Thursday, July 31, 2014


And the last day of the front half of this year.  No rain over yesterday so watering is on the garden agenda.  I got a quart baggie of green beans off the vines yesterday and a couple of strawberries.  I also should trim the tomatoes a bit.  It makes it much easier to see what is developing and keeps the vines from overwhelming plants sharing their space.  I saw only one small tomato getting red so far.  We took a couple of the Albino Bullnose peppers for salad but none of the others varieties are ripe yet.  The wonderberry plants have numerous clusters of swelling berries.

So John Boehner and his fellow Repthuglican idiots in the House are hurt that anyone would think they are planning to try to impeach Obama.  It is all a plot by desperate Democrats to fire up their base and squeeze donations for the fall elections.  Riiiight!!  Rusticus 1778 demolishes the their bleatings convincingly.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


More unseasonably cool weather so far today--lower 50s.  We only got to the mid 60s yesterday with a lot of non-productive clouds.  No rain at all.  The weather people predict low temps and possible rain over the next couple of days.  We'll see.  Nothing planned for the gardens except picking a few strawberries.


We did get rain last night so I shouldn't have to water anything except the beans and largest pepper.  Those two dry out faster than anything else.  I hadn't planned on any work in the gardens but found two more little pots of creeping thyme at the farm market.  The portulaca I had on the spiral hanger in small pots wasn't looking very happy so I moved them to a bare spot in one of the large containers and replaced them with the thyme.  Today I need to check over the beans and harvest some of them.

The news provided a bit of irritation this morning.  Evidently some idiot decided to conduct a poll asking if Americans approved of the job John Kerry is doing in the Middle East.  Evidently not many approve of his "handling" of the Hamas/Israel conflict.  Why am I irritated and why put that word in quotation marks?  I am irritated at the underlying assumption that our Secretary of State can in fact "handle" (as in solve) the conflict.  A real solution demands each side be willing to compromise and, so far, I don't see any ground for compromise between two antagonists with irreconcilable demands and whose attitudes are the definition of intransigence.  And, of course, our media points out none of this.

We really enjoy watching the birds in our little garden patch--especially the hummingbirds.  They have visited several times already this morning.  They seem to be feeding very frequently and spending a good bit of time at the feeder or working the flowers.  One came in this morning and visited the borage, wonderberries, melons, lemon basil, and beans.  At one point we had two playing ring-around-the-rosy at the nectar feeder.

I have seen a couple of other stories on this and I absolutely love it.

Monday, July 28, 2014


A bit foggy this morning.  We had clouds off and on yesterday but no rain.  All the severe storms went well south, west or east of us.  I watered the gardens well just in case.  I have stevia and peppermint drying and steeping in vodka.  I hadn't planned on doing more than harvesting stevia for syrup but I had enough to fill two dehydrator trays as well as the quart jar.  I prefer to run the dehydrator full with all seven trays so I decided to cut the peppermint.  It did need cutting.  I filled the remaining two trays in the dehydrator and had a fair bit of mint left.  What to do?  Hmmm--if I can extract stevia with vodka, why not the peppermint?  We'll see how it turns out.

I think this could stand as a prime example of a failed investment.


The wind was howling last night.  It is still dark and I can't see if anything was damaged in the gardens.  We didn't get any rain yesterday.  Unless we got a good bit overnight I will have to water everything well today.  I saw a streak of red on one of the tomatoes yesterday so we should have our own ripe tomatoes soon.

Update: It is light outside now and overcast.  We didn't get any rain overnight and the wind is still high.  I am not in any hurry to get busy so I will continue reading my blogs and news.

My first thought reading the headline (and nothing else) was "Coober Pedy."  And I was right.  Never heard of it?  Well it is worth a look.  I first heard about this Australian town some quarter-century ago on a TV program with a segment on opal mining.  That what started the town.  It has certainly developed since then.

