Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Good morning on this sunny and, again, cool day. It should be a little warmer but still a bit below normal.

Of course, political news casts a cold shadow. This came to my attention. When our elected officials feel they need armed guards to protect them from us we no longer have anything that resembles a democracy. I am sorry but the idiot who attacked the baseball practice isn't sufficient reason to give $10 million to individual members of the national legislature for the rest of this fiscal year (and additional monies for members to invest in surveillance equipment and to bulk up the Capitol police). So far the most dangerous aspect of their job seems to be sharp questions from their constituents they don't want to answer. That doesn't require armed guards and surveillance equipment just an intelligent  and respectful answer.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Chilly this morning--only 52F. The high is supposed to reach into the mid 70s. Long sleeves and jeans today I think.

Wired has a long but very interesting article on cyberattacks over the last three years on Ukrainian power systems. Other institutions like banks and government agencies were also hit but the focus is on the electric grid. A couple of years ago Ted Koppel published a book titled Lights Out which highlighted the vulnerability of the American power grid. The Wired article reaffirms Koppel's points and we should all be worried--very worried. And Wannacry is back--big time.

We talk about these stories often here. This morning we started listing all of the things that we would lose if something similar hit here. If just the internet went down all our banking and bill paying as well a good bit of our entertainment would be lost. That kind of a thought, and the fact that my books exceeded the storage capacity of my nook, led me to get an iPad so all of my books are on it not somewhere in the cloud where it might be marooned and inaccessible in such a case. If the electricity went out as well we would lose heating and cooling in the house, the ability to cook on the stove, all electric lights, and the fridge and freezer. We might also lose water and sewage unless the city has backup generators. We have workarounds for water, cooking and lights--for a while. Answering "nature's call"--I guess we would have to set up a bucket. A couple or so weeks ago Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism mentioned her internet went out repeatedly one afternoon and evening making her wonder if we weren't sliding to third world status faster than we realized--especially since the thunderstorms rolling through weren't that severe. Ours went out, briefly, about a week ago and we had no severe weather to blame it on.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Another week--the last of June. This year is half over. OMG!!! how times has flown.

We had a very nice weekend. I cut spearmint, chocolate mint and lavender which has been dried, ground and put up in jars. Trimmed some of the tomato fronds which were threatening to take over a couple of areas. Tied a couple of the cucumbers into place and redirected a couple of the bean vines that wanted to meander over the fence. Tomorrow, if it remains sunny and cool I think a second cutting of catnip and first cutting of sage is due. I snipped three small stalks of lemon verbena. The plant is still small but I hope to prevent it from becoming a straggly monster. I hope to treat it like my rosemary plants to keep it small and suitable for inside.

Really cruel but so true cartoon sums up the effects of the GOP HealthDeath Care bill. DeathCare for any one not in the upper 1%. I have said for some time that the debate isn't really about health care or access to health care. It is about access to health insurance: how much it should cost the purchaser, how much it should of the health costs it should cover and for which conditions. Lee Camp at Naked Capitalism maintains that there really is no debate. To call it a debate implies that there exists two legitimate arguments. There is only one side with two factions quibbling over how much the insurance companies should be allowed to charge us for the privilege of shafting us when we try to use the insurance.

When I saw this I thought it had to be a satiric piece. Evidently it isn't because other U.K. papers are reporting the same info: Major supermarkets are looking at implementing "surge" pricing. Heat wave getting you down? Be prepared to pay more for ice cream or cold drinks. High demand for certain items can result in much higher prices than the customer would expect. They predict the tradition of fixed prices (and probably shelf tags displaying those prices) will be gone within the next five years.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

It looks like it will be clear today so I might be able to get some herbs cut. The temperatures should be cooler over the weekend. I will like that and I think the plants do too. They are looking good and growing nicely.

David Kaiser has an excellent article that picks out something in the political zeitgeist we have been noticing here. Looking at the potential for Dems in the 2018 and 2020 elections we see little of promise, nationally or at the state level. Where are the Dems who have political heft on the national level? I don't see them. Nor do I see the Dems moving away from the "everything is fine; we need to stay the course with a few minor tweaks" message that failed with nearly half of the electorate distributed in a way that gave #45 his Electoral College victory.

I love this. How about sending stenographers along with the sketch artists?

No wonder #45 has such an affinity for the Saudis. Birds of a feather and all that.

Friday, June 23, 2017

We didn't get the thunderstorms and the early rain fizzled out pretty quickly. I didn't harvest anything. By the time the rain ended the heat was building and my ambition went to sleep. It is overcast now and we did get rain overnight. I hope it burns off but more rain is forecast for today. We'll see.

The southwest is baking in triple digit heat but at least someone has a sense of humor.

Huffington Post has a nice concise guide to the House and Senate (faux)health care bills and how they differ from each other and from the ACA. Number 45 called the House bill "mean" while Senator Schumer described the Senate bill as "meaner." I think both understated the situation.

I had thought, for a very brief moment, that the clouds might burn off. Well, the deluge that started a few minutes ended that dream. The major consolation: I won't have to water anything.

Continuing on the health care reform scam, Kunstler has a good piece this morning which takes the discussion from the realm of who gets screwed to give the wealthy even more than they have now to some underlying truths. First, the debate has been couched, both for the ACA originally and for the so-called reforms, in terms of "access to health care." That is untrue. The ACA and the bills to replace it only deal with who gets access to health insurance with what restrictions at what cost. If you can't afford the insurance you need, the Repthuglicans say "tough shit, if you were a good person you wouldn't be sick or you would be rich enough to afford the insurance. Otherwise, Scum, shut up and die." If you have insurance but can't afford the care because of the deductibles--see above. He is also right to describe the medical industry as a racket which is marching lockstep with the education racket and the other rackets that dominate our economy. They are all swirling down the drain together.

It's all smoke and mirrors. Not only should we not pay attention to what #45's says because his verbal effusions (or tweets) are lies, exaggerations or contradicted with the next outpouring of verbiage but we have to reserve judgement on his actions as well because the immediate results (if any) may be ephemeral in the extreme.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

It looks like another nice day to start out though thundershowers may pop up later and overnight tonight. I want to finish cutting the second container of spearmint and a couple of more herbs for drying.

It is now light enough to see outside and I may put any gardening off till tomorrow. The rain might be moving in sooner than the predictions said.

A light rain came while I fixed breakfast. No thunderstorms--yet. I am grateful for the rain and I can leave the harvesting of the herbs for a day or two without losing anything. This is an easy time because the veggies are just in bloom and the few small tomatoes are not anywhere near ready to pick.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ah, the Archdruid is back at his new blog Ecosophia. My withdrawal symptoms have eased. Head over there and enjoy an intelligent and witty piece of writing.
Welcome to Summer. The garden is in very good shape. In fact I am more satisfied with this year's garden than any in the past. I did say "welcome to summer" and the hottest part of the season is still ahead but my patio gets its maximum direct sunlight now and from now the days will get shorter until, in three months at the autumnal equinox, it will again be in shade most of the day. Right now the temperature is quite cool--not yet 60F--though it should warm up to about 80. I didn't get the spearmint and peppermint cut yesterday so that is on the list for today. I have been looking at the sage and deciding when would be a good time to collect some of it. Maybe tomorrow along with another cutting of the English lavender.

I did get three trays each of the spearmint and peppermint into the dehydrator. I only clipped one of the buckets of spearmint so I put the other one on my to do list for tomorrow along with the chocolate mint. Depending how much I get I may take some of the lavender also. The dehydrator has, theoretically, seven levels but I like to run only the top six. The seventh is the base and it is more difficult to work with so I simply ignore it. Most of what I wanted to do is done which is good. I often say, semi-jokingly, that if we don't get things done early here we don't get them done at all.




