A New Idea For Gardeners
(and a new web site)

Dateline: 17 January 2017

Hot off the press!
My New 27-page Minibeds-on-Plastic Report.

As many of you who read this blog know, I am trying something new in my garden this year. It involves a large sheet of heavy plastic and small, wood-framed garden beds. I've decided to give the idea a name: Minibeds-on-Plastic

I have also decided that my 24' x 44' Minibeds-on-Plastic garden, which I put together in the fall of 2016, will be the official Minibeds-on-Plastic experimental garden, and the garden must have a blog of its own! Thus, I have created MinibedsOnPlastic.com (click and go).

We are in the midst of a January thaw here. I took this picture
of my Minibeds-on-Plastic experimental garden yesterday.
I'm excited about this new idea. I'm excited about any gardening idea that holds promise for greater satisfaction with less hassles. Besides that, I've never had an officially declared experimental garden dedicated to a new gardening system of my own design. 

I know the Minibeds will be easily managed and productive. But I can't say exactly how productive they will actually be. So that's one of the things I'll be looking to determine with this new garden.

I plan to blog a lot at the new web site when spring finally gets here  And I'll probably be double-posting many of the garden updates from MinibedsOnPlastic.com here at Upland. 

The Minibeds-on-Plastic Report #1 shown at the top of this page is a 27-page, information packed report that details the whole story of this new gardening idea (so far). I've been writing and putting the Report together for a few weeks, and I'm pleased with how it turned out. I may never publish a book again, and just focus on reports like this one.

The pdf Report is on sale until the end of this month for only $3.99. After that, it will be regularly-priced at $4.99. 

If you'd like to get a free short sample of the report, you can do that too.


Shredded leaves for mulch on my minibeds—in January.

I'm A Sock Darner
From Way Back

Dateline: 13 January 2017 a.d.

I have a special fondness for wool socks in the winter. A pair of wool socks over a pair of cotton socks is my preferred footwear around the house. I even sleep with the cotton-wool-sock combination on my feet.

The wool socks in the picture above are kind of special because they came from my mother. As I recall, she picked them up at a yard sale. They were new and from L.L. Bean. They fit me right nice... all the way up to my knees!

I'm pretty sure they are made to go with knickers. I think there was a span of time in the 1970s when these socks, with knickers, were popular with some cross-country skiers.

Whatever the case, though I have a couple other pairs of special wool socks, that pair is my favorite, and I was surprised to see they had a hole in them recently. It wasn't a wear hole, like is common around the heel with wool socks. It was a big, gaping hole on the top, and I don't know what happened.

Before the hole got worse, I needed to darn it back together. You can see my repair in that picture.

I haven't darned a pair of socks in decades, but I was once an avid sock darner. I recall darning grey ragwool socks when I was around 18 to 21. I spent more time outdoors and wore out more socks, and had the time to darn them myself. It's a pleasant task to sit by the woodstove on a cold winter night and darn your wool socks. That's how I remember it. Of course, I didn't have the internet and an iPhone to keep me from such tasks back in those days (I still don't have a cell phone).

But Marlene recently brought to my attention that I've been handy with a needle and thread going back much further than 18 years old. In fact, going back to before I can remember!

She was cleaning and organizing some old papers and gave me a letter from my grandmother, Gertrude Philbrick, that she sent me back in 1983. 

My grandmother was born in Perham, Maine in 1902. She was the granddaughter of Josephine Jordan

My grandmother Philbrick was a potato farmer's wife. She lived to be 97 years old. She was, like so many farm women of her era, good at sewing. In her later years, she sewed and sold (and gave away) Teddy Bears and Raggedy Ann dolls. 

People who have worked hard all their life, tend to keep on working, though on a lesser scale, at some productive task for as long into their old age as they possibly can. Work is an ingrained habit. Productivity is important. That was the case with my grandmother Philbrick. It will be the case with me.

So, back to my story... Marlene gave me the letter my grandmother wrote us in 1983, and here is the excerpt that gave me pause...

