Where’s the Cheese?

How many of you have read the short, thought provoking book, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D.? Some would make fun of reading a book about mice that can no longer find the cheese, but if you really think about the premise of this book and apply it to the implosion of society, the world economy and the coming scarcity of everything that has always been available at our fingertips, it takes on a whole new meaning. I would highly recommend reading it.

This gardening season has been filled with many challenges. In the spring we had record breaking rain. We would get a few things planted, then they would either get washed away or rot in the ground. We replanted and it would happen again. Well after ‘normal’ gardening season should have began here, many people didn’t have a thing in the ground and it was still too muddy to plant. We got some things in the ground, but they didn’t grow well because it was so wet and cloudy. 

After it finally dried out and the sun and temperatures became more seasonal, guess who came to dinner? It seems every garden pest known to man arrived and in great numbers. While these bugs happily munched away at our garden, we were in full swing completing some projects that had been on the drawing board for a number of years. Then the 105*+ weather socked in here for about three weeks. We watered and watered and watered, and still the garden burned up. Now that the weather has cooled to more seasonable mid 90* temperatures, the next wave of bugs have arrived. And still we water with no rain in sight. 

Our okra crop, that was planted three times, is very small and basically not producing this year. All of the squash has died and the seeds that I have replanted have either not germinated at all or been quickly devoured as soon as they dare peek their leaves up from the soil. Today I picked the first cucumber of the summer and it was a little tough. The green beans are burnt and bug eaten. They try to bloom and produce, but the bugs are having a hey day. The cowpeas are giving it their best shot, but the aphids have arrived and are enjoying their new home. Even though the tomato plants look very sad indeed, they are still the most productive plants we have. The pepper plants are very small, but are producing a small crop in spite of it all.

Much of the soil washed away from these carrots

In the spring when the rains came pouring down in sheets and ran across our fertile soil, it took the soil away in little streams down the gentle incline of our yard. We could only watch from the window as the healthy, fertile soil we had built up for years was carried away. When it was over, the bare untilled ground, much lighter in color, was exposed to the light of day and to our disappointed eyes. This has greatly reduced the fertility and productivity of our garden this year.

Why am I telling you this story? Because even though this has been a very difficult year for growing vegetables in our garden, we still have the opportunity to go to the store and purchase food. We can fill in the gaps that our gardening challenges have left. We can try again next year. So far this year, it doesn’t appear that we will starve without the food that we hoped to harvest over the past two months. So far. 

Many folks around here this year have been having allergy/sinus issues, so I am not alone in that category. In a few weeks we hope to have a solution for this problem, but for now, it is another challenge to planting the fall garden and seeing how much more productivity we can achieve before winter arrives. Another hope on the horizon is the addition of our new greenhouse. I will try to grow many things through the winter this year to see just how many fresh vegetables we are able to produce in the garden and the greenhouse. 

I do contract work online for a local school district and this year we are moving to a brand new program statewide. Many people are griping and complaining and figure they just won’t be able to figure it out. They just can’t do it. It will be too hard. It won’t be like the old program. Why do we have to change? Why? Why? Why? You

know what? Initially, populating all of the data in the new program will take a lot more time than last year. Some of it is still a little confusing at this point and not all of the data I provided was uploaded correctly and completely. This will require more analysis on my part to make sure everything is accurate and up to date as school starts next week. But I have no problem with this change. Why? Because I can easily see that the new program is more efficient and will ease my work load quite a bit. I am more than happy to put in the extra time and effort initially because in the end, I will reap the benefit of less work for the same output I performed a year ago. How can anyone gripe about that? Well, for some folks it appears to be the only way they can cope with change. How unfortunate for them. Change is a part of life, there is no way around that.

