I think I magic-ed my trees! I have these sad little dogwood trees that I planted three years ago. They get some leaves every year but they never flower. They haven’t grown much either. One is about 5 feet and the other about 4 feet tall just like they were when planted. I’ve added compost to their soil faithfully and made sure they have water during dry spells. I’d about given up on them and would have taken them out but the birds love to sit on them during the summer.
I read on some blog – Wildhunt maybe? – about Ostara and spring and a quote from someone who blesses her trees and asks for protection for them in the spring. I’m still a skeptical person but I figured nothing else has worked. I was also reading about feeling auras at the time so I went out and felt the auras of the trees. Then I took birdseed and put a circle around each of them and asked for protection and growth and maybe – if it wasn’t too much trouble – flowers. That was a few weeks ago. Today I went out to see them and they are both putting up a lot of new growth. The big tree even as two buds on it! At least I think they are buds seeing as they have never had them before. I felt the aura of the big tree and it is bigger than it was before. I did a little energy work by running energy to the tree auras to encourage greater health.
The skeptical part of me says that the “buds” are probably cocoons of the world’s most destructive insect or that a frost is going to come and kill everything and that I’m imagining the whole aura thing anyway. But I’m going to try to think positively.
I found an interesting site today that checks with the weather gods in your area to find out if solar power would work in your area. I live in a cloudy area so I wasn’t sure but I put in my details and it came up with a rating of “good”. “Good” isn’t actually all that wonderful. It was about halfway on their scale but doable for part of my energy needs. The program then helps calculate cost. It actually isn’t very good at that. It quoted me $99,000 for my system. Solar is expensive but not that expense. You can also find links to contractors in your area. (One’s automated system quoted me much less than $99,000). Fun to play with and see what would work for you.
There can be no peace as long as we wage war upon our mother, the earth. Responsible and courageous actions must be taken to realign ourselves with the great laws of nature. We must meet this crisis now, while we still have time. We offer these words as common peoples in support of peace, equity, justice, and reconciliation: As we speak, the ice continues to melt in the north.
faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation (August 2000)
My political persuasion is conservative on financial issues and libertarian on social issues. But I go full-fledged lefty liberal on environmental issues. That’s why reading about this article on conservative blogs this morning made me insane.
The blogs I’ve seen are trumpeting this as a sign that environmentalists want people to die. They are quoting parts of the article like this:
Should the law promote human life, or should it sacrifice human beings and their quality of life on the altar of Gaia?
Two to three million people die of malaria every year, Uganda’s health minister has said, because the U.S. government is afraid of a chemical called DDT. The United States does spend your tax dollars trying to fight malaria in Africa, but it won’t fund DDT. The money goes for things like mosquito netting over beds (even though not everyone in Africa even has a bed). The office that dispenses those funds, the Agency for International Development, acknowledges DDT is safe, but it will not spend a penny on it.
And then there is this quote:
“If it’s a chemical, it must be bad,” said scientist Amir Attaran. “If it’s DDT, it must be awful. And that’s fine if you’re a rich, white environmentalist. It’s not so fine if you’re a poor black kid who is about to lose his life from malaria.”
I went to the link for the article ready to post it and write a rant. But then I read the part that the conservative blogs are leaving out. This I think is the heart of the article.
But fear campaigns kill people, too. DDT is a great pesticide. The amount was the reason for the DDT problems. We sprayed far more than is needed to prevent the spread of malaria. It’s sprayed on walls, and one spraying will keep mosquitoes at bay for half a year. It’s a very efficient malaria fighter. But today, DDT is rarely used.
So was the DDT problem here a result of an “if a little is good, a lot is better” mentality? If measured and controlled spraying could help reduce malaria should it be used? Can people be trusted to use a chemical moderately? The U.S. proved that we couldn’t handle the responsibility.
This is an example of why I hate politics. There are deep questions that could foster meaningful discussions. But instead of focusing on that you hear the “You want kids dead!” level of debate. This is why I could never be a politician. I see too many sides of every story.
I have french doors in my living room that open onto nothing. I guess there is supposed to be a deck there eventually but for now they are useless unless I need to escape a fire. Whoever put the doors in was not good at his job. There were gaps between the doors and the frame. This leads to the Battle of the French Doors every winter.
It starts when I lay down on the couch and declare that I can feel a breeze. (We’ve been doing this for three years now. I should no longer be feeling a breeze. The husband is starting to think that it is all in my brain.) We’ve put up rolls and rolls of weatherstripping. We have a blanket across the bottom. We hung a large heavy blind that covers both doors. The couch is still in a cold spot. We’ve put blankets around the doors that lead into the unheated part of the house. The living room is still colder than the rest of the house.
