Category Archives: cruelty

Vegans and Almond Milk

I notice that many vegan cookbooks and websites are promoting almond milk as a preferred “milk” product for recipes and drinking, and I wonder if all these writers are aware of the danger that California’s almond growers are causing for honeybees.

Honeybees and their hives are trucked in to almond groves in order to pollinate the trees to allow the production of the nuts. These honeybees are exposed to herbicides and pesticides that are used in many of the groves that are not organic. There is no dedicated source of honeybee pollinators for organic groves, although some have their own colonies or hives. The almond milk you are using may well come at dreadful cost to the pollinators that make it possible.

Honeybees have immune systems facilitated by fungi in their hives. When they’re pollinating the almond orchards, they’re being exposed to ongoing spraying of chemicals that attach to their hairs and wings and are carried back to the hive. There is obviously damage done to their health and well-being by this abusive use of them.

Honeybees currently are essential to most vegan lifestyles as they pollinate on organic farms as well as corporate farms. Most of what vegans eat we eat as a result of the honeybees’ hard work. Honeybees are threatened as I think most people know. The only way they are surviving now is in these corporate abusive settings or in regenerative, sustainable beekeeping by small, local producers.

We need honeybees, as the world would be devastated without them. Much of the plant kingdom is reliant on them for fertilization and propagation. Without small beekeeping practices around this country, the variety and wealth of our biosphere would suffer and deteriorate. Do we not owe it to these fabulous insects to support those who are willing to do the hard work of nurturing and saving them? I, for one, am willing to use honey from such a source, and if that makes me less of a vegan, so be it. At the Bee Boys in Hawai’i say it, I guess I’m a beegan.

Mystery Box/Daily Prompt

You wake up one morning to find a beautifully wrapped package┬ánext to your bed. Attached to┬áit is a note: “Open me, if you dare.” What’s inside the mystery box? Do you open it?

If such a box mysteriously showed up next to my bed some morning, I would call the police. It would mean that someone had entered my apartment illegally and left it there. I would not accept anything under these circumstances. While I am willing to suspend disbelief while reading fiction, I absolutely do not suspend it in real life. Having lived with a threat before, I feel no safety in this situation now.

In fact, this goes with a few other daily prompts with which I have had problems. While potentially delicious in fiction, the proposed scenario is, for a large number of people, fraught with anxiety or fear. It might be nice for a beloved husband, wife, child, or parent, but for the person who lives alone, and we are legion, this conjures too many inharmonious visions, and can put fragile people over the edge. It’s nice to assume that all bloggers on WordPress have risen above such difficulties, but it is naive at best, vicious at worst, to make such an assumption.

I am not amused.

Daily Prompt: Cousin It

We all have that one eccentric relative who always says and does the strangest things. In your family, who’s that person, and what is it that earned him/her that reputation?

What should I do if we all qualify? There is not a normal, mainstream character in the family, at least not in my generation. At least as far as I know, since they all wrote me off earlier this year, so I wrote them off too. But I do have a great story about my father’s parents and my grandmother’s parents.

My grandparents grew up in midwestern Canada, probably Manitoba. They were from different sides of the tracks, and she was the one from the hoity-toity family. We’re talking the late 1800s. They fell in love and waited for her parents to come around to the idea. And waited. And waited. In their early forties, they married without her family’s blessing and had two sons, my uncle first and then my father. When my uncle was born, my grandmother took him to her family’s house and knocked on the door. This story is probably apocryphal, but my greatgrandfather answered the door and stood there silent. My grandmother said that she thought he and her mother might like to see their first grandson.

Her father replied, and this is what is questionable, “I don’t have a child. How could I have a grandchild?” And he shut the door.

MY grandmother went on to die in the 1918 flu epidemic, and I have one picture of my grandfather with his two sons. He died a few years later, and my uncle always hinted it was a suicide.

The two boys went to live with cousins, where they were treated like second class citizens. Only one cousin was nice to them, and I was honored by getting her name.

So there’s a lot of cruelty on that side of the family, but my father loved children passionately. He would have had a dozen if my mother had not forced him to stop. As it was, I was the last and an accident. My mother later told me that they never figured out if they didn’t get the diaphragm in right on New Year’s Eve, or whether they forgot it completely, but I came along about 9 months later, and my mother had three children under the age of two and a half.

My father died nine and a half years later, and we only had occasional contact with the Canadian relatives, usually limited to summers in Vermont. My uncle was harsh and strict with his son, and my cousin was harsh and strict with his kids. They are also estranged from me.

Sorry, I digressed a little. But the romantic love of my grandparents, their refusal to give each other up, has been a clarion call to all the other generations down through the ages that true love is possible, even though it may last only a short time.