Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hello, again, on this first Thursday of August which promises to be hot and dry (90s with no rain).  I am taking a bit of a rest.  I went into the gardens planning to harvest herbs for drying and watering everything and got diverted.  Checking the corn I decided it was as ready as it was going to get and cleared it out.  We got four small ears--that's all.  They are pretty little ears and we will enjoy them and since I did get to harvest some I don't consider it a failed experiment.  I just won't repeat it.  I was amazed at how dry that container was when I pulled the plants.  Even with almost daily watering.  Conclusion: you can grow corn in containers but the plants aren't happy and the yield isn't worth the space.  I also replaced a board I had supporting the blueberries on the edges of two large containers with a nice heavy wire rack.  The board was a stopgap until I found a permanent solution.  I knew it wouldn't last past this season.  And everything is also well fertilized.  I should have done that this time last month but got waylaid by the heat.  And I took the hose off the reel to tighten up the connection.  The small leak suddenly got too big to ignore.  Tomorrow I will tackle the herbs again and check the tomatoes and peppers.  As pitiful as my corn yield was I am grateful considering the fact that I am under no watering restrictions and something like half of the country is in some stage of drought.  Even if the rainfall next year (or sooner) goes back to 'normal'  I intend to think seriously about how to make my gardens more efficient with respect to water.  We just got our monthly report from our utility showing our water and electric usage with comparison to last year's consumption and our neighbors.  So far we are 7% below last year's use and 40% below our 'efficient' neighbors.  In spite of the heat.

I remember a a couple of times in this recession they aren't calling a recession when the empty headed economic pundits joyfully proclaimed the rise in temporary employment as a sign that employment, and the economy along with it, was improving.  They saw, and see, temp employment as a leading indicator of recovery on the theory that employers wanted to hire more workers but didn't want to commit fully in case the recovery was a bit further off than they thought.  Skeptical me wondered out loud if there was more to the story than the pundits thought.  I may have been right to be skeptical.  The strong possibility that temporary work (without health or retirement benefits) is becoming the 'new normal' for a larger part of the workforce makes Social Security and single-payer health care programs absolutely necessary.  Unless of course we want to go back to the 19th century model epitomized by the unredeemed Scrooge:  'If they (the poor) are like to die, let them get on with it and reduce the surplus population.'

To follow up a bit on the observations above or rather the implication that the pundits are somehow divorced from reality check this article out.  I love the following bit of the article:
To paraphrase Voltaire’s observation on doctors, Mr. Economy’s faith healers prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in economic and financial systems of which they know nothing.
I have often thought that economics, like medicine, was more art (or witchdoctory) than science.

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