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Plant Sale 2012

May 28, 2012

The past two Saturdays on the farm have been nearly perfect. A little warm for my taste, but I’m sure I was the only one who would have thought of complaining. The farm holds a plant sale each spring, and this year it was held over two weekends and appeared to be extremely popular. It is generally the first weekend of the year that people return to the farm in large numbers. The farm stand was open, but the main attraction was the large assortment of beautiful organic plants (particularly many varieties of tomatoes). I opened up my little shop, as I try to do most Saturday mornings, and had many visitors (which I always enjoy). I had a couple new items on display. Firstly, I bought down some chairs that I built on commission. These are fairly standard chairs for me, but they are a little taller to fit a kitchen island rather than a table and the backs are made with rope. I brought ordinary clothesline rope and dyed it. I wasn’t sure about the color (my tastes are so conservative) but people seemed to like it, most importantly the customer liked it. The next item I brought was a new cedar bench. This piece, like most everything I make out of cedar seemed to really catch peoples’ eye. People are really struck by cedar’s vivid color. I am starting to see cedar as a sort of landlocked version of drift wood. It is rot resistant enough to sit around in the woods for years, getting weathered and developing its wonderful character without rotting. Any other wood that sat in the woods a fraction or that time would be nothing but rotted mush and worm food.
Meanwhile, in my effort to become an educated man, I am finally reading H. David Thoreau’s Walden. I have read some books which have felt like a slog in my day, but this may take the cake. When an author has to begin with an apology that his book may be a bit too self-centered, he should probably trust his instincts. I know that it is an absolutely beloved book, and I have only read the first couple chapters, so perhaps there is still hope that I may see the light. I do see why it was so popular to young folks in the sixties. It told them that the way to avoid the life of “quiet desperation” led by their parents was to drop out of school and at all cost avoid working for anyone. It explains that working for someone is not all that different from slavery and that everyone should just build their own cabin and raise enough food for themselves. What strikes me every time I read Thoreau is how radical he is. There he is in that black and white photo with his old fashioned bow tie, high collar, and black coat, placidly regarding us from 150 years ago. But he is as radical as a Robbespierre or a Lenin.

His aims were different, but if everyone followed his plan, society would be changed just as radically as they were under the others. Let me be very careful to point out that I do not believe it would have resulted in the same mass death. But a society of Thoreau followers would be no society at all, just an aggregation of individuals living in the same general area, but not too close to one another. Thoreau was a radical libertarian and didn’t believe that anyone should ever have to do what one thought was wrong. I look forward to reading his observations of Walden, an area of which I am very fond, perhaps there is hope yet that I will be educated.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Robert permalink
    May 28, 2012 11:31 am

    Sounds to me like you’re educating yourself just fine; understanding something is the important part, not necessarily agreeing with it.

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