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Anatomy of a deer season

It doesn’t matter if you archery hunt for deer religiously, from October 1 to mid-November; the archery season is always over way too fast.

It doesn’t matter if you archery hunt a bit for bear and deer, hunt the week of early muzzleloader for bear and doe, do some small game hunting, have the men up to camp for bear season for four days, and then hunt every day of deer rifle season. The ending is always the same: It ended way too fast. We wait all year for this time, and before you can blink an eye, it is over.

For many hunters, this time is about being afield, hunting. The occasional actual killing part is a welcome indication that the hunting part was done well. Proof that the time spent outside was not wasted.

Oh, we still have some late deer season remaining, which is the late archery and flintlock hunt. But by now, deer everywhere in Pennsylvania are on high alert. A twig falling out of a tree and rustling a leaf on the ground will send a nearby deer herd into panicked stampede into the next county. So getting deeply enough into the sensory zone of these intelligent animals to take one with a bow or a flintlock at this stage takes real skill, not just the usual luck.

Although I will hunt the flintlock deer season, because I have some DMAP tags left, looking back even now with a sense of longing has me thinking about the anatomy of a good deer season. Some take-aways:

  1. Eat good food. Whether it is home-made jerky and dried fruit we make ourselves for our own time afield, or it is the extra thick gourmet steaks we bring to hunting camp, eat the best quality food you can afford. Hunting alone or with friends and family is a celebration, so eat like you are celebrating. And because Man does not live on bread alone, make sure your drinks are of a commensurate high quality.
  2. Practice, practice, practice with your gun. Archery hunters practice non-stop, but for some reasons many gun hunters leave it to one box of ammo and the days right before the season to “practice” shooting. Well do I recall sharing a range with a guy from Lancaster County at the bench next to me. Friendly enough, he enthusiastically, if spastically, launched his one box of “extra” shells down range as rapid fire as a bolt action can fire. I had offered him the use of my spotting scope and Caldwell shooting sled, and he declined. He did end up relying on my spotting and calling his hurried shots, however, because he didn’t quite have his scope figured out. The old random “spray n’ pray” is the approach he packed up and drove off to hunting camp with. Do any of us think he hit what he shot at?
  3. Bring your best jokes, naughty or practical. Hunting camp is fun, and each of us must contribute to that festive atmosphere. Many years ago, I bent down to inspect a strange looking object hiding under the cabin’s kitchen counter. And just as quickly I jumped back and screamed like a little girl when the damned thing took off running. That it was merely a muskrat pelt attached to a fishing line being pulled by Bob and followed by uproarious laughter at my expense just made my revenge all the sweeter. As for naughty jokes and rhymes, the list is endless. Look them up and bring half a dozen. Maybe I am lowbrow, or maybe I have low expectations, but it sure seems that everyone present laughs at these men-only jokes.
  4. Get out into position early, like at least an hour before first light, and when you move play the wind (nose into the wind), go quietly and slowly, and carry your gun port-arms and not across your back. If you can get out into position at 4:30am, even better. Just bring a blanket and some Zippo hand warmers.
  5. Food sources matter for deer and bear, too. We humans are not the only ones who both enjoy and need food. In a year of abundant acorns, a stand of sweet tasting white oaks will draw more deer and bear, and you can sit down wind of that stand of trees. In a year of scarce acorns, like this year, any tree that had a decent crop will still draw animals pawing in the leaves for whatever may be left in early December. By this mid-November, almost all of the already scarce acorns were eaten up, and both bear and deer seemed to be moving widely across the landscape in search of any food. It makes for tough hunting, and so we have to team up with buddies and other camps to work together to scoop up what animals are out there. Be flexible and think outside the box of a permanent stand.
  6. Speak animal language. Last year I grunted in an Adirondacks wilderness buck after busting him out of his bed. He was a territorial and aggressive SOB. But the conditions were all wrong for playing around, and although his body was visible, I could not shoot through the beech brush to get him. This year I returned for Round Two with the same animal, which had probably never seen a human being, and after two days of tentative efforts, Day Three resulted in the furious huge buck storming right in to my position with leaves, twigs, snot and mouth foam flying. I shot him in the neck at five yards, five miles from my truck. Lot of work, totally worth it for that DIY hunt of a lifetime. My position was carefully chosen for what he could see or smell under a certain wind direction. I waited until it was all just right, and let fly. His response was immediate.
  7. Take pictures, send them in emails. While journaling is not dead, most people today do not write in a personal or camp journal. Instead, we take photos and email them around. The recipients always appreciate them. Especially when ten or twenty years has suddenly passed, our knees don’t seem capable of all those steep climbs and hard sidehilling drives any longer, and a lot of our best times at hunting camp are sitting around with dear friends and reminiscing together. So don’t forget to take pictures and share them.

