The Southern Agrarian

Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 2)

Little Luxuries – Tea

Southern Agrarianism is closely tied to the Southern plantation culture, where the enjoyment of simple pleasures and little luxuries play an important part. This is part of an irregular series of posts that look at some of those little, affordable luxuries that virtually anyone can enjoy.


The Southern plantation culture was largely shaped by the Cavaliers, who brought their English customs with them when they fled the English civil war and settled in The South. Part of that culture is the custom of afternoon tea. Why did it not catch on here? Well, it began in 1840, and by 1880, afternoon tea had become firmly entrenched in English culture. The War for Southern Independence (1861 – 1865) interrupted such cultural transfers, and the impoverished state that it inflicted on The South made tea an unaffordable luxury for nearly everyone. That, however, is no reason that we cannot enjoy the custom today.

Lest anyone think that enjoying a relaxing cup of hot tea is something practiced only by the ladies and by effeminate males who sip from dainty tea cups while extending their pinky finger, consider the fact that, since 1945, the British Army has had “Boiling Vessels” built into every tank and armored vehicle so that soldiers could make their tea without being exposed to enemy fire. Many current U.S. armored vehicles now include a similar feature, designated “Heater, Water & Rations”. We should also note here that the concept of enjoying a relaxing cup of tea also applies just as well to coffee; we’re just focusing on tea due to its connection to traditional English culture.


“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
Henry James


Up until just a few years ago, I truly believed that there was only one way to serve tea in The South – Sweet with lots of ice, and served in a tall glass. Though I still enjoy a tall glass of sweet iced tea as much as any Southerner, my wife and I have made a practice of enjoying a cup of hot tea together as we sit on the back porch swing. Sometimes, it’s just a simple cup of tea – sometimes we include traditional English scones (she has perfected a recipe based on one from an English tea room that we enjoyed going to).

As with many such little luxuries, the enjoyment is not just drinking the tea, but it begins with the ritual of preparing it. If you’re new to hot tea, here is how we prepare it, and it’s a nice starting point.

  • Start with loose leaf Earl Grey tea. We get ours from Twinings, who have been in the tea business since 1706. For convenience, or for decaffeinated tea, you can use tea bags. Since part of the enjoyment is from the ritual of preparing the loose leaf tea, and since there is at least a theoretical advantage in using loose leaf, that is how we make ours. If your local grocery store doesn’t carry it, you can order directly from Twinings (link).
  • Measure out one teaspoon of loose leaf tea into a tea infuser (Amazon link).
  • Fill one cup with water (the type of water used makes a big difference, so try tap water, well water, filtered spring water, and whatever else you have available to see which you prefer) and pour it into an electric pot.
  • Use cold tap water to rinse the tea in the infuser to wash out any tea dust and “relax” the tea leaves. Place the infuser and tea into your cup.
  • Heat the water to boiling, then pour it over the tea until the cup is full. Always use fresh water. Never re-boil water. Never boil longer than necessary.
  • Set a timer to three and a half minutes. At the end of that time, remove the infuser from the cup.
  • Sweeten to taste. I use the same amount of sugar as tea – one teaspoon. We also use Turbinado sugar (local grocery store or Amazon link), which is a tan-colored, raw unrefined sugar.
  • Let it cool enough so you don’t burn your mouth. Enjoy.

There are all sorts of things you can do along with this, and it’s something that both husband and wife can enjoy together. Experiment with different traditional ways of brewing tea. Brew several cups at a time in a tea pot. Try some of the many different types of tea available. Look into the health benefits of tea. For a bit of fun, check out the Star Trek connection on YouTube. Host a Ladies Tea (link is to one that my wife organized – it has become an annual event at our church). Collect different kinds of tea cups, tea pots, mugs, infusers, tea strainers, etc.

As a “Little Luxury”, it is meant to be enjoyed, so have some fun with it. Enjoy a relaxing cup of tea.

The Ultimate Career

This being The Southern Agrarian, may lead one to think, “Ah, it must be farming or other agrarian field that is ‘the ultimate career’. Wrong. Producing food – like all other careers – exists only to serve and support the ultimate career. That career is Homemaker, wife, mother, and the endless sub-roles that comprise the honored title of Homemaker. Think about it. Is there any other role in human society that would continue beyond the current generation if not for the role of Homemaker?