I don't know how well that scan will show up, so here is what it says:

"I feel I should stop doing the dolls and bears because my heart is giving me a warning with racing and fast pulsing when I feel tired. (I'm 81) I think of you when you were 3-1/2, I think. You'd see me with a needle and thread and you'd want to sew too. You'd do a pretty good job too. Even then, you had the talent for carpenter work. You helped Grampie with the barrels also?"

Yes, I certainly did help my grandfather, Percy Philbrick, when he was past his farming years, and worked at repairing potato barrels for local farmers. I remember it very well. I wrote about in my Deliberate Agrarian Blogazine post for July 2010.

There isn't a doubt in my mind that introducing children to productive handiwork is an important part of proper human development. My grandparents grew grown up in a culture that, as a rule, introduced children to useful manual skills and encouraged the development of those skills starting at a very young age.

My Grandmother Kimball grew up in the same sort of hard-working farm culture in Northern Maine. She was always working with her hands, creating things. And when I visited her, she made a point to get me involved in various craft projects.

I'm thankful that my grandmother gave me a needle and thread when I was 3-1/2 years old. I'm thankful that she told me about it in her letter. And I'm thankful for wool socks. I could go on.

The older I get, the more thankful I get for things like that.


Does anyone besides me remember when you could buy cards of darning yarn in any department store in America?  Here's what it looked like...

Beetroot Powder For Cancer...
And General Health
(Part 4)

Dateline: 11 January 2017

In My Previous Blog Post I showed you how I was making my own beet powder, using some of my own homegrown beets. Now I need to wrap up this series by showing you the final product. Here's what the full tray of fresh shredded beets you see above looked like after a few hours in the dehydrator...

They look like they're scorched, but they're not. I dried them at the medium setting of 115°. The shreds are just totally dehydrated raw beets. 

In my previous post I showed how I used a Vitamix blender to shred some beets in water. I was concerned that too much of the beet goodness went into the water. Well, in this next picture you can see the Vitamix-shredded beets in my hand, compared to the dried beets shredded by hand (that are in the bowl)...

Wow. The Vitamix-shreds were so bleached out looking that I decided not to use them. I threw them away. Then I took the dark shreds and put them in the Vitamix for shredding...

I know from experience that a Vitamix blender is adept at making powder out of dried vegetables. I have a vintage Vitamix—a hulking chrome beauty—that I used in the past to convert my homegrown garlic into garlic powder. Longtime readers of my blog writings may recall that I had a home business making and selling Herrick's Homegrown Stiffneck Garlic Powder. Click Here to read about it. 

I even wrote a little book titled, The Complete Guide To Making Great Garlic Powder. And in the very first pdf tutorial I ever put together I show in pictures the process of turning fresh garlic bulbs into garlic powder, using the big old Vitamix. The pdf is only $1.50. Check It Out if you have an interest in the subject.

Here is what those dried beet shreds looked like after a few seconds of grinding in the Vitamix...

The new Vitamix powderizes better than my vintage Vitamix. Much better. We bought the new model primarily to make smoothies and juices because we're transitioning from nearly two decades of using a Champion juicer to juice fruits and vegetables. The Champion makes juice without pulp, while the the Vitamix liquifies vegetables and fruits, rendering a juice with the pulp. We tried to make juice-with-pulp using the vintage Vitamix, but it does not do the job as well as these newer models.

Back to the subject of beet powder...

The homemade beet powder is a beautiful pinkish color. Actually, I think it is more on the mauve side.  And it has a wonderful, sweet, beet taste. Marlene has added the powder to smoothies, and I have mixed it with yogurt. 

Making beet powder is easy and it is a way to utilize any garden beets that get oversized. I'm sure it's not as good for a body as fresh beets. But it is another preservation option, and here in the middle of January, with my garden in a deep freeze, it's a treat to have some homemade beet powder from my own homegrown beets.


Click Here to go to the beginning post in this 4-part series.