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Good morning, all. Another sunny day to start just like yesterday. And like yesterday we may get thunderstorms in the afternoon. Ours made a lot of noise but no rain that I saw. I will water the gardens later and, I hope, harvest peppermint and spearmint (for the second time). But we have grocery shopping to do. so I may delay the herbs till tomorrow. I found and drowned my first Japanese beetle of the season. It was munching on the strawberries. I haven't seen any beetles or beetle damage on the eggplants or the beans or cucumbers--yet.

There are cute stories of revenge and this is one. Lessons here: don't cut down a tree a man has nurtured for thirty years, don't make him pay for the damage your actions caused and don't screw with an arborist.

So Amazon has decided to buy Whole Foods. Bloomberg had this edge of hysteria article today claiming that Amazon will "kill your local grocer." It made little impression on me. A few years ago we realized that we had four choices for general groceries, not including meat which we buy from a small meat market that sources locally. Those four were Strack-Vantills/Town & Country, Walmart, Target, and Aldi. We never liked Aldi and became dissatisfied with Walmart a long time ago. Target is a pale imitation of a grocery store. So Strack-Vantills and Town & Country have been our mainstays. Now however the the company that owns the Strack-Vantills chain (which includes Town & Country which explains why I treat our three stores as a unit) is in bankruptcy and Jewel has a bid in for nineteen of the stores. Right now our three stores are open but how many Jewel will get, if any, is in limbo. Amazon taking over Whole Foods will do little to either hurt or help our local grocery situation since there are fewer than half a dozen Whole Foods stores in the whole state of Indiana and none of them within easy distance of us.

Monday, June 19, 2017

It is a lovely day so far though the weather reports predict afternoon thundershowers. I harvested lemon balm and lime basil which is now drying. The spearmint has recovered from the first cutting well and I plant to cut more along with peppermint. Then it will be time for to cut the lavender again. I am watching the lemon verbena and debating when I should start trimming it to keep it a compact little tree.

Our problem with the printer seems to have corrected itself this morning. We still have no idea of what was wrong but are glad we don't have to replace what has been an excellent little device for us. Once upon a time I could pretty well understand what went on with computers and their peripherals. Not for a long time now. They have progressed so far beyond me.

I found this and my only comment: I would love to roast the trucking companies and all of the companies (like WalMart, Target, Home Depot) who hide behind the excuse that they have no responsibility for the assholes they hire.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saturday--June 17

Added lotus vines and a heliotrope to the gardens. I do have a couple of additional spaces I could fill but I won't be looking very hard for anything to fill them. The gardens are looking good as they are and I think it is time to let what I have develop. I didn't collect any herbs for drying because of the threat of thundershowers and the errands we needed to do. Tomorrow is a good day to start getting caught up on that. I hope.

Sunday--June 18

We had rain here this very early morning that just stopped a few minutes ago. The weather report says it should clear out and we should see the sun. If that happens I will cut some of the herbs for drying. I put the heliotrope in place of the anemone which suffered from the early heat just after I put it in and then from the cold snap that followed. It never really recovered. I lost several plants to that nasty weather pattern.

I have spent most of the last couple of hours trying to figure out what has gone wrong with our printer. I wanted to print out descriptions of the plants I have in the gardens and easily printed the first. But then it stalled. After trying everything we could think of we finally got it working again by reintroducing it to our wireless router but it stalled again after printing the next two sets. We still haven't figured out what has been happening. The computer says either it can't find the printer or the printer isn't connected. But when we check the printer it says it is. I don't know what is going on but it is frustrating as hell.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Thursday--June 15

We had rain through the night but it has cleared off for what may be a sunny morning. I won't have to water another day and everything looks good from the door. Closer inspection will come later.

The Flint, Michigan, story keeps getting worse. We'll never know how much damage has been done to the people of Flint because any retesting can't verify the lead blood levels of two or three years ago. Five officials have been indicted for involuntary manslaughter because of the deaths due to Legionaries Disease directly attributable to the water contamination.

I skimmed this Tom Englehardt piece yesterday at Tomdispatch.com. The people at Foreign Policy in Focus reprinted it today and I decided to read it more closely. If anyone really thinks #45 is going to bring back whatever "golden age" you might long for given his proposed budget (which changes from moment to moment, whim to whim) and his appointments, I have a bridge I would like to sell you. I don't own it but what does that matter in this "Twilight Zone" world.

Another interesting Foreign Policy In Focus article: "The Residue of Empire."

Friday--June 16

The weather predictions for today say scattered thunderstorms. I hope for a clear patch so I can harvest catnip and lemon balm for drying.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Monday--June 12

The temperature hit 92F here yesterday and should be hotter still today. These are the kind of days when everything that is going to get done is done early while it is still cool. I will have to water everything well this morning but I don't have anything else to do outside. I will finish working with the herbs I cut yesterday; nothing else is ready to harvest.

Tuesday--June 13

94F yesterday last I saw. I may have gotten a degree or two warmer after I checked.

Wednesday--June 14

We had hail yesterday evening. Totally unexpected. I will check closely to see if it did any damage to the gardens but, from what I saw through the patio door, I don't expect to see any. The hail was small and light. We finally put the air conditioning on and we do feel much better for it. The heat just sucked all the energy out of us. We turned on the morning news, which we rarely do, to see what they had on the hail but found nothing. Evidently it wasn't either wide spread enough or severe enough to mention.

I did just check out the gardens after refilling our coffee cups. I saw a lot of torn leaves and spent flowers on the ground but no seriously damaged plants. My catnip looks a bit frazzled but I expect it will recover quickly. No other damage.

Found this item almost first off. I developed my skepticism about American Exceptionalism over a lifetime and didn't have a base of childhood skepticism. My family, my father especially, was the quintessential "love it or leave it" type. He wasn't too happy with me when I answered his favorite "My country right or wrong" with another quote "My country: when she is right to be kept right and when she is wrong to be put right." The skepticism has fermented richly in my 68 years.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Friday--June 9

Another week gone leaving us wondering where the time has gone and what we have accomplished in that time that seems so very short. The hot stretch of days is still predicted with some disagreement between sources as to how long and how hot.

Saturday--June 10

I found this and absolutely love it. It is precisely the reception the Tweeter-in-Chief deserves. One might argue that such actions are disrespectful of the office of the President. There is always a fine line between respecting the office and respecting the piece of crap pretending to fill it. And how do you show your disdain for the human detritus occupying the position without undermining the dignity and respect the office deserves?

Sunday--June 11

We got very close to 90F yesterday. We should exceed it today. So far we haven't had to turn on the air conditioning. I have a couple of new items to put into the gardens--a couple of creeping Jenny and a couple of purslane. Then the large containers will be full. I still have four spots for small plants in my second tiered pot.

I harvested a tray of stevia, 2 each of thyme and lavender. Those are drying now. I will finish them off tomorrow. Everything is well watered. We actually haven't had rain for about ten days and don't expect any until around Wednesday. The half-to-one inch total they are predicting won't do much for anything. It might be one day I won't have to water.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thursday--May 8

I didn't see much to comment on. I did get some new plants put in the gardens: two purple velvet petunias, one each of Greek oregano, orange mint, mosquito geranium. I cut a bit of chives for our omelets at supper. I also cleaned out the pots the orange trees were in. All my citrus curled up and died. And I removed my struggling eucalyptus from its pot and reset it with fresh soil. I hope that gives it the kick it needs to perk up. I hope to cut and dry some lavender, stevia and thyme tomorrow to dry. I will need to get out early since the temps are supposed to be in the high 80s. Then the heatwave is supposed to arrive with temps in the 90s through next Thursday.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wednesday--June 7

We expect another cool but sunny day with a trip to the farm market to the north later. I do need to water today but the cool temps have reduced the need a bit. Just a bit of garden puttering. I have lavender just about ready to cut a bit and a couple of petunias to put into the gardens. I might find something new at the farm market.

Found this item first thing this morning. I sense some reservations in the authors comments which makes me think he is lukewarm on his government's new stance. But I can see Trudeau's (and his minister's) points. Mom remarked that, if any of the current tensions and low level conflicts spiral out of control, we don't really have any allies left. That is the problem with #45's zero sum view of life and governance. Building alliances requires finding a win-win balance and he thinks only in terms of "I win-you lose."

