In Gene Logsdon Blog on May 15, 2013 at 6:04 am
From GENE LOGSDON
Rain and good old-fashioned laziness kept us from mowing the lawn until the first week of May this spring. By then the yard was so beautiful with wild flowers, I didn’t want to mow, but if I waited any longer I’d have to make hay out if it. As the photo above shows, major parts of the lawn had exploded in yellow dandelions, purple violets, whitish spring beauties and pinkish Quaker ladies. Other areas were blooming with wild phlox, grape hyacinths, daffodils, white violets, trillium, toadshade, mertensia, bluebells and even some vagrant tulips. I daresay no horticultural display, requiring hours of skilled work, could have produced a flower garden any prettier. In fact, I doubt very much that human handiwork could achieve such a garden, no matter how much effort and skill were put to the task. All these flowers come up every year without any help other than not mowing them until they are mature. Only nature could produce such a striking carpet of gold, blue, purple, white, pink, maroon and green grass. Who could want to mow such a lovely landscape?
Almost everyone would, that’s who. The Lawn Culture of modern civilization forever amazes me. Green swards of clipped grass are beautiful, no doubt about it, and quite necessary in many instances. Wherever we quit mowing close to the woods we live in, sapling trees spring up five feet tall in two years. But like all things good in the human world, we carry our love for manicured grass to extremes. There are more acres in lawns in the U.S. than in commercial food crops and in fact lawns are the largest irrigated “crop” of all. If you look at the figures, like on Google as I just did, the amount of water, gas, and pesticides we put on our lawns is ridiculous. More…
In Gene Logsdon Blog on May 8, 2013 at 9:48 am
From GENE LOGSDON
I was sort of shocked by an ad in a recent New York Times Sunday magazine which I read regularly. It showed photos of a magnificent new high rise apartment and the surrounding skyline of the city, also magnificent. The building’s form was awesomely grotesque with the floors seemingly piled on top of each other rather haphazardly, not stacked straight and square, jutting into the sky as if in a careless, random flirtation with the natural environment. Most of the walls were glass which added to a feeling that this was not a building at all but just a dream of a building. I am sure the whole affair was a triumph of architectural design but instead of being awed by it, I felt fear and discomfort. The building looked like it was going to topple over in the first strong wind. In fact the whole scene suggested impermanence and instability to me. My main thought was wondering where all the power came from to energize those zillions of electric lights sparkling unnecessarily across the cityscape.
As I studied the photos, my agrarian upbringing struck me with renewed conviction. City splendor means nothing much good to me, even though I am a peasant with lots of higher education. I am not at all comfortable with cities or being in them. To me they are the final heartbeat of a civilization reaching climax and about to crumble. Walking on sidewalks I feel exactly as I would feel walking in a volcanic crater about to erupt again. More…
In Gene Logsdon Blog on May 1, 2013 at 7:19 am
From GENE LOGSDON
Both political parties and both capitalism and socialism spout lots of support for “small business.” Maybe this is where we can bring the country back together again. But I put quotes around “small business” because the Census Bureau and the Small Business Administration have exceedingly murky notions about what “small” means.
By the Census Bureau’s way of counting, there are some 27 million small businesses in the U.S. Among these, there are various yardsticks by which to tell if a business is small enough to fit the category. To be considered “small,” a business in the service sector or in retailing can’t take in over $21 million. A farm business is small if it takes in less than $9 million. If you want to use number of employees as a measure, a business is small if it hires no more than 500 people. In manufacturing, you are still small with 1500 employees.
You can see my problem(s). There is certainly a big difference between having four employees and having 1500 or between taking in a half million dollars in receipts and $21 million. A fresh market farmer who has sales of several hundred thousand dollars surely is going to have a different notion of smallness than the grain farmer who is taking in $9 million. This all becomes more than something just sad or laughable when the government, deftly run behind the scenes by corporate business, starts handing out tax breaks and subsidies.
I think maybe the SBA should divide up this thing called “small business” into some more meaningful categories, like maybe Wee Little Small Business, Small Business, and Rather Large Small Business. More…