observable to spiritual sight, and responsible for me being alive to write these words and you, dear Reader, being alive to read them. The mediator is nitrogen as the agent of astrality.

    Plants cannot exist without animals or humans about because plants have no astral body, only a physical and etheric body. What's the big deal about having animals and humans around for plants? They don't have an astral body, so why would they need beings who do have them around? Remember the birds and the bees? They are essential to the reproduction of plants. Sure, pollination, I know that, you may be thinking, but it is not pollination that birds, bees, and humans provide to plants that is essential, rather it is their astral bodies which flow into the reproductive organs of plants and allows them to reproduce. Thus the astral works in a crucial way in plants, especially around its flowers which contain the sexual organs of plants.

    Who owns a garden who does not meditate? In the planning stage, in the walk through a garden center, in the choice of location to place plants newly acquired, in the daily walks through the garden to admire the plants and check on their progress — are not all those activities filled with meditation? Plus the long winter months in some locales when the garden may be months away.

    It is this type of meditation which prompts me to mow my own lawns — the hour or so I spend takes me over every patch of lawn, praying over every patch of ground and examining them to spot any developing problems and to correct them while they are still minor.

    Have you heard about the nitrogen gathering nodules which various legumes (pea and bean plants) have at their base? Steiner likens these to nitrogen breathing membranes similar to the oxygen breathing ones humans have in our lungs. Often these plants are grown in fields which are nitrogen-depleted to refresh the soil.

    Earlier we saw how silicious material creates tall reedy structures in plants and limestone leads to short dumpy structures. One can envision a battle going on in the soil between the two forces of silicon and limestone which results in the various plants forms we encounter. Steiner cleverly personifies the battle for us.

    It is useful at this point to ask, "What does all this mean?" All this limestone and silicon fighting each other, nitrogen-breathing, near and distant planets, dead and live warmth, etc, what does this have to do with agriculture? Steiner gives the answer in simple metaphor of a baby and a comb.

    [page 67] For all the different spheres of farming life we mus gain insight into the working of the substances and forces, and of the Spiritual too. Such insight is necessary, so as to treat things in the right way. After, a baby — so long as it does not know what a comb is for — will merely bite into it, treating it in an impossible and style-less fashion. We too shall treat things in an impossible and style-less fashion, so long as we do not know what their true essence is . . .

    The body of this course is learning about the true essence of things agriculture so that we may operate on them in a suitable manner. Take your favorite tree and do this now. Imagine rich soil somehow piled into the shape of that tree. Got it? Now imagine that the tips of the tree which have been dormant over winter reach to the surface of this soil. Each tip becomes a sprout of new growth above the soil of your tree-mound and from these sprouts will come living plants into view which will culminate in flowers, fruit (or nuts), and seeds. In this imaginative view, you can see that trees are like pre-planted annual plants which arise from its especially prepared "earthen-mound". Most trees only grow fruit and nuts on this new growth. This fact was recently impressed on me by the LSU fig tree on the grounds of our new home. It was producing figs last November whereas the Celeste fig trees, with which I was most familiar, only produced figs in July. It is now July and for a week I have been picking figs on this LSU fig tree again. This hybrid fig tree produces a breba crop, a second crop which appears on the old growth from the previous year! The figs I am picking now are forming on the brown stems which were green the previous year — this is what breba crop means. Meanwhile on the green branches forming past the brown ones, tiny green figs are forming which will ripen in November. In our mound-analogy, the breba crop, as it were, grows below the soil-boundary.

    To manure the soil is to bring it alive otherwise we place our plants into a dead soil and it struggles mightily to bring itself to life out of its own vitality, often dying in the process. If we wish to bring our soil alive, we must add manure which contains some amount if livingness which will bring the soil alive. If you use pure mineral substance as manure, so-called chemical fertilizers like ammonium nitrate>, you will achieve fast growth and a healthy-looking greenness of the plants, but it is a one-sided health.

