Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Memphis BBQ Pioneer Charlie Vergos RIP

Those of you you have been coming here for any length of time know I am a BBQ fanatic and pride myself on the ability to turn out great BBQ. When it comes to BBQ I lean toward Eastern North Carolina for my pulled pork but when it comes to ribs I am a Memphis boy. Charlie Vergos who opened the famous Rendevous BBQ in Memphis in 1948 is known as the originator of the Memphis dry rub, a must for a great BBQ pork rib. Not to take anything away from Mr. Vergos but I didn't consider the Rendezvous the best BBQ place in Memphis but it was definitely a place to visit and experience, and all the great BBQ in Memphis owes Charlie a debt for coming up with the dry rub which defines Memphis BBQ today.
Mr. Vergos, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Greece, opened the Rendezvous in 1948, selling ham and cheese sandwiches and beer. His signature pork ribs, charcoal-grilled, basted with vinegar and sprinkled with what has come to be known, in popular parlance, as dry rub, came later, around 1954 or 1955.
When barbecue obsessives talk about the dry rub style, often referenced as the Memphis style, they’re talking about the style that Mr. Vergos forged, by sprinkling ribs with his variation on a Greek seasoning mix.

Anniversay Today

Today marks Madam and yours truly's 37th wedding anniversary. To celebrate I am making Madam's favorites.
Grilled lamb chops, grilled fresh asparagus with balsamic, roasted potatoes a la Greek and for dessert creme caramel. A little salad with proper Greek feta, parsley and cucumber for starters. Even though we met and wed in Hawaii we both have a special fondness for Greece and the food so it is usually our go to menu for special occasions.

The custards are done and cooling and I have the Hibachi all set up with hardwood charcoal. The lamb is marinating in fresh rosemary, lemon, garlic and olive oil. I still have to make the tsatsiki sauce and the potatoes.

It also happens to be my mother's 82 birthday today. I've called and wished her happy birthday but Happy Birthday Mom!

A Lot of Commercial Real Estate Mortgages Are Under Water

This is not a good thing. According to Elizabeth Warren, chairperson of the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel, half of all commercial real estate mortgages will be under water by the end of the year. This is a huge amount of many and I would not be surprised to see the a lot of the borrowers just walk away from these mortgages. A lot of these are speculators or large developers that know when to cut their losses. It's going to get ugly. What's more the bulk of these mortgages are held by mid sized banks and depending on how badly they are exposed means another raft of bank failures.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Practicing for the Big One

It seems that the Michigan 'Hutaree' militia, which the FBI and the local Joint Terrorism Task Force hauled in over the weekend, had grown weary of waiting  for the battle with the Anti-Christ.  From the indictments released this morning they had decided kick things off  by killing a bunch of cops. My fear is that, with all the right wing calls for violence, we will see more of this. I truly hope that it is indictments before the fact and not when these wingnuts bring their plans to fruition.

IVR Hell at Bank of America

I have just spent an hour trying to get some help with a technical issue concerning my Bank of America on line banking. Not successful. I finally did get connected to a real person but after answering pretty much every question she could ask and I asked my question...she says "Oh that's a technical question and you'll have to talk to a technical person". I hear a click and the robot comes on and asks for my SSN again. I go through another IVR tree and finally..."Sorry we can't take your call right now!"

Ever since I switched to AT&T wireless I can't get the "SafePass" code sent to my phone so I can edit the online Bill Pay information. It worked fine with the T-Mobile phone and the AT&T phone gets text messages just fine. I am stuck I guess. I will go to the bank in person a little later and see if they can help me and let them know how completely unsatisfactory their 1-800 customer service is.

I also had to call AT&T wireless this morning to fix the fact that I paid my wireless bill to the regular AT&T by mistake and all I had to do there was enter my wireless number and a nice young lady was instantly on the phone and completely helpful. The comparison in the level of service was astonishing to say the least.

