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How to Save a Couple of Lives in Spite of Gov't

by Lou Stevens & Jim Faldworth
Spare us the slaughter, it's just an herb!

How to Save a Couple of Lives in Spite of Gov't<\H3>

Certain events repeat, or rather they 'recur' , reoccurence perhaps same in 'literal' meaning but here to say that a place or persons,revisited, some turn of activity has variation. Exact repetition is rare or impossible, nor desired much, though some environments and happening are startling, remarkably similar or share many details, that could be noted, recorded, or maybe can not ever be recorded but play a trick on the mind. The term 'repeat', or 'deja vu', 'just like old times', and so forth come to be used in these times, with more or less superstition or joy surrounding the comment. Not a weird thing to have eaten a similar head of lettuce or walked a similar garden yet some instance in life it is predictable, a person of learning will feel some wonderment or quizzical, how many of these things are the same or have they happened to some other? I was arguing with former Justice Scalia, Rest in Peace, who had survived a knife fight, which had left a cut that I sewed on one arm, saying he ought to be thankful and... well ... not that story, hm. Ah: I was sitting at a woodgrain counter, meaning clear varnished so it was obviously from a thick tree and could last. The place called a 'bar' which is oddly reminiscent of the law exams or some joke about it maybe; 'pub', short for public house, is a misnomer in this country, United States of America, albeit here on the Western coast of Turtle Island, "Cascadia", or the Pacific Northwest, the Willamette Valley, our fertile refridgerator between the Cascade mountains and the Pacific Sea, not all or perhaps less than half the customers and staff go there planning to call it their house, sleep, shit, make a mess, cook breakfast. Usually (in my limited experience), a social gathering, or some time to rest with a glass, such as beer or wine, maybe read, hear music, meet someone or find a job, make a phone call... so there is commonality with a 'home', but it has a limited time of hours open to those passing by on the sidewalks closing around three in the morning, feeling more like night, and depending on the place again serves food and drink and clean water, toilets to the public at 9 or noon the next day. The idea is a good one. Mainly they close, because if all night alcoholic drinks are served, to people who haven't slept enough, or just anyone, it turns out some of them will commit robberies and run over persons with their cars. There is not a direct correlation, but must have SOME causal affect there, or it would not have affected Law, made this vague yet helpful judgement. The other outcome is that certain persons DO think of the pub or 'Tavern' (a word I like the sound of a bit better, perhaps derived from 'tabernacle') as THEIR home and this has good and bads, which to me make the place eventually less of a nice place to go. It is nice when they have food prepared, and some fresh produce; almost all of them claim<\I> to... I like the environment mostly smoke free (no smoking), though a stray wiff off someone's tobacco gives me that sense of deja vu, as long as I don't have an asthma attack from it, tolerable, once per the whole night. The tradition of going outside to smoke also helps with easing the work, moments of rest for staff and some privacy, the possibility more than one sonic environment, multiple conversations. This all presumes the music is gently behind, maybe a classical guitarist or piano, or rock'n'roll, juke box..; but not insanely loud; this came later. The world is complex, and few of these places, maybe some in Portland, Oregon have phonograph (old style record players, rare these days) but God hates Internet streaming music when it comes with adverts. That would be enough to ask a refund. The advertising kills the whole deal. Radio broadcast ads were once a respected artform but to me, Pandora will always be a divine girl charged with guarding a crate of demons in Ancient Mediterranean lore. Better to have silence than take swine with pearls. (See also Persephone, who ate pomegranates.) What the Hell was I up to? Ah, I have a pint jar of thick glass with thick beer, amber to chestnut color, somewhat sweet and also tang, and I sip, enjoy, and notice that all at once (not really), I am alone...ish... meaning the three familiar faces I saw have gone. No one recognizable in the place including the barlady... some strangers arrived. There was a woman I was kissing earlier when that stray wisp of cigarette came. Ended somehow... there was some talking. It was an OKAY evening... meaning, not a bad time. A bit muddled, which you may expect with a beer or not if you like clear headed discernable courses of events, which some are very opposed to, somewhat unfortunately. The place was clean. It was dark, that for the mood is good but more dark than usually, and the conjunction of this with the new crowd worried me, even though I could see the trees outside, the beer was fine, the jar was clean... May have been about 10 past noon or 22 hundred hours as they say in 24hour time or mil time, (10 o'clock PM, is also 24 hours of measuring the day, but it has AM and PM, where noon is the middle of the light hours, FYI, so at 10pm it is dark outside.) I stood