Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tuesday--

Looks like a good day to stay inside.  The weather people are showing a nasty mix of rain, sleet, and snow in the area.  I thought I heard rain last night just before I drifted off and we saw ice on our storm door.

We laughed all the way through this article.  I did a double take to make sure it was indeed the Guardian and not the Onion.  I love the author's comments on the DEA agent's hypocrisy concerning agricultural deforestation and erosion involved with commercial marijuana growing while the same goes on with other commercial crops but doesn't seem to elicit the same level of concern.  I find it disturbing that the jerk thinks he is dealing with "science" and "facts."

On the surface this sounds like a good idea.  But on second look I don't think so.  I remember a saying often attributed to Daniel Moynihan that we are "entitled to our own opinion" but "not our own facts."  The problem is defining what are "facts."  Using software that rates posts on how few statements conflict with the received wisdom of what the net consensus agrees are true facts is no better than relying on the consensus of public opinion.  That consensus might be very wrong.  Think about the dueling "facts" concerning the downing of that airliner over Ukraine:  the Russians claiming that it was shot down by a Ukrainian military plane while the U.S. claimed that Russian backed rebels shot it down with an surface to air missile.  Whatever evidence either side presented to bolster their case the other side pooh-poohed as fabricated, misinterpreted or otherwise suspect.  Which "facts" do you trust?  I don't like the notion that Google will be the gate keeper for the 'net and especially not one that relies community consensus to determine fact.

Another article that had us laughing all the way through it.  We stopped using most prepared foods because we realized we didn't like the taste and wondered why we put that "crap" in our mouths.  We produced much tastier food when we made it ourselves.  When Mom had an bit of an elevated blood pressure her doctor worried about we looked at salt and decided to cut our use of salt here at home and began looking at the salt content of the food we bought.  (Her blood pressure spike was due to something other than the salt--as her other doctor discovered.) Because of that concern, driven by medical advice, we buy very few canned veggies anymore, having already cut out processed foods, and only those that have no added salt.  We have since loosened up on that a bit but we still don't buy many canned veggies or soups.  We have lost our taste for the salt and added sweeteners in commercially produced foods.  They just aren't palatable anymore.  If that is "orthorexic" behavior, I am orthorexic and proud of it.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Saturday--

In the deep, deep freeze again.  Somewhere between -6 and -8F.  We don't have anywhere to go and nothing to do outside so we will be staying inside and warm.

I like seeing new (to me, if not exactly new to everyone else) gardening techniques.  Here is a DIY set up for a vertical aeroponic set up I found because this commercial application intrigued me.  Vertical systems are very interesting because I have a very limited horizontal area to use.

Sunday--

Welcome to March.  We had a bit of light snow overnight which is continuing now and it is about 25 degrees warmer.  This photo of the "slurpee wave" off Nantucket has made the round on the various news outlets.  It has been the coldest February here as well though the snow total, thankfully, did not make the record books over all.  The weather people tell us that the "normal" temperature for this time of year is around 40.  We might get one day of that mid-week.  And the "normal" for the end of March is low 50s.  All I can say is "from you mouth to the weather gods' ears."--

Monday--

After the snow ended yesterday we had another 2 inches.  It looks clear right now but it is still dark.  The weather people say we should have sun though the temps will say below 20.

There is one thing I definitely do not want to participate in:  the internet of things.  I don't want my refrigerator compiling my grocery list, sending it via e-mail to my local store to be filled and delivered while they bill my bank account directly.  Nor do I want to take pictures with my phone and up load them directly to my "cloud" account.  Or surf with my "smart phone."  I don't need to control my thermostat with my cell phone.  I sincerely hope the day never comes when I have no choice but to participate.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Thursday--

We woke to a fresh blanket of snow.  How thick it is we don't know yet since it is still dark.

Gene Logsdon, the Contrary Farmer, has a piece about the cranky, obstinate, and magically driven machines that rule the world.  Or at least one variety of them--old tractors.

Friday--

Single digit temps this morning.  The snow yesterday only amounted to a couple of inches of light, easily shoveled fluff.

I saw stories about an edible coffee cup that McDonalds (I think) is introducing in Britain.  Cute idea to drink the coffee and then eat the cup.  I found this item about another proposal to provide coffee cups with a life after coffee.  The Kickstarter proposal involves using recycled paper embedded with wild flower seeds.  Drink the coffee and plant the cup.

