Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I knew I shouldn't have posted earlier. Usually I don't find anything after going through my various blogs, news sites, and the google alerts. However, this is interesting. If the Feds do carry through with the 'new' tactic of targeting corporate execs for the abuses practiced in their companies' names we might actually get some form of accountability. The major problem has been that the individuals who have the responsibility for making the decisions in their corporations have been able to get off relatively lightly as the penalties, usually pitifully light, were applied to the companies. But, as an old saying holds, a 'committee is the only living organism with four or more legs and no brain.' The same goes for any collective grouping including, perhaps especially, companies in the modern economy. I often wondered during the Deepwater Horizon spill if we shouldn't somehow devise a death penalty for bad companies.
Good morning to you all. It was nice yesterday--dry and warm. I would still like something that resembled spring but, once again, we won't get that. The weather people say that this May was one of the five wettest ever. Funny, because just two weeks ago the rainfall levels were almost half an inch below normal. Most of my plants are doing well. However, I have to consider what to do about the beans and cucumbers--neither have done well. I have a couple of spots in the large containers that might do well for them. I may make a new start there. I can always put flowers in their places in the pots. I have three tomatoes and one pepper that are already blooming.

Thanks for the hug, Kay.

I have been following this story from Europe because it sounds so familiar. And they are having the same difficulty tracing the source of the contamination.

While the news media is spending obscene amounts of time on Sarah's 'non-'political bus tour and Snookie's fender-bender in Italy, Tom Englehardt asks a question that has been in my mind for some time: is America now a 'post-legal' society?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Good morning, everyone. I am finally feeling somewhat human. Mom and I have spent the last several days fighting very nasty colds. We still aren't fully recovered but at least we aren't totally wiped out. This weather hasn't helped either. Cold and wet. Nothing done in the gardens. I have to get busy and maybe this week I will be able to do so. It looks like someone flipped a switch. We couldn't get out of the 60s last week and will be in the 80s and 90s this week. Thankfully the heavy rains did not damage any of the plants. I kept the milk carton cloches on the ground cherries and the shades I had put up protected the rest from the rain. Has some wind but it didn't damage anything around here. Parts of Michigan and Chicago weren't so lucky.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Good morning, everyone. We have bright sun again today but cooler temperatures before a couple of days of cool rainy weather moves in tonight and tomorrow. But none of the low temps are predicted to be low enough to threaten my plants. The news just showed some pictures of damage from a tornado spawned by the same system that hit Joplin--in Rensselaer, Indiana. Not that far from here. Luckily, from the scanty coverage, the damage was isolated and minor.

So Tim Pawlenty has thrown his hat into the Presidential circus ring with the promise to tell us the Truth when no one else will. I guess that depends on how you define 'truth.' The Political Wire has a couple of links which show just how slippery the definition can be.

I think your God has been talking to mine, Lois. I am pretty sure we're all ok. And Kay's yawn has echoed here on the rescheduling of the Rapture.

This is a little late today. I did my library run and visited the Menards and Home Depot garden departments. I still had 2 tubs with almost nothing in them. After moseying through I finally settled on three new tomatoes (2 heirloom, 1 hybrid), a cilantro, a 'sweet' mint (their name for spearmint), a miniature pink rose that (surprise, surprise) has a strong rose smell, and several flowers. I transplanted the tomatoes, cilantro, mint, and rose. Also place the three ground cherries in their final homes. I don't plan on anything for the next couple of days if it is as cool and wet as forecast. But we were really pleased to see that the yellow cherry tomato has blossoms on it. We shut the front door and bedroom window because the temp has dropped from about 80 to 70 over the last couple of hours. And the wind has picked up.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Good morning, everyone, and what a night of nasty weather. We had thunderstorm and tornado warnings and watches last night. Thunderstorms rumbled through here but we, thankfully, missed the hail and tornados. The temperatures here reached the high 80s yesterday (low 90s on the patio). I had to water the containers well for the first time. I also moved the lettuce because the plants really did not like the sun. They were wilting even though they had plenty of moisture. I changed out the plastic and put up the cloth awnings to shade the tomatoes. This roller coaster weather ride is getting very old.

