Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Lesson Learned This Week

If one has a dead mouse rotting in the unreachable areas of the cupboards underneath the bathroom sink and the weather perversely decides to jump from 79 degrees Fahrenheit to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, you get to choose between stink and air conditioning...................

Monday, June 27, 2011

???

Does it bother anyone else that Dan Quayle might actually have been an intellectual high point of the modern Republican party???

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Things I Am Not Ready To Discuss Yet

*  how starting to vacuum the stairs at the bottom rather than the top might have saved me from a vicious vacuum assault

*  how one needs to be really, really, really careful when planting rye as a cover crop to NEVER let it go to seed

*  how one should never plant mint unless in confined spaces

*  how far behind I am on my 100 books a year goal....and the quality of the books I'm reading to catch up

*  how one can actually fling a large scoop of ice cream at oneself when trying to scoop it into dishes

*  who is winning in the annual Slug Wars

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Good News And The Bad News

The good news is, we no longer have to worry about what happened to the mouse Theo lost in our bathroom when it crawled into a crack in the bathroom cabinets.

The bad news is, we know this because of the amazing rotting-animal smell that is now emanating from the master bath.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lessons Learned This Week

*  If your husband says he's checking the sprinklers, it may not be the best time to stop and pull weeds from the flower bed.

*  I'm a much more dedicated gardener when the strawberries kick in

*  No one is as certain about how one should garden than the person who doesn't garden

*  It's better to focus more on the fact that your husband mowed the lawn for you and less on the fact that he mowed the Hubbard squash seedling

Monday, June 20, 2011

Some Interesting Food History Worth Sharing

In Harvey Levenstein's Paradox of Plenty, I'm now up to the Reagan years, and the really depressing thing is that so many seeds of the problems we're facing now were sewn by President Ronald Reagan and his era of greed.  Not that I'm not a capitalist, but Reagan--with his tax cuts for the wealthy and his insane unlimited spending on weapons--is an absolute turning point in our economic history, and not a good one.  Long-term planning and whatever ideas of corporate responsibility we might have ever had (and that never seems to have been much) was exploded by corporate raiders and the rise of the just-need-to-show-profits-for-the-next-quarter mentality.  As part of the "trickle-down" economic theory, the tax cuts were accompanied by drastic slashes to social programs, including welfare and food stamps, and even with his draconian cuts to who could qualify, by the time Reagan left office, 1 in 10 Americans could qualify for food stamps.   BUT, I have to admit, that with the welcoming of the racist southern Democrats who fled the Democratic party after President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights bills, Reagan probably had the votes of those he would send into poverty.  If it weren't so sad, that would be rather funny.

In the 1980s, the richest 1/5th of Americans experienced significant improvements in living standards, while the middle class held its own mainly by increasing the reliance on two incomes while the bottom 15% sank downward [from the New York Times, December 16, 1990]   Now, maybe it's just me, but if the middle class ONLY held its own by doubling the number of workers in the household, that is not progress.   Income levels drastically affect food (and social) history because social history really is about what we do with discretionary income, and when discretionary income dries up--as it does when income only rises for 5% of the population--that becomes a big factor in what people eat and do.  I have never been a fan of Reagan, and have read WAY too many economic theory and history books to find his "trickle down" economic theories as anything but sheer nonsense, so I wasn't surprised by much, but it is sad to see where we could have done things differently.  As before the Great Depression, once income stagnates or deteriorates for the majority of people there is no one left to be able to afford all the crap they normally buy, so companies aren't making the profits any longer (the ones that feed those $12 million salaries CEOs now get), and they lay off people and the problems compound, and then the people who aren't affected--those in the upper income levels--blame the poor for being poor.  These are all predictable circles that just keep happening over and over and over.  All you have to do is read the actual history--the factual stuff, not the Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin nonsense.    Food assistance programs have always been attacked by those who don't need them as encouraging "laziness," even when it was proven in 1979 that food programs had virtually eliminated the gross malnutrition problems that they had been created to address.

I guess our ability to look down on everyone not as well off as ourselves is overshadowed only by our inability to learn from our own history.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thought For The Day

Just because my new computer monitor IS bigger than our television, it does not therefore follow that we need a bigger television.  Walking across the room to read subtitles is exercise.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Square Foot Gardening Lesson of the Week

It's important not just to plan around which plants are tallest, but also which ones might get tall first.  For instance--just for the sake of argument let's say one planted snow peas in front of the cucumbers.  The cucumbers might get just a bit stunted around, say, June 16, because the snow peas are now 15 inches tall and completely block all the sun from getting to the cucumbers............................

Monday, June 13, 2011

Things I Have Learned This Week

*  For sheer entertainment value, I rank shopping for a new computer monitor right up there with shopping for new underwear or socks

*  When some of your plants have outgrown the square-foot they were given and have started taking hostages, it's time to rip them out

*  Ask your spouse if he heard rain last night before freaking out that the sprinklers have lost their minds and completely soaked the garden

*  If one actually doesn't have a clue what the seedlings are supposed to look like, it makes it really hard to weed around them

*  One can make a really good salad by adding chopped fresh mint and a bit of feta to salad greens, but it's not the best idea to try to put one's contacts in immediately afterward.

