Saturday, September 17, 2016

Peaches & the Doctrine of Discovery

One of the sorrows of life at the moment is that fresh peach season is winding down, although I did score these beauties --- from Colorado --- at Hy-Vee yesterday evening.

The slings and arrows of buying fresh peaches are so many that I usually buy only three at a time, and then --- if the force has been with me --- go back immediately and buy a few more from the same source. 

It's been a pretty good peach year, personally, something I attribute to sticking to Colorado-, Illinois- and Missouri-grown peaches. I've given up on California unless there's no alternative.

The definition of a "good" peach begins with the flavor and level of firm-fleshed juicyness. The skin should lift off --- it should not be necessary to cut into the flesh with a knife. And the best place to eat is standing over the kitchen sink so that the excess juice has a place to go and you can wash your hands and face immediately. People who live alone have this luxury.

When buying, if you pick up a peach and it handles like a baseball, put it (gently) back and go buy an apple. If on the other hand, it looks right and feels right --- the flesh should give slightly, but don't squeeze; a gentle touch at stem end should suffice --- there's a fairly good chance it'll be ok.

This process is not fool-proof. I bought a couple of white-fleshed peaches the other day that looked right and felt right, but when I got them home the skin stuck tighter than a tick on Skippy's backside and the flesh was dark brown. Instant compost.

Good luck.


There's been a good deal in the news lately about the Dakota Access Pipeline now making its way across the Dakotas and Iowa into Illinois, utilizing eminent domain in many instances to obtain the right to cross, in Iowa and Illinois especially, farm land. 

Major protests have occurred recently in North Dakota, near the Standing Rock Reservation, where members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sought an injunction --- routinely denied --- to halt construction across public land adjacent to its reservation in order to cross the Missouri River, now dammed to form Lake Oahe. The tribe was not consulted about the route, which passes very near the reservation, and also is concerned about threats the line may present to water and the fact the route cuts through historic burial grounds and other sacred areas. Governmental agencies recently suspended construction in the area despite court rulings.

Here's an interesting piece just published at Native News Online, written from a native perspective by Mark Charles, whose work I follow. Charles, among other things, provides a good primer on the so-called Doctrine of Discovery, an essentially racist principle that still governs our relationships with native people.

And here's a map (via Energy Transfer) of the route, for the benefit of those of us who have not been paying sufficient attention to the project.

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