August 4, 2009

Sum Yum New To Try

Well, Noxers, if you haven't heard by now that we have a new ice cream place in town, you must be living under a rock over by the lake. But actually, if you WERE over there, you could hardly miss all the new traffic to the former location of Kate's General Store. That space is now occupied by OWowCow Creamery, a small-batch producer and server of some of the most awesome ice cream I've ever had the pleasure of eating. And apparently, I'm not the only one. If you become a member of the truly obsessed crowd, you can even follow them on Facebook and read about them on other blogs.

Not only is this ice cream awesome, it's served in a colorful, cheery store with just one freezer case (yes, really! Can you imagine not being overwhelmed, just impressed?) full of their handmade-with-real-fresh-ingredients-and-real-cream frozen confections! They even give you free sample spoons so you don't have to take a risk on a flavor you're not sure of. And don't expect the flavors to taste like something off the shelf. The peach tastes like...well, peach! And the three flavors of vanilla are to die for. So far, though, my favorite is the pistachio (good thing they don't make an emoticon for drooling, or you'd be seeing it here). And I haven't even TRIED the pudgie pies yet...

I'm hoping they're here to stay, not only because I like their product, but because I think a new business that can launch amidst a deepening recession and not only stay afloat but prosper can only be good for our community's economy. It generates income, tax revenue and jobs, all while supporting local vendors and keeping its customer base very, very happy. No, the pricing's not for everyone; but there's a lower-priced competitor right down the street for those who feel this stuff's too rich for them. That's the beauty of options.

So if you haven't taken the opportunity to get your wow on, get over to OWowCow. Check out the ice cream and give a warm Nockamixon welcome to our new neighbors. You'll thank me for giving you this kick in the butt, even if it IS a little bigger after your visit. (Hey, you can always join the Nockamixon Athletic Club to work it off!) Enjoy.

A Guest Blogger Shares Her Thoughts

Today's post is from someone I'm proud to call "friend" and "neighbor," Alana Balogh. Alana grew up here in Nockamixon, and I happen to live in what used to be her uncle's house. She was one of the first people to reach out and make us feel welcome when we moved here more than ten years ago (where does the time go?). And she reached out again after my last post with some thoughts of her own.

Alana has long been a community activist, and she has earned my respect. Though I may not agree 100% with everything she has to say, by and large we are in accord on the following topics. I think her comments are interesting and relevant, so wanted to share them with you here.
So, without further ado, here's what Alana has to say:


First, I would like to thank you for honoring Helen Nast and Lance Arbor in your post – two personal friends and active community members who will be missed.

After reading through the rest of your comments, I found myself thinking over and over about all the clichés we have all heard: Everything is connected. History repeats itself. The more things change, the more they remain the same. It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

And my conclusion from all evidence is that we are now well into the Sixth Great Extinction. Like it or not, humans are part of it because respect for wisdom has been lost in the media blitz from the power of corporate profiteers. Keep in mind: oil, motor vehicles, corporations, greed and destruction. Let me explain, addressing each of your comments:

Helen and Lance were characters grown from struggle, challenges, perseverance and accomplishment. They were not funneled into mainstream ideology due to bombardment from the media. They remained independent thinkers and doers, true to themselves and what they each believed in. They were survivors from an agrarian era, when people learned real survival skills that were tied to individuals, not corporate profit.

Oil and gas exploration already happened here back in the 80s, right after The Beverly Hillbillies was a popular show on TV. Everybody thought they would get rich and bought into the farce back then, too. I still wonder how much influence the oil industry had over the timing and airing of that show and its "black gold, Texas Tea," in that state that has already been destroyed. Most did not realize then, as now, that the whole scheme is set-up to profit a few corporate heads and has little to nothing to do with benefiting those whose communities it will destroy, including our water source. Keep that point in mind for later.

Reading back over your previous post of September 27, 2007 – "Remember who took care of us before it was easy" – a few more thoughts came to mind regarding the clichés and your comment that
One thing that became immediately apparent was the lack of convenience stores and nearby gas stations. But I figured that was part of the price we paid for being able to live in a rural area. We might not have all the conveniences, but then neither did we have all the traffic, noise and pollution. But then, I poked around locally, and found that not only did we have quite a few little family-owned general stores, but we also had a plethora of wonderful little sandwich shops that would make any city jealous. We HAD the convenience stores -- they just didn't look like what I was used to seeing, so it took me a while to realize they were here.
I can remember what life was like here in our little villages before corporate America took over, based on the motor vehicle, oil, and maximum profit. There were "convenience stores" all over the place, called general stores. As you discovered, they didn't look like them because they were run by individual community members with their own character, not corporations that suck the life out of everything with an imprinted logo, and maximum profit as the end goal.

