Friday, May 31, 2013

TGIF for all of those for whom the weekend is a significant break in work patterns.  For the rest, hope your Friday is pleasant.  The weather people say heat and probable thunderstorms.  We only got about a third of an inch over the last day--not enough to keep my large plants happy.  Just enough to make gardening a matter of sneaking out between the raindrops to pull a weed or too.

Glad you like my pics, Kay.  The gardens are doing pretty well.  I will be really happy if the weather cooperates but we know how that goes.  The lavender that survived the 2011/13 winter and came back lush last year didn't make it through this just past winter.  As I read somewhere "Man plans; God laughs" and Nature has been very bitchy over the last few years.

So much of our economics and politics is smoke and funhouse mirrors, Kay.  Unfortunately, the ones trying to control those areas each think what they see is real and that they can truly control such complex systems.

Our WTF!?? moment during the morning news came when we heard the news reader say that "Americans" have regained almost all of the "wealth" they had lost with the Great Recession.  Ezra Klein shreds the argument without any of the profanity we expressed.  Which Americans and what wealth?  If you are talking about the top couple of percent of the economic pyramid, maybe--but they aren't all of us.  If you are talking about paper (i.e., stocks and bonds) wealth, maybe--but not all of us have stocks and bonds.  First, that only becomes real 'wealth' when it is sold and converted into cash.  Second, those of us who had most of our wealth in our homes are still mostly screwed.  More smoke and funhouse mirrors.

One for the "It might not be as eco-friendly as we thought" file.  Generating power from sunlight sounds like a good idea--until we apply industrial methods.  A farm more eco-friendly idea would have been to fit those 75k homes (the ones the solar 'farm' is designed to power) with individual combined solar/wind systems.  But then there wouldn't be any continuing profits to a private power generating company.  Can't have than, can we?

Another sign of how times have changed.  My first comment when I heard the teaser for the story on last night's news was "I guess they are planning on using free lancers and citizens with cell phone cameras."  I learned photography in the Navy when it was done with non-digital cameras, film, and chemicals.  I never did it professionally but I always enjoyed photos that showed someone's true skill.  I even managed to produce a few of that kind.  Like most of us I have shifted to digital cameras and image manipulating software.  Believe me it isn't the same.

Talk about smoke and funhouse mirrors--or, as I thought when I saw this the first two times today, Potemkin villages.  We wouldn't want to disturb the delicate sensibilities of G8 leaders with reality would we.

I read the title of this post on The Agonist and thought "Oh, they've got a vaccine for that?" For a change someone was thinking more viciously than I normally do.

I have seen several stories recently about doctors refusing to take any form of insurance.  Here is one I just found.  For some time I have thought that third party payers are a major mover behind rising medical costs.  Not because of simple greed though that does enter into it in some cases.  Rather because of the wall that third party places between the provider of the medical service and the recipient of it.  Neither of the doctor nor the patient have much control of amount paid.  That is the function of the insurer.  I read one story where one of the doctors recounted the maze of paperwork that required dedicated employees to handle and the time lost dealing with denied claims and other such matters.  That doctor was able to streamline his paperwork, reduce his staff and spend more time with his patients while charging less.

On the matter of insurance this little item attracted my notice and I am sure that the sentiments aren't limited to Canada.  Our tornado season is making up for lost time and the costs are escalating.  The main point with both disaster insurance and health insurance is that the companies are profit-making businesses.  So the costs have to be passed on or made up somewhere.  They will charge their customers more in premiums, restrict what those premiums will pay for, or limit what they will pay the providers of the services involved.  In the end the insured party has to pay for all.  It might be better to pay the providers directly and cut out the middle men.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good Thursday, all, and now that I have finished posting the tour of the garden I can go on to other things.  Let's see what is out there.

The baristas and shift supervisors in NY Starbucks have squared off against each other in court.  At issue: who has a right to share in the tip jars.  The legal point in question is whether the shift supervisors who are hourly but who have limited management duties are "agents' of the company and barred from getting a share out in the tips.  They say yes and the baristas say no.  Now the courts will decide.

What are the old sayings about getting toothpaste back into tubes or genies back into their bottles?  A strain of genetically modified wheat the Monsanto supposedly stopped testing in 2005 has turned up in an Oregon field and no one knows from whence it came.  The anomaly could threaten Oregon's exports to Japan and other countries who really don't want that crap.  By the way, the wheat was never approved by the FDA.  Update:  I didn't expect anyone to react so quickly.  I wonder how many others will follow Japan.
 I promised you all pictures and here they are.  I did get some nice pictures of the goldfinches feeding in the gardens.  I think this is a little female not quite sure if it is safe to stay.
 These are the only big containers I didn't change out completely.  though slightly misshapen they aren't in quite the bad conditions the ones I replaced were.  The red planter has kale and will soon have more.  the pink has beans, bee balm, pineapple sage, and basil.
Chamomile and zinnia in a large round pot.
Tomatoes (white bucket and near blue container) with chocolate mint in pot straddling the two buckets.  The far bucket is empty for now.  Haven't decided what to put in there.
 Just a reminder of the winter past.
Grapefruit mint, tomatoes (left bucket) and peppers (right bucket).
 Hibiscus in the near pot and tansy in the far one.  The tansy is one of the survivors of the winter and came back luxuriously.  I have it for its insecticidal properties.  It is supposed to be good.  I moved it into its own pot because it is very invasive.  It tried to fill the whole large container I had it in over winter.  Pretty foliage.
 Beans (Yardlong asparagus), hyssop (small plants in the center), and kale.
Male goldfinch checking out the feeder.
Pyrethrum about to bloom.  Another survivor of the winter.  This is another plant the bugs don't like.  It didn't bloom last year.
 the left container has my left over pepper and tomatoes.  Sage (another winter survivor) and lemon thyme in the smaller blue container.  You can't see the foxglove and cabbage at the back.  I just snipped off the first blooms on the sage.
Squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in the buckets with spearmint and stevia in the pots.  The cucumbers have been badly damaged by winds and cold.  I have never had wind damaged plants but this year the cukes and the cypress vines have had a very hard time.  I will be starting new seeds for both.
Strawberry--one of a dozen or so survivors and new plants in pots throughout the gardens.
 The lone surviving blueberry.  Look closely at the base of the green branch and you will see the new growth.  The other two didn't survive.  I plan to transfer it to its own pot.  Thankfully blueberries self pollinate so I don't absolutely need to replace the plants that didn't survive.
 Pair of goldfinches.
King of the garden.  Isn't he pretty.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Good wet Wednesday to you all.  We didn't hear the rain last night because the thunder boomed, and boomed, and rolled, and rolled.  The weather people described it as "house shaking."  We can testify to the accuracy of that.  We are supposed to get more waves of rain with possible thunderstorms.  The wind is up and rocking the trees now.  Needless to say--I haven't done much in the gardens.  I did stop by Home Depot to look at the plants but didn't buy anything.  I just don't know what I want to fill in and nothing spoke to me.  Saturday is supposed to be cool, sunny and dry.  I will try again then.

