Chapter Two; Some of my old ways are my new ways again.

Posted: September 17, 2016 in a story, Yum Yum

To read Chapter One: Some of my old ways are my new ways again go to HERE.

John Cage 4’33”  ( 1 )

I had a job for a few days working for “mean” old Mr. Barr. He once told me that he hated all music except for the work of John Cage. I believe he was referring to John Cages work 4′ 33″. How we got on that subject was a young musician had moved in to the lower part of Maverick Road and played the flute. Mr. Barr told him he was going to call the cops if he didn’t stop playing in the afternoon as he owned his property and hadn’t invited any music in and he wasn’t going to spend his afternoon listening to someone trying to play the flute. Mr. Barr live in a tiny house, never drove a car and walked all over the place. I needed the money so I jumped at the chance to clear out his side yard. Well, there was Poison Ivy mixed in with the overgrowth and of course even though I was covered I caught it.


Jewleweed.from Stalking the Wild Healer

Susan took out a few ice cubes from her freezer and told me to rub it all over the patches of red bumps and streaks. The cubes were frozen Jewelweed. She then gave me a salve that she had made to dab into the blisters. A week or so later we went to the woods around the other side of the mountain, where the streams flowed and collected Jewelweed. I recognized it right away as I remembered popping the seeds as a child. One little touch or rub would pop open the pod and send the seeds flying.  Susan also gave me some Jewelweed salve and a bar of her soap. What wonders the Jewel Weed did for that Poison Ivy.  Check it out sometime if you are out hiking or in the woods doing the wild thing and start to itch from either poison ivy or oak, even works on stinging nettles. Just break off some branches, crush it and rub the juice on the spots. Take some along with you and do it for awhile. If you are on your way home, take some with you, break it up, simmer it down in a pot of water and rub the orange water on you. Should take care of it. When we needed other herbs that we couldn’t gather on our own there was a health food store that had a good herb section in the town of Woodstock. Susan went there for golden seal, for the ingredients of composition powder and for other roots and barks.  There was certain things that we were very careful of and we had strict rules to guide us. One was if we found a patch, of say Golden Seal we would not disturb it. There was never really enough to start harvesting the few plants that grew in our woods.  We never over picked any patch of wild herbs even if they were weeds to most people and if we were gathering any berries and nuts we always left the majority for the animals. We figured it was their woods, we were the intruders that were upsetting the balance in their territories.

Image result for squirrels with nuts

Living like I did back then there was no time to be sick as there was too much work to do just to survive. There was always snow to melt in the winter, wood to cut, kindling wood to gather, and of course the number one priority living in such a beautiful setting, the art of just being, of listening, seeing, and feeling. And there was work, real work to make a bit of money. That type of stuff that kept me away from my just being from just living. Something around the area always needed to be done. From summer time gardening, to fall leaf raking, to winter shoveling, to spring planting. The late spring, summer and early fall was the busiest times as that is when many of the older artists who lived in NYC came up to the Maverick and to the town of Woodstock to stay for the summer and then go back to the city in the winter. Most of the time I could save up enough money to keep me going into the winter but it was a struggle. Not starvation road but many times damn near close to it on the highway just before the 2 big bends where one knew they were going to be hungry and had to do something about it soon. Simple things like an egg or a loaf of homemade bread were a treat. Once after shoveling for Mr. Barr and earning $20.00 I hitchhiked into Woodstock filled up my back pack with $10.00 worth of food (the other $10.00 I saved for paying the electric bill which at that time was $7.35 cents a month, leaving me with $2.65 for other things that I needed) Oh for the good old days.

Just shake your head that is about all we can say of this photo.


Rob Greenfield and volunteers gathered this food in a 7 hour period in Cleveland Ohio. (2)

Curing the growling stomach via dumper diving.

It was on this trip I met Out Door Billy. I had to take a wicked piss and went behind the A&P, back over near the dumpster. While I was going a man came around the corner. Didn’t care less that I had my dick out said his hello, took a quick look,  and climbed up into the dumpster. He asked me if I wanted some food and loudly proclaimed ”I spy some green peppers,onions,  some oranges, some real ripe bananas (why do the stores always throw away the bananas just when they are the best?) a few bags of carrots, and a bag of potatoes.”  Course I said, having ate dinner out of a dumpster many a times in my life. That was my introduction to dumpster diving East Coast style. Good food cheap. Good food thrown away to rot while so many go hungry.  I took anything that Billy said was mine put it in the extra bag I had. Out Door Billy came back to my place and using, a few potato’s, onions, carrots and kidney beans we cooked up a wonderful dumpster soup, along with some toasted bread and shared some oranges for dessert. To top it off we had a cup of peppermint tea. Peppermint that came up each year in a herb garden, peppermint that Susan and I dried and now I stored proudly in a large jar on the bottom shelf of my storage pantry.

