Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Good morning to you all.  Well, we got into the mid 60s yesterday and will probably match that today.  But we will also have clouds most of the day with a strong possibility of rain overnight.  I noticed that the overnight temperatures for the next week are at or slightly above freezing.  Good--that will start thawing my containers.  I might be able to work them soon.

Here is another entry in the 'cure is worse than the disease' file.  I have seen several articles on the problem of toxic flame retardants in children's clothes and products.  I remember the push a couple of decades ago to protect children from the easily flammable clothing that was killing children.  But manufacturers went for a 'neat' technofix--incorporating chemicals into their products to make them harder to catch fire.  Unfortunately, those going for technofixes almost always have blinders on--they only see the 'problem they are trying to solve' and have no idea what problems they may be causing.

I always like learning something new.  I have read a number of stories like this one on the Round-up resistant weeds farmers have found infesting their fields over recent years.  Pigweed, evidently, is a really aggressive weed that will choke cotton plants if it gets into a field and it can be nearly impossible to eradicate.  As the story says farmers have few choices and all are expensive: plant a cover crop that will prevent the weed from taking over, hire hand labor to chop the plants out or spray more of more toxic chemicals hoping the weeds won't become resistant to those chemicals also.  Of course, the chemical/GMO companies want the last because that is where their profits lie even though past experience  shows that the fix is expensive, temporary and is harmful to the environment.  So what did I not know, you ask?  Pigweed is apparently edible.  It is in the amaranth family and the young leaves can be used like spinach, lettuce or dandelion.  The author's description of pigweed comes about half-way down the article.

Found this cute idea this morning.  I won't be trying it because I am not skilled at cutting glass and don't know anyone who is, and I don't have any long-necked glass bottles.  Actually, I just remembered I still have a couple of bottles of cheap beer I use as slug bait but I still don't do glass cutting.  But the little self watering planters are interesting.  I wonder how this would work with plastic??

It seems Australia has a problem we have joked about for years.  Years ago my dad quipped about youngsters who thought beef came in a plastic wrapped package from the grocery store and milk from a bottle.  Over the years my siblings and I picked up the observation as did some newspaper writers.  But is it surprising when the U.S. became an urban society over 80 years ago?? Most of the younger generations of our family have had no real experience with farming of any kind.  My generation had only two or three weeks every summer when we visited the paternal grandparents who finally sold their farm when I was in my late teens.

As I wrote the above paragraph I was reminded of several stories about schools that are developing classes that introduce youngsters to gardening.  A couple even use the garden produce in the school lunch room.

Charles Hugh Smith has a very accurate assessment of our present economy and our 'system' of higher education: let's pretend.  I would go a bit further and not limit the pretense to for-profit schools.  A lot of the graduates of traditional colleges and universities are in the same boat: their degrees are not worth the paper they are printed on, the time invested in getting them, or the money (most often borrowed) spent on them.

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