Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday--

Drowned my first 8 or so Japanese beetles.  I have a couple of formulas for homemade repellants and plan to mix one up to try out.  If that don't work I will try the other later.  I also want to look at some companion plants they don't like to encourage them to go elsewhere.  Time to get the little greenhouse and the shed cleaned up and straightened up now that the spring planting is done.  I have sage, peppermint and spearmint on my harvest to-do-list.  Perhaps some more trimming especially on the tomatoes so I can see what is happening with them.  I changed out the door wreaths hoping that the summer wreath would convince spring to move on and let summer in.  We are going to have more normal temps over the next couple of days.

I like much of Nimue Brown's writing.  Here she makes a lot of sense on what modern life is doing to us--and it isn't good.  I can remember when I did much of what she describes:  driving through dangerous weather to get to a job that really didn't pay be enough to risk life and limb, skimping on sleep and rest to work/study 18 to 20 hours a day until my body and/or mind simply shut down, eating whatever was handy that I didn't have to fix because I didn't have time.

For the last five months the Troika insisted that the Greeks pay up and ignored the Greek pleas to restructure their debt.  Now it appears that the IMF has been sitting on an in-house generated report which says what the Greeks have been saying all along:  further bailouts without restructuring would be worse than useless.  I hope the Syriza government plays it up and the Greek electorate vote no on their referendum.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tuesday--

Errands today: farm market, grocery shopping, and a trip to the garden shop.  The rain should be moving out and things drying out.  Only puttering in the garden--tidying up and such.  I am hoping to find some herbs to put up on the fence in place of the tomatoes I had to take off because of the winds.

Wednesday--

Very cool and cloudy right now.  I will wait for a bit before I do anything outside.  I have a new herb--feverfew.  I know exactly where it will go in the gardens.  I also have some herbs I want to put in pots for the fence.  For all the rain we got Monday I had to water some of the plants yesterday.  Herb harvesting on the agenda also--sage, peppermint and lemon basil.

Thursday--

Cool again.  I just remembered I should take down the spring wreath on the door and replace it with the summer wreath.  We are still wondering what happened to summer.  It is July after all and the morning temps today and yesterday are in the mid 50s.  I don't think we got out of the 60s yesterday.  I took out the last stand of mustard yesterday and planted the feverfew in its place.  Also transplanted the St. John's wort, one of the rosemary plants, lime basil, and oregano into pots that fit in the fence hangers.  We'll see how they do.  With that I decided to postpone the herb harvesting to today along with some trimming and clean up.

I don't often read conservative posts but this one at the American Conservative is well worth reading. The author makes two points I have noticed almost from the beginning:  terror is a tactic anyone can use and applying it obscures who the real target of our so-called Global War on Terror is, and the definition of what constitutes terror is incredibly slippery and can be trimmed (or expanded) to suit the needs of who ever is applying the label.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunday--

Very cool again this morning but clear skies.  I plan to harvest some more herbs for drying this morning but haven't anything else on the agenda.  I took all but one of the tumbler tomatoes off the fence because of the wind.  I won't put them back up.  Instead I will get some new lower growing herbs to replace them when we go the the farm market on Tuesday.  The tomatoes are distributed around the patio in more protected areas.  The wind was strong enough it nearly picked the pots up our of the baskets holding the on the fence.  I have never seen wind do that here.  I also transplanted the little blueberry into a larger pot.  So far it appears to be doing well--new growth and nice healthy green.

Excellent commentary from Helen at Margaret and Helen.

Monday--

Wet and cool today so I won't be doing much outside.  Just a quick trip outside to check on things.  At least we don't have the awful wind.  I harvested Moldavian balm, lemon thyme, rosemary and lavender yesterday.  All dried and ground and on the shelf now.  Also cleaned up the shelf so I know what I have where.  Haven't seen many bees so far.  Hope the herbs and other plants flowers will attract more.  No mason bees yet.

I have been hearing about this for the last week on several of the gardening blogs I read.

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism linked to this story with the comment that the story is old and "sank without a trace.  Odd, that."  I am not surprised either by the corruption or that the story got so little traction.  The current philosophy driving much of our politics is privatization of public services which simply transfers public funds and goods into private pockets and provides a ripe field for corruption.  Do we really expect corporate controlled media to criticize other corporations' looting of the public sector (i.e., taxpayers)?  I don't.

Bloomberg has an interesting animated graph comparing the increased temperatures over the last 130 years and various factors that have been proposed as the causative agents of the change.  I won't keep you in suspense over the results.  The only factor which actually correlates with the increase is--greenhouse gasses released by human activity

Here is a feel good story for cat lovers.

From the "if your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails" file.  The war ethos Astore writes about has been growing for a long time.  Now-a-days we have irate "Christians" upset and yelling about a "war on religion" when every any one challenges their overwhelming occupancy of public space and insistence that their interpretation of Biblical rules apply universally.  The war imagery tells us exactly what to expect: no quarter, no compromise.

I love this flow chart that demolishes the anti-gay marriage argument based on Leviticus.  They really need to read all the "paperwork."

Found this on Armstrong Economics.  Damn these idiotic politicians.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday--

The news readers this morning asked "where is summer?"  The temperature now is just under 60F.  That is well below normal for this time of the year and cool enough that we will enjoy the hot cereal we have cooking for breakfast.  It should be dry enough today and early tomorrow to harvest and dry some of my herbs which are loving the cooler weather.

