Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category
Winter on its way.
We have had a run of cold days here in Southern Oregon going down to the mid-twenties Fahrenheit at night (-4 deg C.)
So this first picture sent in by John H. seemed appropriate for today.
Then continuing with the series that started last Sunday.
Wise words indeed.
Finally, to a short but inspiring video sent to me by Dan Gomez.
A man, a dog, a cat and a rat…
This is a video of a homeless man in Santa Barbara and his pets.
They work State Street every week for donations.
The animals are pretty well fed and are mellow.
They are a family.
The man who owns them rigged a harness up for his cat so she wouldn’t have to walk so much (like the dog and the man himself).
At some juncture the rat came along, and as no one wanted to eat anyone else, the rat started riding with the cat, frequently on the cat.
For a few chin scratches the dog will stand all day and, let you talk to him and admire him.
So the Mayor of Santa Barbara decided to film this clip and send it out as a holiday card.
Happy Thanksgiving in so many ways!
Just a collection of items that I hope you will enjoy.
So enough of the book this week for you dear readers.
It’s the week-end and time to offer you some odds and ends that have come my way in recent days.
First up is some really glorious singing.
Some years ago, I was working with a colleague and subsequently got to know that his wife was a brilliant singer/songwriter enjoying a good singing career. Her name is Rebecca Bains and there is a website here although still under construction according to the home page.
So to Rebecca’s singing.
Now for something completely different.
It’s an advertisement for Volvo Trucks. Sent to me by friend, Neil, from my Devon days. The short video has been seen over 45 million times! If you haven’t seen it, prepared to be wowed!
Now back to Rebecca’s singing. But with this introduction from me. Many know that here in Oregon we have nine dogs. Four of those are dogs that were rescued by Jean from earlier days in Mexico and two from the shelter in Payson, Arizona where we were living before coming to Oregon. There are many, many others who adopt rescue dogs or care for homeless dogs in countless ways.
So as we approach Christmas, the Season of Good Will, please do everything you can to help man’s best friend and companion for, literally, thousands upon thousands of years. If you are thinking of adopting a dog, or a cat, please visit your local shelter or the Pet Finder website.
OK, now to a short video with the singing from Rebecca Bains.
Trust me, this will rightly grab your heartstrings.
Well done, Rebecca.
But on this Saturday in November it really is a fish story, or so I thought.
Earlier in the month, I received an e-mail from Dan Gomez. It told of this tale from Grand Lake St. Marys:
A guy who lives at Lake Saint Mary’s (60 miles north of Dayton, OH ) saw a ball bouncing around kind of strange in the lake and went to investigate.
It turned out to be a flathead catfish that had apparently tried to swallow a basketball which became stuck in its mouth!!
The fish was totally exhausted from trying to dive, but unable to, because the ball would always bring him back up to the surface.
The guy tried numerous times to get the ball out, but was unsuccessful. He finally had his wife cut the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry catfish.
You probably wouldn’t have believed this, if you hadn’t seen the following pictures:
Be kinder than necessary because everyone bites off more than they can chew sometime in life…
I loved the story but then wanted to know: was it true?
The true story originated in the Whichita (Kansas) Eagle on May 30, 2004. The man in the photo turns out to be Bill Driver, a fisherman at Sandalwood Lake who discovered the catfish with a taste for hardwood glory.
Two wonderful lessons to be learned from both the story and the story behind the story!
Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet and there’s always something fishy about a fisherman’s tale.
Have a great week-end.
An insight into drug cartels.
This was a recent talk shown on TED Talks by Rodrigo Canales under the title of ‘The deadly genius of drug cartels.’
As the TED page explained:
Up to 100,000 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico in the last 6 years. We might think this has nothing to do with us, but in fact we are all complicit, says Yale professor Rodrigo Canales in this unflinching talk that turns conventional wisdom about drug cartels on its head. The carnage is not about faceless, ignorant goons mindlessly killing each other but is rather the result of some seriously sophisticated brand management.
Rodrigo Canales wants to understand how individuals influence organizations or systems–even those as complex as the Mexican drug cartels.
It really is worth the viewing.
“Before we change the world, we need to change the way we think.”
