Archive for October, 2009

Good Fences

Houdini © Jim Korpi

It was a fellow New Englander Robert Frost who once talked of the importance of good fences.
“Good fences make good neighbors.”
Now I understand.
My neighbor’s dog escapes the fenced in area alloted him in their backyard. Our chickens have been known to stray from our yard as well. But the two have cohabited the adjacent plots for two years now. That was until a few days ago.
I came home to find one of our chickens in our front yard. She never wanders far from the two others, but they weren’t to be seen. They were all supposed to be locked up in the “chicken tractor” in the backyard. So I carried the one, Burr, to the back and noticed a trail of feathers leading to their home. Then I noticed the cage had been torn apart by something of good size and strength. This wasn’t a sneak attack but an all out brutal assault. Evidence was in the claw marks on the ripped apart roof, a hole torn from the roof’s wooden structure and a giant disassebly of the chicken wire covering the side of the cage. This all happened in the hour it took Annah and I to go get a lunchtime coffee at a local cafe.
Chickens often meet their maker in the wee-hours of night when critters come-a-crawlin’, so it didn’t cross my mind that a raccoon or coyote had done the deed. I had assumed a local dog had strayed from its property.
Then I saw my neighbor’s dog sniffing the sidewalk out front. I knocked on their door and explained the crime scene in my backyard and that I couldn’t help but see some sort of relationship between that and their roaming dog. She explained that her dog wouldn’t do something like that but said that she would keep an eye open for my chickens. Five minutes later she was knocking at my door.
“I found her,” she said. “I found the red one. My dog was bringin’ her in her penned in area. I’m really sorry. I feel really bad. Can I replace them?”
She carried my battered chicken to my backyard and set it there amongst the fallen leaves for me to see. She said she never found our black-feathered chicken, Abe.

Making a Difference

Make a Difference Ohio © Jim Korpi

Not to long ago it was brought to my attention that the AmeriCorps group I’m signed up with is most likely a front for Obama’s secret army or “national security force.” This is according to FOX news and Glenn Beck.
After spending my Saturday afternoon with my comrades in an impoverished part of Ohio building raised beds for a community garden, I smiled at the thought that some deranged talk show host had compared Obama and his AmeriCorps army to Hitler and Saddam Hussein. This is ridiculously comical.
Make a Difference Day Ohio was the occasion. According to Michael Pollan, growing your own food is one of the most powerful ways an individual can actually make a difference in the world.
If anyone is questioning the efficacy of the AmeriCorps program started by Preseident Bill Clinton, first ask yourself whether idealism is a quality that should be nourished in our youth. The young adults who have signed up for a year of poorly paid service to their communities are some of the most idealistic and altruistic people I have been around. The youth of this country need to be given the support and outlets for their idealism to flourish. What is the alternative?
The above photograph is of my comrades Jess Kauffman and Roger Anderson at Make A Difference Day in Glouster, Ohio. Jess is an amazing singer, song writer, musician in the band Duke Junior & The Smokey Boots and Roger is a talented and curious gentleman who speaks French and is learning Arabic. Obama’s army is a talented bunch.

Native Debt

Native Debt © Jim Korpi

Our system is to live in perpetual peace with the Indians, to cultivate an affectionate attachment for them by everything just and liberal which we can do for them within the bounds of reason and by giving them effectual protection against the wrongs from our own people. When they withdraw themselves to the culture of a small piece of land, they will perceive how useless to them are the extensive forests and will be willing to pare them off in exchange for necessaries for their farms and families. To promote this, we shall push our trading houses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them in debt, because we observe when these debts go beyond what the individual can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands. But should any tribe refuse the proffered hand and take up the hatchet, it will be driven across the Mississippi and the whole of its lands confiscated.

President Thomas Jefferson

Exerpt from a letter written to
Indiana Territory governor
William Henry Harrison (9th President)

– This above quote was found in the introduction to the book That Dark and Bloody River by Allan W. Eckert

Waste Not, Want Not

Tomatoes © Jim Korpi

“In Mexico we eat them,” a migrant worker explained as he made his way down the rows of tomatoes and knocked those on the ground with small blemishes and what I would call tomato stretch marks. “In the US you throw them away.”
I was there to make photographs and not fill my trunk, so it took everything in me to keep from walking behind him and picking up what we “throw away.”
Having had a number of my plants get hit by blight this year, and my Mom saying she lost all but three tomatoes in her giant garden, I nearly passed out with frustration at the site of so many plump, edible tomatoes.
I photographed Jamaicans picking summer squash in New Hampshire and the same policy at the farm was in place, if it had a blemish leave it to rot in the field. When I asked the farmer if he could donate it to a local soup kitchen he said the cost of getting the squash there is too high.
“Waste not, want not,” was something my parents used to say. Do people say this any more?