Out Door Billy and I became almost too close for comfort. He wanted to play a lot with S & M and I just wasn’t in to it. I never cared all that much for belts around my neck or fists up my ass.  But I will never forget him for introducing to me where to get good food cheap where I was now living. One of the things that helped keep me alive and healthy. We met up with each other every few days, behind the A&P to check out the dumpster and see what we could find. We always found something good. Out Door Billy lived in a tepee in the woods behind the Woodstock Cemetery. I asked him once where he came from and his answer was here and there but mostly there there. People knew him in town as one of the last crazy hippies around, one that maybe lost his mind at the Woodstock Festival and now was treated at an arm’s length. “Get too close with him,” Susan said, “and he will become a permanent fixture in your cabin when the cold wind blows and the snow grows and you had better think twice before letting him in.” Needless to say I didn’t let him in I just wanted to be with myself.

Image result for mouse in the soup(3)

So how about a little story within this story? This little story just must be told. Feeling the need for a little meat I went into town and bought a  chicken. After I had dinner I said, “Let me make a soup.” I have a few dumpster veggies on hand and it would be a shame to waste the chicken. So I set the chicken in a big pot to stew for awhile. When it was finished stewing I left it on the counter to cool down before picking the meat from the bones. Out to work on something I went, more than likely to gather snow from my designated reservoir area, to melt it down on my out side fire place and to bucket it for later use. Let me tell you one needs quite a large amount of snow to make a gallon of water. Later into the house I went to get my soup ready for the evening meal. Taking off the cover I inserted a slated spoon and noticed something strange. “What in the world did you put in the soup, Mr. Jones? I lifted it and low and behold it was a mouse. Hasten the sign of the cross! Murder in the soup pot! Some how the dear little creature must have gotten up to the side of the pot, and by walking around, the lid must of tilted and in it fell. Needless to say, but I will say it, I threw out the soup, and never used that pot again. I don’t even remember what I ate for dinner that night. I had a rule in my house. If the little mice wanted to come in for the winter fine and dandy. They were to leave my stuff alone and I would leave them alone. My food was all kept where they couldn’t get at it. There was a large wooden box suspended from the ceiling where I kept most of the things like any bread, crackers, other boxes of food or anything else the little mice would find enjoyable to eat. Other foods such as fruits and vegetables were kept in the same manner but in a suspended large pot. Well this little mouse had gotten greedy and broken the rules. “Declare war,” said I and set about traps to kill their little asses. All Susan and our young friend Matt said was its about time, “A person builds a house and the creatures must stay outside.”  I suppose and when the creatures rule they will chase us out of their woods.

Trying To Re-learn Some Old Ways Today. 

Sitting at a Receptionist desk in a city high-rise day in and day out one has to deal with all sorts of folks. Some will stand there and sneeze all over the place, use your pen and phone and cough like there is no end to coughing. I just used both yarrow and composition powder last week when I was catching a cold, had a cough beginning and didn’t want it to spread or keep me out of work. It seems that everyone whom I come in contact with in my daily work has a cold. Not being at work can be a bitch and a real bitch for workers that have to miss a day and are on the lower end of the pay scale. What do we have, 5 sick days that have to be earned. It’s really bull shit when you look at it and be honest. AND no Henry we don’t have to be glad we have it and no I am not bowing down and kissing anyone’s ass in gratitude. The company I work for uses vacation days for sick days rather than just giving us an extra 5 days. You all know me I don’t like crumbs of any kind. ( 4 )

When a recent cold scare hit I took a good handful of Yarrow leaves and flowers and added 2 quarts of water. A tablespoon of peppermint was also added to make the medicine more tasteful. I let it simmer on the stove for 2 hours just below boiling following the instructions that Susan had taught me well over 40 years now. I also drank a cup of composition powder tea before bed.  During the work week I took 2 composition powder pills at breakfast, two at lunch and two at dinner. By Saturday I was fine and once again the herbal treatments before the real onset of sickness saved the day.


