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Friday, October 30, 2009

THE MISSIONARY POSITION

Maybe this is one of those evenings when I should skip blogging. I just got back from the Deer Head Inn down the road a mile from my house in Delaware Water Gap. http://www.deerheadinn.com (click for their web page.) The Deer Head has been a jazz club for going on 60 years. It’s a kooky shaped room but it works. I played several gigs there with the Radio Aces, back in my ukulele broadcaster daze. Tonight JJ Deluxe called me around 8:30 – just as I was settling down to write a serious blog entry – and said I had to come hear this vocalist. Her name is Stephanie Nakasian. She was very good, with excellent control and a real jazzy delivery.

Today was a gardening day. I got the final patch of ginseng planted in my woods; then in the kitchen garden the garlic went into the ground. It’s very late for me to be getting the garlic into the ground. Tradition has it being planted around Columbus Day. I noticed the beets and carrots needed a final thinning. For dinner I wrapped some goat cheddar from a farm about 65 miles southwest of here, wrapped in young chard and escarole leaves from the garden, along with some fresh bread. I picked up the cheese last week at the Allentown Farmers market.

Usually the planting of the garlic is the sign for me to start heading into the city more and more. I’ve been missing the city but hunkering down here and doing some more writing seemed essential. Now it’s time for me to start getting out more. Which I guess is why it was so easy for Deluxe to coax me out.

I was reading on Salon today about what a comer ginseng is as a crop. The Chinese are pouring all sorts of millions into ginseng farming in Wisconsin. What really interested me though was the account by the Jesuit whose observations set off the ginseng craze in North America, which eventually led to the extraction of all wild ginseng. I’ve always said that before getting into drying I want to try the fresh root. This priest made it sound like the fresh root had properties akin to coca leaves. Anyway, the upshot of it all is that woods grown ginseng is still the most sought after in the world, and in 4 more years I’m going to start having ample mature roots every year. Did ever I mention that ginseng is my 401K?

Here's the Salon link:
http://www.salon.com/technology/how_the_world_works/2009/10/30/the_globalization_of_ginseng


The Ginseng Jesuit led me to thinking about Ignatz Pfeffercorn, the Jesuit who combed the Southwest region of North America in search of varieties of hot chile peppers. I guess all that missionary work did have some value.

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