If anyone from B of A happens to read this I suggest you try and get some help from your 1 800 customer service line and then call AT&T and be ashamed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Morning

Nothing much here in the Northern Atlanta burbs this morning. Nice day yesterday and we got a little work done in a slowly drying garden. All the peas now have crepe myrtle branches to climb on. Waiting for the thunderstorms predicted for today. All  the plants are outside lined up but the sun is seriously missing going to have to dash and bring them back in if it does start to storm.

Damn chipmunks have been digging in the raised beds again. Dug up about a foot of carrots (they aren't even out of the ground yet) and some beets(same). Dug up two romaine lettuces which have been replanted. If they weren't just so darn cute!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Passover.  I was reading this morning(on Huffpo I think) about the Seder in the White House. I wasn't aware of it but it sounds like a neat little thing especially considering that the Obamas are not Jewish. Mini Monk has to do something Kosher for her next dinner club so she has asked for help. She has to work part of the day so any cooking would be on her husband. There are a lot of dishes that can be made ahead. I would probably do something like dolmades with avgolemeno but I am not sure how that would go over with the cook. Couscous with dried fruit and nuts is nice and pretty easy but I am still thinking. Kebabs can be made Kosher but she did those for her last dinner club thing. We'll see.

I also was reading this morning about the Brits now installing video cameras in the public toilets in London. Seems strange to me and a little weird but seeing as how London now has the reputation of having the most surveillance cameras of any city in the world I guess they were running out of places to put them. The ones in the pay toilets even have microphones and speakers. I must remember that if I am again in London and have to use the public WC. From what I have read you pretty much can expect to be under surveillance continuously if in London and now you can't even have a moments peace in the john. I'm just wondering how many people are employed in looking at the video...with anywhere from a half to a million cameras running they must be in video overload unless there are thousands monitoring.

Keep your fingers crossed that the rain passes me by as a few more clear days are forecast for next week and I just might get a garden planted.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Caribou Barbie is Coming to Nature TV

In what must be one of the most ironic things so far this year the Quitter from Alaska is teaming up with the Discover Channel to do a show "Sarah Palin's Alaska" for the Learning Channel. Couldn't the Discovery folks find someone just a little less notoriously anti-environmental to give a TV platform to?

Is everybody suppose to forget:

  • Her hard fought campaign against polar bears getting endangered species status, going so far as to sue the federal government.
  • Her fight against banning oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, even calling for increased drilling and famously coining her catchphrase "Drill, baby, drill!"
  • Her continued insistence that climate change has nothing to do with human activity.
  • The minor fact that she spent $400,000 of state money to fight hard against Measure 2, which would have banned hunting wolves from airplanes for sport.
  • Palin was against Alaska's Measure 4, a clean water initiative that aimed to protect Bristol Bay, one of the world's most productive salmon fisheries, from the proposed Pebble Mine, which would discharge cyanide and mining waste into streams that flow into Bristol Bay.

Getting Faster or Just Tired

The health care reconciliation bill has passed the Senate and is on its way to the House for final passage. A couple of things didn't pass the Byrd rule and had to be changed so it has to be voted on again by the House. That was quick. Are the Republicans just completely giving up on all their childish plans for obstruction? They were threatening to offer 100's of amendments and wound up only offering up 40.  I hope their wing nut and tea party base is paying attention (not likely) and punishes them for being weak kneed wimpy sellouts.

Rainy Night in Georgia

A rainy night in Georgia, such a rainy night in Georgia
Lord, I believe it's rainin' all over the world
I feel like it's rainin' all over the world

Yes, dear hearts it is raining once again. Seems to be running in the pattern of every third day we get enough rain to re-sodden the garden. This is really starting to get me down.

Thanks to Tiny Joe White for the lyrics.

