Saturday, August 4, 2012

Good Saturday, Everyone.  Another hot day on tap--low 90s again.  But they say relief is on the way with low to mid 80s for the rest of the week.  Some visitors may be thinking that I haven't put up as many pictures of the gardens as I have in the past.  You're right.  My jungle looks rather stressed.  A couple of plants look like they are about to expire.  They droop in the afternoon but the next morning they show some life and they are trying to put out new shoots.  I have several caches of herbs already dried I need to get ground for use today.  No harvesting today.

The early morning TV news said that authorities in Oklahoma are looking for an arsonist in connection with the wildfires that have sprung up.  If an arsonist is responsible for this, I have a few suggestions for an appropriate punishment.  My inclinations when contemplating this kind of crime are positively Medieval.  This fire season is definitely straining resources.

This is amazing and not in a good way.  I remember reading, a year or so ago, a book about disappearing rivers around the world.  Even rivers one would think were way too big to go dry have had increasingly frequent periods when their flow drops to the point where stretches go dry.  About twenty years I was blown away reading about the Colorado River which no longer flows into the sea thanks to the dams that have been built.  I had just read the memoirs of an army wife in the late 1800s which described their steamboat trip up a long stretch of the Colorado to reach her husband's post.  Haven't been able to do that for a long time now.  Makes me wonder what is happening to the water table.

Hello and welcome, Annie's Granny.  I agree the 'stay-out-of-the-supermarket-for-30-days' notion advocated by that article is a dilemma--on many levels.  Though I said we almost meet the rules for participation I did not mean to imply we are actually participating.  We're not.  I agree with you on the impact of consumer boycotts.  They may crap all over the innocent as well as the not-so-innocent.  I see a good example with a Chicago alderman's announced intention of blocking a new Chick-fil-a outlet in his ward and with the Mayor's statements that the company's values are not 'Chicago values.'  The owner of the existing restaurant got a few seconds on the news to proclaim that she is part of the city and her husband is a Chicago police officer.  Her business is part of the city's economy and provides jobs.  The issue of local economic impact, especially jobs, is also complex.  Our simple rule is to shop locally whenever possible.  But it isn't really all that simple in practice.  Our meat market is totally local.  They provide skilled jobs (butchers--real butchers) for local people and the profits stay in the community.  Our three grocery supermarkets are regional.  They provide more jobs in their meat department alone than the meat market does all together.  But they are lower skill and lower wage.  I have no idea of how many of the jobs are full time with benefits but what we have heard from the cashiers makes me suspect not many are such jobs.  And a large part of the profits go elsewhere--still in the region but elsewhere.  And then there is Wal-Mart and Target.  They provide a lot of jobs--more than the three grocery stores and meat market together.  But I always take the loud proclamations by the Wal-Mart spokesmen that their average wage is between $11 and $12 per hour with very large doses of salt because I know how averages work.  Put me and Bill Gates in a room and average our incomes and I am suddenly a billionaire.  NOT EVEN!!   And their profits go way outside our region.

On another level, I haven't so much left the big box stores and grocery supermarkets as they have left me.  I as amused by the author's observation that millennials and younger have broken the spell of name brands that hold baby boomers and older people in thrall.  Considering the reactions high end sneakers and such elicit I think that is an over broad.  And I know this boomer broke the spell a long time ago.  We changed our buying habits as manufacturers changed their products and those products no longer worked as efficiently or economically as they once did.  We switched to other products.  We shop at the supermarkets and big box stores but only for those items that still meet our needs as I mentioned yesterday.  We have another simple rule that governs our buying habits:  as long as the products we buy meet our needs or tastes good we will continue to buy it; when it doesn't we won't buy it again, at any price.

And welcome to you, too, Mary in Missouri.  We have also noticed that our farm markets are not as abundantly supplied as usual.  One of the vendors told us about a month ago that farmers growing green beans were having difficulty because the beans would mildew over night unless they had coolers to keep them in.  Not many do.  The sweet corn isn't as fully developed as it has been in previous years.    We have decided to forego corn on the cob this year.  I am debating whether to clear the beans out of their container or see if they will recover to produce some more.  I will probably leave them until the kale and cabbage I plan to start next week.  Oh, yes!! it has been a summer to remember.

Now for the too-cute-side of the heat wave.  Bless the kind human who provide this overheated little squirrel with a bowls of food and ice.

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