As if the foreclosure mess really needed another Catch-22. Is it any surprise that the banks deny any responsibility in this? An owner is an owner--unless it is a bank. If any individual failed to maintain their property properly and created the kinds of public nuisances described here, the city would have a court order and a lien so fast the owner's head would swim. But bringing even legal pressure to bear on the too-big-too-fail national and international banks? Very difficult indeed. Perhaps the cities should cut their losses, seize the properties under eminent domaine, and sell the properties to recoup some of their costs.

I don't know if Mitch Daniels is as bad as Kassich, Kay. He isn't nearly as nasty as the Repthuglicans who control our legislature. I was pleased to see an article that said the effort to put that SB 5 on a referendum is likely to succeed. I am afraid I may have to reconsider my earlier notion that I wouldn't vote for either Obama or which ever Repthuglican emerges to challenge him. Obama may be the lesser of many evils. Unfortunately, I found out about the community garden experiment too late to even consider getting a plot. I hope they expand the program next year and open up plots closer in.

We agree, Lois. We, also, wonder why the 'end of the world' message seems to have touched a chord. For the last couple of years I have seen numerous tv shows on that theme. Many centered on the so-called Mayan calendar end-of-time predictions or Nostradamus. The news last night interviewed the 'true believer' who put up so many of the billboards to announce 'the Rapture.' He is going to leave the ads up because he thinks that though they got the specific day wrong the event will come this year. Wishful thinking, maybe?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Good Morning to you all. Well, I guess the end of the world has been put on hold. No earthquake here and everything is as it was yesterday morning. Except it is sunny and we expect temps in the 80s.

I didn't get anything done in the gardens yesterday. The clouds we had for most of the day rather took my energy away. Besides I am still debating with myself what else is going to go where.

So our Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels will not be running for President. Smart man!! At least in this matter. I am not enthusiastic about any candidate in any party.

Just browsing around on the internet yesterday I found that my town has this year started a trial community garden. They only had, I think they said, 20 10x10 plots available (for $10 each) and I found about it well after the last one had been claimed. I hope they can continue it and I would love to have some new plots opened up nearer to me. The first garden is located in the far north of the town--not at all convenient. I would much rather have a plot within walking distance.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Good Saturday morning to everyone out there. We had a nice sunny and dry day yesterday. I got my lemon verbena moved and rosemary into their own large pots. Also got the new tomato, oregano, and lavender planted. I still have two large containers not even started yet. One will be my greens container later when the temperatures get too high for the lettuce and spinach to thrive. These two are in a shady part of the patio. I will have to take a trip to Home Depot and Menards to get some inspiration this week. The impatiens seem to like their new home--not evident transplant shock at all. I want to put some new lettuce and spinach seeds out today. I put the little pots into the large containers yesterday. Hopefully the rains will be very scattered.

The weather people said that over the last almost 3 months (from March through now) we had two months (March and May) with less rainfall than normal and one (April) with significantly more. Result--we are just .2 inches below normal. Actually, I was surprised that April wasn't wetter given how few sunny days we had.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Good morning, again, everyone. Here it is the end of another week and only one full week left in this fifth month of this year. We should have temps in the 70s so I will uncover everything for the day. I have a good system so I can get all the containers covered or uncovered quickly. Everything looks dry enough to get some of the plants in their permanent places. I have to move the lemon verbena because I forgot how big it gets. Like 5 feet. But it is, as one blogger called it, the queen of the lemon flavored/scented herbs.

I think I agree with you, Kay. Mother Nature is certainly pissed with us. And, when I read stories like this, I often wonder if we, given our leaders, have a collective death wish.

On another note: you asked before about shade loving plants, Kay. I just put in some impatiens in my table-top planter which will be in shade all summer. I chose them because they are supposed to like shade. I got the run of the mill plants; not the more exotic New Guinea type which are way too expensive. The local Home Depot had some on sale--a 6 plant flat for $.99.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good morning to you all on this cool and gray (again) day. The weather people promised some sun sometime this afternoon. If so I will get out and get some gardening done. Whether or no we get that sun, I want to get the smaller plants I brought in over the last very cool nights back outside. I also have a new tomato (German Queen), some impatiens, rosemary, lavender, and oregano to find homes for but not before we get some sun and it dries out. April proved to be dismal with the fewest sunny days ever for the month. I wonder where May is on the lists. We certainly haven't had much sun even with the three 80s and the 90 last week.

Tom Englehardt expresses so much of my attitude toward the 'news' of late. By one definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result) our leaders are so very insane.