Update 2:  Just finished grinding peppermint and stevia.  Always amazed by how the taste and smell permeate the area when I am grinding herbs.  The other day Mom wondered if I was drying something.  I wasn't but we had the patio door open.  I have four basil varieties, peppermint, two rosemary plants and lemon thyme near the door.  Just the breeze coming in bring a hint of the herbs with it.  Checked the stevia and peppermint steeping in vodka.  Both developing a good strong flavor. The stevia will be ready tomorrow but the peppermint should "age" for one to two months before I drain it and rebottle it for final use.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


I thought I had posted my last scribblings yesterday but Blogger was hanging up and I didn't realize it hadn't posted.  Oh, well.  After a bit of thought I posted it and started another.  Let's see where this day goes.

No damage at all from the wind we had Wednesday.  However, I got lazy and didn't do more than water a couple of pots that tend to dry out quickly and drown a few Japanese beetles.  Our temperatures were quite cool yesterday--in the mid 70s--and probably won't be much warmer today.  Good weather for doing all the little chores and for harvesting some stevia and peppermint.  I used some of the previously harvested spearmint and peppermint for tea a few days ago.  Very tasty!!  We watched one of the little hummingbirds working at the lemon basil.  Wonder how many other plants they have visited.

Interesting indictment of U.S. system of higher (mis-)education.  Parallels my own experience in the academic jungle.


Good post from David Kaiser this morning.  For some time I have wonder if the demagogues and would-be demagogues spouting their endless stream of crap could really believe what they spout and whether their followers could rally believe that crap.  Kaiser explains how that can really be the case. I remember a quote attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynahan which claimed everyone was entitled to their own opinion but not to their own facts.  Facts were facts and were the same for everyone.  Well, evidently not.  I spent a lot of time in academia and a good part of that time was spent reading history--including race, gender, and class history.  But I remember that the historians I read at that time didn't argue the facts.  Rather they argued that the facts, i.e. what happened, had differential effects on the experiences of different people depending on their gender, race, class.  I don't know if that is still the case since I have been out of that environment for some time.  If it isn't then Kaiser's remarks explain why we can't seem to agree on anything--politically, socially, economically, or in any other area of our lives.

Just heard an interesting little snippet--the book which contains the injunction "Thou shalt not steal" is not only the best selling book in the world it is also the most shoplifted.  Go figure!!  (Note: I don't know where the information comes from or how valid it is.)

Another first in our little garden--we saw the first cardinal we have ever seen in this area.  It was bobbing around examining all of the structures and the plants very carefully.  Perhaps he will be back.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Margaret and Helen hit the bull's eye on this.  Rather reminds me of the idiot child congressman (sorry, his name is totally forgettable) who went with a group of other idiot children congress critters to Honduras and Guatemala but rarely left their luxury hotels because it was too dangerous.  But, according to the idiot, the conditions are not too dangerous for the children crossing the American southern border.  Mother Jones covers it well.


We had a busy day yesterday.  Or, rather, a busier day than usual.  We found some nice green beans and strawberries while shopping on Tuesday.  So Mom got the strawberries cleaned, split and in the freezer right off the bat.  Then we headed over to the local Comcast office to tackle our latest bill which was $12 more than it should have been.  It is never fun to deal with Comcast but that was dealt with quickly and to our satisfaction.  They tried to charge us for HBO which we aren't getting.  It had been part of a package they tried to sign us up for but we rejected.  I don't know what the clerk thought when Mom told her that we have been very close to canceling it because there is so little we want to see.  Then when we got home I cleaned the beans, cut them up and packaging them for the freezer.

When the sun comes up I will get out in the gardens and see how the plants did in the wind yesterday.  It was brutal.  My green bean tower was whipping all around.  I have rarely seen winds affect my gardens because we have a six foot fence enclosing the area.  But the wind yesterday dipped in and swirled around.  Hope nothing has any damage.  I also have to water everything well because that wind would have sucked the moisture right out of the plants.

