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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

FAR Future, Episode 21: Awakening

The drought here may be over — we’ve had above-normal rainfall for a month now. It’s not wiping out our deficit very fast, but maybe we’ll do OK anyway. I have this and another post lined up, so I hope the episode deficit is getting addressed too.

As I type this intro, I see a little moth at the window, the first of the year.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It’s finally spring. The earth awakens from its restless winter slumber.

Mrs. Fetched’s mom and I have a few zillion tomato plants in starter trays, not to mention the peppers. The perennial herbs wintered over just fine, minus some deer attacks (flavored meat if we catch ’em at it), and we’ve got the annuals started. She’s happier than I’ve seen her in a while — she was asked to conduct some basic gardening seminars for the people in big subdivisions who are starting the community gardens last month, and they were all well-attended. As Mrs. Fetched said, “her idea of a ‘small garden’ is 5 acres,” and they’re scaling up from there. Her kind of gardening — including a couple passes with a tractor and plow, just to get the sod dug up. There’s some concern about pesticides and all, but the extension office says that most of the people who abandoned their houses had quit intensive lawn maintenance before giving up altogether. The bad stuff has had plenty of time to break down.

Not all the “planting” is crops, though. Time capsules are a fad at schools again, another “planting” activity this spring. They’re including photos and student-written essays about various aspects of life, along with the usual newspaper clippings and tokens. They use a small candle, lit just before sealing it, to get rid of most of the oxygen inside the capsule before burying it. It would be interesting to be around when they open the capsules in 100 years — will “they” have figured out how to deal with energy shortages by then? Or will there even be anyone to dig them up? I remember being a kid, and hearing about the moon bases (and Mars, etc.) and flying cars we’d have by now. Of course, the closest anyone came to dreaming up home computers or the Internet was this idea that you would get a tailored newspaper delivered via fax every morning. I remember incredulously asking my dad, “You didn’t have TV when you were a kid?” With my kids, it was “You didn’t have computers?” My grandkids, if I have any, probably won’t have cars and might not have computers — but they may have stuff we haven’t even thought of now.

Now that winter is giving way, they’re finding people who didn’t make it through the winter and were never checked on. In some cities, the cops started patrolling with dogs and marking the houses like they did in Miami after Kim a couple years back (or New Orleans after Katrina). Some of the larger metro departments had burglars sitting in jail, and brought them along to pick locks in exchange for a reduced sentence. One of the network news shows interviewed one of the latter (face blocked); he said, “There’s not much worth stealing anymore anyway — why not help? The smell is pretty bad sometimes, but they give me a mask and the cops don’t make me go inside anyway. I just get the doors open for ’em.”

Even in the salad days, though, people died. They died of diseases, starvation, cold, heat, accident, combat, and old age. There aren’t any new ways of dying, but more people are dying of the same stuff than before. Except for disease and old age, though, it was “them” who were dying, not “us.” People who didn’t have the basics weren’t “our” people, so it was easy to ignore what has always gone on. Now we’re “them,” or “they” are us… maybe both, and it’s not just nature that’s awakening.

I’ve got more to write about this, but there’s stuff to do.



  1. Hello FAR! Another excellent article in your series, "FAR Future"! You've touched on some interesting points here.

    I think Mrs. Fetched might be right about the 5 acre garden, as being small, especially for a community. Like the extension service, I think the soil around abandoned homes should be fit for planting. Residential grade pesticides are a far cry from industrial ones, far weaker. Most of the "bad stuff" has either leached away or been burned off by the sun long ago. I think even after four years, crops grown on soil that hasn't been treated can be certified as being orgainic. However, that does not mean you can grow crops on soil that has seen continued use of industrial grade herbicides, fungicides and by far the worse insecticides (even though much of that residue is broken down by the sun). That soil is likely to be sterile and needs to be built up. I'd much rather take my chances on soil around homes that have been built up over the years, animal waste, etc.. Better get a BB gun for Mrs. Fetched to shoot all those rodents that may be lurking in those abandoned houses looking for a free lunch from her garden! ha!