This item from the Pueblo Chieftain also echoes some of my bemusement over the strange weather patterns we have been seeing. With one breath we express amazement over the flooding in the Mississippi valley (and its tributaries) while with the next we take note of the extreme drought in west Texas, Southern Colorado, and western Nebraska. At the same time we watch the pictures of the tornado in Maryland. How often have you heard of tornadoes in Maryland!!!?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Good morning, everyone. I may have mis-spoke when I said the garden was doing well. I woke this morning to find my little melons drooping. Last night only four were. I think the wind on Monday may have damaged them more than I thought. I remember the winds in Colorado doing similar damage to my plants but that has not been a problem here--until now. I brought all of the free standing plants in Monday evening because the weather people predicted possible frost. I covered all of the large containers. Everything out there (knock on wood) are doing well and almost everything inside. I will put most of the pots back outside but with protection. Oh, well--live and learn. If I have to I can restart the melons.

This really doesn't surprised me. Not since I live in a state where the state supreme court has recently decided that citizens don't have the right to resist the police even when the police are engaging in illegal activities--like forcing their way into your home without consent, search warrant or probable cause. Despotism is most definitely on the march in the land of the (now un-) free.

Crooks & Liars has another excellent entry in the 'skewed Republican values' file. I don't think I can adequately express my disgust. I can understand questioning the education system and reforming it where necessary but not in cutting the education budget and then shifting the money to formula 1 racing!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good morning, again, to you all. I just posted what I wrote yesterday but left unfinished. I didn't have much to say. The news is all very much the same as every other day. I will see if there is anything worth commenting on as I go through my favorite news sites and blogs. Like you, Kay, I try to visit each day. I don't necessarily read everything because I also have a long list of sites on my list and not every writer has something interesting (to me) every day. I am sure that I don't interest everyone who visits every day either. Nor do I always comment. But I always visit.

I did see something interesting this morning on our local news. Farmers in China have had an epidemic of exploding watermelons. It seems they overused fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals in an attempt to make more money. The only part of the story that surprised me was the exploding part. That farmers (anywhere) would succumb to the old notion 'if a little is good, more is better and a lot is best.' And the temptation to get bigger produce to market earlier is endemic, however you can do it.

As I said above, there isn't much new in the news--just new revelations about the same old themes. So a government audit of the five largest mortgage firms in the country reveals a pattern of rampant fraud on the government. These companies (and those they took over with government help) engaged in wholesale fraud on borrowers. Why should the government be any different? The only question is how much of that fraud will they get away with. They are trying real hard arguing that they are so important in our economy that we should over look their predatory behavior.

I am a bit bemused by a juxtaposition on the news over the last couple of days by the story of the head of the IMF in a US jail accused of attempted rape of a hotel chambermaid, Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed to be the father of child with a long time family employee a decade ago, and the question on a CNN viewer poll of whether the sexual misconduct of public figures should be held against them. As usual, the question is rather broad and indiscriminate. A politician who runs on a theme of 'family values' who cheats on his wife? Hell, yes!! An international banker who tried to force sex on an unwilling woman? Most definitely!! A ten-year-old affair discovered after the politician has left office? Maybe. Maybe not.

However, the e-mails CNN received on the issue show an interesting gap. On the one hand, one group sees the 'private' moral decisions or honesty in private dealings as an indicator of the honesty and morality of the public person in his/her public dealings. On the other hand, another group thinks that there should be a wall between public and private lives and decisions. An interesting problem.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Good morning, everyone. Though cold we have sun today which makes it nice. It is amazing how a bit of sun makes me feel so much better. That system that just left with the rain is supposed to back in some clouds on Wednesday. I covered up my little peppers last evening--just in case, since so many of them are still a bit small. I hoped the temps would not fall low enough to threaten the tomatoes and other plants and it didn't. Everything is doing well.

