Dear Friends,

The weather has not been very summery here in the Green Mountains, as we have received a lot of rain and cooler temperatures. This has impacted some farmers who cannot get into their fields to harvest their first cut of hay both because the tractors don’t work that well in mud and because the sun is an important element in hay harvesting. Back when I first moved to Vermont and was a student at Goddard College, I worked at many odd jobs, including helping a French-Canadian farmer with his haying. On a sunny summer day, he would call and say in his heavily accented voice “time to pick up da bales.” I’d gather together a few friends and we would spend a hot summer day loading hay bales onto a trailer and then haul them to his barn and to stack them. Hard work, but a very fond memory.

The 4th of July was wet, too, although the gigantic slug we had for the Prickly Mountain float made it through the parade without getting rained upon. We have some interesting traditions for our float. We cannot come up with the idea more than 4 or 5 days before it is built, it must be people-powered and we have a strict $300 budget. Nevertheless, we have created some amazing floats and usually win the “Best Overall” award. I was inside the slug helping to carry it down the parade route. I haven’t been in the Prickly float for a couple of years since we have ridden our bikes in the parade in support of the local motorcycle rally. This year, I noticed that the inside of our float had been upgraded with duct tape cup holders and other accoutrements.

As you may have heard, the great news is that Steve Jobs is back on the job at Apple. Reports coming from the campus in Cupertino say he is looking good and energetic. While Apple seemed to roll on while Steve was on his medical leave, there is no question that he is the heart and soul of Apple. It is his vision and business sense that have led one of the most remarkable business stories in history. Welcome back, Steve!

In other Apple news, the latest Guide to Greener Electronics from Greenpeace continues a trend in reversing their pointed criticism of Apple by giving them higher marks. While Dell, HP and others are delaying plans to remove PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFR), Macs are nearly free of PVC and have no BFRs whatsoever. We encourage Apple to continue to lead in this important area!

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