Saturday, August 29, 2015


I left the dehydrator running overnight because I had three trays of tomatoes in it and they still had a considerable ways to go before they were dry.  I was prepared to continue the operation if need be but the tomatoes were all nicely finished when I turned off the machine about 5am this morning.  Since we now have rain the dehydrator will have a nice day off.  See if the weather drys up tomorrow before collecting anything more from the garden.  I saw a nice bowlful of beans developing.  They should be ready by Monday or Tuesday.

This is a problem for customers of HSBC in the UK but is a cautionary tale for us on this side of the pond.  How much do you trust your bank?  And what happens when trust is broken in a system that runs on trust?

For a good while now I have seen stories about the "ghost cities" in China.  Now add "zombie factories" into the mix.  But the description of how some of those factories have been kept on life support (restructuring loans, requiring only interest repayment, and giving new loans that have little likelihood of being repaid) reminds me of what the "Troika" has been doing to Greece.

So, they have a banking problem in the UK and one in Australia as well.  Coincidence?   Probably but it doesn't do much to bolster confidence in the banking system.

I saw this earlier this morning and had only one question:  if people are pulling cash out of stocks and bonds, where are they putting it?

Well, the news media has been beating the dead horse of the Katrina 10th anniversary.  I have ignored most of it as much as possible.  Like so much else in this country these days it has the feeling of propaganda, of a Potemkin village affair.  Evidently I am not the only one--and I have never been to New Orleans so I can only suspect that it is a plastic replica of what was once authentic.

Friday, August 28, 2015


Harvested enough tomatoes to fill two-thirds of my large wire strainer and almost as much of Gold Marie and Blauhilde beans.  I gave two of the Amish Gold and about half of the cherry tomatoes to one of our neighbors.  We had unseasonably cool temperatures and clouds all day yesterday.  No rain, though, so I need to water containers this morning.  Planning to harvest spearmint today and, perhaps, lavender.

I have been reading about the algal bloom on the west coast for a while now.  Anyone notice how the environment is "missing in action" in our political discourse?  I have.

For something like the last forty years I have noticed this fact and it makes me laugh every time Mothers' Day rolls around and the news media trot out the saccharine stories about how valuable mother's work is.  The hard truth is the unpaid work we do is not valued in this society.  It doesn't add to the GDP and economists rarely (if ever) take it into any account of economic activity.  I have always gardened when I could but beyond the inputs I purchase (tools, soil, seeds, plants, etc.) my gardening produces nothing of economic value, i.e. it doesn't add to the GDP.  Actually, it deducts from GDP in that I am not purchasing the items I grow from a commercial outlet (the supermarket.)  We rarely buy peppers because I grow them.  We don't buy many herbs because I grow them.  We will buy fewer sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and beans because I grow them.  I can't supply all our needs from my small space but we buy fewer and, therefore, contribute less to GDP.  Perhaps, we need better metrics by which to evaluate our economy.

It has been a busy day in the gardens.  Harvested some more tomatoes including a bunch of green ones which are now fried and either eaten or in the freezer.  I left four ripe slicers (Amish Gold) on the counter while the rest of the slicers and all of the cherry tomatoes are now in the dehydrator.  Also drying are several ripe and several green shishito peppers, oregano, chocolate mint and lavender.  The herbs will dry much faster than the tomatoes and peppers but I can remove those and grind them tomorrow morning and then add sweet basil and sage and perhaps something else to dry along with the tomatoes and peppers.  We find our freezer space very constrained and have pretty much reached capacity there so the choice is either dry some of the produce or get a pressure canner which is a pricey option.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


I didn't do much yesterday except work through the tomato jungle to harvest another bowlful of ripe tomatoes and water the gardens.  I didn't find anything worth linking to or talking about.

I don't know if I will find much today but this alone is worth a link.  I really, really hope that Trump is not the Repthuglican nominee--though I don't want to see any of the others with a realistic shot at the presidency.  It is a matter of degree.  Trump is at the bottom of the list along with Walker, Cruz, Perry, and Christie.  The rest of the clowns are only a slight bit better.  More human.  I will give him credit for underlining the hateful aspects of the Repthuglican party.  Unfortunately the electorate doesn't seem to recognize the ugliness of those attitudes.  How utterly inhuman and inhumane they are.

Friday, August 21, 2015


The thunderstorms expected yesterday passed us by.  I harvested a nice bowlful of cherry tomatoes which I cooked with the romas, some jalapeƱos, onions and basil.  I will put it through the blender for sauce and package them for the freezer.  The temperatures remained fairly cool so we opened the doors for the fresh air.  I saw a number of little tasks that I should get done it it stays dry today.


Very cool day yesterday--stayed in the low 70s.  Got the tomatoes done and froze five more one-pound packages.  The next batch I will simply stew and can.  We have put all the tomatoes we can in the freezer if we want space for what else we have in there.  I harvested a nice meal-worth of Blauhilde beans.  We are looking forward to having them tomorrow with our supper.  Reports say they are a very tasty bean.  I also collected some seeds from the tong ho before deadheading it.  Harvested three Amish Gold and a large double handful of cherry tomatoes.  I had thought I wouldn't have enough to do stewed tomatoes till the week after next.  I might be wrong.  Also collected a few Gold Marie beans and added them to what we have in the freezer.

I found this item which explains a blurb I heard on the TV news yesterday.  It irritates me how so often this kind of information is just a blurb while we hear all kinds of meaningless detail about celebrities and politicians.  More and more aggressive treatments for various cancers are getting a second look and the results indicate they don't really do much for the patients.  But we noted that, as a society, we have been very carefully taught to freak out at the mention of the word "cancer."  Perhaps that is one aspect of former President Jimmy Carter's reaction so refreshing--calm, collected, thoughtful, and unhurried.