Southern culture has always revered women and their role. Always. And Southern women have always taken great and justified pride in their place of honor. The image of the Southern Belle has no corollary. There is no “Northern Belle” or any other iconic image of women in any other culture that can match the cultural image of the Southern lady. There is good reason that Southern women are not found in significant numbers among the screeching radical feminists who strive not to be better women, but inferior men. Southern women are confident in the knowledge that their traditional role of wife, mother, and homemaker is valued, treasured, and revered in our culture.

It is the Homemaker who has the Ultimate Career that all others exist to serve.


The Homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career.
– C.S. Lewis


 

(Top photo is of our son, daughter-in-law, and hours-old grandson – April 2012)

New Era Resolutions

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America continues down the path to a new era – an era characterized by an extreme cultural split on a massive scale. Our task as Southern Agrarians is to move as far away from that dividing line as possible. We must stake out the cultural high ground so that there can be no doubt as to which camp we belong – or neither camp.

This post is updated from the New Era Resolutions that I publish about every year or so. It needs to be regularly repeated as a reminder that there IS something we can do. We have a choice. We can take positive steps to improve our selves, our families, our churches, our friends, our co-workers, and all those within our circle. Hope is not enough – have a plan.

To that end, this is a list of tangible things we can do, presented in no particular order.

  1. Be an encouragement and a help to your extended family in a way that will make it easier to decide to have a larger family. If that doesn’t apply directly to your current situation, then spend time helping another worthy family. The break-down of the multi-generation family has resulted in serious consequences for society.
  2. Boldly proclaim the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Leading a soul to eternal salvation is a greater accomplishment than anything else in this life.
  3. Strive to live a virtuous life at home, at work, and in public. Always speak the truth. We are ambassadors of our great Southern culture and must serve as an example of what that culture stands for.
  4. Be part of a church that truly believes The Bible 1 as the literal word of God – and acts on it. There are far too many modernist churches that lower standards and try to become like the rest of the world. If you’re in one of those modernist churches, leave and find a real church that is not focused on entertaining the congregation.
  5. Use the power of the spoken and written word to advance the cause of restoring civility to America.
  6. Dress more formally than what is customary in today’s society. It demonstrates a respect for others – and for yourself.
  7. Pay close attention to manners and etiquette, and make them a part of your daily life.
  8. Pray – not a vain repetition, but pray like you are talking directly with The God who created the entire universe, because that’s exactly what you are doing. He listens to “specks of dust” like us.
  9. Seek out like-minded people, and form strong bonds with them.
  10. Treat others with respect. As conditions worsen, there will be those who proudly provided for their families in the past, but find themselves without work or, if they are fortunate, doing menial work. Your turn may come. While those who willingly live off of money stolen from the productive deserve our open contempt, resist the urge unless pressed.
  11. Follow the Boy Scout slogan of “Do a Good Turn Daily”. Find some way to help someone who would not expect it.
  12. Follow the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared”. When hard times come, you can depend on no one but yourself and your closest friends and family.
  13. Produce some of your own food by gardening or small-scale farming, and raising chickens. Those are valuable skills that cannot be learned by just reading a book. It is also the key to our Southern Agrarian culture.
  14. Understand the foundation of what Southern Agrarianism is by reading I’ll Take My Stand. While Southern Agrarianism is not strictly defined by this book, it is the starting point.
  15. If you are living in an urban area, move to a semi-rural or rural area. The cities are not only increasingly dangerous, they are corrosive to the soul.
  16. Arm yourself and learn and practice to become effective in the defense of yourself and your family. Armed men are free men – disarmed men are slaves.
  17. Turn off the TV, cancel the cable subscription, and disconnect the antenna. TV has done more than anything else to destroy our culture. Don’t allow the filth and propaganda into your home.
  18. Home-school your children and help and support other home-schoolers if you can.
  19. Take control of your future by investing your retirement savings yourself so that the government cannot gain control of it.
  20. Make your home more self-sufficient: put in a well, start a garden, own a sewing machine 2 to make and repair your clothes, install a wood heating stove, increase the insulation in your attic.
  21. Adopt the idea of “Not for Our time, but for All time” when considering choices for your family and your home. Homes that were built centuries ago still stand today while houses slapped together only a few decades ago are abandoned and demolished. Think long term for your family and your home.
  22. Secure your home. Rampant crime is just one of the results of a decaying society where order and civility are no longer revered.
  23. Embrace old-school ways of doing things: use paper and pen rather than an electronic device for taking notes (bonus points for using a fountain pen 3); shave with a double-edge safety razor and brush and mug rather than the latest multi-blade gizmo; resist the temptation to automatically upgrade to the latest technology 4.
  24. Resolve to give no credibility to political correctness. When it comes up, question it and force the source to justify what was said or written. Don’t accept it.
  25. Watch your language. Make a conscious effort to avoid any obscene or profane word coming from your lips. Crude language identifies the speaker with the worst elements of any society. That such language is now commonly used by “celebrities” is reason enough to shun it.
  26. Cherish those who are close to you and resolve to repair any relationships that need repairing. Your family, your spouse, your friends – those are more important now than ever, and will become even more so in the future.
  27. Display the Confederate flag – any one of them – on a regular basis. (see the Code of Confederate Flag Etiquette)
  28. Sharing a meal as a family is a time-honored tradition. Make the extra effort to have a more formal, structured dinner.
  29. Resolve to take away the power that the word “racist” has over us; at the same time, remember to treat all men of every race and creed with the respect they deserve as men and as souls that Jesus died for.
  30. Language is an important part of any culture – the English language is the language of our people. Don’t allow yourself to slip into the sloppy language habits that have become a mark of modern popular culture. Writing and speaking well are the marks of a civilized man or woman. Use correct English in your speech and writing. 5
  31. Collect books – not digital text, but real paper and ink books that can be read without batteries. As the popularity of digital text increases, there are bargains to be found in used books. 6
  32. Carry a pocket knife. A generation ago, every Southern male carried a pocket knife – it was almost a rite of passage. Somewhere along the way, the Nanny-state took over, and an incredibly useful tool came to be viewed as a dangerous weapon and a threat to be banned.
  33. Get out of debt as quickly as possible. Make it a top priority in your financial planning.
  34. Reduce or eliminate your income dependence by laying the foundation for your own business. Find something that you truly enjoy doing and that others are willing to pay for, and acquire the tools and the skills to provide that service or product at a profit. 7
  35. The Christmas season has become the emblem of materialism in America and a brief glance at the mayhem of “Black Friday” shopping will confirm that. Turning away from the greed and materialism is a wonderful opportunity for a family lesson in setting priorities. Rejecting materialism now will make life easier later when it is forced on America by a failing economy.
  36. Find something that you can grow or make at home to give away to others. For some, it is home-canned vegetables or preserves or home-made soap; for my wife and I, it has been vanilla extract; for our son, it is egg nog in a variety of flavors. Turn back the clock a bit to a day when people didn’t buy everything from the store, but made it themselves. We also give away much of what our garden produces, and the surplus eggs from our chickens and ducks.