I agree, Kay.  Mom and I find ourselves going back in time with respect to diet and that the 'food Nazis' wouldn't like at all.  Some items, like ice cream, are treats and we treat them that way.  They are infrequent indulgences not something to eat three times a day every day.  As such we thoroughly disregard the so-called nutritional statistics.  Just this morning the news had a snippet about a new study which finds that there is an increased risk of obesity and diabetes if one drinks five or more cups of coffee a day.  I have known a lot of heavy coffee drinkers and been one myself for quite a number of years.  Guess what--no diabetes.  And the obesity can be traceable to other things in our modern diet like processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle.  The notion that the researchers claim they have isolated a chemical that may play a part cuts no ice with me.  Another example of what Michael Pollan calls "nutritionism" (In Defense Of Food)--the belief that one can identify specific compounds which have specific and individual and reproducible effects.  He shreds this quasi-religious belief system.  By the way--we just finished off a blueberry upside cake (made from scratch) and a blueberry pie is in the oven for the next week.  Again we don't much care about the calorie count.  We don't go for huge portions--an 8x8 cake lasts us four days.  Think about that.  The individual portions are only 2inX4in.  Our approach to any food is moderation not prohibition which seems to be alien to most Americans these days.

I haven't read the Thomas Friedman article The Contrary Farmer cites but I find it both interesting and believable.  A chapter in Jared Diamond's Collapse dealt with the 'genocide' in Rwanda which our media presented in terms of ethnic tensions.  Diamond made a good case for overpopulation and the resulting economic tensions being the prime mover.  The conflicts in Sudan with Biafra and what has become South Sudan were similarly resource driven (water and oil).  The ethnic aspects came in to define the 'us' who deserved the resources and the 'them' who had them and didn't deserve them.

As I read this article I flashed back to the scene in Jurassic Park where the scientist assures everyone the dinosaurs couldn't breed because they were all females--"we engineered them that way."  So what could possibly go wrong?

I can hope that the dear (expletive) will simply crawl back under her rock.  Unfortunately, her unsavory aroma will hang around in our media like a recently gone skunk.

The logic behind this article is mind-blowing.  They take scraps from the U.S. wood products industry, transport those scraps to the U.K. where it is burned in power plants instead of coal.  And the U.K. gets credits for going "green."  I guess the greenhouse emissions involved somehow aren't charged against the U.K.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Good Tuesday, Everyone, though it feels like a Monday with yesterday being a holiday.  It was wet and cool with a very brief flash of sun.  I spent a bit trying to get my camera to work without flash so I could try the get pictures of the goldfinches.  I had to work through the door and screen because opening either sent the birds flying away.  I think I managed to get a couple of reasonably decent pictures.

So now, at least according to a new study featured on the morning broadcast news, c-section babies have a higher chance of being obese by age 11.  I am sorry but this is another study I take with a ton of salt.  There has been a move for some years to curtail the use of caesarean sections (which I agree have been overused) and what better way to do that than to link the procedure to obesity about which everyone is freaking out anyway.

Conversation at the supermarket:  Mom: Do we want canned milk or regular milk or 2%?  Me: Well, no 2%.  I don't really like chalk water.  But the 2% canned milk is not on sale.  Mom:  we could go with fat-free canned milk.  Me: I wonder how much difference there is.  Look, the whole canned milk has 3g fat and 30mg of sodium.  The 2% has 0.5g fat and 35mg salt and the fat-free has 0 fat and 40mg of sodium.  You know what they have done?  To make the reduced fat and fat-free palatable they increased the salt.  We finally decided to get the whole canned milk.  Mom is on one prescription medication for high blood pressure and another to lower her cholesterol.  Interesting choice here--the fat-free or low fat would reduce her dietary fats and therefore her cholesterol but the increasing sodium would act on her blood pressure.  Can't win for losing.  In the end we decided against buying the fresh whole milk and replenished our canned with the whole variety.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Good Sunday to everyone visiting here.  Cool yet again but I hope we will get more sun than we had yesterday.  So far everything outside is hanging on.  My goodness what weather we are having and not just here.  I have read about temperatures throughout India that range between 112F and 120F.  Yikes!!  Then snow cancelled a major bicycle road race in Italy and they have had snow from Spain through parts of France into Italy.  Parts of the U.S. from New York through Main have had either snow or flooding rains and massive rain resulting in floods in Texas.  Please don't crow about the "end of the drought."  All it would take to bring it back is a month of high temperatures and no rain.

Hi, Kay.  I don't know when 'supersizing' meals became the norm but I do remember when I began rejecting such meals and the reactions I got.  The first time I said "no, thank you" to the girl at McDonalds who asked if I wanted the to "Supersize" the meal she was shocked and insisted that it was the better deal for my money.  She seemed disgusted when I informed her that it was no deal if I threw half of it away because I didn't want all that food.  I got a similar reaction when another clerk at another McDonalds (a decade later) offered me a two-for-one deal on the apple "pies."  I told her flat out that I only wanted to eat one and they only taste good hot and didn't reheat well.  I don't remember when we started bringing home half of the meals we get in our restaurants.  They make a second meal for us next day.  We usually choose the kinds of meals that reheat well.  But then we have also noticed that some of the sit-down restaurants have cut the size of their meals--a reaction to the economic downturn, I think.


Good Monday and Happy Memorial Day, Everyone.  Rain today and we have temperature is ten degrees warmer than yesterday.  I am glad of the rain because the upper parts of some of my containers were drying out.  I planned to water today if we didn't get any rain and I did water the tansy.  It is a big plant and sucked up the moisture in its pot very quickly.  I will have to watch it over the summer.  I dug up the two blueberry bushes that looked thoroughly dead and found the only living roots belonged to weeds in the root balls.  I pulled them.  The third is showing a couple of new shoots so I will transplant it to a smaller pot and try to nurse it along.  The winter was particularly nasty for the blueberries, German thyme, and lavender.  I put in lemon thyme and new lavender which are doing well.

