Friday, July 29, 2016



We had unexpected errands yesterday so I didn't get much else done. The news was "same old, same old" so nothing there to talk about. I did get some tomatoes picked and pulled the spent borage plant. Found some things to pick today. But the main effort today is to do pickles.


It was cool enough that I was able to do more than water things and run back inside. I collected another couple of cucumbers and added them to the others to make up six pints of pickles that are now on the shelf. We will bring down the pressure canner to do up Blauhilde and Gold Marie beans. The tomatoes are coming in faster now so we are planning on which will go into sauce and when we will get Romas for cubed tomatoes. The mints are ready for another cutting also. Busy season has started.

The conventions are over so the political finals are under way. I will be so glad when this insane and abysmal election is over.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Nothing much to comment on over the weekend. Hot with intermittent storms. Thankfully nothing damaged--so far. I was watching the bean towers sway in the wind hoping the would remain stable. The Blauhild bean vines are putting out a nice lot of pods which will be ready to pick soon.


The temperatures have moderated slightly--mid 80s instead of low to mid 90s. The high winds with that storm did knock over one of my tomato plants in a small pot. Neither the pot nor the plant were broken but the plant needed extra support and I have it in a different place where it is more stabile. I had other tomato branches that needed more support as well. I cleaned up and trimmed the plants in the stacked tower harvesting thyme and chives at the same time. Those are dried and ground now along with some lavender. I also took some of the strawberry runner plants that had developing root systems to transplant into the inside tower and in a small jar of water. I haven't had good luck with that before. I found four large cucumbers which will be pickles tomorrow. We have errands today.

Another episode in the "Is Donald Trump Trying To Lose?" soap opera: importing the one-child policy China is getting rid of and applying it to Hispanics. I think I will avoid the rush and throw up now.

Friday, July 22, 2016


An interesting take on Trump's personality, his campaign, and some truly devastating speculations about the post-November possibilities.

I'm with her. In a choice between The Donald and someone's refrigerator, I'll take the fridge.


Another warm day coming today and two more (at least) over the weekend. An unexpected, vicious thunderstorm erupted yesterday. Luckily I don't see much damage. A couple of plants bent over but not broken. I have already straightened them and tied them more securely to their supports. I saw a couple of tomato branches that may need the same treatment if they aren't broken. I put up five pint jars of pickles which joined the four of garlicky pickled beans from my previous canning session. I could have put a sixth jar but didn't think I would need more than the five. The excess cucumber is in the left over brine in the refrigerator maturing into refrigerator pickles.

Well, one political convention down and one to go. Then about four months before the election ends this insane political season. Anyone taking bets on how soon 2020 gets started? Some indications point to it already beginning.

Courtesy of Vox which is right on the money.

Only somewhat tongue in cheek: wake for the GOP.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Well, we have two weeks of political convention news coming up starting today. The Republicans meet this week, the Democrats next week. No, I am not watching most of the coverage. What I get on the morning and evening news is too much already.


Very warm and muggy yesterday after the rains on Sunday and overnight into Monday. I did a bit of an inspection outside but didn't water anything. I will do that real early this morning before the day heats up. The weather people say it should be hot to very hot all week. A couple of days should go into the "dangerous" category with heat indices going over 100F. Needless to say, we won't be doing much outside. I made up some cheddar cheese biscuits that turned out very tasty. And I found a nice pattern for a table topper I have had in the back of my mind for a while but was too lazy to start.

I won't link to any of the stories about Melania Trump's speech and its uncanny resemblances to Michelle Obama's speech. I wasn't surprised because I never expected her to be any kind of orator nor did I expect her to write her own speech. Her speechwriters should be fired for the plagiarism but I think she was totally clueless. She is perfectly brilliant at doing what is expected of her: be an ornamental planet orbiting the sun that is Donald Trump. She learned her lines and she delivered them with about as much animation as as a blow up doll. Nor am I surprised at the Republican hypocrisy in dismissing the theft of another person's words. They do tend to dismiss the transgressions of their own while blowing lesser sins committed by their opponents up into damning mountainous crimes worthy of eternal hellfire.


Warm and muggy again today with three more excessively (for our area) uncomfortable days ahead. Gardening during these times is shoved into the earliest possible times of the day and involves what is absolutely necessary. I saw some tomatoes that I should pick and maybe some cucumbers. I will take a quick look at the beans as well.

Infidel753 has an interesting take that reflects my frequent questions of late: is the Trump campaign trying to lose. He puts it down to sabotage from within the campaign. I love the description of Trump as a cross between Mussolini and the Three Stooges.