    I have been using Preparations 502 through 507 in treating our gardens for almost ten years and the results have far exceeded my expectations. In the past two years, I expanded our garden to include a patch for growing vegetables. Before then it was mostly citrus trees which we ate from. My navel oranges and grapefruit were filled with fruit and we drank some grapefruit juice from November till September, almost year round simply by leaving the grapefruit on the tree till we needed some more juice. The juice would only last about two weeks in the fridge, so I squeezed only enough for about a week or so consumption at a time. Here for the first time I encountered Steiner's original instructions for these preparations. I bought the separate preparations of 502 to 507 and treated my mulch bed with them.

    The next year I located some barrel compost, 509, which has all of these plus the 508 equisetum preparation already mixed together. It is much easier to use and can be applied directly to all the plants: the gardens, lawns, and bushes by sprinkling. The barrel compost comes looking like loose peat moss, no smell, and a small amount is dumped into a barrel of rainwater and the water is stirred for an hour, spinning rapidly to create a deep vortex in the water, for ten minutes in a clockwise direction, and then ten in the opposite direction. The application is done after nightfall. Instructions for making these various preparation are found in the full review.

    How is it that gardeners and farmers today are able to ignore (for the most part) the cycles of the Moon when sowing, harvesting, and adding manure to fertilize their plants? The manure will simply wait in the soil until the next Full Moon. Thus, the unknowing can claim that the phase of the Moon has no effect on the manuring process and for all practical purposes, they may seem to be right because their error is hidden by a forgiving Full Moon which comes once a month without failing. In fact, the Full Moon period of effects lasts about half a moon's cycle or about two weeks.

    Weeds are best defined as living plants where we don't want them, regardless of whether the plants may be useful or not. One can see that stinging nettle and dandelions are often treated a weeds and attempts are made to extinguish them. A weed is a plant defined by humans who wish it gone, but exactly how do we get rid of these unwanted plants without damaging other plants in the neighborhood?

    We cannot stop the Moon's influence on either the plants or the weeds, but we can treat the soil in such a way that selectively the weeds will not receive Moon influences. The process is simple: we burn the seeds of the weeds, sprinkle the resulting "pepper" on the ground where we don't want that plant to grow, and after a couple of years, the weed will not grow there. The process is selective as the plant will not grow only where you sprinkled the pepper.

    If you, dear Reader, are thinking that you would like to have proof before attempting this, I can understand, but why not provide the proof for yourself by doing it. Steiner says, " Set to work and try to verify them. If you do the experiments rightly, you will soon see them confirmed. If I had a farm, however, I should not wait to see them verified. I should apply the method at once, for I am sure that it will work. So it is for me. Spiritual-scientific truths are true in themselves, we do need to have them confirmed by other circumstances or by external methods."

    As for eradicating animal pests, Steiner gives instructions for getting rid of field mice, after describing all the various scientific methods tried, most of which involve deadly bacteria or poisons. And he says the mice treated this way always come back. Animals conserve Moon forces, but not planetary forces and Steiner's method consists of burning the skin taken from a field mouse during the time when the Venus is in Scorpio.

    What about insects pests? What can we do about them? You cannot skin an ant or a wasp. With insects, however, you can burn the entire insect and spread the results around in the area where you want that insect to stay away.

    One problem we have locally is red ants (also called "fire ants" because their stings can burn like fire). After living twenty years in one place, I had eradicated the fire ants with fire. Didn't know about burning and scattered the resulting pepper back then, so what I did was merely pour a small amount of gasoline around and over the hill, set it afire and use a shovel to ensure that all the gasoline burnt and that the queen's chamber was reached by the fire. The ants never returned to that spot, but the fire left a small burnt spot in the grass for awhile, so I discovered a water solution: I spurt some dishwashing liquid over and around the edges of the anthill and pour a bucket or two of water, applying the shovel as before. Fire ants survive flooding rain, so why would cleaning them with detergent kill them? I suspect the reason is surface tension. The way detergents lift dirt from clothes is reducing the surface tension. The smaller an object is, the more it is affected by surface tension and dirt particles are tiny, as are the heads of ants. So when normal water engulfs an ant, a bubble of air forms around its head like a diver's helmet and keeps it alive while it carries the ant, as by a helium balloon, up to the surface of the water where the ant can survive. Add detergent to water, the bubble no longer forms and the ant drowns from lack of air, never reaching the surface. I call this the Royal Bath because if successful in eradicating the ant colony, the Queen ant has received her bath. If the colony survives a couple of Royal Baths, it's the fire next time. The Royal Bath is easy to administer and leaves no scorched patch in the grass. But notice that neither of my techniques discourages ants from settling in nearby areas on my lawn.