So, the New York Times has taken notice of a phenomenon I have read about for the last couple years: the varieties of vegetables we consume have had the nutrients bred out of them.  This chart illustrates the case.

I do like gadgets--not necessarily to own.  These are in the "cute--but" file.  I can, usually, keep up with my inside plants' needs without high tech toys. The highest tech I have are the moisture meter and the combined pH/fertility meter.  And most forms of self'-watering planters are more trouble than they are worth.  My opinion--others may find them useful.

And another in the "overblown medical/science fears" file.  I remember the hysteria over 'crack babies.' How many other so-called medical crusades are similarly overblown?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Good Saturday to you all.  Cool with possible showers--and the pattern should hold through Monday.  I won't be doing much outside except pulling a weed or two.  I took my little dawn walk through the containers and found that most plants are doing fairly well.  The Amish paste and Supersauce tomatoes have wind burned leaves but new growth so they should be all right.  The Mohawk peppers are still hanging in.  Thankfully the wind should not be so vigorous today.  Update: I just checked the cypress vines.  The winds shredded them but I saw new growth so they may recover.

The first little goldfinch showed up at our feeder this morning--ever.  Yeah!!!  Update:  the first finch is back with friends.  They are all exploring the feeder and everything else on the fence.

I am not at all surprised by this story.  I don't believe many people think in terms of calories when they decide what or how much to eat.  When I went into a fast food restaurant (some years ago) I thought in terms of "hamburger, fries and coke."  I didn't think in terms of  "number of calories for the burger, y number of calories for the fries, and z number of calories for the coke."  Even at home we don't think in terms of how many calories we are taking in but in the volume of food.  A frequent topic of conversation here is how we have reduced our food intake over the last decade or so but we aren't talking about calories but volume of food.  Once a bowl of chili was a large bowl filled to near the rim. The bowl remains the same but it isn't filled quite so full.  Not because we want fewer calories but because we want less volume.  I am not surprised that people can't accurately estimate the calorie content of their fast food choices.  We just don't translate meals or meal components into calories.  Let's also be honest about portion sizes.  Have you ever seen a realistic portion on the nutrition panel of a food product?  We always find the portions they say are 'normal' are either too large or more often too small.  Who eats a quarter cup of nuts or a dozen chips (or however many they say is a portion)?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy Friday to you all.  Cold and wet today.  The temps fell to about 40F overnight.  I took a quick and shivering trip out to look at the plants.  The high winds damaged my cypress vine seedlings but I hope they come back.  The little Mohawk peppers aren't happy but we'll see what they do.  I moved the lavender and rosemary inside late yesterday and will keep them inside until the temps get back up  to the more normal range.

The hummingbirds have returned.  We saw our first one at the feeder this morning.

So, we have another bridge collapse.  I have seen stories about our pitiful infrastructure for years now and nothing ever gets done.  No deaths, as far as I have heard in this incident.  Luckily given this:
The 1,112-foot steel truss bridge, built in 1955, was described by the Washington State Department of Transportation, after an inspection in August 2010, as "somewhat better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is."
Maybe the report should have said "somewhat less than minimum adequacy."  But, wtf, it lasted another two years.  They say an oversize truck triggered the collapse.

Watching the BBC this morning I saw an interesting story.  We have heard frequently over the last few years about the increased incidence of anti-biotic resistant bacteria, pesticide resistant insects, and herbicide resistant weeds.  Now they have found cockroaches that avoid glucose which for the last dozen or so years has been incorporated into poison bait.

Anybody remember that very hopeful study a while back where researchers found that a drug approved for treating skin cancer appeared to cure Alzheimer's-like symptoms in mice?  Well, three other teams of scientists were unable to replicate those results.  That is why I take any science, especially medical, reports in the mainstream media with a LARGE dose of salt.

Here is a thought experiment for you.  Imagine if the same conditions afflicted Chicago, Cleveland, or Los Angeles.

The IRS so-called scandal continues.  What has gotten lost in this idiocy is that the organizations targeted for scrutiny were applying for tax exempt status which requires they not engage directly in politics.  They are trying to claim they engage in 'educational' activities.  My bullshit antennae are quivering.  This argument is a cousin of the controversy in Chicago over the massive break churches and charities get on their water bills (like they pay nothing)--even though water bills for everyone else have been hiked.  I think both problems can be easily solved.  No tax exempt status for any organizations.  Instead allow such organizations to receive deductions from their taxes based on how much they engage in behaviors we want to encourage.  Churches that run schools or soup kitchens or food pantries can deduct the expenses from their taxes.  Tea Party groups that engage in real educational activities (not politics masquerading as education) and can prove it the same way business and individual tax payers have to, with documents, can do the same.  I don't see the value to the country as a whole in blanket tax exemptions.

I have heard the Mexican trade groups are unhappy and have appealed to the World Trade Organization to force the U.S. to stop country of origin labeling.  So the Canadians are threatening the same.  Unfortunately the U.S. consumer may be on the losing side of the argument if our government gets its way and pushes the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the new free trade agreement with the EU because country of origin labels are a target in both.  I for one don't mind a 'free' market that brings goods in from other countries but I resent the notion that such a 'free' market should not include the consumers making an informed free choice of what to buy.  And 'informed' means the consumer knows where the product came from.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Howdy, All, on an overcast and cool Wednesday.  We expect intermittent rain today.  The same conditions should hold through tomorrow.  I will wait till the sun comes back Friday to do anything more that walk between the containers and plucking a weed here and there.  The cooler temps are welcome after the warmth of the last few days.

Hey, Kay.  Glad you stopped by.  There are times when I would love to see term limits and agree with the theory behind it--bring in new (hopefully) minds and voices.  As things stand now, though, we would lose too many progressive voices when we need them most.


Thursday now, everyone.  Rainy and much cooler.  I am watching the overnight predictions and will bring in my rosemary and lavender plants.  Otherwise they should all do ok.  It is much too wet to do any gardening.

