Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Don't Tread on Me : Signs of the Times

I have already posted a bit about roofers and cultural confusion over at "Season" (Topped).

I mention it here because I was out enjoying the much cooler morning temperatures this morning and musing over how conflicted I am in my reactions to the light rain that has been falling.

The gardener in me in was hopping up and down with joy. We need the rain, badly, and I have all sorts of teensy tiny plants poking up their delicate green heads in my garden beds out back. If it will rain and stay overcast a bit, that will help my seedlings get better established before the more normal hotter temperatures return next week.

The cook in me was similarly hopping. Cooler weather means a chance to plan and prepare the types of dishes I personally enjoy the most. Those chop things up-slow cook them most of the day kinds of dishes that first fill the house with tantalizing aromas and then fill the family with a hot delicious hearty meal once dinner time finally arrives.

The home owner in me, aside from noting a need to clean up coffee spilled as a result of some imprudent hopping, was not so thrilled.

If it stays rainy, the roofers won't work today. That adds yet another day on to our already week long experiment in living in the midst of a construction zone.We are firm believers around here in the "ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" adage. Every evening for the duration, my husband and I will go out "sharp gathering", picking up all sorts of dangerous debris that is a by-product of the roofing process. We are hopeful to prevent a punctured foot or tire or weed-whacker hurled shrapnel incident by so doing.

I was keeping track of how many different types of nails, screws, and other potentially puncture causing materials there were in the mix. I stopped counting at five and was simply grateful we don't currently have pets or small children in this house.Along similar lines, I made a sign to try and encourage the roofers not to step on my plants. This was after spotting a foot print, right next to the sidewalk and path, in the bed where I have a mixture of arugula and mizuna getting started. (I refuse to take the time to photoshop in the outline of the footprint - if you can't see the heel mark then never mind. Trust me, it's there.)I am almost sure the sign I made is alerting them to Please Keep Off the Plants. Or maybe it is really saying that it is prohibited to floor the marijuana.My Spanish sucks when it comes to useful phrases. Hopefully, whatever the sign says it will draw their attention to the idea that somebody is trying to say something about the plants so maybe it is best to leave them alone, stomping around wise. And no, I cannot just put out a sign in English stating "Please Keep Off the Plants" because it is abundantly clear that aside from the foreman who is only here sporadically, the roofing crew at our house are not fluent in English.

More than griping about everything, I want to point out how the cultural collision here at my house is reflective of the disconnect I experience at large with some of the political hooraw over closing our borders and supposedly protecting "American" jobs.

As is attributed to Pericles, centuries ago, "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.". I will have to carefully consider how I vote in a few weeks, because who it is that next takes residence in DC will have a lot to say about immigration policies and how we treat our shared borders.

If we are not very aware of the real consequences of immigration policies relying upon scare tactics, walled borders, and knee-jerk faux patriotism, we are liable to threaten the ability of several industries to survive.

If we were to get really strict about who comes into this country to work? Based on our experiences over the past few years I'd hazard a guess that without immigrant labor the construction industry, including the roofing companies, would collapse. Most of the landscaping firms, swimming pool construction and maintenance groups, would disappear. The cleaning crews for most commercial buildings, including hotels, would be nonexistent. I can only guess how many families would lose their nannies.

More centrally to the purpose of this particular blog, without immigrant laborers, nearly all the commercial crops in this area would not get harvested, and pretty much every commercial kitchen in Austin would have to close their doors, if they could find anybody left to close them.
I like to cook. Acknowledged or not, I personally rely upon the willingness of folks from beyond our borders to come and work seasonally to harvest certain crops. I also like to eat out. I personally rely upon the willingness of folks from beyond our borders to come and work in kitchens to help prepare the food I'll enjoy.

I love my son. My son is a chef. No crops or kitchen crews, no restaurants. No restaurants, no career.

And that's not just politics. That's personal.

1 comment:

Flapjacks said...


i have a suggestion for your sharp stuff gathering. you can buy magnets that can be tied to rope and walked around at most hardware stores. very useful for construction sites. less bending.