Fool’s Gold and Ground Almonds

“The California mines had now moved into the big-business stage. Men could be found to fight, not for their individual rights or desires but in groups at the behest of moneyed interests. That was what it came to. The mining country had at last become integrated with the wholly civilized world, in which masses of men may always be persuaded to fight others in a matter which has nothing to do with the personal well-being of any of them.”

–Joseph Henry Jackson, Anybody’s Gold

I’m seriously worn out right now, and for once not from over-indulgence in strong drink. We’ve got a new member of the family out here now—a puppy we suspect is a cross between a black Lab and some sort of Terrier. We call him a “Terroror” and his name is Archibald Ferguson Lachlan, “Archie” for short. He’s a really good little guy; he’s cute and charming, but he does not let me sleep as much as I would prefer. Oddly enough, Archie gets along fine with both cats, and Kiki the dog. Only Bill is stand-offish, and the pup learned quickly enough to steer a wide course around the old gray-beard or risk getting a mouthful of teeth.

Meanwhile In Syria

I am kind of happy with the apparent indecisiveness of the Obama administration and the opening it has left for a more peaceable resolution to the internal conflict within Syria—a conflict that had been creeping closer and closer to an international boondoggle. For a week there it was looking like war involving the U.S. was imminent. There’s still plenty of opportunity for things to get screwed, but for now I think a lot of people are breathing a tentative sigh of relief.

Media Blitz

I feel like the media has been doing us all a disservice lately. It is a two-pronged attack. There is one arm of the media that is frantically trying to break news stories—to be first to press, and facts be damned. Another conglomerate exists whose entire focus seems to be twisting and distorting snippets of information into the most heart-palpitating, panic-inducing paranoia their writers can conjure up. The result is yellow journalism that swings from irresponsible and misinformed, to sinister and cynical propaganda. None of it is meant to make us better citizens; it has all been fabricated with the sole intention of boosting views and generating ad revenue. And we suffer. We suffer from being misinformed, and we suffer from being constantly exposed to stressors and fears that we have absolutely no control over.


I harvested sweet potatoes and chufa yesterday. The sweet potatoes are immature. I should have let them go longer. I only pulled one of maybe three or four plants though, and it produced a number of fingerlings that made for a delicious little stir fry. The chufa looks about right. It is an attractive, wide-bladed grass that generates pea-sized, edible kernels amongst its roots. Colloquially it is known as a “ground almond.” Trish and I munched a few fresh out of the ground. “Fibrous,” Trish said, and that’s a pretty good description.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.