I did fritter well yesterday, Kay. I read all of the news and blogs I usually do (those with new posts) but didn't comment on anything. I also lounged around with a couple of e-books. For the past couple of weeks I have been playing with a new Nook. I find I like it a lot more than I thought I would. I find two features attractive: the e-books are significantly less expensive than the physical books and you can store so much is such a small space. The only draw back right now is that I can't easily page back to find something to review it. Nor is it easy to check out footnotes and then come back to the same page I left. I think as I become more adept at using it I will overcome some of those issues.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Good morning, everyone. Wet and cold again today. We have had a bit more than an inch over the last 24 hours alone. This is supposed to end sometime today so by Tuesday or Wednesday I might be able to do some more planting. Today, however, will be a frittering day.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Good morning, again, everyone. Cool and wet today. We expect the temperatures to be much lower for the next week. We started out at 50 and dropped to 45. Should hit low to mid 60s this afternoon. I won't need the shades for a while though I had to take the roses and ginger mint off the fence. They have enough foliage to make wind a real threat. Everything else is doing well.

Some thoughts I couldn't get to because blogger was down: I saw parts of the Senate hearings on the oil companies' tax breaks and subsidies this last week. I hate to agree with Senator Orin Hatch about anything but I also think the whole thing will be a meaningless 'dog and pony show.' At least as far as any effective legislation goes. I agree with Senator Rockefeller that the oil company execs are out of touch with ordinary Americans but then I think most execs are. And Senator Schumer did a nice job of putting one of the execs on the spot with his question about why is company's breaks and subsidies should have higher priority than support programs for college students. However, I think there were questions that hung in the background that no one asked. First, in our supposedly capitalistic economic system why should we be allowing any commercial enterprise any tax breaks? Especially companies that are making very good profits. Second, I think Schumer's question should be recast a bit. Why should we make a choice between giving breaks to companies that are so obviously doing very well and a system of funding higher education that creates a class of debt serfs whose education probably will not provide a base for economic security?

The news media has made a good bit out of the report this last week that Social Security will 'run out of money' a year earlier than previously projected. I notice that none of them reminded us of the 'tax holiday' our elected leaders so generously gave workers--the 2% reduction of FICA taxes collected on wages. Nor did they say anything about the drum beat for making that reduction permanent. Think there might be a connection here?

I was totally annoyed with the economic pundits talking about inflation this last week. They so readily dismissed the notion of inflation because there is no pressure to raise wages. Without increasing wages they don't believe we have inflation. This seems to be a parallel to the old saw that 'when your neighbor is out of work we have a recession; when you are out of work we have a depression.' When our costs for food, fuel and clothing go up it isn't really inflation but when employers have to pay more for our labor then we have an inflation problem.

I read the NYT story on this (thank you, Huffington Post for the link). However, I think Susie Madrak at Crooks & Liars perfectly expresses the absolute absurdity of the arguments the insurance industry gives for seeking double digit increases in their premiums.

This Daily Mail (UK) article is cute. I remember my grandfather using draft horses but that was 50 years ago. Since then I have seen sporadic articles about people using draft animals instead of tractors but only on small farms or on terrain that seriously challenged machinery.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Good afternoon, everyone. Blogger is finally back on line. I don't think I will say much more. We have temps 10 degrees cooler than yesterday. I spent the morning putting some little awnings up over some of my containers because I lost two tomatoes to the unseasonable high temperatures. I know that tomatoes like full sun but that little patio acts like an oven. I love the fact that the white fence essentially gives that area the equivalent to full sun but the concentration of the heat makes it very hard on lettuce and such as well as the young tomatoes. Also, tomato blossoms don't set over 95 degrees. I hope the awnings work. The little roses are putting out some nice new growth so I may wind up with some nice mini bushes eventually.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Good Thursday morning to you all. We have light fog and cloudy skies this morning. It should burn off and I can get some more gardening done. Thunderstorms rumbled through yesterday evening and last night. I worried about the oregano but it came through very well. It is still small. I lost one of the tomatoes and may lose another but not because of the storms. I don't know why they have failed to thrive. If the second one dies I will replace it with another from one of the garden center.

Happy Birthday, Lois, and many more to come.

Well, as I deadheaded the roses I found some healthy new growth. I also pruned back some dead canes. They just might make it.

I also got the ginger mint potted and in its place in one of the fence pot hangers. The cat nip and the ginger are well outside the large containers because mints are notoriously invasive. I will sink the pots into the large containers when I start cleaning up in the fall and mulch them for the winter. We will see how many of my herbs actually overwinter. I also put some cosmos and acorn squash in. I know, I know!! I had said I wouldn't do that but I find I have the room and I hope the deep collars I put around the tomatoes will keep the cosmos from pushing them out. Also, since the tomatoes are 6-8 inch seedlings while the cosmos are still seeds. I hope that is enough of an edge. I also got the poppies put into their permanent pot. Next year I will start them later in the pot. They did not like the peat plugs at all and the egg carton tray only slightly better. I still have the lemon verbena and stevia to place but there isn't any hurry about it.

