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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


(Photo omitted)

Amaranthus caudatusAmaranthus, collectively known as amaranth or pigweed, is a cosmopolitan genus of herbs. Approximately 60 species are recognized, with inflorescences and foliage ranging from purple and red to gold. Members of this genus share many characteristics and uses with members of the closely related genus Celosia.

Although several species are often considered weeds, people around the world value amaranths as leaf vegetables, cereals, and ornamentals.

The word comes from the Greekamarantosthe "one that does not wither," or the never-fading (flower).


Amaranthus shows a wide variety of morphological diversity among and even within certain species. Although the family (Amaranthaceae) is distinctive, the genushas few distinguishing characters among the 70 species included. This complicates taxonomyand Amaranthus has generally been considered among systematists as a “difficult” genus.

Formerly, Sauer (1955) classified the genus into 2 sub-genera, differentiating only between monoecious and dioecious species: Acnida (L.) Aellen ex K.R. Robertson and Amaranthus. Although this classification was widely accepted, further infrageneric classification was (and still is) needed to differentiate this widely diverse group.

Currently, Amaranthus includes 3 recognized sub-genera and 70 species, although species numbers are questionable due to hybridizationand species concepts. Infrageneric classification focuses on inflorescence, flower characters and whether a species is monoecious/dioecious, as in the Sauer (1955) suggested classification. A modified infrageneric classification of Amaranthus was published by Mosyakin & Robertson (1996) and includes 3 subgenera: Acnida, Amaranthus and Albersia. The taxonomy is further differentiated by sections within each of the sub-genera.


Grain amaranth

A traditional food plant in Africa, this vegetable has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.

Several species are raised for amaranth grain in Asiaand the Americas. Ancient amaranth grains still used to this day include the three species, Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus, and Amaranthus hypochondriacus. Although amaranth was (and still is) cultivated on a small scale in parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, India, and Nepal, there is potential for further cultivation in the U.S and tropical countries and it is often referred to as "the crop of the future."It has been proposed as an inexpensive native crop that could be cultivated by indigenous people in rural areas for several reasons: 1) easily harvested, 2) produces a lot of fruits (and thus seeds) which are used as grain, 3) highly tolerant of arid environments which are typical of most subtropical and some tropical regions, and 4) large amounts of protein and essential amino acids, such as lysine. Due to its weedy life history, amaranth grains grow very rapidly and their large seedheads can weigh up to 1 kilogram and contain a half-million seeds. Amaranthus species are reported to have a 30% higher protein value than other cereals, such as rice, wheat flour, oats, and rye.

Amaranth grain is a crop of moderate importance in the Himalaya. It was one of the staple foodstuffs of the Incas, and it is known as kiwicha in the Andestoday. It was also used by the ancient Aztecs, who called it huautli, and other Native America peoples in Mexicoto prepare ritual drinks and foods. To this day, amaranth grains are toasted much like popcornand mixed with honey, molassesor chocolateto make a treat called alegría ("joy" in Spanish).

Amaranth was used in several Aztec ceremonies, where images of their gods (notably Huitzilopochtli) were made with amaranth mixed with honey. The images were cut to be eaten by the people. This looked like the Christian communion to the Roman Catholicpriests, so the cultivation of the grain was forbidden for centuries.

Because of its importance as a symbol of indigenous culture, and because it is very palatable, easy to cook, and its protein particularly well suited to human nutritional needs, interest in grain amaranth (especially A. cruentus and A. hypochondriacus) was revived in the 1970s. It was recovered in Mexico from wild varieties and is now commercially cultivated. It is a popular snack sold in Mexico Cityand other parts of Mexico, sometimes mixed with chocolateor puffed rice, and its use has spread to Europeand parts of North America. Amaranth and quinoaare called pseudograins because of their flavor and cooking similarities to grains. These are dicot plant seeds, and both contain exceptionally complete proteinfor plant sources. Besides protein, amaranth grainprovides a good source of dietary fiberand dietary mineralssuch as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and especially manganese. People have also found it beneficial to prevent the premature greying of the hair folicles.


