Friday, February 27, 2015


We woke to a fresh blanket of snow.  How thick it is we don't know yet since it is still dark.

Gene Logsdon, the Contrary Farmer, has a piece about the cranky, obstinate, and magically driven machines that rule the world.  Or at least one variety of them--old tractors.


Single digit temps this morning.  The snow yesterday only amounted to a couple of inches of light, easily shoveled fluff.

I saw stories about an edible coffee cup that McDonalds (I think) is introducing in Britain.  Cute idea to drink the coffee and then eat the cup.  I found this item about another proposal to provide coffee cups with a life after coffee.  The Kickstarter proposal involves using recycled paper embedded with wild flower seeds.  Drink the coffee and plant the cup.

I am always on the look out for different plants that might be interesting to grow.  I found this by way of Carolee Newsletter and followed up with a quick internet search that took me to Territorial Seed.   A grafted plant with tomatoes on the top and potatoes below.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Expecting snow (more snow) today.  We have small mountains of snow that won't disappear soon and the mountains keep growing.  The weather people made a point of saying that even though "meteorological spring" starts March 1 winter is hanging on.  I don't consider meteorological seasons.  Spring equinox is March 20th at 5:45pm.  That is when the shadow of the house recedes to the top of the fence and the patio gets more direct and reflected light.  The Essential Herbal Blog post this morning reflects our mood: tired of another winter that is anything but what once was normal.  She has some very pretty pictures that remind us of what we (hopefully) can expect in the months ahead.

I have seen more stories like this and they piss me off.  Are we becoming a nation of restful, spiteful, self-righteous spies?  All driven by politicians who specialize in using the politics of bitter envy to drive their ambitions.

Long ago we decided, if we ever had pets again--not likely but possible, we would prepare their foods the same way we do ours--from scratch.  This is why.  We have seen too many stories about pets getting sick on questionable foods many from formerly reputable brands.

We have thought for some time that the medical advice on children and allergies (i.e., avoiding things like peanuts that trigger allergic reactions) was a bit off kilter.  It sounds good on the face.  If something is likely to cause an allergic reaction keep it away from the child until they are older.  However, the immune system has to be used to function.  When we aren't exposed to allergens we don't develop a tolerance for them.  When my siblings and I were old enough to go on solid foods, Mom pureed a small bit of what she fixed for the family for us to eat.  None of us had serious allergies and all of us outgrew them.  Evidently, doctors now have experimental evidence that small exposures at a young age reduces the number of kids with serious allergies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The deep freeze is back right on schedule.  Raw temps are bad enough but we have a bit of a breeze which drops the feel to mid-double digits below zero.  Weather like this makes spring feel much further away than a month.


Didn't see much I wanted to comment on yesterday.  The post-mortem on the Oscars dominated the news but that is a topic I have no interest in.  I haven't seen any of the movies and don't intend to see any of them.  The (s)news machine seems intent on hyping events like the Oscars, the Superbowl, etc.,  Once upon a time those would have been relegated to a small segment in the entertainment, social, or sports reports but that is what dominates new reports now.  That is why I no longer watch much news.  And what time isn't given over to "infotainment" is dedicated to repeating whatever story, however inconsequential, that the programmers think will titillate viewers.  Oh, well--enough grousing.  Let's see what I might find today.

Four more new craters have been found in Siberia and scientists are scrambling to explain them.  The pictures are stunning.

I follow Susan Being Snippy for her craft work but this is interesting because it reflects what I think when I see articles about retirement planning.  They don't really apply to me because I spent so much of my time doing low paid work while trying to get the education that would move me into a good paying career only to find the economic ground cut out from under me each time.  I had no 401k, no pension, and not much savings because every time I got a bit ahead something happened to wipe it out.

Interesting, and a bit scary.  The old saying tells us that the first step in getting out of a hole is to stop digging but those figures say that even if we stop digging we can't get out of the fiscal hole.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Another wave of very cold weather coming in.  Our temperature actually broke 30F yesterday but by this evening we should be only in the single digits.

For the most part we decided some time ago to ignore most "modern" dietary advice.  This article explains why.  Americans have essentially been lab rats for nutrition scientists for the last two generations with the result that we have epidemic levels of diabetes, obesity and other types of ill health.  What really burns me is all these nutritional experts had plenty of warning that their notions were flawed.  Take a quick read through the introductory chapters in Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.  And think about the furor when the new dietary guidelines were published and how loud the cry was from corporate interests who feared a hit to their bottom line.  And while you are thinking, consider where the money comes from to conduct nutrition studies--those same corporations.