Once upon a time, errant Catholics could fork over some gold (or silver or other valuables) and get an indulgence that forgave their sins.  Now all it takes for the born-again Christians is as sincere an apology as they can fake it promising to be good hence forth and thanking a forgiving god for forgiving them.  And they do it again and again and again... .  Isn't it nice that god has made their redemption so much easier.  They don't even take a hit to their wallets anymore.

Rather an ironic setting for Rand Paul to make his pitch about ending birthright citizenship--not far from the Haiti-Dominican Republic border where the DR is forcibly deporting people who were once citizens but have now been stripped of citizenship.

There is something incredibly pathetic about this situation.  Susie Madrak's first paragraph says everything that needs to be said.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Another round of thunder storms last night with very heavy rains.  I will see what happened to the gardens when we have some light outside.  But the sunflowers are visible above the fence so they are still standing.  More storms might come through until mid afternoon so I may not get much done outside.

A bit of garden/harvest humor from the Contrary Farmer.  I have a wire bowl-shaped strainer with a flat bottom I use to collect whatever is ripe in the garden.  I sympathize with the problem of where to put it when I need both hands.  Usually I can put it on top of the garbage tote which has a reasonably flat space on the lid and, since I won't be more than three steps away from it anywhere in the garden, taking those steps is no hardship.  Sometimes, like today, the tote is on the curb for collection and then finding a place to balance it can be a problem.  Need to think about providing myself with little shelves here and there for that purpose.  It doesn't have to be permanent.  Just something I can set up and take down as needed.

This is an interesting development.  It is a good indication of exactly how far from the society I grew up in.  Then a person tried to find a full time job that would take them all the way to retirement--a retirement in part funded through a benefits package negotiated with the company (usually through a union.)  But given the changed circumstances the advice of some of the self-sufficiency/independence minded bloggers might be a good option: develop multiple income streams from numerous economic activities.

Ah, some gems do come out of the mud of this political silly season.  Read through this for some more information.  I especially like two parts.  First where Cruz, Sr. says in an interview that he became a Canadian citizen while he resided in Canada and did so before his son was born.  Second, where a Canadian official in their Immigration and Naturalization offices says that Ted was born in Canada to two Canadian parents.  Ted's contention that his mother's birth in Wilmington, Delaware, makes her, and therefore him, a citizen is ridiculous if she became a Canadian citizen before he was born.  His renouncing his birthright Canadian citizenship doesn't make him a U.S. citizen and, even if he applied for and received U.S. citizenship that would not make him a natural born American which the Constitution requires for a person to hold office as President.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Like yesterday it will be hot and sticky.  The weather people say thunder storms should come in later and persist into the wee hours of tomorrow morning and again later tomorrow afternoon.  I watered everything anyway--I can't trust that the rain that comes (if it comes) will actually be enough for the plants.  I was watering the sunflowers outside my fence, spacing out while the one pot got thoroughly soaked when a movement caught the corner of my eye.  It was a small female hummingbird visiting the Sunset runner beans I was currently watering.  After dipping her beak into a couple of flowers she realized someone big and possibly dangerous was near and zipped away.   We had notice the hummingbirds visiting but thought they were interested in the sunflowers.  Maybe they were interested in the runner beans and Blauhilde beans with their pink and purple flowers (respectively.)

Some little time ago the Contrary Farmer mentioned the Contrary Minister and I found a new blog to add to my favorite will-read-every-post list.  He has another good one today.


It is very early--not quite 5 am yet.  The thunderstorms are weakening a bit.  Heavy rain but not heavy wind this time.  The thunder was strong enough to shake the house and rattle the windows.  No extensive gardening today and no watering.

Lovely statistics in this post--and, yes, I am being very sarcastic.  As a society, we don't really value life no matter how many Repthuglican idiots claim to be "pro life."  If we were we would be spending more of our healthcare resources on maternal and child health.  But our "sick" care system would rather peddle drugs that cost in the high six figures for a three month course of treatment than make sure all women have good prenatal care and all children (born and unborn) receive needed medical treatment.  The one pads the bottom line while the other--doesn't.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


We had a wild night of thunderstorms last night.  We know the sunflowers were toppled--again.  If they aren't damaged all I need to do is set the containers (5 gal buckets) to get things back to normal.  I will see when it is light out--and see how everything else is.  I have noticed over the last week how much daylight we have lost.  It was dark last night by quarter after 8.  That is half an hour earlier than a month ago.

Well, it is about four hours later than when I wrote the first paragraph.  The sunflowers are upright again.  Only lost one spray of nearly spent blossoms (3 of them).  I moved the window box style planters I had spanning the distances between the sunflower pots inside and replaced them with the plastic patio chairs we have never used except as planters--or rather, as planter stands.  I didn't want to risk the long planters to another wind storm.  So far they haven't broken with all of the bouncing they have done.  I put the large broken pot that is barely holding together on one.  At the end of the season I will try to transplant the rosemary and sage into small pots to overwinter in the house.  The basil that shares the pot will be dried and ground.  I have another inside already.  The peppermint occupies the other chair as it did inside the fence.  Next year all of those will be in the tall herbs that will (I hope) have a lower center of gravity and be more stable.  We have never experienced wind like that this late in the season and rarely during the spring thunderstorm season.


I intend to make this a lazy day of puttering.  Supposed to be another warm day.  I will probably need to water some of the gardens.  I will wait for the cooler temperatures expected for later in the week to do the cleaning up in the mini-greenhouse.