A Seedy Guy

Header photo courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange

Today’s post comes from Jim Tjepkema

Robert Lobitz passed away before I got a chance to meet him in person.  I knew about him from seeing his seed listings in the Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook and from exchanging seeds with him by mail.   He didn’t come to any of meetings of seed savers that I attended and apparently stayed close to his home near Paynesville, MN.

As a member of SSE, Robert exchanged seeds with other SSE members.  He also obtained samples of seeds from Federal seed collections which he grew in variety trials to learn about their characteristics.  In one of those trials he discovered a pea that had yellow pods and shared seed from that pea with other seed savers.  Several seed companies are now offering this pea for sale under the name, Golden Sweet, which is the name given to it by Robert.

Red Swan snap bean, developed by Robert, is also available in commercial seed catalogs.  This bean is a product of Robert’s work on creating new bean varieties.   Snap beans and some other beans are self-pollinating.  However, bees will sometimes carry pollen from one variety to another by getting into the bean flowers before they have self-pollinated.   Robert looked for beans produced from flowers cross-pollinated by bees and saved these seeds to serve as starting points for his work on developing new varieties.

All of Robert’s work with seeds was done in his own gardens as a hobby.   Peas and beans were not the only vegetable seeds that he collected and studied.  He also collected many kinds of potatoes and soybeans.   Among the members of SSE he stood out as one the best seed savers sharing hundreds of kinds of rare seeds from his collection with other seed savers.

For me, Robert was an outstanding example of how a person who is not a paid professional can make significant contributions in a field where most of the workers are highly trained specialists.

In what area are you a significantly talented amateur?

47 thoughts on “A Seedy Guy”

    1. The Seed Saver’s Exchange might have submitted some of the seeds Lobitz collected to the Norwegian seed bank. I haven’t heard that any of the members of SSE have submitted seeds to that seed bank. SSE has a large collection of seeds including many of the ones that are in their members’ collections and they send some of the seeds in their collection to the seed bank in Norway.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You lost me at “significantly talented”…maybe I can count “memorable and enthusiastic music educator.” The memorable part is, at least in part, because I am not above doing goofy things like wearing a tutu when teaching about ballet music. The enthusiasm is easy – music is easy to be enthusiastic about and getting kids to think about and listen to orchestral works is remarkably easy. If you start by just letting them listen to the piece, they will see stories in their minds’ eye, recognize how dynamics and key signatures affect mood, and catch all sorts of things it becomes easy to miss if you listen casually. They will hear inter stellar chases in John Adams and regal-ness in Mozart. They can pick out piccolos and understand how timpani supports the picture the composer is painting. So really, my job is just to let the music play and guide the conversation, providing a bit of extra information – gosh it’s fun.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. i did the same music program as anna is doing but only for 2 years before my school dropped it.
        i was the art guy at the precvious school
        thats fun stuff and im good enough to be able to bs my way through grade school kids. the teachers look a little skeptical but…

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    1. Anna, I love how you throw yourself into bringing music alive for kids. Your daughter is lucky to have a mom who has such a childlike enthusiasm for creativity.

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      1. It helps a lot that this is a volunteer gig and I’m only prepping a few lessons a year. If I were doing this day in and day out, it might be different. Easy to keep the energy and creativity going when it’s six lessons over as many months and only about 30 minutes to fill for each. (I’m given a curriculum guide to work from – which also helps: I know what composers and pieces I am to present and a bit of info about each. That guide, however, says nothing about wearing a tutu, bringing in a bust of Beethoven dressed like a rock star, nor using The Go-Gos as an example of the same a-b-a-b-c pattern that Mozart uses.)

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  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I am with Anna–Significantly talented is a stretch. I assume my life might have gone differently if I had a really significant talent. I also enthusiastically enjoy doing a lot of stuff: gardening, drawing, sculpting. But I do it all for my own enjoyment. The neighbors do enjoy the garden in the summer.

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    1. I jave gotten purple beans like the ones in the photo at the farmers’ market. As I recall, they lost some of the purple when I steamed them, but they were tasty.

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    2. Those are the Red Swan beans developed by Lobitz. He apparently had a big interest in colorful vegetables. I’ve grown them and the ones I grew looked like that. The color goes away when cooked. However, they as good to eat as they are colorful.

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  3. Well, husband and I are doing a 6 hour presentation on Family Therapy in Sioux Falls on Friday. I always assume I have so much to learn about things in my profession that I consider myself an amateur professional. I am wary of folks who think they know it all.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Renee, I would say that you are a highly trained and very experienced specialist. Sometimes, when people refer to themselves as professionals or experts, they tend to set themselves above and apart from other people who are not specialist. I think people should be encouraged to get involved in areas where there are highly trained specialist and not leave this work almost entirely in the hands of the highly trained specialists.

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  4. When we get back from the workshop we have to start our pepper seeds. We got them from New Mexico State University. We are trying Numex Heritage Big Jim and Numex Joe Parker. They are hot peppers. Husband has plans for 5 pole bean towers in the front yard, mainly Vermont Cranberry beans but also some Arikara Yellow and Blue Lake.

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  5. Everyone is being modest here, not wanting to claim expertise, and that is especially appropriate for me. As a kid I developed a habit of observing wildlife and then reflecting on it, looking for correlations and lessons. I’ve been told by people who actually are significantly talented that this is a useful set of habits for those who seek to understand patterns in nature.

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  6. Jack of all trades, master of none. I don’t think that’s modesty, just realism!