We have been watching the political theater in Chicago over the school closings.  We can't help it because almost all of our "local" news comes from there.  In case you have missed the kerfuffle (lucky you!!) Chicago is going to close (at the moment) 50 schools, four of the original list getting a reprieve, and consolidating enough others to empty some 60+ buildings.  The battle has raged for months now pitting Rahm Emanuel, his hand picked school board, and his hand picked superintendent against the teachers and their union, parents, and communities.  The coverage, as usual, spans the range from thoughtful to knee-jerk and encompassing the maudlin and inane.  The news readers this morning interviewed the Superintendent Bennett asking for a reaction to a comment from one of the dissident city councilmen (I think) and chose the most idiotic sound bite imaginable.  The councilman talked about schools that had survived two world wars and a Great Depression but fell to the Emanuel administration.  Really!?!!??  The school board has appealed to efficiency, "underutilization," inadequate resources and those yahoos in the news room choose a comment appealing to longevity!!  What a load of crap.  If I lived in Chicago in one of the affected neighborhoods I would be at a total loss as which side to support.  On the one side I can easily see the anti-closing side's anger at not having a real say in the process.  I get the impression that the board made its decision and nothing anyone said would make a bit of difference.  As one of the protestors complained the board "heard" the complaints but didn't  really "listen."  On the other hand Bennett, Emanuel, and the board constantly talk about population shifts and the declining number of students but few in the opposition or the news media address those issues.  Out of curiosity I Googled information on Chicago population over time and found that Chicago itself has lost one-third of its 1950 population which was its highest census count.  Looking at the neighborhoods, I found that those most affected by the school closings are indeed African-American and Hispanic but that those neighborhoods have lost between 50 and 80+% of their population over the last sixty years.  And they are the most dangerous neighborhoods so forcing students to go to schools in another area and to cross gang boundaries has parents reasonably concerned.  Another sound-bite I think sums up the mess.  A school board member was heckled by an angry parent and told the reporter that the parents 'just have to trust us and that we know what we are doing."  I would say that trust is sadly lacking and perhaps deservedly so.

The Contrary Farmer always has a humorous and slightly skewed view of things.  Today he takes a few good shots at diets.  I absolutely refuse to follow any diet.

Every now and then I find pictures that are in the "AAAW!! HOW CUTE" file.  Like these.

Silly Me!! I thought slavery was unconstitutional.  And please don't give me any idiotic rigamarole about incarceration for crime not being slavery.  When the judge gets kickbacks for sending prisoners to a privately owned prison and when some 4000 of the convictions are being overturned that is slavery.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Good day to you all.  We had some wind and rain last night--the remnants of what hit Oklahoma.  A couple of my plants got pounded but the rest came through nicely.  We have been grateful for a number of years that the worst weather has gone around us or has not hit us hard.  The weather people predict cooler temperatures with possible thundershowers for most of the rest of the week.  We can handle that.  All I really have to do in the gardens now is cultivate and fill in the open spots sometime later this week.  I know I have said before that the containers take little in the way of cultivation to control weeds.  That was before we put up that bird feeder.  Those little beasts are very messy eaters and have scattered a good bit of seed.  I switched to a new kind of feed that should help that problem--it is hulled and the plants are not supposed to sprout.  We'll see.

This is interesting.  The article mention that the Brits picked up the idea from the U.S.  I hadn't heard about it but a quick Google search turned up quite a few hits.  I didn't go into them

This can't be good.  China's food industry has had all too many scandals of late.  But then I don't have all that much trust in our own.

If I lived in Oklahoma, especially anywhere near Moore, I would work very hard to retire Senator Tom Coburn.  Maybe he thinks he is demonstrating courage and consistency but I think he really demonstrates again, as if it needed another demonstration, that the term "compassionate conservative" is an oxymoron.

Monday, May 20, 2013

It's Monday again, Friends, and I hope your week is starting off well.  We expect another very warm to hot day with possible thunderstorms later.  All of the heavy gardening work is done and all the seedlings in their places outside.  I have some spaces yet that can be filled.  I will take a trip by the garden shops later in the week to see what I might like.  Between the raindrops I hope to get some clean up done in the shed and the mini-greenhouse.

Evidently some other people think "old tech" might not be so bad.

E.J. Dionne has a few interesting comments on the state of democracy world wide and how political dysfunction has affected the electorate.

I lived in Ft. Collins for nearly 20 years.  Evidently they are encouraging urban agriculture there now.   We had a very nice large yard and could easily have had chickens and goats in addition to the large garden.

As I read this piece on Can It Happen Here? I thought of a bit in a novel I read: what is the difference between a tax collector and a thief?  Official permission.  And one should pay attention to the source of the 'official permission.'  John Brown claimed God as his source of permission.  Robert E. Lee claimed the government of the  Confederate States.  I would go one step further:  William Tecumseh Sherman claimed the United States Of America.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

It is Friday again, everyone.  Hope your week has gone well and that you will have a good weekend.  It is supposed to be warm and sunny here so I have more gardening planned.  By Monday I hope to have this early stage completed and be able to see where I can put new plants.  I still have two five-gallon buckets and one large round planter to work.  Then I need to get my chamomile, zinnias, patio tomatoes, lipstick peppers, stevia, and lavender in place.  I also have a few miscellaneous seedlings to get transplanted into small pots--for now.  I pulled out the spinach and lettuce seeds.  I will put in another round of them.  After that comes the clean-up of the patio and the shed.

Oh--almost forgot--I think I saw a couple of new shoots on my blueberries.  Yeah!!


All my plans for yesterday got derailed.  As you can guess I am now writing on Saturday waiting for the sun to come out and warm things up a bit.  It isn't really cold now.  We took our walk yesterday but then decided to try to find the sun tea jars we saw while doing our shopping earlier in the week.  I stopped doing sun tea when I left Colorado for Missouri almost 20 years ago.  The tea produced with the water in Missouri (and in Indiana) was gross to put the matter politely.  But the boiled teas we made here weren't much better.  But a couple of years ago I was looking at pickling recipes and one of the cautions concerned chlorinated hard tap water.  Evidently that produces problems much like those I experienced with tea--cloudy and scummy.  Chlorine isn't much of a problem.  Chlorine evaporates out of the water if left overnight in an open container.  The calcium salts (which makes water hard and results in hard water deposits on faucets and sinks) are another problem.  We rent so putting in a filtration system for the entire apartment is not an option.  There are small filtration systems to do pitchers and other small containers of water but I really didn't want to have to keep filters on hand and add them to our trash.  Eventually, one of my books recommended boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes which drives off the chlorine and precipitates out the calcium salts.  That has made a marked difference.  We don't have to clean out the coffee maker with vinegar nearly as often.  The coffee carafe doesn't get the deposits of oil and whatever.  The tea comes out clear and stays that way.  Wednesday I decided to try sun tea in my gallon mason jar and it worked beautifully.  So that set us off on a hunt for the sun tea jars we saw somewhere on our shopping trip on Monday.  We went to Target, Walmart, the two garden shops that have odd stuff every now and then.  Finally we found a couple at our local dollar store.  But by the time we were done we had no energy for anything else.  They are outside now.  No sun but the process works anyway.