Beetroot Powder For Cancer...
And General Health
(Part 3)

Dateline: 7 January 2017 AD

"Big uglies" from my January garden!

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series I  told you about how I came to learn about beetroot powder and it's remarkable health benefits. In this essay I will explain how I recently made my own beet powder.


January in upstate New York is typically freezing cold with plenty of snow on the ground, but it will occasionally warm up a bit and rain. That was our meteorological situation a few days back, and it occurred to me that there were still beets in my garden. 

I've had beetroot powder on my mind for awhile and I wondered if maybe those beets in my garden were still sound. I knew that beets have a high sugar content and will take some freezing and thawing before eventually turning to globs of mush, which is always the fate of an uncovered beetroot in these parts come spring. 

If I had covered the roots with straw in the fall they would stay sound into spring, but I didn't do that. The beets still in my garden were what I call "big uglies." They were overgrown; they were well past their most appealing stage of growth. They weren't worth covering... or so I've always thought. 

It turned out that the big uglies were perfectly sound. Their tops had frozen and turned to a withered slime, but not the roots. I pulled a few, hacked away the slimy tops, scraped off some of the earth that came up with the root, and brought them into the house. That's them in the picture above.

I washed the roots, and cut away the stubby stems on their tops, and they looked a little more respectable, as you can see in this next picture...

I contemplated peeling those beets, but instead, opted to just trim off the most rough and "calloused" skin near the tops, and this is what the beets then looked like...

My plan for turning those beets into powder was to first shred them and put them into our Excalibur dehydrator to dry until crisp. Having recently purchased a Vitamix blender, I decided to try shredding some beetroot in that. So I cut up some smaller chunks...

The Vitamix company says that the way to shred vegetables with their machine is to first, fill the container partway with water, then put in the beets, then manually pulse the blade until you have the degree of shreddedness you desire. That's what I did. It was easy and fun. Here is the result...

Yes, it did a lovely job of shredding those big uglies, but seeing all the liquid, infused with so  much beet goodness, was a little disconcerting. It would be a shame to pour that liquid down the drain! So I separated the shredded beet and saved the juice...

The beet juice I saved was powerfully beety. I drank a glass of it. A little at a time. I sensed as I drank that liquid that it was something nurtitionally spectacular, and that I had better not drink too much at one time. I'll say more about fresh Vitamixed beetroot juice shortly. 

I didn't feel that shredding in the Vitamix, and losing all that beet goodness to the liquid was the best way to go about making wholesome beet powder, so I layered the Vitamixed shreds on one dehydrator tray and proceeded to shred the rest of the beets by hand. Here's a picture of the Vitamixed pieces ready to go into the food dryer...

As I said, I shredded the rest of the beets by hand. They shredded quickly and easily. I filled several more trays with the shreds, as you can see in this next picture...

After shredding the last of the beets and getting them into the dehydrator, I had several beet "stubs" (you can see them in the background of the above picture) that were left over after hand-shredding as far as I was comfortable doing. I put those pieces in the Vitamix, along with the shredding juice (made previously) and blended them into very small particles (the Vitamix is particularly good at "juicing" a vegetable). I ended up with a full half gallon canning jar of raw beetroot juice and put it in the fridge.

I have been drinking that juice every day since then, but only a little at a time...

Fresh beetroot juice is an acquired taste. I've been drinking one small glass of it in the morning and one in the afternoon. It is a grainy, earthy, dirty, wonderful juice. I can feel my body responding to the little glass of liquified beetroot when I drink it. It's almost like a body shock. At first, I would gasp after taking a drink, like a person would gasp when coming to the surface after being underwater for too long. And there is definitely an energy boost. Maybe it's more of an adrenalin rush—like you might get after surviving a near accident when driving an automobile. Whatever the case, I like it. In moderation.

You can bet I'll be making more fresh beetroot juice with the Vitamix. I can see it being a winter-long daily drink for me.

Now, as for the beetroot powder, I'll show you how that turned out in Part 4— the conclusion of this little Upland series. 


