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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Orange Picking Season

Don't these lemons look just like oranges. I have no pictures of oranges.

I do love this time of year in Valencia, especially as we live within a forest of orange trees. We have had a period of rain that has brought the orange trees into full bloom, and the whole countryside looks just delicious. I'm sure you have heard of Valencian oranges, everyone on the planet has, and they have also heard about our competitor, Seville oranges.

First we are enchanted by orange blossom time in March/April when the smell is the best perfume there is, and that is followed by a whole lot of work on the part of the farmers for several months. The farmers really don't mind if you pick one or two while out walking, but if you go with shopping bags then they can rely on an ancient law that will suport them should they decide to shoot you. When taking into account the painstaking work to bring their orchards to market, I wouldn't blame them.

Anyway, I went orange picking today to assist the owners. It is hard work, made the more difficult by the fact that I had injured my shoulder on Friday. However, it is wonderful to be surrounded by all these gold coloured, well, orange coloured things that are there for the taking. Even our own trees are loaded this year. Last year was a bad year for a harvest, but this year could not be more perfect. Unfortunately, for the farmers that translates into lower prices at market because everybody has such a bumper crop.

I hope I don't see a repeat of the year when farmers brought their truck fulls of oranges back from the market and dumped them in the fields and sprayed them with poison because prices offered were so low.

When I came to Spain in 1999 I mentioned to my friends, the orange tree owners, without knowing that they had fields, that I was looking forward to trying my hand at picking. So, they took me to their fields with what appeared to be about five thousand trees, and said, "so, pick!"

My custom had always been to eat one orange a week, but here, during the season, dessert is always fruit, including mandarins, and every other type of this fruit. We stuff ourselves to the point that no-one should be vitamin C deficient.

This may not be the official definition of Heaven, but it is very close to the ideal thing.

See you out in the orange fields!

Copyright (c) 2011 Eugene Carmichae

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Fly!

Nature's First and most efficient Drone

It happens every time I sit down to write up a blog. The Fly appears first in a pass over head; then it buzzes around my head, followed by a touch down on my bald spot. Then it goes into its "really piss him off" mode by landing on my hands, my ears, and anything else to get my attention.

I have tried opening the window in the hope that it will just leave. That results in more flies coming in. No, it is not the same fly every time. I don't have a friendly fly as I did have a friendly Bee. I know this for a fact because before I can concentrate and begin to write I have to kill the fly(s).

You may be like me in that we wonder what other use are flies except to aggravate humans. They are such pests and are the most invasive of all of Nature's creepy crawlies. They land on your food, in your drink, and when they are thirsty they will go for the moisture in your eyes and your mouth. I was going to mention those pictures from Africa and the children, but enough said.

Mother Nature is not really inclined to place on Earth species that have only nuisance value. Everything has its place and its purpose. The fly is the one who starts the clean up once anything living drops dead. The fly will land on the dead creature and plant the eggs from which come the maggots that set the decomposition process in motion. So, what the fly is doing when it touches living matter is testing to determine if we are dead or alive. If we swat at it, you would think that would be evidence of proof of life, but no, they have to test and test and test again. I wonder whether flies are like scientists?

Those flies that bug me and keep me from my blogs all have the same final last word. The word is: "Oh shit!"

Copyright (c) 2011 Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm Back!

We need these to navigate our life

Last week I signed on to write my blog, but I was met with a notice that advised me that my blogs had been eliminated. If there were eyes on the other side of my screen they may have had a conversation that went something like this: "It's been a half hour. Is he still staring at our notice."

When something like this happens the mind finds it impossible to take it in. This can't be happening is all that goes through your mind. I surely haven't lost years of blogs in one flash. Evidently my blogs were not eliminated, but simply blocked. The only suggestion I have is that of technology working against itself. Fortunately, my friends at GoogleTeam got it sorted very quickly, and I heaved a great sigh of relief.

Modern technology is both wonderful and hell at the same time. It is wonderful because of all the amazing things that we can do, but it is hellish because we become dependent. When I was working there would be times when the office computer system would crash, and that left 160 people wandering around asking, "Now what?"

It's no good saying find something else to do, because we have all forgotten what that something else is, and everything that we need to do is on the computer. Recently the Blackberry system went down, and users around the world were left in stunned shock, walking around with their Blackberries in hand, but quite speechless. There was even one man who admitted that he got lost on the way to work because he could not rely on the GPS in his phone. I can only hope that he works in a different location every day.

At the age of 72, I have lived through the inception of the computer. It was even suggested to me that I buy as many shares of IBM when the company was in its infancy. I didn't do that, but that's another story. Now, I own a simple mobile phone that has about 90% more capability than I am aware of, but we are into the age of Steve Jobs iPhone, iPad, Smart phones everywhere. This generation of technology was recently described very enthusiasticlly to me, and it seemed to me that the man was speaking in double Dutch. I got tired of just saying Wow!

So, I have my blog site back and I am very grateful for that. Life goes on around me but I can be myself in my own quiet corner. There is just one thing that really disturbs me, and it is this: For us elderly people it is expected that one of the first things to go is our memories. However, with users ID and passwords to remember and protect we are not being allowed to grow old gracefully. I don't dare let my guard down, and so I don't.

Ain't it wonderful!

Copyright (c) 2011 Eugene Carmichael