This list was inspired by a list posted at The Thinking Housewife blog. What can you add to this list?


This is an updated version of a post that I first wrote in 2012.

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Notes:

  1. Finding a church that insists on using only the King James Version is a big step in the right direction
  2. The old cast iron sewing machines will last for generations. Treadle and hand-crank sewing machines in excellent condition are still readily available – we have several of them in our home.
  3. While a quality fountain pen is not inexpensive, they will last for generations if well cared for. I have my father’s fountain pen that he purchased in the 1950’s. I had it refurbished and it is now as “good as new”.
  4. At the very least, consider using open source software and Linux rather than falling into the Windows/Mac upgrade trap.
  5. There are, no doubt, plenty of grammatical errors scattered throughout this blog. If you find them, please let me know so that I may correct them.
  6. A first-class library can be assembled by making regular visits to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store.
  7. I spent nine months of evenings and weekends developing the software package that has provided a comfortable living for my family since 1995 – it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Tool Review – SoilSaver Composter

Composting is pretty much standard for anyone with any kind of garden. It’s part of the natural cycle – the soil provides the nourishment that provides the crops, and we then return what we don’t use back to the soil, along with whatever other organic matter we can add. I’ve gone through several different types of composting systems, but my current one – the SoilSaver composter – does just what a composter is designed to do, and it does it well.

