Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sustainably St. Croix
a continuing series

For the second consecutive morning, SiSi and I were splattered by heavy, wet, rain drops during our early constitutional. It's hard to say which of us was less happy about getting rained on soaked. If we had started 10 minutes earlier ...? My mother, and her mother, used to tell me "if wishes were horses, beggars would ride." I think we got as wet as we did because 1) I didn't get up as early as SiSi wishes I would, and 2) she didn't take care of business as quickly as I wish she would (or as quickly as she does when the temperature is close to zero). When I stop to think about it, though, I enjoy a warm shower and she enjoys a warm bath. Will we ever find standing in the rain to be a sustainable pleasure? Maybe when the weather gets warmer and the drops aren't as large.

SiSi, the yellow lab?, when dry
SiSi, the yellow lab?, when dry              © harrington

While we're talking about sustainable, I want to follow up on yesterday's mention of the opportunities for sustainable development in the St. Croix River Valley and the Iron Range. The University of Minnesota's Duluth campus has been involved in a program currently centering on Duluth that might be readily expanded to or replicated on the Range or in the Valley. (It felt like an old Roy Rogers' song writing that phrase.) There's a Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) that received some Minnesota Department of Health's Statewide Health Improvement Program [SHIP] funds. They're working on creating a Lake Superior Good Food Network. Some of the counties involved are also in the St. Croix River Valley. I wonder if the model they used could also be adapted to be helpful for arts, artists, historical locales and storytellers? Local networks always remind me of that great scene from Miracle on 34th Street, where, in the spirit of the times, if Macy's doesn't have what the customer wants, they'll send them to Gimbals. Some of the local farmer's markets we've been checking out this Summer sort of reflect that approach by including local artisans as well as farmers. It's the same rationale Target and Wal-mart used to start selling food, only in reverse. One of the better metaphors I've come across to describe a local economy is to think of it as a bucket. Goods and services purchased out of the area are holes in the bucket. The fewer holes, the easier it is to keep the bucket full and local folks employed. Sometimes, it takes a food hub to help close a hole. I'm glad UMN-Duluth has started a ball rolling on this. I wonder if anyone on the Range or in the Valley will pick up that rolling ball and try to run with it. (Did you see what we did there instead of writing about kicking the bucket or making it a golf metaphor with a bucket of balls? ; >)

Chisago City farmers market                 © harrington

Joyce Sutphen superbly reminds us why we need family farms and farmers markets.

The Last Things I'll Remember

The partly open hay barn door, white frame around the darkness,
the broken board, small enough for a child
to slip through.

Walking in the cornfields in late July, green tassels overhead,
the slap of flat leaves as we pass, silent
and invisible from any road.

Hollyhocks leaning against the stucco house, peonies heavy
as fruit, drooping their deep heads
on the dog house roof.

Lilac bushes between the lawn and the woods,
a tractor shifting from one gear into
the next, the throttle opened,

the smell of cut hay, rain coming across the river,
the drone of the hammer mill,
milk machines at dawn. 
In addition to today's poem, you might enjoy reading the commentary linked below that, I think, fits today's posting rather well.

Haiku Economics

Money, metaphor, and the invisible hand.

by Stephen T. Ziliak 

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