Saturday, March 26, 2011


I hate airports. When I need to spend time there, as I did waiting for someone to fly in last week, I put myself in the "middle distance" to pass the time without noticing much of anything. Imagine my surprise when CNN, which I never otherwise watch, along with all the rest of the T V entertainment posturing as news, hammered me awake with the information that real questions were being asked in Congress about whether we could afford the attack we were making upon Libya. Congressmen seemed for the first time in recent memory to know how much each missle cost, what the cost was of supporting a bombing run, and so forth.

Now I have supported the idea of an active Congress keeping a watchful and suspicious eye on the warlike proclivities of the executive branch since I watched Senator William Fulbright, Dem-Arkansas (yes, that's right, believe it or not) chair hearings about the conduct of the Vietnam War in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that were anything but complimentary to President Lyndon Johnson, the leader of his own party. I in fact support the idea that since our constitutional division of powers pertaining to war has fallen into such disrepair due to Congressional weakness and Presidential viciousness, we should try to develop the understanding that war will never be undertaken (since we never anymore have anything close to WWII, a "war emergency"), without Congress passing a special tax levy to pay for the estimated cost. Taxes seem to be what most Americans understand the best.

On closer examination, though, the current events in Congress are not a sudden renewal there of an older sense of responsibility, but rather politics as usual. The same party and many of the same players raising the objections to Libya today were in control of Congress and making not a peep while George W Bush started Afghanistan and Iraq. Their noticing the cost of the military hardware being used today is less the patiotism that it sounds like at first blush, and more a simple hatred of Barack Obama. Accidental patriotism, you might say.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


It is with a real sense of gratitiude that we approach the end of this winter here at Pastures A Plenty. It has been difficult. The constant snow accompanied with somewhat normal cold temperatures makes all our work more difficult. A day must be spent clearing snow away after each snow event, which then puts us a day behind on our necessary work. We hardly have it made up before it snows again. But today, water is dripping from the ice dams on the sow barn when the temperature is still only 20 degrees. The February sun is winning! Now we have March to get through. Hooray for mud! Until we start complaining about that, I guess.

But whatever the weather, notice what nature is up to. It will amaze you. Take care. Remember that you don't get this day to do again.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tenderize grassfed beef

Tenderizing grassfed beef
marinate in unfiltered olive oil for approximately 2 hours.

high school

Events in Wisconsin have the capacity to teach us some things if we will pay attention. The right wing has succeeded often enough in separating lower paid or what is called common labor from more professional organizations like teacher unions. Wages are of course an issue and every American on the lower end of the economy is worried about employment, which doesn't help. But primary in this problem is our national superstition that education always improves people and that this itself ought to entitle the educated person to a higher standard of living. Of course, there is nothing at all in the history of thought, philosophy or religion that backs this notion up. But it is easy enough to see the perniciousness of it by considering a case. Assume that a college educated person, because he has shown an aptitude for the arrangement of lines in a drawing, or words on a page, finds employment in the advertising industry. Now further consider that a high school graduate, more familiar with tools than words, finds employment as a meat cutter in a slaughterplant. How can anyone argue that the second individual is less valuable to society than the first?

While the first fellow will spend his life and talent helping his employer convince us all to buy what we do not need and probably cannot afford, the second can, if he applies both his skill and his humanity to his job, help provide us with the food we want to eat while allowing us some hope that the hog, one of God's creatures, is being treated with the respect it deserves on its way to our plate.

We need to rethink some of our attitudes.