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.