Author: LindaLee

Morning Feature: Rural America, Part 2 – Farming

To understand rural Americans, you have to understand their connection to the land. And it starts with farming. (More) Yesterday I introduced some differences in urban and rural American attitudes. Today I’ll focus on farming. Last week as I was taking pictures of the road signs several people stopped and got out of their trucks to offer help if needed and to tell me not to drive on a dirt road when it was 50 degrees and snow was melting. It is slippery, and unless you’re a teenager practicing off road driving, it’s not a good idea. I grew up in the suburbs. My aunt and uncle lived on a farm in rural Nebraska which one of my cousins farms today. It is a century farm, having been in the family for over 100 years. It was where my family went on vacations. I am not the product of rural America but a frequent enough visitor to have gained a bit of a feel for the rural lifestyle and values. When speaking with urban Freds remember that some of them have rural roots so this discussion isn’t designed to have you put on a pair of Carharts and a John Deere cap and head for the hills. I think the land is the first point of connection between our progressive values and rural America. There are progressives in rural...

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Morning Feature: Rural America Part 1: The Pavement Ends

To borrow a line from John Edwards, “There are two Americas.” There is a rural America and an urban America. (More) Today we’ll look at rural America and tomorrow we’ll focus more on farming as a big subset of rural America. Most of those in rural America are convinced they have the best of the good life and equally convinced that too much of our national dialog focuses on urban needs. America is roughly 80% urban and 20% rural. Some definitions of rural are listed below. For me, the roads signs are a very good indicator. Interstate ends is followed by divided highway ends. That is followed by pavement ends and you are really away from a city when the sign says gravel ends. Let’s start with some definitions and history: The US census defines urban in terms of population density as Urban Area (1,000 people/square mile) Urban Cluster (500 people/square mile) and rural as everything else. For my urban friends there are 640 acres per square mile. According to the U.S. Census: In 1950  Urban  64.2 % Rural 35.8%   More than 1/3 of these Freds grew up rural In 1975  Urban  73.7%  Rural 26.3%   More than ¼ of these Freds grew up rural In 2010  Urban  82.3%  Rural 17.7% In 2050  Urban  90.4%  Rural 9.6% (forecast) I should point out that the definitions seem to vary from site to...

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Midday Matinee – Your intentions?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. What we pay attention to matters. We can focus on all the things that are wrong or we can focus on making the world a better place for all of us. We can do something small every day. If we are focused on the world going to hell in a hand basket, we will find much to reinforce our beliefs. On the other hand… Some time ago Anne Herbert wrote of practicing “random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” That option is available to each of us every day. Twenty-five years ago one of my son’s friends had a mom who was also a single mother with two boys. Mother’s day was a couple of days away. I was doing very well and the other Mom was barely making it. I enlisted her two boys in preparing a mother’s day dinner surprise. We spent a day going to the grocery store and then preparing a meal for the three of them, which was secretly delivered on Sunday morning so they could surprise her. Her boys did most of the “work” and were really excited to be able to do something special for their mom. They knew what she liked and they were great little chefs. For me it was lots...

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Midday Matinee – Passwords

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. The computer security experts give us the rules for creating unbreakable passwords. They suggest random characters of letters and numbers and tell us to change them often and not to write them down. I have been listening, you see, but I can’t seem to get with the program. When I worked in corporate America, we had to change our passwords monthly. Our CIO suggested that I use flower names since I loved to garden. He came in to my office one day and found me reading a gardening book. “Working hard?” he asked. “Yes I am as a matter of fact,” I replied. “I am trying to figure out which flower is my password. I can’t remember which one I chose last and you guys told me not to write it down. And, by the way, don’t even think of laughing at my feeble attempt to follow your rules.” He laughed at me anyway but he did bail me out. The experts also tell us not to use birthdays, social security numbers, street addresses or anything that a hacker could easily find out. Those are of course the easiest things for me to remember. I still have a pretty good memory but I totaled up the number of possible...

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Midday Matinee – February and Friends

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. February is a tough time of year for those of us in the northern climes. It seems as if winter will last forever and the sun is but a distant memory. February requires toughness to survive. By the time it is March, we know we can make it. I had a very good friend living with my family. She came to spend the weekend while contemplating a divorce. She stayed for a year. Everyone should be so lucky to have a friend like her. She sat me down about this time in January for a heart-to-heart. She asked if I had a plan for surviving February that did not involve somehow changing my hair. “What do you mean?” I said. (I have fairly curly hair, which was then naturally dark brown.) “Well,” she said, “I’ve noticed a pattern in your life. Every February you make a really bad hair decision.” She itemized them for me: There was the time I used the henna that didn’t wash out as advertised and that was not even close to auburn. Think orange. There was the time I had bangs cut by someone who didn’t realize that curly hair shrank as it dried giving me a Mamie Eisenhower look. And the time I...

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