Amaranth species are cultivated and consumed as a leaf vegetable in many parts of the world. There are 4 species of Amaranthus documented as cultivated vegetables in eastern Asia: Amaranthus cruentus, Amaranthus blitum, Amaranthus dubius, and Amaranthus tricolor.

In Indonesiaand Malaysia, leaf amaranth is called bayam, while the Tagalogsin the Philippinescall the plant kulitis. In Karnataka state in India it is used to prepare Hulli. Palya, Maggigayhulli and so on. In TamilnaduState, it is regularly consumed as a favourite dish, where the greens are steamed, and mashed, with light seasoning of salt, red chillis and cumin. It is called keerai masial. In Andhra Pradesh, India, this leaf is added in preparation of a popular dalcalled thotakura pappu. In China, the leaves and stems are used as a stir-fry vegetable and called yin choi ; pinyin: xi nc i; and variations on this transliteration in various dialects). In Vietnam, it is called rau dền and is used to make soup. There are two species popular as edible vegetable in Vietnam: dền đỏ- amaranthus tricolor and dền cơm or dền trắng- amaranthus viridis.
In East Africa, Amaranth leaf is known in Swahilias mchicha. It is sometimes recommended by some doctors for people having low red blood cell count. Also known among the Kalenjinas a droughtcrop (chepkerta). In West Africasuch as in Nigeria, it is a common vegetable, and goes with all Nigerian carbohydrate dishes. It is known in Yorubaas efo tete or arowo jeja ("we have money left over for fish"). In Congoit is known as lenga lenga or biteku teku In the Caribbean, the leaves are called callaloo and are sometimes used in a soup called pepperpot soup.

In Greece, Green Amaranth (Amaranthus viridis) is a popular dish and is called vleeta. It's boiled, then served with olive oiland lemonlike a salad, usually alongside fried fish. Greeks stop harvesting the (usually wild-grown) plant when it starts to bloom at the end of August.


The flowers of the 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth were used by the HopiAmerindiansas the source of a deep red dye. There is also a synthetic dye that has been named "amaranth" for its similarity in color to the natural amaranth pigmentsknown as betalains. This synthetic dye is also known as Red No. 2in North America and E123 in the European Union.


The genus also contains several well-known ornamental plants, such as Amaranthus caudatus (love-lies-bleeding), a native of Indiaand a vigorous, hardy annual with dark purplish flowerscrowded in handsome drooping spikes.
Another Indian annual, A. hypochondriacus (prince's feather), has deeply-veined lance-shaped leaves, purple on the under face, and deep crimson flowers densely packed on erect spikes.

Amaranths are recorded as food plants for some Lepidoptera(butterflyand moth) species including the Nutmegand various case-bearers of the genus Coleophora: C. amaranthella, C. enchorda (feeds exclusively on Amaranthus), C. immortalis (feeds exclusively on Amaranthus), C. lineapulvella and C. versurella (recorded on A. spinosus).

Nutritional value

Amaranth greens, also called Chinese spinach, are a common leaf vegetable throughout the tropics and in many warm temperate regions. It is very popular in India. They are a very good source of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, and folate, and dietary minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. Because of its valuable nutrition, some farmers grow amaranth today. However their moderately high content of oxalic acid inhibits the absorption of calcium and zinc, and also means that they should be avoided or eaten in moderation by people with kidney disorders, gout, or rheumatoid arthritis. Reheating cooked amaranth greens is often discouraged, particularly for consumption by small children, as the nitrates in the leaves can be converted to nitrites, similarly to spinach.

Amaranth seeds, like buckwheatand quinoa, contain protein that is unusually complete for plant sources. Most fruits and vegetables do not contain a complete set of amino acids, and thus different sources of protein must be used.

