Disappearing Apple Varieties – 1,400 to 200 – wow!

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The Genius of Apples; by Linda Burnham, Oct 2004

There’s a hearty band of hunters ransacking the South, says Lee Calhoun, hunting for old Southern apples. They are tracking down apple trees in the front yards of old country homes that may disappear tomorrow. Time is running out for these hunters. Of the 1,400 apple varieties known to have originated in the South, only about 200 are still known to exist. “The others are totally extinct,” says Calhoun, “and when that happens, you lose a whole apple. Most of these trees were planted in the early 1900s. I’d say we only have about five years left to find them.”

Creighton Lee Calhoun is a pomologist. Etymologically, that means he loves apples. On his land in the Saralyn community in the heart of old Chatham County, he is growing 450 kinds of heirloom apples. Calhoun’s Nursery on Blacktwig Road has become legendary among those who are trying to rescue a history that is slipping away. There he collects cuttings of old varieties, grafts them onto root stock and plants and sells the results, all in the name of preservation and propagation. Our own Johnny Appleseed.

One hundred years ago, apples were a staple of the Southern diet. Time was, says Calhoun, when every farmhouse in the largely rural South had apple trees in its yard. Apples provided fresh fruit from June to November, and were kept in the root cellar all winter. The varieties were myriad, providing fruit through the whole summer — early, midseason and late. Southerners dried the tart varieties, made applesauce and apple butter from the soft ones, and fashioned pies from the firmer fruit that held its shape during cooking.

Read more The Genius of Apples


No Impact Man blog – urban New York family experiment – one year of no impact

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Well good for him and his wife and their small child. He decided to put into action and action plan to reduce his family impact on the environment – in the urban setting of New York city. Instead of mouthing all the assortment of platitudes, he decided to make a committment, reduce their environmental footpring and is blogging about it.

While I self congratulate on the efforts we have made in our family towards reductionism, No Impact Man takes it further. I’ll be following along with his blog and maybe commenting from time to time. It’s not easy to make so dramatic a change so suddenly, so it sounds like his blogging will serve as a kind of ‘how to tutorial’.

We moved away from urban setting/city to try to find more meaning in our daily lives by going backwards in time. And we did so before it was ‘popular’ to be environmentally conscious about the effects of global warming. We were doing fairly well with what was then termed ‘intentional,meaningful, simple living’.

Then Sept 2001, then President Bush decided to invade and occupy Iraq. Two members of our family found themselves in Iraq. One was already military, the other enlisted after 9/11. We hadn’t been a military family for decades, since we were in our 20s during Vietnam war and now here we were again a ‘military family’. After a bit of internal ambiguity, I decided to become a military family speaking out borrowing from my own life experience as a young military wife during Vietnam war, and as what is affectionately termed a ‘military brat’ being raised as a child on military bases.

I threw myself into this new arena (for me) of activism, in earnest hope that with enough voices, enough counter energy, surely Americans would not want to support the creation of another Vietnam type situation. I gave it all up to trying to be among the contributors to end this war in Iraq the first year, the second year, the third year, the fourth year. Now as we move into the fifth year, I find I can not keep up that level of intensity and want to put some other of my life elements back into balance. Returning to some of the philosophies of our intentional lifestyle, I find they are now repackaged with new labels as a result of the buzz around ‘global warming’.

Good, great, and I’m down with that since the more concerned citizens taking action steps towards another kind of counter revolution the better. A different kind of activism! I already have blogging outlets for my thoughtful reflections and opinions about how this Administration is managing the war in Iraq, so I don’t need this blog as a pulpit or venue for expressing those concerns. Along the way of my journey these past four years into activism, I’ve also been exposed to and learned a great deal about environment, intentional corporatism, and the grotesqueness of full blown consumerism as thieves in the night taking from people’s lives their very consciousness of meaningful living.

So Mr. No Impact Man, it’s great to have run across your blog today and thank you and your family for what you are doing.


Bottled Water likened to Driving a Hummer – think about it.

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Found  at Path to Freedom Journal and I just have to share this here….I so agree, I so agree.

-Bottled water is like driving a Hummer
Be Part of the Solution

-Ending bottled water addiction will save money & environment. {from Organic Consumer Association}

-Bottled water isn’t necessarily cleaner: According to the San Francisco Chronicle and lawsuits from the Environmental Law Foundation, 40% of bottled water is really just repackaged tap water. Maybe that’s a good thing, considering federal standards for tap water are actually higher than those for bottled water.

-Bottled water and oil: Supplying Americans with plastic water bottles for one year consumes more than 47 million gallons of oil, according to the Container Recycling Institute. That’s enough to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Add in the additional amount of oil it takes to ship the bottles thousands of miles from extraction source to recipient, and your drink of H2O could be categorized with the “Hummers” of the world.

-Bottled water and biodegradability: Buddha’s bones turned to dust a long time ago. But if he had been a bottled water drinker, that plastic would still be laying around. It takes two minutes to drink a bottle of water, but it takes thousands of years for that piece of plastic garbage to go away.

-Solution: Buy a water filter and a non-plastic water container of your preferred size. Fill it up in the morning before you go to work or school. Do a quick online search, and you can also find affordable portable water filters for when you are traveling. You’ll save yourself and the environment a lot of expense.

And, I would add, that there are instances where the convenience of bottled water is helpful, ie, disaster – Hurricane Katrina-, flood, outages, storms, emergencies. On the other hand, in a documentary I saw that was rather chilling – ‘The Corporation’ – there well may be something to the underlying premise that conditioning populations to ‘pay for drinking water’ is just that – conditioning. We’ve been well conditioned to become avid ‘consumers’ and buying products is equated to our supposed well being but is it really?
Follow the money and you will come to learn that Big Corporations didn’t get that way without some clever, smart ‘marketing’ over the decades. Even back to the 1940s or earlier corporations were envisioning this kind of future where they owned everything we would need to live – food, shelter, water, clothing, medicine etc. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I have to say though that the idea of ‘paying for bottled water’ is a new concept as only a few years back who would have even thought to pay for drinking water? It was hyped as more pure, cleaner and had a bit of a social elevation twinge to it – a kind of labeling that said I’m too good to drink just any water, I have this bottle of (fill in the name label)….
First it was actual glass bottles, then plastic bottles, then the image became one of the ‘active person’ into exercise, sports, health, good parent concerned about children and family, well being sort of imaging. First it was some few companies manufacturing bottled water, now how many companies make bottled water available as a ‘for sale product’? In one of the South America countries, and I forget which one, perhaps Brazil, there was effort by the money makers to charge the people for ‘rain water’. That’s right – rain, falling out of the sky, captured in barrels and containers for use as family drinking and cooking water – and being charged for doing so —- think about it. Rain – free resource – who can own the rain? A long time ago, the Native Americans found it an equally perculiar concept that the Europeans coming to America believed they could own the land.

What kind of carbon imprint are you (we) leaving? Whatever your consumption and the carbon imprint it leaves is the inheritance of your children and their children. I rather like the idea of giving some thought to personal responsibility and our own carbon imprint. There isn’t a lot we can do about Big Corporation and launching any kind of campaign to get them to change their behavior or take responsibility takes enormous energy and resources. However, if each of us becomes different kind of consumer and more interested in our own carbon imprint, corporations will by their very nature be forced to alter their behavior.

Another blog entry and I’ll write about Montsano – the Big Corporation who has already done what none others have done – taken out patents on seeds (food) – as if a living thing can be patented. That’s not all – but more on that another time.