I don’t mind the cold so much as the fact that this house costs a fortune to heat. It is not that big of a house. It doesn’t cost that much to cool. I’m not sure where the heat is going but I’m getting obsessive about chasing it. The husband is suggested that there is a ghost sitting on the couch and when I lay on it that makes me cold.
Newsweek has a quiz about how eco-friendly you are. I did it out of the magazine last night while pausing in my pursuit of drafts. I got into the second highest score. At least higher energy costs are starting to make people think about energy conservation.
Every since we moved here I’ve been thinking about planting a windbreak. In the winter the winds are incredibly strong. The wind on a quiet day can rattle the windows.
Planting a windbreak is an exercise in hope and frustration. The trees that you hope will someday protect your house are labelled “protect from strong winds.” Well if I could do that I wouldn’t need the trees.
The area that we need to cover with this windbreak is large. I’m imagining a mixed pine and spruce border in the back with deciduous trees and shrubs in front. The total amount of work to be done and money to be spent is so huge that it is hard to get started.
Today though I planted the first three spruce trees. They were on an end of the season sale at a nursery. I grabbed the three least Charlie Brown Christmas-like trees. The are planted now on the west side of my house. They are about 18 inches tall but very full. They look so little out there now. I just have to wait 20 years and they will be a useful part of the windbreak.
I say jolly good and well done to Manchester for taking the inititive to show that solar can work and can be an asset to the city. I really want to add solar here but with my non-environmentalist wacko husband I don’t know if that is ever likely to happen. I’m just getting to him to think about recycling things.
In the continuing quest to fix the fence I have aided and abetted a total violation of my ethics. As I was heading off the buy fence supplies the neighbor came by. I sent the husband to talk to him to tell him to get a wagon out of my barn.
When I came back I found out what else they discussed.
Husband: He said that the only thing that works to keep the weeds off their fence is something called Roundup.
H: We should get some of that.
Me: Monsanto is evil.
Me: Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, is evil.
H: Oh. Anyway why don’t you get some right now?
Me: I’ll be kicked out of the Monsanto is evil society.
H: Don’t tell anyone.
Me: Should I buy it at WalMart and violate all my principles at once?
H: Laughing That’s a girl. Get it all over with.
The problem is that I can’t really argue about the merits of it. Using a weedwacker to control weeds along the fence is demonstratably failing. If I want to electrify the fence all the way down it has to be clear of weeds. There are also weeds along the barn that we can’t weedwhack because it dings up the barn and kills the weedwhacker.
I’m not even sure if the Roundup will work. We have killer weeds here. They have huge woody stems that I can’t cut through without a saw.
At least I let my subscription to Organic Gardening lapse already. I’m sure if they found out I bought Roundup I’d be off the mailing list anyway.
For the past week I would have said that my Eat Local participation was solely eating the local ice cream at the fair. But when I thought more about it I realized that I have made changes to my eating habits that reflect the Eat Local philosophy that I don’t even think about anymore.
1. I made most of my food that I took with me to the fair instead of eating there. Mostly that was to save money. The vegetarian food tends to be expensive. There is a very good fried rice booth but it is $6.00 a plate. So, I made a batch of fried rice here that was enough for two meals and took it with me. I included diced local peppers in the mix.
2. I’ve started preserving the produce I’ve bought. I’ve always planned on doing that each summer but never do. This year I buy the produce I like but don’t necessarily have a use for it right away. So far I’ve frozen cherries, blueberries, diced peppers, and strips of peppers for stir fries. I’m running out of freezer room though. I’ve always wanted a separate freezer. If I have a garden next year I’ll definately need one.
3. I got some local eggs. A person at work has an aunt who gets baskets full of farm fresh eggs. She hands them out to whoever wants them. The supply is erratic from this source. I need to stop at the farms with the signs out front. That worked well for the produce.
When I was at the fair I was appalled at all the recyclables that were being thrown away. It was in the high 90s and people were going through bottled water like crazy. I took all my bottles home with me to recycle. Then I went to the festival yesterday and was thrilled to see as many can and bottle recycling cans as trash cans. I decided to write a note thanking the organization that arranged for those to be there. (It was on the cans.) While searching for an email address today I found out that the program that sponsored it will be eliminated on Sept. 23 because of state budget cuts.
I remember hearing about that. There had been a proposed $5 per person per day charge to use the state parks. That didn’t make me happy because it was going to up the cost of my ride if I had to pay for all my volunteers. Then the day before it was to take effect there was an announcement that money had been found elsewhere. “Elsewhere” turned out to be cutting the recycling programs. This gave me major mixed emotions. Yes I personally was saving lots of money but at the expense of a program I believe strongly in.