Northern PA’s acorn crop largely failed in 2021, possibly due to a late frost that killed the acorn flowers. Acorns remaining on the ground looked OK from the outside, but were all rotten like this on the inside. Wildlife is hungry and moving widely to locate food.

My “Freedom Buck,” killed on Sunday November 28th at 7:45am, on private property in PA. The ban on Sunday hunting is an attack on freedom, and so I named this Sunday morning buck after my declaration of freedom.

 

 

Keith Oellig, another American keeping America moving forward

Every day of his life, Keith Oellig was one of the few Americans who, rain or shine, kept America moving forward. He grew the crops and raised the beef that Americans across America take for granted every day that they simply buy and eat these products.

Raised on a central Pennsylvania farm with chores and work, work, work before play, Keith’s friendship was as strong as his nonstop work ethic. He was a dear and devoted friend to many fortunate people, including me, and he died unexpectedly last week from a life-long heart condition he managed as best he could until it caught him by surprise one last time. He was just 56 years old.

This essay is my way of memorializing this amazing human being, and saying goodbye.

Keith was a representation of everything the farming life is supposed to be – down to earth, honest, truthful, hard working, generous, natural, patriotic, devoted to community and fellow man. He served on many boards, including the Dauphin County Farm Bureau, the Central Dauphin East School Board, the Dauphin County Planning Commission, and others I can’t recall off the top of my head.

His heart was golden, always ready to do a kindness for someone, and the more distant the stranger the better. Almost every year he grew great patches of sweet corn and donated much of it to his church food pantry, and to any others in need. But they would have to pick it themselves. Straight out of the Bible, which is what inspired him, drove him, filled him.  (Those friends who merely enjoyed sweet corn got the phone call that it was ripe about three days after everyone else in true need had had a shot at it)

Keith was politically active, but he had mixed feelings and thoughts about politics, because so much of it is divorced from the sacred walk of life whose values he cherished.

Every election he and I would run around his farms putting up signs, especially really big ones along the road frontages and both sides of I-81 by Penn National Race Track/ Hollywood [!?] Casino.  And as hard as he worked putting them in, Keith would also grouse about career politicians, even about the person whose sign he was putting in. He even did it to me when I ran for state senate. Like out of a comedy movie: “Sure, I’ll help ya, and I’ll bet you’re going to be just as corrupt as everyone else. Now hurry up because we have a lot more signs to put in the ground.”

Here he is with one of two big banners we put up last October at his main farm, one on either side of I-81.  Every.Single.Vehicle.Driving on I-81 honked at us. We used a loader with bale spikes and twine, and it was hard but fun work. 
This is how many of us will remember Keith, with his innocent, gentle smile and loving eyes.

Keith and I worked as a team to fell dozens of dead and dying ash trees, and some oaks and poplars (see background), in an area where he wanted to expand the cattle pasture. I ran the chainsaw while he pushed with the front end loader. It was dicey and scary work, as his smashed windshield shows. A week later, a huge limb carved a gigantic V in that cab, but Keith just kept on, peering around either side of the destroyed metal and glass to see where he was going.