up and the smart thing (smart?) would have been to drink it and walk out, or to leave an inch there as a statement it was potent drink but if the booze is that good, I take it all 'with me'. Also, I like to pee outside for the visceral sense of connectedness to Earth, and the practical putting nutrients in for plants, or killing unwanted ones, depending on how hydrated I am... urine is funny. So, by logic, I was not being dumb to savor this schwill or linger in a safe place, but it was a bit late for me to see her behind me, standing with no intention this or that, just being there sort of Zen, which is odd for an 8 year old child (in my experience). I recognized Maggie. Not a stranger, someone I liked and knew, as well as her mother, who I liked, but surprised still, I slipped 'slang', and rather than 'hey there', or 'what brings you here?', I said, "What's up?", which sounds like a joke to some, but was a common way to greet when I was young. Anyhow, I think she understood and my next question, "Is anything wrong?" and I gave her a hug, and I realized the problem that she had no idea where her mother was right at that moment, and I was the 'best responsible adult', next in line. This usually worries me, not because I am not those things but because it makes me wonder what the hell else goes on. Things turn out for the better, some. I made some able inference and with a fair amount of thinking I realized some of what follows. Her Mom is a trusted partisan to some special agriculture, that I was not thinking about much, right then, but was time sensitive. Due to whatever reason, she took off in a way that left no way to reach her. Also, the pub had been 'conquered' by foreigners who tolerated me, but I would not quite call friends. Looking at the worst tragedies it is hard to get perfect numbers, namely homicides, such as a reporter or statistics person, some office or other is meant to do, several different persons do this useful thing to compare for possible improvement: bad drivers, car crashes, and so on. Often an event, murder is not a pleasant thing to recount and so affected communities are quiet, and then those stories come out late. An aged person and especially stressed roles find out that some of these things have that repetitive quality: a particular street corner could stand for some repair, maybe easy, but only if it is noted. An artificial sign like lighted food logo, McDonalds or whatever at a dumb place can take someone's eyes away from the road a moment too long. We know to focus, but these things still tax the senses. Certain roads that are narrow leave little option for someone with no car and so the driver's benefit from a different kind of sign there or speed limit, or someone there to remind that.

But<\H3> there is a different tragedy that I wanted to bring up in this so called Free Country where it seems corruption is at a high. We have a new president Joe, who weighs less (pardon the slight, Don.). One of the dumbest things that happens...first, there are reasons for laws, some of them. Legalization is a misnomer for a step toward enlightenment, in California, where there is so much sunlight to make plants grow, there were seasonal wars over who benefits most from a harvest : Cannabis. To some extent this was true of tomatoes, oranges, limes, and cilantro, the question of labor, and who shall merit, but there is one plant, also grown in Oregon with it's rain, and cold hardiness as far as Alaska, all three places bragging about the quality of their sticky green flowerbuds, I mean none other than cannabis Sativa (or the 'true marijuana herb', 'pot', 'ganja', 'weed') that has a fun numb buzzy taste some fatty deposits and produces a unique intoxication when dried and smoked or eaten with a little heated fat, as cookies, pasta sauce, however; California takes the cake on the subject of volume, it seems clear, despite the challenge in verifying this. There are a lot of different ideas, or a few main ones about economy, 'how to share', really. 'Communism' was taught as the great evil that invades the civilized, a danger, that kids then later saw as the obvious idea that 'we OUGHT to share', really both but not; the countries that were pushing it weren't idealists at all, they were savage idiots. The distribution of food and other needs was about all they got right, but that is a given. The problem was they were kids drafted as warriors, and USA did the same thing, somewhat fortunately with more educated kids and they believed in 'capitalism' as a great hope, which ALSO means, its worth sharing, and also ambition deserves rewards, and later was viewed by radicals as some great evil, which it CAN be but isn't always. Long words aside, in our country, what deserves rewards? 