Several studies have shown that like oats, amaranth seed or oil may be of benefit for those with hypertensionand cardiovascular disease; regular consumption reduces blood pressureand cholesterollevels, while improving antioxidantstatus and some immune parameters. While the active ingredient in oats appears to be water-soluble fiber, amaranth appears to lower cholesterol via its content of plant stanolsand squalene.

As a weed

Not all amaranth plants are cultivated. Most of the species from Amaranthus are summer annual weeds and are commonly referred to as pigweeds.[ These species have an extended period of germination, rapid growth, and high rates of seed productionand have been causing problems for farmers since the mid-1990s. This is partially due to the reduction in tillage, reduction in herbicidal use and the evolution of herbicidal resistance in several species where herbicides have been applied more often. The following 9 species of Amaranthus are considered invasive and noxious weeds in the U.S and Canada: A. albus, A. blitoides, A. hybridus, A. palmeri, A. powellii, A. retroflexus, A. spinosus, A. tuberculatus, and A. viridis.

A new strain of the Palmer amaranth has appeared which is Glyphosate-resistant and so cannot be killed by the widely used Roundupherbicide. Also, this plant can survive in tough conditions. This could be of particular concern to cottonfarmers using Roundup Readycotton. The species Amaranthus palmeri (Palmer amaranth) causes the greatest reduction in soybeanyields and has the potential to reduce yields by 17-68% in field experiments. Palmer amaranth is among the “top five most troublesome weeds” in the southeast and has already evolved resistances to dinitroanilines and acetolactate synthase inhibitors This makes the proper identification of Amaranthus species at the seedling stage essential for agriculturalists. Proper herbicide treatment needs to be applied before the species successfully colonizes in the crop field and causes significant yield reductions.

Anecdotal reports indicate that some people are allergic to amaranth.

Myth, legend and poetry

Amaranth, or Amarant (from the Greek amarantos, unwithering), a name chiefly used in poetry, and applied to Amaranth and other plants which, from not soon fading, typified immortality.

Aesop's Fables(6th century BC) compares the Rose to the Amaranth to illustrate the difference in fleeting and everlasting beauty.

A Rose and an Amaranth blossomed side by side in a garden,
and the Amaranth said to her neighbour,
"How I envy you your beauty and your sweet scent!
No wonder you are such a universal favourite."
But the Rose replied with a shade of sadness in her voice,
"Ah, my dear friend, I bloom but for a time:
my petals soon wither and fall, and then I die.
But your flowers never fade, even if they are cut;
for they are everlasting."

Or in story mode:

An amaranth planted in a garden near a Rose-Tree, thus addressed it: "What a lovely flower is the Rose, a favorite alike with Gods and with men. I envy you your beauty and your perfume." The Rose replied, "I indeed, dear Amaranth, flourish but for a brief season! If no cruel hand pluck me from my stem, yet I must perish by an early doom. But thou art immortal and dost never fade, but bloomest for ever in renewed youth."



On the web at


Telephone 800=558-6887

Organic amaranth is a grain that is extremely high in protein and contains an important amino acid, Lysine. Amaranth has the highest Lysine content out of any grain. Amaranth has one of the highest fiber contents among grains.

To make your whole wheat bread a complete protein, substitute about 25% of your wheat flour with Amaranth flour. Amaranth is one of the only grains that contains significant amounts of phytosterols which scientists are just now learning play a major part in the prevention of all kinds of diseases.

Amaranth must be cooked before it is eaten. Amaranth can be boiled for 20 minutes in its whole seed form for a morning breakfast cereal. It can also be ground raw or for added flavor, it can be toasted before grinding. Try popping it like you would pop popcorn. Whole seed, cooked Amaranth also goes well in soups, granolas, and breads.


Mail this Pageto a Friend.
ZetaTalk: Vegetarian, Note: written on Jul 15, 1997, http://www.zetatalk.com/beinghum/b77.htm

Humans are omnivores, as during their evolution they required the ability to eat a broad diet in order to survive. Carnivores develop in species that are swift and voracious, but only where a continuous and ample supply of prey exist. Imagine a tiger with nothing but grass to eat. The tiger may be willing to eat almost anything when the hunger pangs get strong enough, but his digestive system won’t process anything but meat. Carnivores die when their prey dies out. Species that are vegetarians also have specialized digestive tracts, designed to break down the tough fiber that is intrinsic to plant life. They have multiple stomachs in many cases, digesting in stages. All species that eat plants consume insects as a matter of course, as insects are scattered throughout the plants they munch on, and thus are always part of the intake.