Ronni Bennett has an entertaining post this morning on a day she accidentally frittered away. I totally relate. Every now and then I find my self at the end of a day when I got absolutely nothing done I had planned to do. It used to annoy me a lot and still does though not very often and not as intensely. Nothing I had planned to do was so earth shatteringly important that it absolutely had do be done then. Giving myself the right to 'fritter' also means that I can easily shift and do something on the spur of the moment--like visiting the farmer's market yesterday to get our year's supply of asparagus and some other items.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Good morning, everyone. It is cloud so far this morning. I hope that the clouds burn off and we get sun because I have a few more plants to get in their positions in the containers. I haven't yet done anything with the four large containers on the west side of the patio. That is where my last three tomatoes (just bought at one of our local nurseries) will go. I transplanted the two mini-roses Mom and I were given at Sister's on Mother's Day. They have positions in over-the-fence pot holders, along with cat nip, lemon balm, marigolds, oregano and love-in-a-mist. I will see what else I can put in over the next month. More lettuce and spinach for sure.

I found this story which had me shaking my head. I wondered why the IRS let this go on long enough for 5000 returns to be processed. I originally thought that the electronic filing ID would be unique for the individual filer but I was wrong. The number is assigned by the IRS to preparers who have been accepted into the e-file program. Those preparers are supposedly investigated before receiving the ID. This reminds me of the produce theft last month which involved the thieves setting up a shell company that passed the basic scrutiny from the shippers contracting to ship the produce.

John Mauldin's Outside the Box features a post that echoes thoughts I have had for some time--the GDP is an unrealistic measure of the country's economic health. The problem he points out is that the GDP doesn't distinguish between real economic production and debt fueled consumption. Both add to the GDP but only production adds to the economy. There are other illusory additions to GDP that boost the supposed economic health. For example, an industry that can make its products with worrying about the pollution it also produces adds to GDP. Then any costs to clean up the pollution (usually pushed off onto taxpayers in a classic example of privatizing the profits while socializing the costs) are also increases the GDP while repairing the damage that the original production caused. The argument that requiring companies to reduce their pollution will result in higher costs cuts no ice with me. Those who use the products may have to pay more but all of us must pay for some of us to get cheaper goods. What's fair about that?

The New York Times also published an article that echoes some thoughts that have been rattling around in my mind (especially since 9/11): we have defined 'security' almost exclusively as a military/police problem. Unfortunately, while we have thrown bundles of cash at military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and other areas only to be bogged down with little to show for the 'investment,' our transportation, educational, energy and other 'infrastructure' has gone to hell. And now so many of our politicians bleat that it is too expensive to repair, reform, or sustain those infrastructures while not saying a thing about rethinking the militarization of our 'foreign policy.' A hammer is a nice thing when your problem is a nail. When the problem isn't a nail, a hammer is, at best, useless and, at worse, destructive.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Good Monday morning to everyone out there. Yesterday was an absolutely perfect Mother's Day--temps in the 70s, dry, and bright sun. We may get some rain off and on but otherwise a carbon copy today.

My sister had a similar comment yesterday, Kay. I told her that the nice thing about being retired was I had the time for the things I want to do and can get away with not doing a lot of the things I don't like doing. And I can stage things so that none of it is so overwhelming that I am exhausted afterwards and can enjoy what I have done. And if I don't get everything I planned done--it doesn't really matter, tomorrow is another day. Give yourself some slack. You are probably doing more than you give yourself credit for.

Tomdispatch always has good articles and today's piece is right in line. Andy Kroll has some very good observations in his "How the McEconomy bombed the American Worker." It takes some very good shots at the 'good' news the mainstream media chose to emphasize last week.