    I sure enjoyed the time capsules thought and thoughts of flying cars and living on Mars. I can remember as a kid watching "Flash Gordon". You bet, it was a wide held belief that by 2000, we'd have advanced that far! Like you, I envision there will be stuff, that we'd never even imagined, in the future.

    Maybe we'll have more of those "salad days" ahead, thanks to people like Mrs. FAR! There will be far fewer of "them", if we had more people like her!

    Thanks, yooper

  2. Yeah, Yooper. It's her mom that does it, and it's in her blood. Every year, she said, "Well, I ain't gonna have a garden this year!" and every year: "Well, Lillie Mae gave me this flat of tomato plants, and then H.B. give me some squash, and…" And away she goes.

    This year she'll probably put in some of her crazy green beans. They're an heirloom strain, and have had several decades to adapt to the local climate. They produce… and produce… and produce… They don't care about heat, drought, heavy rain, or much of anything else — about the only thing that stops 'em is when she gets tired of picking and rips 'em out of the ground. :-)

  3. Far, Just please don't write anything about putting those that didn't make it into the garden fertilizer. ;-)

  4. boran2, it's funny you should mention that! I'm a professional artist by trade. Over 30 years ago I once painted an acrylic, entitled "Cycle of Life" depicting life of the Native American, this started with small scene of birth and going in a circle to a small scene of children playing, then to a small scene of adulthood that lead to a large scene of an Indain buried beneath a cornstock. What a provocative piece!

    As was custom, the school auctioned off artwork and the man who bought the piece, just "feel in love with it". He owned the local Woolworth's Store and commissioned me to dupilcate the piece, painting a 10' by 15' mural on the store's resturant wall.

    That was 30 years ago and the store has now been gone for 15, (they could'nt compete with Wal-Marts). People still come up to me fondly remembering that mural! Never have I been complimented so much than this work of art! To this day it remains one of my finest!

    Thanks, yooper

  5. Yooper, Boran does some painting of his own. Go check out his blog.

  6. Hiya FAR, Yooper and Boran.

    We haven't had a garden in years, but my grandmother was like Mrs. Fetched. She always had a huge garden. I can remember her canning all the time with things from the garden.

    I'd like to try one day and start a small one. Maybe a few tomato plants at first and work my way up. I do believe when the crunch comes that people in the country will go back to gardening in a big way.

  7. Hey Far, Family Man and Boran! Yup Far, I did check out his painting and I'm impressed! I love western destert scenes!

    I think Family Man is right on! Checked his site out too! Not everyone will have the time or the resources to have a garden. But, that's ok, there might be a lot of bartering in the near future.

    I've never had a garden, however, I'm somewhat familar with industrial farming. I'd like to have a garden though and have been thinking of getting a couple of semi's of black dirt to start me out on the right foot. I'll have to fence mine in since the wildlife would have just a field day eating the young plants. I can't even have a sapling that doesn't get chewed to the nub, by deer and rabbits. Like to do chicken also, when I was a kid a lot of people had them...

    Right now, I just don't have the time to fool with one. Hopefully, I can interest Mrs. Yooper, in it!! ha!

    Thanks, yooper

  8. You should post some of your work, yooper, I'd love to see it. That one piece that you describe sounds very interesting. Hopefully you kept a photo.

  9. You should post some of your work, yooper, I'd love to see it. That one piece that you describe sounds very interesting. Hopefully you kept a photo.

  10. Yooper I agree with Boran. You should post some of your work so we all could admire it.

  11. Hey Guys! After some thought, I just can't do it. If I did so, my identity would only be a couple clicks away. In my medium, I'm probably the best known designer in the country, if not the world. I hope you can understand.

    Thanks, yooper

  12. Yooper I understand completely and it's no problem. A lot of people want to keep name, family, etc off the net. I write a lot about my family and myself, but I never mention names or have pictures of us.

    I guess we'll have to get by on your words of wisdom. :)

  13. I guess that's the upside to toiling in obscurity.

  14. LOL, Boran!

    FM, Google for "forest garden." That looks to be right up your alley: once you've got it established, it pretty much takes care of itself. I'm leaning in that direction, and I have a couple of ideas how it might work here.

    Yooper, I can understand, but it doesn't mean I'm disappointed. :-)


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