Thus, species that evolve are either carnivores, vegetarian, or omnivores. The omnivore, of which mankind is a member, evolve to meet wildly swinging cycles of food availability. Early humans, being land animals and highly mobile, could travel during drought to areas lush with vegetation. Strictly vegetarian animals do this likewise, but as their digestive tracts digest fiber effectively, they can nibble on dried vegetation on the way. Humans, evolved from apes which were adjusted to eating fruits and insects as well as vegetation, do not have the apparatus to digest fiber. Thus, while on the road during droughts, they would have starved unless able to kill and eat meat. They have dual digestive systems, in effect.

Humans are designed, due to the influence of food availability during evolution, to eat either vegetables and fruits or meat, but not both at the same time. This is a fact not widely recognized or understood by humans, and thus they do themselves damage by eating both foods at meals, routinely. Imagine the cave man on the road, traveling to lush fields of vegetation where fruits and grains and tubers could be located with ease. The troop kills a deer or elephant, and feasts on nothing but meat and blood for days, consuming the entire kill before it can spoil. They do this repeatedly while on the road. When they arrive at their destination, they find they no longer need to take the physical risks that hunting invariably presents - flailing hooves and charging frightened beasts. They become vegetarians.

Modern man misunderstands what the cave man ate while lolling about during their vegetarian periods. They did not live strictly on vegetables and fruits and grains. They ate any and everything that was handy, and this included numerous insects and slow moving life forms such as mollusks and possums. They ate less meat, but the diet was highly varied and included occasional small bites from sources other than plants. Thus, those modern humans who try to live what they interpret to be a strictly vegetarian life suffer from malnutrition - poor immunity, anemia, lack of strength, and inability to deal with stress. Man was not designed to live by vegetables alone, and must accommodate their body with protein sources from living creatures other than plants, or suffer the consequences.
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The immediate needs of those on foot will be something to eat and clean water to drink.

In this regard, eating bugs and weeds and distilling your drinking water are recommended.

Be prepared to eat bugs, those that fly, crawl, and in particular grubs which can be found in rotting wood.

It's part of our evolutionary past, a natural.

ZetaTalk: Vegetarian, written on Jul 15, 1997
Humans are designed, due to the influence of food availability during evolution, to eat either vegetables and fruits or meat, but not both at the same time.
This is a fact not widely recognized or understood by humans, and thus they do themselves damage by eating both foods at meals, routinely. Imagine the cave man on the road, traveling to lush fields of vegetation where fruits and grains and tubers could be located with ease. The troop kills a deer or elephant, and feasts on nothing but meat and blood for days, consuming the entire kill before it can spoil. They do this repeatedly while on the road. When they arrive at their destination, they find they no longer need to take the physical risks that hunting invariably presents - flailing hooves and charging frightened beasts. They become vegetarians.

Modern man misunderstands what the cave man ate while lolling about during their vegetarian periods. They did not live strictly on vegetables and fruits and grains. They ate any and everything that was handy, and this included numerous insects and slow moving life forms such as mollusks and possums. They ate less meat, but the diet was highly varied and included occasional small bites from sources other than plants. Thus, those modern humans who try to live what they interpret to be a strictly vegetarian life suffer from malnutrition - poor immunity, anemia, lack of strength, and inability to deal with stress. Man was not designed to live by vegetables alone, and must accommodate their body with protein sources from living creatures other than plants, or suffer the consequences.

Eating bugs is a much overlooked source of protein and fat. Many recipes exist.