'Work', is a common answer, in pragmatic view that if you spend more time picking grapes you HAVE more, unless you are trading them or doing it for pay or whatever other system. Still, work deserves rewards, EXCEPT that working long hours as a slave makes OTHERS imitate for the sake of earning and ultimately all get less, and suffer more. So ambition and work deserve proportion some, but also there's a limit. Ambition can also be respect, shows a deserving person for how they treat others. The overworker needs to maybe work less but get a raise, or try a new job. Another notion that affects 'pay scale' or actual compensation is how the year went: how many rutabagas did we grow? If you live NEAR the rutabaga field, it makes some sense you get more of those, and also that some trade with the neighbors is good. One person doesn't do all this negotiation, and one person is not supposed to be the only worker. A farmer with tractor gets a lot done and different size operations have different needs and value. Not delving into my own learnings except to say it's worth connecting with Earth and seasons to be part of this some if you like, and it's enjoyable to see close up. Stores are amazing but plastic wrapped tomatoes disappoint me. Herb, means a plant with fragrance usually, often spices, or a small leafed plant; used for seasoning, small quantity added to more bland lettuce, on bread or in water as tea, soup, or sometimes for health benefits. Some herbs, 'palatable' are tasty enough to eat alone. I am a cilantro fiend if the stuff is fresh and not mucky. Still, I don't think its a more important crop than spinach, because eating a lot of cilantro is not all that filling. I would try it once... imagine it might make you feel somehow funny. Cannabis is sometimes called just 'herb', strangely, because it was taboo, a secret. The 'herb' I was familiar with, they grow a lot of it, and it grows easily, though, there is lot to know or do for the 'best' result. Different folks like different flavors, and also makes someone feel different ways. Kids that grew up with that plant have some view of it, innocuous, medicine, fun, scary, annoying, or 'whatever'. It's all those, in my experience, plus the same problem with the beer sales, that after 3 in the morning it is possible to get totally loaded and do a dumb thing without planning it. Besides that, there is another reason, ostensibly, behind cannabis prohibition. Greed. Antigreed law is both annoying to those trying to succeed yet helpful to them, and hard to discern, enforce. The more current legislation that we talked over, voted on, argued, fought for, says "it's okay to grow pot". (but not a million pounds by yourself for nobody else's benefit unless they give you all the treasure on Earth) I Believe this was actually the intended original purpose of those laws, and it's hopeful that there has been some change. It so happened that I was out camping when I found this out; had not seen any 'grass' (also slang for cannabis) in a while, had a small amount, half an eighth ounce, saved deep in my sock drawer. I found some newsprint and read the article and thought, "WOW. finally." and then, "who cares?", and "so, where is this stuff?" was sort of the feeling, that it was mostly progress. The argument for growing it and the right to grow it is American citizens, on their own land, do what they wish within some limits. We have planes though! Still, that's my back yard. If you take one picture for geographic survey, use it ONLY to protect me, meaning the things I planted are supposed to be there until I harvest them or they fall in for compost or a wild animal eats them, God forbid. How does the gov't know if those farmworkers are my friends, invited or not? Well, a lot of the persons working on farms move around, some are from other places, men join the army, some are migrants, old people vacation, or nomads make circles, the Native peoples use this land... they all have SOME guarantee for compensation, but not in my back yard. If I am a rural resident, I suppose there IS a share in how many deer survive passing my door. That is, I don't own the deer. I may choose to hunt, which is a right with responsibility for deer thriving in the future, and a full season of persimmons that are juicy,which means they ripen long. If you are in my 'neighborhood', maybe you hunted a doe and we share one, I skin or tan for your labor at making sauerkraut. You can also put sauerkraut in those nice glass jars that sometimes hold beer. It is not luck that those prevailed and the coffeeshop uses ceramic mugs, although, I think it's fun to sometimes have a clay mug full of beer or a glass of coffee just to change it up. Even those 'fragile' water glasses CAN hold hot drinks within some boundaries of physical laws... also, the tavern is assumed to have bandage, tape, antiseptic, ointment, cotton, bandaids, aspirin or simile, maybe ibuprofen, sudafed, nyquil, tylenol and maybe a small amount of rubbing alcohol in a well marked case with a red cross typically. It could be black or green depending, and hard liquor is the same for cleaning cuts, so that more alcohol seems superfluous, but DO NOT drink the alcohol in a medical kit; it is poisonous. (different than liquor, less temperature controled and overly strong) Anyway, farms are usually shared property, or a designated older person gives delegates some part of the place to watch, or some tasks within the time that is taken to grow produce. Remembering those people is good and so is learning the seasonal rhythms, and that without totally fighting nature we can get our diets fulfilled, and there are some times to fight nature. Managing poop and water is our birthright and that, along with fire safety, should be high in the priority list, is my position. Fire, poop, and water are sensitive issues in agriculture. Pot growers and others have historically these reputations for being slobs or tidy to contend with; trashing the woodlands, or ignoring and misusing valuable things is a serious issue. In dry times, use less