I am sure going to miss you, buddy

Giving Thanks for Being an American

Thanksgiving Day may have originated three hundred years ago, when the first Pilgrims were starving to death in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and they were saved by local Indians who took pity on them, but it is still our big national holiday for the same sort of reasons today.

Native pumpkin squash, beans, wild turkey, and cranberry jelly that is native to the cranberry bogs of Massachusetts have ever since been the symbolic food at which we rejoice for our great good fortune for living in America, no matter where we live.

America is the freest country with the most opportunity available to the most people in the world. What an incredible place.

The symbolism of our unique national holiday food – turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin squash etc – is similar in meaning to the food of other nationalities and cultures. For example, the matza “bread of affliction” flatbread eaten every Passover by religiously observant Jews is a reminder of their own escape from hard slavery into newfound freedom. Many South American cultures form round breads from maize (corn, which is native to the Americas) and yams that are symbolic of how they eat together in a family circle. The French (and Italian) diet of bread, cheese, and wine may seem hedonistic on its face, but when one considers that even free French (and Italian) peasants had fertile land to farm and live on, their national food and drink make perfect sense. And so on for so many other cultures.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans. Enjoy this day together, unified as one people in union, heading on the same path of freedom together. We might be in tough times together right now, but we should take every opportunity to celebrate our shared identities. During the first (or second) American Civil War, soldiers on both the Union and Confederate lines would gather on Thanksgiving and Christmas nights to serenade each other with religious songs. In World War One, both German soldiers and Allied soldiers would sing Christmas songs back and forth to each other across the waste lands filled with destroyed men and war machines. My God, friends, if they could gather in peace one night a year, then how much more so can we Americans today gather together and wish each other

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, for we each have much to give thanks to God for!

Earth Day: Protect What Matters

Today is Earth Day, a day annually marked for environmental protection. Good, we need it. We all need to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and eat clean food.

All kinds of organizations run advertisements today promoting a clean environment, a protected environment, wildlife habitat conservation, and so on. Most of the ideas we will see promoted today are worthy of attention and worthwhile policy efforts, while some of the more heavily marketed ideas are Marxist anti-capitalism dingbat stuff.

The two biggest challenges we have on Earth Day are overcoming the fake issue of human-caused “climate change,” and protecting the American economy. Achieving both of these goals will actually maximally protect the environment.

“Climate change” on its face is a factual thing, because Planet Earth has had constant climate change since its creation. Glaciers have come and gone on their own, sea levels have risen and fallen on their own, and plants and animals have come and gone as the greater environmental forces around them directly shape their habitat, the salinity of the water they live in, and the air they breathe. All of this dynamism has happened without any human intervention. In fact, most of it has happened without any humans existing at all.

Climate change continues on today just as it always has since the Earth was born, and though human actions might contribute to it in some minuscule way, the fact is that humans have a far greater and more measurable impact on more important environmental issues.

The problem with the current human-caused climate change hoax is that it sucks all of the air out of the room, leaving no oxygen for other real, actual, measurable and documented issues like lost wildlife habitat, farmland loss, water quality, forest fragmentation, and controlling the invasive plants and animals that are literally destroying our native environments and species.

All of the “climate change” policy bandied about is a result of bad modeling using flawed data, junk science, topped off with deliberate fraud and public shaming of heretics. The fake but well-heeled climate change industry is fueled by juicy foundation and government grants, making all kinds of financial incentives for people to continue this fakery. Fake climate change junk science can be a hell of a good business for a few private bank accounts!

Normal people see this obvious policy fraud and end up writing off the entire quest for environmental quality as just a bunch of “environmentalist wackos” trying to destroy Western Civilization. And indeed, a great many of the climate change advocates are in fact America-hating Marxists, whose suspect opinions aren’t worth spit. But it is not fair to roll all environmental quality efforts in with the climate change nonsense. Leftists include the real issues together with fake climate change to give climate change unwarranted credibility, while magical-thinking meatheads on the right also do it to discredit all environmental quality issues.