Insects as Human Food, from Ohio State Fact Sheet on Entomology

The eating of insects has yet to become a day-to-day activity for most people in the United States and Europe in spite of the superior nutritional content of edible insects compared to other animals. Other cultures around the world have made insects a main ingredient in their diets, providing an excellent source of protein. Insects are an inexpensive substitute for meat in many developing countries.

In Mexico, grasshoppers and other edible insects are sold by the pound in village markets and are fried before being eaten. Many are sold in cans as fried grasshoppers, chocolate covered ants, etc. Tortillas are served with red and white agave worms in many Mexico city restaurants.

Columbian citizens enjoy eating a variety of insects such as termites, palm grubs and ants. Ants are ground up and used as a spread on breads. Popular insects eaten in the Philippines are June beetles, grasshoppers, ants, mole crickets, water beetles, katydids, locusts and dragonfly larvae. They can be fried, broiled or sauteed with vegetables.

In parts of Africa, ants, termites, beetle grubs, caterpillars and grasshoppers are eaten. Some insects such as termites are eaten raw soon after catching, while others are baked or fried before eating. The giant waterbug roasted and eaten whole is a favorite food in Asia. It is easily collected around lights at night around bodies of water.

Sago grubs are popular for cooks in Papua New Guinea, most often boiled or roasted over an open fire. Other edible insects eaten in this country include larvae of moths, wasps, butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, adult grasshoppers, cicadas, stick insects, moths and crickets.


I was surprised to find that many of the weeds I was pulling out of my garden were not only edible, but delicious.

Pigweed, also known by other names, was sweet, far tastier than lettuce.

Lambsquarters, dandelion, and plantain, are also completely edible and plantain sky high in Vitamin A.

I quote from the Troubled Times booklet:

Kudzu produces edible roots.

The ripe pollen from cattails can be used as a flour substitute.

Lichens are edible.

Puffballs are great when fried.

Burdock roots can be harvested out of wet mashlands and are like potatoes.
Chickweed can be used raw as a salad green, as can any weeds in the mustard family.

The leaves of violets can be used as a green salad, or cooked and eaten like spinach.

Highy recommended are books on wild edibles in your locale.

Get your hands on these books while you still can!

Plugging the words 'wild' and 'edible' and 'weeds' into a search engine should bring them up.

As the Rolling Stones say, from their ALBUM Hot Rocks, in their SONG You Can't Always Get What You Want, 'but you get what you need'.

Well, I think they're talking about drugs here, but many city dwellers are addicted to soft living, and will be in the same kind of shock after the shift. Withdrawal shock.


TOPIC: Weeds

Since many people will not be able to grow hydroponic plants due to either lack of equipment or know how after the pole shift, the best alternative solution is to set up some form of Weed Farm. Bamboois edible and there are Harvestingand Growingtips. Weeds such as Lemon Grassare a great addition to the herb garden. The Prickly Pearcactus has Many Benefitsbeyond being an excellent food source. A Belgium friend is growing edible shrubs and has a Databaselisting them. Kudzuis Edible, but there are serious Cautionsin its use, though some Troubled Times members feel they could Control and UseKudzu.


Finegan Fine, the Book


A short story version of the film script, Finegan Fine, is available in two formats - an Adobe PDF file or individual web pages, chapter by chapter. This short story is available to the public to download and print for personal use, and may be distributed as long as no fee is charged, full credits are given, and no part of the story is omitted or modified. Finegan Fine is fully copyright protected in its short story version as well as the script version.

Houseboat Living, Burial at Sea, Good Hard Cash, Peaches and Cream, Political Connections, Jury of Peers, Industrial Revolution, Zombies, The Castle, Love at Last, No Call Home, Shark in the Water, The Orphanage, Continuity of Government, Lost and Found, Yahoos Afloat, Eating Rats, The Pawn Shop, Slave Labor, Bear Market, Rust Belt, New Leaders, Cannibals,Kudzu Canyons, Homecoming,

To read about Kudzu go to Chapter 24: Kudzu Canyons at the following address: http://www.zetatalk.com/finegan/finegn25.htm




Encarta 97Encyclopedia
Kudzu, common name of a vine native to China and Japan. The plant is a coarse-growing perennial with large trifoliate leaves having coarsely lobed leaflets. The flowers, borne on long racemes, are large and purple. The fruit is a flat, papery pod covered with a tawny down. Kudzu plants are grown from root cuttings. They produce long, lateral runners that generate roots at intervals.