That quote comes from the sub-heading of an article in the magazine The New Statesman, Britain’s current affairs magazine. In fact, written by Russell Brand from the week that he is guest editor for the magazine. Hence it following on from yesterday.
To remind readers, my post yesterday A powerful brand of truth centred around the interview on BBC Newsnight of Russell Brand by Jeremy Paxman.
Thus for today I wanted to offer some further thoughts from Russell Brand together with the film made by Dr Nafeez Ahmed. You will possibly recall that Dr. Ahmed was the author of the Guardian article that I quoted from yesterday.
Russell Brand’s New Statesman article spoke powerfully and eloquently of the issues that he covered in his BBC Newsnight interview. With The New Statesman’s permission let me offer a few extracts:
First from where Brand is speaking about “young people, poor people, not-rich people”.
They see no difference between Cameron, Clegg, Boris, either of the Milibands or anyone else. To them these names are as obsolete as Lord Palmerston or Denis Healey. The London riots in 2011, which were condemned as nihilistic and materialistic by Boris and Cameron (when they eventually returned from their holidays), were by that very definition political. These young people have been accidentally marketed to their whole lives without the economic means to participate in the carnival. After some draconian sentences were issued, measures that the white-collar criminals who capsized our economy with their greed a few years earlier avoided, and not one hoodie was hugged, the compliance resumed. Apathy reigned.
There’s little point bemoaning this apathy. Apathy is a rational reaction to a system that no longer represents, hears or addresses the vast majority of people. A system that is apathetic, in fact, to the needs of the people it was designed to serve.
Russell Brand is also no slouch when it comes to offering solutions, as in:
These problems that threaten to bring on global destruction are the result of legitimate human instincts gone awry, exploited by a dead ideology derived from dead desert myths. Fear and desire are the twin engines of human survival but with most of our basic needs met these instincts are being engaged to imprison us in an obsolete fragment of our consciousness. Our materialistic consumer culture relentlessly stimulates our desire. Our media ceaselessly engages our fear, our government triangulates and administrates, ensuring there are no obstacles to the agendas of these slow-thighed beasts, slouching towards Bethlehem.
For me the solution has to be primarily spiritual and secondarily political. This, too, is difficult terrain when the natural tribal leaders of the left are atheists, when Marxism is inveterately Godless. When the lumbering monotheistic faiths have given us millennia of grief for a handful of prayers and some sparkly rituals.
By spiritual I mean the acknowledgement that our connection to one another and the planet must be prioritised. Buckminster Fuller outlines what ought be our collective objectives succinctly: “to make the world work for 100 per cent of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous co-operation without ecological offence or the disadvantage of anyone”. This maxim is the very essence of “easier said than done” as it implies the dismantling of our entire socio-economic machinery. By teatime.
Towards the end of the article, or manifesto as Brand calls it, he speaks about the change that is required:
We are still led by blithering chimps, in razor-sharp suits, with razor-sharp lines, pimped and crimped by spin doctors and speech-writers. Well-groomed ape-men, superficially altered by post-Clintonian trends.
We are mammals on a planet, who now face a struggle for survival if our species is to avoid expiry. We can’t be led by people who have never struggled, who are a dusty oak-brown echo of a system dreamed up by Whigs and old Dutch racists.
We now must live in reality, inner and outer. Consciousness itself must change. My optimism comes entirely from the knowledge that this total social shift is actually the shared responsibility of six billion individuals who ultimately have the same interests. Self-preservation and the survival of the planet. This is a better idea than the sustenance of an elite. The Indian teacher Yogananda said: “It doesn’t matter if a cave has been in darkness for 10,000 years or half an hour, once you light a match it is illuminated.”
Then shortly thereafter:
The only systems we can afford to employ are those that rationally serve the planet first, then all humanity. Not out of some woolly, bullshit tree-hugging piffle but because we live on it, currently without alternatives. This is why I believe we need a unifying and in – clusive spiritual ideology: atheism and materialism atomise us and anchor us to one frequency of consciousness and inhibit necessary co-operation.