Welcome to Sunday, everyone, and I hope the weekend has been good for you all.  I got a lot of gardening done yesterday.  The last of the five gallon buckets emptied and refilled.  That leaves the large round pot and I have to move a couple of smaller pots to get at it.  I should have the last of my transplants and seedlings in their spots by the end of the day and the patio cleaned up and washed down.  I still have three medium pots (about 3 gallon capacity/14 inch diameter) empty but I think they will stay that way.  I have no place to put them that doesn't impede my access to other containers.  The weather people predict rain for the next three days so I won't get anything else done outside.  Late next week I will check out the garden shops for plants to fill the empty spots.  I think I might include an eggplant.  I haven't done that for a couple of years.  One of these days I will get the camera out and take some pictures for you all.  By the way, the blueberries are definitely putting out shoots!!

I agree, Kay.  Low tech is so often better.

Something for the intriguing file.  I have seen snippets about this for the last little bit and wondered how many takers would line up.

I wondered how long it would be before Chinese consumers came to the same conclusion I had:  produce as much as you can yourself.  Evidently not all that long.

While we were out looking for out sun tea jars Mom pointed and exclaimed "Lava lamps are coming back."  "Yeah," I replied.  "Everything old is suddenly new again.  I have been seeing them for a while now."  Here is something else for that same file:  rooftop gardens.  They have become a popular item but old since the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

For fascinating bit of street art hang out here.  I find it far more appealing than what was sold this last week to the constant coverage of our mainstream media.  Often free is so much better than multi-million dollar 'art.'

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Good day to you all.  We have a nice sunny Thursday with temperatures in the high 50s now and predicted to end up in the mid-70s.  I got two of my 5 gal buckets emptied and two refilled.  Those have tomatoes in them.  I also transplanted the new bee balm and basil after repositioning the pineapple sage to make room for them.  I plant to put in either the yardlong beans or the blue lake pole beans at the back of the container.  I still have three 5 gal buckets and one of the large round pots to empty and refill, and one of the largest containers to finish filling.  All of that is in addition to putting in various seedlings.  I just spent some time looking at the heights of some of the plants.  I think I will be putting the German chamomile in that round pot with zinia in front of then and something shorter on the edge.  The gardens are shaping up nicely.

Conversation #1:  At a drug store where we were considering which thermometer to buy having decided we really should have one in our first aid kit.  Mom:  Well, all of the digitals don't have any mercury.  Me: Neither does the old school model.  Mom: These are only 2 for $7.  Me:  We could get one of them and one of the traditional ones.  After all the batteries may be dead by the time we need to use it.  It is nice to have a back up.  Mom: Lets just get the old version.  Then we don't have to worry about either the battery dying or having the batteries we need for it on hand.  We went old school.  Sometimes high tech is not worth the trouble.

Conversation #2:  At our local Barnes & Noble store.  Clerk: Oh, yeah!  The new Dan Brown just came out today.  Me: Yes.  I thought about getting it on my Nook but I'm spending too much time each day in front of screens.  It is putting too much strain on my eyes.  I am trying to reduce my time on computer and e-reader. Clerk:  I have heard that frequently.  I don't have an e-reader though I have been tempted.  I am afraid it will take over my life.  Me: It can.  I am already at 75% storage capacity on both the machine and off-device.  Again--sometimes high tech isn't worth the trouble and doesn't provide as much convenience as promised.  By the way, the cost of the hard copy with my discounts was less than the price of the e-book.

This story tickled us.  Evidently the melting of ice sheets is causing the North Pole to shift position.  Never knew that was possible but then my science education was in biology not geology.

New entry in the insane and incomprehensible gas price saga.  Price here now is $4.09/gal.  What gives?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Good Wednesday, Everyone.  We have had sporadic thunder and lightening and a bit of rain.  They say it will be hit-or-miss rain all day.  Most of my gardening yesterday involved picking up plants and soil from the garden shops.  I got all of my herbs--stevia, chamomile. lavender, basil, lemon thyme, and rosemary.  I have stevia seedlings in the little greenhouse but it is somewhat slow growing.  I picked up a pot of five or six well grown plants in addition to those I started.  I bought two new lavender because the one in the garden has shown no sign of recovering from the winter.  I will probably buy more plants through out the year.  What I haven't found is a rose.  I don't want any more miniatures and I do want one that smells like a rose and is hardy to zone 4.  I sniffed at every rose in both garden centers and not a bit of scent in any of them.  Those in my catalogs are hardy to zone 5 (in which I live) but I want something a bit hardier and very few have any description of the scent.  Oh, well, I guess I will punt and put in some other plants where I want to put the rose.

Well, everyone is second-guessing Angelina Jolie's decision to have a double mastectomy to prevent possible breast cancer.  She carries the BRCA1 gene which is linked to increased probability of contracting breast cancer and her mother died young of uterine cancer.  So, to provide peace of mind for her and her family she decided on surgery.  Her choice.  Every woman makes her own choice for her own reason.  I have no idea if I have that gene.  I rather doubt it since none of my female relatives have died of cancer.  If I were diagnosed with the gene I would be a wait-and-see girl.  The gene has been known for a relatively short time so I want to see what the stats in ten or so years on how many women who opt for wait and watch actually contract cancer.  And what the costs of each program (wait-and-see vs. prophylactic mastectomy) actually are.  What I find disturbing is that the discussion moved very quickly from Jolie, who is a public figure, to whether women, as a generalized group,   should make that decision at all.  I find it fascinating that women's health, especially anything related to female reproductive health, suddenly becomes a big story while nothing similar happens with issues of men's health.  Stories about  prostate cancer aren't covered in nearly as much detail or for as long.

Evidently the medical experts are fighting amongst themselves over the recommendations for how much salt people should get each day.  One group has recommended as little as 1500 mg.  Scientists with the Institute of Medicine have examined studies on which that recommendation was based and found all of them flawed to various degrees.  They conclude that while there is sufficient evidence to maintain the current recommendation (less that 2300mg per day) there is no good evidence to recommend the lower limit.  In case you wondered 1tsp of salt contains 10600mg so the more generous limit constitutes about one-quarter of a teaspoon.  We follow these stories because Mom is on blood pressure medication.  We have three general rules to cover these issues: little salt added in cooking and none on the dinner table, as few canned or processed foods, and as much fresh, locally grown foods as possible.

