Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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On the farm: a season for healing

Samantha Tengelitsch - May 24th, 2007
As a child, my family lived across from a cherry orchard that stretched out before our house in all directions. It swallowed the land and touched the horizon. I found endless fascination in watching tractors and workers weaving in and out of rows, moving around the evenly spaced trees dotted with blossoms in the spring and
vibrant red cherries in the heat of summer.
Seated cross-legged between the two towering maples on our front lawn, I felt the sole witness to the magic of what made up a farm. As a young child, the men and women and the machines seemed to appear magically out of the infinite rows. At the end of the day, they would disappear with equal mystery into the depths of the orchard. And to discover for myself, as I eventually, inevitably did, the flavor of a freshly ripe cherry, was something akin to discovering a treasure in my own backyard.
Two years ago, following the death of a young Cherry Queen contestant to an
aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), I began researching the correlation between NHL and agricultural practices in Northern Michigan. I felt enormous inner-conflict when I discovered organophosphates, used commonly in cherry and apple orchards, and organochlorines were linked to several forms of soft tissue cancers. NHL is the leading cancer associated with pesticides, and in a heavily agricultural area, researchers typically see an increased incidence of these forms of cancer.
My own family (I have three young children) so enjoyed picking cherries out at the farm where I once lived. Our memories of this time are priceless. After my research and diagnosis one year later with the very same cancer I had spent the previous year researching, we stopped picking cherries at the conventional farm and instead purchased from an organic farm through the local Oryana cooperative. Still, my love of the farm and farming was very much alive and nothing could substitute the experience of tasting a freshly ripe cherry right off the tree, or the pleasure of being present on the farm. It was with great sorrow we let this experience go.
Earlier this spring, I began working at the Eco Learning Center, a few miles south of Suttons Bay on Bingham Rd. We’ve spent summers working there in the past, but the last two years were such a flurry of activity, we hadn’t so much as visited the farm. About a month ago, Erick, the girls and I walked up the winding road, past the vineyard and discovered something entirely new. The center had taken on a massive project: To grow apples, plums, cherries, apricots, currants and other berries, using the principles of biodynamics.
Rather than plant rows of trees, plantings occur in guilds, or companion groupings, which create an environment of health and well-being for the tree and those who work on the farm. There are still rows, but they are spaced differently than in the conventional orchard. I won’t go into great detail (you can see it for yourself), but I am thrilled to be learning about the principles of biodynamics and permaculture together in such a beautiful, healing and sacred place.
Cancer shook me to the core, but I am grateful for the experience. It truly made me a better person. And now it is time for me to do some healing; both physically and emotionally, getting back to the place I loved most as a child; rediscovering and reclaiming the magic of the orchard.

-- In healing and in wellness, Samantha Tengelitsch & family
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