With the article/manifesto concluding:
But we are far from apathetic, we are far from impotent. I take great courage from the groaning effort required to keep us down, the institutions that have to be fastidiously kept in place to maintain this duplicitous order. Propaganda, police, media, lies. Now is the time to continue the great legacy of the left, in harmony with its implicit spiritual principles. Time may only be a human concept and therefore ultimately unreal, but what is irrefutably real is that this is the time for us to wake up.
The revolution of consciousness is a decision, decisions take a moment. In my mind the revolution has already begun.
It’s a powerful and very personal response to the issues facing all of humanity now and I can’t recommend too strongly reading the article in full.
So on to another powerful and personal analysis of the issues facing humanity. This time in a film made by Dr Nafeez Ahmed. The film is called The Crisis of Civilization and shows, oh so clearly, the interconnectedness of the many issues we are facing these days. It’s nearly an hour-and-a-half long but eminently watchable.
Author and international security analyst Dr Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed on The Crisis of Civilization. Dr Ahmed is author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and co-producer of The Crisis of Civilization.
It often seems that different crises are competing to devastate civilization. The Crisis of Civilization argues that financial meltdown, environmental degradation, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages need to be considered as part of the same ailing system.
Most accounts of our contemporary global crises focus on one area, or another, to the exclusion of others. The Crisis of Civilization suggests that the unwillingness of experts to look outside their own fields explains why there is so much disagreement and misunderstanding about the nature of the global threats we face. The Crisis of Civilization attempts to investigate all of these problem areas, not as isolated events, but as trends and processes that belong to a single global system. We are therefore not dealing with a ‘clash of civilizations’ as Samuel Huntington argued. Nor have we witnessed ‘the end of history’ that Francis Fukuyama prematurely declared. Rather, we are dealing with the end of the industrial age, a fundamental crisis of civilization itself.
OK, that’s the end of the serious stuff for this week. Things are going to be very different here on Learning from Dogs for the month of November.
Tune in tomorrow and I’ll explain!
It’s really terribly easy - we just have to leave the oil in the ground!
The current issue of The Economist has an article on page 43, under The Americas section, headed Cheap at the price.
It’s a review of the biggest oil auction this year.
A single bid for a vast field shows the weakness of Brazil’s state-led approach to developing its oil reserves
SIX years after discovering giant offshore“pré-sal” oil deposits, so called because they lie beneath a thick layer of salt under the ocean bed, Brazil has finally auctioned the rights to develop some of its deeply buried wealth. On October 21st the Libra field, off Rio de Janeiro’s coast (see map), was sold to a consortium led by Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled oil firm, and including France’s Total, Anglo-Dutch Shell and China’s state-owned CNOOC and CNPC. Libra’s estimated 8 billion-12 billion barrels of recoverable oil make it the biggest oil prospect in the world to be auctioned this year. Once it reaches peak production, sometime in the next decade, it should increase Brazil’s output from 2.1m to about 3.5m barrels per day.
The article was critical of the way Brazil managed the auction resulting in just one consortium bidding, against the expectation there would be strong competition for the oil from possibly 40 companies despite the huge costs in extracting it from over 6,000 metres (nearly 20,000 feet) below sea-level. The article didn’t even hint at the madness of even thinking it should be extracted but I guess that’s The Economist for you.
So with that in mind, let me turn to a recent essay from TomDispatch by world-renown climate-change activist Bill McKibben. As regular readers will be aware Tom Engelhardt of the TomDispatch blog has given blanket permission for TD essays to be republished here on Learning from Dogs.
Tomgram: Bill McKibben, Can Obama Ever Stand Up to the Oil Industry?
Recently, “good” news about energy has been gushing out of North America, where a cheering crowd of pundits, energy experts, and government officials has been plugging the U.S. as the “Saudi Arabia” of the twenty-first century. You know, all that fracking and those luscious deposits of oil shale and gas shale just waiting to be pounded into shape to fill global gas tanks for an energy-rich future. And then, of course, just to the north there are those fabulous Canadian tar sands deposits whose extraction is reportedly turning parts of Alberta into an environmental desert. And that isn’t all.