I don't need to comment on this. It seems thoroughly in character for our Grifter in Chief.

Another article I don't have to comment on. I wonder how long before top administration officials will have to visit foreign countries in disguise.

I already read one article on #45's difficulty retaining top legal talent to represent him, personally, in the various Russia inquiries (to date four congressional investigations and a special consul.) The earlier pieces noted those law firms' reluctance to represent a client who doesn't listen to advice. Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars also notes other reasons given by those firms including lack of time for a complex case and their concerns that the client (who has a habit of stiffing people he does business with) won't pay the bill. The Grifter in Chief has a history that is returning to bite him in his nether regions. Yeah, Karma is a bitch.

How to silently call "bullshit" on a Bullshit Artist giving the daily White House press briefing!! The expressions say everything that needs to be said.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tuesday--June 6

We have a break from the past several hot days that had us thinking about turning on the air conditioning. We didn't do that but we did set up the window fan--just in time to not have to use it. By the weekend we should be back in the high 80s and low 90s. We also have a break from the persistent periods of rain. I think my plants will like the cooler but sunny conditions a bit more than the heat.

William Astore has a wonderful post at TomDispatch this morning. A good many of his points we have discussed here over morning coffee. It would be wonderful to think that we might be able to divert the USA from its path to becoming the USSR 2.0. But I think it would take the political equivalent to Paul's "road to Damascus" moment.

Oh, the games the politicians play. I shouldn't restrict that to politicians because, as Bardi, notes the coal and big oil companies were also eyeball deep in the shit.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Monday--June 5

Well, let's see what I might like to comment on today. I can report that the gardens are doing nicely. I added three "hens and chicks", a pot of arugula and some lemon mint. The hibiscus had a new blossom over the weekend. The clematis and beans have found their respective trellises and are rapidly heading upward. All of the cucumber seeds I put in the garden have sprouted and look poised for a growth spurt. All tomatoes are looking good. I put up a shade for the two that looked a bit sunburned and they have come back well. I pruned some of the leaves that were interfering with other parts of the plants and the patio eggplants. I plan to harvest some spearmint and a little of several other herbs for drying. I am still looking for small plants to tuck here and there where I still have room.

The spearmint is in the dehydrator--four trays of it. I hadn't expected that much so I won't have to fill a tray with sprigs of other herbs. They can grow a bit more. I also ground up egg shells to make about two cups of "slow-release calcium" as one gardening blogger calls it.

I hadn't intended to comment on this Kunstler piece but changed my mind. Key point #1: Putin asking "Have you all lost your mind?" I agree with Kunstler that we have and I would say that we have been slowly going insane for while. Is there such a thing as communal Alzheimer's? It feels like it. And the Russia "controversy" isn't the only part of our politics that convinces me of that. Somewhere I heard that Putin also remarked that the U.S. has frequently interfered with the elections of other countries--a remark backed up by this Washington Post article (and any good history of U.S. foreign affairs). As Kunstler points out we don't need Russia to ignite the "groaning garbage barge" that is our domestic environment We are doing a good job of that ourselves. Key point #2: I agree that the Paris accord was more of an "ass-covering" exercise than a real substantive effort to mitigate climate change. I have wondered whether we could do much since I first started following the controversy. At that time (20 years ago) we were told that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had to be kept below 350ppm. Well, I looked up the statistics. Guess what? We passed that mark in 1985. The real value of the Paris agreement was as a symbol which we shouldn't sneeze at. Symbols can be important and it provides another rallying point in the resistance to the catastrophe that is President #45. Key point #3: #45 is definitely not going to "Make America Great Again" in terms that would satisfy his supporters. We won't see the nirvana of the 1950's manufacturing age recreated. For all the reasons Kunstler has outlined in his several books.

If we aren't actually going insane then perhaps the real problem is a "sickness of the soul." This piece counts the ways such a diagnosis fits--and there are a lot of then.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Tuesday--May 30

Nothing going on today.

Wednesday--May 31

Grocery shopping and the Coffee Creek farm market today.

Thursday--June 1

Welcome to June and the first day of meteorological Summer.

The little farm market is nice. We found nice pots of catnip and lemon verbena which I will plant out later. The early veggies are coming in and we found a nice head of lettuce for a chef salad tomorrow. We were a bit early. Not everyone was set up and some venders may wait till later in the season.

Friday--June 2

This story from the U.K. blew me away. I didn't know agave could grow that tall.

But then I consider myself somewhere on the cusp of beginner/intermediate gardener status. A blogger I read frequently wrote that someone who isn't killing a plant every now and then isn't living up their gardening level. I guess I am doing well in that respect. None of the citrus I tried this year worked out so I am busily trying to figure out what went wrong so I can try again next year. I have a five or six year old (I forget exactly how long ago I got it) rosemary that is thriving (for now). It was the successor to about five other rosemary plants that didn't make it. I have a little lemon verbena. Four others I have tried over the years never made it past the season in which I acquired them. It is always a challenge to figure out why something works and why it doesn't.

An interesting bit of needlecraft history--was grandma just knitting or was she spying?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Monday--May 29

Goodness--only today and two more days and we will be through May into June. Where has the year gone.

Not much gardening to do except a pull a weed or two. Some of the replacement cucumbers and sunflowers are sprouting. I think I will simply start those in the gardens directly when the containers get warm enough. I have some little peppers forming on the pepper plants so we might have fresh peppers soon. We are going to visit a nearby farm market Wednesday afternoon. I think this might be only the third year it has been operating but it is billed as a "farm" market meaning that everything on sale is produced by local small farmers. The others, including our own town market, includes not only local farm grown vegetables or meat but local crafts and some commercially produced items. Saturday is opening day for the town market. We will visit it also.

Tom Englehardt has a very good post on what #45 reveals about our world and how we got here. Spoiler alert: it isn't a good picture.

It looks like Europe is in the same boat we are as far as penicillin is concerned. This is a basic problem with global capitalism that we should have seen coming. The way to beat the competition trap is to consolidate And, when three of the four companies in the world are in China and don't adhere to U.S. or European production standards, you have a choice: endure the shortages or buy from substandard producers. Once companies get a certain, large size and there are few of them the old notion that some upstart will come in and provide the competition that will either kill them or make them change their ways is nonsensical. The new company will be undercut or bought out and the situation will go back to status quo ante.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Saturday--May 27

We have cloudy skies right now but the weather forecast calls for sun. I don't have any major gardening on the schedule. I have, maybe, a dozen or so empty places for plants but no plants to put into them. Next week we plant on going to a local farm market we haven't visited yet and I will see if they have plants I might like to try out. We are still a week away from opening day of the city farm market. I still have a good bit of cleaning up and rearranging to do in the shed and the little greenhouse. We'll see if the spirit moves in that direction. So far the two aloe and the large rosemary are doing well after transplant.

Sunday--May 28

I feel lazy this nice sunny Sunday. I checked the gardens and all the plants except the anemone are doing well. I think our three-day heat wave of mid to high 80s damaged it. I moved the plant to a shadier micro-environment and it has been hanging on. One of the stevia looked a bit off but is rebounding. I will water this afternoon.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Thursday--May 25

After a cloudy but dry morning we now have sun. It is still quite cool. I raised the shade on the oxheart and Rosella tomatoes. They have come back nicely from our three 80+ and very sunny days a couple of weeks ago. No sign of the cucumber and sunflower seeds sprouting yet. I found a single blossom on one of the patio tomatoes which seem much happier outside. I had thought to do a winter crop inside but I don't think I will. I started these very, very early and they sort of struggled along. I thought I would be economical and cut the toilet paper rolls in half to make two starter pots instead of one. I won't do that any more. The plants I started in the full size roll grew much better and had more time to develop before their roots emerged from the pot. Also the larger ones didn't dry out as fast.