water EXCEPT on the plants you need. A clean round seat with large hole in it, over a hole that is maybe eight feet deep, can have a tent of some wall if desired privacy, and nearby a spigot on hoseline from higher, or a vessel full of water, rain, or other that allows someone to use ONE hand to wipe, minimally with some moss or leaf, or spare paper (old news, lousy books) and with a CLEAN hand, turn on the water for say, ten seconds, barring total disaster (dirty accidents wiping), and wash the other hand leaving no germs on the outhouse door (if there's one) or spigot\valve. If the pit is deep, the stuff smells less, doesn't seep into nearby landscapes (or rather, goes to the deep roots that filter, not contaminating foliage), and if it is a rectangle, long ways to be level on slope this helps. As it fills, danger is averted by adding a mulch of oak leaves, or straw, sawdust, chips, or whatnot for smell and decomposition. Remember where it is and wait a year before using that area for anything edible, is my advice. To digress... Money as a motivator creates a contention, since the PROHIBITED plant, paradox, was the PROFITABLE one, and Mexicans also had feelings about this and marihuana, as it is sometimes spelled based on our nation, as well as the persons who planted and left, the folks who lived somewhere years before, the hunters, and the vegetable growers. Obviously food crops are important. Fish and wild foods are valuable, easy sometimes to find but viewing the FOREST as 'deerbrowse' screws over a lot of other stuff: mushrooms, root crops, foliage, and berries. Native Americans, not a single tribe, but the separate wisdoms of the various bands, together knew all those things, or I could say, they knew something. Quite possibly, they warred less and learned more about abundant life over time, but that's idealism. 'Colonialists' brought some knowhow, apples, stuff like that, and learned something as well and things were awkward for a long while. Also, wood is trees. Have you ever eaten a camas root? They're an odd flavor, I like them around though. Variety ... Using public lands to say the least creates tension. Cows particularly have a bad rap, but out here, it was cannabis. The price varies. A lot of persons worked together to grow it and then they had some feuds about how to share, or liked each other less, realized deer ate their crop and killed too many deer. Some of this happened in the 1970s, reoccurs still. 'The government', stepped in to solve this problem by saying 'screw all of you', and it was unfortunate. One other thought is the danger that harvest goes to waste after effort to grow. If pains are taken to thwart other species for the sake of benefitting one, there is a loss in wasted harvest MORE than just that crop. This emphasizes need for diverse consideration, but also honoring what others plant. Some of the persons had left the country to fight evil other places. They may have had a hand in seeding, and were not all welcomed back. Other persons had been schooled that 'smoking the Devil's herb leads you straight to Hell and no one ought to do it', or 'it makes you go crazy', or quite sanely, 'those people are leaving trash and we should grow apples and pears there, with potatoes'. Sometimes scary groups were deep in the remote places who were doing worse things than promoting smoking. These different views don't add up to prohibition, and a lot of dishonesty is involved in making a task force of some who think they are fighting the good fight against it, and the others who plan on stealing something they like, by saying it's bad and wrong. This made a thing with the somewhat false name, "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms" whose main purpose was invading pot plantations, as far as I know. They were nominally concerned with those other things, too. Alcohol being a fun and medicinal, useful thing also, to some extent formed another political grouping. A more diverse supply chain is involved: sugar cane growers outside the country, wheat farmers, corn, and potatoes, barley and hops e.g., are all involved in different drink makings. It takes knowledge as well and resources. Again, those farmers all deserve some of their own crops and it makes sore to pay too high a price, or if others barter your labor poorly. All the apples are cider? If you store them cool and dry they last a year! I like them whole, fresh, some. Some sauce, some juice, some ciders... diversify. And give some away, and save some, and don't let them rot for God's sake. It's dumb to waste something good that another wants, unless you really mean to starve them. So the ATF, the preventable dumb thing that the government does, is that some faction of young people go to a border to defend our country with violence or to 'save peace on Earth' as whole oversea or in the air, and when they come back they 'just happen' to be at the place where other persons are saying 'We need to crack down on the insane despots who took over Northern California'....oh, dang. The danger of this is that there are possibly two opposing sides of persons each with their version of the U.S. Constitution. If they are just now returning from war, they are going to look at anyone else's life as less valuable, calloused, perhaps crazy from the stress and it seems backwards to look at combat as training for farm bill enforcement. There is a danger of unneededly