If there is one thing we have all witnessed over the past month of China Flu coronavirus here in America, it is that in addition to weakening America by sending our technology and jobs there, for decades Americans have exploited Chinese slave labor and the Chinese environment so that we could have more cheap junk available to play with at home. It is an undeniable fact that like the Russians before them, Chinese Marxism has destroyed the Chinese environment, while American capitalism has created the high living conditions here necessary for our citizens to expect environmental protection.

Capitalism protects the environment, while Marxism and communism destroy it through unbridled industrialism to buoy up their ruling elites.

Today, on Earth Day, the best thing we can do is to re-open the American economy and create the kinds of high quality living conditions here that incentivize environmental protection. Protect the world’s environment by repatriating American jobs from their thirty-year hiatus in China. Demonstrate to Americans that we can all enjoy high quality environmental protection without sacrificing our economy on the false altar of human caused climate change..or a Chinese virus whose effects are felt locally but whose costs are being applied equally everywhere across the United States.

Five Spice Donkey Meat: Coronavirus Lessons Learned

As the lab-grown Chinese Wuhan Flu coronavirus tornado has whipped around the planet, destroying people, families, businesses, hopes, dreams, savings, homes, careers, there are a few initial takeaway lessons we have learned so far.

Lesson 1: We cannot trust the media. The mainstream media (CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, BBC, PBS, Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, AP, Reuters etc) is full of politicized nonsense, not actual factual reporting.  After weeks of calling the Wuhan Flu the Wuhan Flu, the China Flu, and the Chinese Flu, because this virus comes from Wuhan China, mainstream reactivists (my own conjunction of reporter + activist) immediately began saying it was racist after President Trump called it the Wuhan Flu. So if the president says something, the mainstream media reactivsts immediately disagree with it and criticize it. After doing the same and saying the same thing themselves. This is obvious hypocrisy and reveals the media as a bunch of political activists, not news reporters. OK, so you knew this already, especially after the media has constantly parroted Communist China lies over the past few weeks. Well, now you know it even better.

Lesson 2: China is actively pursuing the domination of America. Through any means necessary, Communist China has demonstrated that they are like the German Nazi Party of eighty years ago and the Democrat Party of today. They are our avowed enemy. They will stop at nothing to dominate everyone around them, especially America, even if it means playing with strange fire like lab-grown viruses designed to wipe out entire enemy adult generations, so that only the inexperienced and defenseless young are left alive. Chinese efforts to undermine and dominate America are nothing new, but for thirty years Americans have been told by elected officials from BOTH political parties that it was in our own best interests to give all of our technology, jobs, money, and security to China. Well it turns out that this globalism impoverishes Americans while further enriching a small handful of oligarchs. And now we see that Chinese domination of our pharmaceutical industry is not a benefit to us, and is in fact a great risk to our survival.

Lesson 3: Everything China makes is contaminated and dangerous. China has no environmental regulations and very few food regulations. Their rush to industrialize at any cost has resulted in tremendous environmental damage and the contamination of their food, soil, and water. This week we were treated to a video of a sick Chinese worker deliberately coughing into a shipment of new face masks bound for America, in order to further infect Americans. Five years ago the “Five Spice Donkey Meat” scandal in China demonstrated just how badly Chinese foods are adulterated, infected, and contaminated with a God-knows-what mix of dangerous chemicals and pathogens. Even donkey and fox meat, which are actually (unbelievably) succulent delicacies in China, alongside snakes, bats, cats, rats, wombats, dogs, hogs, and monkeys, are infected; not just baby milk powder and apple sauce sold to America. Anything we import from China is full of nasty chemicals, viruses, and bacteria. Including food, medicine, and clothing. Don’t let it in here.

