Moderation is best, and to avoid all extremes. – Plutarch
A Gateway mystery in the early 1970s seemed to threaten the health of every staff and Order member who lived or worked there. And it unfolded around the time we were beginning a new garden.
Ever since a professor of agricultural science tested the soil at the Gateway property in the 1940s and told us, “Water here, and you’ll be able to grow anything,” there have been great gardens here. For a few years, the Gateway garden had to be set aside when all hands were needed in the Lemurian Crafts, but then we began again. Although the new crew were gardening novices, we were undeterred. Our Philosophy stresses all we can learn by trying things we’re not especially good at.
After months of research, planning, learning how to make compost and finding a likely spot for a garden, we were ready. Since we’d start in late winter, we agreed on lettuce, carrots, chard, beets, and radishes.
Our first efforts were crude and hard work. The soil had to be turned by hand. We picked up loads of dusty chicken manure from a nearby ranch, getting well and fragrantly powdered in the process. This was carefully worked into the plot, seeds carefully sown and watered, and we eagerly awaited results.
The radishes matured first and we cut our first one into quarters so more of us could taste it. The chard, which had been planted as seedlings, came next. We couldn’t wait until the leaves matured, but began picking when they were silver dollar size. Inordinately proud of this first harvest, we were soon producing enough chard to eat in omelets for breakfast, in soup at lunch, and as greens for dinner.
The new garden was just one Lemurian Order project that year. We were also digging a trench from the main waterline to the chapel, almost a quarter mile. Much of the work was hard, and we got tired. Feeling especially exhausted after some weeks of this, I checked in with the doctor, who discovered I was anemic. This was a surprise to me, but even more surprising to the doctor was that more than one Order member had come in feeling tired, and all of us were anemic!
We researched anemia. What caused it? After eliminating the usual suspects, we learned how certain chemicals in food bind with iron and make it unavailable to the body. One of these was oxalic acid, found in spinach and chard. Eureka! Gateway mystery solved! We had found the culprit, and verified a prime tenet of the Lemurian Philosophy: moderation is key to a balanced life.
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