Wednesday, August 10, 2016


More neglected garden work planned today. I harvested a lot of tomatoes that are waiting for our next session of sauce making. We plan to take a trip up to a farm market that has advertised canning tomatoes for sale in bushel and part-bushel lots. That should take care of most of our need for whole canned tomatoes.


Supposed to be hot today--back in the 90s. The gardening will have to be done early but all I really have to do is water things well and trim some. I harvested maybe four pints of Blauhilde beans, some peppers and a couple of tomatoes yesterday. I also ground the peppermint, spearmint and egg shells I had dried. The first two go into tea and the last I add to the gardens. I am waiting for a "canning element" for the stove. It is a bit larger to fit the canners better and it sits a bit higher than the usual element. It is supposed to help heat the vessels more evenly and improve the air flow to maintain the temperatures more consistently. We'll see.

Tom Englehardt presents another good piece on the new "Greatest Show On Earth," the Election 2016. We are ignoring as much of the blather as possible and hoping Trump goes down if flames so we won't have to see his smug mug so much polluting our TV screen.

Well, the watering is done but not without drama and massive irritation. We have had four of the X-Hose and its ilk over the last four years. Everyone has burst as some point. One didn't even finish out the gardening season. The last one, which burst today, lasted almost two. Not worth the money. We picked up one of the tight-coil, spring style hoses. The most useless piece of crap ever. It is unwieldy and does not reach the full 25 feet advertised. I finished the watering with my 2-gal watering can--one full can for each of the large containers and half of one for each of the 5-gal buckets and small pots. As you can guess we have added a stop at the local garden store for a new hose and something that will--easily--keep it confined when not in use.

I remember reading earlier this year that the shellfish season on the west coast was cancelled because of a toxic algae bloom that released toxins the oysters and clams absorbed which can do nasty things to people eating the affected shellfish. Well, we may have bigger problems with warming sea waters off the coasts according to this Huffington Post article. I saw another article this morning which focused on the potential for cholera from vibrio contaminated sea water and shellfish. I had to look up the other vibrio species mentioned. They wouldn't be any fun either.

The crux of the argument in this piece (which is better? paper or plastic) involves exactly which problem you want to address. Do you want to eliminate petroleum-based plastic refuse which as become a major environmental problem? Do you want to reduce the use of petroleum over all? Do you want to reduce the energy needed to create the bags and get them to the end user? I have heavy canvas bags I bought twenty and more years ago and still use. They were fairly cheap then and have more than repaid the cost. All of the other bags I have accumulated were freebees given out by someone somewhere. Those bags have done exactly what we wanted them to do--reduce the number of plastic bags we gather. We haven't totally eliminated the plastics but we have made progress. As far as the energy and resources issue goes, I have to think that a canvas bag that last more than 20 years  is far more easy on the environment than a plastic bag that gets maybe three or four. Note: We take plastic bags with us to the farm market for our veggies which we then put into a canvas bags. We usually have several such bags by the end of a stint at the market so the canvas bag makes it easier to carry everything while the plastic keeps things separate, clean and dry.

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