It used to be a sarcastic joke that you should only go to the hospital if you were likely to die anyway because the illness you could get in the hospital were just as likely to kill you.  One of the persistent stories this past week involved several people, two of whom (at last count) died, infected by a particularly nasty, multi-antibiotic-resistant bacterium.  Worse--the instruments which were the source of the infections was a commonly used and difficult to disinfect or sterilize--even using the recommendations provided by the manufacturer.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

We have a brief respite from the brutal cold before we go back into the deep freeze late tomorrow.  The temperature should get up to 30F (give or take a degree) which will feel like a minor heat wave.

Interesting and quirky story.

Evidently the cause(s) of Colony Collapse Disorder may go beyond one kind of pesticide and may be difficult to solve.  That is especially true in our industrialized agriculture system where the massive application of pesticides on GMO monocultures is the quickest and easiest way to the largest profit.

We noticed some time ago that the time allotted to programs on TV (cable or otherwise) has shrunk while the number of ads are expanding.  Evidently the networks are engaging in other tactics to get more ads in.  Another reason we reduced our service to simple basic and got Netflix.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Almost as cold this morning as yesterday.  High yesterday: 5F.  I am so ready for winter to leave.  But we still have a month of official winter and we can get snow/cold into late April.  Our average last frost date is May 15 so we have a good way to go yet.

Over the last few years we have moved away from processed/prepared foods because of all the crap (to use a polite expression) included--and that is in addition to the high levels of salt and sugars (often highly processed or fake sugars).  These kinds of reports confirm our strategy and force us to consider going further in that direction.

Here is an interesting assessment on the character of the 21st century:  going nowhere while very, very frightened.  We have drastically reduced the amount of news we watch and our moods have improved greatly.  We get a lot on line but we can more easily avoid what doesn't interest us and skim for the relevant information without getting all the drama.

A couple of questions came to me as I skimmed the outrage in certain quarters this morning that the second day of the White House conference on violent extremism because it opened with a Muslim prayer but "no other faiths were represented."  What question you ask?  Did the first day of the conference open with a prayer and, if so, what faith was represented?  And if it was a Christian prayer were any other faiths represented?  I can't find the answer to those questions.  I am left to speculate that the answer to the first question may be "yes" and the answer to the second would be "no."  Smacking people in the face with Christian sentiment is a fact of life in this country and Christians think they have a right to do the smacking.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The weather report says Chicago has tied their record low and we still have time to break it.  Minus 7 is definitely cold.  They may break their record low high for the day as well.

The Contrary Farmer has another good piece on GMOs.  I agree and would add that I would have no problem with them IF the foods made from them were labeled so we can make an informed decision about what we eat, IF the company compensated farmers who find their crops contaminated by nearby GMOs and for the costs of replacing seed they can't save and plant because of such contamination.  And IF the process really delivered on its promises.  But GMOs don't boost yield over traditional varieties.  They don't allow farmers to use less herbicide and pesticide on their fields because the pest and weeds are becoming resistant and farmers have to use more and more dangerous chemicals.  Over all, this is another scam designed to move money from farmers to big ag companies.

The nice thing about staying inside on these bitterly cold days is that you can enjoy pictures like this. And Chicago has set a new record low: -8F.

A little while ago I made a list of the seeds I want to start this season along with their sowing/starting recommendations.  Last night I looked at the list again and made a note of the date I should start those seeds I should start indoors.  So far I have scheduled all my tomatoes, all my peppers, the Moldavian balm, stevia, and bee balm for March 1.  Next week I need to fill my starter pots with potting soil and move my plants around upstairs so I can set up the heating mat.

Evidently I am no the only one anticipating spring.