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism asks some very pertinent questions at the end of her article. I haven't read the Superman issue she starts out with though I have seen it mentioned a couple of times in the mainstream media. I find it interesting that DC has gone this route. During the 1960s Superman came out very much on the establishment side of the cultural argument condemning the Hippies and others who advocated withdrawal socially and economically from a system they found repugnant. There was never a doubt that truth equalled justice equalled 'the American Way.' To find that triad of equivalents questioned is surprising to say the least.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Good morning to you all and Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers. We will be spending the afternoon with Sister who is cooking dinner.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Good morning, again, and TGIF for those of you for whom Friday still means the end of the work week. Actually, I should say the end of the paid work week. Days off were always the days I tried to get caught up on all of the necessary, but unpaid, work that makes the paid work week possible. We have sun and the temps are projected to rise into the mid 60s. We touched 70 yesterday.
Good Saturday morning to you all. I got side tracked yesterday. We went to the city's composting center and picked up a nice batch of compost to add to the containers. The city collects leaf and garden waste, composts it and gives it away free to non-commercial parties. Next year we will take a shovel with us and I think I will set up a box that I can line with a large leaf bag. We didn't know exactly what the process is so although I did take the leaf bags "just in case," we wound up raking the compost into the bag with the windshield squeegees. Not exactly efficient but we got the job done.

I got the last of the tomato seedlings in and I have space for a couple more plants. I will pick them up from one of the local garden centers. Eight of the peppers are also now in their final home and If we get some sun today I will put in the remaining four. That will leave space for a couple of more in the last two 5 gal buckets. The whole week looks good with temps in the 70s and 80s until a cool down next weekend.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Good morning, everyone. We had frost on the roofs this morning. According to our patio thermometer the early morning temperature fell to 38 degrees. But all my seedlings are fine. The plastic tents are doing the job nicely. Our city has a composting program for yard waste and distribute limited amounts to residential users free. We are going to stop by tomorrow and pick up some.

This report does not bode well for future food prices. A couple of days ago a news report noted in another of those one-liners that get ignored that a good percentage of Indiana corn farmers haven't been able to plant their crop yet because of flooding.

I wonder where the people you see moving into your area are coming from, Lois. I remember the early 90s when a lot of Californians hit by the dot.com bubble collapse moved into the front range around Ft. Collins and Boulder. They all had gained a lot of money from selling their homes in California at a market high. I remember benefiting from that because we got a good price for our house in Ft. Collins which funded our move to Missouri. I have read that a lot of displaced industrial workers from the 'rust belt' have been moving to the 'sunbelt' areas for the last 4 decades. That, however, has increased the demand for water in many very dry areas. I have been reading about the consequences of that for some time--like the legal conflicts with Mexico over the distribution of water from the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers, like the fact that the Colorado no longer empties into the Baja and hasn't for some time, like the disappearance of some rivers feeding the Rio Grande and seasonal disappearance of stretches of the Rio Grande.

You have a good point, Kay, on the simultaneous growth of suburbs at the same time that cities shrink. That has happened in Chicago as people moved out of the city proper to the collar communities. Ten or twelve years ago people followed the maxim "drive till you qualify" when looking for housing. But, in Chicago at least, that trend has been reversing a bit over the last couple of years with the rise in gas costs reversed the economic incentives. For those who could recoup the equity in their homes, that is. No one I have read has tied the financial troubles the cities face to the population loss--not even in the discussions of Detroit's problems. But is it surprising that tax revenues are down if the population has declined? I am not sure that the suburbs are thriving all that well. They depended on wage earners with good city jobs. I have read a number of accounts of suburbs becoming economic disaster zones as larger proportions of the population saw their city jobs disappear and their house values drop like a rock.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Good morning on this cold and cloudy Wednesday. The skies are supposed to clear and the temps go to about 60. Checked all the seedlings and they are doing well. If we do get the 60 predicted and the wind dies down I may try to get some more transplanting done. We'll see.

I was surprised by the news last night about the flooding at Cairo, Illinois. Not because of the flooding itself. After all, the town lies at the confluence of the Mississippi and the Ohio. Nor because of the plan to breach the downstream levees to relieve the floods upstream. But because of the description of Cairo as a 'town of 2800.' My paternal grandmother used to shop there and I remember going with her the summer she taught me to sew when we bought the fabric for a dress in Cairo. I remembered a lot more people. According to Wikipedia the 2010 census put the population at a little more than 2800--considerably less than the high of 15,000 in 1920. Rather brought home the stories I have been reading of the depopulation of some northern cities such as Detroit which has lost about half of its population over the last 20 years and is expected to loose even more over the next decade.

