Iowa’s Local Food System

Another beautiful day in North Iowa happened again, and you can bet I was enjoying it as much as I could by finding those little to-do’s outside my office just so I could be out in it. With the shortening of days, our vegetables are hurriedly setting fruit before the coming over-night temperatures cause them to stop. As far as tomatoes are concerned, if the nighttime temperatures drop well below 55 degrees for extended days, they will stop setting fruit and work more at survival. The same thing goes if the temps are well above 85 degrees which is why tomatoes haven’t been doing very well in our area because of those extended days of 90+ degree temps we had.

Speaking of survival, I stopped over to water my little garden of peppers and tomatoes, and discovered the rabbits having taken a keen interest in eating the bottom leaves and shoots of the peppers I’ve been babying. Ugh! If it’s not one animal after them, there’s yet another. I sprayed around the perimeter of them again with that deer and rabbit repellant, so we’ll see if they leave them alone. There’s no question in my mind that if I should decide to have a large pest-free garden, I’ll have to build a very animal secure fence and likely add a solar-powered electric fence wire around the bottom and top just to keep our growing populations of rabbits, squirrels, opossums and raccoons out of it.

I talked to the seller of the Raven Ave. acreage again today which was a little more productive than yesterday’s, so hopefully the next reasonable offer that comes in, he’ll be more receptive to it. There have been times I’ve worked with beneficiaries of estates who’ve allowed their emotions to make decisions which they later regretted, and mostly due to silly sentimentalities which faded away after reality finally kicked back in long after being too late to change. I’ve come to learn that it’s best to speak to them with a voice of reason regarding such sentiments because as most of us have learned over time, it’s best to close the doors on our past, while holding fast to only those good memories which we’re able to re-visit whenever feeling the itch to go walking down our memory lanes. Have you ever noticed those who live in their past and how after a while, they begin acting more withdrawn and a bit aloof? Just recently I spoke with a woman who headed down that road after her husband passed, and now after six long years, she’s finally getting herself back to normal. For a while there, I thought she’d never be able to come to her senses.

I did manage to get that stained-glass window installed this morning in the transom window above the front door of my office. When I stood back and looked at it from the interior, I was exceptionally glad the thought had come to me to place it there while cleaning my office over a week ago. It looks like it’s always been a part of my office which makes it all the more interesting. I can’t wait to hear the comments from the future visitors because anyone walking out, will certainly get a good look at it.

That window has an interesting history with me which when thinking about it, makes for a creepy-cool story that started over 30 years ago. I told one of my friends today that it was likely beyond coincidence that it ended up in my possession. I still can’t believe I managed to get it out of its frame without getting cracked or breaking because it is likely far older than I’d want to wager, and possibly dating back to when my office building was built. Irregardless, it fits, it’s beautiful, it’s uplifting, and I like it.

My afternoon appointment was at a home I sold some years ago, and since the seller is not quite ready to list, that’s all we talked about was pricing and the necessary preparations needing to be made before I list it. The price I recommended was fine so that’s all I have to do is wait for it to be totally cleaned out, and get it on the market. Without being absolutely certain, I’d say there’ll be multiple offers on it shortly after it’s listed because of how few good homes there are in that price range, and especially the neighborhood in which it’s located. When some of those buyers who’ve recently gone under contract with lipsticked pigs see it posted for sale, they’ll be sorry they didn’t wait for it. It’s just one more example of how people in these times are allowing their emotions to overcome reason.

Since I don’t read that rag of a Globe Gazette on a regular basis, I had time today to flip thru it, and just happened upon a letter to the editor written by Haleisa Johnson who works out in eastern Iowa with their childhood nutrition programs. I wish she lived here in North Iowa instead of over there because she’d be a real mover and shaker for getting our young kick-started into growing organic fruits and vegetables. The thrust of her letter was to educate Iowan’s about how we should start reviving Iowa’s local food system to where it would be a repeat of what we had going for us back 100 years ago. It’s amazing to think our State was at one time a major producer of fruits and vegetables which were canned and sold all across our Nation. I certainly appreciated her insisting our farmers need to diversify their crops and not be sticking with corn and beans every year. Yeah! There’s yet another like-minded person living in our State.

While visiting with one of my colleagues today, I couldn’t help mentioning how I’ve been under attack by fleas this summer. I’d say over this past month, I’ve been bitten at least seven times, and all the while, trying to keep myself from scratching my skin off which has been a daunting task. She was in near dis-belief regarding the welts I get which take weeks to heal. I assured her it’s something genetic with my blood-line because there’ve been, and still being a number of us who have similar reactions. I can handle mosquitos, bees, chiggers, wasps, honeybees, and the like, but when a flea bites me, it’s a whole different reaction. I’m beginning to think it’s because of how dry it’s been to where fleas are multiplying much more in our grasses. You can be sure I always have a bottle of Calamine lotion on hand along with a spray can of insect repellant.

Tonight’s one-liner is: Time destroys the speculation of men while confirming nature.

Joe Chodur

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