Georgia GOP Comes Through

I was relieved when I saw that Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker (D) was not going to waste the time and money filing a lawsuit against the Health Care Reform Mandate. I was unjustifiably optimistic that, for once, the GOP wouldn't act like spoiled children and follow the other AG's in a frivolous pursuit just to make political points. What was I thinking?
Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-Ga.) is appointing a “special attorney general” to sue the federal government anyway.
The governor said the state constitution gives him the leeway to appoint a special attorney general if the elected attorney general fails to carry out the wishes of the governor… When asked if Baker broke the law by refusing to carry out his instructions to initiate a lawsuit, the governor said,  “I think the (state) Constitution is is clear. I think the people of Georgia can make their own determination about that.”
Note that Mr. Baker just happens to be running for governor. Idiots! Perdue has been a terrible and pretty much do nothing governor but he does kowtow to the GOP obviously.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So Much For One GOP Talking Point

The first polls post health care passage are in:

Americans by 9 percentage points have a favorable view of the health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, a notable turnaround from surveys before the vote that showed a plurality against it.

By 49%-40% those surveyed say it was "a good thing" rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms, as "enthusiastic" or "pleased," while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as "disappointed" or "angry."

The largest single group, 48%, calls the bill "a good first step" that should be followed by more action on health care. An additional 4% also have a favorable view, saying the bill makes the most important changes needed in the nation's health care system.

There is no question about whether or not the country is polarized between the two political points of view and I am sure the polarization will be going on for quite awhile. I would not be surprised however to see the GOP back off a bit on demonizing the Dems for passing this. This does help the Democrats counter the false claim that they usurped the will of the people for at least those who aren't so deep in wingnut hysteria. The rest are so far gone that they can't recognize reality anymore.

Raising the Bar on Wingnuttery

Hot on the heels of the passage of the law that will put your granny in a death camp a new Harris poll shows that the Beck, Limbaugh, Malkin, Coulter et al campaign to amplify Obama Derangement Syndrome is alive and working like a charm.

67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.
57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim
45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president"
38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did"

and if that is not quite enough to amaze you here is the scariest of all:

24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."

There are a few missing questions in the poll that might enlighten us...
How many of the 67% who think Obama is a socialist know what a socialist is?
How many of the 57% who think he is a Muslim know what a Muslim is?
How many of the 45% that think Obama is foreign born think Hawaii is a foreign country?
How many of the 38% actually know what Hitler did and how many know he claimed to be a Christian?
How many of the 24% who think Obama is the Antichrist can tie their shoes without assistance?

U.S. Helping Japan Expand Whale Hunting?

Reports are that the U.S. is on board to help expand whale hunting. WTF? New Zealand is also reportedly planning to go along with the whale hunt changes as well. I was really glad to see the U.S. back the attempts to ban fishing of Atlantic bluefin tuna which made good sense but what are they thinking?  Granted the the U.S. position is about supporting the Inuit hunting in Alaska, which is regrettable but understandable, but expanding the whale hunts that use massive fishing fleets is wrong on multiple levels. At least the Inuit are going after whales using traditional hunting methods and the whales have an even chance. Research has shown repeatedly that whales and dolphins are at least intelligent as humans and some research has even suggested that they are even more intelligent. Just because that intelligence is not land based and tool using doesn't mean we should hunt and eat them. I am just flabbergasted that they are even having this discussion about expanding whale hunting and in a marine sanctuary no less. The discussions should be about banning whaling altogether. The arguments that it is part of Japanese culture to eat whale meat are bogus and the consumption of whale meat has declined in Japan markedly over the last 30 years. A lot of the whale meat brought in goes to waste as people aren't buying it anymore. This is just so stupid.
The moratorium on commercial whaling, one of the environmental movement's greatest achievements, looks likely to be swept away this summer by a new international deal being negotiated behind closed doors. The new arrangement would legitimise the whaling activities of the three countries which have continued to hunt whales in defiance of the ban – Japan, Norway and Iceland – and would allow commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary set up by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1994.

Conservationists regard it as catastrophic, but fear there is a very real chance of its being accepted at the next IWC meeting in Morocco in June, not least because it is being strongly supported by the US – previously one of whaling's most determined opponents.

