View from the Hill
Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 27 November 2012 14:42Though it may not be obvious to the average observer, I am a softie when it comes to animals. I enjoy getting to know them, discovering their personality and relating to them in ways that are meaningful.
The opportunity to know one particular animal, however, will never happen. Call it fate, or just an unfortunate accident, it does not matter. Life—and all the experiences that encompass that word, all the beauty and all the harsh, brutal expressions of nature—happens.
Four kittens from a litter of seven born about four months ago survived a rash of predatory animal attacks, raising hopes of re-establishing a family of felines on our farm. Their mother, a victim of a predatory animal’s hunt, has left them orphans. Not long...
Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 23 October 2012 14:16Time marches on, whether we like it or not. Whether we focus on our personal lives, our health or whatever, we have no choice but to move forward into the future.
As for our health, the eyes grow dim, hair falls out and places form new places with hanging skin—where we never new there were places to begin with. Skin around the eyes begin to droop. Hair grows everywhere except where we want it to grow. Muscles turn into mush, no matter how much effort we make to retain that youthful look.
Then, the really bad stuff happens. Hormonal and chemical imbalances plays havoc with the body and mind. If you think raging hormones as a teen was a nightmare, imagine what it’s like when they disappear, faster than a speeding bullet.
Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:05The following are some random thoughts of my experiences of the past month after attending the Farm Bill Now rally in Washington, D.C.
• Why, does Congress reduce the number of work days in a week from five to no more than two or three, at best? I realize that members need time to travel home and meet constituents and conduct town hall meetings. That’s what a recess is for, which often lasts for weeks at a time.
Imagine the scheduling conflicts arising from such a narrow time frame while actually in our nation’s capitol. There are news conferences, staff meetings, committee meetings, meeting with constituents in their D.C. offices, not to mention actually attending an occasional Congressional session that demands their time and...
Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:17“Congress, get back to work and pass a farm bill now!”
This message communicates the urgency and the need for the House to allow a vote to move their new farm bill forward. In a matter of weeks, farmers across the nation will be seeding their 2013 wheat crop and they are suffering from the worst drought in a half century.
Until now, political bickering and partisanship rarely entered the domain of farm bill negotiations. Until now, Republicans and Democrats were able to set aside their political wrangling and worked together to pass legislation that benefited their rural constituents back home.
Until now, as the nation struggled to address the national debt crisis and debate over how to bring federal spending under control, farm...
Written by Bob Woelk Tuesday, 07 August 2012 15:19Our trip to New York City seems like a lifetime ago, but the Smithsonian Student Travel excursion to the Big Apple my wife Kathy and I sponsored actually took place in June. I reported on the first couple of days in last month’s column. What follows is an account of the final two days.
We departed on the ferry from the New Jersey shore at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, which is like the crack of dawn for New Yorkers.
The Statue of Liberty is something you have to see at least once. But, we found Ellis Island more intriguing. The old buildings feel haunted by historical figures. Like the Metropolitan Museum of Art the day before, there was not enough time to adequately soak in all that this stop had to offer. We could only imagine what the...
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