Maybe I am coming around again. Been wanting to write, if nothing else for continuities sake, but 't wouldn't come out. And now it has turned cold and the wood stove isn't set up yet, and my fingers cramp.
We live in a strange world. Hundreds of billionaires in the USA (412 according to Wikipedia) and poverty on the rise in the USA. People think we should take care of our own population before we spend any money on foreign human aid. As it is the USA spends 22 cents per 100 dollar on foreign aid, but anyway. And me, spending like a drunk sailor, not helping much either.
Other strange thing: I saw Blek, the black dog step in dog shit. He sniffed his paw, made an ugly face and tried to shake it off, and wipe it off on the grass. Yuck!
Still a joy to come home to those dogs.
They are very different in character, color, gender etc, but they get along great and play all day long with each other and anything they can, including carrots, cats, sweet corn (that Blek picks himself), all the shoes they can get their paws on and toilet paper, definitely toilet paper. It's not the first time I found myself without.
I have been teaching them to use the doghouse (with straw in it) next to the front door, as opposed to laying underneath the house, in the mud. Yesterday night I dozed off for a minute, and woke up in the doghouse, the dogs of course left me alone and went under the house. (And yes, looking at this photo, I may just have to start giving part of my portions to them pups. )
Other strange thing: you hit some keystrokes and a few days later a giant Fed Ex truck shows up with 3000 strawberry transplants. Yes, you can plant them in the fall and yes, 3000 is quite a few, so if you want you can stop on by and buy some. The rules of engagement for organic certification entail that at least the field where those transplants go can't be certified as organic for the next three years. Well, I don't really care, I'll eat them. Read a Dutch article about this exact dilemma: certified organic from far away versus locally grown by someone you know. I'll go with the locavore.
But strawberries... I dabbled in them/with them a few years ago, but guess what, the weeds won. It is like playing chess with my dad, he always wins. Although once I won from him a few years back but then we haven't played since. Wouldn't mind losing again, but "if in one hand, shit in the other" as grandma says. So the story of the strawberries is one of the last ones my dad related to me. When he was about 17 years old, he was working for farmer Bol ( a shrewd farmer who went once on vacation to the USA and did some trading and came back with more money than he left with). Farmer Bol grew strawberries and my dad started as a picker, but he was a smart one so he was promoted quickly to the administrator: counting the picked crates and paying the wages. Farmer Bol was well off to do and would take his brand spanking new cadillac into the fields, and this in 1951. Anyway, dad related how he would go to the bank on his bicycle, through the beautiful Dutch river delta. He would collect the wages for the pickers, and there were very many pickers. He would put the money in a cigarbox and put it on the carriage rack under the straps. Pa told me that it was about the equivalent of 15000 dollar he had there on the back of his bike, 1951, never a worry about it.
So, my dad in his red sweater, had something with strawberries, and for that reason alone I am going to try and grow those things.
And I can't think about strawberries without thinking about 1985, just graduated from high school, with a big fat check from my dad in my pocket hitch hiking through England, crossing the Mersey with the ferry on my way to Liverpool, to go and see strawberry fields. So here, eventually...
Pieter Los, born in Scotland, raised in the Netherlands, lost in the USA. .