Click Here to go to Part-4 of this Series

Beetroot Powder For Cancer...
And General Health
(Part 2)

Dateline: 5 January 2017

In Part 1 of this Beetroot Powder series I told you about my friend Jack who has been diagnosed with spots of cancer on his lungs. I explained that his wife, Kathy, has been treating the cancer with beetroot powder. And the therapy appears to be working. Now I will tell you how Kathy got the idea to use beetroot powder.

Kathy read about beetroot therapy for lung cancer in Heinerman's New Encyclopedia of Fruits & Vegetables. After she told me about the book, I went to Amazon and bought a good used copy for one cent (+3.99 for shipping). Here is part of what it says on page 39...

"One of the most remarkable and tremendously successful programs for treating many different kinds of cancer tumors was commenced in the late 1950s by Alexander Ferenczi, M.D., at the Department for Internal Diseases at the district hospital at Csoma, Hungary, using nothing but raw, red beets. Portions of his intriguing medical success were recently translated from Hungarian and reprinted in the Australian International Clinical Nutrition Review for July 1986.

Dr. Ferenczi's clinical report included methods of administering the beets and several very important case studies."

This, from Dr. Ferenczi...

In D.S., a man of 50 years of age, a lung tumor was diagnosed by me, and subsequently confirmed in a Budapest hospital and also in a country hospital, which corresponded clinically to lung cancer ... I started the treatment with beetroot in the described manner. After 6 weeks of treatment the tumor had disappeared..."

A further excerpt from Dr. Ferenczi...

"Experience gained up to now points to the fact that beetroot contains a tumor inhibiting (anti-cancerous) active ingredient. However for the present no clue has been found as to the nature of this active substance. ... Treatment with beetroot presents several advantages over the rest of the medication used in the treatment of cancer. Firstly, because it is nontoxic and one can administer red beetroot in unlimited quantities. Also, there are unlimited supplies of beetroot at our disposal."

The Heinerman's Encyclopedia author goes on to explain...

"Now beet root is available to consumers several different ways. One Lawrence, Kansas firm, Pines int'l, makes a very nice organic red beet root concentrate. This beet powder is available at  most local health food stores.

One, however, has to be careful with the amount of beets consumed at any given time—certainly not because they're harmful, but rather due to their incredibly strong ability to quickly break up cancer in the body. A woman in her thirties who was treated with beet root for breast cancer contracted a fever of 104° F due to the rapid breakdown of the tumors. In instances such as this, beets clean up the cancer faster than the liver is capable of processing all of the wastes dumped into it at any one time. Consequently, the internal administration of beet root needs to be staggered somewhat, and closer attention given to detoxifying the liver and colon at the same time the beet therapy is commenced."

Do a Google search of "beetroot for cancer" and you'll get links to all kids of information on the subject, including Unbeetable: The humble root which fights cancer, boosts endurance and lowers blood pressure.

Do a Google search of "Dr. Alexander Ferenczi beet" and you will find much more specific information on cancer beet therapy, like this: A Special Report on the Concentrated Beet in Powdered Form.

It turns out that there are two kinds of beetroot powder. One is powder made from dehydrated beets. The other is beetroot juice powder, which is powder made from beet juice. Beetroot juice powder is more concentrated and more expensive than beetroot powder made from dehydrated beets. 

Evidently, beetroot juice powder is preferred for cancer therapy, and Kathy is giving Jack the concentrated beetroot juice powder.

But, for general health, I think it is safe to say that beetroot powder is, like beets themselves, downright good for a body. A regular dose of beetroot powder in the diet seems like a prudent idea—especially through the winter months when your garden beets are not available.

It turns out that beetroot powder is widely available in many supermarkets, and certainly on the internet. But can a person just make their own beetroot powder, using beets they've grown in their garden?  Doing so would assure that you are getting the most wholesome beet powder you can possibly get.

The answer is, yes, of course you can. And it's actually surprisingly easy to do. In Part 3 of this series I'll show you how I made my own beet powder a couple days ago, using some of my own homegrown beets.


