Future Wine and the Way it Never Was

The wild plums look like they are about a week of warm weather away from turning golden yellow and sweet. The elderberries are a few more weeks off. Eventually the bountiful fruits from these trees and bushes, that were here long before we ever made the scene, will become wine. In the mean-time we are guzzling gallon bottles of Carlos Rossi, because I need the jars for secondary fermentation vessels, and because the wine is nine dollars for four liters at Food Maxx.

I’ve been picking up a lot of work lately—odd jobs and regular gigs. It’s good; it’s hard to turn away work when it comes. But it has waylaid some of my plans and killed off momentum on others out here at the farm. Grass needs cutting, vegetables need planting, ground needs turning. It’s been months since I’ve made any progress on the carport project, which will eventually be a sort of mud room with cabinets and bookshelves, and a ledge for cats.

A lot of horrible things are going on across the world in Nigeria. A group of fundamentalist Islamic followers of a crazed leader has kidnapped schoolgirls and plans to sell them to sex traffickers. It’s awful stuff, and people are outraged. I’m outraged too, but I’m really not sure what I can do about it. I guess I could write my Senator. I don’t see the point in posting an outraged facebook status update—I mean, who in their right mind isn’t terribly upset and angered by this kind of thing? I guess I could tweet something about it.

Hey, wait, I got a new complaint…

People entertain wild theories about the government using the 24 hour news cycle to distract attention from their nefarious dealings. This is silly. The televised national newscasts are never going to take the time to dissect policy and report on the daily votes in Congress. For one thing there isn’t time. They have something like 17 minutes to report the news. For another, viewers wouldn’t watch, not when there are stories about sports, celebrities, and tragedies, natural and human-made, to tune into. The government isn’t distracting us, we distract ourselves. If we as a people collectively stopped demanding the gossip and the spectacular, then the news wouldn’t report it. Of course, any time we want, any one of us can tune into C-Span or log onto the internet and see exactly which bills are being proposed, amended, and voted on. Of course we don’t have access to the behind the scenes stuff, but we never did before we got so “distracted.”

The Purpose of Government

There’s a lot of nostalgia on both sides of the aisle about a state of government and a moral idealism that never existed. The government wasn’t established to protect freedom, as Doug LaMalfa and the Tea Party would like you to believe. If so, then how the hell did slavery legally extend for nearly 90 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence? For better or for worse, our government is in place to protect property

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.