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Friday, August 13, 2010

Peaches Aplenty

It's peach season again. Our trees are bearing plenty of fruit, and we have peaches with every meal. So much so, that I have taken to not always offering Bow a peach, because he has become blasé, and is not finishing every one. Plenty and wastefulness go hand in hand, and this reminded me of an old hub that I published on the subject two years ago during peach season: More Than We Can Possibly Eat.

In nature, when things seem to go to waste, they don't really go to waste. If the mammals and birds don't eat the fruit when it is ripe, then the the worms and the ants will finish off the job. And whatever else is not consumed will be absorbed in the ground and help to fertilize next year's crop. Sometimes we have good years and sometimes not so good. The year after I wrote that hub was a bad year. The blossoms were killed by a late frost. Because we don't depend on our peaches for sustenance, we can treat the good years as a bonus, and we can afford to be very philosophical about the bad years. If more people looked at having a job the way we do our peach supply, then fewer people would be so hard hit by fluctuations in the job market.

The other side of the coin is, the peaches really cost us nothing. I didn't plant the trees, I didn't fertilize them, I didn't water them, and I did not spray them with insecticide. I don't need a return on my investment, because there is no investment. All I did was buy the property, because I needed a place to live.

However, keep in mind that it also takes time to pick the fruit. If I am very busy doing other things, I have less time to pick fruit. A part time job or too great a pre-occupation with my online writing, for instance, could keep from getting out and picking the fruit that is ours by right. This is an example of how too much employment and not enough free time might actually lead to failure to consume available resources.

The more fruit I pick from my own trees, the less fruit I buy at Wal*Mart. If I had a full time job, I would not have time to pick fruit, and the economy would gain from all this buying and selling, but Bow and Sword and I would lose. When they talk about unemployment as a waste of human resources, they forget about the peach factor.

Would it be a good investment in the future for me to plant more peach trees? Not really, because I can't harvest anymore myself, and paying someone else to do so would in all likelihood destroy the benefit of having the extra fruit.

I want to have fruit trees lining the farther shores of Bow's island someday, but he and his family can't be trusted to harvest the fruit without damaging the trees. If only there were some way to use the force of gravity to deliver the ripe fruit to Bow and his kin without any harvesters, then we could have a self-sustaining economy! Maybe we should plant trees on little hillocks, and arrange funnels in the air above the island? Seems a little  tricky. It will take more thought!

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