Lesson 4: Buy American – Putting America First means protecting American Health. Putting America first in all things means that we will now question whether or not certain practices are in fact actually good for Americans. Whether or not cheap labor and cheap products from China are desirable in the short term, we as a nation will now always ask “Is this good for America and her citizens, my family, my neighbors?” If the answer is either No or Probably Not, then we will re-patriate whatever goods were being made elsewhere and have them made here. Having things made here in America, subject to our own regulations, high expectations, and standards, will give us control over our destiny and health. Including physical and financial health.

Lesson 5: Secure American Borders equals Secure American Citizens, so Force the Issue. In early February, US senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat) and US Congressthing Nancy Pelosi (Democrat) accused President Trump of being a “racist” for implementing a travel ban from abroad. Literally four weeks later these same two fools accused President Trump of not having enacted a travel ban soon enough. All kinds of dangerous diseases, dangerous drugs, dangerous people, sex slave trafficking, child prostitution, child molesters, and violence have been pouring over and through America’s open borders into our towns and cities. This is happening only because the Democrat Party has been totally devoted to having our borders remain wide open, for their own short term political gain. A willingness to trade off the health and safety of American citizens for the benefits of law breakers and parasites should demonstrate to any open minded person that the Democrat Party and its criminal assistants like La Raza and the ACLU are guilty of treason and crimes against the American people. All of these groups should get big bills from the United States Treasury for the damage they have wrought on innocent Americans. China should get a big bill for the widespread destruction that their Chinese Wuhan China Virus has wrought, too. Close America’s borders and get control of who and what gets in here.

 

Yay, it’s county fair season

No matter where you live, it is county fair season.

County fairs everywhere are celebrations of community, family, simple pleasures, and simple, easy fun. That fun usually includes eating really naughty, high-fat, high-carb, high sugar food you would never, ever eat any other time of the year, like funnel cakes.

Yum!

If you get the powdered sugar on your funnel cake, don’t take it on a ride until you’ve eaten it, or you will have a white powder imprint of the funnel cake on your face or shirt. Guarantee it. The small-town carnival machines populating county fairs everywhere specialize in jerky motions to entertain the riders, and those jerky motions always catch people unaware, shoving their food right back into their face or chest.

The fresh smell of farm animals there for show mingles with the smells of the fried food, and it is an acquired taste of a smell, I must say.

Last night I was at the Perry County Fair, which I have gone to for years, out near Newport.

Volunteering at the Duncannon Sportsmen booth is a lot of fun, because I get to interact with the happy public, as they good-naturedly try their hands at small games of chance for a non-profit, educational purpose (the club). Such as, when a little kid lines up the little plastic crossbow loaded with the plastic dart, getting them to shoot it at one of the club members’ hat, instead of the deer target that will win them a soft (“plush”) toy. Laughs all around, as the club members good-naturedly take the abuse. The kid gets the toy anyhow.

One thing we are missing is a dunking pool. I’ll work on that for next year, because there are several guys I just really want to see get wet, in public. And no doubt, we could raise a lot of money with a dunking pool. The Duncannon Sportsmen money goes right back into Perry County, like local 4-H, Boy Scouts troops, volunteer fire and ambulance crews, etc. As my folks would say, the money is just making the rounds, going from one hand to another to another and eventually it finds its way right back to where it started. That right there is the essence of community, ‘all in this together’.

And that is probably my biggest enjoyment of local county fairs, including the Gratz Fair in northern Dauphin County, where I live: The sense of community, the ties that bind us all together. In a time of really fractious political rancor, pushed by the establishment media more than anyone (I mean gosh, have you noticed how all the mainstream media outlets have the same exact message, which is 97% hyperventilating and aggressively negative about President Trump, all the time?), isn’t it nice to get a breath of fresh air and hang out with your fellow citizens in an environment of fun and relaxation, away from all that noise?