One of the news casts we watched last night made note of this de-leveraging of the middle class households.  We were amused by the enthusiastic claim the reporter made that soon the middle class will be able to acquire new debt and the economy would take off.  Debt was a major factor contributing to the Great Recession and these bozos want us to go back into debt???  The logic escapes me.  Another point which this article makes and the news last night also made is that student loans are one class of "consumer" debt that has increased.  Well, DUH!!!  Students are coming out of college with large debts than ever--debts they can't discharge in bankruptcy.  If they have any kind of a job at all they are making payments and, unless they landed a very well-paying job, they are making payments that don't cover interest much less reduce principal.  That shortfall will be rolled over increasing the debt.  So, between new graduates starting to repay the loans and those older payers rolling over their shortages, only an obtuse idiot would be surprised at the increase.

If we wonder what all that debt support, a new story from the Chronicle of Higher Education featured at Alternet gives us some indication.  I won't bore you with my profanity on the subject.

I don't necessarily believe everything I read in any media but this item is believable.  I notice that very few people are named in this article.  But given the sense of entitlement I have seen in all too many well-heeled idiots--it is entirely possible.  But I will pass on its truthfulness but it is 'truthy'.

Coming soon to a court room near you--SON OF ROBO-SIGNING!!!  Having taken homes across the country, the banksters are now coming for everything else.  And using the same techniques that worked so well in the foreclosure debacle.  A further bit of proof of the death of 'rule by law.'

Don't you just love "free" markets?  I am sure the Dutch do.  I bet they especially love the part about the company making a profit of 5M euros more over what they would have if they shipped the product to Dutch stores.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Good Tuesday, All.  Sunny and much warmer today.  We were in the high 30s yesterday at this time and in the high 50s today.  Sunny.  I plan to get some gardening done.  I still have five 5-gal buckets to clean out and refill along with a large pot I want to get ready for something--I don't know what yet.  I plan to make a trip to the garden stores to get some new soil and to look at some plants.  I could easily pick up some I want.  Some new and some replacements.

While we were out yesterday we were surprised because the gas prices were back up to $3.99/gal.  Over the last two weeks the prices have gone up to that near $4/gal, then down by 11 cents, then down to $3.77, then up again to where it is now.  We just wonder what the hell is going on with the market.  They last night one of the economic segments the news readers spouted on about the wonderful economic news and linked it to 'lower gas prices.'  We looked at each other and asked "Where?!!?"  We say that often when listening to the news.  The comments simply don't jibe with our experience.

The powers that be keep telling us that inflation is low but that also doesn't jibe with our experience.  Oh, yeah!  I forgot--the prices we experience each day aren't counted in the headline numbers.  Our favorite brand of canned fruits and jams just raised its price by double.  We will use what we have and then go for something cheaper.  Just to remind you that is the kind of behavior the chained-CPI is supposed to "take into consideration" to calculate the "real" inflation rate.  And the doubling of Mom's health insurance premiums aren't included either.

I have been reading a good bit about 'nudge theory' lately.  Why should I be interested in that, you ask? I will let Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism explain with specific reference to the ObamaCare implementation that is coming and the forms that we "citizens consumers" will be facing.  I remember the early days 'opt out' programs (i.e., "book clubs") when I was much younger and a good deal more foolish (read: stupid).  I got all too many books because, for any number of reasons, the opt out form did not get back to them in time.  Some times I simply forgot to fill out the form or lost it in the mess that was my desk.  Some times I never got it or it arrived late.  At others it got lost on the return trip or at the destination.  I notice that most of those clubs aren't in operation any more.  Why?  Because new laws forced them to go to an "opt in" arrangement.  It was far better for consumers but not that good for the companies' bottom lines.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Good Monday, Everyone.  Sunny and clear but rather cool.  I pulled the cypress vines off the fence and put them in the mini-greenhouse for last night.  The news said our area went down to 33F.  The patio says 40.  Either way I have been watching everything closely.  So far everything is still standing and should recover.  The predicted temperature today is low 60s so I will leave everything alone till tomorrow when we expect 80s.  This spring reminds me of a description of spring in St. Louis in one of my favorite novels: the day between freezing your ass off and broiling to death.  We have gone between summer and late winter temperatures for the last two or three weeks.  Spring seems to be missing.

I would say Mother Nature is pissed.  Here is some evidence of that.  One of the newscasts a couple of months ago they showed a much milder occurrence and some piles of ice that formed on parts of Lake Michigan.

OK, I understand the argument but I disagree with it.  The notion that the buyer of a patented object has the right to resell it but not make copies is fine if you are dealing with a book, or a piece of recorded music.  Things that have no ability to reproduce themselves.  But a seed is designed by nature to copy itself but it doesn't do so with absolute reliability--not all of the parental traits are passed on and some mutate.  I find it absolutely ridiculous that Monsanto takes no responsibility for the fact that its patented plants can "accidentally" pollinate near-by non-Monsanto plants but wants to make sure that farmers can't buy second generation seed from Monsanto plants no matter from what source they might  obtain them.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Good Sunday to you all.  Sunny but cold and likely to remain on the cool side today.  I haven't been outside but nothing appears damaged by the low temps so far.  I plan to cut an empty vinegar jar into a pot but will use it tonight to cap my pineapple sage--just in case.  Will see how wet the soil is before I decide whether to do some more digging out and reconditioning of the gardens.

Finally, some one has asked a question I had often asked when I saw some of the more ridiculous stories about moms who 'chose' to stay home with the kids.  How much choice did they really have?  And in some cases it isn't any choice at all.  Finding a job that covers the cost of child care may be quite a challenge--even for well educated mothers.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Good Saturday, All.  Feels colder than it really is.  Temp on the patio is just below 50F.  But everything seems to be still standing in the gardens.  All the tender plants are under cover or in the mini-greenhouse.  The patio is wet but drying off.  But since we expect more rain later today I don't plan on any gardening.