Should the deal go ahead, it would represent one of the most significant setbacks ever for conservation, and as big a failure for wildlife protection as December's Copenhagen conference was for action on climate change.
Let's hope the discussion gets redirected by a little pressure from conservationists.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weather Blues

Saturday it was 74 degrees and sunny. Yesterday we had rain most of the day and this morning we are having snow flurries of all things. I (and to some degree Madam) spent a good part of yesterday re-potting seedlings into larger containers since it is still to wet to get them into the ground. What a pain! These things should already be in the ground. Frustration, frustration. On the positive side... the pak choi, romaine and other stuff that did go into raised beds on Saturday enjoyed the cool and wet day yesterday and look happy this morning.

OK Step One on HCR

Nancy Pelosi deserves some real praise for dragging the HCR bill across the finish line. She pulled off a tough win. The President had her back but she did the heavy lifting. There is a lot of good things about this bill and a lot of bad things but it is the first step and the rest of the things are fairly easy to address once you have a foundation upon which to build. I think a lot of Americans that are not happy this morning are going to change their minds once they actually find out what this bill does.

It also doesn't hurt that this was a humiliating defeat for the GOP and conservatives. They decided to go for broke and resist this necessary change at all costs and it was a mistake. The thing that is really amazing is that there are a couple of hundred GOP amendments included in the final bill and reconciliation and it still didn't gather a single GOP vote.

Now we start the effort to really get the health care reform we actually need in these United States.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Doing What I Am Supposed To

Today and 132pm EDT was the vernal equinox and the beginning of spring. I did my duty and planted carrots, beets, spinach, radishes. some of the leeks, 2 varieties of Chinese cabbage and transplanted my romaine seedlings. Madam and I have a guitar concert tonight (Ed Gerhard) so had to quite early and get cleaned up. I hope everyone got out and enjoyed the first day of spring. Here in Atlanta it was sunny and 72F...very nice. Unfortunately they are calling for more rain tomorrow....rats.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Very Nice Day to Usher in Spring

Beauty of a day here in Atlanta and perfect for ushering in Spring tomorrow. Still too wet to get into the garden but dry enough to give the yard its first mow of the season and pick up all the winter 'derbis'. It will get me outside and into the sun if nothing else. I noticed a pair of Eastern Bluebirds have set up in one of my houses so it is surely spring...not to mention the daffodils and redbud blooms.

As Max Klinger would say, "It's spring Sir!"

Old Fashioned French Fries

For those of you who don't normally catch Mark Bittman in the New York Times I would like to point to a guest article by Edward Schneider about the 'old timey' method of producing very good french fried potatoes at home. This method has been around forever( my grandmother used it) and when I really have to have a good french fry it is my method of choice. The trick is to start with cold oil/fat and potatoes and slowly bring them up to temperature. The article spells out the method. This is an excellent method though it does have the downside of taking as much as an hour to do. I like to use peanut oil but canola works great as well. If you really want a change and a great taste use olive oil. Don't waste extra virgin on this unless you want to, regular olive oil works fine.

The French/Belgian method of two fries, one in relatively low temperature oil to cook the potato and the second in hotter oil to produce the crispiness works great but it is not easily done in the standard home kitchen. This method produces a fry just as good without a lot of hassle and a minimal amount of oil. You should try it and anything would be better than baking those frozen things in the oven...they are disgusting and expensive. Just allow yourself the time and you are good to go. This method also doesn't damage the oil/fat with high temps and you can save and reuse the oil a few times. Thrifty.

Edward also has a link to his lower temperature method for a good steak. This is a good method as well and produces a very good steak without a grill and all the smoke associated with the normal method of cooking a steak. I highly recommend it. I will admit to liking my steak cooked on my little hibachi with hardwood charcoal but that requires good weather and the mess of cleaning up. This method will get you a good steak that, in my opinion is almost as good. Just don't forget to salt and pepper the steak generously before it hits the fire. The persistent lie that salting meat before cooking sucks out all the juices is bull. There is a chemical reaction between the surface of the meat and the salt and the heat that makes the difference between just good and great.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Helpful Garden Hint

I have a helpful garden hint for you. Never, ever try and handle plastic bird netting while wearing a shirt with buttons. I spent a good hour today trying to get the buttons on my shirt out of the netting. I finally had to resort to the knife to get myself extricated. Vicious stuff.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Social Justice

I was challenged by a commenter last week when I posted the thing about Glenn Beck and his charge to listeners to abandon their church if it mentions "social justice". Terrance Heath at A World of Progress does a pretty good job of addressing the issue. The commenter opined that Beck was correct and that there was no such thing as 'social justice' and never has been nor never will be. Whatever!