Charles Hugh Smith posted this critique of globalization.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


We have seen signs all over our town saying "Pence Must Go." I don't think they mean "go to Washington." Unfortunately, the signs indicate he is Trump's choice for running mate. Another reason to vote for Hillary, though I really, really, r-e-a-l-l-y would rather not. For anyone who wants to know more about Pence read this reposting on Daily Kos of an article published in April.

Yes, we have so much choice. But most of it is meaningless choice. Something like our political choices???


Canned the first picking of the Gold Marie beans using a recipe for Garlicky Pickled Green Beans I found on line. We won't know if we like them for a couple of weeks. We used the first handful of the Roselle cherry tomatoes in our salad yesterday. The flavor of homegrown is amazingly better than commercial. I saw several cucumbers that will be ready soon and am looking forward to doing up pickles. It was pleasantly cool and should be for a couple more days--good gardening weather.

I think the police departments ought to have botanists on call to accompany them of drug raids so they can avoid this kind of embarrassment.

A "word of the day" entry from the Archdruidess which so beautifully describes our politicians.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Thunderstorms rolled through last night. We did get quite a nice bit of rain--not nearly what we needed but enough to mean I won't need to water today.

I wonder how often we will get sucked into this kind of Pollyanna style worship of technology. First, their notion that new high tech machines and processes always create more new jobs than they displace has been disproven in other studies--especially over the last half century. Second, we have been promised "virtually free" electricity for the last 80 years. The notion was used to push nuclear power plants. It still isn't anywhere near "virtually" free and we have seen Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima in the mean time. And I don't think 3D food and unlimited computing capacity are coming any time soon. Third, to say that the introduction of water powered (and, later, electrically driven) machinery in the textile industry didn't destroy weavers jobs but created far more jobs for weavers than before is a disingenuous comparing of apples and oranges. The textile factories didn't hire weavers; they hired machine tenders. The spinning factories didn't hire skilled spinsters; they hired children. Both new jobs required less skill and commanded less pay and respect than the old. Fourth, how widespread do you think the marvels of the new technology will be spread throughout the society? I am thinking: not all that far. Fifth, the whole argument is stacked to give the answers the author wants so any thing that detracts from it is ignored. How many, he asks, now earn a living (or supplement their earnings) by renting their houses through AirBNB? Let's also ask how many have had said houses trashed by renters. Also AirBNB is simply another version of the boarding house prevalent a hundred years ago. The only thing new is the internet platform designed to reach a lot more people. What is old has been repackaged in a shiny new tinsel so we can pretend it is new. To equate these "opportunities" to the jobs they are displacing which provided an employment package including a living wage, health care, and (often) retirement benefits is dishonest in the extreme. And ignores the fact that many turn to these "opportunities" because companies have reneged on their agreements with workers.

Another additive that may adversely affect our health and it has been approved (and used) since 1972. And it doesn't have to be indicated on the label.

I wasn't going to comment on this but I think I will. Demographics is certainly one part of the picture but I think another is a growing disgust with Christianists who think they have the right to slap everyone else in the face with their beliefs. I don't care if you don't approve of gay marriage. Simply don't enter into a homosexual relationship. My attitudes toward that is the same as toward adultery. If you believe it is a sin, don't engage in the behavior. (Though it is amazing how many who claim adultery is a sin do in fact commit it. But then hypocrisy is merely a "character flaw.") But we have all too many Christians who seem to find anyone publicly living their own religious belief, if it isn't Christian or of a variety of Christian they despise, so threatening they have to protest.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


The weather people predict three days, starting today, with temps either in or feeling like the low 90s. I have already spent about two hours out in the gardens harvesting gold marie beans and trimming some of the semi-jungle in that area. It isn't nearly as bad as in years past but it is still thick. After picking, trimming, watering, and drowning every Japanese beetle I got my fingers on, I am done for the day. Need to start early tomorrow so I can get some more done before we go grocery shopping.



It was very warm and humid yesterday but we didn't get the rain the weather people thought we would. They say we have another chance later today. I did only the minimum in the gardens because we spent the morning on our errands. That minimum was watering. Everything is so dry. I think I have to shift into high summer mode: doing small tasks with long periods inside to cool down.

I got a laugh out of the title of this article. Back to the future, indeed!! But I have heard similar stories out of Michigan and Iowa over the last year or so. Here is a link to the Wired article cited in the Grist article. It is odd to think that there are whole occupations and research institutes devoted to tearing out and not replacing infrastructure we were once so proud of and can no longer maintain. Or, rather, replacing it with lower cost/lower tech older alternatives.

I hope this stands.

Interesting notion but I have a couple of questions. First, who is going to pay for this. Second, how does it help a country's "competitiveness" to invest if more education for people who have, as the article states, five to ten more years before retirement? 