The (s)news media is making a big deal about Jeb Bush's claim that he is his own man even though he loves his brother, his father and his mother.  However, only one report noted that his advisors are almost all people who were in this brother's and father's inner circles.  In what sense exactly is he his own man when the advice he gets is from their advisor?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hope you are staying warm and safe considering the weather hitting so much of the country.  We  are definitely staying inside and warm.  Single digits--low single digits--for temperatures right now and tomorrow looks colder when those temperatures won't get above what we have now.  The weather people are predicting a record setting low well into the negative numbers tomorrow morning.  We love the remote start feature of our new-to-us car.  But even with that we aren't going anywhere we don't absolutely have to.  Mother Nature seems to be reminding us that we really are still a part of and at the mercy of nature not something apart from it and immune from it.  That we should have to adjust our lives to natural phenomena is as somewhat alien notion.

I do love how the Onion manages to skewer parts of our society with humor.  This post tells the truth about most of our healthcare (or, as a couple of my favorite bloggers calls it, sickcare) industry--it specializes in monetizing illness.  It is very effective at removing money from our pockets and putting it in theirs--often with little real, lasting benefit to us.

I notice that our news outlets aren't talking much about the derailed train of oil tankers in West Virginia.  The most common response to earlier accidents has been a call for "safer" tanker cars that are more resistant to punctures in case of an accident.  But the train that went off the rails in West Virginia was hauling new puncture-resistant cars.  If we want the oil (and the products from it that drive our industrial life) we do have to accept a certain amount of risk.  After all, the oil and its products do have to be transported and accidents do happen.  But the companies involved seem to have little regard for the people living nearby.  They resist any attempt to force them to inform anyone of when hazardous materials are going through and they pay as little recompense as they can for the harm they cause.  It another case of privatized profits and socialized costs.  They don't pay; we do.

I am keeping this in my in-box for a while because I want to read it a couple of times over.  I like that phrase "empire of chaos" and the fact that such a thing is ungovernable by definition.  It ties into a thought we had yesterday when reading about the Texas judge who has issued an injunction against the Obama administration's executive order on deportations.  We weren't terribly surprised because continues a pattern we have noticed over the last couple of decades.  We have become an ungovernable nation.  Elections don't matter because the losing party will stymie anything the winners want to put in place.  Our elected leaders have long mistaken ambition for principle and demonized opponents.  When you can't see anything good about the other side, even when they propose your own past positions, means, by definition, you can't compromise.  There is no national "we" to do anything any more.

This little piece from Dutch News reinforces the arguments I made about the rail accident above.  Fracking in Groningen in the Netherlands has been accompanied by increasing earthquakes and a recent report has ruled that public safety has taken a backseat to profits.  Residents have gotten little satisfaction from either the drillers or the national government.  Private profits; public risk.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Brutal cold has arrived.  Woke to temps just around 0F--some areas slightly below and some very slightly above.  I have rarely seen winds as strong as we had yesterday.  I had to bring the bird feeder inside so it wouldn't get blown off the shelf it was on in the frame of the mini-greenhouse.  We still have some lake-effect snow falling here.

According to the news this morning we have a new housing trend blighting the landscape: giga mansions.  I won't link to the stories I found on a quick Google search.  The story cited houses with 70k-90k sq ft.  Some billionaires are buying mega mansions just to tear them down to build the larger giga mansion.  Oh well, I guess if you have it, you feel the need to flaunt it.  I simply call it more money that brains.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day to all.  We are expecting plunging temperatures and a bit more lake-effect snow.  Reminds us that winter is only half over.  (Update:  we have had snow already--well before the weather people predicted.  A couple of episodes of white out already.  And the temps are only in the teens now and going lower.  The wind has been brutal.  I looked out on the patio and noticed our wind spinner was gone.  Where we don't know.  We might find it under the snow on the patio but it might also have flown over the fence and far away.)

Friday, February 13, 2015

The weather people said we got about 4 inches of snow.  I think we got more but it was so wind driven I couldn't prove it.  The way lake effect snow sets up though we could have gotten significantly more than where ever the official data collection site is located.  I have a bit of it to shovel off the patio.  The grounds crew came by twice yesterday to clear the sidewalks.  It is really cold right now--about 0F.  And not likely to get much warmer.  The wind is still brisk.  (AH!!  It is sunny outside now so we may break 20F)

An interesting little piece by Paul Rosenberg at Casey Daily Research:  "Looking for a Reason to Believe: The Benefit of the Doubt is Cracking."  The crux of issue, of giving the benefit of the doubt, is trust.  We trust that somewhere the grievances will be redressed and justice achieved; that the "system" is fair.  When that trust is repeatedly violated no benefit of the doubt can be given.