Friday--May 26

Just separated the aloe from its daughter plant and transplanted both. The mother went into a larger pot and the baby into the original small pot. That last is outside on our spiral hanging planter. I think I am going to have to clean out the shed. I know I have two more pots like that small one. We bought three at the same time because the spiral has places for three and those were all just the right size. I can't find the others at the moment. I also did my yearly reset of the large rosemary. I took it out of its pot and trimmed about half of the root ball and then replaced it in the same pot with new soil.

I haven't post much on politics because very little in political (or economic) news moves me to post. A while back a I normally read blogger related a story about Socrates and a young man who came rushing up insisting he heard something Socrates needed to hear. Socrates asked him to answer three questions before relating his news. First, is it good? The young man said no, in fact is was very bad. Second, is it true? The young man said he didn't know because he had only heard it and couldn't verify it. Third, did Socrates really need to know the information? After reflecting a moment the fellow conceded that Socrates didn't need to know that juicy bit at all. "So", Socrates summed up, "it isn't necessarily true, it isn't good and I really don't need to know it. Why tell it?" I try to follow a modified version of that in my reading and commenting. So much out there isn't necessarily true. Much is just juicy gossip I don't need to follow about people in whom I have no interest. And very little of it is good. Now, some of what floats around the aether is bad but I do need to know it (like what the assholes in Washington are planning for Social Security and Medicare) so I pay attention--and sometimes comment. Sometimes what I find is cute or good though nothing that is absolutely essential to know. Again I read it and sometimes comment. So much of it we have no clue as to its veracity even if we try to verify it. That gets filed in the back of my mind awaiting corroboration.




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday--May 24

Yesterday was cool and cloudy. We did get some scattered showers but nothing major. We expect for today. It was one of those days when my ambition and energy were missing in action so I didn't do much of anything. If we get a long enough time between showers I may try to get the last two plants (sweet basil and lime basil) into containers. "The last two plants" for now.  I still have spaces for other plants but I will wait for the farm market to open. That will come a week from this coming Saturday. I may start harvesting the spearmints soon. They are growing like the weeds they once were.

We actually got some sun this morning and, though the temps are still quite cool, I got the lime and sweet basil plants in their containers. What ever rain we got didn't do much for several plants so I also watered them. I still have space for two large plants (5 gal. buckets) and about a dozen small plants in scattered places. The tomatoes that weren't dealing well with that bright sun on our stretch of mid-to-high 80s are coming back very nicely.

Al Jazeera had this item today on a world wide penicillin shortage. I might feel more sympathy with drug manufacturers who complain about the lack of "profit" in producing penicillin since it is off patent if I hadn't read about the cost to patients of new drugs often in the high five figures for a 3-month course of treatment, or the daraprim nightmare where the only company making the drug was bought and the cost went from a bit over $13 to $750 overnight, or the epipen fiasco in which the cost quintupled in a very short time. I think they ought to ramp up production of penicillin as a public service.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday--May 22

The weather should be good for getting the rest of the plants situated and, maybe, some clean up and rearranging outside. It turned out warmer than predicted yesterday and, as I noted, the sun came out and the beds dried out enough to get some work done.

My jaw dropped when I read this. I found another site which attributed the shortage to the difficulty Pfizer has getting components for glass syringes. It still boggles the mind that a common and frequently used drug based on baking soda is in short supply.

We read about Ringling Brothers' Circus shutting with a bit of nostalgic sadness. The circus always had a week or ten day run at the local civic center each year and we went almost every year. We thoroughly enjoyed the shows. Times change and the differences are stark. I remember the news media each year covered the parade of the elephants from the train station to the arena which I haven't seen very much of in the last few years. I don't remember people picketing claiming animal abuse--a charge we were expected to accept without any proof. But how does an old fashioned entertainment compete with cgi-enhanced movies? I don't think it does--especially when the price they can charge for tickets no longer covers costs. This article, however, deals with another aspect of the closure: what happens to the entertainers? Somehow I don't think #45 will be very vigorous in efforts to preserve those jobs.

Imagine if you only had electricity intermittently--sometimes as little as one hour a day. And imagine the situation lasts day after day, week after week, year after year.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday--May 21

Thunderstorms are rumbling through with some heavy rain. No gardening today.

Well, it cleared off and the containers were dry enough that I did get some gardening done. I planted the hibiscus, Mitoyo eggplant, impatiens, 2 more lavender plants, a laggard bean sprout, several Chiante sunflowers (seeds this time) and another set of pickling cucumbers and Dragon's Egg cucumbers. I stopped at that point and will continue tomorrow. I still have two patio sized tomatoes, three marigolds, sweet basil, lemon balm, lime basil and 3 geraniums. We are thirteen days from the opening of this year's farm market. And, yeah, I am counting down the days.

I just found this news story which is dated yesterday (May 20, 2017) I was flabbergasted, first. by the size of the recall (47 million pounds of meat, vegetable and fruit products); second, by the fact that the recall was dated May of last year, as I discovered by following the trail of links, and we hadn't heard about it before now; third, by the astounding list of products and brands included. Our industrial food production system does produce an abundance of product but also an abundance of waste and the potential for wide spread food poisoning.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday--May 20

Another wet day with thunderstorms predicted. I really can't complain about the rain. We needed it and I don't have to water anything. It just sets back my planting but the new plants are doing well in the little greenhouse until things dry out a bit.

We have most of the plants we wanted in the gardens or in the greenhouse ready to go in. I still have to plant some cucumbers directly in the beds because the plants I started from seeds simply didn't fare well. I also think I will plants some sunflowers directly just to see if they do better than the seeds I started inside. One observation from this year: the prices have gone up considerably. Over the season I plan to see how many of my plants I can propagate from cuttings. That will reduce my costs considerably. My guesstimate: prices have doubled at the low end over the last four or five years. I still have space available for a few more plants but I am going to wait till the farm market opens and see what they have. I have found interesting, new-to-me plants each year.

I have seen ads frequently during the limited time our tv is on for Ancestry.com. The whole notion doesn't appeal to me. This article reinforces that.

Bored Panda posted this item that had us laughing and wondering if Capt. Obvious wrote the signs.

Ah--someone else has had the same feelings about communicating with Repthuglican/Conservative friends/acquaintances/family that I have: we seem to be living two different realities. Or, maybe three. I remember thinking that the Clinton/Damnocrat version that "everything is fine and the system needs a few, little tweaks" reality was as much poppycock as the Trump/Repthuglican notion that everything was shit swirling down the toilet. Neither version corresponded to my reality. I think most voters were left with trying to decide which version most corresponded to the lives we live.

That's a rhododendron!! Wow!! Just Wow!!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday--May 19

I may not get any transplanting done today.  The afternoon thunderstorms may arrive much earlier than predicted. It is overcast right now. At least it is cooler. I made sure all the new plants were well watered before putting them in the little greenhouse so they should be good till tomorrow. Actually, I should say till Sunday because more storms are on the forecast for tomorrow. The weather is so changeable more so than when our favorite quip was "don't like the weather? wait five minutes." The wind has been absolutely brutal. I have a spot where the trash tote is hemmed in by five gallon buckets, the wall of the house and the air conditioner and the wind still blew it out to the center of the patio.

This does not sound at all good.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wednesday--May 17

Yesterday we hit 88F. Supposed to do the same today and tomorrow. I don't have anything planned except checking on plants and watering.

Thursday--May 18

Today was shopping day and we had an expanded route. I needed some more potting mix and a list of plants I wanted to get if they were out still, or yet for the more tender plants. Picked up two more lavender, new sweet basil, lime basil, lemon balm, chives, a hibiscus, some pretty geraniums and the impatiens. I will be busy planting tomorrow. We also had groceries which required visits to three stores: supermarket, meat market and health foods store. We also had a coupon to redeem at Best Buy and knew of a movie we wanted.