Kudzu produces edible roots, and the stems yield a fiber called ko-hemp. Since the introduction of kudzu into the United States in 1876, it has become important as a source of hay and forage and for its use in controlling soil erosion. Kudzu is well adapted to the southern United States; in northern regions, other legumes, such as clover and alfalfa, grow more plentifully. As a hay plant, the viny nature of kudzu makes it difficult to harvest, but as pasturage, kudzu is valuable for its high protein and vitamin A and D content.
Because of the binding capacity of its long runners, kudzu is valuable in reducing soil erosion. In some places, however, it has spread into forest borders, drainage ditches, and other places, and many farmers and foresters consider it a weed.

Scientific classification: Kudzu belongs to the subfamily Papilionoideae, family Leguminosae. It is classified as Pueraria lobata.


A hardy opportunist, kudzu grows in a variety of habitats and environmental conditions but does best on deep, well-drained, loamy soils. Almost any disturbed area is suitable habitat for this vine. Roadsides, old fields, vacant lots and abandoned yards are all prime spots for new kudzu growth.

There's a guy in Mississippi that takes the vines and makes baskets and other weavable items out on it.

Offered by Jon.

In Georgia, the legend says
That you must close your windows
At night to keep it out of the house.
The glass is tinged with green, even so...

From the poem, Kudzu, by James Dickey

There's so much of this fast-growing vine in the Southeastern US, you might think it was a native plant. Actually, it took a lot of hard work to help kudzu spread so widely. Now that it covers over seven million acres of the deep South, there are a lot of people working hard to get rid of it! But kudzu is used in ways which might surprise you.

Kudzu's History



Purslane, also known as pigweed, is remarkably tasty.

I was weeding it out of my garden until I learned what it was!
Delicious, slightly sweet, more tasty than lettuce.

It is technically a succulent, thus has a puffy stem and leaves.

The juicy stems of Purslane are high in Vitamin C, but there's more …

Purslane just happens to contain alpha-linolenic acid, one of the highly sought-after Omega-3 fatty acids. Why pay money for fish oil when you can grow your own Omega-3 fatty acids as part of your edible landscaping? Especially when it takes little effort to grow purslane, since it does grow like a weed. In order to preserve purslane's juiciness for eating, harvest this delight of your edible landscaping in the morning or evening, when you won't have to compete with intense sunlight. Purslane can either be used raw in salads or sauteed as a side dish. In addition to the crispy texture you would expect from a succulent, purslane also has an interesting peppery flavor.



Amaranthis found and grown in India as well as South and Central America. It is adaptable to a wide range of climatic conditions. This charactristic will be especially important in the coming years with great variability and changes in weather and climate.

Offered by Phil.

The ZetaTalk Newsletter

Issue 138, Sunday, June 21, 2009


One Billion Starving

The UN has announced that the number of people in dire need of food has topped one billion. Though this is not much higher than the 963 million in that category in 2008, it graphically shows the state of the world and the trend.

U.N. Warns of Catastrophe as Hungry People Top One Billion

June 12, 2009
High food prices have pushed another 105 million people into hunger in the first half of 2009, the head of the U.N. World Food Programme said, raising the total number of hungry people to over 1 billion. Urging rich nations at a meeting of G8 development ministers not to cut back on aid, Josette Sheeran said the world faced a human catastrophe as more people struggle to eat a decent meal. In 2008, FAO said the world's hungry numbered 963 million. The agency says it has had to cut food aid rations and shut some operations in eastern Africa and North Korea because of the credit crunch. She said despite a decline in most food prices from record peaks last year, they remained high in developing countries, while global food aid was at a 20-year low. The financial crisis has made things worse, and in terms of staple food, people in poorer countries today can only afford about a third of what they could afford three years ago.