As you probably know, I have become very skeptical of our "education industry."  It doesn't really educate anyone--not for anything meaningful.  It is an industry firmly situated in the industrial ideology--put as much product through as possible in as little time as possible.  For years the players in the industry have survived on debt.  The purveyors of the commodity they passed off as education raised the price year after year without restraint because the customers were still convinced that education was the royal road to advancement and worth the cost.  The customers received loans (for the most part) from banks (at first) and the Federal government on what seemed to be attractive terms--low interest rates and long term.  After decades of a (supposedly) expanding economy, the customers expected that to continue so repaying the "good" debt with rising incomes.  That was an illusion and has been for the last 30 years.  I don't often agree with William Bennett, former Secretary of Education, but his latest is interesting.  Only 150 of the 3500 colleges or universities in the U.S. are worth the money it takes to get a degree from them based on a calculation of the return one would get on the investment.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Well, here it is Friday again.  Wet today so no gardening.  We did get rain over night and I think I lost two of the smallest peppers.  I have two more of that variety in the little greenhouse.  I have to replace 3 or 4 of the strawberries that didn't take the transplant well.  Otherwise everything is doing pretty well.

I found this first thing on lapse photos of changes in the earth over three decades.  The pictures are stunning and somewhat disturbing.

I guess some beef prices are going up.  I haven't set foot in a McDonalds in, I think, 5 or 6 years.  I don't really miss it.

I file this story in the "Isn't globalization wonderful" file.  It is as long as you aren't on a flight experiencing 'technical problems' or, worse, crashes because of more serious failures.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Good Thursday to any and all out there.  It is a beautiful sunny and mild day--so far.  Sometime today the expected rain system should be moving in bring moisture and much cooler conditions.  I don't expect to get any gardening done till Monday.  Maybe Sunday depending on when the rain clears out and the gardens dry out.  Normally, I would be out getting some more done before the weather changed but today I woke feeling unsteady and light headed.  It seems to be passing now but I think the better option is to take things easy today.

The Boston bombers have given way to Cleveland's long missing girls (now young women) on the news.  I have as much to say about the new media frenzy as I did the old.  Maybe now that the spotlight has shifted they might get the dead bomber buried quietly.  The coverage of that kerfuffle goes between the absurd and the asinine.

I think the most significant statement in this article is the last quote:  if it takes all that regulatory rigmarole to keep the multi-national giants in line why not just buy locally.  We buy honey from a local producer and have for a while.  It tastes better than the cheaper brands.  We generally use it for our hot cereal in the winter and, right now, for tea because our stock of homegrown and dried stevia ran out four months ago.  Our primary rule is to buy local when we can.

So the Dutch are investigating the China connection to baby formula shortages postulating gangs of traffickers depleting Dutch supplies to sell at a premium in China.  The Chinese, if they can afford it, choose not to buy the products of their own food industry.

A couple of news readers rang a warning bell that beef prices were rising--a lot.  We were surprised here because we just replenished our beef and pork for the freezer and didn't notice any great significant increase in price.  Some time ago we decided to go with quality even if we had to pay a bit more for it.  Since then we have watched the prices in the supermarket go up while the nonexistent quality was touted.  Best part--we get the meat packaged exactly how we want it.  If we want five pounds of ground beef in half-pound packages (and we do) we get that and from wonderfully cheerful people who are happy to deal with picky old biddies like us.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Good Wednesday, all.  Sunny and we expect temperatures to rise into the low 80s--before the next round of rain and cool temps come in.  I got the lettuce and spinach transplanted.  Also put the trellis in its new spot which required digging out half of one of the large containers.  By then the wind was kicking up so I decided to water everything and call it quits.  I have several herb starts I need to transplant into larger pots.  I don't know if I will keep them in the individual pots or put them into the large containers.  Early next week I plan to start my beans.  The patio is looking like a garden again instead of an icy wasteland.  I definitely plan to cover the containers next winter.

I couldn't pass up linking to this story.  I won't pass on the veracity though the picture is convincing.  However, it is entirely believable that some idiot trusts the technology more than his own eyes.  I often wonder if some percentage of humans switch off their brains when they switch on the technology.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Good day on this beautiful Tuesday.  Temp on the patio at a bit over 50 and predicted temp in the mid 70s.  No rain for today.  I should water containers later today.  I didn't get the lettuce transplanted yesterday so that is on the agenda for today.  It is cool enough that I don't feel any urgency about doing all the gardening now.

There are some lists on which we should not be proud of a high ranking.  But, given the current political climate, I don't expect any improvement.

I found this Atlantic article by way of Green Prophet and it has us thinking.  We changed our habits late  last year when we switched from a large glass of milk with our afternoon meal to a pot of tea.  Our usual formula is to use two bags of green or black tea and two of various herb teas.  Out of curiosity I checked the boxes on our shelf and none of them mention the composition of their bags.  We have decided to empty the bags and brewing the tea without them.  I looked for loose tea a couple of times but our local supermarkets but haven't found any.  We know of a small shop that deals in bulk tea, herbs and spices in a nearby town.  We may visit it again.

Another interesting story from Green Prophet parallels some I have been reading in our media, or more likely on ecological/health blogs, concerning the increasing pollution of water supplies by waste pharmaceuticals.  And by 'waste' here I mean filtered through our kidneys or passed through our bowels.  Most water treatment plants don't treat for pharmaceuticals.

This almost makes me want to hang my Indiana University diploma in the bathroom over the toilet.  But, considering how things have gone in Indiana on the labor front over the last few years, I am not entirely surprised.  It reminds me of the title of a book I read some two decades ago: When Work Doesn't Work Anymore.

I have questioned economic statistics from both government and private companies.  They just seemed too good to be true and this piece indicates my skepticism is justified.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Good Monday to you all.  Our weather is somewhat unsettled here.  Should be in the 70s with possible intermittent showers.  That rain system that has drowned the south and southeast is sending pulses up here.  I hope to get more done outside until later in the week when we expect more rain.  So far I have my purple cayenne, Amish paste tomatoes, Super Sauce tomatoes, two of my Mohawk peppers, and Kale in the gardens.  I hope to get my cypress vines and lettuce in--and maybe something else also.  The seedlings under the light upstairs are slowly dwindling and soon I won't have any--for now.

I saw a couple of interestingly titled articled on Firedoglake today.  The first claimed: Economy Still Not Working for Young Americans.  The second screamed: Over 55, out of work more than six months? Headhunters say you're screwed.  Sounds like the economy isn't working for anyone who isn't a bankster or doesn't have a nice stock portfolio.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy Cinco de Mayo and I hope you all are having a good Sunday.  Ours has started off sunny with temperatures predicted to be in the low 70s.  I have some more gardening planned for today.  The tomatoes I transplanted on Friday are all doing well.  I took the caps off during the day yesterday but they go back for overnight.  I have several starts upstairs that I have to put into larger pots and get into the greenhouse.

I did nothing but sit around and play on my computer yesterday.  And as you can see I didn't see much to comment on either.  Let's see if today is any different.

