Freedom from Dependency on Foreign Oranges, Wal-Mart & China, We Got a Convoy, Peanut Farmers & Community Organizers. Department of Emergency Solved Oil Dependency.

Greeting to all and welcome ne friends to the EastWing.

A few weeks ago I’s telling ya ‘bout how in a couple or three decades I’d have a large enough orange grove to supply the family of Howard with all the fresh oranges, be it fruit or juice, we’d ever need for the rest of our lives. Well, ‘bout that statement, much like the Federal Governments estimates on damn near everything it’s ever estimated, they’re mostly wrong. And so it turns out to be the case in my quest to grow oranges in the EastWing.

It seems the She, with all the good intentions in the world, has put a major dent, no, not major dent, a death blow, to my orange grove plan to rid the Howard Family of dependency on foreign oranges, both fruit and juice, within a decade.

I’d done all the research and knew how to grow orange trees from seed. Learned ‘bout two different types of germinating techniques. It being my first venture into orange tree production, I decided to do both techniques at the same time.

One was a dry process. Wash all the pulp from the seed, dry with a paper towel, let dry for two day in the sunshine. Plant ½ inch under the soil. Place the pot in the sunshine inside a clear plastic bag, water and pray. So being hillbilly, I’m good at praying. I considered this process a forgone success. The second technique, I had much less faith, but still wanted to give it a shot at producing an orange tree.

This technique used two the paper towels, but ya didn’t dry, ya just folded two paper towels into ¼, wet ‘um good, then place the seeds inside the middle of the wet paper towels and place the wet paper inside a zip lock plastic bag, and put ‘em anywhere. I was so sure this one wouldn’t work, I didn’t even pray. Whoa yea of little faith.

In a few weeks I’d sported 8 orange seeds in the dirt inside the big plastic bag using the dry technique. They’d grown to a height of 4 inches and had branched into 4 leaves. Only two more inches and the plan was to re-pot into 8 individual pots, pots large enough to allow the growth of a full size tree. I was on my way to an orange grove! Or so it seemed.

And then it happened. I love that term “And then it happened” Are ya old enough to remember a TV show called “Sea Hunt”? Well, if you’re not, it was ‘bout a feller who went around solving crimes the cops couldn’t figure out. And true to its name, the answer seemed to always lay underwater. Hence the name “Sea Hunt”.

So now I’m looking at this guy swimming underwater with breathing tanks on his back, with his voice over describing what’s going on underwater, ‘cause he can’t talk too good down there. Then most ever time a bad guy sneaks from behind him underwater and tries to cut the hose to his air tank. They always fight, and the Sea Hunt Guy somehow always wins.

It was in describing the bad guys sneaking up from behind to cut the air hose that the voice over always said, “and then it happened” . “And then it happened” was kinda like danger music in the movies when ya were a kid. . Ya just knew something really bad was gona happen, and it always did. But ya never got used to the danger music in the movies, or “and then it happened” in Sea Hunt. They both gave ya goose bumps, and made ya shiver. They always made ya jump.

To assist me in the Orange Grove Project, the She decided to add Miracle Grow to the soil. She poured it on heavy. The little orange trees started to die that same day. We’re still trying to figure out why. Now the She puts Miracle Grow on everything and it does work miracles. Just not so with those little orange trees.

The dry and plant technique produced 8 live orange trees in a single pot. The wet paper towel produced only 2 seed sprouts ‘bout ¾ inch long. Little things that appeared hardly alive. Almost yellow in color, they looked more like bean sprouts than orange trees. They were not something that pointed to a bright future in the orange grove business.

When the 8 live little orange trees started to die, I planted the two seed sprouts in a large pot to see if I still was in the orange grove business. God smiled on my efforts to join the Orange Growers Association. I now have a single orange tree, a full 3” high, and just today I see the very early start of that second set of leaves just above the dirt line. A large sign sits beside the clay pot saying “ NO MIRACLE GROW PLEASE!”

My initial calculation of decades before freedom from dependency on foreign oranges, be it fruit or juice , has been adjusted based on available growing plants and estimates of their maturity and production time frames. At this point the best estimate of total freedom of dependency on foreign oranges has been adjusted upward from decades to centuries. One is considered minimum, two is more likely. Three is considered an outside possibility based on the unauthorized use of Miracle Grow on orange trees.

My experiences with orange tree production has brought a whole new meaning to “the stone the builders rejected, has become the corner stone”. I was so sure the wet paper towel wouldn’t work, I didn’t even pray for its success. I, as the builder, rejected, and it’s now is my corner stone. Ya don’t have to look far to see the works of God. Sometimes as close as within the folds of a paper towel, ya find a corner stone the builders rejected.

Freedom from dependency on foreign supply of product. Does that argument sound familiar? Now some’ll say there wouldn’t be a Wal-Mart if there wasn’t a China. But the real dependency on foreign supply, why of course ya know, it’s oil. Oil that lets us all go to Wal-Mart.

In the mid 70’s there was an “oil crisis”. We as a people lined up like lambs to the slaughter to get that last precious drop of gas. “Gas Shortage” drove the national headlines. This gas shortage was before the internet, even before the age of computers, which, incidentally, was right next to the age of Aquarius.

It was a time when ya got your news from “Good Night Chet, Good Night David” or “That’s the way it is”. The nation was consumed with a fear of not having enough oil to run up and down the roads. We would do anything and everything necessary to keep the oil flowing. We just had to do something.

