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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Sermon



Pictured above is a typical street in the village of Monsanto. It is in Portugal, which my grandparents referred to as, "Aw yezzz, the OLD COUNTRY, aw years agoooo." It is made of granite blocks. You may notice not all the blocks are the same size. Some are radically bigger than others. You might end up with a couple that are several times larger than your whole house. Those go onto the roof and it outlasts your neighbors' clay shingles by millions of years. Is this optimism? No, reality. Sometimes it is better to be masterful and not worry about details. Why is Monsanto made of rock?

There are two reasons. Construction of the town began in the stone age. The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make everything. The period lasted roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 6000 BCE and 2000 BCE .  6000 BCE gets us into Biblical times and I can't comment on that except for metal things being made out of refined rocks. Big deal, still minerals, but they began an ascent toward industrial society that would threaten to deplete earth's natural resources in a mere 8 or 9 thousand years. Not so with the Stone-agers.

Stone-agers went 3.4 million years being very careful not to use up all the rocks. There are still rocks all over the place. I looked!
Norma spread them by way of weed-abatement, just like Stone-agers did. Though there are some jobs, like clearing our fencelines of noxious vegetation that I cannot control with stone, I use a chemical herbicide and am ashamed. If my house was made of non combustible rock instead of wood --yes, wood from trees which are also made of wood since the stone age ended-- I wouldn't have to bother with firebreaks at the property edge, but there is some solace.

Keeping one's property intact while surrounding fields combine impulsively with oxygen drives one to compromise. We fear fire --one of the many disturbances to which humanity subjects itself. So I sneak out to our parameters with a product called Roundup® , without Norma's permission, and fight the field back a few feet. Yes, it is against my stone age Portuguese heritage but I must keep the property safe so that Norma may hear the seasonal pops of poppies and the howl of mating marigolds. And, of course, I have read the label and made sure Roundup® is made by the Monsanto Company.

Go in peace.

32 comments:

  1. Very enjoyable post Geo.! I got quite a kick out of the photo of Monsanto, Portugal. Being a geologist, I always love rocks!!!!! I live in a state that has seen terrible fires in recent years. So anything you have to do to protect your noisy flowers and family home is A-OK! Have a good week!

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    1. Thank you Fundy Blue. Geology is a happy hobby of mine, though I have much to learn. Happily, Norma has never had to fight a prairie fire and does not understand my concern. So I sneak!

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  2. Wow, that photo of Monsanto puts the Stone Age in a whole new light. I suppose there are positive advantages. It definitely is fireproof and you'd never have to worry about needing a new roof. But I wouldn't want to have that weight hanging over me all the time - - I have enough burdens to bear.

    I'm thinking that granite block houses would be popular here in West Texas. They would PROBABLY withstand the perpetual wind.

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    1. That town does look magical and dangerous, doesn't it? I imagine decorator magazines with ideas for brightening stalactites.

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  3. I am not showing this post to my partner. He sneaks out with Roundup too. And would use it to weed in our garden beds if he thought he could get away with it.

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    1. A wise precaution, even though your partner has doubtless explained glyphosate remains mainly in the target weed and any excess is degraded by soil microbes. I do not get near the garden with it though because Norma doesn't trust Monsanto Co. and I trust her.

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  4. It would be wonderful to go to Portugal someday.

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    1. I think so too, Laoch. I suspect there are answers there for me.

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  5. Well, I have to say that I was unaware of the fact that Stone-agers were so environmentally friendly and resource conscious. I assume this was true of both the Old and the New Stone-agers. When I view the village of Monsanto (obviously the modern Monsantos belong to a very long dynasty) I am uncertain as to whether the Stone-agers were trying to hide their house under a stone bushel, or whether they were into overkill weed suppression. Perhaps you could enlighten?

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    1. I can only guess they were able to get the town's gravity shut off while the house was built.

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  6. That picture is crazy - in a cool way. However I am not sure I'd want to live in that house :)

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    1. Agreed, but having a roof like that could sure take one's mind off lesser dangers.

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  7. The government banned chemical weed killers here a few years ago. You can buy a natural product (probably ground stone in a suspension of pure spring water) but it doesn't work. Our lawns are either a carpet of dandelions and thistles, or, look like a mine field where we've been digging the weeds out.
    I'm assuming the village of Monsanto is a particularly windy part of the planet thus accounting for the boulders on the roof tops.

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    1. I've followed the Canadian ban on cosmetic herbicides with some interest and hear it has greatly improved the purity of surface waters. I have only used glyphosphate on field fencelines and never trusted it near vegetables or lawns, where I'm afraid it's been much overused. I suppose we must change our expectations regarding manicured yards.

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  8. Dear Geo.,
    in our garden in Hildesheim I bestrew the paths between the borders edged wth boxes with white gravel - beautiful. But - all the little seedlings loved to get their tiny feet warmed up there, and it might have been easier to put their toes into the sand under the gravel. Best propagation bed ever! And then I was taught that the "silly math text problems" sneaked back into my adult life: I wanted to plaster a terrace with basalt quaders - 'having a length of...and your plot having a length and width of...- how many..?" The next arithmetical problem was easier, but painful for the purse - I had never thought that basalt is that expensive!

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    1. I depute all cuboid paver and brick calculations to Norma, who has a talent for it. Have also used straight vinegar to zap the weeds that grow up between them.

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    1. Of all my Sunday Sermons, yours is the first amen I've got. Thanks!

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  10. You kill weeds, dude? Around here, we think of them as nice spots of color... and I prefer to call them wild flowers. It's all a matter of perspective. (My hubby does use Roundup, AKA Agent Orange, on the poison ivy, though.)

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    1. I only consider thistles and poison ivy Rounduppable thugweeds. The rest can root and hold the property together. I love dandelions.

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  11. Typical street I'll buy but I have a hard time believing that's a typical house!

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    1. Same here. But I'd hate to live on such steep terrain, always afraid of falling out of my yard --or that roof boulder rattling free and wiping out the town.

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  12. Your Sunday Sermon was most enjoyed and that flower is so very pretty.

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    1. Most kind Margie! And I assure you the flower is a daffodil and will remain one.

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  13. The lesson about Monsanto was enchanting.

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  14. Thank you Emma. Maybe Monsanto Company will genetically modify humans so we can live on weeds --easier to grow.

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  15. You do a great job of weaving themes together. Enjoyable!

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  16. haven't been taking enuf time to read yer blogs lately. u rock geo.

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  17. Don't let dogs fool you, no matter what shape their brains are. They know exactly how to train us.

    Remember Louie? A dog has to do a lot of people training to get 'em to do all the work. Better be careful. The next time he sees you, that basset will have you rolling over and barking for a treat.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl9184PAaXc‎

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    1. Ah, we come unstuck in time! I respond to your kind comment under the next post.

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