Urban farmers

Saturday, October 29

We meet monthly for breakfast, we “urban farmers.” The name reveals two facts: (1) we once lived on farms or engaged in farming of some kind; (2) we now live in the city. Rural farmers pull chairs up to farmers’ tables at local restaurants. Why can’t we do the same in a city?

Not sure how many years we’ve enjoyed this camaraderie.  More than ten. Today we drove an hour for breakfast — to The Juniper Spoon which is the kitchen used in my daughter Lali in her catering business.

I was too busy eating eggs, bacon, ham, potatoes, coffee cake, fruit and granola to think of taking a photo of the breakfast table, but once outside, the camera was with me.

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Lali gave a tour of the garden and then we all got to work.

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Alan Mast worked on light fixtures.

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Mike Wigginton and Mil Penner made three benches.

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John Jay Boyce, Ted Danielson and Mel Swartzentruber harvested sweet potatoes.

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Thad Wilson and Del Culp laid a brick walk.

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The crew emptied three compost silos.

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Then we sat around snacks before returning to Indianapolis, with rural dirt on our shoes.

Domains

Friday, October 28

Although we in this country are members of American culture, we live in disparate domains of information. That is, a 75-year-old retired couple might, without consciously choosing to do so, exist in a domain largely shaped by the local newspaper, network television, AARP magazine and church papers. In sharp contrast, their 20 year-old granddaughter might not read a newspaper, would not receive AARP magazine, might be an occasional book reader and Netflix user, select music from YouTube and most certainly use an iPhone for surfing the web, using e-mail, staying in contact with friends through texting, Facebook or other social medium.

Domains of information are shaped by media, messages and messengers. There is a domain devoted to pop culture. ESPN has created a huge domain of sport. The kitchen and cooking are the foci of a huge domain.

I’ve been told that if you know an individual’s age, gender, educational level and occupation, you can predict that person’s likely domains of information.

Crossword puzzles expose my own domains. I’m rather informed of old-time baseball because I listened to many ball games in my life. (The Cubs are on radio here beside me.) But since I don’t watch TV shows I strike out when the puzzle clue pertains to TV personalities.

This particular election season has brought attention to domains even though I’ve not heard the term “domain” used. A segment of conservative people refer to a “liberal east coast media establishment” which, whether it is liberal or not, is a domain for millions of people. Meanwhile many of these same conservative people occupy a domain shaped by AM radio programs featuring far-right talk show hosts and gospel preachers.

The only point that I want to make here is that the domains we occupy set agendas for us and shape our opinions and feelings, sometimes providing us with adequate information to contribute to social weal and sometimes not.

Anybody home?

Wednesday, October 26

I went walking in Winter Wood this afternoon. There is a tall tree, thirty feet or more, reaching up from Lye Creek yet leaning toward the embankment.

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Regularly on walks I stop to look at the tree, particularly a hole in the tree.

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Is anyone home, I wondered.  Not having a doorbell to ring, I just waited. And waited. Surely enough, someone came to see who was there.

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Another state park outing

Wednesday, October 19

Lali and Doug invited us to join them and their daughters for two days at McCormick’s Creek State Park.

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Doug and Lali check out trails 7 and 10.

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A vine hangs over the rocks near the quarry.

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I think I heard in the morning, “Don’t get your shoes wet.”

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That time of year thou mayest in this park behold …

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A reminder, “Don’t get your shoes wet.”

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A grape vine, winding but wine-less.

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Shoes don’t get wet up high on the rocks.

DSC_0275.jpgThe White River that much earlier flows through Indianapolis.

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Mud, mud, glorious mud for feet and legs and clothing and shoes.

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The waterfalls.

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Three spelunkers.

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So tired, they can’t go another step.

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Of course, smores on Reese peanut butter cups.

As we left the camp this morning, I heard in the car, “We should do this more often.”

Democracy

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Late morning we drove downtown and, at the city-county building, cast our votes. It is done; we can’t now back out.

The lines were long enough to require more than an hour to move from back of the line to the voting booth. Several impressions;

  • In contrast to the polling cites on election day, there were no political posters, no people handing out voting guides.
  • African Americans made up a far higher percentage of early voters than what we see at our usual polling cite.
  • It was a middle and lower class population that came to vote.
  • The lines were orderly, patient, polite.

Yet I come away with disquiet, wondering whether democracy as it has evolved in our country and as it has entered a particularly damaging campaign can serve those people in the line with me. That is, can the will of these voters be realized through the leaders they elect.

Recently I have read numerous predictions that democracy will not survive and commentary that democracy has already been replaced by systems and oligarchs and blocs and inertias quite removed from the thoughts and aspirations of my co-voters.

God, I am sure, has not ordained democracy to be the best form of government. Whether it can be the best form of government in this nation-state seems to depend upon whether the will of a thoughtful and humane population can be realized in governance.