Monday, April 9, 2012

Good Monday morning to everyone out there.  In spite of the wind yesterday, which made the temperatures feel significantly colder than the mid 60s, I got a good look at all of the plants on the patio.  I am getting the best growth ever for lettuce and spinach in the little greenhouse.  The new stands of lettuce inside hare sprouting.  Got the lemon balm transplanted into bigger pots.  Would you believe they were already pot bound?  Everything else is doing very nicely.  I should start pinching the mums soon to make them bush out more.  The morning news yesterday had a segment from the Lurie Gardens in Chicago which was very nice.  They noted that the tulips and other bulbs are about five weeks ahead of where they should be.  My plants are also much farther along than normal.

Your comments, Kay, reflect some that we have made fairly often over the last few years.  We also recall when eating out, especially eating at Pizza Hut or McDonalds, was an occasional treat not a daily routine.  But no one thought anything about it either.  Now taking the kids has become the nutritional sin akin to denying the trinity in Christianity.  And, unfortunately, we have all too many Nosy Parkers all too willing to intrude.

News story after news story for a good while  now have been telling us that the 'real' problem with the long term unemployed is a mis-match between workers and the skills the employers need.  Business spokesmen and political idiots have hammered this message home.  Given that does this story make sense?  And for anyone over 40, going into debt for job training is a losing proposition.  It is a crap shoot whether the jobs they train for will be there when they finish and they will probably never recoup the costs if they have to pay the full cost themselves.  This is yet another example of how out of touch the politicians, especially the Repthuglicans, are.  We are seeing the true impact of the so-called 'ownership society' the Shrub pushed: we are all on our own as the heartless bastards funnel government funds to their friends while cutting funds for the less well off.

I was surprised by this story--not the notion that American farmers are getting older as a group.  After all, the fastest growing segments of the population, generally, are the over 60s.  But the extent of the 'graying' of the farmers and ranchers was a surprise.  However, it will take more than pep talks from a Deputy Agriculture secretary to change this trend.  After all, the cost of an ag degree coupled with the cost of land, equipment, seed or livestock (or both), equipment, fertilizer, pesticides, fuel represent a massive investment which is not readily available to most.  That level of investment makes it very hard to make a profit in an economy when even established farmers are finding it hard to stay in business.  The most promising trend I have read about lately involves young people going into farming but doing so with more limited technology, and using organic and more sustainable methods.

While we did our grocery shopping this morning, we stopped by the fish displays.  We are trying to add a bit of fish to our diet which for some time has been pretty well limited to canned tuna and salmon.  Since we are limiting the salt in our diet and Mom has taken thyroid medication for years, we figured that fish would be a good way to make sure we got a sufficient supply of iodine.  This morning we saw 'basa' fish displayed but because we had never heard of that variety we didn't buy.  I am rather glad.  I found this article researching the topic this morning.  We will stick with American catfish and leave basa (and the related swai) alone.

I have been reading about the problem of Round-up resistant 'super-weeds' for a while now.  Dow is scrambling to introduce new varieties of genetically engineered crops that are resistant to Round-up and other herbicides so that the spraying can continue unabated.  This article describes exactly why that is the wrong strategy.  And I think the author is exactly right when he attributes the whole process to the desire of big agribusiness for uniformity.  They want uniform procedures that will produce a uniform product and more of that product.  They selected for varieties that have a uniform size, shape, and that matures all at the same time so that it can all be harvested at once and processed immediately into a final uniform merchandisable product.  The final result: vegetables and fruits that look good, travel well, and ripen all at the same time but are tasteless and have significantly lower levels of nutrients than older varieties.

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

The biggest problem with jobs, is that there are damned few that pay a living wage and all our good manufacturing jobs when to China. The solution? Bring them back. Quit selling out. Sorry, that would make sense.

I hardly ever eat out anymore and when I do, I tend to go to locally owned and operated places. It might cost a buck or two more but profits stay here. Even the Chinese family who run my fav takeout used to be my neighbors and I get a kick out of the the sweet young lady who takes my order and giggles when I tease her how much she's grown from her toddler days when she greeted us with giggles.

I'm glad summer is here so I can go to the Farmers' Market!