Sunday, September 27, 2015


              HARALD and the BEANSTALK!

                  These beans were just getting started!

    We have all heard the fairy tale about "Jack and the Beanstalk!" But this is a different beanstalk story and definitely not a fairy tale! Once upon a time, Harald developed a friendship with a couple who were displaying and selling their wares at a craft show. As Harald was displaying professional photographs and they had booths next to each other, it was inevitable that they became friendly. It turned out they were avid gardeners as well as entrepreneurs, so information was traded on many things, especially gardening! 
    Harald's friends had originally lived in Jacksonville, Florida and had a store there. As is often the case with stores in big cities, they are victimized by criminals who have nothing better to do than vandalize, steal and in general make a total nuisance of themselves. With government's tendency to cater to such primitives these days, this kind of individual became a constant nuisance. So Harald's friends decided to sell and move to a part of the country where people looked and acted more like them, had more things in common and not hostile to each other. They settled in a rural area of Montana. 
    Harald's friends loved to garden, and pretty soon everyone was sharing methods, experiences and preferences as to how to grow, can and prepare all garden goodies! In the process Harald learned about an exciting new bean variety. It had no name really, but may have gone by numerous names over time. It may even have originated in Portugal, something confirmed by a Portuguese friend of Harald's. Well, the bean was supposed to grow to a huge height, develop pods that were a foot long, one inch wide and almost a quarter inch thick! To top it off they were supposed to be the sweetest and most tender; the most amazing pole bean ever! They gave Harald some seeds and he was excited to try them out!
     He planted them! 
     They Grew!
     And they kept Growing!
     And Growing!
    After a while they grew all the way to the top of the greenhouse! Since this was a short season climate, Harald grew them in there! There were absolutely NO beans on them! Even worse was the few flowers that appeared, all fell off! Harald was disappointed and disgusted that the beans did not mature. But, they had been planted late and so he planted them again the following year!
     That year the beans grew again to eight feet and crowded the top of the greenhouse!  But these things still kept growing and when they could grow no higher, they simply grew back down half way to the ground and kept growing some more! There were absolutely NO beans on them, either! Even worse was the few flowers that appeared, all fell off again! Disappointed for the second year, Harald stopped watching them regularly to see how they produced. He simply ignored them! He had so many other duties to attend to that Harald needed to focus elsewhere!
     One day when Harald had finished other work, he decided to part the leaves on his new beans which had now grown into a solid wall and was absolutely stupefied to find dozens of beans hidden there! They were huge and getting larger! He inspected more of the row and....HEAVENS!...the vines were loaded! In short he had never seen so many beans in his whole life! Harald started picking and cooking them for dinner. Yes, they were the most tender and sweet beans he had ever eaten. Every time he picked, it was a two gallon bucket full! He canned a whole bunch, salted some, saved some seeds for the following year and finally wondered what he was going to do with the ones he had left over! 
     It is amazing how nature works. Here Harald had wished for sweet beans.... He had wished for tender beans.....  He had wished for a big crop of beans....  He was impatient when they did not develop....   And then when least expected, the vines went into full production and Harald was in pole bean heaven! One thing he had forgotten was simply to let beans grow and develop in their own way, which is the nature of all growing things. Getting impatient is not the way it works!
     The lesson here is a simple one: when you SOW GREAT THINGS, be careful and patient of what you sow! You may REAP FAR MORE than you sowed!

    Written, photographed
           and posted by
Harald Hesstvedt Scharnhorst
      September 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015


The Plum Cat!

You may wonder why I love this cat. And you may even wonder why I call her "The Plum Cat!" There are many reasons, actually!
I suppose I could say I am "plum crazy" about the creature who is very loyal and follows me around like a child. She helps me pick strawberries and anything else by getting in the way! How is one not to like such a creature?!
I suppose I could say she is affectionate and grateful for the food and drink I give her. She gives me company and loyalty, so those are all good reasons. But the name is purely due to her penchant for liking to climb fruit trees! And if the occasion occurs, she will climb the Plum Tree and sit there among the brambles and look "Plum Happy!" She also is very curious and will inspect anything and everything. She even takes to climbing the greenhouse to see what my repair job is all about! She is, after all, "Plum Crazy" about everything!

Written, Photographed and Posted by
Harald Hesstvedt Scharnhorst
September 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015



                 Remembering The Fallen In Norway 1945
        Photo by Else Hesstvedt from Bloggers collection 

     It has always struck me as remarkable the way soldiers behave. The country we call the United States of America has literally been at war almost constantly since 1776. Before then our colonies were at war for much of their existence, too. Rarely is it a war of self defense, but mostly wars are fought for entirely different reasons. It is said: WAR IS HELL. It is. But war can be described in other terms, too: WAR IS SELL.  By that I mean that someone convinces us of a “need” to go to war. It is a simple thing often overlooked by those who fight: someone makes big bucks off war. All that is needed is to show that someone is a “bad guy,” and off we go on another adventure. Whether it is necessary or even right is not up for consideration. Those who make and sell the ammunition and war toys love it. They become immensely wealthy. The people love it because it provides for good economic times. After every depression a war is a great way to spend ones way out! It also gives us a “reason” to engage in "false patriotism" while we “wave the flag.” And it calls young men to adventure, giving them an opportunity to do things a civilized society says it should not do! For those who participate in war it is often a hell on earth. No soldier who served in combat ever returns as the same man he was when he left home. He is changed forever. A handful of examples will suffice. In the Second World War, Audie Murphy returned as one of the most decorated soldiers of the time. He became a famous movie actor. He was credited with killing some 275 German Soldiers with a machine gun so his company could pull out of a bad situation. From all apparent reasons he was not bothered by the action. He was doing his job, motivated by an intense survival instinct. There are touching pictures from Vietnam showing soldiers, armed to the teeth carrying naked Vietnamese children out of harm’s way. Their humanity and bravery gave them no medals at all, but their unselfishness shows through! Just as touching is the soldier who befriends a dog and wants to bring it home with him! He is trying to retain his humanity as well, in a conflict not of his choosing. Or the soldier so taken by the plight of a young woman he marries her and brings her home! The examples are never ending. In his book “War is a Pity,” Niall Ferguson details the stark realities of World War 1. It was a crime against humanity!

     A few years ago I came across a poem placed on the Department of Defense Blog and reported by CNN that struck me to the heart of my soul. I saved it to my computer and backed it up just in case someone should decide to make this disappear! I am reproducing it here from my back-up because of its stirring emotional appeal. I have purposely overlapped portions of it so it can be seen in continuity. The "disclaimer" added at the end of the post shows a complete lack of understanding, remorse, feeling, and humanity and only re-enforces the concept of "The Pity of War!" The comments at the end of the post are also included here and speak for themselves.

Having served in the military as an enlisted man as well, I can really appreciate Sgt James Lenihan's feelings so well expressed in his true and classic manner. His poem may not receive the accolades it deserves but it my mind he was a hell of a Combat Brother I would have been proud to know and serve with.
A couple of thoughts worthy of consideration: Sgt Lenihan did not make the rank of "sergeant" by being a goof-off or a softie. He made it because he earned and deserved it as a LEADER and his wounds prove it. I made the same rank in two years time in service and I can honestly state it took time, devotion to duty, leadership and competence to be advanced like that. Rest in Peace Brother!

Photo by Blogger from his collection

Posted and commented on by
Harald Hesstvedt Scharnhorst