( 1  ) On August 29, 1952, the young pianist and composer David Tudor premiered at the Maverick a well-known and controversial work by the American exponent of experimental music John Cage, one of the leading post-war avant-garde composers. Arguably Cage’s most famous piece, 4′33″ (which was originally scored for piano) has commonly been referred to as “four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence.” Cage demonstrated, however, that the absence of notes was not the same thing as silence. The composer’s stated intention was for the audience to listen to the “accidental” sounds around them: the birdsong, the wind in the trees, the rain on the roof, the sounds of the audience members themselves.  Agnes told me the performance was wonderful. She said a man all huffing and gruffing stormed out, revered up his car and peeled out of the parking lot. It was quite a controversy to have such a piece performed at the Maverick Concert Hall.

From the Maverick History Site:

John Cage and 4’33″ at the Maverick

One evening in August 1952, the Maverick Concert Hall was the scene of a revolutionary moment in musical history. Here in the woods, the young pianist David Tudor performed the premiere of John Cage’s most famous—and most infamous—work, 4’33” (Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds). Although the work has often been called the “silent” piece, Cage wanted to show that a lack of notes was not the same thing as silence. The pianist read the score, turned pages, and closed the piano lid after each “movement,” but he never touched a single key.

In explaining his thought processes, Cage later wrote: “I went into an anechoic chamber, not expecting in that silent room to hear two sounds: one high, my nervous system in operation, one low, my blood in circulation. The reason I did not expect to hear those two sounds was that they were set into vibration without any intention on my part…. I found out that silence is not acoustic. It is a change of mind, a turning around. I devoted my music to it. My work became an exploration of non-intention.” Cage wanted his audience to listen to the sounds around them and even to the sounds inside their bodies, and to realize that what we hear is what we choose to hear. This pivotal performance at Maverick expanded the boundaries of music forever.

( 2 ) Some food facts:

Food wasted.

The figures are truly staggering. According to the World Food Organization, around 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption in the world is wasted. That’s around 1.3 billion tons of comestibles, provisions, victuals gone – disposed of, dumped into incinerators and landfills.

In America alone we throw away 165 billion dollars worth of food every year. That’s more than the budgets for America’s national parks, public libraries, federal prisons, veteran’s health care, the FBI, and the FDA combined.

About 50 million of our 317 million Americans are food insecure, yet we produce enough food to feed over 500 million people.

Check out more at The Food Waste Fiasco: Dumpster Diving For Change.   Rob Greenfield has got to be in our opinion one of the more important contemporary artists working in Amerikkka today.

When you read and look over Rob’s site you will have to agree that this is a criminal action against the people no matter what way one looks at it.

Hungry children are found everywhere in the world. According to research conducted by Feeding America, hunger has affected more than 3,500,000 children under the age of five in the US, and it can affect their physical and mental health.

The same source says more than 20 per cent of that sector of the population is located in 11 states of the country, such as, North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas and Arkansas among others.

Stop and Shop aims to recycle food into energy. Check this out if you haven’t read it yet. How will this effect our dumpster diving friends I don’t know. I would think that a special dumpster would be set up for all food waste and all of it will be dumped in together. I suppose its nice and moving in the right direction but remember its only for Stop & Shop.

I have a good laugh when thinking about dumpster diving. I don’t even think I could lift my leg that high anymore and if I got in to one someone who heard my cries for help would have to call the fire department to get me out. Whenever I think dumpster diving I thank outdoor Billy for reminding me of all the food that is thrown away food that folks like him and me could eat and stay alive. That food certainly brought me through my first winter out on the Maverick.

( 3 ) Are Mice Edible?  Here is a crazy answer that I love from the New York Times Question and Answer page.

Yes! They are considered a delicacy in Kentucky. Here is a recipe handed down from my Grammy. Boil some water and place 30 mice in water for 10 seconds. Next, gather family around to remove head and tail, then peel fur from carcass. Slice them open on the belly and remove guts, then rinse with hot water. Dump all said mice in sauce of choice, put skewer through them and place over open flame for approx. 3 minutes. The kids love that part. I enjoy cooking about 4 over flame and eat right off skewer, yummy! Happy cooking
But for some real deal mice eating and an excellent article one must turn to Mwizenge S Tembo who has written, The Significance of Mice In The Diet of the Tumbuka People of Eastern Zambia.
( 4 ) The law, which is effective January 1, 2012, requires employers with 50 or more employees within Connecticut (excluding most manufacturing establishments and the nationally chartered tax-exempt organizations described in the law), to provide non-exempt “service workers” with paid sick leave that accrues at a rate of one hour per 40 hours worked, to a maximum of 40 hours per calendar year. ..Ct.’s Paid Sick Leave Questions and Answers.
On to Chapter Three and the conclusion of this little story. We have enjoyed putting together this appropriation collage for our readers pleasure.