Monday, March 29, 2010

regurgitated thoughts

I don't seem to have any thoughts of my own today, so I'm going to share some interesting things I've read recently.

I'm currently reading an older book by Micheal Pollan. Right now I'm reading about weeds. Did you know that most of the weeds that we battle with in our gardens were actually imported with early settlers from Europe? That is right, everything from the dandelion to the tumbleweed has European roots and would not be here had we not brought it with us.

Another interesting note that Pollan made was that weeds don't grow unless we mess with the soil and try to grow something besides what is already there. Forest is forest and never seems to be in danger of being over taken by any once species. But take out the forest and plant a lawn and you will spend the rest of your life battling to keep dandelions and winter creeper from taking over every inch of land that you own.

Another story... this one I found a lot of humor in, and it's a story we all know. It's the story of Johnny apple-seed. As the story goes, Johnny Apple-seed traveled around the US, planting seeds to grow apple trees and every time you find a random apple tree you can thank Johnny for planting it a long time ago so that you can enjoy that apple.

Here's the problem: Apple trees grown from seeds don't produce good apples. If you have an apple tree that produces apples that you like and you want another tree, you have to graft the branches and 'make' another tree. If you take the seeds from the good apple and plant it, the chromosomes have mixed and the fruit from that seed will almost always be bad tasting and drastically inferior to the previous apple.

So our hero, Johnny, moved around the country planting apple seeds that would produce bad tasting apples. A bad tasting apple isn't as bad as no apple at all, so I suppose Johnny was doing good by planting the seeds. Actually, many people took good advantage of those apples. While the apples weren't especially good for eating, you can use the apples to make into alcoholic beverages. So Johnny's apples were put to especially good use during times of prohibition. I recently heard that story and it completely changed the way I looked at Johnny Apple-seed.

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