From the melting Arctic, where the Russians and others are staking out energy claims, to the southernmost tip of South America, the dream of new energy wealth is being pursued with a fervor and avidity that is hard to take in. In distant Patagonia, an Argentinean government not previously known for its friendliness to foreign investment has just buddied up with Chevron to drill “around the clock in pursuit of a vast shale oil reservoir that might be the world’s next great oil field.” Huzzah and olé!
And can you even blame the Argentinean president for her choice? After all, who wants to be the country left out of the global rush for new energy wealth? Who wants to consider the common good of the planet, when your country’s finances may be at stake? (As with the Keystone XL pipeline protest movement here, so in Argentina, there actually are environmentalists and others who are thinking of the common good, but they’re up against the state, the police, and Chevron — no small thing.) All of this would, of course, be a wondrous story — a planet filled with energy reserves beyond anyone’s wildest dreams — were it not for the fact that such fossil fuel wealth, such good news, is also the nightmarish bad news of our lives, of perhaps the lifetime of humanity.
There is an obvious disconnect between what is widely known about climate change and the recent rush to extract “tough energy” from difficult environments; between the fires — and potential “mega-fire” — burning wildly across parts of overheated Australia and its newly elected government run by a conservative prime minister, essentially a climate denier, intent on getting rid of that country’s carbon tax. There is a disconnect between hailing the U.S. as the new Saudi Arabia and the recent report of the prestigious Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warning that fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground – or else. There is a disconnect between what our president says about climate change and the basic energy policies of his administration. There is a disconnect between what the burning of fossil fuels will do to our environment and the urge of just about every country on this planet to exploit whatever energy reserves are potentially available to it, no matter how “dirty,” no matter how environmentally destructive to extract.
Somewhere in that disconnect, the remarkable Bill McKibben, whose new book, Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist, is at the top of my personal reading list, has burrowed in and helped to create a global climate change movement. In this country, it’s significantly focused on the Keystone XL pipeline slated, if built, to bring tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. For the last several years at TomDispatch, McKibben has kept us abreast of the most recent developments in that movement. Here is his latest report from the tar sands front. Tom
X-Ray of a Flagging Presidency
Will Obama Block the Keystone Pipeline or Just Keep Bending?
By Bill McKibben
As the battle over the Keystone XL pipeline has worn on — and it’s now well over two years old — it’s illuminated the Obama presidency like no other issue. It offers the president not just a choice of policies, but a choice of friends, worldviews, styles. It’s become an X-ray for a flagging presidency. The stakes are sky-high, and not just for Obama. I’m writing these words from Pittsburgh, amid 7,000 enthusiastic and committed young people gathering to fight global warming, and my guess is that his choice will do much to determine how they see politics in this country.
Let us stipulate at the start that whether or not to build the pipeline is a decision with profound physical consequences. If he approves its construction, far more of the dirtiest oil on Earth will flow out of the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, and reach the U.S. Gulf Coast. Not just right away or for a brief period, but far into the future, since the Keystone XL guarantees a steady flow of profits to oil barons who have their hearts set on tripling production in the far north.
The history of oil spills and accidents offers a virtual guarantee that some of that oil will surely make its way into the fields and aquifers of the Great Plains as those tar sands flow south. The greater and more daunting assurance is this, however: everything that reaches the refineries on the Gulf Coast will, sooner or later, spill into the atmosphere in the form of carbon, driving climate change to new heights.
In June, President Obama said that the building of the full pipeline — on which he alone has the ultimate thumbs up or thumbs down — would be approved only if “it doesn’t significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” By that standard, it’s as close to a no-brainer as you can get.
These days, however, as no one will be surprised to hear, brainless things happen in Washington more often than not, and there’s the usual parade of the usual suspects demanding that Keystone get built. In mid-October, a coalition that included Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Royal Dutch Shell, not to mention the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Business Roundtable, sent Obama a letter demanding that he approve Keystone in order to “maintain investor confidence,” a phrase almost guaranteed to accompany bad ideas. A report last week showed that the Koch brothers stood to earn as much as $100 billion in profits if the pipeline gets built (which would come in handy in helping fund their endless assault on unions, poor people, and democracy).