Ya'll Don't Need No Stinkin' Edjacashun

H/T to Digby

Howie Klein has an interesting post  this morning that is definitely worth taking a few minutes to read. It's about conservatism, education and the destruction of the middle class.

My best bud, Roland, is a dedicated public school teacher in Compton. He called this morning to tell me all his colleagues were buzzing about Utah Republicans trying to eliminate the 12th grade. "They don't know about the Mormons," he said; "never gave it much thought except how they put up the money to defeat gay marriage." I guess they never saw September Dawn and don't watch Big Love, South Park or... this (which has been removed, under pressure, from both YouTube and Vimeo and is only available in freer countries, in this case, France).

The bill, temporarily withdrawn, is the brainchild of arch conservative Republican Sen. Chris Buttars, an implacable, hate-filled foe of public education, gays, minorities. What I explained to Roland today is that organized, hierarchal religious organizations are, by their nature, supporters of the status quo and extremely conservative. Obvious scams like Mormonism and Scientology may seem more ridiculous and absurd than most of these organizations but they aren't inherently any more or less conservative. Each, though, requires followers with no capacity for critical thought. It is why education has always been a target of hatred for religious organizations and for conservatives. Buttars is hardly the first right-wing extremist to persuade ordinary voters that education isn't the way out of poverty for their children, but some kind of dark, conspiratorial enemy. read on

Like Digby I find the disregard or even dare I say distaste for a good education one of the most frightening things about modern conservatism. The 'jumped by Jesus' crowd have tried to keep their children away from a secular education for a long time but in the last decade or so the right wing bunch have embraced 'home schooling' with a vengeance. Couple all of this 'non standard' and a 'biased' education with talk radio and things like Faux news and you can see how it will be possible for people to be kept ignorant their whole lives.

Another Wasted Morning

I spent another morning commuting to Atlanta and sitting the GA. Dept of Labor. Very grumpy  and I still have to go out and shop. Oh! and Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hollow Threats

It takes real nerve for the likes of Lindsay Graham to threaten that if the Dems pass healthcare there won't be any Republican cooperation from here on out. If what they have been doing so far is 'cooperating' then we are really going to have a mess.

They are also threatening 'jihad' if Nancy Pelosi uses their trick of combining two bills into one and passing it together, calling it passing law with no voting. What hypocrites! You can't even count on two hands the number of bill Newt passed in the same way.

This is on top calling reconciliation the 'nuclear option' when that is how the pushed through the Bush tax cuts and the stupid Medicare Part D fiasco.

Frustrated Gardener

You folks that don't garden won't understand this but this wet weather and the inability to get out and get going on the spring gardening is really depressing. I have all my plants ready and now they are to the point of getting leggy which is not good. It's OK to start seeds in small pots but you can't let them get too large or you have problems getting them transplanted as too much root has developed and been cramped. I've got cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, and leeks ready for the garden and there is still standing water. I am also running out of room in the basement to put plants. Tomatoes and peppers are under the lights and all the shelves in the South facing door are full. If I have to scrap the existing plants and start over the cool weather plants won't have a chance to mature before the heat of summer. Very frustrating not to mention it costing money for more seed. The current forecast is for more showers tomorrow and again on Saturday. Arrgh! Last year we had a nice dry break in late March and early April that allowed us to get our gardens in. Looks like it is not going to give us a break this year.

