Marsha and humble





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Robert Karl Skoglund
785 River Road
St. George, ME 04860

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This is a rough draft of Rants for your Maine Private Radio show for August 30, 2015.

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The humble Farmer's TV show is now on YouTube. These radio shows are now on iTunes. Google "Robert Karl Skoglund" and they should come up.

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1. The other night three girls from Poland appeared in my front yard. One of the girls asked me how I was doing in Norwegian. I assumed from that that she spoke Norwegian and chattered at her for quite some time. But I think that was about all she could say. In 1960 after I had moved in with my Aunt in Sweden and we had struggled to communicate for a week, not being able to speak the other's language, she said to me, "You know Robert, I can speak perfect English." Of course that was all she could say in English but I assumed that it was true. I have learned to say a few sentences in a dozen or so languages. Now, at 79, I wonder why I never bothered to learn how buy food and extend greetings in a dozen more. Only knowing a few sentences in another person's language goes a long way. Do you remember the most important phrase to say in any language? ďMy friend will pay.Ē

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2. As you well know, peer pressure is responsible for much of the sickness in America today. Kids smoke because their parents or friends smoke. Vain people lie out in the sun because some of their ignorant or malicious friends tell them how "good" they "look" when their skin is brown. Years later they have part of their nose removed (I did) or have skin cancer on other parts of their once magnificent bodies. We have also been told by our friends and corporate America that we must have white teeth because white teeth are pretty. And this is the topic of our discussion today. What do you think? Are white teeth any healthier than grey teeth? Years ago I read something about some natives somewhere --- perhaps it was people who live in the Amazon jungle --- who had discolored teeth because of their diet. Did you know that some of the healthiest people you know have grey teeth because they have stained them from drinking gallons of healthy juices from raw vegetables? Or perhaps they've continually brushed them with some kind of organic toothpaste? Have you noticed that some of your friends who eat nothing but the most healthful organic foods have grey teeth? Have you ever given this any thought? And if you have, why didn't you call my attention to it years ago? If you hadn't noticed this grey teeth phenomenon before, within a week you certainly will. And when you suddenly notice that your friend has grey teeth you will probably think to yourself, "There's a healthy so and so who is going to outlive me by 20 years."

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3. Hereís a letter from Harold in Hope who used to work with me at Paul Devinís Navigator in Rockland. When I asked Harold how he could remember me after 28 years, he said, ďYou used to hang your underwear up to dry in the lobby.Ē Harold says, ďIt came to my attention, via last Thursday's Camden Herald, that a stone wall was stolen from the home of the late columnist, Arley Clark. Early in the summer there were 130 student-raised American chestnut seedlings stolen from Mount View High School. Aside from the sad commentary about contemporary society these examples might bring to mind, let's not forget that a stone wall is quite heavy and that tree seedlings require planting. It may be that the State of Maine is the home of the hardest-working thieves in the country.

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4. The more I read the more I wonder how our country will be viewed by historians 100 years from now. If youíre a public figure you canít even blow your nose but what everyone knows the date you did it and why. My friends send me websites that tell us what is going on. You read them, and from time to time I actually get a chance to look at some of them, too, and what I read is so bizarre I have to laugh. Money runs everything. Everybody knows that. So if you have been on the board in some large company, you are in that pool of people who are tapped for another responsible position in the government. And when you get that responsible position in the government you expect people to conveniently forget that the little so-called rogue nations you now consider dangerous got to be dangerous only because 20 or 30 years ago you and your friends got rich selling them machinery, military supplies or technology. Iím not a sociologist and Iím not a historian so I donít know if this is something new or if people have always been doing it. But do you ever remember hearing that 20 years before the battle of Little Bighorn Custer was selling guns and ammunition to his good buddy Sitting Bull?

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5. Speaking of not being able to blow your nose without everyone knowing about it, that is just what is happening in stores and businesses and homes all across the country. You know that they have cameras that can record your child and the nanny. And for years weíve watched store videos of masked men jumping over counters or dragging off some unfortunate citizen. I saw a state of the art surveillance system the other day that gave me, on one big screen, 16 views of one boarding home that was 100 miles away. You could see the workers pushing medication wagons down the corridors and someone working in a kitchen. There was a camera that recorded you coming in the front door and one that watched you having a smoke by the back door. Now that I think of it, we heard talk a while back about football players and baseball players who now have to think twice before scratching an itch or rearranging anything. And of course the camera on the dash of the police cruiser or even in your car while your teenager is out for a drive is now taken for granted. Seems as there was some stink raised when someone set up a camera in a store window in Camden because burglars could see you on the street and know that you were not at home. You might know that if you litter in some towns, a voice will tell you to go back and pick up your mess. But anyway. Are all these cameras a good thing? I donít know. But I do know that I saw that surveillance system in that nursing home and I do know that the next time one of the employees sneaks off with a frozen turkey, it is their goose that is going to be cooked.

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6. As you might know, Iíve added 8 PV panels to the 22 I already have on the henhouse. We can get along nicely with the 22 we already have. Instead of paying $800 or so for electricity, we only pay $130 a year for electricity because we generate our own electricity with the rays from the sun right here on the farm. But now, with 30 panels, we can save even more by using electric heat and not having to buy heating oil. It took me five weeks to build the rack to hold the 8 new panels because Iím old and slow and also have so many distractions. But now the wooden rack to support the 8 new solar panels is in place. I pulled it up with a come along. I bolted the top to the henhouse and fastened down the bottom. Some of the wood I sawed out myself in 1992 and some of the hardware I got on the town dump. Laurie, a Bed and Breakfast guest, helped me lift the rack up onto the bottom support post. Then Tim Polky and Randy Elwell helped slide it up to within a foot of where it is now. They slid it up a ladder. The panels are all set to be activated. Of course there are last minute snags. One often hits snags. For example, one of the new main support rafters stuck out to a point and hit the old roof rafter in the henhouse. I could have sawed off the new tip easily before I hauled it up there, but doing it by hand while hanging out of a second story henhouse window was a bother. If it hadnít been rotten and dropped off, Iíd probably still be out there chipping away at it.

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7. You have heard me say that I could never afford to have children and at 70 had to learn about grandchildren, starting from scratch. Without even an hour of grampy experience to fall back on, Marsha placed one of her grandchildren under my care for an hour. I was scared. The child Avalane could not talk. What could I do if she wanted something and how would I know what she wanted. But you can well believe that I learned something from this unique experience. The child went into my library and peeled the dust jackets off some Art In America books and ate them. I couldnít believe it. The child ate paper. How, I wondered, could any child cultivate a taste for paper? But then --- I remembered that earlier in the day Iíd seen her mother feed her an artichoke.

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8. Is it chopped or shopped? For years I have labored under the impression that the word was photochopped. It makes sense because you would chop one picture and paste it on another. And when one of my friends used the word photoshopped, I made fun of her because I thought the word was photochopped. I canít spell and because Iím deaf, both words sound about the same to me. Anyway, the other day a lawyer, whose grandmother taught at MIT, and her PhD husband from Harvard set me straight on that because I made a point to ask them. You know this as well as I do: when you have believed something that is not true for years and years, it takes an awful lot of authority to change your mind.

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Robert Karl Skoglund
785 River Road
St. George, ME 04860
(207) 226-7442
thehumblefarmer@gmail.com
www.TheHumbleFarmer.com

© 2015 Robert Karl Skoglund