But don’t think it’s just Republican bigwigs and oil execs rushing to lend the pipeline a hand. Transcanada, the pipeline’s prospective builder, is at work as well, and Obama’s former communications director Anita Dunn is now on the Transcanada dime, producing TV ads in support of the pipeline. It’s a classic example of the kind of influence peddling that knows no partisan bounds. As the activists at Credo put it: “It’s a betrayal of the commitments that so many of us worked so hard for, and that Dunn herself played a huge role in shaping as top strategist on the 2008 campaign and communications director in the White House.”
Credo’s Elijah Zarlin, who worked with Dunn back in 2008, wrote that attack on her. He was the guy who wrote all those emails that got so many of us coughing up money and volunteering time during Obama’s first run for the presidency, and he perfectly exemplifies those of us on the other side of this divide — the ones who actually believed Dunn in 2008, the ones who thought Obama was going to try to be a different kind of president.
On energy there’s been precious little sign of that. Yes, the Environmental Protection Agency has put in place some new power plant regulations, and cars are getting better mileage. But the president has also boasted again and again about his “all of the above” energy policy for “increasing domestic oil production and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.” It has, in fact, worked so well that the United States will overtake Russia this year as the biggest combined oil and natural gas producer on the planet and is expected to pass Saudi Arabia as the number one oil producer by 2017.
His administration has okayed oil drilling in the dangerous waters of the Arctic and has emerged as the biggest backer of fracking. Even though he boasts about marginal U.S. cuts in carbon emissions, his green light to fracking means that he’s probably given more of a boost to releases of methane – another dangerous greenhouse gas — than any man in history. And it’s not just the environment. At this point, given what we know about everything from drone warfare to NSA surveillance, the dream of a progressive Obama has, like so many dreams, faded away.
The president has a handy excuse, of course: a truly terrible Congress. And too often — with the noble exception of those who have been fighting for gay rights and immigration reform — he’s had little challenge from progressives. But in the case of Keystone, neither of those caveats apply: he gets to make the decision all by himself with no need to ask John Boehner for a thing, and people across the country have made a sustained din about it. Americans have sent record numbers of emails to senators and a record number of comments to the State Department officials who oversee a “review” of the pipeline’s environmental feasibility; more have gone to jail over this issue than any in decades. Yet month after month, there’s no presidential decision.
There are days, in fact, when it’s hard to muster much fire for the fight (though whenever I find my enthusiasm flagging, I think of the indigenous communities that have to live amid the Mordor that is now northern Alberta). The president, after all, has already allowed the construction of the southern half of the Keystone pipeline, letting Transcanada take land across Texas and Oklahoma for its project, and setting up the beleaguered communities of Port Arthur, Texas, for yet more fumes from refineries.
Stopping the northern half of that pipeline from being built certainly won’t halt global warming by itself. It will, however, slow the expansion of the extraction of tar sands, though the Koch brothers et al. are busy trying to find other pipeline routes and rail lines that would get the dirtiest of dirty energy out of Canada and into the U.S. via destinations from Michigan to Maine. These pipelines and rail corridors will need to be fought as well — indeed the fights are underway, though sometimes obscured by the focus on Keystone. And there are equally crucial battles over coal and gas from the Appalachians to the Pacific coast. You can argue that the president’s people have successfully diverted attention from their other environmental sins by keeping this argument alive long past the moment at which it should have been settled and a decision should have been made.
At this point, in fact, only the thought of those 900,000 extra barrels a day of especially nasty oil coming out of the ground and, via that pipeline, into refineries still makes the fight worthwhile. Oh, and the possibility that, in deciding to block Keystone, the president would finally signal a shift in policy that matters, finally acknowledge that we have to keep most of the carbon that’s still in the ground in that ground if we want our children and grandchildren to live on a planet worth inhabiting.
If the president were to become the first world leader to block a big energy project on the grounds of its effects on climate, it might help dramatically reset the international negotiations that he allowed to go aground at Copenhagen in 2009 — the biggest foreign policy failure of his first term.
But that cascade of “ifs” depends on Obama showing that he can actually stand up to the oil industry. To an increasingly disillusioned environmental movement, Keystone looks like a last chance.
