Filed under: Humor, One-Tank Trips, Preparation & Readiness
SUMMER TOMATOES AND GASOLINE
Knowing we were going to be here during the summer months of July and August, I once again got out the old ’55 Ferguson tractor and rototiller to prepare a planting bed for tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and beans.
We generally transplant our tomato plants outdoors sometime after the middle of April when the chance of frost is minimal. If the weather is good, we can expect succulent, vine ripened tomatoes beginning in late June.
When the crop comes in, we have tomatoes running out the kazoo. There are so many tomatoes we become wasteful, cutting sandwich size slices out of the center of the ripe fruit and throwing away the rest. We give tomatoes to all our children, neighbors and friends that have none – they often refuse our ruby red gifts since other friends are doing the same, getting rid of their excess tomatoes.
Deformed or spotted fruits are picked and thrown onto a compost pile. Nancy cans some, makes tomato juice and I often end up tossing basketfuls away that go uneaten and unwanted.
All of this is wasteful. Why, you may ask? Because there is such an abundance of the fruit that we lose appreciation for what it is, where it comes from and how long the supply will last.
Then, we wake up one morning to find Jack Frost has turned the morning dew into a landscape of crystalline white ice that sparkles in the morning sun. The tomato vines are withered, dead, the fruits spotted, and soft – it is all over. Now we return to the tasteless, gas ripened and overpriced fruits from Mexico and beyond while yearning for just one more of those summer tomatoes.
I grew up in an era when gas and oil were abundant and cheap. Like the summer tomatoes, we wasted these resources by dumping it into tanks that pumped the fluids to big, heavy, gas thirsty engines. Driving or cruising was our birthright – or so we thought. We never imagined there would be an interruption or even an end to the supply of gasoline.
Then, I awoke one October morning in 1973 to find that not only were the tomatoes gone, but the supply and price of gasoline had drastically changed. I waited in long lines at the pump for a ration of gas, paying unheard of prices for a gallon of the gold fluid.
Like tomatoes, we have endured multiple winters and abundant summers where gasoline and oil have taken frequent dips and dives only to return in seeming abundance – but always at a higher price. But now, we are hearing more voices that are crying that we, as a world, have reached “peak oil”, or the point where supplies of the million years old fossil fuels are going down while the population that depends upon this fuel is constantly rising. There is no doubt in my mind that the wolf is really just outside the door – major changes in our fuel-foolish lifestyles are fast approaching.
Higher fuel economy vehicles are now the mandate. RV manufacturers are paying closer attention to lighter vehicles with less wind resistance. Downsizing is no longer an unfamiliar word and “efficiency” has become the campaign slogan of the auto industry.
I often think that if long-term climate change and peak oil are really here and sea levels continue to rise while daily commutes become too costly for our suburban population that perhaps our RV will become an even wiser investment – even if we must dock it somewhere for longer periods of time. Its size requires much less energy than a conventional brick and mortar home. In fact, I can run the generator all day to power air-conditioning on less fuel than my son uses just to drive from his home to work. With our RV we do not have to own real estate. If sea level rises, we simply hook up and move to higher ground. If our location becomes too hot, cold, dry or stormy – we can quickly and easily relocate to a more hospitable climate.
Yep, I think owning an RV will prove to be a necessity rather than a luxury. Of course, getting the fuel to move from one place to another may eventually become a problem – a problem than my children and grandchildren will ultimately have to deal with more than we will.
Oh – one more thing……. The opinions and analogies expressed here are strictly my own and not those of Woodall’s or Good Sam Enterprises. Their only purpose is to entertain or provoke thought. Some may think I am just an old man losing my senses and rattling off at the mouth. Perhaps I am exactly that. In any event, I am truly sorry for the mess my generation is leaving for younger folks to deal with and try to clean up. We just didn’t know – we thought the summer tomatoes would last forever.
HAPPY CAMPING TRAILS TO ALL!
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