The premise of Who Moved My Cheese? deals with the adaptability of people, or in this case mice. Just as in this book, there are those among us that refuse to see the changes that are taking place all around us. They expect their ‘cheese’ to show up in the same place, the same way, at the same time, day after day. There are those that get angry when the cheese doesn’t show up in the same place, the same way, at the same time and have to have some one or some thing to blame for the late or

nonexistent arrival. There are those that will see if their neighbors have any cheese to spare and will beg a few crumbs from their table. There are those that will forcefully take any cheese they can find, because it is their right to have cheese, any cheese they choose, regardless of the rightful owner. There are those that realize that the cheese supply is dwindling down and will soon be gone. They can see the writing on the wall. So before their supply is totally depleted, they go in search of a new supply and greener pastures. If they find an abundance, they go back and tell their neighbors and friends so that they too, will have more cheese and not have to do without. Some will go to the new location and adapt to the changes that are required so that the supply of cheese will be steady. Others will refuse to leave and will sit and wait for the cheese to return. And wait, and wait, and wait, to no avail.

You see we have to be adaptable to manage the circumstances we have been given. Regardless, or sometimes in spite of, the challenges we face in achieving a goal, be it gardening, or weight

loss, or raising pigs, or the collapse of society or the economy, we have to be able to see alternative choices. If we are solely focused on accomplishing a task the same way we have always done it and that is no longer an option, will we accept failure? Will we just give up and say, “Well, I tried, but it just didn’t work.” A time will soon arrive when failure is not an option. Right now we still have that luxury. More and more I think of failure as a luxury. How many of us would have couched the term failure as a luxury five years ago? Not many I would guess.

Sooner rather than later your cheese is going to be moved so far away from it’s normal place that you need the mindset of being determined to find it. Otherwise, what are you going to eat? This short book will provide a mental exercise in preparing your mind for the catastrophic changes that are just around the corner.

Until next time – Fern

14 thoughts on “Where’s the Cheese?

  1. Who Moved My Cheese is an easy read in a simple perspective of how to deal with change. I don't like change, but it happens, and it's going to continue happening in a real big way here soon. Thanks for the comment.Frank

  2. Just Me, I've got a chicken house full of poop, some old bales of hay, a barn that needs cleaning, and that's the beginning of next year's topsoil. It'll all work out. This is what people have dealt with, I guess, forever, and we'll deal with this. Trials like this make us stronger, or a common term used now days, more resilient. Thanks for the thoughts.Frank

  3. Hi, N.C. It sounds as though you're coping well. The smoke can be a problem, especially for folks with respiratory problems. We have friends in Montana and Idaho that are dealing with fires right now, and smoke. This is just what we have right now, and we all have to deal with it. Be careful with the smoke, though. When we lived in Alaska some years there were huge fires, hundreds of miles away, and the smoke was still a serious problem. Hope all works out for you.Frank

  4. Hi, Adrienne, thank you for the recommendation, but I have spent the last few years weaning myself off of unnecessary medications, and one of those pills was an antihistamine. Not in this body. Too many side effects, too many long term difficulties, but thank you again for the recommendation.Our hot weather here, 108*, seems to have broken, and we actually have a rain forecast in a couple of days. It's just hard to beat that free rain falling from the sky. It gives the earth a big drink and it's the only time my car gets a bath, and for that matter, my dog, too. Thank you for reading.Frank

  5. Well, CB, interesting perspective. Not too many years ago people used to have red eyes and runny noses. For some that was just the norm, and that will probably become the norm again. There are some things that might help, like local honey and garlic, sinus wash, natural vitamin C, and I guess mainly just getting used to a little discomfort in life. Back before we took a pill or got a shot for everything people actually experienced a few unpleasant things in life. It's no big deal. People lived like that for thousands of years. Take care. Stock up on tissue.Frank

  6. Hi, Fiona. If we lose reserve currency status, then it's over for the financial markets. Not just in our country, but everywhere. But from a world perspective, it would be a good thing. The dollar has been the reserve currency for about 70 years now, before that it was the British sterling. Our turn is over, and the world has made leaps and bounds in the standard of living on this planet. We'll just wait and see where it goes from here. The IMF does not determine who handles the reserve currency. We'll just have to wait and see. A little financial shake up might be good, because we both know where this is leading. Keep your powder dry. Glad to hear you're getting your soil ready. Take care.Frank

