Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Getting Unplugged and Back in the Child's Realm

The Kaiser Family Foundation  reports that American children's use of iPods and MP3 players and other electronic media has increased more than an hour in the last five years. Today a child will spend over 7 hours plugged-in.  (Children's Media Use, By Platform - Kaiser Slides) Solution? Connect back to nature as Bailey confesses in this poem, where even the grand Dean of Cornell was snubbed by a child enthralled in their timeless world.


A little child sat on the sloping strand
Gazing at the flow and the free,
Thrusting its feet into the golden sand,
Playing with the waves and the sea.

I snatched a weed that was tossed on the flood
And unravelled its tangled skeins;
And I traced the course of the fertile blood
That lay deep in its meshed veins;

I told how the stars are garnered in space,
How the moon on its course is rolled;
How the earth is hung in its ceaseless place
As it whirls in its orbit old.
The little child paused with its busy hands
And gazed for a moment at me,
Then it dropped again to its golden sands
And played with the waves and the sea.

L.H. Bailey, Wind and Weather

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quotable Bailey

"Sad would be the day were there no objects higher than man." L.H. Bailey
(This inscription by Bailey found in the frontpiece endpage of his 1927 Background Book, Harvest: Of the Year to the Tiller of the Soil, dated January 13th, 1928) 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's Slow Good!

Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. To do that, Slow Food brings together pleasure and responsibility, and makes them inseparable. Check them out.

"Hamburg steak often contains sodium sulphite; bologna sausage and similar meats until recently usually contained a large percentage of added cereal. "Pancake flour" often contains little if any buckwheat; wheat flour is bleached with nitric oxide to improve its appearance. Fancy French peas are colored with sulphate of copper. Bottled ketchup usually contains benzoate of soda as a preservative. Japanese tea is colored with cyanide of potassium and iron. Prepared mustard usually contains a large quantity of added starch and is colored with tumeric. Ground coffee has recently been adulterated with roasted peas. So-called nonalcoholic bottled beverages often contain alcohol or a habit-forming drug and are usually colored with aniline. Candy is commonly colored with aniline dye and often coated with paraffine to prevent evaporation. Cheap candies contain such substances as glue and soapstone. The higher-priced kinds of molasses usually contain sulphites. Flavoring extracts seldom are made from pure products and usually are artificially colored. Jams are made of apple jelly with the addition of coloring matter and also of seeds to imitate berries from which they are supposed to be made; the cheap apple jelly is itself often imitated by a mixture of glucose, starch, aniline dye, and flavoring. Lard nearly always contains added tallow. Bakeries in large cities have used decomposed products, as decayed eggs. Cheap ice-cream is often made of gelatin, glue, and starch. Cottonseed-oil is sold for olive-oil. The poison saccharine is often used in place of sugar in prepared sweetened products.
   The attentive reader of the public prints in the recent years can greatly extend this humiliating recital if he choose. It is our habit to attach all the blame to the adulterators, and it is difficult to excuse them; but we usually find that there are contributory causes and certainly there must be reasons. Has our daily fare been honest?" Liberty Hyde Bailey, The Holy Earth

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Herald-Mail Article: Gardening, Bailey & Children

Dorry Norris's article supplies a well crafted thumbnail sketch of Bailey, his connection to gardening and how we can reconnect.

Lifestyle: Growing gardeners, by Dorry Norris
These days, gardening programs for kids are growing in popularity. Everyone, from The Herb Society of America to the National Gardening Association to local garden clubs, is creating strategies aimed at introducing children to the joys of nature through gardening...None of this emphasis would come as a surprise to Liberty Hyde Bailey, but the money expended might shock him.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

For Feb 12 - Charles Darwin Day (1809-1882)

I have seen great surprise expressed in horticultural works at the wonderful skill of gardeners in having produced such splendid results from such poor materials; but the art has been simple, and, as far as the final result is concerned, has been followed almost unconsciously. It has consisted in always cultivating the best known variety, sowing its seeds, and, when a slightly better variety chanced to appear, selecting it, and so onwards. -Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

The story goes that around 1870, a young Liberty Hyde Bailey found a used copy of Darwin's The Origin of Species in a South Haven library. Bailey's father, a Quaker from Vermont, took the book and informed Master Bailey that he needed to approve of its contents first. After a week, Bailey Sr. laid the book in young Liberty's hands explaining, "I don't understand a lick of it but he sounds like an honest man so go ahead and read it." Origin listed important scientists such as Asa Gray and Alfred Russel Wallace.  Later in his career, Bailey would study under Gray at Harvard. Bailey would tour Wallce at Michigan Agricultural School (now MSU).  The book continued to inform Bailey throughout his career.