    Next time I apply the fire, I will spread the ashy material in around the edge of the lawn to discourage encroachment from adjacent properties. My most recent attack on the red ant hills (about three of them) took place coincidentally in May when the Sun is in Taurus, not because I had already read the next passage, but because it was the first time I mowed the lawn. As I spotted a small ant hill while mowing, I marked it with a small white flag and returned to the spot for my Royal Bath and fire followup. The flag remained until I had verified during subsequent mowing trips that the ants had not returned.

    Astronomers, who owe their existence to the ancient astrologers, now ridicule the idea that the stars have any influence on animals or humans. Yet the Wisdom of the Stars was well-respected in ancient times when the average human could directly perceive the spiritual forces coming to Earth from the Stars. The science of the stars can be recovered today by anyone who will do the work of studying Rudolf Steiner's spiritual science. The whole field of bio-dynamic gardening provides us a practical way of adjusting our gardening practices to the phases of the Moon, the orientation of the other planets and the constellations of the zodiac. There are annual calendars available which recommend on a daily basis when to plant what kind of fruit or vegetables, when to till them, and when to harvest them for best effect.

    The next subject is one that horticulturists place great importance on: plant diseases. Yet, Steiner illustrates that there are no plant diseases — that plants, rightly understood, can not have a disease. Disease is something that only something with an astral body can have, and plants have no astral body, only a physical and etheric (ethereal) body.

    [page 116, 117] It only remains for us to consider so-called plant diseases. Properly speaking, we cannot really say" plant diseases." The rather abnormal processes which occur as plant-diseases are not diseases in the same sense as in animal diseases. (We shall understand the difference more exactly when we come to the animal kingdom). Notably, they are not at all the same kind of process as in human diseases.
          Properly speaking, disease is not possible without the presence of an astral body. In an animal or human being, the astral body is connected with the physical through the ethereal. There is a certain normal condition. The astral body may be connected more intensely with the physical (or with any one of its organs) than it should normally be. In such a case, the ether-body fails to provide a sufficient cushioning or "padding," and the astral body drives into the physical too strongly. It is under these conditions that most of our illnesses arise.

    Clearly materialistic scientists, who disdain the presence of the etheric and astral bodies, blur the distinction between how animals get disease and plants seem to be diseased. "What's the big deal?" you ask, "I have some sick plants in my own garden. I know they have some kind of fungus growing on them." Yes, that is true, but look to the soil for the source and the solution of your problem, the plant is simply illuminating for you some defect in the soil which needs correction.

    [page 117] Now the plant has in it no real astral body. Hence the specific way of being ill, which being, does not occur In the plant. We must be well aware of this fact. Thus we must first gain an insight into the question, what is it that can bring about illness of plants?
           You will have seen, from my descriptions, how the whole earth in the plant's environment has an inherent life of its own. With all this life in the Earth — albeit not so intensely as to bring forth plant-forms, yet nevertheless with some intensity-manifold forces of growth and faint suggestions of reproductive forces are present all around the plant. Moreover, there is all that which is working in the Earth under the influence of the full-Moon forces, mediated by the water. Here is a wealth of significant relationships.

    In our previous home of twenty years, every year our crepe myrtles, otherwise very healthy, would in the summer during its blooming season, would develop a fungoid growth which would shrivel the tips of its leaves. Each year the new growth of leaves would look perfect until the time of blooming and then white mildew-looking growth would shrivel the leaves on the tip of every branch again. I never once considered the fungus as due to a Moon influence, up until now. But as I read the next passage, I realized that we have a lot of rain every year at the time the crepe myrtle is going into its blooming and seed-production stage and thus the Moon-forces could enter the ground too strongly and cause the apparent disease on the stem-tips where the seeds are produced.