The temperatures are predicted to drop into the high 60s and 70s for the next ten days which will be nice. Three days of unseasonal mid to high 80s is more than enough. We will get plenty more when summer comes.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tuesday--May 16

Supposed to be another warm day--should reach 80F. My spinach appears to be poised to bolt. I will pull it later this week. The beans and sunflowers will be ready to put in by early next week. The weather forecast predicts rain and high winds for somewhere around Thursday night or Friday. And highs back in the 60s.

Beans, sunflowers and stevia all transplanted. I was going to let the beans and sunflowers go for a week but the roots were already emerging from the tubes. I had three stevia in that one pot from the garden shop which are now in individual pots. In a little while I will get the cucumber seeds and plant them.

Perhaps the best succinct summation of #45's character. I find it sad to think that 1) the president is a 7-year-old boy in the body of a 70-year-old man; 2) that people actually believed his eruptions of oral diarrhea to vote for him; 3) that some still believe his oral diarrhea; 4) that the only way to get rid of him (short of voting him out in three years) is impeachment; and 5) that the spineless Repthuglicans who failed to effectively challenge him at any point in the primaries or after the nomination or after his election won't challenge him on anything--ever. Damn!!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday--May 15

Another nice sunny and warm day on tap. I just checked on all the plants in the gardens and they are doing well. In fact, one little strawberry surprised me with an open blossom. All of the sunflower seeds have sprouted upstairs and three of the beans. I hope I get around to planting some more cucumber seeds in the container itself.

We take so many things for granted--like going to the faucet and turning on flowing, (hopefully) clean water. How many of us think of how we would deal with not having that?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday--May 14

Happy Mothers' Day to all.

I found this delicious article this morning that had me in stitches. I am a comic book fan from way back and especially of the Marvel line. And, by the way, I just did put in "hail-hydra.com" in my browser and it went right to #45's web page. Who ever did this is f**king brilliant.

I saw this on MSN. At first the reactions of outrage didn't surprise me but I had second thoughts. First, let's consider the case of the community college president who capped off a 42 year career getting a nice pension and a $266k payout for 1260 sick days he never used. Those number of days amount to just under three years which amount to about $80k. He worked those days because he wasn't sick but at the time got no extra pay or other compensation for that work. You can look at the other examples the same way. Perhaps the compensation for such benefits not used should be paid yearly. Then they wouldn't have been so noticeable. The only reason people are outraged is because they see the size of what they think is an unearned windfall. Au contraire--those people earned it.

Large numbers are always mind blowing. The story from MSN took a minute or two to process and realize that the large number is simply a matter of small numbers accumulating over time--rather like the "miracle" of compound interest. This story concerns a similarly large number: 252K+ pounds of prepared chicken and beef burrito products recalled because of listeria contamination. On the one hand we aren't overly concerned for ourselves. We don't buy highly processed foods and if we want burritos we can make them ourselves. On the other hand, I find such waste offensive. But such stories coming out of our industrial food processing system are increasingly common place.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday--May 13

Mid-May already!! I did some clean up among the plants and need to sit for a little while. The lemons and limes didn't make it. I may try again next year. The oranges are still hanging on and I hope they make it. The sweet basil and lime basil I had outside also didn't make it. The weather has been too much for them--the hot slewing to cold and the heavy rain. I will get more of those next weekend. I adjusted the planter in which I have lavender planted. One of the plants isn't looking happy. I placed the planter on wood slats to get it off the table surface and deep it out of water that pools there but I inadvertently covered the drain holes. I replaced the slats with two 2x4 pieces which elevates the pot and leaves the drains clear.

The second year we raised tomatoes we got very few. They were tasty but the cold spring didn't do them any good at all. I had thought of trying one of the very cold tolerant varieties Burpee carries but didn't. The next year it was hot and we had a bumper crop. That has been the pattern since. The rains we have had over the last few years have also been atypical. Usually we don't have as many monsoonal downpours as we have had. My Dragon's Egg cucumbers have all been pounded to death by the last couple of storms. I will start some more Monday.

On other topics--I found this New Yorker piece which is scarily right on the money. I wonder how much damage the Orange Horror, aided and abetted by a spineless and grasping legislature, will do to our Constitutional government by the time he is done. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. Years ago Robert Heinlein had his protagonist, Johann Sebastian Bach Smith in I Will Fear No Evil, remark that the government of the U.S. had gone from a representative democracy to a broad democracy, to an oligarchy and more without ever changing its basic Constitution. We have witnessed part of that in my lifetime.

I have heard this song before--several times. The government has promised before to stop seizing tax refunds to pay debts long dead family members are said to owe. Each time the seizures come again soon after.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday--May 12

It is clear this morning so we should get some sun. I should get some things put out in the gardens and, perhaps, clean up and rearrange some more. We'll see because today is also bread baking day and laundry day. The next several days, according to the latest weather forecast which may change five minutes from now, shows several warm and fairly sunny days ahead.

I think I am getting an attack of the "Lazies." I did get two dianthus, a marigold, and two patio eggplants in the gardens. But no bread baking today.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thursday--May 11

We had good rains last night. Might be too wet to transplant anything. And we have a busy day of errands so that will take up most of our time. I did get the seeds for the sunflowers and beans started upstairs.

Just got a look at the gardens and we obviously had a very hard rain. The cucumber seedlings are beaten up. I don't know how many will survive, and I think I will make some more of my toilet paper tube starter cups and get some more started. The weather might be more settled by the time they sprout and grow large enough to transplant.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wednesday--May 10

We have some weak sunshine today. If it stays dry I have four more transplants to put in place. The cucumbers are recovering nicely. I should move the Mitoyo eggplants and marigolds into the greenhouse. I may add the patio eggplants also to the outside mix. I have two Red Robin tomatoes that I think will do better outside. The sweet basil and lime basil are not doing well. I think it got too cold on a couple of nights. I relied too much on the fact that the garden shop had them on outside racks when I bought them. The pot of stevia is perking up nicely. I plan to separate out the four plants into separate pots and put three outside--later after it warms up a bit. I want to start my beans inside in toilet paper tube pots for transplanting in about two weeks--again when it should be warmer.

Found this on Tomdispatch today. I think the last sentence sums up the matter very nicely: It is a reasonable bet that never before in history has a society spent more on war and gotten less bang for its copious bucks.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tuesday--May 9

We did get a bit of rain last night. I expect the plants did well though the cucumbers are a question mark right now. I put them out in their container yesterday. The overnight cold (near freeze) a couple of nights ago nearly zapped them. I hope they come back well. I still have two dianthus and two double geraniums that look like yellow roses to put out and I am considering planting the small patio eggplant that are well grown upstairs in the gardens. They would make a nice intermediate plant between the vines at the back and whatever short flowers I might put at the back. My standard eggplant are a bit small yet to put outside. The next ten days weather forecasts look pretty good temperature-wise--nothing below 45. Hope that will pan out.

McClatchy has a good article on the "internet-of-things." I do love the internet. I love going on and researching anything anytime. I love the email. But I don't want everything connected to everything else. I don't want my fridge telling me that I am low on milk and ordering it for me. I don't use my phone, which is low on the "smart" scale but smarter that I really wanted, to surf or google or anything like that. I don't mind technology. After all, humans have been technological animals from before we stood upright. But I want to decide what is useful to me and what is not.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday--May 8

It is very cold this morning. We had a freeze warning for last night but we barely missed that--I think. The temp may go lower before the sun comes up. I planted the new mints (peppermint and chocolate mint), three of the dwarf dianthus, and the tomatoes. I put my modified milk jug cloches over the tomatoes which, I hope, protected them.