County fairs are like a big family picnic, where long-lost cousins show up once a year. Friendly people you wouldn’t otherwise see or interact with, but now you do, and you enjoy it, because people are neat. And at county fairs, everyone just wants to have a fun time.

I like that.

 

It’s berry season!

For about 150,000 years we humans have been hunter-gatherers, living a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle that follows the migrating animals and the growth of plants our bodies can eat.

Edible plants were a huge component of hunter-gatherer food, easily dried and carried, many of them lasting well into October and November after plants have gone dormant in most places. Unlike meat, dried edible plants do not easily rot, or attract nibbling animals.

Among edible plants, fruits and wild berries reign supreme.

That is because fruits and berries contain an unusual mix of carbohydrates, sugars, minerals, and vitamins, all of which are necessary for survival. Especially vitamin C, a crucial ingredient in a healthy human body (think scurvy).

The fact that wild berries taste especially sweet and supplement other foods with extra flavor is a big draw.

Sweet-tasting foods rarely occur in Nature.

Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, huckleberries, wineberries, and many others grow abundantly here in Pennsylvania and across the Eastern US.

Plains Indians like the Lakota, Pawnee, and Comanche made a mix of red meat and berries called pemmican. Ripe berries were turned into a big mush and then worked into meat strips. Usually the mixture was dried on wooden racks in the open air and sunlight, and the dried slabs and sticks were then put under the horse saddle to be worked and broken down into what we would call jerky today.

“Jerky” gets its name from the gentle jerking motion of the horse saddle, as horses step forward. The motion slowly breaks down the meat fibers, making them easily chewed and digested.

So here we are, a bunch of sedentary Americans, mostly eating out of cans and bagged frozen foods.

One antidote to this somewhat unhealthy arrangement is to go outside and do stuff.

Hike, walk, sit and read or sit and chat with someone face to face, fish, canoe, grill out, etc., so many easy outdoor activities.

A really easy outdoor activity is berry picking. Sure there are some thorns, but so what. The benefits are fresh, delicious, healthy berries that are not sprayed with chemicals, or bagged in plastic bags, or frozen. The whole family can do it. Go find a field edge, and bring some hard containers, and start picking.

Humans have been berry picking in that Summertime window of opportunity for a really long time. So long that it can be measured in ice ages come and gone, ice sheets advancing and retreating. That is a lot of years.

If we have been doing that activity for that long, you know it is good and natural. That the whole family can do it, and then make pies together afterwards, makes it all the better.

Just watch out for poison ivy!

 

 

The things that make life fun

Music, family, food, friendship, art derived from craftsmanship, Nature, aesthetics, and so on are things that make life fun.

The best things in life are free, and aren’t really things: Love, friendship, trust, integrity, honesty. We can have as much of these as we want, and very often they only require giving a little to get a lot in return.

I am not Italian, but when I used to hang out with Italians, I finally learned what “food” really, truly is. Restaurateur Andy Zangrilli of State College trained me in two of his restaurants as a line chef, from salads to sautee, when I was fresh out of high school. Andy owns Gullifty’s and other landmark restaurants around Pennsylvania, and prided himself on making all of his food from scratch, including pickling and smoking his own pastrami and corned beef, as well as making his own prosciutto and some cheeses. It had to be done just right, or not done at all. And when the food was done right, it was like hearing angels sing. As a dad and husband who enjoys cooking, I try to bring some of Andy’s amazing recipes to life in our own home. No complaints yet!

Today’s news was just filled with all kinds of rich targets: RyanCare vs ObamaCare, news that an Israeli teenager has been arrested for committing the lion’s share of the email and phone threats made against Jewish institutions across America over the past months (and NOT “white supremacists”), my old Penn State chum and good friend Seth Williams being indicted for bribery as DA of Philadelphia, and so on.