Our news this morning featured a couple of reactions to Walgreens plans to move its corporate headquarters to Switzerland to avoid U.S. taxes.  An activist group delivered petitions with a couple of tens of thousands of signatures opposing the plans and one of Illinois' senators wrote a "scathing" letter to the CEO.  I don't think those actions will help much to convince the company to stay in the U.S. and Illinois in particular.  What is needed is a strategy that will hit its bottom line.  I don't know if such a strategy will be developed by on an individual level we decided that, if Walgreens does move, we will move also--move our business to one of the small local pharmacies.  That, by itself, won't do much to hurt Walgreens.  We are only two people and spend, perhaps, $1000/year which includes Moms prescriptions.  But we don't see why we should support a company which doesn't support return the favor.  What companies like Walgreens is saying by moving is that they don't want to support this country.  But the situation doesn't really surprise me.  I have said for some time that our major companies, those that have gone international, have cut their roots and no longer belong any where and have no loyalty to any one or anything--except, of course, to squeezing as much money out of a captive market, which we are thanks to our bought and paid for legislative branch of government.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Got seven trays of spearmint cut yesterday.  I will grind that batch and try to get the peppermint cut and drying before the heat of the day.  I also need to water everything early today.  Otherwise, the garden is going along nicely.  The wonderberry is blooming well so we should get to try some this year.  Last year none of the seeds I planted sprouted.  I saw several bees (carpenter, honey, and bumble) in the gardens working on the borage, melons, and wonderberries.  More bees at once than anytime in the last couple of years.  The hyssop is beginning to bloom and should draw even more.

Another good post from Tom Englehardt.  I am five years younger and have felt the same way--often.


I don't know about you but I am tired of this grandstanding idiot.  Does he really think such meaningless gestures make him look presidential?

 Tuesday in the Gardens.

Thought I would show you some of what is growing this season now that we are mid-season.  This is the Angel's Perfume geranium from Burpee.  Two of the three survived shipping and transplanting.  They will spend the winter inside.  The do have a beautiful scent as well as very pretty flowers.
Meet the Pesto Perpetuo.  It is a 'sport' which doesn't flower so you don't have to try to keep it from bolting.  I have read some assessment which say the flavor isn't as strong as the flowering varieties but the variegated foliage is interesting.  This is another plant that will spend the winter inside.
Borage and, if you look carefully at the black spot in the lower center of the picture, you can see one of the bees that are visiting the gardens.  I have seen more bees this year but not as many as we had two and three years ago.  I plant borage primarily for the bees.
Overview.  What all is in the garden this year.  Well, the usual tomatoes (Martino's Roma, Patio Princess, and Biltmore) and Peppers (Albino Bullnose, Lipstick, and Cornu di Toro Rosso).  My usual herbs (rosemary, stevia, borage, hyssop, sage, chamomile, shiso, lavender, spearmint, peppermint, lemon basil, sweet basil, purple basil, pesto perpetuo basil, bee balm, summer savory, lemon balm, creeping thyme and lemon basil).  A couple of flowers (rose, red and purple petunia, geranium, and portulaca) and strawberries and wonderberries.
Oh, I almost forgot--the Ms. Mars sunflower, another Burpee variety.  I wasn't all that happy with the early blossoms.  They were rather pale and washed out.  But the later ones showed the vivid colors that attracted me when I ordered them.
Purple hyssop just beginning to bloom.  Another plant I put in primarily for the bees.  It has an added advantage--it makes a nice tea.  The flowers elongate to about four fuzzy inches.
 Two rosemaries and the variegated basil.  The upper rosemary is looking absolutely fantastic now.  Over winter I babied it along expecting it to die any time.  I hope I can keep it and its friend in better condition over this coming winter.
 Wonderberry in bloom--those little white blossoms.  I am looking forward to finding out what they taste like.  That will determine if I will continue planting it in future gardens.  This is the first year I have been able to get it to germinate and grow.  I think it needs warmer temps than we have in the winter in our house.  Next spring I will try it on a heating pad and see what happens.  That is, if I decide the flavor makes it worth while.
Another overview by our gate.  The rose is hidden in the back behind the sunflowers, hyssop and petunias.  Next year, if it makes it through the winter, I will plant some smaller plants where the hyssop and petunias are.  The sunflower is in a separate container.  The birds enjoy that little birdbath.  I tried it in the large container but couldn't find stabilize it.  We decided to put it on the patio cement.