What I’ve used previously
ꔷ The old school standard that our family used when I was growing up was just called a “Tomato Ring”. It was a piece of fence in a circle about three or four feet in diameter that held leaves and whatever else was available. They worked, but only if you kept it watered and turned over; it was a rather labor-intensive system and was too quick to dry out.
ꔷ Next was a rotating drum system. In theory, this should be ideal – but it wasn’t. After numerous attempts, I found that every single batch would become anaerobic – it was not getting enough air mixed in, and it would become a slimy, putrid mess. A rotating drum with enough ventilation would apparently be too porous and lose its contents when being turned.
ꔷ After that was a round plastic composter that had an open bottom. This one worked well. The open bottom prevented water from accumulating, while allowing it to remain wet enough to decompose. It worked great until the side split and it had to be scrapped.

The SoilSaver (Amazon link) is what I am using now, and have been for the past three months; based on that, I added a second one a month ago. The SoilSaver is well-designed and sturdy when properly assembled and set up. One of the keys to “properly assembled” is following the instructions when it says that it must be set up on a flat level surface. The first time I set one up, the ground was not flat enough, and the top would not fit on very well. Removing the contents, leveling the ground beneath it (i.e., actually reading and following the instructions), then filling it back up made all the difference. The top now fits neatly and closes securely.

Nothing is perfect, and the SoilSaver is no exception. It is assembled with plastic nuts and bolts, and it comes with a wrench to tighten them down. It doesn’t take much to over-torque and strip them. They really ought to include a few extra of the plastic nuts and bolts – it couldn’t cost more than a penny or two extra. That’s it – the only thing I could find to criticize about it. Assembly is fast and easy, and it is designed to make assembly pretty much foolproof. When the sides are assembled, it is rather unstable when carrying it, so it’s best to put it together pretty close to where you’ll be using it.

While we’re on the topic of compost bins, a “must have” tool is the Yard Butler Compost Aerator (Amazon link). I first learned of this tool after seeing one being used at a demonstration garden at our county Ag Center. You’ve got to keep things mixed up and aerated, and this tool makes it fast and easy. I’ve read some reviews complaining that, after a while, the “wings” get rusted in place and it no longer works. Nonsense. Any tool needs to be kept clean and oiled if you expect it to work well and to last, and this is no exception. I keep mine in the tool shed when I’m not using it, and I always wash it off when I’m finished with it, and if I see any rust starting to form, a drop of oil is all it takes. As my father liked to say, “Take care of your tools, and they’ll take care of you.” I have been using mine regularly for a number of years, and it works just as well now as when I first got it. Highly recommended.

What comes in the box.

Yard Butler Compost Aerator.

Victory Gardens and Southern Agrarianism

It would be easy to take a cursory glance at Southern Agrarianism and think that it is about everyone being a farmer or some sort of Utopian vision, but that would be far from the truth. In fact, Southern Agrarianism is very much like the Victory Garden programs during both the First and the Second World Wars.

An agrarian society is hardly one that has no use at all for industries, for professional vocations, for scholars and artists, and for the life of cities. Technically, perhaps, an agrarian society is one in which agriculture is the leading vocation, whether for wealth, for pleasure, or for prestige – a form of labor that is pursued with intelligence and leisure, and that becomes the model to which the other forms approach as well as they may.
Introduction: A Statement of Principles in the book, I’ll Take My Stand

Victory Gardens were about making people aware of the fundamental importance of food. It was about promoting the idea that food is everyone’s job – not just commercial farmers. It was about encouraging people to achieve some level of self-reliance. Each of these fits within Southern Agrarianism.

Southern Agrarianism is, of course, far more than that since it is a cultural movement; however, let’s continue with the comparison to the Victory Garden program. In addition to the posters and programs that encouraged people to grow their own vegetables and raise their own chickens, the Victory Garden programs were also about educating people in how to do it. Victory Garden programs were not just here in America – it was also done in England, where the situation was far more critical. Part of the Axis strategy was to cut off shipping and starve England.

Just like the Victory Garden programs, one of the aims of The Southern Agrarian blog is to share information on the how-to aspects of growing your own food and increasing your level of self-sufficiency. Some of the upcoming posts include reviews of tools like the SoilSaver Composter, the Hoss Wheel Hoe (both the double wheel and the high arch models), the Blackhawk corn sheller, and many other things found in our tool shed.

 

 

Sheep being raised and grazed on the White House lawn.

