Sunday, September 16, 2007

Farm Bulletin: A Tempting Offer

The latest missive from Anthony and Carol contained some disturbing news of their imminent departure:

This will be our final market. A couple weeks ago we received an urgent communication from Mr. Nbokoa Kanabumba asking our help in extracting $100,000,000 from a special account in Lagos, Nigeria. Many of these inquiries are false, but this one was different, he only needed a modest sum from us to assist in the transfer. Cash, no shady intermediaries, and we would receive millions tax free. After several communications, we are sure he is a genuine person, the real McCoy, or at least the real Kanabumba. A quick trip to Lagos, and we can live out our dreams.

After a couple celebratory drinks, we started exploring what we would do with the money. Maybe a small farm in the Willamette Valley, close to people we love, with good soils, and an oak savannah at its heart with lots of birds, spiders, frogs, wasps and termites. The farm would have some orchards, canefields and a good plot of vegetables, verdant during even the darkest days of December. Throw in some long-eared and barn owls as well as acorn woodpeckers, who could ask for anything more. We realized this stunning opportunity lying in Lagos would be wasted upon us. We are glad to pass on the particulars to someone dreaming about that terra cotta Tuscan villa.

We have had a good summer, and appreciate the good cheer with which our fruits and vegetables been received. Now we are preparing for our return on the 4th of November, as well as planting some of next summer's crops. Over the next few weeks, the garlic, shallots, favas, barley and durum wheat for frikeh will be planted. At the same time, we will be harvesting the chestnuts, corn, popcorn, squash and dry beans. Preserves have to be made, and the canefields and orchards must be "put to bed." Lots of work.

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The great French biologist, Lamarck, offered up his own explanation of evolution. He theorized that traits are acquired and developed in response to environment. The classic example is the giraffe, whose long neck, Lamarck speculated, became extended over several generations as the animal stretched to reach treetops. In his lost journals upon which his theories were based, he apparently explored the unique small gland behind the central cortex of every French man and woman. The size and shape of a large cherry, this yellow organ is blushed carmine and accounts for the misty eyed reaction from French expatriates upon spying the mirabelle. Proust can keep his cookies; it is the simple mirabelle with her rustic blush that stirs the Gallic heart.

You can subscribe to Anthony's weekly notices by sending a request via e-mail. Or find him and Carol almost every Sunday at the Hillsdale Farmers Market between 10 am and 2 pm.

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