Wasted Morning

I received a letter from the Ga Dept of Labor that I must report in person to the center in Atlanta. I dutifully drove to Atlanta this morning only to find that their computers were down and they were unable to do anything for anybody. Bummer. I did get interviewed by the local ABC affiliate looking for my comments on a bill before the GA legislature that would require anyone receiving unemployment to undergo a drug test so it wasn't a complete waste. What I dumb idea. I'm not exactly sure how many people are drawing a check in Georgia but I would guess well over a half million. How much would it cost to drug test all of them and the bigger question is who is going to get paid to do it? I wouldn't be at all surprised that the idiot introducing the bill has ties to the drug testing folks. How many people would they knock off unemployment? My guess would be less than 10 percent. Idiots!

Monday, March 15, 2010

This Could Be the Week

It looks like the week that begins with the Ides of March is going to be the week that any Health Care Reform is going to happen or not. Is that a bad omen? We have been whipsawed so much of the every facet of this reform that it is really hard to get a grasp on actually is going to happen. All the whip counts show it losing in the house but the White House is saying it is going to happen. We are just going to have wait and see. If it does happen it won't be perfect as we all well know but it will be movement in the correct direction. It's faults can be chipped away at over time. If it loses then I have a hard time seeing any reform at all for maybe as long as a generation and in the meantime the U.S. will just continue to slip into 'has been' status among the rest of the more progressive countries in the world. Our current system is unsustainable and will collapse if not fixed. How much pain and suffering will have to happen before we manage to come into the current century with respect to 'social democracy' is a fearful thing to ponder.
I guess the big question this week is whether the corporations own us completely or whether we still actually have some semblance of a republic.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Texas Board of Education Rewrites American History

H/T Jed Lewison at DKos

I rarely get completely gobsmacked by what I read of the wingnuts. I know they are insane. I know that they are hateful little people with no imagination, no love, no compassion and absolutely no sense of the 'big picture but the latest by the wingnuts controlling the Texas Board of Education is really at "WTF moment".  Read the next sentence and then close your eyes and contemplate the sheer insanity. The Texas Board of Education has elected to remove references to Thomas Jefferson from the state's social studies curriculum standards.

Think Progress:
The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”
You can read the entire blog stream over at the Texas Freedom Network but here is the meat.

9:30 – Board member Cynthia Dunbar wants to change a standard having students study the impact of Enlightenment ideas on political revolutions from 1750 to the present. She wants to drop the reference to Enlightenment ideas (replacing with “the writings of”) and to Thomas Jefferson. She adds Thomas Aquinas and others. Jefferson’s ideas, she argues, were based on other political philosophers listed in the standards. We don’t buy her argument at all. Board member Bob Craig of Lubbock points out that the curriculum writers clearly wanted to students to study Enlightenment ideas and Jefferson. Could Dunbar’s problem be that Jefferson was a Deist? The board approves the amendment, taking Thomas Jefferson OUT of the world history standards.
9:40 – We’re just picking ourselves up off the floor. The board’s far-right faction has spent months now proclaiming the importance of emphasizing America’s exceptionalism in social studies classrooms. But today they voted to remove one of the greatest of America’s Founders, Thomas Jefferson, from a standard about the influence of great political philosophers on political revolutions from 1750 to today.
9:45 – Here’s the amendment Dunbar changed: “explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present.” Here’s Dunbar’s replacement standard, which passed: “explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau,  Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone.” Not only does Dunbar’s amendment completely change the thrust of the standard. It also appalling drops one of the most influential political philosophers in American history — Thomas Jefferson.
9:51 – Dunbar’s amendment striking Jefferson passed with the votes of the board’s far-right members and board member Geraldine “Tincy” Miller of Dallas.
9:56 – Here is what the Library of Congress says about Jefferson’s influence: “Recognized in Europe as the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson quickly became a focal point or lightning rod for revolutionaries in Europe and the Americas.” The Library of Congress notes, in particular, Jefferson’s influence on revolutionaries in France (including on the Declaration of the Rights of Man), other European nations, South America and Haiti.
I am basically speechless other than to say it is sad day in America when a handful of batshit crazy jumped by Jesus wingnuts can tell the children of America that they can't study the writings of one of Americas most important philosophers and the author of the Declaration of Independence. As Jed says. " The wingers are so far gone, so far off the deep end, so completely crazy...it's almost like the only thing left is...WTF?"