That is all the garden news for now.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Beautiful day yesterday.  Temperature might have barely kissed 80F with a lot of sun.  I cut back the gold leaf lemon thyme--which badly needed cutting--and have that in the dehydrator.  Later I will strip the leaves off the stems.  I also got the eucalyptus transplanted.  I forgot to tell you all I got that last Tuesday at the farm market.  I know I shouldn't look at plants because I am a sucker for plants I haven't tried before.  I took four of the green tomatoes which we fried up for supper.  The strawberries all went on our cereal.  Saw an eastern swallowtail butterfly for the second day in a row visiting our petunias and sunflowers.  The info I found says they are common but this is the first time we have seen them here.

David Kaiser has another on point post.  Our foreign policy is incoherent and has been for a very long time.  You can't blame Obama entirely nor can you go back to George W. either.  We have spent most of our energies since the Spanish American War trying to make over other countries and their peoples into imitations of what we thought we were and are.

Money does, indeed, make the world (especially the political world) go around.  As the King in the Wizard of Id said: Remember the Golden rule--he who has the gold rules.  And what trickles down to the rest of us we really don't want to trickle down on us.  I really hate cleaning up someone else's shit.

Friday, July 18, 2014


I saw a headline this morning which said Vladimir Putin is demanding an "unbiased" investigation of the Malaysian jetliner crash in eastern Ukraine.  I wondered who among those who have the expertise to do the investigation might be considered unbiased and what would be Mr. Putin's definition of "unbiased."  Update: evidently the pro-Russian rebels are now claiming they don't have the black box and Putin claims he won't ask for them when they are found.  This story changes by the moment. Wonder what it will be by the time the news comes on later.

I wonder how much money Sysco made from 2009 to 2013 during which time they made a habit of storing perishable foods in filthy and unrefrigerated sheds?  And I hope the food they are donating to food banks as part of the settlement won't be similarly stored.

For the "damned if you, damned if you don't" file.

Yves Smith has a good cross post from Dahr Jamail concerning the chaos in Iraq.  However, the points she makes in her intro are very appropriate.  I have thought for sometime that our foreign policy has become more incoherent over the last couple of decades.  Russia and the U.S. seem to be on the same side (Malaki's side) in Iraq but working on the opposite sides in Syria.  Saudi Arabia (a supposed ally) and the U.S. are on opposite sides in Iraq and the same side in Syria.  What ever the government's aims are in the various hot spots around the world, making things better for the people who live in those spots receives lip service trotted out merely to soothe the consciences of the American electorate who know shit about the whole mess.

Reading this article I have to say the part which was presented doesn't answer the very important question posed: what purpose is served by the settlement of the case against Citigroup arising out of the mortgage mess?  The bank basically engaged in fraud (even though consultants warned the executives in charge of the bank was illegal) because they didn't want to miss out on a lucrative business.  The settlement doesn't provide a deterrent against future fraudulent behavior.  So what is the actual purpose of the settlement?

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Tom Englehardt always writes interesting posts.  An age of impunity, indeed--for some but not for all.  If ordinary folk did what corporations and our government have done they would be in prison.  Looks like the quaint old notion of "rule of law" is dead.


We had a monsoon type downpour for about fifteen minutes yesterday afternoon.  The rain was so heavy and wind driven we could hardly see the roof tops across the street.  At least we didn't get the hail that Russian beach got.  But the temperatures are supposed to be abnormally low for the next couple days.  Nothing in the gardens was damaged.  I got a nice handful of strawberries earlier but otherwise was lazy about gardening--except for drowning a few Japanese beetles.


Rain last night and partly cloudy skies right now.  Temperatures are in the mid 50s and probably won't get out of the 60s today.  Almost have to check the calendar to make sure it still is July.  This feels like October.


Another author I love to read: Gene Logsdon, the Contrary Farmer.  Always entertaining.  And applicable on more levels than horticulture.  Most of society seems to be paranoid on some subject and too often the paranoia is based on incomplete or misunderstood information.  Do we over here really understand what is going on with Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, or the countries from which those children on our Southern border are coming from?  Are we getting complete information and, given our cultural biases, would we understand it if we had it?

Well, the German might respond to the spying kerfuffle by going old school--very old school.  But as Mom commented "They had better think about the ribbons."  Going to (manual) typewriters would make long distance spying a bit difficult.

