Mulch Ado About Nothing

I promised myself in January I’d devote the first comment of each month to the world immediately around me.  Today I feel obligated to say something about last night’s presidential debate.  I’ll try, perhaps foolishly, to do both.  Hang on.

It’s rained every day of October, so far.  Right now it’s relatively warm and non-relatively humid in Burlington.  The streets are hung with fog and the first maples to blaze look like sentinel fires against the hillside.  While rain and the evening dim of shorter days triggers blue moods in some, we’ve needed the rain.  Lake Champlain’s water level remains below average, as it’s been for six months.

(Speaking of damp fog, who was that guy debating Mitt Romney last night?  OK, so it was Barack and Michelle Obama’s wedding anniversary.  I had to work on my anniversary this year (on a Saturday no less) and I didn’t act bored and petulant.  What an insult to all the people out there busting their humps to get you re-elected, Barry.   Although Gov. Romney came out with a host of positions completely at odds with what he’s been saying for the past 18 months, at least he came prepared with something.  POTUS didn’t seem to notice the lies and looked like a 12th grader who stayed up late smoking pot, then crammed on the bus on the way to school.  He certainly didn’t call Mr. Romney on his BS.  I hope the plan is NOT to leave it to Joe Biden.)

Back in Vermont, Adrienne ordered a “small” load of wood mulch from a local tree service.  “Small” turned out to be two tons (quite a bargain).  There’s still a ton in the driveway, so if you want some, c’mon by and help yourself.  I can testify that if you’re frustrated by politics or life in general, there’s no better tonic than to stand in a soft, warm rain and shovel mulch.  Heat and steam rise from the pile as soon as the shovel bites into it.  A good clean aroma rises to meet your nose and the garden will be that much nicer next year for your efforts.

(At the debate, you’d never know by watching that host state Colorado suffered massive wildfires this year.  It was never mentioned.  Nor was the worst drought in 70 years which devastated farmland throughout most of the country and will contribute significantly to food crisis that is expected to hit in the first months of 2013.  While prices will rise at American groceries, we can expect riots and political unrest in poorer, warmer, politically unstable nations.  Welcome to the future.)

My bees had a great year but to ensure that they go into the winter as strong as possible, I’ve been feeding them sugar syrup and will continue for the next ten days or so.  Welcome as the rain has been, opening a hive in the rain – even if one bears a sugar-laden supper – means confronting some PO’ed bees.  Even if its not raining, there’s no more pollen and nectar to gather and bees with nothing to do are unhappy bees.  I’m not worried about arthritis in my hands anytime soon, not with all these stings.

(Have you noticed no one in politics talks about “the environment” anymore?  Now, if our surroundings get any mention at all, it’s within the context of “energy,” because “energy” implies money.  Just ask Jed Clampett.  Mr. Romney felt bold enough say he “loves coal” and mocked “green jobs” and all Mr. Obama could do was counterpoke (it was far too weak to be called a punch) about maybe cutting subsidies to the oil companies, somewhere, some day.  Maybe in his third term.)

The Burlington Free Press, the local Gannett outlet, is calling for a glorious display of fall color this year, just as it does every year.  My observation says colors tend to be less-than-glorious after a dry summer like the one we had this year, but at Gannett, the emphasis is on the net (in both pronunciation and accounting) and so glorious colors are predicted every year and it’s hoped no one keeps tabs on accuracy.

(In Denver, the “domestic policy” debate not only missed the drought and climate change, but farm policy, education, abortion, veterans, same-sex marriage, immigration and just about everything else that I suppose the clueless, toothless embarrassment to journalism that was Jim Lehrer bypassed as he phoned in his moderator role.  If he’s the argument for funding public broadcasting, then you can kiss that big yellow bird goodbye.)

© Mark Floegel, 2012

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