*  Mint oil doesn't completely come off one's hands after washing with soap and water

*  Mint oil in the eye stings a lot

*  Checking to find out A) what the nasty little miniature flies are and B) whether the bug spray will have any effect ON the nasty little miniature flies BEFORE applying might have been a better choice.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

There Has Been Gardening!

So the ONE slight hiccup with square foot gardening is not realizing how big a plant is going to get--or, how big four of them are going to get.  This:
jungle of vegetation is the mustard bed.  I lost some radishes underneath that monster, but luckily the Romaine and the broccoli are holding their own so far.  Speaking of broccoli,


it's ready!  Actually, this is the last big head.  For the first time in my gardening life, I have harvested the big broccoli heads BEFORE they flowered!  I am seriously pleased with myself--this could make my gardening year.  

Actually, I'm also pretty excited about these:
my pepper seedlings started by seed.  Okay, I started them a bit later than I should have as they're still a couple weeks away from being ready to be planted, but I have to admit that I wasn't all that serious when I planted them because I didn't think it would work.   After 4 years of attempted gardening, my confidence in my own gardening ability is something slightly below zero, so I really just started these guys on a whim one day.  If they all survive to maturity, we'll of course be overrun by the things, but I'm a bad transplanter, so I think we'll be kissing at least 25% of these good-bye.  Still, I'm immensely proud of them.

We have a new secret weapon against slugs and weeds this year:
Wood shavings!  I have high hopes that the shavings will completely shred the slimy little slug bodies if they try to get anywhere near my tomatoes this year.  Unfortunately, the shavings don't work at all against the biggest Destroyer of the Garden:
So far my "helper" has killed off 1 tomato, 4 cucumbers, 5 celery plants, and I am pretty sure the rearrangement of radishes can be chalked up to his "help" as well.  My latest Theo-defense strategy:
A little "container" gardening for herbs.  Technically, this may also work to keep the herbs going in the greenhouse over the winter, but I'd be willing to settle for just being able to have some basil that Theo hasn't turned into a 4-inch crater.

Theo's key for successful pet-human relations:  Lowered expectations.....................

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sarah Palin - the Comedy Gift That Just Keeps On Giving

First, the ever-brilliant Jon Stewart on Sarah Palin's latest gaff (I know, they're hard to keep up with) regarding her belief that Paul Revere warned the British that the British were coming:

Sarah Palin's Folksy Word Salad - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - 06/06/11 - Video Clip | Comedy Central

followed by Stephen Colbert's humorous demonstration of what Sarah Palin continues to insist was her accurate description of Paul Revere's ride:
http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/388583/june-06-2011/paul-revere-s-famous-ride

(and for those of you not in America, her insistence that the British were going to take American arms is probably either an intentional suck-up to the National Rifle Association, NRA, and the far right of the Republican party who believe everything is about the right to bear arms mentioned in the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution--even when describing events that happened more than 10 years prior to the adoption OF the U.S. Constitution)

and to top it off, Margaret Thatcher is refusing to meet with Palin:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/wintour-and-watt/2011/jun/07/margaretthatcher-sarahpalin

Frankly, I don't really see why that made the news.  Really, the shock isn't that someone would refuse to meet with Sarah Palin because she's nuts.  The shock should be that there are still people who take Sarah Palin seriously.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Am Behind

As Goodreads so consistently reminds me, I'm behind on my 100-books-a-year goal.  Currently it says I'm 10 behind, but it said I was 9 behind yesterday, so obviously I'm quickly gaining on being 11 behind.

The problem this year has been that the books I want to read are longer books, but I've been trying to burn through shorter books to keep up the pace, but when I do that I'm reading books that don't necessarily appeal to me, so I read less overall.  So, this is a plan not working.  Maybe the new plan can be to read the books I want to read, but increase the number of audio books I listen to.  And perhaps make sure the audio books are rather short.....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

So.......

If you left your cats for a long weekend, then one of them brings in a live mouse and loses it in your master bathroom, do you think it's really an accident.......?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Where To Even Begin?

We have been traveling.  

We visited Andy's sister and our Adventure Family over the long weekend:
Graduation, kayaking, a play--there was something for everyone on this trip.This is us rafting the Arkansas River:
which still looks pretty fierce even when one isn't floating on it,
Andy and his siblings ran the Bolder Boulder race,
while we in the Support Team enjoyed bagpipes and sharp-dressing statues:
 Then lunch at the Russian Tea House in Boulder (sorry about that little mix-up Russian Tea House in New York),
before taking in a festival on the river.  More pictures to come, but we did finally find a Colorado Christmas ornament for our tree:
I have been collecting ornaments from places I've traveled for at least the last 15 years, but no matter how many times I've been to Colorado, I couldn't find one.  But maybe it's a good thing after all--this was one fantastic trip and it really deserves to be special.

The New Additions

Shortly after moving, we had to put our oldest cat down, so we have adopted 2 new kittens to keep Theo company: Mostly Theo is not thr...