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Little Push Back

While we are on the subject of Glenn Beck...it seems his latest foray into world of religion is getting a little push back. Take this report in the New York Times, for example.
Last week, the conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck called on Christians to leave their churches if they hear preaching about social or economic justice, saying they were code words for Communism and Nazism. [...]
In attacking churches that espouse social justice, Mr. Beck is taking on most mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, black and Hispanic congregations in the country -- not to mention plenty of evangelical churches and even his own, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Evidently Beck told his audience "look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church web site," and then "run as fast as you can" if the words are there. He added, "Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!"

While pissing on the majority of  his listeners was bad enough Beck decided to double down in a later show and insisted that the notion of social justice is "perversion of the gospel" and "not what Jesus would say." The net result is that the Rev. Jim Wallis, a prominent evangelical figure and president of the Sojourners network is calling for Christians to boycott Glenn Beck.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Crisis Garden Scam

Glenn Beck again shows his true colors. Since his sponsors are bailing on him left and right he has been finding others. His latest sponsor, The Survival Seed Bank, is banking on Tea Party paranoia to sell what it calls the "Full Acre Crisis Garden."  For $164, you get a vacuum-sealed tube of PVC pipe filled with enough seed "to feed friends and family forever," because, "in an economic meltdown, non-hybrid seeds could become more valuable than even silver and gold!"

I'm sure it doesn't bother Glenn that the whole deal is a scam. As any gardener should know, seeds are living things and cannot live in a vacuum. They don't need much air but they do breathe. If you waste your money for a Survival Seed Bank you will be buying dead seeds.  There are legit survivalist seed banks available if you feel the need but don't fall for this one.

You can read more about it here at Dkos where Markos points out the scam. There is also the Seed Bank Scams website.

I would say that Glenn Beck should be ashamed but we all know better.

H/T Eating Liberally

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dog Sitting

Two of Minimonk's dogs are visiting, Megan and Stuart. The other, Rudy had a run in with a car and needs to rest, so two are at Grandpa's. It doesn't help that the garden is a mud hole and that is where Megan made a beeline. I've cleaned her up twice today. Stu, on the other hand, won't come close enough to let me dry him off. He just runs back out in the yard if he sees me with a towel even though he has just tapped the door to come in. I have to show him I don't have a towel in my hands before he will come in and then he gives me a wide berth. Megan is very good about just waiting to be cleaned up as it involve touching and rubbing which is her reason for living I think. Madam will be home soon and Stuart will probably let her clean him up but Gramps is a no go...even food bribes are a bust.

Rudy leaped out the window of a moving truck and got winged in traffic...scraped up one leg pretty badly. Could have been a lot worse. Anyhow, we have the dogs for a few days and the mud is going to be a challenge. I can usually take them on a long walk and then they sleep but the rain is hampering that energy burning option. Maybe tomorrow it will clear enough.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Beans with Polenta

It's a miserable day here in Atlanta and I feel the need for something comforting(which usually translates into something Italian ). I have already made pasta this week so I need something different.

I've talked about Pasta e Fagioli here before but I haven't really talked about other ways to use beans in other traditional Italian ways. This is very similar but uses polenta instead of pasta to make a hearty dish.

Ideally, you have some home cooked beans in the freezer just waiting for this dish but if you don't you can use a 16 oz can of cannellini beans or white kidney or Great Northern or even pinto beans. Just make sure you rinse and drain them well before adding to the sauce.

This is a very easy and hearty vegetarian dish but nothing is stopping you from adding Italian sausage , but if you want to include Italian sausage. I would recommend you cook it separately, crumbled and serve on top of the finished dish as a garnish. Feel free to add some pancetta to the tomato sauce as well.

First we need a good simple tomato sauce. Yes, you can use jarred sauce but this is pretty simple and you can control how its made....