shooting people. Also, the last ones defending land growing crops, even clandestine, are quite possibly with the ideals of land and freedom, perhaps also hoping to share for the better. It is challenging to say right or wrong since the Natives and Settlers are still at tense peace but I will say that shellshocked kids are not the best candidates carte blanche for evicting narcoterrorists; who may also be veterans, perhaps old. At the very least there ought to be mutual understandings of the produce growing, not the prohibitionist garbage that was pushed to make it illegal. And the dispensaries are not a satisfying solution either; green smokers with gadgets trying to impress mature gardeners rather than honestly say, it grows, have a smell... put off by the cameras and idiotic ID checks I await the farmstands and open air markets of mutual kindness to be as up front and judicious with this crop as they were in getting vegetables and fruit around, years past, with nominal fees per weight or head, trades or taking a little profit selling pie to make for easy shares of the greens. Big trees condense water in their canopies, make home murellets, voles, owls, jays, also the roots; eagles nest, crows flee. Hawks hunt, ravens soar. Chickens shit, eggs feed, mycelia breeds. Scat and charcoal feed, water flows, it beads, it evaporates. Light and openings make fruits, broadleaves, loamy Earth allows a potato or yampa but hard earth still opens for burdocks and dandelions. I like the varied ages of forest, ancient, old, young, teenage. The undergrowth takes different heights and species thrive accordingly, salal in part shade makes more berries some with sun or Solomon's seal, thimble & salmonberries, Cat's Ear and hazelnuts; I'll eat a filbert but don't let's go crazy with cultivating. I'm not such the purest to never pull a weed and overlook nutrition but I don't hate a little convenience. You can make a torch for seeing from a mylar chocolate wrapper, but take care with that petrochemical, it drips and sticks. Defoliants that are sprayed made it possible to see fleeing fighters and save the environment around them more than dropping bombs, but those chemicals kill things, hurt the produce. Now I see kids using loud machines and those chemicals to do what I consider needless when a goat or two takes care, or lama, alpaca, or my scythe. The sickle, it should be noted was not the best idea for backs, nor the communists who promoted their own steel work. They were HOPEFUL, fine, but different tacts fit different scales and I'm sick of those who CAN'T or DON'T talk about it because free talking is also called 'communing' and talking to friends and strangers is what this country was founded on, The Natives and Settlers actually hit it off pretty well at first, so let's not give up so damn quick, shall we? There's another important plant that can be used for good if we aren't careless, called the poppy flower, and I tried those, and it's okay! You put a flower head in the hot water and you have a nice tea. From that plant is a powerful painkiller called 'heroin', or any number of variations but don't make anyone take it, save some for a bad day and too much will kill you! Dripline is a thing that saves some work, but laborsaving makes a planet of boring robots who don't understand the natural world. Overhead spray cools the leaves and you can wash your hands in it. Wells should be savored. Diverting from creeks can make local food sources, but the rabbits, chipmunks and elks need to drink, and us humans some like to drink from the creek or the well at different times. Collecting rainwater is smart except just leaving it for insects to die in or mildew.

All things in moderation. Don't take the joy out of life. Yew trees are hard. Maples, and Cedars like the creeks. Redwoods, certain cedars, and grand firs or Nobles live long. Some are hardy, not all Douglas firs have the same vigor and expected life span so pay attention the way they meet each other and wildlife that attracts or repels. All this from a city kid?

Give me some pot! Was not the point of this article, but there is another noteworthy thing there in preventing what was once a yearly shootout, now down to every four years, that we still don't have the best of relations between the rural autonomous and their potential allies, some of whom are wisened. I could say a lot more about recycling and horses and timber, but I'll save it for the next time I'm not walking into a bar but drinking beer I made on my own with no one's help, outside.

Same night Scalia's arm, ... I got stabbed earlier. I said that after... could be worse! He couldn't have cared less. The girl who stabbed me, someone stabbed her. It was a difficult time. I'm 'lucky' to be alive. It was good to have whiskey. A gun is a dangerous toy, and I'm glad not to be in the ATF, though I enjoy the occasional tobacco and sip or wine; and if I want a buck, a pistol may be most quick but whatever the means, I wouldn't make him suffer needlessly. The bible verses about kosher and halal are often misinterpretted; the meaning is the spirit, less pain, less waste, be clean, and for sustenance. Waste goes back to the Earth, and as we Sow, shall we Reap. Yours in Land and Liberty. Take it gently. Thanks to Jay Rosen for idea. Lou Stevens, Independence Journal, May 30. Woodburn, Oregon.

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