Click Here to go to Part-3 of this series.

Beetroot Powder For Cancer...
And General Health
(Part 1)

Dateline: 26 December 2016

Photo Link

When I was a kid I did not like beets. But somewhere between then and now, I came to love beets. In fact, I like beets so much that the logo for my Planet Whizbang mail-order business is a leafy beet. And now, with the fascinating information I'm about to share with you, I love beets even more.


Back during the run-up to to Y2k, Marlene and I were involved in a local group of concerned folks who were fully expecting the electric grid to go down on the first day of 2000. We held regular meetings in a local church, and a surprising number of people showed up. Most of the people weren't from the church, and relatively few were locals. Instead, most of the people came from urban areas around our rural community. Some drove from almost an hour away.

The objective of the monthly meetings was to share knowledge and information that would help us all to be as prepared and self reliant as we could be when the electrical-economic-industrial system collapsed. 

Various people spoke about various topics and areas of expertise at our meetings. It was, in short, an exciting time in which Marlene and I made a lot of new friends, many of whom are still good friends. Among those good friends are Kathy and Jack, a couple who live just a few miles down the road from us.

Kathy and Jack were less concerned about Y2k than most other people in our group because they already lived a low-tech lifestyle; they were already resourceful and self-reliant. They were the kind of people that everyone else wanted to learn from. And Kathy and Jack were more than happy to share what they knew with others. 

For example, it was Kathy who gave Marlene (and a lot of other interested women) her first lessons in basic soapmaking. And I remember well the day Jack showed me how to butcher a rabbit at their homestead.

So there you have a little background on Kathy and Jack. 

Now, let me tell you about Jack here in 2017... He is 81 years old and he has been diagnosed with three spots of cancer on his lungs.

I saw Kathy a couple weeks ago in town and she told me about it. In short, she told me that Jack doesn't want anything to do with modern cancer treatments. Then she told me that she has been giving Jack beet powder to help cure the cancer. 

And then she told me something amazing. A recent checkup revealed that one of the cancerous areas is gone, and another is smaller in size. She recently posted this to her Facebook page:

"Went to the Doctor and Jack was told to keep doing what he is doing. In God's hands and he is doing okay. One cancer tumor gone and fighting the other two. If his heart holds up, he'll beat the cancer with beet therapy."

You might be thinking to yourself that using beet powder to get rid of lung cancer is kind of crazy, what with all the wonder drugs of modern medicine we now have. But it turns out that there is science to support beet treatment of cancer. In my next installment in this series I will tell you where Kathy found out about beet treatment, and I'll reveal the results of some studies on the subject. 

Until then, keep in mind that scurvy was once a very serious disease. And it was finally discovered that the disease could be simply cured by eating a few lemons.


CLICK HERE to got to Part 2 of this series.

Chronological Snobbery
(And The Sin Of Pride)

Dateline: 2 January 2017, AD

In My Previous Blog Post, David Smith posted a comment that I think is well worth considering a bit more closely. Here's what David wrote (I have taken the liberty of highlighting some key thoughts in red) ...

