Same as it Never Was

Right now, right this very second, is absolutely the best time to be alive. Anyone who tells you otherwise is deluded or lying.

Congratulations are in Order

If you are reading this then I say to you “congratulations!” We’ve made it through another one. That may not mean so much to you youngsters, but for those of us getting on up there in years this is no small feat, and nothing to take for granted.


A lot of us old-timers will try and tell you that things were better “back then.” Well of course things were better for us back then—we were young, mentally acute, better looking than we are now. We were going out, seeing shows, and getting laid. Then we age, the body breaks down in some places and expands uncontrollably in others. Our skin sags and our looks fade. We look back and remember our youth with tremendous fondness—of course always emphasizing the good times and omitting the petty dramas and periods of immense boredom. That’s what nostalgia is: a pair of rose tinted glasses that we turn on the past. Same as it never was.

Right now, right this very second, is absolutely the best time to be alive. Don’t let anybody tell you any differently.

Greenhouse Skinning

The plunging mercury afforded as good an impetus as any to reskin our small greenhouse, and I’ve been spending the last few days peeling off the old degraded plastic and stapling up newer, more intact material. We store dwarf lemon trees in there over the winter—the fruit can’t handle a hard freeze. The greenhouse, although unheated, keeps in just enough heat to prevent the freeze from damaging the lemons.

There are a few plants you can successfully sow during the colder winter months. I’ve got a couple raised beds of onions and garlic just started out in the garden. I had to utilize the raised beds because of gophers, who apparently can’t get enough of the sweet onions I plant. In the past those pesky rodents have absolutely decimated my onion crops. Some gardeners will tell you garlic wards off gophers, but I haven’t found this to be the case. As far as I can tell almost nothing wards off gophers. The cats help a little bit.

Confessions of a Wannabe Vegan

I’m inclined to sympathize with the vegan philosophy—the idea that animals should not be harmed for the purposes of conveniencing human-kind. But I am also a big fan of fly strips, gophers can take a flying leap, and I once ran over a raccoon in my old Ford Escort station wagon while driving down Road Z in the middle of the night, and I didn’t feel an ounce of remorse about it.

RoundUp Ready!

I’m reading a report linking the use of Glyphosate herbicides, like RoundUp, with rising rates of autism. When I look out my window I see my neighbor spraying RoundUp on his rocks. I don’t know if RoundUp causes autism or not—a lot of these “natural medicine” websites have a strong tendency to merge fact and fiction—but I know spraying RoundUp on your rocks won’t stop weed growth. Glyphosate herbicides work by stopping photosynthesis, meaning you have to spray it on the plants leaves for it to work effectively. There are non-chemical “pre-emergents” that can be used to keep weed seeds from germinating.

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.