Update on harvest: cut basil, lime basil, strawberry leaves, Moldavian balm, and chocolate mint.  it is in the dehydrator now.  I will grind them all later after everything is dry.  Thinking about lemon basil, rosemary and lavender tomorrow.  Maybe even take a cutting of hyssop if I have a tray left over.

I didn't expect Tsipras to do this but I think it is a brilliant tactic.  From what I have read Syriza has been on the edge of a knife since it came into office.  On the one hand Greeks were split: they wanted easing of austerity and to stay in the EU.  The bottom line question was what they would choose if they couldn't have both.  Do they want out of the austerity imposed by outsiders badly enough to default and get out of the Union?  The referendum might clarify that. And in the same vein, Syriza itself is split with the hard line anti-austerity wing (and its allies) threatening to bolt which would bring down the government. On the other hand, negotiations require partners willing to actually negotiate and I haven't seen that in the troika, especially not with the IMF.  The Greeks haven't had "partners" in their economic crisis.  They have had tyrants demanding utter submission.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thursday--

Raining today so I will occupy myself inside.  Should have a break between systems tomorrow morning and, if it develops, I will harvest some herbs then.  I got a bit more of the tangle of tomato plants the wind left in the corner of the gardens.  I have Costuluto and Amish Gold plants there which are getting quite tall and the wind twisted them into a mess.  Usually the gardens begin to look like a jungle by this time.  This year I have managed to keep some order and control.  One of my sunflowers has started blooming.  New flowers always bring me a bit joy.

On the issue of the "Stars and Bars" Confederate flag, what it means and if it should be displayed--John Beckett has a good piece.  An underlying question in his post involves exactly what whoever wants to wave that flag is wanting to honor or proclaim in doing so.

Gene Logsdon, the Contrary Farmer, has another interesting post on "Farming Starts In Cities."  I have followed the "urban agriculture" movement for several years now and it doesn't surprise me that plant cultivation has been a part of the urban environment since such an environment arose.

Friday--

Cloudy now after rain off and on during the night.  I don't have anything pressing in the gardens.  The herbs can wait till tomorrow.  I have some plants inside to water and trim.

The Onion on the pending 6th extinction.  Crying won't help so you might as well laugh.

This should be an interesting little war that won't be covered by the mainstream media.  I think the corn refiners are feeling a pinch from the latest seismic shifts in American eating habits which has cast doubt on the benefits of one of their major products--high fructose corn syrup.

Philip Car Gomm has a good take on the news.  Everyone would be better off if we turned it off.  And the article he links to has even more good points to make in advocating a strictly curtailing our diet of news.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tuesday--

As we fell asleep last night the wind hit.  I woke to find two of the tumbler tomatoes on the fence were askew again and the gold leaf lemon thyme was on the patio.  The thyme had been in a low spot on a chair with a pot of peppermint.  Normally that is a very protected spot.  Not last night.  It is now inside.  No damage, thankfully.  The news this morning says that Illinois had six tornadoes overnight.    I don't think we got a drop of rain.

Thank whatever gods exist for nice people.  We need them to counter the cruel assholes.

Wednesday--

Windy but somewhat cooler yesterday.  The drop in the temps and the humidity were welcome.  I have some trimming and perhaps some herb harvesting to do.  The cupcake squash is blooming profusely and we welcomed our first (that we know of) bee.  Hope it comes back and brings it's friends.  The cucumbers (both types) are climbing quickly up their trellises and the beans are doing the same on the sunflowers which survived the winds nicely.

I didn't read all of this post on Tomdispatch but what caught my attention was the figure of $10 billion which is the "top end estimate" for what will be spent on the coming elections.  I find that more than a little obscene.  It makes me wonder who is buying whom and what they want for their money.

Another food scandal in China.  This one is really sickening.

I have noticed a lot more willingness on the part of the mainstream media to call out the right-wing news sources (Faux--that means you) on their refusal to call the Charleston killings either a hate crime or a terrorist act.  This piece asks a good question: what is the difference?  It also notes something I had noticed long ago--as far back as the Oklahoma City bombing.  That suspicion is first directed at a shadowy, dark-skinned, and non-Christian immigrant enemy who turns out when finally revealed to be home-grown, white, and (self-proclaimed) Christian.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sunday--

Welcome to Summer and happy Solstice to you all.  Unfortunately, that also means that the days will now start to get shorter.

Monday--

Spent a busy day yesterday getting my tomatoes upright again after the winds the night before bent them over.  I found two of the pots in the baskets on the fence blown askew.  They were just heavy enough that the weren't blown completely out.  I had to retie the upper part of one of my sunflowers because the vibrations of the wind loosened one of the twist ties.  I was so glad I had put the supporting stakes in and tied them up.  I thought it a good idea after seeing what high winds did to tall plants in some of the nearby gardens over the last few years.  I also had to pull one bed of my India mustard that was badly infested with cabbage moth caterpillars.  It appears the little pests love the mustard.  Surprisingly a nearby planting of mustard shows no sign of them.  Perhaps the nearby bird feeder discouraged the moths from laying eggs there.

Tom Englehardt has some very good observations on "violence in the homeland' and the "terrorist" threat from ISIL.  Before anyone gets pissed thinking I am anti-gun--I am not.  I don't blame a tool for the carnage the people who use it cause.  Unfortunately, we don't seem to be very big in this society on personal responsibility--except for the poor of course.  They are wholly responsible for everything about their lives whether they could really do anything about their conditions or not.  And yes, I am being very sarcastic.