    Steiner calls for scientists to lift their eyes from their microscopes and look out once again into the macrocosm. To move from looking at the microscopic world to macrocosmic world, in effect, looking through a macroscope at the world to understand Nature to its fullest. Microscopes will always have their place in the scientist's laboratory, but the scientist's macroscope is ever at hand in the outside world of Nature.

    We have already seen the theoretical background of bio-dynamical gardening and some of the practical applications it can have. In the remainder of this review, I would like share a medley of aspects which appear in the Discussions and last two lectures.

    [page 124, Discussion] Question: What if one uses inorganic manures?
          Answer: Mineral manuring is a thing that must cease altogether in time, for the effect of every kind of mineral manure, after a time, is that the products grown on the fields thus treated lose their nutritive value. It is an absolutely general law.

    Rudolf Steiner predicted almost a century ago the present predicament that bee-keepers find themselves in: a dearth of honey-bees in many areas. The solution to their problems lie in a careful study and implementation of Steiner's recommendations of things to do and things to avoid. Especially detrimental is the buying Queen bees instead of breeding them in one's own hives.

    [page 124, Discussion] Answer cont.: In a recent discussion on bee-keeping, a modern bee-keeper was especially keen on the commercial breeding of queens. Queens are sold in all directions nowadays, instead of merely being bred within the single hives. I had to reply: No doubt you are right: but you will see with painful certainty — if not in thirty or forty, then certainly in forty to fifty years' time — that bee-keeping will thereby have been ruined.

    When you, as a child, dug for earthworms, did you naturally go the base of a tree to find them? I think not, we usually went to some place away from a tree that was dark and humid and full of humus. Earthworms love areas of intense ethereal vitality and as Steiner says in this next passage, the nature of tree roots deprive the soil of its ethereal activity, thus earthworms will not be found in close proximity to the base of large trees. Everyone knows how wonderful the soil is when earthworms are found within it. Biologists talk merely about how the earthworm breaks up the soil by its movement and adds nutrients in its defecation, i.e., only about how the earthworm's physical body impacts on the soil. What Steiner focuses upon is how the earthworm acts as a marvelous regulator of the etheric forces of the soil.

    [page 129] If the soil is tending to become too strongly living — if ever its livingness grows rampant — these subterranean animals see to it that the over-intense vitality is released. Thus they become wonderful regulators, safety-valves for the vitality inside the Earth. These golden creatures — for they are of the greatest value to the earth — are none other than the earth-worms.

    But there are more primitive insects that in the larval stage attach themselves to the root-area of trees, so much so that Steiner says, "if the earth had no trees, there would be no insects on the earth." But the same trees have an astral richness above ground in the area of its leaves and an etheric poverty in their root area. The insect larva, which mature underground in the ether-poor region of the tree's roots, flourish as flying insects in the tree's upper leaf-structure. (Page 129)

    Let's add the birds to mixture and talk about the "Birds and the Bees" or rather the birds and the butterflies. Have you ever notice how butterflies do not fly up into trees? Instead they seem to prefer the lower reaches of the trees and shrubs and bushes much closer to the ground. What is going on here? Must be something to do the intense astrality which surrounds the tree where its leaves are located. Why is this astrality important? Without it, you would soon detect "a kind of stunting of the vegetation." We do best, as gardeners if we do not interfere with the birds and insects which visit our plants and trees.

    Mocking birds here love to gnosh on figs in my fig trees, but instead of scaring them away with various techniques, I decided a long time ago to make a deal with them, "You can have the figs at the top of the tree which are difficult for me to reach, and I for my part will leave you eat in peace." I lose only a few figs this way from the lower branches and enjoy feeding the birds this natural way instead of filling some bird feeder with seed from other parts of the world which I have to pay for. The same applies to insects: I do not spray chemical pesticides, and the few insects which visit our garden enjoy the visit and benefit our plants with the astrality they bring to them. (Page 130)

    Birds like the upper reaches of trees and butterflies the bushes, but what about bacteria and parasites which might harm plants, what kind of vegetation attracts them? The common toadstool and mushrooms. Steiner recommends that every farm have a forest and a meadow, for in the meadow the mushrooms can thrive and help keep harmful microscopic creatures away from the farm. (Page 132) I often see fairy-rings of mushrooms growing on our front lawn and other neighbors lawns and now I understand the importance they play in the health and grow of our garden.

