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August 13, 2007

Both of my parents were born in what was then Austria-Hungary, not far from the Danube. I once asked Mother why she always talked about how good their food was "in the Old Country". She said that the soil was rich to begin with, and with the use of natural fertilizers, they never needed to douse their veggies with sauces, for example, because the food could stand on its own taste.

Her father was the village shepherd, and every day as he walked along the village's main road, the animals, mostly cows and goats, left their homes to follow him up onto the mountainside where they spent the day eating the good grasses that Mother Nature provided for them. The part I find enchanting is that when the day was done, he walked back to the village and the animals, walking behind him, simply left the line and went back to their homes!

As a result of their natural ways of treating their animals, she said the products of those animals were delicious and healthful.

Not only that, but when our people lived there, they had plenty for themselves and enough to export. When the Communists took over after the war, from that very same soil they didn't produce enough food to sustain the local population, much less to export

These days, I live in a dairy-industry area, surrounded on all sides by cows eating those good, green, mountain grasses provided by Mother Nature. It's so pleasant and relaxing to drive these rural roads, watching the girls having a nice time eating or sitting in the shade, all the while making good milk.

I once asked a local farmer what happened to his milk -- did he sell it as organic? Oh, no, he said it goes into the great maw (my word) with all the other milks (that is, from cows cooped up in barns, eating the slop they get there (my words). What a waste.

We used to get raw milk from a local farmer (who used horses to plow his land). I never saw him or his family in the barn room where he kept the milk in huge, stainless steel containers -- his customers simply took what they wanted and put the money into a pouch. Talk about a wonderful, simpler time. Honest people and good food.

Thanks for reading these remarks,