Late Winter in Big Grove

Sautéing onions for a casserole

It is time to use up fresh onions, garlic and potatoes, then rotate the canned goods so oldest jars are consumed first.

Winter means soup, casseroles, pasta and hearty meals made from pantry and ice box ingredients.

As the ambient temperature warms, we are ready to move into the new year’s fresh food cycle. But not so fast!

There are egg sandwiches, chili mac and soups to be made before spring buds.

I donned my LaCrosse rubber boots and toured the yard and garden.

The ground is too hard to plant lettuce. Garlic is not up. The only bit of sprouting green was flowers I transplanted from Indiana. Tips of green were frosted on those that emerged. A thick layer of sand lies on the side of the road. Time to sweep it up and save it for next winter.

At 13 days until the transformation of worklife, I’m spending time organizing time and tasks.

To be successful means purging old habits and developing new. The work seems much harder than it should be. While working at the home, farm and auto supply store I’ve developed some questionable habits around internet usage, resting and eating. They produced the current result, so they were not all bad. One only gets so many chances to start over.

There are two problems with my transformation. First, I’m limited to 12 hours per day of primary activity. Not everything I want to do will fit. Second, I’m not used to working 12-hour days. To get things done, I need to ramp up. The situation is complicated by keeping two days of paid work in the mix. We’ll find a use for the money, but I’ll also need to figure out how to get more productivity out of a day to meet overall goals.

Paul’s Pie

Drawing the pie chart was fairly simple. Making that fit among rigid schedules of paid work, writing and farm work has proven to be challenging. Where I suspect this will end is with a hard schedule that includes writing, food ecology and paid work, leaving everything else flexible.

I’m committed to this now, so no turning back.

The week of the county party central committee turns into a session of drinking politics from a fire hose. As you can see in the pie chart, community organizing gets a 20 percent allocation of time and politics is a subset of that. I’ve limited myself to one social event per week and expect most of those to be related to politics for the next couple of months. I learned a couple of things:

Rep. Dave Jacoby explaining plan to run 100 Democrats for 100 House seats.

Iowa House Democrats are planning to run 100 candidates for 100 seats in the midterm elections. We don’t usually run everywhere, so that makes this year different.

In the governor’s race, Democrats are working to win the primary. With seven announced candidates at the beginning of the filing period we’ll see if everyone files and if there is anyone else. It takes 35 percent of votes cast to win the primary. Cathy Glasson’s campaign is playing a side bet that the governor candidate will be chosen at the state convention with no one getting enough votes to win outright. The campaign claims to have won 30 percent of delegates at the caucus, which may or may not translate into 30 percent at the state convention after counties pick their delegates at the March 24 county conventions. 30 percent seems unlikely to win at the convention.

There are still too many geezers like me on the central committee. I’d gladly step aside and let someone else take my seat, but the truth is these women, millennials and newly registered voters who are supposedly playing a key role in the midterms don’t come to the meetings, don’t want the job. It’s a truism that flying at 30,000 feet, political strategists come up with all manner of demographic projections about the electorate. Our local elections of everyone up and down the ticket are made at a distance of six inches in front of our noses, rendering strategist musings moot.

Cold and frosty as the ground is today I can justify another day indoors to file our tax returns, work on community organizing and get caught up on everything else. However, it won’t be long before lettuce and potato planting. Next Sunday I start my first trays of seedlings in the greenhouse.

There’s everything spring brings and for which we yearn.

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2 Responses to Late Winter in Big Grove

  1. This might be my first time commenting on your blog! I’m interested in this:
    “the truth is these women, millennials and newly registered voters who are supposedly playing a key role in the midterms don’t come to the meetings, don’t want the job.”
    What I’m seeing in the Indivisible groups, Flip It, Strong WoMen, Eastside Dems, etc (mostly women and people new to politics) is a disengagement from party politics. They seem to feel their time is better spent, as activists, and in aiming toward the midterm elections, in more grass-roots organizing, and not via the Democratic Party.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul Deaton says:

    Thanks for commenting on my blog.

    Elections are about building an electorate that will vote for a candidate. Political parties continue to be primary in picking candidates – partly through native urges people have to run, and partly through Mandarin and somewhat obscure processes dominated by party insiders. We’ll see that if no one wins governor primary with 35 percent of vote.

    While currently popular, there have always been groups like you mention. They are only partly responsible for building an electorate.


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