The title of this Foreign Policy article says exactly what I have been saying for some time: in the Middle East the enemy of my enemy is still an enemy.  We don't have any friends over there and few useful allies.

An amusing story on the morning news: Americans aren't spending the "savings" from lower gas prices or, rather, they aren't spending on new consumption.  They are banking it or paying down their debt.  Hence, retail sales fell unexpectedly last month. That is what happens in a consumer driven economy when the consumer can't or won't consume at expected levels.

The continuing story about Brian Williams also provides some wry amusement.  His only problem is forgetting when he was presenting "news," which most people expect to be true, and entertainment, which can be fictionalized truth or wholly made up fantasy.  That is the problem with "infotainment."  The two strands become so knotted together that you can't tell where one ends and the other begins.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

We woke to a new, light layer of snow.  How much we can't tell because the very brisk wind is blowing it around.  The snow is coming in waves off the lake and is heavy and wind driven right now.  They say we may get as much as 7 inches depending on how the system sets up.  The temperature is in the low single digits and expected to stay that way for the day.  The windchill is right around 0F.  We had a couple of days with temps above freezing which reduced the snow mountains to hills.

I take any dietary advice, no matter what the source, with a heavy dose of skepticism.  It seems that what every is advocated today with all the strident urgency the "experts" can muster will be seriously moderated, if not totally reversed, in the near future.  Now those experts are reversing the advice on cholesterol.  Mom's doctor tried to get her on a low cholesterol diet but it required such an unrealistic change that we ignored it after we stopped laughing.  We refuse to use low fat or no fat alternatives because they are, usually, heavily laden with salt and/or sugar.  The only exception to that rule we make is for our yogurt because our local stores only carry the brand we like best, and has no additional chemicals, in the 2% and 0% forms.

Update on the snow: right now blowing sideways and so heavy we can hardly see anything across the street.  The guys our landlord pays to shovel snow (and tend the lawns in the summer) were out earlier but will have to do it again.  The mail did come but I am not going out there.  I will put out our mail and collect today's tomorrow.

The Contrary Farmer has found an application of genetic modification he can get on board with--and I agree.  For the most part the genetic modification industry has sold us on the notion that their work can boost yields and defeat weeds, and bacterial/fungal/insect pests while being healthy for human and animal consumption.  The industry has failed on all counts.  The weeds and pests are increasingly resistant to the chemicals the crops have been engineered to tolerate while recent studies show that the yields between traditional and GMO crops are not significantly different while the costs of the GMO crops are significantly higher.  However, a judicious application of GMO technology can be beneficial and shouldn't be thrown out simply because the industry over-promised the benefits.

I love the phrase "Gardens are, by definition, a mediation on impermanence."  Mine definitely are impermanent.  I have remarked before that the garden I plan in the spring is never the garden I wind up with in the fall.  Some things simply don't work out and are replaced.  Some things that once worked don't any more for what ever reason.  The garden of last year is no harbinger of the garden to come this year.  Which is why it never gets boring.

I have followed this story for the better part of a year.  It has only gotten grimmer.  Think about what you would do if you only had access to water from your tap two days a week.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The official temperature just went down to -1F according the news this morning.  Another good day to stay in and warm.


We like tea in the afternoon with our supper/dinner and like variety.  We brew up a mix of regular teas (Earl Gray or gunpowder, for example), or yerba mate with a variety of herbal blends often from herbs I have grown here.  Here is an interesting description of how people in 22 countries prepare their tea.

File this one in the "boys gotta have their toys" file.  Even if they have to exaggerate a non-threat and redefine "terrorism" as advocating "peace, love, and understanding."  It is also obvious that they don't use intelligence as a criteria for hiring or promoting police officer or for electing politicians.

The Romans had "bread and circuses;" we have "reality TV."  Looks like they serve the same purposes.  Late last fall we took our cable service down to bare basic--so we could still get the "news" and the few channels we still liked.  We have debated for years about the offerings and were increasingly unhappy as the so-called reality shows dominated more and more of the airwaves.  Not only have we reduced our cable service but we have reduced the hours we watch as well because the news isn't really news any more--which is why the word is in quotes above.  The early promise of what TV could offer has been short circuited by capitalism.