The mainstream 'snews' media is irritating me more frequently of late and the coverage of the death of bin Laden has reached a new high on the irritation meter. Consider the question posed on several news programs: do you feel safer now that bin Laden is dead? (paraphrasing various similar questions.) No, I don't feel safer. But, then, I didn't feel terribly unsafe in the aftermath of 9/11. Frankly I was very bemused by the responses of numerous acquaintances some of whom appeared on the verge of outright hysteria. Do you think the unity being expressed by Americans in the streets will translate to unity among our elected leaders in dealing with the deficit/budget? Hell, no!! They are already disagreeing on how much credit Obama deserves for giving the order to take bin Laden out. Most of the Repthuglicans engaged in some fantastic verbal contortions to both give Bush the credit and to avoid mentioning Obama at all. How much of a bump will this successful assassination give Obama in his bid for re-election? Hel-l-l-o-o-o!! Earth to pundits: the election is 18 damned long months away! By that time half of the 'electorate' will probably believe the Repthuglican spin. And, no, I really don't want to see bin Laden's death photos.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Good morning to you all. We have colder and cloudier weather today so I won't get much gardening done. I transplanted my lemon balm, catnip, and lettuce yesterday. I did remember to get everything under cover last night. The temperature stayed above 40--barely. Everything looked good this morning except for one lettuce that didn't like the transplanting process.

I have been reading about this problem sporadically for the last year. America the land of plenty--unless you need medications that are now in short supply because of the consolidation in manufacturing which has reduced the number of suppliers making the system more vulnerable to various disruptions in the supply chain.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Good morning, all. I woke this morning to the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan. Although I am glad he is dead I don't hold that any kind of justice has been done. Rather, I think along the lines of Hercule Poirot in the Albert Finney version of Murder on the Orient Express: "A repulsive murderer has been repulsively, and perhaps deservedly, murdered." I would simply eliminate the word 'perhaps.' We have engaged in a ten year effort to accomplish a collective vengeance. I will leave justice to God (by what ever name you choose to call her/him) and pray that we are treated with the mercy we probably don't deserve.

Going on to something far more pleasant--the garden and related matters. It was a nice warm day yesterday with plenty of sun and temps that beat the projections. We, finally, took the plastic off the windows, cleaned the glass on the front and patio doors, and washed down the shelves that have, for the last two months, held my starting trays and transplants. I also got two of the three varieties of tomatoes in their containers under the plastic tents. However, I have a problem with my little bay tree. I put it out in the mini-green house and some of the leaves have shriveled and dried up. I have it back inside hoping that the damage isn't too extensive and it will recover. On a bright note, I forgot to take pots of marigold and lettuce out of the over-the-fence hangers last night so they remained uncovered till this morning. Luckily the temps did not fall below 50 and they are fine. We have clouds right now but are supposed to get sun later. I hope so because I have more transplanting to do. But I will have to remember to put everything under the tents because the lows are supposed to fall to the mid 30s. (Update: it looks like I have got my wish. We just had the sun come out.)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Good morning, everyone. Yesterday turned out beautiful. Temperatures reached the mid 70s and only fell back to about 60 overnight. I got the last two of my large containers covered and had enough small pieces to tent two of the 5 gal containers. But, since I ran out of trellis uprights, I can't tent the others. I had planned to get more but not yet so I will use the milk jug cloches I cut last year to protect the peppers planned for those containers. I left everything out overnight and they are all doing well.

You asked about the Teddy Bear sunflower, Lois. This variety puts out a double flower with a lot of sunflower style petals. It resembles a pom-pom. It is also a medium tall plant. I hope some of the birds--like the goldfinches that visited the marigolds last year--like them.

Here is an entry in the 'penny wise, pound foolish (or dollar foolish, if you prefer)' file. It goes along with another story that appeared on the national news last night. I forgot which GOP legislator was getting an earful from one of his constituents over his vote to turn Medicare into a voucher program. Asking why one of the Representative's supporters yelled "Because we can't afford it, you moron!" Well, this moron also has a problem with this and related issues. We seem to find endless amounts of money to fund Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya. The GOP legislators, and a few Democrats-in-name-only, don't mind cutting food stamps, nutrition programs for pregnant women and children, and educational grants because we 'can't afford them,' while making sure the upper 1% keep their Bush-era tax cuts and the oil companies keep their tax breaks and government subsidies.