Most of what I have to say about this story is thoroughly unprintable.  Unfortunately, that kind of over-the-top reaction by authorities has become all too common in our (former) 'land of the free.'

I heard this on the nightly news yesterday in a very brief announcement.  After 40 years it is about time the FDA asks if triclosan is safe and effective.  We began to eliminate what products contain it a couple of years ago when we first heard it might be harmful.  We have long had our suspicions about the necessity of anti-bacterial everything and thought plain old fashioned soap (without antibacterial agents) and water was good enough.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Welcome to Saturday, All.  We had a good downpour yesterday afternoon and the patio is still wet. The temperature so far is ten degrees above what we had yesterday at this time and we expect the mid to high 60s with 70s for most of the week coming.  I did get six of my tomato seedlings in the containers before the rain came.  I put caps on them and am glad I did because that rain would have pounded them into pulp.  I won't do anything more outside till things dry out.

This intrigues me because I am amazed that somehow 'big data' is revealing to consumer product companies that a lot of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  Evidently they are finding that even middle class consumers are buying things they need when their paychecks come in and not buying between.  I am amazed because the 'paycheck cycle' has always dominated my adult life and the lives of most of the people know.  But it s only now becoming a major concern for consumer oriented businesses???  Looking at the response of the executive I have to wonder how it is so many consumers escaped the 'paycheck cycle' that companies like his didn't see the volatility of a market made up of hand-to-mouth consumers.  I notice the writer to assume that such volatility is a recent phenomenon.  And I am not so convinced that we have had a century of extending horizons with respect to our economic decisions.  Most of us have had a much shorter horizon than the pre-industrial herders and subsistence farmers had.  Our horizons were next week, or the next two weeks, or the next month, or what ever interval we had between one paycheck and another.  Those of us who tried to expand our horizons by saving for some distant event (i.e., retirement) often enough found ourselves brought back to the immediate by some unforeseen and random event that threw a monkey wrench into our planning.  That is why I am amused by the economic talking heads who are touting the new highs on the stock market because those who were iron-gutted enough to stick it out after the crash five years ago have got everything and a bit more back again.  Yeah, they got it all back--until the next crash.  And only if they cash out before.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Good day to you all on this cloudy first Friday of May.  I did get the mints transplanted yesterday but I don't really have much gardening planned.  The temperatures aren't supposed to get much above 60 with scattered rain.  All I will do is check all my seedlings for water.  A couple of the gardeners we see most mornings say they have already planted their gardens.  Hope it works out for them.

I didn't see much to mention yesterday.  Let's see if that changes today.

Every time I think a given situation can't get any worse--it does.  Recalled 'beef' contaminated with pork and horse in Europe and now, in China,  'mutton' that turns out to be rat, fox, and mink.  I love the last  quote from an unnamed interviewee: Everything we eat is poison.  In our news last night, the reporters focused on an article in Consumer Reports which linked the common practice of 'blade tenderizing' large cuts of meat which can inject contaminants deep into the meat.  Customers can't tell just by looking that the meat has been so treated.  I wonder if that is the same Consumer Reports article which found that nearly all of the meat they checked from supermarket shelves were contaminated by fecal matter, salmonella, or e. coli.  Worse a large portion of the bacteria were resistant to at least one and often more important antibiotics.  A key finding indicated that those animals not raised on antibiotic-laced feed had far less resistant bacterial contamination.

This is a topic that hasn't received any attention in our press--not even our economic press.  I have heard a few related stories but only because I get my news from a lot of different sources.  Workers have long known that globalization has provided less benefit than promised and cost them dearly in other areas--like wages.  But the concerns of those at the lower end of the economic scale didn't stem the tide of globalization.  However, now that the political powers-that-be are concerned about what it is costing the nations they lead, that may change.

Arianna Huffington posted an interesting piece on "America's Real Deficit Crisis."  Not debt but time.  As one who spent most of her adult life frazzled to one extent or another, I agree.  I haven't worn a watch since I retired and don't want to start again.  I might suddenly find myself wondering where the time has gone but I am not obsessing over it.  And at the end of the day (or month or year) I look back and am amazed at how much I actually did get done.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Good Thursday, All.  Sunny for now but clouds will move in later according to the forecasts and they should stay through Monday.  I cleaned out my strawberries yesterday.  I put in 8 plants last year and transplanted 15 from the old bed last year.  About half of the seedlings I had under the lights are now in the greenhouse.  Those will be the first to go into the containers--next week probably.

I guess this is as good a tactic as any other if you would rather not deal with lousy economic stats.  Simply pass legislation prohibiting the government from compiling them.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Good Wednesday and May Day to you all.  Another beautiful day on the tap.  Had 80s yesterday and expect the same today.  I plan to move most of the seedlings into the mini-greenhouse today and to clean out and transplant the strawberries.  Got the previously worked containers and blueberries fertilized and watered.  I want to get as much done today as possible because the next week is supposed to be in the 60s and wet.  I saw some new growth on the sage so it seems that plant will survive.  Haven't seen any new growth on the lavender.

We are not, repeat NOT, fans of the plethora of so-called smart things flooding our markets.  We rejected smart phones last time we had to replace ours.  We don't want to surf the 'net.  We check directions for where we want to go, if needed, before we leave on our computers.  We don't need our fridge and freezer telling us we are low on whatever.  And we don't need the car talking to us.  So a world dominated by all kinds of trivial household objects talking to each other or to me is--worse than annoying.  Another example of a 'convenience' which is a whole lot less than convenient.

Rude Pundit is so right on this.  We turned off the news because it was going insane on the Boston bombing.  In all the verbiage we got little useful information and a whole lot of unconfirmed speculation.  But we get absolutely nothing about the threats to our health and safety that are much more likely to harm us.  Has anyone heard anything more about that pipeline spill in Arkansas?  The West, TX plant explosion killed, last I heard, 14 while the Boston bombs killed 3.  And our media is obsessed about terrorism??

This item was posted on Can It Happen Here? and it underlines thoughts I have had on a number of issues.  It doesn't matter if the issue is climate change or economic reforms or expanded background checks for gun purchases.  If the people making the decisions or those bankrolling the decision makers aren't at risk nothing will get done.

Grist pretty much says what I have thought about our industrial agricultural system for some time.  It isn't safe for consumers or for workers.  In fact, that is safe in that perverse system is the profits of the companies.  Of course, food isn't the only aspect of our lives that is toxic.  Damn near everything else is--for the greater glory and profit of the chemical industry.