I am always on the look out for different plants that might be interesting to grow.  I found this by way of Carolee Newsletter and followed up with a quick internet search that took me to Territorial Seed.   A grafted plant with tomatoes on the top and potatoes below.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday--

Expecting snow (more snow) today.  We have small mountains of snow that won't disappear soon and the mountains keep growing.  The weather people made a point of saying that even though "meteorological spring" starts March 1 winter is hanging on.  I don't consider meteorological seasons.  Spring equinox is March 20th at 5:45pm.  That is when the shadow of the house recedes to the top of the fence and the patio gets more direct and reflected light.  The Essential Herbal Blog post this morning reflects our mood: tired of another winter that is anything but what once was normal.  She has some very pretty pictures that remind us of what we (hopefully) can expect in the months ahead.

I have seen more stories like this and they piss me off.  Are we becoming a nation of restful, spiteful, self-righteous spies?  All driven by politicians who specialize in using the politics of bitter envy to drive their ambitions.

Long ago we decided, if we ever had pets again--not likely but possible, we would prepare their foods the same way we do ours--from scratch.  This is why.  We have seen too many stories about pets getting sick on questionable foods many from formerly reputable brands.

We have thought for some time that the medical advice on children and allergies (i.e., avoiding things like peanuts that trigger allergic reactions) was a bit off kilter.  It sounds good on the face.  If something is likely to cause an allergic reaction keep it away from the child until they are older.  However, the immune system has to be used to function.  When we aren't exposed to allergens we don't develop a tolerance for them.  When my siblings and I were old enough to go on solid foods, Mom pureed a small bit of what she fixed for the family for us to eat.  None of us had serious allergies and all of us outgrew them.  Evidently, doctors now have experimental evidence that small exposures at a young age reduces the number of kids with serious allergies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The deep freeze is back right on schedule.  Raw temps are bad enough but we have a bit of a breeze which drops the feel to mid-double digits below zero.  Weather like this makes spring feel much further away than a month.

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Didn't see much I wanted to comment on yesterday.  The post-mortem on the Oscars dominated the news but that is a topic I have no interest in.  I haven't seen any of the movies and don't intend to see any of them.  The (s)news machine seems intent on hyping events like the Oscars, the Superbowl, etc.,  Once upon a time those would have been relegated to a small segment in the entertainment, social, or sports reports but that is what dominates new reports now.  That is why I no longer watch much news.  And what time isn't given over to "infotainment" is dedicated to repeating whatever story, however inconsequential, that the programmers think will titillate viewers.  Oh, well--enough grousing.  Let's see what I might find today.

Four more new craters have been found in Siberia and scientists are scrambling to explain them.  The pictures are stunning.

I follow Susan Being Snippy for her craft work but this is interesting because it reflects what I think when I see articles about retirement planning.  They don't really apply to me because I spent so much of my time doing low paid work while trying to get the education that would move me into a good paying career only to find the economic ground cut out from under me each time.  I had no 401k, no pension, and not much savings because every time I got a bit ahead something happened to wipe it out.

Interesting, and a bit scary.  The old saying tells us that the first step in getting out of a hole is to stop digging but those figures say that even if we stop digging we can't get out of the fiscal hole.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Another wave of very cold weather coming in.  Our temperature actually broke 30F yesterday but by this evening we should be only in the single digits.

For the most part we decided some time ago to ignore most "modern" dietary advice.  This article explains why.  Americans have essentially been lab rats for nutrition scientists for the last two generations with the result that we have epidemic levels of diabetes, obesity and other types of ill health.  What really burns me is all these nutritional experts had plenty of warning that their notions were flawed.  Take a quick read through the introductory chapters in Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.  And think about the furor when the new dietary guidelines were published and how loud the cry was from corporate interests who feared a hit to their bottom line.  And while you are thinking, consider where the money comes from to conduct nutrition studies--those same corporations.

It used to be a sarcastic joke that you should only go to the hospital if you were likely to die anyway because the illness you could get in the hospital were just as likely to kill you.  One of the persistent stories this past week involved several people, two of whom (at last count) died, infected by a particularly nasty, multi-antibiotic-resistant bacterium.  Worse--the instruments which were the source of the infections was a commonly used and difficult to disinfect or sterilize--even using the recommendations provided by the manufacturer.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

We have a brief respite from the brutal cold before we go back into the deep freeze late tomorrow.  The temperature should get up to 30F (give or take a degree) which will feel like a minor heat wave.

Interesting and quirky story.

Evidently the cause(s) of Colony Collapse Disorder may go beyond one kind of pesticide and may be difficult to solve.  That is especially true in our industrialized agriculture system where the massive application of pesticides on GMO monocultures is the quickest and easiest way to the largest profit.

We noticed some time ago that the time allotted to programs on TV (cable or otherwise) has shrunk while the number of ads are expanding.  Evidently the networks are engaging in other tactics to get more ads in.  Another reason we reduced our service to simple basic and got Netflix.