You might not know there were gas pumps in front of the Revere store, even more convenient for you than Turkey Hill, regarding miles traveled to get there from your house! The general store had everything, including exotic spices from far off lands, all the staples, penny candy and toys for children. I know, because I purchased them all, right there. At Christmas time, Santa Claus was upstairs sitting by a fully decorated tree to hand out candy canes to all the children. And the children of the proprietor, with other neighborhood children, came by in the early evening to sing Christmas carols around the neighborhood.

Should I be prepared to serve hot cocoa to the children of the owners of the Turkey Hill Corporation this Christmas? Does anyone know who they are? I suppose some corporate research could reveal who owns the chain. I know their children will not appear in my yard to serenade me at Christmas. "It takes a village to raise a child…" There's another cliché to think about.

My mother and I did all of my grandmother's grocery shopping at the Revere general store by pulling a two-wheeled, tall wire basket shopping cart like you see people use in the city. We pulled it along Beaver Run Rd. and down Rt. 611, with no worry of being run over. If you did see a car, more than likely, you knew the person and they slowed down to keep you safe and even waved hello.

Yes, they had everything grandmother needed at the Revere general store. If you couldn't pay that day for whatever reason, Neil DeGroot would reach above the old-time cash register and pull out a slip of paper with your name on it so you could pay next time you came in. And, he didn't have to ask your name.

Have we really gained convenience at Turkey Hill, or are the greedy corporate profiteers just making people think that by using the misnomer of "convenience store," so they can suck every dime out of what was once a real community with their poor quality, crappy Chinese products and food that would double as "clean-fill" if you checked the nutritional value. Talk about cancer!

May Lance rest in peace, having watched what was left of his heritage stolen right from under him. I'm sure Helen would have a few things to say about it, too. "Suck" is your appropriate choice word, Mary. [Statement about a local developer removed here to protect me from being hit with a libel suit - Mary]

Severe storm approaches over fields behind Trauger Farm
on Nockamixon Road in July

Let's move on to the weather; the hail, wicked storms, tornadoes and – yes, that gorilla in the room that nobody wants to point to – global climate change. It is a fact. All scientific evidence shows it is happening and humans are speeding it up at an alarming rate because of the way we live and our overpopulation of the planet constantly demanding more. It doesn't matter if you choose to believe it or not: You are already part of it, and the Sixth Great Extinction is well underway.

You can choose to label me as paranoid, a nut case, an alarmist, a doomsayer... or you could do your own research and see what you find. Here's a place to start. As humans demand more and more energy and keep burning fossil fuels, the planet's oceans keep heating up from processes I won't go into here. Bottom line is that heat has to get released somehow, just like a pot on a stove. Eventually, it boils and lets off steam. In very simple terms, the unusual and violent weather is the planet releasing built-up energy that has increased substantially by humans burning fossil fuels – namely oil – in one form or another, including coal.

Let's get back to oil. Did you know there once was public transportation available right in front of the Revere store? Yup, that's where the trolley tracks ran, all the way north to Easton and south to Bristol. I don't remember those tracks, but my father and grandmother did, and they rode those trolleys, too. Before that, there was a stagecoach. The horses didn't use oil, either. That was before everybody had at least 3 vehicles in their driveway that burn gas, which comes from oil, which feeds the pockets of the greedy profiteers.

Talk about convenience! Imagine the money you'd save on car insurance, repairs, inspections, emissions testing – and gas and oil – if all you had to do was get on the trolley to get to a bigger town, or city. And let's not forget bicycles, and walking like my parents and I did...when you still could, without the constant worry of being run over. Now, we need more gas to get to the gym to work out.

How about that tomato and potato blight? Expect a lot more of that as the weather changes. Plants can't migrate to accommodate their conditional needs as the weather changes. There will be more and more problems growing food. In nature, there is always change and always will be. [But when it happens naturally] it is very gradual, allowing all living things to adjust most of the time. The exceptions are the 5 previous major extinctions, during which nearly all living things disappeared from the planet in the form they were in.

Welcome to 2009 and the 6th Great Extinction! The difference is, we have historical and scientific record to understand this one. It's about oil and greed, speeding us to our own demise.

If every person does absolutely everything he or she can to demand less energy, burn less fuel, and change the way we all live, perhaps there is a chance we can buy some time. I guess we'll find out.

In the meantime, keep a path cleared to your cellar, just in case one of those tornado warnings turns out to be the real deal.