My parents grew up here in rural Middle TN during the Depression. To some extent, the lyrics from Alabama's song, "Song of the South," applied: "Somebody told us Wall Street fell, but we were so poor, we couldn't tell!" Since 1865, much of the South has known poverty, so that hadn't changed much, but at least folks mostly still owned their own farms, had gardens, and livestock, and as a result, had enough to eat.
Now, I look at my family's little hometown, and like much of rural America, it went from a bustling center of commerce, where the local farm economy supported the shops in town, and the shops and services in town, in turn, supported the local farm family. Sadly, especially since the takeover by government/Big Agra post-WWII of much of the farm economy, the little town now struggles.
Most folks choose to forget the past, and, as a variation on what C.S. Lewis termed "chronological snobbery," every generation deep down considers itself a little more enlightened, a little smarter and progressive than the preceding ones.
However, just like the young man who, thinking of his ol' man as a pretty dim bulb when he's 18 or 19, grows to understand his dad gets a lot smarter as time goes on and life and Reality "happens" to him; this pattern does fortunately serve as a correcting influence. Sadly, though, starting with us Baby Boomers, successive generations seem increasingly self-satisfied in their arrogant folly, not understanding that the artificial prosperity we have enjoyed for a long time now, is not the norm, but is in fact a mere blip in history.
If we're going to have Depression 2.0, there's a part of me that would like to go ahead, hold my nose, and get it over with. Break this damnable crony-capitalist system along with the arrogance of the pampered elites. I then realize that when that occurs, it won't be just the arrogant who suffer; it'll be good people as well!
I pray we in the church especially will awaken to Reality, and not stay caught up in this corrupt system. We need to be there to be reflections of God's mercy and wisdom in those times, and not mere victims, addicted to the goodies from the corrupt, collapsing system.
I like what David wrote because I share his sentiments, and I've often thought that I should blog on the subject of "chronological snobbery." Unfortunately, I don't feel like I have the time to properly address the subject, but just understanding and acknowledging the existence of chronological snobbery in modern thought is probably enough. 

The Wikipedia page for chronological snobbery is insightful. There we find a quote from C.S. Lewis in which he defines his own "chronological snobbery" as... 

"...the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited."

Lewis expands on the concept further, and this is important to keep in mind... 

"You must find why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also "a period," and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions. They are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumptions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them."

For those who might not know, C.S. Lewis was an intellectual and a settled atheist who came to embrace Christianity later in his life. He not only personally embraced Christianity, he defended it from an intellectual perspective. Every self-assured, modern-day atheist who considers himself too smart to believe in the Bible with all its "Christian myths" would do well to read some of C.S. Lewis's apologetic writings. Mere Christianity would be a good start. But be forewarned—Lewis wrote for people who had the ability to read, think, and reason logically, and I fear that is an alarming minority in this day and age. But I digress.

The Bible actually addresses this matter of chronological snobbery. The most "famous" verse on the subject being Jeremiah 6:16...

"Thus saith the LORD, stand in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls."

Jeremiah was a prophet who lived around 600 BC. He spoke for God. His message to the nation of Israel was to repent of it's sins and return to "the old paths" of following God's laws. Jeremiah warned the people that if they did not repent (turn away from) their individual and national sins, God would send judgement on the nation. 

As you  might imagine, Jeremiah was not a popular person in his day, what with telling everyone that they were acting in ways that displeased God. And the chronological snobbery of their day prevented that civilization from heeding the advice of Jeremiah. This is evidenced in the last part of the Jeremiah 6:16 verse where it says: 

"But they said, we will not walk therein." 

And so it was that, in God's time, the Jewish kingdom of Judah and the great city of Jerusalem was invaded by the Babylonians and utterly destroyed. The nation was taken into captivity. You can read about it in Jeremiah Chapter 39. It's not a pretty picture.

All of which is to say that God doesn't think very highly of chronological snobbery, especially in the realm of morality. And a nation's moral integrity is always intimately connected to its civil laws, it's politics, it's science, it's technology. Moral beliefs are the common thread that runs through and binds all aspects of a culture together. 

There is so much more that can be said about this but I want to finish here by making it clear that chronological snobbery comes from a spirit of pride. 

Pride is, of course, the Leviathan "mother sin." Pick a sin, any sin, and you'll find it was born from pride and draws its sustenance from pride. And the Bible makes it clear that God hates pride. Yes, God is love, but make no mistake about it... God hates pride.

Now, here's the funny thing about pride: it is so ridiculously easy to see pride in others, and so amazingly hard to see it in ourselves. Which brings me to an important point that I'd like to make, and I'll leave it at that...

One of the most serious problems I see with modern American Christianity (especially among the evangelicals, which I'm most familiar with) is that they are so adept at self-righteously pointing out the sins of society at large, but they are surprisingly blind and unconcerned about dealing with their own sins.