The Zetas, and the Zetas alone, predicted crop shortages at this time, due to the weather extremes such as drought and deluge which they also predicted in 1995, when no one else was making such predictions.

Question: What factors have made this situation different from previous years? I remember when US farmers produced so much wheat that it depressed the market so much, many chose to let crops rot in the fields rather than harvest them to sell for a loss.

ZetaTalk Answer6/13/2009: This is almost entirely due to weather related problems. We and we alone predicted crop shortages back in 1995 when the ZetaTalk saga first began. We knew that the wobble would develop and what it would do to the weather, which we also predicted with great accuracy back in 1995 when no one else was mentioning this. But problems with crop shortages actually appeared in 2000, due to the weather. It was not the wobble alone that causes weather related problems, as the roiling core of the Earth, responding from a distance to the approach of Planet X, likewise affects the weather by affecting undersea volcanoes. Drought, deluge, late frosts, early spring thaws, and dying bees. All are affected by the weather or the roiling core which affects the immune systems of bees.

Finegan Fine

I wrote a new script, converting this to book form free to the public, about life in the Aftertime on a houseboat. The hero is Finegan Fine, based on a true life character who made many contributions to the Troubled Times topicsin its early days. Being a trader in the Aftertime, running a boat up and down flood swollen rivers, was his idea. Quoting from the Introduction to the online book, which is available both as a PDF file and chapter by chapter in web format:

This is a tale about a houseboat living in the Aftertime. The pole shift has happened and the waters have risen several hundred feet due to melting poles and glaciers and the heating of the ocean bottom. The rising sea level is happening slowly but steadily, forcing survivors to relocate when they discover the flood is not receding. Finegan Fine has found a niche in this new world by running a trading boat along the new coastline and up and down ever broadening rivers.

The main theme is the sociological adaptation of the populace to the lack of rescue and rising waters after the cataclysms. Finegan meets survivors from all walks of life: the very wealthy who expected to survive in their well stocked enclaves, the politically connected who expected rescue on demand, the wealthy who thought their bankroll would buy them comfort, suburbanites unprepared to be self sustaining, those who stubbornly refused to leave their cities and towns and steadily starve to death, families who are separated from each other, rural folk familiar with local produce, immigrants caught a long way from home, pedophiles peddlers selling children, the handicapped who take hardship in stride, military men cut off from their commanders, former politicians trying to establish a continuity of government, those who turn from their responsibilities and those who raise orphans and care for the aged, teens without supervision, the deluded who think the good times will return, and those trying to maintain slave labor camps.

A second theme is the devastation itself, which is widespread. Florida is under water, trapping those who lingered too long. Coastal subdivisions and river front towns are steadily flooded, often forcing people to repeatedly relocate. Satellites have been torn from the sky, so communications are by short wave radio at best. Rescue is simply not forthcoming. A third theme is survival techniques. Survivors adapt by eating atypical but highly nutritious foods. They live in makeshift shacks and tents. Electricity is generated from windmills or by pedals. Barter is the mode and the dollar is dead. A fourth theme is how people react to the crisis - by rising to the challenge and helping one another or by looting and hoarding. Survivors are on their own and must rely on resourcefulness and cooperation with others for survival. Those that mistreat others find themselves without supplies or friends in due time.

An example of what to find in the free book is a portion of the chapter titled The Orphanage. This chapter, one of 25 the book offers, not only addresses the distress of those newly orphaned after the pole shift, when social services will likely to stopped altogether, but takes the opportunity to educate the public about a little known meat substitute. Corn and Amaranth, when mixed together, form a protein equivalent to meat. A third issue addressed is the ease with which chickens can be kept if free ranged in a temperate climate.
Bugs are their preferred meal and they are aggressive in snatching up bugs. The result: a bug free garden with a bonus of eggs and meat.