And another piece from Undernews.  The last comment that the western drought is probably the worst we will see in our lifetimes brought to my mind a recent piece that focused on paleoclimate studies which indicate that the conditions out there, until recently and with a couple of short duration exceptions, were much wetter than was "normal."  It brought a comment from a reader that the author may be right but that his observation won't help the millions of people impacted.  Unfortunately, the reader didn't make the reasonable observation: maybe those people should be seriously considering moving to a more hospitable area.  Only two things made many of those areas tolerable: tapping water either from deep underground or geographically distant areas and the power to run airconditioning.  Lose either and life gets orders of magnitude more difficult.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday.  It looks like I have another lazy day today.  Friday I just didn't do much of anything.  Yesterday we had a family gathering to celebrate my brother's retirement.  We had rain all day and a good bit of last night--at times heavy.  Some areas had flooding because of it.  Today things are too wet to work outside so I will have to shift my attention to inside work.  The weather people say the next three days should have temperatures well below the seasonal norm here.

Not as much damage as I feared in the gardens.  As I said, some of that rain was very heavy.  One of the tomatoes needed more staking.  One of our neighbors threw out one of the closet shoe organizers which I picked up for use in the garden.  I don't have any space to expand horizontally so I have to find ways to do it vertically.  That rack will make an interesting frame for climbing plants like beans and melons or for grow bags.

I have become increasingly leery of herbicides and pesticides as I have gotten older.  Stories like this one simply up my skepticism meter and I have been seeing many such casting doubts on the use (and over use) of popular agrochemicals.  I look forward to seeing data from El Salvador and Sri Lanka in coming years on the incidence of that new kidney disease.  If the disease disappears with the disappearance of glyphosate that would provide some strong evidence that glyphosate was involved in its appearance.

For years (decades really) I have lived in areas where the opening of gambling establishments (or the expansion of such) has been touted as a major source for public revenue.  This story should make any politico who still thinks that way.  At least they aren't blaming the weather.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I have often thought most of the values listed on the stock and other exchanges are illusory.  This takes the illusion to an entirely new level.


I like David Kaiser's blog.  He usually writes a good deal of common sense.  Today's post is no exception as read about yet another snafu at the CDC.  His last paragraph should raise concern in anyone watching the news.  I don't know how much of our society has progressed from suspicion to contempt with regard to our national institutions, agencies, and authorities--but how large a proportion needs to make that journey before we reach a tipping point?  And have we already reached it?

Ah, yes!!  I know this feeling well.  You start a project that seems like a good idea at the time but it simply doesn't work the way you think it will.  You make an adjustment here and a slight change there--sometimes it even works.  However, the quilt top in the box on a shelf that will never be finished, the vest I frogged earlier this summer, the quilt block that is waiting until I can figure out how to repurpose it are all reminding that just as often the little workarounds don't work.

Don't you just love being called stupid by elected representatives and spokespeople for commercial agriculture?  Too often we have been assured by "experts" and politicians that X, Y, or Z product is totally safe only to find out that the claim should be highly qualified or is totally false.   If someone else wants to buy snake oil that is their concern but I should have the information that will allow me to avoid it if I choose.  I recently saw a quote attributed to Robert Heinlein which noted that one of the worst sins a government can perpetrate is to force someone to buy something he doesn't want.  I would say an equal sin is government allowing commercial enterprises to hide what is in their products in the name of profits.  Both totally gut the notion of choice.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thursday.  Harvested stevia, spearmint, and a nice handful of strawberries.  The strawberries went on our morning cereal.  Dried half of the stevia and all of the spearmint.  The rest of the spearmint is steeping in vodka till tomorrow when I will cook it down for syrup.  I will grind the dried herbs and harvest some of the peppermint and lemon thyme.  (I will do them tomorrow.) I found a pot of creeping thyme at the farm market which I transplanted into a small pot for the spiral plant holder.  We have had cool temps so far and that pattern looks like it will continue.  Last year we went through temperatures in the 90s throughout most of June and July.  We have had few such days this year--so far.  Just checked the thermometer on the patio--55F.