  7. Hi, Bellen. This year was a very unusual year for rain. We had never had our topsoil wash away before. This year it rained and rained, then rained more. It wasn't these nice little spring showers, it was torrential downpours. This is the reason the topsoil washed away.In between crop failures we occasionally buy greens at the supermarket, primarily spinach. I just don't like buying food at the grocery store when I don't know what country they come from, and I don't believe that our government inspects all those fields. And besides that, our government approves the use of poison on food, so what difference does it matter where it came from.We've done well with tomatoes this year, but our peppers are doing and have done terrible. Just one of those years. Hopefully next year will be better. Thank you for your comments.Frank

  8. I was introduced to the book \”Who moved my cheese\” when my middle son was required to read it for his band class! All the kids read it, most of us parents did as well. He still talks about that book having a major impact on his life! It was a good reminder for me as well!

  9. Oh my goodness. It breaks my heart to read about lost topsoil and drought-ravaged gardens. There is no more valuable resource on this earth than good topsoil. To work so hard for years building it, making it better, and then having it wash away….man. That's something to be mourned. Makes me cry to think about it. And the drought in California causing such havoc… I don't know what to say. I'm so sorry to hear of such awful circumstances. Just Me

  10. Gosh didn't think I would have anything to add so soon. Ducks and geese keep the bugs manageable in my garden. Try a separate squash patch just for the bugs. Here in the far reaches of Northern California the drought, heat and smoke from the forest fires have made our garden bleak to say the least. The trees have started to turn two months early. In an attempt to plant a winter garden we have resorted to 20 gallon tubs for carrots, beets, walking onions, garlic, leeks and micro greens. Our 19 goats, two guard burros, one jersey heifer and one steer are being fed a ton of hay a month-not a blade of browse left on our 20 acres. Our area is still considered \”open range\”; our goats are eating the poison oak an under brush on the outside of our property. Our neighbors are pumping water from the creek because their wells have dried up; ours is still working. And we live in the middle of a national forest. My husband an I have found ourselves hunkering down automatically. Keeping close to home trying to keep the momentum up to finish our cow barn extension, winter garden; canning whatever is extra. Praying for all.

  11. Frank – may I suggest Quercetin for your allergies? I did lots of research and it appears to be very helpful for allergies.This is the one I bought: Life Extension Optimized Quercetin Capsules, 60-Count at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0020XW68O?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00Your garden woes are almost exactly like ours were this year, minus the bugs. Heading out to water since it will be 99° today. Hopefully, this is the end of the high heat, no rain cycle.

  12. Since you brought up allergies, what's y'alls plan when TSHTF? All 4 memebers of my family have some form of allergies and certain parts of the year will be miserable when the meds aren't available. Thanks,

  13. I just read an article about changes at the IMF…Christine Lagarde will be making an announcement in October concerning the Chinese Yuan and it climb to favor at the IMF. If the USD looses its favored status as the world currency the Cheese will be Thrown into space! We are going to the farm this week to till the field for the winter garden. Change is upon us and we are taking its challenges and looking ahead! Your ability to deal with the changes in your garden situation show you both will adapt to change with courage and grace!

  14. After last year's miserable crop of tomatoes I said no more. After the previous year's miserable bug ridden crop of lettuce I said no more. But, this year after buying tomatoes just once at the store and lettuce a few times I said no more to those bland, outrageouslyexpensive items.I'm raising mainly Asian greens for salads, trying Lemon cucumbers, some hot weather lettuce (it's still too hot to germinate) and Celebrity tomatoes once again. I can do this and the cost of the seeds, I'll be trying to save my own for next year, amounts to about 2 months of store bought veggies. Yes, my selections are limited due to space, no I can't grow beans to dry due to space constaints, yes, I do grow enough salad greens to have 3-4 cups a day, yes I can do without radishes in the heat of the summer. Weather everywhere has been strange and it's going to show up in the marketplace. Adaptable, you bet your sweet bippy. If you can't be adaptable you won't make it thru the coming events. Since you know heavy rains will wash away your topsoil, lousy thing to happen, is there anyway you can redesign your garden to stop that? I have no clue, except for manmade swales our area is flat so nothing washes away, it just gets squishy.

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