Friday, July 8, 2016


Very foggy this morning and we got more rain overnight. I will check the gardens a bit later and may water some plants. The monsoonal type rain we got Wednesday didn't touch several of the pots. We may get more rain later today. Hope so.

I wonder if this will affect workers over there as severely as it has workers over here. And think about the problems that come with 56% of the labor force displaced into (mostly) lower paid work.

National Geographic posted this article about the massive effort to save nearly 400k ancient manuscripts from the library of Timbuktu from destruction by jihadis with Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.

I can so thoroughly agree with the sentiment of this post. Our political leaders have lost any sense of decorum or decency and certainly don't know how to either admit defeat or simply being wrong.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


This story puts a different complexion on the Clinton e-mail "scandal." It may be a scandal but not for Clinton. I remember the tiff when Obama insisted on using the Blackberry with which he was familiar and, lo and behold, the wizards at NSA provided one. But for some reason they couldn't do the same for her??? By the way notice the date on this article: March 16, 2016. Why hasn't the media mentioned this since? And is this why the FBI director decided no charges were warranted against Clinton but then lambasted her for the lack of security? Nice way to take the heat off the NSA.

"...millions of people in a society-wide experiment." An "addicted generation'? I would say so. But, in truth, we are an addicted society with the first solution offered to any problem being some medication.

Tom Englehardt gives a brutal assessment of "the American century." And he is right in asserting that inspired leaders with new alternative visions are very thin on the ground--especially in this election year.

Ronni Bennett posted some interesting thoughts this morning on "Growing Old in a New World." Perhaps every generation goes through the phase of thinking the world is their own through to finding it slipping from their grasp. Mom used to do crosswords but so many of the clues now involve a popular culture we don't participate in which makes the puzzles so much more frustrating and unenjoyable. The books and the movies seem incredibly repetitive. We wonder how many past works have been plundered by authors/filmmakers who don't seem to have any creativity. I won't even go into the politics. It isn't my world any more beyond my little patio garden.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


The heat has been turned back on along with the humidity. I watered everything in the gardens and hunted another dozen or so Japanese beetles to drown or stomp on. I will be picking herbs again next week and trimming some of the tomatoes. We may get rain over the next few days. I certainly hope so.


Thunderstorms rolled through last night and will continue through the morning to resume later tonight and into tomorrow. We do need the rain but I wish it came without the high winds driving it. So far as I can see right now from our patio door, the damage has been minimal. I think I see a couple of tomato branches that may be broken but I was debating whether I should cut them off or try to tie them back. I will check them out during the lull between the waves of storms. At least none of the plants are lying flat in a tangled heap like they were last year after similar storms.

I did get outside a little bit ago. The tomato branches weren't broken so I was able to tie them up. I didn't see any more problems.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July to you all.

Although it seems that some of our neighbors have been celebrating for the last two weeks. For us it will be a quiet day at home.

Another interesting post from Scholars and Rogues--much of which I agree with. We don't celebrate this day much either--nor most other holidays. They have all become commercialized. After the fourth (or fifth, or sixth) time the same irritating commercial came on this morning I remarked how much I like turning off the damned idiot box. There is an emptiness in the flag waving, the parades, and the selling jingles that I find depressing and would rather miss as much as possible.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


I saw this first thing this morning. It is another story which hasn't hit the major news media. I love the way the Repthuglican governor who hates the Federal government interference wants the Feds to solve the problem by improving the water storage system  while he refuses to put any undo pressure on business (or anyone else) by regulating pollutants. If it really is a water storage problem and not a water quality problem why not act at the state level?

I got to that story by way of my bookmarked weather site where I checked on our local weather. I wanted to check on the temperature because it felt a bit cold this morning. It is only low 50s.


Another cold morning, like yesterday, which promises a cool day. Although we do enjoy a bit of cool temperatures it certainly does not feel like July. It is July, right? My computer hasn't gone insane?

This story provides a gently humorous contrast between generations with their responses to an old riddle.

Friday, July 1, 2016


Cold this morning--only 50* and the high will only get into the mid 70s. Well, it is a nice change from the heat and humidity.


When there is no difference between Christian extremists and Islamic extremists. Remember when the Taliban destroyed the ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan and the outcry from the world. My we had an orgy of press coverage and recrimination. Nothing of the sort when Christians do the same.


Well, a busy day so far. Two mini-loaves of bread rising for about another ten minutes before I bake it. I bake the small loaves now because we are sure to eat them before they have a chance to grow something we don't want to eat along with them. Yesterday I dried seven trays of spearmint and ground it for teas. Today's haul consisted of three trays each of peppermint and lavender. We can start adding lavender to our tea again. I saw a small clutch of tomatoes that are almost ready to pick.