I haven't said much about politics. There isn't much to say about that pathetic, vicious circus that hasn't been said--repeatedly. I also think most of the arguments dance around, or ignore entirely, the most basic problems. A case in point, the health care debate which isn't about health care itself but about access to a means to pay for health care which for most of us is insurance (or a damn good income with enough left after daily living expenses to pay out of pocket.) I have a lot of questions about the efficacy of modern medicine--questions that go beyond the autism/vaccination cage match seen in the mainstream media. In other words, we aren't even debating how effective our medical treatments actually are and, considering the staggering costs, we should be. And very few commentators (of whatever expertise) actually note that access to insurance is a slippery concept. Just because a company offers an insurance policy (providing "access") doesn't mean many people can afford it. And just because you have an insurance policy doesn't mean you have meaningful "access" to health care. I am among the "lucky" Americans who could handle a $500 emergency wincing all the while. That $500 represents 20% of a $2500 medical bill--you know, the part Medicare doesn't pay. I don't know what the average deductible is for individuals' health care policies but I have read of $2000 and up. That is $2000 the insured person ha to pay before the policy kicks in. That would be out of my reach.

There are times when Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel gets something unequivocally right and this is one of those times. The current administration doesn't like the conclusions nearly all climate scientists draw from the data so they erase the data. I would like to smack the Repthuglican morons in the face and tell them "Look, you assholes, we can and should argue about 1) what holes or gaps may be in the data, 2) how the data is collected, 3) what conclusions we can reasonably draw from the data given points 1 and 2, and 4) what we can and should do given those conclusions. But the data is the data and shouldn't be discarded or erased because you don't like the conclusions others have drawn."

Our political circus and the questions our news media chooses to ignore. I try to ignore most of what #45 does and says. I know it will be hyped way out of proportion and be either misleading or outright lies. As Andrew Bacevich notes there are questions which in the news media's current focus on #45 aren't being asked. We haven't had truly hard hitting, deep delving journalism for a very long time.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Wednesday--May 3

Quite chilly today. The weather forecasts last night predicted patches of frost. I haven't checked the outside plants yet because it is just beginning to be light enough to see something.

Here is another entry in the "Health Care as Scam" file. I would love to say something suitably scathing about this new outrage but I find I am all out of the vitriol required.

Thursday--May 4

Not as cold as yesterday but we should have rain again. The plants came through Tuesday night's colder temps in fine shape. I still need a couple of dry days so I can get those in the mini-greenhouse in the containers.

Friday--May 5

Another chilly and blustery day. The sun has been in and out all morning but hasn't done much to warm things up. I checked the plants and all are well watered with the rains we have been having. I have a couple of thoughts about raising some of the small pots so they drain and don't remain in standing water in the low spots. I saw a couple of strawberry plants that aren't doing too well but most of the remaining plants are fine. The plants in the greenhouse don't need watering and will wait until the weekend when the temps are supposed to be warmer. We plan on going to the garden shops tomorrow and see what is now available.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Monday--May 1

Welcome to May. Happy May Day, or Beltane or what every your choice is. We have sun today after a stormy night and steady rain all day yesterday. The plants in the garden are doing well though I was almost afraid to look after the deluge we heard last night. The weather forecasts have changed dramatically and we may wait a week to go back to the garden shops. Even if we had the plants on hand I am not sure I would have a dry enough stretch to put them in. I have some home started cucumbers and tomatoes I can put in later today--if it stays dry.

Tuesday--May 2

Woke to a power outage this morning. It lasted only about three hours.

John Beckett has some good comments on "Loyalty Day." I commented a couple of days ago that I thought it an asinine idea but had no notion it had a fairly long history. As Beckett says: a bad idea with a 60 year history is still a bad idea.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday--April 30

Welcome to the last day of April. The year is one third over and we have survived the first 100 days of #45's reign. Only 1360 days left until he leaves office--unless he is reelected of course. Pray not!!

My first thoughts on this item was: when a country needs elaborate professions and demonstrations of "loyalty" it is already well on the skids downward. And, coming from a man who violates every principle he outlines in his proclamation, it is the height of hypocrisy. In case you are wondering, I will not be observing it. Instead I will wish you all a Merry Beltane.

On another cherry note, this article reaffirms a lot of what I have read over the years. For women, the only thing that may be more dangerous than no medical care may be medical care itself. From medical experts dismissing a woman's symptoms as inconsequential or imaginary (same symptoms in men are treated as serious health threats), to medical tests that don't work on women the way they work on men, to drugs that don't work as expected on women because they were tested on men, etc., etc., modern medicine often fails women, sometimes with lethal results.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Thursday--April 27

Yesterday turned out very nice and very warm. I think the temps went into the low 80s. The rain held off till late last night.

So the #45 administration "unveiled" its "tax reform plan." I put quotations because nothing was unveiled or revealed and the so called tax reform plan was a mere "wish list." The devil is always in the details and the press release had no details.

I noticed one item on the list for corporations: allowing a big, one-time tax reduction on repatriated funds. I had a flash of deja vu remembering a past effort to do something similar to stimulate jobs and the economy. Evidently some one at CNBC had a similar memory.  Result: lots of jobs cut from companies taking advantage of the program (though the express purpose of the act was to stimulate job creation), corporations "shored up" their balance sheets, gave share holders a big bonus often through stock buy-backs (though that was expressly prohibited by the law as congress enacted it.) Why does #45 and his appointed idiots think it will do any differently this time?

Friday--April 28

Supposed to be cool and wet today. We'll see.

As usual, James Kunstler is right on in describing the root causes of the so-called "opioid epidemic." He is also right about the uselessness of most studies of the situation. The describe what is not how it became what it is and it is much easier to blame the individual than to look at the conditions to which that individual is responding. For a parallel take on our current depressing condition that doesn't mention drugs check out Charles Hugh Smith today.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday--April 26

Sunny right now but I don't know for how long. The weather report calls for afternoon thunderstorms. But I got the container I keep potting mix in for the upstairs plant nursery cleaned out, washed out, bleached out, and dried. In the middle of last season I got on a miserly streak and decided to use the spare and/or used garden soil mixed with vermiculite in starting my seedlings. I have had pretty miserable results. Seeds that should be thriving aren't and too many simply didn't sprout at all. Since I didn't have that problem when I used fresh potting mix, I have gone back to that. We stopped by one of our garden shops but all I found was some dwarf dianthus. None of the herbs I wanted. It seems they sold out. Everyone has got the gardening bug. As the clerk noted the traditional start to our planting season is Mothers' Day which is still three weeks away. We might still get a freeze and a few days ago I thought I had lost my basils (sweet and lime) to the cold overnight temps. They came back. If we get another episode I can quickly cover what I have outside or bring the smaller pots inside.

Saw this interesting article. I have seen several stories on the "retail apocalypse." And we have been the recipients of all kinds of advertising when we get on the 'net. Usually if we research an item, whether out of curiosity or a real desire to buy, we get offers on that item almost everywhere we go. And knowing for sure what is a good price? Our crystal balls are broken--they simply don't work on this. All we can do is decide what we want, or rather what we need, and what we are willing to pay. Also we don't go on line to purchase unless we simply can't find the item locally. And by locally I mean within about 50 miles. Oh, by the way, I don't kid myself that we have anything resembling a true "free market" or that we ever have had.

They are finding the weirdest things in processed foods now. Today 140k lbs. of ready to eat meat products has been recalled because it might contain bits of magnet. A couple of days ago it was frozen hash browns with a seasoning of golf ball pieces.

Found this on Americablog and it pisses me off. I think the article summed it up: ACA for them but not for us. They already have a six figure salary for less than part time work. Don't we all wish we had that kind of gig.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Monday--April 24

Got the last of the new plants in place. I have a list of things for shopping tomorrow. The tomatoes are in the little greenhouse. I will plant them out in a couple of days.

Tuesday--April 25

Supposed to be warm, dry and sunny today. Shopping day so we will be stopping by for some more plants to fill in the gardens. Most of the strawberries are doing well though a few are not. I think I trimmed the roots a bit too much. Next time I do this I will leave a bit longer root system than the instructions call for. I should bring the cucumber plants down to the mini-greenhouse to harden off for planting into the garden.