Instead of harvesting anything I have been doing some trimming on the rose, tomatoes, and lower leaves on the Kentucky Wonder beans.  I found two small bean pods developing.  We also watched on to the hummingbirds visiting the melon and borage blossoms.  I wasn't surprised that the borage attracted them.  Bees like borage which is why it is in the garden.  I haven't seen many bees though.  We have seen a large number of the small seed eating birds.  They seem to like it here.  Mom watched about a dozen hopping along the fence (only our sections) and through the gardens.  They don't visit anyone else--probably because there isn't anything for them there.  Saw three visiting the bird bath yesterday to get a drink.  We are watching it and our watering cans for any sign that something less welcome (a.k.a., mosquitos) are visiting.  Haven't found any yet.

Now this is re-purposing!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tuesday.  We had rain overnight and will be doing our shopping this morning.  We have a number of errands so I don't think I will do much in the gardens.  I didn't do much yesterday except harvest a handful of strawberries and drown a bunch of those pesky Japanese beetles.  The pheromone trap is working but there are still a lot of beetles out there.

The news sounds more like a broken record than I do commenting on it.  Let's see if I find anything interesting enough to comment on.

Think they are going to "offset" the costs against something else in the budget?  Bet not.  I think it is about time to drop this nonsense and go on to something more productive.  Other committees have already examined Benghazi to the point of nausea.  Time to stake this political vampire and save the tax payers some money.

This takes the litigious nature Americans have acquired to a new low.  The guy falls asleep during a baseball game and finds his image on the TV accompanied by unflattering comments by the sports reporters and he wants $10million.  Crap.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday.  Slow day yesterday--at least on the 'net.  Didn't see anything I wanted to comment on.  However, it was a productive day in the gardens.  Harvested lavender, lemon basil, and lemon thyme. The house smelled of lavender and lemon as they dried in the dehydrator.  I changed things a bit.  Took the three strawberries I had on the fence down.  Though the pheromone trap has reduced the numbers of Japanese beetles I still have more than enough to do noticeable damage and they seem to like the high plants best.  I put the strawberries on the table to recover before they were eaten beyond recovery.  The plants on the spiral hanger were all pot bound so the two petunias replaced two of the strawberries on the fence while I split the portulaca and repotted it in two of the small pots on the spiral.  I still have two empty spots to fill.  We had rain overnight which I hope has moved out so I can finish cutting back the lavender thyme.  The spearmint, peppermint, and stevia need to be harvested--again (for each.)  The tomatoes, peppers, beans, and melons are blooming nicely with little peppers and tomes developing well.  The squash is growing well but not yet blooming.  The borage is blooming well but I haven't seen many bees so far.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Oh, my goodness.  I think I might die of shock.  Finally a mainstream news outlet describes something other than envy of our lifestyle that drives the dangerous migration of unaccompanied youngsters into the U.S.

Well,  the FDA is getting into setting guidelines for the salt content of processed foods.  Several years ago we eliminated most processed food from our diets and started examining the rest for salt content. At the same time we stopped using as much salt in our cooking and for a good while banished the salt from the dinner table.  We have since allow the salt back slowly but we aren't consuming it in nearly the quantities we did in the past.  At the table we have a salt grinder which we use sparingly.  But I have to admit that health concerns were not the primary factor impelling the changes.  We simply didn't like the taste of the processed foods and once we started going back to cooking most of our foods from scratch (or nearly) the changes simply snowballed.

I haven't written about the latest abomination from the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case.  It is so wrong on so many levels I don't know quite where to begin.  Thankfully, David Kaiser has done the job for me.  Last fall I was overjoyed that a Hobby Lobby had opened in town because the Michaels had become such a disappointment.  Not anymore.  I won't be buying anything from either one.  I will exercise my religious "freedom" and not patronize a chain whose owners are intent on imposing their religion on others.  They aren't very far removed from the Sudanese jurists who condemned a woman to death for apostasy because she married a Christian.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday.  Happy 4th of July.  We are spending our 4th quietly at home.  Well as quietly as possible.  We have neighbors who shoot off their own fireworks.  I have noticed that the fireworks season has been somewhat abbreviated this year.  In past years they started nightly barrages in early June and continued through the later part of July.  We hadn't heard many explosions until last night which, thankfully, were few.

