What if you depended on a crop for your livelihood, for your very survival. Imagine if it was so important that if it were to fail, the family you work to provide for will face a dire food shortage during the oncoming winter. Its an intimidating thought, but thankfully for most of us it's not a reality. Many cultures around the globe exist in this manner or close to it. Us westerners though, we've got it well sorted out. The mega food system looks out for us. It caters for us, ensures we have all the food we can stomach. Sure there are a few corners cut, the odd chemical added, a few bursts of carbon emissions, one or two unhappy farm animals, its the system thats helped make the population explode, and thats a good thing right? More people, more workers, stronger economy. Thats whats important for the future...right? Well I disagree. I disagree with every ounce of my body. And I have a few spare ounces.
So I removed myself as much as I practically could from the system. I figured that if one is to lose faith in a religion, then it's ones duty to disconnect with the church. So I'm out on my own, humming some sort of a new gospel song (no doubt slightly out of key). My church is my garden, the fields where I hunt, the bush I forage, and the waters I fish. My alter is a wobbly kitchen bench that I fashioned from timber I scrounged at the tip, adhering to my approach of living off the crumbs of society. So far the new religion seems to be doing ok. There has been some persecution from the non-believers and one or two comments of disapproval about the choice of religious apparel (cap, dirty drill shirt and dirtier jeans), but all in all it's doing well. Actually thats not an entirely true statement. There have been a few hiccups. The god of this religion hasn't been playing fair of late. And this here parishioner has a feeling of discontent!
Summer is the most important season. Warm sunlight the key to successful photosynthesis, and of course the warming of the soil. It is these precious months that I grow as much storable food as possible. Making the most of the fine weather, I also grow an abundance of summer veg to feed us on those warm days.
But lately the old god of nature has been testing us. You've felt a strong hot wind right? Well here on the hill, the hot winds seem to be hotter and harder. They've hit so hard that the plants have been drained of moisture and cooked. Leaves burnt by hot wind. The sunlight has been so harsh that it melted candles left outside.
All the work I put into the bean crop has been compromised. Just before the borloti was due to flower the heat wave came in and belted with volcanic fury. Zucchini has been flattened, as has the corn. I'm hoping its all repairable, I have a decent supply of love. I'm hoping it can bring some of these plants back. To add salt to the wound, the warm weather seems to have encouraged holiday season cabbage moths, who on having such a frolicking good time have left eggs all over my broccoli which hatched and baby caterpillars devoured the tasty leaves within days.
Imagine though, really try and imagine if you where in the situation where this crop was part of a future food supply that would keep you and your family feed through winter, and now its in jeopardy. Scary huh.
There are some good outcomes from the heat. The plants that I allowed to go to seed have mostly cured and are ready to be stored or replanted. There seems to me to always be an upside to the downside.