In my county it turns out that they are keeping all the recycling infrastructure but eliminating the education department.
While writing this I had an idea. Next year I think I’ll propose to my 4-H club that our community service project be setting up recycling cans in the horse area of the fair. I have a small club and we’d be totally overwhelmed by trying to do the whole fair ourselves. I would volunteer to drive the cans and bottles to the recycling center. The kids could decorate the containers we use to collect the recyclables. I just looked through the 4-H project catalog and there isn’t a recycling project. You can make up your own so maybe I’ll do that. We are always looking for group projects for my club. I think I’ll start looking for what resources are out there for kids that I can adapt.
I came across a full page ad in Newsweek claiming that the claims that there is an obesity problem in the U.S. is hype. Anything that stupid deserved to be followed up on so I checked out the website listed.
The Center for Consumer Freedom is a site that claims that organic food is actually worse for you than food soaked in pesticides, schools that ban sodas should also ban fruit juice, and bioengineered food is good besides saying that obesity isn’t that big of a problem. Also, if you are obese it is because you are inactive not because your food had anything to do with it.
Not surprisingly, other sources reveal that the site is run by a combination of restaurant and food production companies.
I have been a total blog slacker lately. Sorry. Let’s see. Where did we leave off?
Saturday I had an experience that gave me a bit of hope for the future of the planet. I coach a group of kids getting ready for a horse competition sort of like Jeopardy. In the middle of practice one girl got up and threw away her pop can. I thought I was going to have to get her bodyguards. The rest of the group got all over about, “You can’t just throw that away. There’s a recycling place in the hall, etc.” I was so proud.
On Sunday I went on a road trip with the husband. That is a potentially scary thing. He’s been known to get bored on road trips and pick fights. But he was so grateful that I agreed to come with him that he was being good. He had to go GPS the roads in a county in the southern-most part of the state. So we drove 2 hours down. Then we set up the GPS machine. This is a commerical machine not something little that regular people have. It is a lot more accurate so a lot more complex. We needed to put a receiver on a pole out the sunroof ( it was only 30 degrees) and then drive around. I was in charge of driving around at this point. I had to keep an equal distance from the center line when driving. These were curvy roads in the foothills of the Appalachans. I’m a “straightenin’ the curves, flattenin’ the hills” kind of girl just like the Dukes of Hazzard. But I learned to never cross the yellow line around these curves. Annoyed a bunch of people driving behind me because you have to slow down to be able to do that.
As we were driving around I started seeing lots of paintings of quilt blocks on barns. I wasn’t sure why this was but anything combining barns and quilts had to be good, right? So I found the answer today. Adams County Attractions The answer is basically – because they could. No real reason other than getting tourists to drive around. I recognize over 90% of the attractions on that website because I drove almost every mile of that county while staying on the right side of the yellow line. My favorite is the Bentonville Anti-Horse Thief Society Historical Marker.
Other than that I just been home. My dear cat Groucho has decided to try to kill me while doing yoga. He was watching me do a strength routine. He decided that anytime I was balancing on one arm it would be fun to repeatedly headbutt my arm to see if I would fall. The answer was usually yes because I was shaky anyway.
I got to meet a neighbor yesterday because I got a flat tire in front of her house. I told her where I lived and she replied, “You’re the vet, right?” So I had to look at her dog. He was hit by a car the day before and partially severed his tail. Silly me I think he should go to a vet and get it fixed. But what do I know? He’s a farm dog. Either he’ll get better or he won’t. Survival of the fittest in the country.
I watched this strangely interesting TV show last night called Flip Flotsam. It was on LinkTV, which is turning into one of my favorites because it has shows like this that you definately won’t see anywhere else.
It talked about the flip flop circle of life. Yes, the cheap little shoes. Apparently they are very popular in eastern Africa. There is a factory in Mombasa, Kenya. They make lots of colors to attract buyers. After they wear out a lot of them get washed out to sea. This is where the environmentalist in me is cringing. But, because they float, animals in the ocean like crabs catch rides on them instead of wearing themselves out swimming. Sort of like mini-surfboards. Because of a convergence of ocean currents a lot of ocean debris is deposited on one island off of Kenya. This includes a lot of flip flops. I do mean ‘a lot’. The video showed a whole beach littered with them. The local birds have started to use them to perch on instead of the hard rocks. This area is a marine sanctuary but there is a village of 500 people there. They started collecting the flip flops to make toys. This village has no electric and very little outside influences so to get toys for their kids they use whatever washes up on the beach. They make these elaborate sculptures – sea animals, birds, boats. They use the different colors of flip flops to make very detailed work. Then they get in a boat and take them back to Mombasa to sell in the craft market. Flip flop circle of life.