Bill McKibben is Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, founder of the global climate campaign 350.org, a TomDispatch regular, and the author of a new book, Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook or Tumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch book, Nick Turse’s The Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Proxy Fighters, Secret Bases, and Cyberwarfare.
Copyright 2013 Bill McKibben
President Obama turned 52-years-old on August 4th this year. Michelle, his wife, will be 50-years-old next January, 17th. Their children, Malia and Sasha, are aged 15 and 12 respectively.
Thus this family of four are all sufficiently young to be alive when the consequences of burning all this oil will be very painfully obvious, when all the power and money in the world will come to naught.
So it strikes me that young Malia and Sasha should be shown where Planet Earth’s master circuit-breaker is located. Would be such a shame to leave the lights on when there’s no-one at home.
Today is our first anniversary of living in Oregon.
In many ways, it’s difficult to comprehend that we have now lived in our house a few miles from Merlin, OR, for a full year.
There are so many different, wonderful emotions associated with our move from Arizona to Oregon, of moving into a property quite unlike anything that Jean and I have ever lived in before, of seeing our dogs so happy with their surroundings, of being immersed in Nature, and so much more.
But rather than waffle on about everything in general and nothing in particular, I just want to write about the several acres of grassland that slope down from our house towards Bummer Creek, flowing North-South through the Eastern part of the property.
Having mown the grassland a number of times in the Spring musing that there must be better ways to spend your time, a few weeks ago we came across an article about not mowing lawns. It was on the Mother Nature Network website and here’s how the article started.
Get off your grass and create an edible lawn
What would happen if you stopped watering, fertilizing, pesticiding and mowing your lawn?
Tue, Apr 20 2010 at 1:46 PM
Americans currently spend more than $30 billion, millions of gallons of gasoline, and countless hours to maintain the dream of the well-kept 31 million acres of lawns. An estimated 67 million pounds of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides are applied around homes and gardens yearly. Commercial areas such as parks, schools, playing fields, cemeteries, industrial, commercial and government landscapes, apply another 165 million pounds.
Lawn grasses are not native to the North American continent. A century ago, people would actually pull the grass out of their lawns to make room for the more useful weeds that were often incorporated into the family salad or herbal tea. It was the British aristocracy in the 1860s and ’70s, to show off their affluence, that encouraged the trend of weed-free lawns, indicating one had no need of the more common, yet useful plants. Homeowners were encouraged to cultivate lawns that would serve as examples to passers-by. These types of lawns also lent themselves to the popular lawn sports, croquet and lawn tennis. From the 1880s through 1920s in America, front lawns ceased to produce fodder for animals, and garden space was less cultivated, promoting canned food as the “wholesome choice.” Cars replaced the family horse and chemical fertilizers replaced manure.
It has been estimated that about 30 percent of our nation’s water supply goes to water lawns. In Dallas, Texas, watering lawns in the summer uses as much as 60 percent of the city water’s supply.
Next, a newsletter from The Xerces Society mentioned bee feed wildflower seed mixes from a company called Sunmark Seeds in Portland, OR. A call to them quickly produced the answer about what we could sow to help our local bees.
Upon further searching I did find 2 mixes that might fit what you are looking for. They are attached. The Bee Feed Mixture would be $36 per lb. The Honey Bee Flower Mixture would be $38 per lb. The price is a little higher but you would need a lot less. It is suggested 6-12 lbs per acre. You can still add the clover at $5 per lb and you should add 1 oz per lb of wildflower seed. There is still the option of the Knee High Low Profile mix which would be a little less at $30 per lb but the seeding rate is higher at 8-16 lbs per acre.
I have attached a spec sheet on all three mixes. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Decision made. Three pounds of Bee Feed Mix to sow on a half-acre area as a test before we do all five acres next Spring.
Thus not so much later a box arrived with our Bee Feed Mix and the next afternoon saw Jean and me marking out the test area and scattering the seed.
It’s been an amazing year with plenty of challenges as we learnt to be rural people; yet another thing the dogs were able to teach us! However, the joy of living in such beautiful surroundings will last for ever. And more or less picking up on the theme for the week, the sharing, caring community of neighbours around us doubles that joy.
Jean and I consider ourselves two very lucky people. And no more mowing grassland!