Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Good morning to you all.  It is cold this morning with frost on the roofs and cars.  But looking out the closed patio door at the plants and they all appear to have come through the near freezing temperatures overnight without damage.  I will take a closer look after it warms up a bit.  If we don't have a high wind, as we did over the last two days, I will get some more of the heavy work of mixing and reconditioning the soils.  I had to go out to restock on cat food and litter yesterday so I stopped at the local Home Depot to see how much of their garden center is stocked.  They had Cherokee purple tomato plants and the orange mint I wanted so I picked got one of each along with a Roma.  The Cherokee will replace the Big Rainbow that didn't come up this year. The garden is coming along, Kay.  It is still early season yet so the only plants not inside or in the greenhouse are the very hardy ones.  As you said: we had May weather in March and are now getting early March weather in April.  I saw news stories that indicated the Michigan asparagus and apple crops may have been damaged by the cold snap.  (Update: I just went outside. Everything is fine.  What surprised me is that, while the outside temp has risen to 40F, the thermometer in the greenhouse is reading 60.)

I agree on the implants, Kay.  But that is just a small part of the story about products, high tech or not, that can bite us in surprising ways.  Electronically controlled implants that can be hacked yesterday; nail polish that contains several toxic ingredients today.  That last was featured on the news this morning.  You can make the best informed decision and still suffer badly from it.  And then there is the most toxic product of all: politics.  Don't you just love how Romney is trying to paint the problems women have had in the recession (which largely was the result of Repthuglican mismanagement--admittedly with pre-Obama Damnocrat collusion) as the 'real war on women?'  What really had me scratching my noggin was the reminiscence that two years ago the news media and economic pundits were talking about a 'man-cession' because so many high wage masculine jobs had been lost.

We had wondered what it meant that Santorum had 'suspended' his campaign.  The Political Wire explains: by suspending the campaign he gets to keep his delegates, his position with the party, and can raise funds beyond what he needs to retire any campaign debt.  A couple of the stories and headlines this morning indicated that if (when, we pray) Romney fails Santorum is the lead candidate for 2016.  I won't say what I think of that possibility.

As I have said before, I am an accomplished skeptic.  After watching supposed scientist twist the numbers to suit their or their bankrollers' political agendas, I don't even trust numbers much.  I found The Contrary Farmer's blog this morning and all I can say is 'Amen, Brother.'  Most of our urbanized citizens have forgotten how much we depend on the whims of nature.  Over the last couple of years many of us have been reminded in very brutal ways of that dependence.

Grist has an interesting post this morning concerning antibiotics in the food chain.  Most of us are aware about the controversy surrounding the use of subtheraputic doses in the industrial concentrated animal feeding operations.  The problems concern the increasing incidents of drug resistant microbes, the flow of the drug through the animals into the environment, and how much goes into the consumers who eat the meat, milk, or eggs.  However, this story indicates that the problem of what is deliberately added to the feed animals are given may be exacerbated by what may be in the feed if it includes the distillers grains (byproducts of ethanol production).  The distillers use antibiotics to make sure bacteria don't compete with the yeast and reduce the ethanol yield.  But the antibiotics remain and are passed onto farm animals that eat the waste mash.  And, though the results of the study Grist discusses are not definitive yet, they illustrate a fact of life in our modern world.  The problem with most of our industrial production now is not necessarily what the end manufacturer adds to his product but what his suppliers (or the suppliers' suppliers) have added.  The longer these production chains the less control anyone has over the final product.

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