Sunday, April 10, 2011

Is it just me.....

Or has the heat and dry conditions come to the Rolling Plains all too early this spring? River City has seen not one but TWO daily high temperature records fall in the past week, virtually all of Texas is currently under one or another drought stage as determined by those who get paid to know, and as I type more, than 100,000 acres of land across the state are burning.

Bring into this mix an apparent spike in the numbers of natural disasters from Katrina to the current earthquakes rocking Japan, and this is the stuff conspiracy theories are written from. If I did not know better, even I might begin to suspect the Good Lord is a bit ticked off at Her children's behavior here below.

With all the dead still uncounted from the tsunami that swept Japan, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara found himself in political hot water when he opined that the tsunami might be tembatsu, "divine punishment". Of course, Glenn Beck, bless his little right-wing extremist heart, was quick to chime in that the earthquakes might have been "a message from God."

Interestingly, a recent survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found that more Americans pin the causes of these disasters on natural, Earth-bound causes rather than any kind of divine punishment.

Some seven in 10 Americans believe in a personal relationship with God, according to the survey results, and nearly six in 10 believe God controls everything that happens. Nonetheless, only 38 percent believe natural disasters are a message from God, and only 29 percent believe such events are punishment for sins.

"Americans overall resist drawing a straight line from theological beliefs about a personal God to God's direct role or judgment in particular natural disasters," said Robert P. Jones, PRRI's chief executive officer. "Americans have more natural than supernatural views of disasters."

Naturally, that will fall short of convincing Beck and the End-timers crowd, but somehow I feel better.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Papas & Mamas and heirloom tomatos

That little cold snap—if it can rightly be called that—last week brought a chill to
the bones and stirred up Anniepie’s sinuses but did not seem to hurt the tomato
or zucchini seedlings. The spit of rain that came with the cold didn’t ease the
drought. We appreciate that 0.10 inch all the same, though, Lord. Always good,
from time to time, to see what we are missing. Some say this stretch of the
Rolling Plains has not been this dry since 1967.

I am reminded what a hassle growing tomatoes from seed can be, and this may
well be my last spring to mess with them. As long as Mama Cass keeps raising a
bushel of heirloom tomato varieties on her farm near Seymour, Texas, I never
need go to seed again!

She wasn’t born Mama Cass, but I wouldn’t want to be the poor soul to remind
her of that. Found her last week when I saw her ad offering heirloom tomato
plants for sale on Craig’s List. A couple of emails later we had a date for her to
bring several plants by the house Saturday. Meanwhile, I did some searching on
Facebook and discovered her groovy tribute vocal group, The Papas & Mamas.
That’s right, she is the Mama Cass of The Papas & Mamas, recently returned
from WOWing crowds in Vegas with their righteously right on California dreamy

But don’t take my word for it. Check ‘em out for your own self on YouTube.

Cass is one of those beautiful people with whom you feel an immediate
connection on first meeting. In fact, she and Anniepie killed a good ten minutes
or better trying to run down where and when they knew one another, only to
come up empty. A self-described aging hippie, she is raising chemical-free,
sustainable veggies on some 1200 acres which she further describes as “an adult
amusement park.” The Papas & Mamas, which she organized and gave birth to,
is “my day job.”

Admittedly, all I know about heirloom tomatoes is what I’ve read in magazines
like Mother Earth News. What I can share is the claim that heirloom tomatoes
and store-bought tomatoes do not inhabit the same cosmos. Heirloom tomatoes
are grown for eating. Store-bought tomatoes are grown for selling.

As the name suggests, heirloom tomatoes have their origins in those long gone
days before large-scale commercial farming and long-distance shipping. These
tomatoes were grown on small farms and in kitchen gardens by hand for one
thing above all others—flavor--the ONE thing above all others that is missing
from today’s commercially produced market tomatoes.

It’s a good week when two neat blasts from the past come calling!

I used an old pet rat cage (no longer inhabited) to hold the young plants so they can be moved inside until they have been hardened off. If you would like more information about Cass and/or her heirloom plants, leave a message with your email address here or message me on Facebook.