Friday, April 18, 2014

Hope you all have a good Good Friday.

Got the newest rose potted yesterday.  It is looking good with a couple of new shoots just starting.  The other is showing a large number of shoots.  It took me a while to find the kind of roses I wanted.  Color wasn't a consideration but I wanted varieties that are hardy to zone 4 a least and that had good fragrance.  I am amazed at how difficult those factors were to fulfill.  Finally found a couple--the Arctic Flame, from Jung, is a deep red and the Abraham Darby, from Burpee, is pale pink.

So far only strawberries, tansy and pyrethrum are showing signs of life in the gardens.  I have been worried about the hibiscus.  It hasn't shown any signs of life.  The variety I got is supposed to be hardy to zone 4.  Looked up info and the source I found said that they will break through the ground in 7 to 14 days after the soil warms to above 65F and within 5 to 7 days if soil is above 75F.  My soil isn't there yet.

I found this post at Jim Long's Garden that intrigued me.  I had always read that tulips were toxic.  Evidently it is a bit more complex.  I decided to look up a bit more info on the subject and found this much longer article that gives the details.  I don't have any interest in eating tulips.  I don't have any place to grow my own without taking space from plants I find more useful.  But the information is nice to know just in case.....

I guess our strange weather (world wide) has brought some good.  Check this photo and story about a rare Himalayan rhododendron in Britain that has bloomed for the first time in the 30 years since it was planted.  It was fooled by unseasonably warm weather following a wet winter into thinking it was back home in the mountains.  Absolutely gorgeous!!

Now this is a crock of manure!!  Her father was a citizen so she is a citizen.  What is the problem?  But on a lighter note here is another case.  Mom's question: What oath did he take that turned out not to be an oath of citizenship?  I wonder also since it wasn't the one for military service since he was already enlisted.  And now for another piece of bureaucratic bull##$t.  When can we stop pretending that we are truly a nation of laws?

I saw this item elsewhere yesterday.  I remember when solar and wind generators were being sold to homeowners, in part, because they could reduce their energy bills by selling their surplus to the power company.  Evidently, the companies are having trouble with the program.  I have seen accounts of legislation that would allow the power companies to buy a homeowner's surplus but at a drastically reduced rate so they could resell it at the market rate and make a tidy profit.  I have seen other stories about power companies demanding that the homeowners who install solar and wind pay a fee to the power company can "upgrade" their facilities to deal with the "power spikes" resulting from the back flow of surplus power.  But the best (in a very cynical way) story was of the power company in Southern California which used to supply one of the University of California campuses to the tune of about $10million per year.  The University recently completed their own power generating grid which supplies 92% of the campus' needs.  Ouch!  That last is, I suspect the real reason for the flurry of bills targeting home solar and wind installations.

I have been reading a number of articles lately about declining college enrollments.  Some like this one have an almost hysterical edge to them.  But, if enrollments are in fact declining, I see it as a hopeful sign.  I hope the current generation is looking hard at the costs in both time and money and making some hard-headed decisions about the worth of higher education.  There is too much "establishment" propaganda out there--news shows lauding schools whose entire graduating class has been accepted to four-year institutions, Michelle Obama playing chaperone to a group of youngsters on a visit to her alma mater.  Very, very few stories talk about the economics or give a realistic view of possible labor market conditions when those students graduate four years from now.  Or recall the truly pathetic conditions for graduates over the last five or so years.  An advanced education may be valuable but not as an economic investment.  This, however, is a very hopeful sign.

Ah, a likely explanation for the push for college education--the government makes a handy $12billion off of student loans.  Given that the number of grants and scholarships are down drastically how else will all those marks students finance their education?

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