 

Victory garden in England – 1944.

 

Program to encourage the raising of pork in England.

Reject the Temporary – Embrace the Timeless

The Black Friday madness is all that anyone needs to see in order to understand a seriously flawed way of thinking. Only hours after celebrating Thanksgiving – a day set aside to thank God for all that we have been blessed with – crowds of people obsessed with buying the latest trinkets from China at a lower price push and shove to grab more “stuff”. Is anything they are buying going to last? Will it be here two years from now? Is there any possibility that it will be handed down to future generations as a treasured heirloom? No, it will end up in a landfill as a testament to consumerism as the highest pursuit, while treating the land as nothing more than a source for raw materials and a dumping ground for last year’s trinkets.

My wife and I enjoy looking through small town antique shops. Occasionally, we will find something to buy, but mostly it is a form of entertainment and a chance to see what generations past have treasured. We have noticed that, over the years, there is more and more high quality furniture and other items available in these shops at very reasonable prices. The shop owners tell us that there is no shortage of items available. Parents die, and their children have no interest in that heavy, solid wood furniture or bone china or old sterling silverware beyond asking, “What’s it worth?”

We hear the same story time after time – today, people would rather buy junk from Ikea or Walmart, knowing that it will last until they get bored with it and want to redecorate or relocate. Dump the old junk, and buy the new junk. The assumption is that there will always be new junk available whenever they need it – an endless supply of new stuff from China, based on an endless supply of raw materials stripped from the land.

Things that are passed down from one generation to the next are not just things – they are tangible connections with our past. That old sideboard in the family farmhouse is not just a worn out cabinet to store things in – it is an item that my ancestors thought highly enough of to take up precious space in a covered wagon when they moved from Alabama to Florida. It is something that each generation is shown as they hear the stories of how our family moved in the days before moving vans and interstate highways.

Don’t short-change those who come after you. Choose things that have lasting value; things that aren’t trendy that will go out of style next year; that won’t fall apart and can’t be repaired. It doesn’t have to be expensive. We have found some very nice solid wood furniture in second hand stores. We have found sets of fine china at the Goodwill store at a price not much more than what you might pay for a good brand of paper plates. Think long term. Think of your descendants. Reject the temporary. Embrace the timeless.

Thanksgiving 1861

During the Thanksgiving season we often hear that the first national Thanksgiving Proclamation was given by Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C. on October 3, 1863. What the northern history books fail to mention is that Lincoln, bowing to political pressure, copied the President of the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis actually had made the first national Proclamation of Thanksgiving two years earlier in Richmond, Virginia.
Here it is:

Proclamation of Thanksgiving, 1861
by President Jefferson Davis

WHEREAS, it hath pleased Almighty God, the Sovereign Disposer of events, to protect and defend us hitherto in our conflicts with our enemies as to be unto them a shield.

And whereas, with grateful thanks we recognize His hand and acknowledge that not unto us, but unto Him, belongeth the victory, and in humble dependence upon His almighty strength, and trusting in the justness of our purpose, we appeal to Him that He may set at naught the efforts of our enemies, and humble them to confusion and shame.

Now therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, in view of impending conflict, do hereby set apart Friday, the 15th day of November, as a day of national humiliation and prayer, and do hereby invite the reverend clergy and the people of these Confederate States to repair on that day to their homes and usual places of public worship, and to implore blessing of Almighty God upon our people, that he may give us victory over our enemies, preserve our homes and altars from pollution, and secure to us the restoration of peace and prosperity.

Given under hand and seal of the Confederate States at Richmond, this the 31st day of October, year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty one.

By the President,
JEFFERSON DAVIS

Thanksgiving 1944

The Norman Rockwell classic, Freedom From Want, speaks volumes of the bounty that we have here in America. Even the poorest of the poor here are far richer than much of the rest of the world. Obesity is a far greater problem in America than is hunger. We have so much to be thankful for.

Do we really understand where our blessings come from? How many times do we off-handedly say “God bless you” without giving any thought to the fact that God HAS richly blessed us.

I want to point out one of the reasons that we have the freedom to celebrate Thanksgiving to our God – the men who have fought and died trying to preserve our freedom. As I was going through some of my father’s papers to clean up for our Thanksgiving Day dinner, I found a reminder of the sacrifice that generations past have made. This is the Thanksgiving Dinner menu for those aboard the U.S.S. Cumberland Sound, AV-17 in 1944 – somewhere in the Pacific, very far from home.