    Here’s MY question. If I want to grow Red Snap in my bales, when do I start them inside?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have any information about starting beans inside because I never started them inside. I haven’t used bales and don’t know if it would be possible start the beans in the bales by planting seeds in the bales. I would plant the seed in the bales if there is a way to do that. If you want to start beans inside I think the end of April or early May would be good because they grow quickly and can not be set out until the risk of frost has passed in mid or late May. They would get too big and be hard to transplant if started inside too early.

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      1. You can plant seeds in bales; I do it all the time.

        But ‘starting early’… well, if you get your bales prepping soon enough you’ll get some extra heat going inside the bale, but you still have to be aware of frost on emergence so I’d guess not.

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  7. I didn’t think I qualified as a significantly talented amateur until just now. I’m working on a new hospital in Cincinnati. All the typical trades are here as well as furniture movers, hospital officials and architects. Normally playing music is not allowed on construction projects but this group isn’t as restrictive; just keep the volume down and it’s okay. Long ago while listening to the Morning Show, I learned how fun it was compiling music based on a theme. I have accumulated thousands of songs on an external hard drive. From those I burn CD.s. This very morning I was playing a compilation I call ‘Baby Talk’. It begins with The Police Do Do Do Da Da Da. Continues to Trio Da Da Da. Do Wa Ditty. Etc. A suit guy asked me what radio station I was listening to. After finding out it was a CD, he wanted to know from where I had bought it. So far I have orders for four CDs. I guess I’m an amateur music editor and music thief. Please don’t turn me into ASCAP . I’m only getting two bucks a pop.

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  8. I think if we replace “significantly” with “somewhat”, we may get more baboons to admit to having talent.

    I have folk dancing talent, and I would like to think I’m pretty good at teaching folk dance. Organizing comes to mind, but I have found that there are lots of people at least as good as I am at that. Singing I’m good at reading notes and being on pitch, but voice quality is waning.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I’m unaware of any significant talent I have, but that hasn’t stopped me from getting involved in all kinds of community projects. Sometimes it’s organizers and worker bees that are needed to get a job done. After years and years on working on various community initiatives, it has become obvious to me that some of the more creative ones would never have been carried out if it weren’t for the pooling of the community’s talents and resources. When you have a team of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers, it’s amazing what can happen.

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      1. BiR, I consider myself blessed to live in a community that is rich in both talent and enthusiastic volunteers. Fun creative people who are willing to pitch in to make things happen. That’s what community is all about.

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        1. i live in a community full of arrogant people who control rather than let it go. its hard to stomach when you show up to help and get ramrodded into a mission you didnt and wouldnt sign up for.
          i leave early often

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  10. For me, it would have to be my dancing. Until my divorce at age 60, I’d never danced a day in my life. I started going to the local watering hole, a little dive bar with live bands only four minutes up the road. Little by little, my body started moving to/with the music. That was a decade ago, and the overwhelming responses showered on me still don’t make me think I’m more than average at dancing. One time at a pool party we were all dancing and I saw my shadow. I thought, “That’s kinda cool”. I’ve long since been dubbed “The Dancing Grandma”.

    Saturday nights are the highlight of most weeks. It almost feels like it’s a gas station for affection, aerobics, and kind words. I fill up, then when I start to run towards empty over the next few days, I fill up again. Live funk/soul bands flood me with so much adrenaline that the aches and pains of my age don’t show up until the next day. So many folks have assumed that I’m a professional dancer and are shocked when they find out I’m not, so I’d have to say that this amateur is a gifted dancer.

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        1. My girlfriend and I enjoyed being the oldest people dancing at a bar in the “hood”. Since I was often the only white man and was with a black woman, we attracted some attention. But since my play lists for the jukebox are throw back R and B, Motown, Memphis soul, we never had any problems. My icebreaker song is Play That Funky Music, White Boy.

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        2. This is a reply to the post below – “Play that Funky Music, White Boy” is a great tune. Michael Jackson’s music makes me crazy, but my all-time favorite song, which just won the Best Song Grammy, is “Uptown Funk”. Twenty years from now, I’ll still spring to my feet and dance to this one.

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  11. my field of expertise is in trying to encourage. i love to encourage people to go for it. kids young adults beginning entrepreneurs, start up folks. people who dont know how or if to start. ill tell them to go for it.
    i encourage my kids and try to help them go into things they hesitate to try because of uncertainty. i tell them security is only for the insecure.
    if you dont learn from what gets done wrong around me you are missing the best contributions i have to offer.
    i joined a local guitar groupa nd enjoy that on fridays a couple times a year, woodworking, art, mushroom people, hiking and doing sprt stuff like cross country sking, or snowshoeing, expertise? how about in bs ing
    im ok at that

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    1. In the 60s, I worked part time running the deli for the Lincoln Del on Hwy 12. When no one was looking, I’d slice up an eclair, wolf it down a slice, then dart over to the potato salad for a spoonful of that. Back and forth all day long. Never got caught for that one!

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  12. Count me among the insignificantly talented. I tried to grow some fancy red beans once, but they didn’t sprout for me. I don’t think they were Red Swan, but some sort of Chinese long bean. I’d like to give them another try one of these years.

    Hide not your talents, they for use were made,
    What’s a sundial in the shade?

    – Benjamin Franklin

    I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.
    – Albert Einstein

    Liked by 2 people

    1. i used to love the story that einstein didnt know his own phone number because he never dialed it and now a dyas i understand. i dont know anyones phone number. it is all auto dial. i have no idea what my moms phone number is.

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