Do we have too many farmers?
Martin Heldt - 10:11pm Sep 12, 1999 PDT (# 2 of 147)
I'm a lifelong resident of the Hawkeye state.
I've seen the size of an average farm go from 160 acres to where most of them near me are more than 800 acres.
If you are worried about water use then you want more small farmers.
We didn't have multimillion gallon spills of hog manure just a few years ago. Farmers all had a few dozen or a couple hundred pigs and they were able to keep the wastes contained in straw bedding. Straw bedding will never break a holding dike
Today, some of these hog factories have 100,000 hogs crowded into a tiny corner of land. They are like cities except the services are terrible. An earthen sewage lagoon that is often lined only with clay.
I have watched as several hundreds of formerly vital streams and rivers have been wiped out by massive manure spills.
I have friends who can't get loans for home improvements because their neighbors on all three sides are corporate hog factories.
My mom and dad can't use their clothesline to dry anymore without checking to see which way the wind is blowing.
These huge corporate farms have ruined my state.
I know every last inch of the 360 acres I live on. I know the exact places that need to be seeded to grass because they get washed (eroded) in a heavy rain.I know what the land is capable of and what I am capable of---these big outfits are just too big for that kind of closeness to the land....
Readers And Writers: What Makes A Plot Great?
Sal Monious - 09:22pm Sep 11, 1999 PDT (# 100 of 100)
What makes a plot great? To me, any story that I've enjoyed was told in a way that was enthralling, be it fact or fiction. The telling of Helter Skelter was excellent, and while I get the creeps reading it, I can't put it down, and if I refer to a passage, I wind up reading on from that point again.
The same cannot be said by me about The Castle by Kafka. I realize it was meant to be a confusing mess, but it does not bode well that even the author threw it aside in disgust and didn't bother to finish the durn thing. More forgivable to me, had he been physically unable rather than uninclined.
Lest I get bashed for using a poor example of a good plot, I found Frankenstein extremely compelling, and I can't understand how such a great book got turned into a goofy monster movie. It was so much more than that. I identified with the idealism in the beginning, the fantastic vision of the middle, and the tragedy of the finish.
Parenting from your gut
Nancy Griggs - 11:39am Sep 13, 1999 PDT (# 121 of 229)
I think the bottom line to all the worry that parents have goes to a core issue. The second after giving birth to our children, we have to walk around knowing that we might lose them. They might die before us, of an illness, or maybe even of a catastrophic and horribly gory incident. All the protection we do is our way of dealing with that very painful reality. The reality that no matter how hard we try to close all the loopholes, the possibility will always exist. Maybe the arguement could be that the risks could be less if they are prepared extremely well, but it will never be 100%. I have seen this make some of my seemingly intelligent, sane friends turn into neurotic parents. Never getting babysitters, never letting the children go more than three feet from their side.
In Harriet Lerner's book "The Mother Dance", she recounts one of her clients telling her she thought her teenage daughter had been killed one night when she didn't return home at the specified time. For a brief moment, she realized that if that were true, she would then not have to ever feel the constant worry that she carries in her heart. Then, of course, she continued to worry and wring her hands. I thought that was so poignant and honest. I think all of us, with protective parents or neglectful parents, have said to ourselves, "I could have just been killed!" The fact that my kids will in the world saying this to themselves can eat me up with fear at times. But, I can also let myself know that no matter how tight I'd like to hold on, there will be a day to let go. We all struggle with how best to prepare for those moments. My way of dealing with it is to give my kids the ability to take some risks, with me giving them the most information I can and then turning them loose (so to speak) and saying "I trust you". I have seen other parents take risks with their children that I never would take, and, I have seen parents holding so closely to their kids that I wonder how their children will ever learn to trust their own judgement, rather than just listening to their parent's rules and regulations. But when I step back, I know that these are all just individual ways of coping with the fear we all hold in our hearts.