    What happens if we eat animal flesh as food? There are forces in our body which are called into play when we eat plants that are not utilized if we eat animals. These forces, if left unused, will operate upon themselves and cause various diseases such as gout, diabetes, etc. I met a bartender friend of mine was on crutches due to gout. He knew his diet of meat was causing his problem, but insisted on taking medications which would allow him to maintain his same diet and without having gout. This is the kind of experimentation fostered by our "there-is-a-drug-for-everything" medical practices: not true health, but the temporary semblance of health. Fighting an unhealthy diet with unhealthy drugs is a losing fight.

    [page 147] If we only eat plant food, these forces are called into activity to lift the plant up to human nature. If, on the other hand, we eat animal food from the outset, these forces are left latent in the organism. They remain unused and as a result they will begin to use themselves, depositing metabolic products in various parts of the organism, or driving out of the organs and claiming for themselves things that the human being himself should possess, as in the case of diabetes, etc. We only understand these matters when we look more deeply.

    A friend of mine has a daughter who was diagnosed with stage 4 liver disease, the next stage being a liver transplant. In discussions recently this friend revealed that her daughter never ate tomatoes. Normally that would not be a notable food dislike, but I had just read this passage written by Steiner in 1924:

    [page 148] You know that in modern time the tomato has been introduced as a kind of staple food. Many people are fond of it. Now the tomato is one of the most interesting subjects of study. Much can be learned from the production and consumption of tomatoes.

    Those who concern themselves a little with these things rightly consider that the consumption of the tomato by man is of great significance. . . . a diet of tomatoes will, under given conditions, have a most beneficial effect on a morbid inclination of the liver. In effect, the liver of all organs works with the greatest relative independence in the human body. Therefore, quite generally speaking, liver diseases — those that are rather diseases of the animal — can be combated by means of the tomato.

    To my knowledge, the various recommendations made to the daughter included changes to diet, but never mentioned that she should begin eating tomatoes to benefit her kidneys. Some how and somewhere this advice of Rudolf Steiner was lost in time and never made it into the annals of medical knowledge and practice, up until now.

    So it is with much of the beneficial advice of Rudolf Steiner: it remains in its original German form, readable by only a small portion of humanity, but with the advent of the Internet and the publication of more translations in English, there is a growing portion of humanity becoming familiar with Steiner's works. The Steiner Schools and Waldorf Schools are growing in popularity around the world in recent decades and offer a constructive alternative to the standard method of teaching in state and parochial school systems.

    With the increasing popularity of organic farming and its products, people are becoming less sure whether the grocery produce marked as "organic" is really more nutritious as the protocols for organic farming are not well-defined and the lines can be easily blurred as to what is designated and labeled as organic.

    For bio-dynamic gardening there is no blurred line: no chemical fertilizers and no chemical pesticides. If you want the most healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables, start a small bio-dynamic garden in your own yard, and the only outside chemicals will be the sweat from your own body. The chemicals in your perspiration will stimulate the plant to transpose their genetic structure, thereby creating proteins especially designed for your best health. As a result, the food you grow will be delicious and better for you. You will be amazed to find that the vegetables you grow with your own hands will taste better than those you can get anywhere else.

    This Blurb contains about 25% of the Full Review, which can be read at:

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    In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.

    1. Padre Filius Reads a New Business Sign this Month:

    Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share us on some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.

    This month the good Padre Learns about Procrastination.

    2.Comments from Readers:

    • EMAIL from Del's Cousin Pat Clark in Houston:
      Good day to you and Del
      Thanks for the continuing monthly newsletters, always good to see family photos.

      The C130 hercules photos? Who is maker and what interest does the model maker have in C130??

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My Reply:
      Good hearing from you. Thanks for correcting me about the two models I thought were bombers. They must be cargo planes instead. My grandkids built those, probably Walden who likes Lockheed Aircraft. Wrote in his essay about my working for Lockheed. How do you know these are C130s? Flew them or in them? Pilot or cargo?


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