Ronni Bennett always offers a good info and today she offers links to a new website that deals with medical care and questions patients and doctors should ask.  Evidently the medical establishment (at least some of it) is coming to the same conclusion I have: we get too much medical care at too great a cost.

Fortune reports an interesting drug shortage:  saline solution.  Yeah, for the last couple of years sterile salt water has been in short supply.

Well, all that crap had to go somewhere.  Did they think Dumbledore waved his wand and murmured a spell to make it disappear?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We have been getting small spurts of nuisance snow and expect more today.  Clearing the car was a big job.  A layer of ice had formed under about 12 inches of snow the wind didn't blow away.  We shouldn't have much trouble with catching up on what fell over night.

Still, slowly, planning the gardens.  I have made my (nearly) final decisions on tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers, and cucumbers.  I say nearly because, as I have mentioned before, the garden I have in the fall is never the garden I planned in the spring.

I always try a few plants totally new to me.  Last year I put in shiso.  Pretty enough plant but a big one and not worth putting in again.  We don't do Japanese cooking and it didn't seem to fit with our normal foods.  This year I have three greens I hope will replace spinach and lettuce.  I haven't had good luck with them.  My little patio goes from deep freeze to oven very quickly--a consequence of being a small cement platform with a six-foot white fence that concentrates sunlight, and heat, in that space.  All lettuce and spinach varieties bolt almost immediately.  This year I will put in Long-leaf Tong Ho, mizuna (mixed colors), and orach.  All are supposed to be heat tolerant and the Tong Ho is supposed to be a good substitute for spinach and all are supposed to be good in salads.  I will find out.

And what would a garden be without herbs.  I will include a number of old friends: lemon balm, lemon basil, sweet basil, peppermint, spearmint, hyssop, summer savory to name a few.  This year I am adding Moldavian balm and wintergreen.  The wintergreen plants will come later at an appropriate time for transplanting as will the lemon verbena plants.  Some of you may recall my struggles with lemon verbena but I am an eternal optimist and my success with my 3-year-old rosemary have me hoping I can keep it going inside.


Since the meetings at Davos began I have been reading more stories about the uber-rich getting ready to retreat to their castles and pull up the drawbridges.  This post has a good summary.  It is interesting the amount of attention it is getting this time around.  I saw similar articles soon after Obama's election when all the politicians and pundits were trying to convince us they had a real plan and there was "light at the end of the tunnel."

Gene Logsdon, the Contrary Farmer, asks an interesting question of whether we will follow the Maya and the Mound Builder cultures, based largely on corn farming, into oblivion.

Rhetorical question surely.  Like the author I used to find Chris Christie refreshing especially considering the colorless idiots lacking brains or backbone in the GOP.  However, sometime ago he shifted from refreshing to assholery.   How big an asshole?  Try total.

One of the foundations of our industrial commerce is the notion that "if you make it some idiot will buy it.  That is well illustrated in this article.  It seems that there is a new "disease" every week or so which requires large numbers of people to take a new pill.  Or "science" suddenly discovers that almost everyone needs to take a drug, like statins, "just in case."  Or that some people aren't helped as much as they would like by one medicine so they need another--and maybe a third.  I think we are being medicated out of our minds and, maybe, our lives.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cold this morning with more snow probable.  We did get our path on the patio cleared yesterday.  Where my containers had been clear with only a thin layer of old snow small mountains of snow four feet high obscure everything.  Looking out over the "winter wonderland" I am amazed when I realize I will be starting some of my seeds in a little over a month.

The garden planning goes on.  I have six varieties of tomatoes and I don't know exactly where a couple of them will go.  I decided to experiment with a couple of the small varieties (Micro Tom and Red Robin) and a tumbler (Tumbler hybrid) for the baskets I can hang on my fence.  I have two standard. indeterminate slicers (Costuluto and Amish Gold) both of which are heirloom.  I yielded to impulse and got seed for the Roselle cherry tomato--also standard, indeterminate heirloom.  I need to remind myself to save seeds this year.  The maturity dates go from a very early 45 days to a very long 90 days so I should have tomatoes for a long span this summer.  I do plan to make and can tomato sauce but will buy the romas from the farm market and add in any of the home grown tomatoes we can't eat right away.

Of course you can't have tomatoes without peppers.  I have two favorites (Albino Bullnose and Lipstick) ready to start in late March.  I yielded to another impulse and added the Violet Sparkle.  All are heirlooms.  We don't eat many hot peppers but if I can find a Mexibelle (very mildly hot) transplant I will make room for it.