This is funny. I try not to listen to #45 much. He speaks in "tweet" and I never picked up that language. I miss the articulate, polite, and gracious #44.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Saturday--April 22

It is downright cold outside though, thankfully, not cold enough to damage any plants. I might get the last few plants into the ground. I just watched a little grackle pecking at my peppermint. It reminded me of a study on birds and the habit some species had of taking fresh leaves of certain plans to line their nests. The scientists wondered why so they looked at the nests and found that those birds who did line their nests with (especially) aromatic plants had fewer parasites like mites than those who didn't. I think I will get another peppermint.

I found this item from Slate. It puts a different twist on #45's so-called populism.

Sunday--April 23

It will be a slow Sunday. The temperatures should go up to the high 60s which should mean a good day to finish planting the remaining seedlings.

When I read stories like this one I don't feel so much like a "Lone Ranger." I have often told Mom we seem to be going backwards. I bake most of our own breads here at home. Every now and then we might pick up a loaf of store bought but we are very selective about it. I don't do bagels or English muffins. I have done them before but they are a pain in the ass. I think I have mentioned before that we shifted to cast iron for most of our stove-top cooking with a couple of stainless steel for specific purposes. We started years ago with the non-stick cookware because the cast iron was too heavy and we were fooled by the promise of easy clean up. Well, over time we have learned to handle the cast iron differently and our wrists don't hurt as much. Also, we find that the iron cleans up as easily as the non-stick and the surface doesn't deteriorate. Sometimes new isn't necessarily better--or cheaper considering we replaced our non-stick cookware four times in the last sixteen years.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Thursday--April 20

We had intermittent rain through the night. That probably means no gardening early today though things should clear up. Too dark yet to see how things are outside.

I did get a couple more plants transplanted. They went into small pots--not the large containers. The soil for that was in my shed so didn't get soaked by the rain. I think all of the strawberries survived. I hope what I am seeing on a couple of them is actually new growth starting and not wishful thinking.

Friday--April 21

I like this though I doubt if any of the TSA screeners can remember the Amendment in question. And it does nothing for those sexual assaults pat downs.

Too cool to do much outside. Should be warmer tomorrow so I hope I will get the peppers and thyme planted. I think I can bring the tomatoes outside into the greenhouse.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Monday--April 17

Not much to say today. I filled the hummingbird feeders and found the spiral planter we hang on one of the shepherd's hooks. Swept up the patio to clean up the dirt I dropped filling the pockets of the soft shoe rack and the altered vinegar jars planters I have planted with the bare-root strawberries. Almost all are doing well so far.

Tuesday--April 18

Happy Tax Day. I saw a little article yesterday which said that Americans are procrastinating longer in sending their taxes. The culprit: electronic filing. Now we can wait until 11:59pm on filing day to hit the send button and many of us are.

Wednesday--April 19

The lovely weather continues though it is supposed to change today with scattered thunderstorms. Maybe I will have dry periods when I can get the plants we got yesterday into the containers. We found a lovely clematis for one of the trellises, a beautiful red anemone and a couple of peppers and several of the herbs.

I have the clematis and anemone transplanted. I think they will look very nice there. This has been a strange year for gardening in general and starting seeds in particular. Right now it looks like the key limes have decided not to survive as has one of the lemon plants. I am not sure why. The moisture in the soil is good--unless it was too much to begin with. But most of my marigolds failed  as well. I will have to think about this a bit more.

I started a new batch of sourdough starter--mostly from frustration with our local grocery stores. I wanted some new yeast. All of mine failed when I proofed it. I can't really complain there because I had a large jar (not the original 4 oz. jars) which I filled from a supply I got at our favorite tea/spice shop. I had worked my way through it but the last two or three loaves didn't rise as well as I expected and were more like cake than bread. They were palatable so we ate them anyway. But our supermarkets here are only carrying the 4 oz. jars of "bread machine" yeast which I don't wan't and won't use. I don't use bread machines--don't even own one. So we picked up some of the small packets of regular yeast.

We are getting a good rain now but I have the clematis, anemone, sage and lavender planted. No more planting today.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday--April 15

We had rain overnight but that shouldn't affect my continued clean-up and set-up plans. The strawberries arrived yesterday. I hope these bare root plants work as well as the sweet potato slips I tried out a couple of years ago and not as dismally as the strawberry roots I tried that same year.

I so totally agree with this piece. Sometime ago I got rid of the last skirt and dress in my closet. I hope never to wear one again. I have jeans, sweats, and shorts that pretty much cover the seasons. I do have a couple of pairs of slacks that will take care of as dressy an occasion as I am likely to attend. I am contemplating culling some of the tops I haven't worn for the last 2+ years. My tee shirts and turtlenecks do quite nicely. I am at the point where I can wear what I want and what feels comfortable. To hell with anything else. I don't waste energy being irritated with all the ads and advice (featuring or written by women less than half my age) on how I should dress, what my expectations should be, and how I should behave. They can follow the clothes I have discarded to the same place. And the same goes for much of what passes for health and medical advice.

Sunday--April 16

Beautiful day yesterday. The temperature topped out in the low 80s with plenty of sunshine. I cut six of the 1-gal. vinegar jar pots to put on one of the trellises. It took a bit to figure out how and where to cut so that the jars would stay on the shoe rack. The cells of the soft shoe rack planter are also filled--as many as I can use given the configuration of the containers. I also got the trellis assembled for the beans (or cucumbers). I have another to put up--perhaps today. Right now I think it is cloudy but the sun hasn't come up yet.

I guess I should say "Happy Easter" but the "holiday" doesn't mean much to me--socially or religiously. For those for whom it has meaning "Happy Easter." For those like me--hope your day is pleasant and productive. Mine will be inside from the looks of things now that there is some light out there. We have rain and that pretty well scuttles any plans for garden work.

I spoke much too soon on the gardening. We had a bit of clearing with sun so I got the strawberries planted and the shepherd's crooks laced. I has clouded over again so I will wait to see if we get any rain before I water the plants. The little strawberries look good so I hope I will get a nice crop of berries.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday--April 14

It sunny outside--for now. I will see what I can get done outside between possible showers. I still have the shed to reorganize and clean up as well as two planting containers to fill.

I found this today which parallels some of our experiences. I have long thought that, above a certain price point, my Medicare is useless. And, unfortunately, all too many run-of-the-mill problems would come under that description.  Paying $200 up front on a $1000 bill is doable but $2000 on a $10,000 bill? Not even. That is the straight 80/20 Medicare/you split not including any other incidental charges that might not be covered. What the story highlights is something that has only been whispered so far: people may be insured but their insurance is not worth what they are paying for it.

Plant containers filled. The front half of the shed cleaned out.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thursday--April 13

Started the peppers I forgot to start three weeks ago along with some more marigolds. Hope they all do well or I will be scrambling to find something at the garden store with which to replace them. Otherwise nothing to report.

Oh I did read that the U.S. military dropped the "mother of all bombs" on a cave region of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. I won'd link to any news account. They did say it was the largest bomb short of a nuke.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Monday--April 10

We had a busy weekend. The greater part of the gardens makeover is done. The three oldest and most fragile of the containers are gone. The largest of the remaining pots we intended to shift to new places have been shifted. The plans I started in January and February are totally obsolete. Time to rethink.

Huffington Post has this clip from Bill Maher that is, indeed, a brutal assessment of what Republicanism has become. Clue: it isn't conservative.

It looks like ships sailing the north Atlantic around Newfoundland and Labrador are encountering swarms of icebergs. Far more than "normal" and much earlier than "normal." Question: what is "normal" anymore?

Tuesday--April 11

We got the heavy cleaning and moving done yesterday between the bouts of heavy rain. Really heavy rain with thunder and lightening all night. I moved the tiered pot I had under grow lights upstairs back into the gardens. It looks nice where I have it now. Thankfully I got it covered before those monsoonal rains hit again. I have several basil plants and spinach in it now.