I'm not necessarily referring to the "big bad" sins like homosexuality, drunkenness, adultery, pornography and so forth. I'm talking about the subtle sins like anger, unforgiveness, selfishness, greed, covetousness, gossip, and so many other manifestations of pride... including cultural snobbishness.  

To be a Christian is to be continually at war, and the primary enemy is not the sin in other people, but the sins that so easily beset ourselves.


This has been a meandering thread of thoughts put together rather quickly. But these thoughts (especially in the end) reflect my own personal thinking, and my own personal concerns as we head into this new year. My thanks to David Smith for prompting these ruminations.

Hunger, Starvation & Civil Unrest
In America

Dateline: 31 December 2016

In My Previous Blog Post I mentioned the Russian Famine of 1921. And I stated that, although America has never suffered a famine, many people in America suffered from malnutrition and death as a result of malnutrition during the Great Depression years. I was not sure about whether or not Americans actually died directly from starvation in those years. But, if the following PBS documentary is correct, there were deaths from starvation.

That documentary makes it clear that serious hunger (the precursor of famine) was widespread in America during the Depression. It was, in fact, the most serious problem this country faced in those years.

I've heard people say that folks who lived in the rural countryside back in those days lived pretty well despite the Depression. You know, "A country boy can survive."

Well, I'm sure that was true of many who lived in the country, but it doesn't appear to be true of all country folks. The movie tells of 500 farmers in the South who marched into a small town to loot a grocery store. Their families were hungry. They had no other option. That's an event I had never heard before.

I don't know if this era of American history interests most other people as much as it does me. I've been fascinated with the Great Depression since I was little. In previous blog posts I've mentioned my Uncle Clyde Kennedy's biography of living through those years (The Hard Surface Road). If you didn't actually live through the Depression, and you didn't actually suffer from the extreme poverty, and hunger of that time, I don't think you can really understand it. But the documentary above does a pretty good job of telling the story.

There are recurring patterns to history. We all know that. And when I watched that documentary, I felt like I might be now living on the cusp of a recurring pattern.

Fat times are followed by lean times. And after a season, the fat times return. That's the way it goes. And there isn't anything that I (or you) can do to stop this recurring pattern of history. The patterns come and go according to the sovereign orchestrations of a power far higher than us. 

For the 58 years of my life I've lived in fat times. I hope the fat times continue. But I am mindful of the lessons of history.

Vintage Dept. Of Agriculture Posters
(Part 2)

Dateline: 30 December 2016

In Part 1 of This two-part post from Upland I showed you some old Department of Agriculture posters that I found on the internet. Now, the poster above is worth it's own post.

It is from the World War 1 era, which was 1914 to 1918. It's an action-packed and dramatic call to HELP FEED YOURSELF and DO YOUR SHARE.

The small wording is hard to see in the picture above, so I've put the message in each of the four sections of the poster together below in an easier-to-read format....

Also, directly under the picture of a row of canned food it says: Children canned and saved these perishables for winter use.

Speaking of Famine

In my previous post I mentioned the American government's concern over famine in this country, as evidenced by one of the old posters. Many Americans surely experienced abject poverty, malnutrition, and subsequent death as a result of malnutrition during America's Depression era. However, this country has never experienced a true famine.

That said, it is worth noting that famine was significant in Russia in 1921. Incredible as it may sound, those who suffered and died the most from that famine were self-reliant peasant communities in the most fertile and productive farmlands of that country. The famine came as a result of drought and government confiscation of seed and food stores. Millions of people died.

The story of the epic Russian famine of 1921 is documented in the PBS film titled, The Great Famine. You can click on that link and watch the documentary on YouTube, and I recommend that you do so. It's always good to keep in mind some historical perspective when it comes to the critically important subject of food.

Part of the amazing story of the Great Famine of 1921 in Russia is that America—and Herbert Hoover in particular (before he became President)—saved the lives of millions of starving Russians with an enormous humanitarian effort. It is a story I never knew about, and I now think it is a story that every American should know about. It's a good story, in the midst of a horrible story.