Monday, December 10, 2007

Farm Bill: The Senate

What a lot of hoopla! If you search farm bill in google today you'll wind up scrolling through a lot of seemingly disparate headlines, from "Deal reached," to "Maybe we'll see something by March." It appears that the Farm Bill might really make it through the Senate this time, since both Dems and Republicans have agreed to only tack 20 amendments each onto the Bill. That still seems like a lot to me, but they've pared it down from hundreds so they're on the right track. There are two amendments to watch for: the Lugar-Lautenberg amendment would eliminate crop subsidies entirely and replace them with free insurance for all farmers. The Dorgan-Grassley amendment would limit payments to $250,000 per farm but keep the subsidy structure intact.

I think the important thing is to just read the news so you know what's happening with the future of agriculture here in the U.S. I think we are due for change, but it's more a question of timing... If you want to get more involved, talk to your senators and keep your eye on Organic Farming Research Foundation to find out when they'll vote. Or there's always Google News!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Los Consejos de un Padre: Round 2

¿Sus dientes, sus colmillos, son poderosos?
Your teeth, your fangs/tusks, are they powerful?

Son despreciables y ridículos: valen menos que los de un ratoncillo.
They're despicable! ridiculous! worth less than those of a little mouse!

¿Sus uñas, son tan potentes como mis zarpas?
His nails, are they powerful like my claws?

Son mezquinas y a veces las lleva sucias; no por las zarpas no conseguiría vencerte.

¿Tendrá melenas como éstas, que nosotros sacudimos orgullosos?
Does he have a mane like you, that shakes our pride?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Spanish Tales for Beginners: Los Consejos de un Padre

Here is the first chapter of a translation we are doing as a group (a kind of exquisite corpse) where we translate a story line by line. We are of varied skills at our Spanish, but it makes no matter. The point (for me, anyway) is to use and think and learn about Spanish a little bit every day. Join us if you would like.

Dear folks,
I was thinking it might be good to try using a good old-fashioned spanish dictionary (not the online kind). The process of looking up the word will help cement it in your brain, and also you will end up shopping through and reading other words. If you have grammatical questions feel free to ask! I can probably answer or at least find someone better to tell us.

This is all from a book that was first copyrighted in 1909. This copy is from 1946. Arwen found it at Pak 'n Save in Vermont.

El león, el rey de las selvas, agonizaba en el hucco de su caverna...
Lion, King of the Jungle, lay dying in a hollow of his cave...*

A su lado estaba su hijo, el nuevo león, el rey futuro de todos los animales.
To his side was his son, the new lion, the future king of all the animals.

El monarca moribundo le daba penosamente el último consejo, el más importante.

—Huye del hombre—le decía:—huye siempre; no pretendas luchar con él.
Flee from man—he said:—always flee; do not seek a fight with him.*

Eres señor absoluto de los démas animales, no los temas; domínalos, castígalos, devóralos si tienes hambre.
You are an absolute master of other animals, do not be afraid of them; dominate them, punish them, devour them if you are hungry.

Con todos puedes luchar, a todos puedes vencer; pero no pretendas luchar con el hombre: te daría muerte y sin piedad, porque es cruel, más cruel que nosotros.
You can fight them all, and beat them all, but don't fight with Man: he will give you death and without pity, because he is cruel, the most cruel of all.

—¿Tan fuerte es el hombre?— preguntó el hijo.
How bouncing/strong is this man? asked the son.*

—No es fuerte, no —replicó el padre. —Y continuó diciendo: —De un latigazo de tu cola le podrías lanzar por los aires como al más miserable animalejo.
No-replied the father- it is not strong and continued speaking of a rotten lashing from a line of miserable animals hurled into the air.

*Andrea: El hucco is an old word, no longer commonly used. It shows up in a few obscure online texts from the Gutenberg Project, and it's translated as hollow, cavernous; subst. m., hollow, hole, niche, cavity, grave.

*Catherine is on the Pilgrimage to Compostela in Spain and so I'm translating her line for her now. She'll rejoin when she can.

*Meara: I used an on-line dictionary, word by word, and couldn't resist the fact that fuerte was defined as bouncing Or strong.

*Yoni: uhh-this could be the story but I think there are some errors. I couldn't find diciendo and animalejo in the dictionary for some reason. A little dictionary, a little improvisation, a little fantasia.

*Hannah: It's tough doing it word for word. Sorry it took so long I just didn't want to use the computer.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Farm Bill

Originally uploaded by andrea dunlap
A farm bill has just been passed in the House, and another one will be up for debate in the Senate in the fall. Considering all the fuss people like Michael Pollan were making about this bill for months prior I'm surprised I didn't hear more about this as it happened. I didn't sign any petitions or get any requests to call my senator... It seems to me from the reading I've done that the Farm Bill (which only comes up once every five years) is just too crowded with measures and subsidies and rules to ever get anywhere new or change in any way. Subsidies, research, conservation, marketing, food stamps, food aid... all of these are covered by the bill. It is expected that more opposition will build by the time August break is over for the Senate. There's still time to do some grassroots lobbying.

According to the New York Times this is hailed as a victory for Nancy Pelosi, but when I look it over, I'm not so sure... It looks more like she's trying to protect Democratic interests for the coming election. Maybe that's more important than a reformed farm bill, or maybe some of us will be so annoyed we'll vote for the libertarian party...

You can see something of what the liberals think of the House Farm Bill in the San Francisco Chronicle's analysis (the bottom of the article has a good summary of itself).

I just joined this action alert service that's provided by the Organic Farming Research Foundation so that I can keep up a little better with what's going to happen next in the Senate. I think it might get a little more exciting around September...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Andean Culture is Older than they thought

One of the things that first excited me and inspired me to start the seedling project was the idea that history, especially the history of South America, was constantly changing in response to new discoveries about something as hard to preserve as seeds and dirt. According to an article published in Science magazine and quoted in the New York Times, squash was cultivated in the northern Andes 10,000 years ago, which makes South American agriculture nearly as old as that of the Middle East. These kinds of discoveries are slowly changing the way scholars think about the chronology of the civilization of the New World.

From the New York Times:

The researchers concluded that these beginnings in plant domestication “served as catalysts for rapid social changes that eventually contributed to the development of intensified agriculture, institutionalized political power and towns in both the Andean highlands and on the coast between 5,000 and 4,000 years ago.”

The evidence at Ñanchoc, Dr. Dillehay’s team wrote, indicated that “agriculture played a more important and earlier role in the development of Andean civilization than previously understood."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

New Photos Coming Soon

I've just gotten word that the photos I took with my film camera (the little T5) are being processed. I think that the photos I took with the film camera will be the best, though I am sure they will have whittled themselves down just because the film is old and might not yield the best colors. I also continue working with the old footage, but that means working at the office (where I can use the good facilities) and where I already spend five days a week, so needless to say, it's going slowly.