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Monday, October 15, 2007

Silence in a Pumpkin Field

Silent Spring
Is Silent Spring by Rachel Carson still required reading in school? It was when I was in school. If it isn't, it should be. I feel like I'm "cheating" for including this brief information from wikipedia but, I wanted to participate in Blog Action Day and I forgot it was today.

Silent Spring is a book written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin in September 1962. The book is widely credited with launching the environmental movement in the West.

When Silent Spring was published, Rachel Carson was already a well-known writer on natural history, but had not previously been a social critic. The book was widely read (especially after its selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club and an endorsement by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas), spending several weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, and inspired widespread public concerns with pesticides and pollution of the environment. Silent Spring facilitated the ban of the pesticide DDT[1] in 1972 in the United States.

The book claimed detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, particularly on birds. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation, and public officials of accepting industry claims uncritically. She proposed a biotic approach to pest control as an alternative to DDT, claiming that DDT had been found to cause thinner egg shells and result in reproductive problems and death. Silent Spring @ wikipedia

Personally, Silent Spring had a lasting effect on me. In the 70's, when I was a young mother, I learned all I could about organic gardening. For me, my garden was the first place to begin. I learned about companion planting. Garlic Loves Roses you know. Once when I was out in the yard in the middle of the night removing tomato horn worms off of my tomato plants, my neighbor in the back, who also happened to be a sherif, came out to investigate. There I was with my pail and flash light picking those nasty creatures off my plants. He laughed, said something to the effect of, "she's at it again" and went back in his house. We often bickered over the fence about the size and production of our gardens. His garden certainly "looked" better then mine but I always insisted mine was healthier and saved lives. I put the worms in the compost pile. What happened to them after that is anybody's guess but at least they were off my tomatoes and still alive. Making manure tea was a project in itself. I had a 50 gallon can dug into the ground where I put all my ingredients for manure tea. I know it doesn't sound appetizing but it sure did work. Oh yes indeed, it did stink up the yard and the surrounding areas but I didn't care. After all, when my neighbors were spraying their yards, whatever insects survived probably came over to my safe haven. It took about 3 years before I got a bumper crop but it was certainly worth it. Which brings me to the pumpkin picking.

Silence in a Pumpkin Field

Yesterday, we attempted to go pumpkin picking. We were going to go to the Oyster Festival over in Oyster Bay, I'm in New York this week, but when we watched the traffic report and heard there were suppose to be 200,000 people attending, we decided against it. I didn't know the Oyster Festival was the largest on the east coast. Actually, I still don't know. Publicity you know. So, we decided to go out east and pick some pumpkins or at least buy some from a local stand. There were so many people and so many kids, it was just wonderful! Now, I am originally from Long Island and have been to many local farms and have seen many local pumpkins. For some reason, something just didn't seem right. I mean there were tons and tons of pumpkins and they were HUGE! I mean HUGE! I meandered off in search of the perfect pumpkin. To my dismay, I noticed that many of the pumpkins in the fields were not attached to the vines. Okay, I thought maybe, they cut them off the vine to make it easier for picking. As I said, there were so many people and so many activities going on, no one noticed me. Over by the side of a shed, I noticed a young girl who looked like she was about to pass out. I went over to her to see if I could help. She could barely speak English but I managed to get a few words out of her. It seems, she was exhausted and needed a drink. Well, to make a long story short, I discovered that the loose pumpkins in the fields were actually imported from I don't know where (neither did anyone else, or they wouldn't say) They had brought them in on an 18 wheeler truck and rolled them into the fields for pumpkin picking. I found out later that the pumpkins were so heavy that it took about 4 or 5 people like the young girl to get them out into the fields. Needless to say, we left without any pumpkins wondering to ourselves if this is happening anywhere else with anything else? Pumpkin Pie Day is in November. Come join us to share some pumpkin recipes.

More info:

    Although a bookseller website, this is not a link to Amazon. It is an image of the book and has information about how to identify the 1962 first edition.
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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise