Thursday, April 28, 2016


Cold and overcast today so not much going out in the gardens.  Everything of that kind is marking time for things to warm up again.

Found this item this morning that has left me a bit disgruntled. I very much dislike the way it comes across as an indictment of the Obama administration and everything Democratic. The line about how the economy "slowed" during the Bush II reign seems a throw away line. The economy didn't slow so much as crash. I also don't like the notion that Hillary is the be all and end all of the Democratic Party. She isn't. Let's also be clear on the problems of the Big Coal and Fracking. The poor economy has done for them more than any policies and they bleat that the only way they can make it is for the government to scrap environmental and safety regulations. Great! Let the bastards pollute our water supplies and aquifers and kill more people in mine collapses so they can create more jobs for people they continue to poison or kill in cave-ins. Suggesting that Hillary has no plans to "create" jobs gives the Republican candidates a pass. Trump claims he is the only candidate who has created jobs (until his companies went bankrupt--then what?) and that he would create huge numbers of jobs but giving no details. How about Cruz and Kasich? Haven't heard much about their plans. And let's be clear on another fact: who ever the next President is will have little real power to create jobs of any kind. Also why concentrate on the devastation in "coal" or "fracking" country? Are those the only areas where jobs are scarce and people desperate? One would think so from this article.

Every time I see an article like this my first reaction is: My god, what a f*&king waste!!! Think of how many chickens had to be slaughtered to make 4.5 million pounds of inedible crap.


Heavy rain woke me this morning. No garden work today. I do have to rearrange a few of the seedlings upstairs. They have grown too tall for the small grow-lite so I have to move them to the other.

Margaret and Helen on our cesspool of an election. The stench is nearly overpowering with all the shit swirling around.

Makes me wonder how trustworthy forensic "science" really is.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Found this post by way of Naked Capitalism. Dramatic!!

Ah...the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. The title on this piece tells everything about why I am against any expansion of nuclear energy. Think about the time frame here. If we go that far back in history, Rome was an insignificant wide spot in the roads of central Italy. Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato were still several centuries from their births. Now think about the fact that the half-life and "hazardous life" of the nuclear waste generated by the plants in existence now (which are described here) and try to imagine the earth hundreds of thousands of years into the future.

An interesting analysis of what might come of the latest Cruz/Kasich move (for Kasich to focus on Washington and New Mexico while Cruz cruises in Indiana) and keep Trump from getting the delegates he needs to win on the first ballot. I hope enough voters come out for Trump to scotch those plans. I might do that myself since Indiana's primary is next week.


I didn't do much yesterday. Today, though I have to rethink my gardens. Our landlords delivered letters to all their tenants reminding us that the trash totes should be kept inside the fenced areas. For a good while now about half of us have kept them on the grass just outside. We have kept ours inside because we don't want to chase it down the street during a high wind. Evidently, the weeds that have grown up in the bare spots the totes created are getting unsightly and the lawn care people have complained about having to mow around the obstacles. Last year I put a couple arrangement of pots against outside the fence. Though the letter didn't mention my pots I can see that the same complaints might be made of them so I am moving them inside. Silver lining: I can make more use of my fence-top pot hangers.

Keystone-ization. Good moniker. I have read all too many stories of landowners bulldozed by the energy companies using "eminent domain" laws to rip up significant acreage if not forcing a sale outright. Or whose pipes have leaked while they have stonewalled cleanups and then done a shitty job of it. They talked about the safety (or lack of) with the railroads but that depends entirely on what numbers you choose to use. The rail accidents have caused more deaths in local communities but fewer accidents over all. Both leave massive messes that can't be cleaned up effectively.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


If it dries out today I will get some more work out in the gardens. We didn't get a lot of rain but just enough to make things mucky. We brought all of the plants inside because the overnight temps were supposed to go into the 30s and may get frost tomorrow morning. Temps now is warmer than expected at 51. The plants would have been fine but better safe than sorry. If I had lost those plants I would have had to bring in transplants from the garden shops. (Update: temps dropped to high 40s--typical in the pre-dawn hour). I baked yesterday so I didn't get much else done.


Things did not dry out yesterday. It was foggy, misty and cold so I stayed inside. I am glad we brought all of the seedlings inside. The frost warnings weren't extended as far south and east as we are but they are snug and warm inside.


Spent most of yesterday tending the plants under lights upstairs. Put the borage, lemon balm, lemon basil, Moldavian balm and others into larger pots. I have had a good year with the herbs so far. The tomatoes need to be tied up a bit higher to their bamboo-skewer stakes. I still have a few other plants in need of new pots so I will get that done today. I also started cleaning up there. The room has become a catch-all mess. Made a good start on that yesterday but I have a lot more to do.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


I may get some gardening done before the rain moves in--if it makes it. The weather people predicted rain yesterday but all of the systems angled north and the souther edges fell apart. Nothing much done yesterday except checking plants. All are doing well.

Found this almost right off the bat. So--fifteen of the hottest years on record have happened in this century. And we are into the seventeenth year of the century (sixteenth if you don't count 2000 as part of the century) and the NASA official cited in the story thinks this year is likely to be the hottest yet with a better than 99% chance. New Normal???


We had sun most of the day and the rain held off till late afternoon. We didn't get much precipitation and I don't think we got much overnight. I got the compost bin taken care of. Mine is a 55-gallon plastic trash can with air holes drilled in the sides. I was surprised by the weight of it but the lower levels had become compacted. I had to tip on its side and rake out over half of the upper layers before getting to the composted stuff. That broke up easily into some nice crumbly soil and went into another bin from which I will mix up the soil I will add to the containers today, or tomorrow depending on the weather. I used my first batch to fill two of the three levels of one of my small plant towers.

Reading this made me wonder not only about how much  of a "second-hand" dose we get in our water but what the effects might be of combinations of drugs. The study only looked at one antidepressant but all kinds of psychoactive drugs, antibiotics and hormonal drugs are present also. If you take a drug and you pee, you will be delivering the excess of the drug and its metabolites into the sewage system and, sooner or later, back into the drinking water system.

We have been watching the idiotic, asinine contests over "bathroom" privileges that have been popping up in so many "red" states. Mom suggested we should have unisex rest rooms. Well this little story gives a sorry idea of how that might go (no pun intended). When did religious purity get mixd up with who answers nature's call where? This is as bad as the fights in Europe over women wearing a hijab or other kind of veil. Or the Iranian government which wants more "morality police" to make sure women are adequately covered. Their President supposedly disagrees with the tactic.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Sorry, no gardening done yesterday. Shopping took up most of the morning and all we wanted to do was relax for the rest of the day. Once upon a time we could make a one stop trip and get everything but we have changed our eating habits and become picky about what we eat and buy. The result is that we can't get everything in one place any more.

James Kunstler has another good post on our fraudulent systems--and it is all our systems: economic, political, educational, medical, etc.--and the crash he sees coming when we, as a society, can't close our eyes to the fraud any more. When you can no longer blind yourself to the fraud you lose trust and then you start finding ways to protect yourself, as much as you can, from that system. Can't trust the food manufacturers to provide unadulterated foods for you to buy? Well start reading labels and making choices that, as far as you can tell, are are as little adulterated as possible. Your doctor prescribes an expensive drug that doesn't seem to work? Question him/her on it, research it, and decide for yourself whether to go with his recommendation--and that is all a prescription is, a recommendation.

I certainly hope so.

Suddenly, over the last month (give or take a bit) my in-box and junk e-mail boxes have been flooded with advertising for all kinds of things. I don't own a car but I get auto insurance offers. I am female but I get Viagra offers (again, they had stopped for a while.) I haven't searched for life insurance but I am getting life insurance offers. I am not interesting in dating but I am getting those also and I think some are more porn outlets that actual dating sites. I haven't gone in to confirm my suspicion. Thankfully, I have a delete key which I use frequently and I empty the junk box regularly. But I have to wonder: why the increased traffic and why now? Anybody got any ideas?

Monday, April 18, 2016


I got some cleaning up done in the gardens and put two of my three trellises placed where they are going this season. I decided that I really have to get the shed cleaned out and rearranged for the season because I couldn't find the "C" clamps I need to fix the trellises to the fence. I need to give my poor lemon verbena plants some attention. I have neglected them while getting the seedlings for the gardens started.


I did find two of my clamps and one of the trellises is firmly in place. Looking at the long range forecasts I decided to get brave (or foolish, maybe) an moved my seedlings into the little greenhouse. We don't have any temps predicted to fall below freezing for the rest of the month. Besides, I can always move them back in the house if necessary. More garden work today and grocery shopping.

This had to happen sooner not later. Another reason to avoid flying added to the humiliation of the "security" lines. Or this kind of crap.

This explains why I am no longer a "news junkie." We have noticed more often of late that the stories on the news may be true, partly true, or not true at all. The first story gets the big play but later stories correcting the "errors" of the first get hardly any at all. On the net I have found a lot of "sources" I check and double check before accepting either their "facts" or their interpretation of the facts. Once trusted sources for fact based news and information (like the New York Times which used to be a "newspaper of record" historians and others could trust) aren't trustworthy any more.

My adventures in higher education came before the laptop became a ubiquitous feature so all my note taking was longhand. This item reflects my own view that technology isn't always a boon.

I tried hydrophylic crystals over 20 years ago. Didn't like them much. They promised to less mess and easier plant care because they would release water back to the plants gradually. Evidently they are still being marketing as more convenient than soil based media. I found them neither neat nor convenient. Grist also questions their "green" promises.

To return to the news that is no longer "news," Tom Engelhardt has a good post on the "condition its condition is in." And since Engelhardt thinks of what passes for "news" in our 24/7 media circus is something akin to drug addiction, my use of the quote from the old song is apt.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Good morning on a nice sunny day when we expect temps in the 70s. Gardening on the agenda--especially the work I didn't get done yesterday while I concentrated on baking.

A rather melancholy piece from the American Conservative this morning. The authors reflections were triggered by a visit to the Vietnam Memorial (a.k.a., The Wall). It is often said that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it but that assumes that we can learn from a history we haven't lived. Sometimes we can which is why military leaders study the great battles of the past or historians study the great political movements, technical developments, economic shifts, etc., but what are the lessons we should learn from the past? There are many but often contradictory lessons in the past. And how do we apply those lessons to the present which doesn't repeat the past but may rhyme with it.

Bill Moyers "The End Game for Democracy" found at Ukiah. As usual he is so right.

A nice bit of sarcastic humor from the Archdruidess. Which explains why we don't watch much news any more.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Much warmer and drier yesterday but not warm enough to do much outside. The sun certainly does make a difference in our moods.

The Mental Disease of Late-Stage Capitalism. We have been told often over the last few years that the "American Dream" is dying. Well, if that is the case or it has become the "American Nightmare" (as it has for most of us), perhaps we should each of us, individually, formulate a new dream that is our own and not something this consumer culture has imposed on us.


Got a bit done on the patio yesterday. Pots rearranged and leaves swept up. The temperatures got warm enough to be comfortable working outside. Conditions are supposed to be the same today so I should be able to get more done.


Started cleaning out one of the very large pots in which the soil has become a thick swampy muck that isn't draining at all. I mixed what I dug out with dry soil I stored over the winter in the shed and a good quantity of vermiculite and filled the two large pots that I put outside and along my fence. I will continue that today and fill a couple of tower planters. I will be baking bread and muffins today so I probably won't get much more done outside.

This is a welcome development. I have read all too many stories of people who can't work but who couldn't get their loans discharged. In one case the judge refused to sign off on the discharge because the person requesting the relief "might" win the lottery at some future date. I have said before that I would like to see all student loans forgiven and the program dissolved. If not that then change the law to allow the debt to be wiped out in bankruptcy like any other "consumer" loan.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Another gray morning to start but they tell us we should get sun and higher temps later today. I am so looking forward to the predicted warmth (mid 60s), dry conditions and sun for the rest of the week. I have so much clean up and I feel I am so far behind I wonder when I will catch up. All of the seedlings are doing well just hanging out till it is warm enough for me to put them in the gardens.

Remember the old slogan "better living through chemistry?" I do and it did sound like a good deal then. Now--not so much. We started reading the labels for triclosan a couple of years ago and switched to products without it. We avoid anything that touts its "anti-bacterial" properties.


Though yesterday started gray the sun did come out bright. Today is supposed to be warmer so I hope to start on getting the gardens in shape. I have a large pot that isn't draining at all so I need to empty it and get rid of the water. Then I have to see about making sure it drains easily after I refill it.

And for a bit of mirth in an otherwise mirthless political season read James Kunstler's latest. Honestly, Kim Kardashian might be an improvement over the candidates we have.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Oh, my--another week is gone, or nearly so. The time keeps flying by so quickly. The sunflowers I put into larger pots are doing nicely. I want to put two tomatoes into permanent pots today. They are Red Robin patio tomatoes--small sized plants that give very flavorful cherry tomatoes. I have several pots upstairs that should be thinned and staked a bit. It is way too wet and cold to do anything outside.


All the plants have been thinned and staked, if they needed it. I have some more plants that I should transplant but they will wait for a bit. We woke to sub-freezing temps and snow on the ground.

If this is life "at the top." I am very glad I am nowhere near it.


Bread baking day and not much else going on. Put another row on my shawl. I may need to get another skein of yarn. We'll see.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Naked Capitalism has reposted a piece Andrew Bacevich wrote for Tomdispatch which is a good description of our current policy in the Middle East and North Africa: America is a prisoner of war and Congress is MIA.

The mainstream media has totally ignored this. I have often said that law and justice are two very different things. They may intersect, occasionally and infrequently, but, for the most part, are totally separate and should not be confused. Ideally, Blankenship should have been held liable for manslaughter since he encouraged employees to skirt safety regulations and that action lead to 29 miners dying. But all he was charged with and found guilty of was conspiracy to commit violations of safety regs. That is a felony. What ever happened to the theory that deaths that result from a felony represent chargeable crimes? A person who conspires to commit a bank robbery during which a bystander is killed is held culpable but an executive--he gets a pass.

Ah, the Archdruid (a.k.a., John Michael Greer) is back and I am reminded that there is some sanity in this world.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Baked bread yesterday using a multi-grain mix we found where we got our supply of steel-cut oats. Should be interesting. I also used it in our cereal this morning in equal measure with our oats. Turned out really good. Got the largest Arkansas Traveler tomato transplanted and filled two pots halfway with soil from the gardens which I brought inside to warm up before I put the largest Red Robin tomatoes in them. With the cold temps from Monday on, that soil was partially frozen so it really does need to warm up. I have other gardening work upstairs later today.

In spite of the up and down temperatures and weather roller coaster, more and more signs of spring are evident. Several types of flowering trees are budding and the willows are showing the iridescent green heralding their new leaves. The low bushes are sporting budding leaves and flowers also. It will be a while yet before the largest trees to leaf out. The gardening itch is definitely intensifying and I wish things would warm up and dry out enough to get the outside gardens in shape and the patio cleaned up from the winter detritus.

I didn't see anything much worth commenting on or linking to so far. Cruz and Sanders won in Wisconsin but I noticed the voter suppression issue there has received little comment in the press. The Repthuglican powers-that-be are talking about a brokered convention and the hopes of some to draft Paul Ryan. The pundits on the other side are trying to minimize the Sanders win and continue the story line of Hillary's inevitability.