Wednesday--April 12

This Bloomberg article had me asking if grocery chains on this side of the pond are doing the same. We are used to the "shrinkflation" mentioned but we rarely buy anything that isn't a staple item so whether the cost for other items on the grocery list have gone up is a question. The supermarket chains attribute their strategy to Brexit but I have my doubts. That is simply as good an excuse as any.

We had to go out to one of our home improvement/garden stores this morning to replace my backup light bulb for the small grow light set up. I had to change one out today. We walked around just to see what they had out for plants. Some interesting items but not a lot just yet. In another week or two they should be fully up. By then I will have my list of want-to-haves and alternates. I transferred the full-sized tomatoes and eggplants into larger pots as well as all the cucumbers. All of the citrus looks good except for one. I am giving it time to decide whether it wants to live or not. I suddenly discovered what I was missing in all the seed starting. Somehow I failed to start the full-sized peppers for the outside garden. I will do that tomorrow and get some more marigolds going. I lost all but two of the previous batch of marigolds. I have no idea why. I have come to the conclusion that sometimes plants just decide they aren't going to thrive and they don't.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday--April 9

I wasn't going to post today but this was too precious so here is the link. I crochet and there I would classify my self as an advanced beginner or a beginning intermediate crocheter. I have tried to knit and never got the hang of it so I can relate to this author's experience.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Thursday--April 6

We have had heavy rain overnight--really heavy. With very high winds that rattled the house. You could almost hear the trees creaking with the gusts. Good day to stay inside. I have some seedlings that should be put in slightly larger pots and some plants that need watering. I have been promising I will prune my large rosemary for a couple of weeks now. Perhaps today.

For the "signs of the times" file I found this on the cherry blossoms. A friend showed some pictures of the same spot in her garden five years ago and a week ago. Flowers that were barely budding then are in full bloom this year--over a week early.

I have thought (as I think I have written before) that, with the current administration rolling back economic and environmental regulations, progress on those fronts will have to come from local areas. This story supports that and gives a glimmer of hope that the energy industry's deep pockets aren't buying them as much influence (and elections results) as once was the case.

Now this might be interesting if it is picked up by other companies in other industries. I have been utterly amazed by executives getting outlandish bonuses and pay increases even though their companies posted large (often mind-boggling) losses.

It would be so nice to see this become law.

Friday--April 7

I hope the tubs have dried out enough to get a start on the last container I need to empty. The wind is still strong and gusty, and the temperatures are predicted to be on the cool side--not breaking 50F. I got both rosemary plants pruned and the big one looks a lot better.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesday--April 5

Rainy today and we may have snow by evening. But by the weekend it should dry out, get warmer and sunny again. Shopping day today so I don't know how much of my normal reading I will get done.

However, this came up right off the bat. Bless that judge who refused to seal the documents and Bless California for its environmental activism.

I love this story.  Go, Sophia!! You know what is really important.

Another story to love!!! I don't mind people who have religious objections to abortion, gay marriage, sex outside marriage, cross-race marriage, women working--whatever. What I do mind is them imposing their beliefs on others. If those are your beliefs you shouldn't have an abortion--to do otherwise is hypocritical. Same for all the other issues. But imposing on others your own beliefs--no fucking way. These guys are worse than the "blooming idiots" who appeared every spring on the open public spaces at every university I attended to preach to harangue passing students on their likely post-post life destination--especially female students consistently described as "whores."

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Monday--April 3

Progress on the clean up outside. I got the second large container cleaned out and in the trash. I have one more to clear. They were getting very fragile indeed--one splintered as I tried to carry it to the area where I was going to dump the small pebbles I used at the bottom. And that one seemed to be in the best condition of the three.

The citrus seedlings ( 2 each of key lime, Meyer lemon, and orange) just arrived but the rain started just as the postal carrier dropped them off. I will say they were nicely packed and I put them upstairs under the grow lights. Getting them into my pots can wait until things dry out a bit.

Tuesday--April 4

We didn't get too much done yesterday because Mom had a computer problem we had to get fixed. She came up with an intrusive message that we couldn't get off which insisted she call a number to fix a problem supposedly caused by a hacker. We couldn't make it go away. I couldn't find the number on any of the official but she decided to call the number anyway. My skepticism grew as the call progressed and when the "agent" tried to get information from her I suggested we simply take her machine to Best Buy. Luckily, the problem was easily taken care of at zero cost and the consultant confirmed our suspicion that the whole thing was a scam.

The citrus trees are transplanted into their own pots now. We will see how they do.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday--April 2

Bread is on its first rising and we got the first of the large tubs emptied and in the trash. Two more tubs to go and a second rising for the bread. We usually get most of what we do done early--before we get tired or distracted. It is warm enough, even with the cloud cover to get some work done outside.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Saturday--April 1

Happy April Fools' Day--and no, I am not going to pull any pranks. I am not even going to link to pranks though I have seen some good ones.

Yesterday was a non productive day as I locked myself out of the new iPad. I thought I had written the passcode down but couldn't find it or remember it. So I went in and did what they said to restore the original programming which took out the nook and Kindle programing and files. I had to go back in and install those as well as my libraries. It was a royal pain in the butt, however much easier that I feared. The new passcode is written down and I have had no trouble remembering it.

I haven't been more productive today--just too cold, still too wet, and simply too tired.  Did dig out some more of the first container and filled one large pot and parts of two others. But that was all because, as I said, it was too blasted cold.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Tuesday--March 28

Ah, yes---the daily life of the self-made man.

Do we really want to live forever?? Well, some of us do. Some of want to think more carefully about the whole issue.

Wednesday--March 29

Information "smuggling"? New term for an old phenomenon. I remember when Ayatollah Khomeini used smuggled cassette tapes (copied hundreds of times) to keep in touch with his followers during his years of exile in Paris. Now it is all done by computer.

We have said that if we ever have another pet (not likely) we would prepare the pet's food ourselves. Here is another reason why.

Thursday--March 30

We had rain with thunder and lightening over night. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be wet so no outside work today. But I got a good bit done yesterday: cleaned out the dead mums and lavender, and emptied about 3/4 of the first large container we are discarding. The rest will wait till the weekend when we should have two dry, sunny days. I also made about 20 paper pots. Some of my new seedlings are getting too big (already!!) for the cardboard tube starter cups but I want a larger pot that I can sink into the ground with the plant and not disturb the roots.

Just got an e-mail from Gurney's that my citrus has shipped and I will soon have six little trees to pot. I got two each of lemon, lime and orange. They are all small trees and will work well in the house.

For some time now I have thought the environmental action/climate change/pollution mitigation would have to move to the states and local areas. This simply confirms that notion.

Friday--March 31

Welcome to the last day of March and the last day of the first quarter of the year. Already!!

I didn't get much done. Too wet outside and I yielded to a frustrated impulse and got a new iPad yesterday. I have used the Barnes and Noble nook e-reader for years and, until recently, they (I was on my second one) functioned quite well. But I found that some books were available on Kindle that weren't available on the nook and some were available at a better price. The reverse was also true so I didn't want to give up the nook for the Kindle and I didn't want to buy a second device. So, realizing the nook was simple software on a Samsung tablet, I downloaded the Kindle software onto my nook. But over the last couple of months I have bumped up against the device's memory capacity twice--the second time after I moved most of the contents to the "cloud." I am not quite a Luddite but I simply don't trust that the material stored in the "cloud" will be there when I want it or that I will always have an internet connection to access the material. I want it on my machine or on storage media I control. Hence, the new iPad. I spent most of the afternoon getting the nook and Kindle software installed, the accounts adjusted and my library downloaded.

Any time any one issues the asinine phrase "We're number 1" refer them to this article. No, we aren't "#1" except in very specific areas: spending the most for the military often for weapons "systems" that don't work as designed and in spending the most for health care (or "sickcare" as one blogger calls it) much of which, also, doesn't work--at least not for the patients.

I have lost count of the many ways Federal Government agencies can f%^k us over. Here is another one.