Monochrome Menace and Emerald

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI took a walk in some lovely woods this afternoon and took a LOT of photographs. After working on them for a long time this evening, I chose 2 that represent best the color and form of what I saw.

The menace of the black and white image and the opulent green of the colored one bookend nicely my feelings about the grove.

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People You Meet

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There is a wonderful county park here in Petaluma called the Helen Putnam Regional park. Helen Putnam was a mayor of this city and instrumental in saving this lovely stretch of land along a high ridge overlooking the river and the city. We walk this area quite regularly because it involves a serious climb to get up to it and we always feel better for making the effort.

Normally we meet a lot of dog people taking their animals for an outing and a surprising number of young fathers with young children. Yesterday this quiet elegant woman rode by us twice on a well behaved small horse. I asked her if I could take her picture and she said yes if it was mostly of the horse. This photograph didn’t quite do that but I’m pretty sure she didn’t mind. 

She said Sarah and I looked happy together.

She was right.

The Photograper and The Doggy Poop Bags

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It’s what you make out of things that count.

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Touring GREEN STRING FARM with Nayah and Claire

Green String Farm in Petaluma is a fascinating place. Check its website out here.

At first glance, the place would appear to be an ordinary “grow & sell it” vegetable and fruit operation but upon closer viewing it shows itself to be a commercial farm that practices a radical new kind of agriculture, complete with an on site educational program that  trains young intern volunteers.

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We toured the farm with these two bright young ladies Nayah  and Claire. (Both of them come from urban backgrounds, one from New York and one from Chicago.) Below is just a little of what they told us.

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The farm practices what is called “natural process agriculture”. What that means essentially is that they let nature alone to the greatest extent possible. For instance they weed very little and a large bed vegetables can look for all the world like a large patch of weeds. These beds of lettuce and kale for instance are almost unrecognizable as such from the road.

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They use animals, primarily sheep, to weed the orchards. The goat pictured here is part of a small herd that is also due to be put into some sort of farm weeding use but that hasn’t started yet. (I confess I just liked this lady’s looks.)

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This orchard is almost due for an animal weeding.

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They have 3 chicken coops scattered around the property. The chickens provide eggs for selling, and providing baby chicks for future needs. They eat bugs and vegetable trimmings thus making themselves very useful.

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Last and probably the most surprising of all Green String Farm operates with the motto “50% for humans 50% for nature”. They talk about “growing soil, not vegetables” and in that way they give back to the earth what it needs to sustain us.

Not a bad idea wouldn’t you say?

The Powerful Little Red Soccer Ball

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I have implied in earlier posts that I am increasingly interested in creating black and white photographs. However here is an example of what a pinpoint of color can do. 

As we were walking our usual 2 mile loop around Shollenberger Park yesterday, Sarah pointed out a small red soccer ball that had floated up onto the marsh bordering our path. One tiny dot of red sitting in the middle of a murky sea of grass and driftwood.

The image would be totally uninteresting without that speck of red. (It’s not that terrific even with it but the power of color in the right place is certainly brought home.)  

And expanding this point a bit, a quick smile or a pat on the back from a friend can be just the tiny bit of “color” we all need to brighten our day.

Roger Angell…..Splendid At 93

If you are an aspiring writer or “of a certain age” before you do another thing click on this article in the latest issue of the New Yorker magazine.     New Yorker 

Roger Angell is a famous writer of course. His baseball books are probably the best ever written. He has been called that sport’s poet laureate. He has written best-selling fiction and been The New Yorker fiction editor for the likes of John Updike, William Trevor, and Woody Allen. So the man had impeccable credentials, wordsmith street cred if you will.

The recent New Yorker piece is by turns profound, graceful, funny and self-deprecating, but more than that it is wonderfully uplifting for those increasing numbers of us who must confront what it is to be old. Angell is an example, a happy warrior mentor issuing a call to arms to those of us who still want to howl at the moon and get on with living this god damn confusing life the best we can.

Thank you Mr. Angell

Today’s Early Morning Conflict….Clouds vs Sun

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At about 6:30 this morning the heavy clouds outside our window were, here and there, broken up by the sun. It had rained all last night and tonight it’s going to rain harder still, but for a moment the sun struggled into supremacy and the day brightened. We’re still in for a patch of rainy weather here in Petaluma but, aside from the occasional unconscious tourist who will bitch about it, we need every drop we can get.

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