The popular music of the day reflected society’s concern and frustration with an oil crises . A hit song at the time was a tune called “Convoy”, a vocal description of how over the road truckers were conspiring to break the law. Haulers of steel, automobiles, hogs, milk and other durable goods, the truckers formed a convoy. CB Radios came to the forefront of public communication when the FCC changed the rules on who could speak on the public airways. Then made available additional band width for Citizen Band Radio Communications..

Within days the whole world wanted to sound like a feller named Cash McCall and use his language on the CB Radio saying such things as “Ya got a copy?””Break” , “Good Buddy”, “10-4” and “18 wheeler” The CB world had evolved into a convoy. A convoy using poor grammar. But we thought it sounded cool.

As a kid I’d worked hard and saved money for a long time to buy ham radio equipment. I’d learned the code. Now I didn’t have the best “fist” in the world, but I could send the code. I’d progressed upward to point of being able to speak on the airways. Then along comes CB Radio. At first ya had to buy a license, and so I did. Later it was free, but at the start of the CB craze it was supposed to cost ya $25.00. Wasted money, wasted words.

Only one problem, it seemed damn near half the world went to Radio Shack and bought the CB Radio and didn’t bother with the license from the FCC. That was when I stopped being an Ham Radio Operator and became the Thunder Base. My Thunder Base could talk to the south side of the moon, and on some nights, I did. Back in the day, I could reach out and touch somebody, actually, almost everybody when I really wanted to.

The Thunder Base was, in the summer time, the voice of the flat lands, in the winter time, the voice of the cold country, and from time to time, Radio Free Indiana. I remember one Sunday Morning I got a phone call from a friend over by San Pierre telling me to change radio frequencies as I was over talking radio station WKVI at Knox IN. I went slip sliding away, away into the airways of time. The Thunder Base. It was such a big boy toy. That Radio Free Indiana thing, that Thunder Base. I still smile when I think about it. The Thunder Base.

I still have the Thunder Base. No broadcast antenna, just the Thunder Base Radio and its accessories. Ya never know, I might want to talk again someday. Should that time occur, I’ll again rebuild the antenna system, plug in all the components, let everything warm up to operating temperature, press down the transmit key, and simply say “Break”. The folks that talk on the CB Radio, with that one spoken word they’ll know the Thunder Base came back online.

As a nation, out frustration with the oil shortage culminated in congress reflecting our anger. We wanted something done to solve this oil shortage. “And then it happened” The Department of Energy was formed as a result of the oil crisis, and on August 8, 1977 with President Jimmy Carter’s signing of the legislation, The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 solved our country’s dependency on foreign oil. Or so it was intended to.

This new federal agency was charged with the responsibility if getting this nation free of foreign oil within one decade. That would have been 1987. Today we’re more dependent on foreign oil than ever before and the department of energy is one of the largest departments within the federal budget. I don’t think they’ve met the goal of freedom from oil within a decade. Jimmy Carter, maybe the worst President ever, but President Obama’s still in the running, it’s neck and neck. Peanut growers and community organizers, Shew….. We can sometimes pick such Lulu’s. Not Slugos, Lulu’s.

For 2010, the Department Of Energy budget request was 39 billion dollars, that’s billion with a B. And ya gotta keep in mind, that’s a budget request only, ’cause the democrat controlled House of Representatives and US Senate chose to not vote on a Federal Budget in 2009 or 2010, just to let all spending move forward as if approved by congress. It was not ever voted upon, just spend the money.

Do ya know the Federal Governments spending increases 8 % every year no matter what? It’s the law of the land in the way they construct a budget. More importantly, when the Washington Politicians talk ‘bout cutting spending, they’re talking ‘bout reducing that 8% increase, not talking ‘bout cutting spending from last year’s amount of money actually spent. That’s the dirty little secret nobody wants to talk about.

When you and I talk ‘bout cutting spending, we’re talking ‘bout cutting spending based on last year’s amount spent. When Washington D.C. talk ‘bout cutting spending, they’re talking ‘bout reducing the increase in spending as if it’s a reduction in cost. In fact it’s still an increase in spending, just not as much as first thought to be. It’s been the same sad song since the 1970’s and we’ve now grown accustom to hearing the music.

The fiscal state of this nation will never improve until this basic matter of budget preparation is addressed in congress.. I hope it’s done so in my lifetime. It may not be. To save this union, it must be. The Department of Emergency is an excellent example of the Federal Government’s inability to solve a public issues.

Few people remember the original purpose of this Federal Department of Emergency. Yet we spend 39+ billion dollars a year on a mission lost. Nobody ever talks about the original purpose of this department of the Federal Government. Ya can’t help but wonder, if it didn’t meet the mission as charged in its creation, why didn’t we get rid of it. The Federal Government has never gotten rid of anything that spends public funds.

The amazing thing ‘bout the way our federal government operates is, if I run the Howard Family Business the same way as the federal government, that same federal government would put my ass in jail in a heartbeat, cheating the system, ya know.

Stay safe in Iraq, Qatar, and Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Freedom from Dependency on Foreign Oranges, Wal-Mart & China, We Got a Convoy, Peanut Farmers & Community Organizers. Department of Emergency Solved Oil Dependency.

I wish you well,