To the Editor,

Fortunately, all the so-called work (compared to home production of useful crops, including timber, most current home use of machinery is counterproductive, and cannot be called work.) Now done by such illegally noisy machines, can be done with noiseless handtools. Yes, handtools are slower, especially if kept sharp. But handtools require skill which makes them satisfying, even enjoyable to use. And the peace-and-quiet they allow is a huge pleasure not only to those who use them, but also to residents, neighbors and passersby.

A further beneficial consequence of using handtools at home, rather than machinery, is the inevitable resurgence of natural vegetation—“trees, shrubs, forms (weeds,) ferns, grasses and wildflowers,” (Georgetown Ordinance 0627)—that occurs in absence of vegetation-destroying machinery, most of which vegetation is useful, much of it edible (see Ben Charles Harris, ‘Eat The Weed!’, Barre, Mass: Barre Publishing Company, 1975; and many other books on wild edible plants.) To open his book, ‘Eat The Weeds!’ Ben Charles Harris quotes the so-called Holy Bible: 

“And God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding see, to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat; and it was so.” - Genesis 1:29-30.

I have early 20th century photographs of well-to-do homes in both urban and rural areas of Fayette and Scott Counties that illustrate abundant, unmowed, untrimmed vegetation surrounding them, shading them from summer heat, sheltering them from cold and other wild fruits just outside their doorways, front to back. Those photographs were made prior to current, industrial-economic proliferation of motorized machines that devegetate the land, and suggest both the beauty and the utility of revegetating Scott County’s residential areas.

I can remember from 1950’s seeing men mowing yards with scythes, specifically on hillsides too steep for the non-motorized, “reel-type” lawnmowers then used by most homeowners. As the post-World War heavy-industrial U.S. economy grew amazingly fast, it seemed patriotic to buy its myriad, motorized machine-products and to proudly manage the home landscape with them. But such motorized-mechanization of the home landscape soon severely reduced Georgetown’s natural vegetation, and it soon appeared “unpatriotic” to have any vegetation in one’s home landscape other than the machine-mowed lawn and few commercially bought, exotic “ornamental” plants chosen by the housewife. And the resulting “patriotic/politically correct” home landscape was soon seized upon by professional, so-called code-writer, on the U.S. East coast as content for their so-called property maintenance codes, such as so called International Property Maintenance Code bought the City of Georgetown in the 1990’s; which codes now require such politically-correct, standardized home landscapes. And small-town mayors, such as Georgetown’s Tom Prather, rely on so-called “code enforcement” to make sure that every Georgetown home landscape is “politically correct” and does not deviate from the national and thus “patriotic” mode imposed upon Georgetonians by the landscape machinery manufacturers and the code-writers. Any Georgetown proprietor who serves himself or herself and his or her family, and maybe, hopefully commerce, by using his or her land productively for crops, including trees (timber) and other above mentioned naturally-occurring vegetation, is regarded as “unpatriotic”; and such properties is the demonized and conspicuously suppressed by Prather, by some city council electees and by the “abatement”/devegetation operations of their so-called code enforcement office, to win votes for re-election. Consequently, the small-scale homesteading and crop work that I can remember in Georgetown as late as the 1990’s, has disappeared.

Such cropwork, including in residential areas of Georgetown, and including revelation of residential property and home timber management, is legally authorized by above-mentioned laws; Georgetown Ordinance 0627 (see par. 12 par. 16 above) calls for “…preservation and restoration of natural plant communities”; KRS 413.072 offers property code and zoning code exemptions for horticulture and sylviculture (tree crops;) KRS 149.336 advocates “small-scale…non-industrial…urban forestry” in Kentucky; 16 U.S. code 2015 authorizes, advocates and even funds urban forestry and it’s “complementary” vegetation anywhere in the U.S., including Georgetown; Georgetown/Scott County Zoning Ordinance, mentioned above, authorizes, at 2.81A(4,) horticulture in all zoning districts of Georgetown. 

This letter to the editor of Georgetown News-Graphic will continue in future editions. 

 

Stephen Price

Georgetown

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