Great news: Charles Michaelson who writes Some Assembly Required has decided to "un-retire."

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


We had bouts of blizzard-like snow followed by intense sunshine yesterday. Supposed to be much warmer today. Typical spring. 

I did some crocheting but had to take out almost all of two rows because I made a mistake that couldn't be finessed away. Oh, well. I redid all of that row and started the next. It is a pretty pattern but, if my attention wavers just a bit, I can mess it up. I also did up a oatmeal bread that I modified from a traditional yeast bread to a sourdough. It came out quite well and actually better that the original recipe.


We had high winds all night. Yesterday I brought in a half-filled pot in which I will put the largest of my tomatoes--one of those that supposedly tolerate lower light levels. I wanted to give the soil time to warm up a bit first. I moved two of the other tomatoes downstairs onto the table in front of my south-facing window. I found roots beginning to form on four of my rosemary slips (yeah!!!) but all of my lemon verbena slips failed (boo!!!).

I found this item that resonates. I can agree on just about every point. Evidently the politicians in Australia are similar to ours over here. I don't give a bucket of warm spit (and I am bing polite because there is another s--t word I could use) for any of ours.


Yesterday was a weird day for our shopping. The weather not quite bad enough to not go out at all (the temperature dropped and we had snow flurries) and what should have been an easy hour turned into a three hour trek. We went out with our list, as usual, and everything on the list was normal stuff, nothing exotic or odd. We expected to go to both supermarkets because the produce one carries hasn't been of good quality for sometime. But all we thought we would need at the second store was the produce we weren't getting at the first. But going for the produce we still had items on our list we couldn't find at the first stop. Yogurt, steel cut oats--that kind of thing. But we couldn't get them at the second store either. Both had steel cut oats but of the quick cooking variety and we stopped getting that kind of convenience food a good while ago. Neither had the yogurt we like and we are getting to the point of not buying substitutes that don't measure up as stop gaps. We wound up making a trip to a town about 20 miles north of us to our favorite little store where we get most of our tea, spices and which has a large selection of grains, flours, nuts and such--in bulk. We knew they had steel cut oats because that is where we found them in the first place. And we stocked up. We found the yogurt in the (more expensive) supermarket across the street. This has become an all too frequent occurrence for us--finding that what we want, and have come to expect, is no longer available in the stores nearby and having to go further afield. As happened with the bread (which I am now making at home) I am threatening to start making our own yogurt. We'll see what happens.

As I read this Lambert Strether post at Naked Capitalism I remarked "Debt has become a major asset--for some people at least." I love his assessment that we are creating a second "sharecropper" society.

I have often said that much of what is sold to us as "convenience" isn't really convenient and may actually be both inconvenient but harmful. I don't want my refrigerator or freezer telling me when I need to replenish whatever or ordering on its own. We just changed phones and phone companies and the first requirement: no smart phones. I have tried PDAs and they simply don't work for me. I don't want any of the A.I. assistants. This is a good illustration of why in this aspect of technology I am a luddite.

Damn!! Two of my favorite blogs have stopped posting recently: Thoughts from Frank and Fern, and Some Assembly Required.

I am no Clinton supporter and I think the whole notion of "Super-delegates" is a crock but publishing a list of her "Super-delegates" and urging those supporting other candidates to harass them is just plain wrong. The link is to Americablog which has the story but isn't responsible for the list.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


This is fascinating. Someone had some serious skills.

Friday--Welcome to April

Yesterday was gray and wet until late afternoon. I didn't feel like doing much of anything so I didn't do much of anything. I finished a cute little cozy mystery titled And Then There Were Nuns. If you are thinking it was a bit of a take off on Christie's mystery, you're right. But, unlike other such books, the Christie reference is both a hint toward a solution and a red herring. The book is the fourth installment of a series. I may pick up the rest later.


Mom looked outside a few minutes ago and asked if she was really seeing snow. Yes, she was. Big fluffy flakes. It is finer now but still snow. As I said yesterday "Welcome to April."