Never at a loss for words or strong opinions, I would naturally have more to say on these subjects than I should. And you know what, this is also the PA Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs spring conference, too, and I will be going to that. So I guess that is where I am going to let the mind and written word go next.

Wildlife biologist Ben Jones of the PA Game Commission will be speaking tomorrow night, a can’t-miss opportunity for those of us who love nature, wildlife, and conservation. I will be joining a lot of friends and colleagues this weekend at this gathering, and that’s what I am going to focus on here:

Enjoy your friends and family, my friends. Life is so precious and yet so tenuous. At my age, we all too often see good people gone in a blink of an eye. People who brought us smiles, and laughter, joy and love, warmth and companionship. These are treasures, though we cannot weigh them out or count them. Yes, there is a time for ego, debate, values, culture, and possessiveness, and anger, and hurt, and revenge, and so on, but this weekend….for me it’s about friendship.

It is one of those “things” that make life worth living. For a tiny price, it can be had in truckloads.

Why are there syllables in my bread?

The other day I made the mistake of looking at the the ingredients label on the bag containing a loaf of sliced bread I brought home from the Giant store on Linglestown Road.

Can you believe the chemicals and additives and preservatives that are in that loaf of bread, according to the label? These are seriously long, serious-sounding, polysyllabic words that I have trouble pronouncing, no matter how long I have to spell them out slowly.

Words this long do not belong in the human body.

It made me wonder, Why are all these syllables in my bread?

Shouldn’t bread just be something like flour, water, salt, sugar, eggs, baking powder, maybe some fresh yeast, plus fire? For the past five thousand years, bread has been successfully made with slight variations on this theme of basic ingredients.

One of my kids has a health issue, and for most of her life it was treated with scary chemicals.

One by one, the chemicals stopped working. We were left with few options.

Then a researcher in Israel began a study, where kids with this health issue would go on a basic diet: No processed food, no canned food, no frozen food except what you freeze yourself. Everything fresh. No soda, no powdered drink mixes. Etc.

Guess what? She went into remission. It was attributable solely to the lack of processed food and the attendant polysyllabic chemicals she was otherwise ingesting when she ate “food.”

Today our friend Roberta came over, delivering Girl Scout cookies that only our boy can eat (well, I could easily eat them, but my body needs no extra calories or fat). We caught up in the kitchen over fresh coffee. Turns out she has changed her diet, and is feeling a lot better than before, plus she is lean and feeling energized.

What is her diet? No processed food.

Seeing that bread label got me thinking. Seeing my beloved child get better from a serious health issue got me thinking. Talking with our family friend of nearly twenty years got me thinking. Here is what I am thinking:

Syllables and food do not go together, unless it’s Italian. Certainly not in English.

Chemicals and food should not go together.

Chemicals are not food.

Chemicals and body health probably do not go together, except as a treatment for a serious health issue.

I just ate a pile of fresh carrot sticks. They were not nearly as satisfying to me, as they don’t taste great, as something processed. But it’s the beginning of something good. And it reminds me to start preparing seeds for the summer garden.

And one more thing: Giant also sells freshly baked bread. This bread lacks the preservatives of the bagged bread. It’s my new go-to bread, and as I do most of the food shopping for our family, it is what we are going to have going forward.

Giant Food’s punishing self checkout

Does Giant have self checkout to punish its customers? To prove that loyalty takes a long time to undermine?

It’s miserably time consuming, it never works, it hangs up, people standing in multiple lines waiting for help from a single clerk. Giant thinks they’re saving a few pennies in labor cost. But the truth is that Giant is following a traditional path to failure.

By building up customer loyalty, and then giving them less and less, many businesses have milked quality, alienated customers, and then crashed.

Another sign of cheapness is Giant’s slow conversion of name brand foods for its own generic label. But I don’t want Giant’s mediocre quality food. I’m willing to pay for better quality.

Capitalism 101 says our family begins shopping at the Wegman’s on the West Shore.