The real verse is “I got the rockin’ pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu” from a song by Johnnie Rivers. But somehow I had “Walkin’ pneumonia and the boogie woogie blues” in my head and I would probably insist that my version was correct if not for Google and YouTube. Which gets me to my point that you don’t always have things straight in your head and have to go through some changes before they get worked out.
These last couple of months were full of changes. I had expected to write a blog at the end of April about my new grandson, sweet baby James Anthony Houston. But the not so sweet 2013 flu which morphed into walking pneumonia got in the way. I must have picked it up on a trip to Olympia and Seattle to meet the new kid and work on my father’s biography.
On the trip I also got to play music with my brother-in-law, Bill Yake. He and my sister Jeannette figured out how to hook an i-Pad into the household sound system so that we could play along with YouTube videos from the Internet. In effect we had a kind of time-warp jam band with the original musicians, not that we were that great but we got in a lot of boogie woogie and blues.
The trip itself was a big switch from my workaholic normal life. Little James was very sweet, probably because about all he did was sleep and eat while I was there. Current pictures, show him very much more into trying to figure out the world he woke up in. He was born April 4th. Cheryl went over to see him and help out on April 8th and came back on the 11th. I went over on April 18th, so he was 2 weeks old by then. Now he is two months old and growing fast. The milestone was when Dad came downwith my brother Jeff on Saturday the 20th. My daughter Bina and her mother and aunt (in-law) Helen were there also. So we had 12 family members there at once. It was a mini family reunion with 4 generations. The photographs were endless. Luckily Bina had a really nice camera which captured this 4 generation picture.
Unluckily I picked up some kind of flu bug around that time. It didn’t really catch hold until April 25th, which turned out to be a very bad day altogether. Not only did I feel sick, but my printer left a long white streak down the middle of the page while I was printing out part of my grape catalog. I spent a lot of time trying the normal cures to no avail and finally decided to turn it off and turn it back on again. When it came on again, it coughed up a very long error code on the display panel and stopped. I got three different interpretations of the error code from the Internet, an email to Xerox and a conversation with a repairman in Spokane (see I’m not the only mixed up person in this story). A couple days later, with Cheryl driving because I had zero energy, we went to Spokane and paid a guy to tear into it. He found a broken print head and the solid ink (think big blocks of crayon) that this machine prints with, melted all over the interior. I was sick but the printer was dead.
I ended up bidding on a similar printer on eBay. I had over $300 worth of ink for mine and the printers only cost $200-$300 used. After almost two weeks of the flu, I was going through rounds of chills, sleep, fever, bloody noses and lots of snot every few hours. I gave in and arranged to see my doctor. He decided that the flu had morphed into pneumonia and prescribed an antibiotic. I know, they wipe out your digestive bacteria, but it really did kick that cold/fever and I am digesting just fine now. 5 days later I was going in for a checkup feeling great and the new used printer was arriving at the same time and needed a signature. I got Mike (who owns Don’s Printery- go figure) to intercept the printer from FedEx so I could sign for it in Colville and somehow squeeze it into my VW bug. Hurray for small towns.
By then it was May. I gave up on doing a blog and headed to the vineyard. Maybe there are some climate change deniers out there who refused to notice, but May was incredibly hot. Temperatures for the 6 days before Mother’s Day here were 85o, 87o, 87o, 91o, 90o and 80o degrees. Normal temperatures are in the 60s. All this without April showers. I had the pruning done before the trip to the west side but suddenly I had to water every day, transplant 500 or more grape cuttings and plants, mow everything, weed everything, spray everything organically, thin 400 mature vines and fertilize everything, things I should have been doing while I was sick for 3 weeks. There is even more to do and it is still going on but I’m gaining on it. Last year was the wettest June on record and everything was delayed. This year Spring shot from freezes every night in the second week of April to the 90s three weeks later. It’s hard to keep up with those kinds of changes but when your income depends on it, you have to try. Now it is June, all the fruit trees have bloomed and the grapes are reaching across the rows. At least they are healthy, happy and organic.
I can’t say as much for the American food supply. For years I thought GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) were just natural selection sped up a little and perfectly safe to eat. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most GMOs are either designed to kill insects, (BT Corn) or to make crops resistant to Roundup (Glyphosate) a herbicide that kills virtually every other plant. These tricks are made to happen, not from the specie’s own genes but by forcing genes from other species, Bacillus Thuringiensis bacteria in the case of BT corn, into the the genes of the original plant, a somewhat random process with lots of unstudied side effects on human health, resistant weeds or other mutations. BT itself kills insects by bursting their stomachs. Roundup destroys plants by weakening their immune system until they die from naturally occurring disease that they would normally resist, a lot like the aids virus. GMO crops are poison. So why does the FDA and EPA approve them? All the top positions in those agencies are appointed to former employees of Monsanto, the primary producer of GMO crops. Those crops include the vast majority of corn, soy beans, canola, sweet corn, sugar beets and cotton. grown commercially in the United State. They show up in almost all processed food and any meat that is not raised organically. Almost every country in the rest of the world either bans GMO crops outright or has strong labeling laws. North America is the last stronghold of Monsanto which fights studies into it’s crops, has had its corrupt congressmen and senators recently pass laws prohibiting law suits over their effects and in the last month got a a law passed prohibiting labeling of those crops. If these are such great healthy safe crops, why did GMO producers spend 46 million dollars to fight GMO labeling laws in California and other states?
The health studies done on GMO crops outside the corporate labs of the GMO producers all find devastating effects: food allergies, infertility, autism, birth defects, cancer, immune deficiencies and many more resulting from GMO crops, (See this site and this MIT research site for the real facts). Since their introduction in 1996, the number of these kinds of ailments in the United State has risen exponentially. There is a lot to be concerned about and the GMO labeling initiative, needs our support. Cheryl and I watched the movie, Genetic Roulette at our local natural food store on May 23rd and I marched in the localMarch Against Monsanto, one of 486 marches in cities around the world, on Saturday, March 25th. I’m not normally big on conspiracies, but when you start poisoning the genetic codes that make life and feed us all, it is time to act. Please check out these links and pass I-522.
On a lighter note, we saw the Northern Lights – cool but still in black and white – on May 31st. We also managed to find a fair amount of morel mushrooms even if we didn’t find an old burn or logging operation from last year.
And as a historical note, I sold my 1991 Subaru. It was a good car for 10 years but I was not going to fix it and didn’t want it sitting in the yard any more.