Reading today:

From Market Watch: a good reason not to use the herbal supplements.  More details here.  We don't do herbal supplements.  We do like herbal teas and I grow several herbs every year.  But we drink the teas for the flavor not for the health benefits.   Crooks & Liars also has a comment.  Although I agree with the remarks about this being yet another example of retailers (and by extension, manufacturers) putting profit above quality and defrauding their customers, the comments ignore a long history of product adulteration which is probably as long as the history of commercial production.  Look up the penalties for selling/producing inferior/watered beer under the Hammurabi code.  And Medieval bakers created the "baker's dozen" so they wouldn't suffer the severe penalties for short weighting the goods they sold their customers.  Caveat emptor, as the Romans said.

I have thought for a long time that the so-called sharing economy, exemplified by Uber, Lift, Airbnb and others,  were a new form of a rental economy.  Robert Reich calls it the "share-the-scraps economy."  Either way it sucks.

Patrice Lewis on whether "we own our stuff or it owns us" and the place of technology in our lives.

Monday, February 2, 2015

We got about 18 inches of snow which is piled around in drifts thanks to the wind.  With temps in the teens and wind chill in the mid single digits we won't be slowly start clearing a path and uncovering the car.  And we expect more snow in spurts today.  Actually, watching the news/weather we are reassessing.  We will wait a day or two.  Neither of us are that young or that fit and we have no where we must go.

I have started to go through the seeds I have (new and old) to decide when to plant what where.  All garden plans are tentative because the garden in the fall is never the one I planed while the snow was still on the ground.  It should be an interesting season.  I have two tall sunflowers.  I ordered the Candy Mountain variety (a hybrid) from Burpee and Baker Creek sent Lemon Queen, another tall variety that is an heirloom, as a freebee.  I plan to companion plant three of the beans (Blauhild, red-seeded Asparagus, and Gold Marie Vining) and one of the cucumbers (Dragon's Egg) with the sunflowers so they provide the "trellis" for the vines.  I read on one blog last week that planting cucumbers with sunflowers not only provides support but increases the sweetness and reduces any bitterness in the cucumbers.  I retrieved an upright enamel-painted shoe rack a neighbor threw away last fall which I will mount on one of my large containers so it will support the Sunset runner beans.  I have one more cucumber, the Barese, which Totally Tomatoes sent as a freebee that I don't know yet where it will wind up.  It is an heirloom that is actually a melon with a cucumber flavor.  The small ones can be used as cucumbers in salads and whatever while the large ones can be used as melons.  Should be interesting.  More seeds to consider and more planning to do.

Now a sample what I am reading today:

The Atlantic:  Kent Greenfield argues that the real solution to corporate bad actors is more corporate personhood not less.  He brings up the case Hobby Lobby brought under the Restoration of Religious Liberty Act which, the courts agreed, exempted the company from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  They argued that the company, as a closed corporation the shares of which are owned by the Green family, shared the religious orientation of the owners.  Greenfield suggests that, if the corporation is indeed a person, it's "religious orientation" should be separate from the ownership.  Let's go a step further and mandate a means of executing particularly egregious corporate criminals.

Tomdispatch: Seven reasons why America's wars will not end any time soon by William Astore.  And I read yesterday that Obama wants the military exempted from "sequestration" and proposed a hefty increase in the Pentagon budget.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

We are snug here waiting to see if the blizzard and snow totals are as forecast.  We did get, maybe, 2 inches over night.  I will see if we got the freezing rain at some point when I clear some of the patio--mainly the path from the door to the gate.  After the last bit of freezing rain covered by snow I moved the "salt" from the shed (the door of which tends to freeze shut) to inside the house right next to the door.

So what am I reading this snowy, blustery Sunday at the beginning of a new month?

This post by way of Naked Capitalism.  I have long thought that the "industrial model" of production (produce as much at the lowest cost possible to be sold for the lowest price possible hoping that someone somewhere will buy it in the quantities produced) has been pushed to the breaking point.  It has migrated from steel and autos to agriculture, education, and banking (think subprime loans for everything.)  As with most technologies (and organization is as much a technology as an iPhone) it works well--until the negative consequences, which often aren't apparent early on, mount up.