The orphan mistress has graying hair, barely pinned on top of her head in a bun. Her dress is tattered and hanging on her body as though at one time she were somewhat overweight. She looks immensely weary, and walks as though she might not make the next step. She stops to take her breath and looks up at the visitors. Seeing them non-threatening, she raises a hand weakly, as though saying a "hello", and then walks forward toward the dining area. She takes a seat on the picnic table, sighing as though relieved to be off her feet. Taking a deep breath to gain her strength, she lifts her face to smile at the visitors and waves them forward to join her. She directs her charges.

Stir that fire and put on a pot. We'll serve some tea.

Finegan introduces himself.

Morning mam. Finegan Fine here and my partner Joey. I'm a trader, moving up and down these parts. Got my houseboat out there at the end of your field.
Pretty impressive plots you have there. You plant and harvest that all by yourself?

The orphan mistress smiles and winks at the absurdity of this idea.

Fortunately, I've got plenty of help.

She leans back, having caught her breath, and continues to direct her young charges.

Honey, use that other pot. It has a spout. That's it.

Finegan says,

These aren't all yours . .

The startles orphan mistress responds,

Oh Heaven's no. I'd surely be in the ground if that was the case! Picked them up in Montgomery when the troubles hit. I was down there visiting, checking on some friends of mine that can't move around so good no more. After I buried them . . heart attack and such . . I was heading back home and found these kids just lost. . . Been weeks, and no one came to collect them. . . Well, what could I do? . . We came home together. Been a blessing, these darlin's have been. A blessing.

Finegan's mouth drops open at this unexpected description of a dozen or more orphans, some obviously only toddlers when she collected them, being described by this exhausted woman as a "blessing". He catches himself as he realizes they are watching his reactions.

Oh, indeed. My Joey here's the same. Got separated from his parents and we joined up. He's a blessing, no doubt about it.

The older children are arranging the cups and spooning some sort of tea from a tin into each cup, then pouring hot water from a pot of water taken from the stove. They bring the first cup to Finegan. Finegan says,
Oh, no, give the first cup to, ah, your mistress here. . .

The orphan mistress smiles at his chivalry, and accept the cup, sipping from it with half closed eyes as though it were something magical, a source of rejuvenation. Finegan accepts the next cup.

I can't help but wonder at your fields. I been up and down this coast. Found some folks that planted pumpkin, but most do vegetable gardens in rows, and they work at that day and night. You've got fields . .

The orphan mistress looks up from her cup of tea, suddenly realizing what he's missing from the picture.

I been at this business for some years. Planted corn and amaranth, being vegetarian and all. Don't need meat if you got those. Made a mix for the local organic outlets. Amaranth greens are a good salad too. Made my living at that. No need to plow if you keep the weeds down regular. Just re-seed.

The orphan mistress waves in the direction of the wall of young children clustered behind her, each clutching a cup of tea.

These are the best little weed pickers I ever seen. You pull a weed up, the grubs and beetles fall out, and the chickens clean them up. You go down the rows and knock the bugs off the plants, and the chickens foller along and clean them up. What's left is our produce, bug free. . . and eggs. We got lots of eggs.



Copyright 1997 Alan T. Hagan. All rights reserved.
Republished in part by express permission. Please note
Entire text also available as an ftp download.
Amaranth is not a true cereal grain at all, but is a relative of the pigweeds and the ornamental flowers we know as cockscomb. It's grown not only for its seeds, but for its leaves that can be cooked and eaten as greens. The grain is high in protein, particularly the amino acid lysine which is limited in the true cereal grains. The grains can be milled as-is, or the seeds can be toasted to provide more flavor. The flour lacks gluten, so it's not suited for raised breads, but can be made into any of a number of flat breads. Some varieties can be popped much like popcorn, or can be boiled and eaten as a cereal, used in soups, granolas, and the like. Toasted or untoasted, it blends well with other grain flours.Disclaimerbelow.

Amaranthus caudatus

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Quinoa, Veggie Proteins :)
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