Interesting thoughts on unplugging from the electronics on the Essential Herbal Blog.  We haven't completely unplugged deliberately but episodes like the outage we had on Tuesday makes us think about how much of our lives are dominated by computers and cable TV.  Thankfully we had power so we turned on the little radio/CD/cassette/vinyl player and we had our shopping trip to occupy us.  And later in the day I put on a stack of our DVD/bluray movies.  We have resisted the "smart" phone craze as much as possible.  Our phones can access the internet but we don't use it.  We don't text but convincing family that we don't want them to text us has been a losing battle.  I don't know what our options will be when we our phones die and we need to find new ones.  We don't walk around with our phone glued to our ears or with our eyes on the screen ignoring everything else around us.  But we do wonder about how much discomfort a total withdrawal from our devices would cause.

In the garden--harvested rosemary, sweet basil, and purple basil which are all in the dehydrator right now.  Harvest half-a-dozen strawberries which are in the refrigerator waiting for enough more to go into cereal.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thursday.  Very cool this morning (mid 50s) and we had rain overnight.  Don't have much planned for today.  We have the last of the cherries to package.  They should be well frozen now.  Mom wants to take inventory of what is in the freezer so we can plan what meats we need to buy later over the fall.  All too soon the winter will be here and if it is at all like last winter we won't want to go out much at all and we will plan our shopping for the best travel days.

The garden is doing well.  I have several herbs I need to harvest and process over the next couple of days.  The crook-neck squash are putting on a growth spurt with the cooler and wetter weather.  The melons are blooming well.  We got a small bowl of strawberries we ate with our cereal.  I have a pretty variegated basil I want to put in the place of the geranium that that may have given up its ghost.  I say may because I see a small bit of bright green so I may transplant that into a small pot and put it in the little green house.  I have managed to keep most of the gardens under better control so it doesn't look as much like an overgrown jungle.

I knew this was coming.  It is a sad that freedom of religion for these Christianists is the freedom to discriminate.  Their faith has become a club with which to bash everyone else.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wednesday.  We woke yesterday we had no (cable) TV and no internet.  We didn't get them back until about 8pm. We are amazed at how that discombobulated us; how much both seem to dominate our lives.  Thankfully, we had power which many people still don't have in the greater Chicago area.  The news said some 100k as of this morning.  We didn't see much damage when we went to the farm market and did our grocery shopping.  The corn in the community garden a couple of blocks away had been flattened but most of the rest was in good shape.  One of the venders at the market quipped that he lived in one county but the wind blew him into the neighboring county.  The farm fields around him had serious damage.  Five tornadoes hit well west of here but the straight-line winds did damage not far away--trees, a barn, a silo, and power lines.

Our gardens came through well.  I had one borage plant I had to tie back upright and I lost the weakest of the scented geraniums.  I was surprised it was flattened because it is in a fairly protected place between the wall of the house and the much larger rosemary plants.  Some of the others were a bit battered but still vigorous.  The beetle trap seems to be working.  It already has about a dozen dead beetles in it.

About a week ago we finished the last pack of blueberries we froze last year.  But the new crop is coming in and we picked up a 20lb box at the farm market.  All of it is frozen with the last two trays ready to package.  Today we have cherries to pit and freeze.  We picked up another five +/- lbs to go with the two-and-a-half pounds we bought last week.  I figure we won't have to buy any dried fruit over this next winter.  Since we paid about $1.50/lb for the blueberries and $2.50/lb for the cherries I think we saved money on that.  We like fruit in our cereals and love blueberry pancakes, muffins and syrup on our cheesecake.  We will do the same when the peaches and apples come in.

Update:  we finished packaging the blueberries, splitting/pitting the cherries which are freezing now and I have a quart of green beans fermenting.  I am trying a recipe for green beans I found on line which includes oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary and garlic in the jar with the green beans and brine.  Should be interesting.

I can't add anything to Golem XIV's post.  He says what we have said here for sometime:  the financial and commercial elites have no loyalty to place or people and their only god is MONEY.