Part of the crew of the U.S.S. Cumberland Sound, AV-17. My father is the officer in the front row, wearing the cap, on the right.


When my father died, I inherited what is probably the largest collection of photos of and about the USS Cumberland Sound in existence. This is the web site that I created to share those photos.

One Acre Makeover

At some point last year, it became clear to me that I needed to make some major changes here on our one acre homestead. If your place is already exactly what it should be, then you might want to skip reading this post. Otherwise, perhaps you’ll find a bit of inspiration here.

The Problem:

  • The garden was not set up for efficiently maintaining it. As the years start adding up for me, making it easy to maintain becomes more important.
  • The garden irrigation system had underground pipes through the garden area, and that’s a really bad idea when using a powerful roto-tiller. Running over a pipe creates quite an interesting fountain in the garden.
  • The trees that provided some shade were old water oaks. In this part of the country, they are really more like giant weeds. They don’t produce anything and they tend to rot from the inside out (just as nations and cultures do), and it goes unnoticed until a storm comes along and blows it over – sometimes taking other things with it.
  • The bee hives that I set in the garden were OK until the bees got in a cranky mood at the same time that I needed to work in the garden. Keeping bees means you’re going to get stung once in a while, but you never really get used to it no matter what anyone says.

 

The Solution:

  • The patchwork garden design became a single rectangular block. The duck pen, the bee hives, the bananas, and the pineapple patch – gone. The duck pen was moved back out of the garden area, the pineapple plants were transplanted to a single row along the perimeter fence, the banana plants cut down and dug up, and the bee hives were moved away from the garden.
  • The irrigation system now consists of two rows of overlapping sprinklers along the sides such that every part of the garden is covered by at least two sprinklers. All the irrigation pipe and one electrical conduit were removed from the garden area.
  • All of the oaks were removed. It wasn’t cheap, but it takes heavy equipment and it needed to be done. With the yard now opened up, I planted peaches, apples, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, figs, avocado, and plums. I would rather spend my time here watching the young fruit trees grow up than watching the old water oaks rot and die. At this stage of life, watching the young grow up is one of life’s greatest joys. Think grandchildren.
  • The bee hives were moved to the side of the house. It is an area that is otherwise unused, and there are no doors on that end of the house. The bees are happy and so are we. I also reduced the number of hives from ten down to three – plenty enough for pollination and some honey.

 

Future posts will detail things like planting the fruit trees, the bee hives, etc. For now, I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

 

The Water Oaks come out


The buried pipe comes out


Banana plants are next to be removed


Stakes mark where a row of fruit trees will be planted


Fruit trees being planted

Weeds, Immigration, and Culture


Several years ago, in an effort to improve the quality of the soil in my garden, I bought a truckload of topsoil. It was carefully spread, then tilled and worked into the soil. The original soil and the new topsoil were mixed until they became as one. At first, it was great. The soil was darker and richer looking than the native sandy soil, and the plants that I grew there were bigger and stronger. Then came the weeds.

Hidden in among that rich-looking soil that I brought in to mix with the native soil were weed seeds. Specifically, nut-grass nodules. Here we are, years later, and I am still battling the nut-grass. It spreads its roots deep below the surface, and it stores nutrition in a large nodule deep down in the soil. Just cutting them off at the surface has no lasting effect – the weed springs right back in just a couple of days. Nut-grass must be dug out by the roots, one weed at a time. The nodule must be removed. The root runners must be removed. Everything about the weed must be removed, or it will continue to spread, sap the strength of the plants that are intended to grow there, and eventually they will take over completely.

Removing the weeds and their roots is not a painless process. It disturbs the roots of the garden plants, and it is slow and tedious work. There is no alternative if the garden is to be saved. It must be done.

Culture is a very precious thing, and it must be cared for and defended. A culture – just like agriculture – requires work to maintain. There are no shortcuts. Bringing in, or allowing in, foreign elements into a native culture brings with it serious risks. While on the surface, there may appear to be benefits to mixing cultures, the hidden costs will quickly show up. Like an invasive species in nature that finds no natural enemies, it takes over and the original culture disappears. Forever.

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