Ingredients: Tomato sauce

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or butter (I use EVOO)
a  medium yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 dried bay leaf
pinch of red-pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 can (28 ounces) whole or chopped San Marzano tomatoes or other plum tomatoes
2 cups of drained cooked white beans or 1 16 oz can of white beans, rinsed and drained
a third of a cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Ingredients: Polenta
4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup polenta or coarse ground yellow corn meal
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
half a cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnishing
 Freshly ground pepper


In a small Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat, heat the oil or butter. Add the onion,  the garlic,  the red-pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the carrot and sauté for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, basil and bay leaf and stir a bit to break up the tomatoes a little. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, just barely simmering, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are reduced and beginning to separate from the oil, at least 2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can make this sauce ahead a couple of days and just reheat it. You can also make a big batch of beans ahead and freeze what you don't use for later as well.

Making the polenta:
About 45 minutes before serving, bring the water to a boil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the salt and, whisking continuously, slowly pour the polenta into the water. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring almost constantly  until the mixture thickens and the polenta begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. This will take about 40 to 45 minutes. Stir in the butter and a half cup of Parmesan cheese, and season with freshly ground pepper. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve add the beans to the tomato sauce and warm them together over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the parsley about 5 minutes before serving.

I like to serve this in a big shallow bowl. Spoon the polenta into the warmed bowls and make a well in the center of each serving with your serving spoon. Spoon the tomato-bean sauce into the well. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

This should serve 4.

P.S. I have a bag 'o spinach that I have to use tonight so my sauce will have spinach in it as well as beans. My sauce will be left over from pasta a few nights ago and it was made with pancetta. Since I cook for two I will only make a half recipe of the polenta.

So much for Glorious Sunny Springlike Weather

As you can see from the weather radar I just captured, we are getting hammered with rain. All the work I did in the garden relocating dirt from where it was washed by the torrents of rain we have had is undone. All the preparation for getting potatoes and leeks in the ground is undone. Frustrating. The Goddess or Mother Nature (or maybe both) seem to have issues with my gardening. I am going to see if I can appease the ladies in someway.

Ack. Weather Underground for the radar pic.

Finding Another Country to Poison

Rush Limbaugh has threatened pack up his 'hillbilly heroin' and leave the country if health care reform passes. He says he’s going to move  to Costa Rica if we get socialist health care.
I’ll just tell you this, if this passes and it’s five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented — I am leaving the country. I’ll go to Costa Rica.
I seem to remember people labeling folks who threatened to leave the U.S. if Dubya got re-elected Dirty Fucking Hippies Who Hate America.  If the 'Great Flatulence' does the same it is quite OK since he is a conservative Republican. (IOKIYAR) and obviously just a Concerned Patriot. 

It is telling however that Pig Boy chose Costa Rico to poison with his presence in protesting the 'socialist health care reform'  in the U.S. since not only does Costa Rica have socialized medicine, but the health care system of every single country above them on International Living’s Quality of Life Index is more socialist and universal than ours. You have to go way down the list to find a country less socialized than the U.S.

Do you think Rush is going to issue a correction?

h/t Firedoglake

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Where is My Dairy Product From?

Jill at La Vida Locavore has an interesting link for a site that lets you decode the plant code stamped on dairy products. I checked my Kroger milk and it came from plant 20-283 which happens to be in Hutchinson, Kansas and my sour cream and cottage cheese(also Kroger) came from a dairy(27-143) in Tennessee. Cool. I couldn't find a code on my Trader Joe's yogurt but it may have been on the aluminum seal which is gone.

Want to know where your milk is from? Check out WhereIsMyMilkFrom.com

Monday, March 08, 2010

Gorgeous Day In The Neighborhood

It is absolutely fabulous day. Already 63F and it is not even noon. Sun is shining and outdoors calls. After the miserable wet winter I have a thousand things to do.

Relocate the dirt that washed from part of the garden.
Clean up the asparagus bed.
Get all the raised beds ready for planting.
Pick up winter debris.
Move the limbs from the downed tree to the street.
Rig the climbing stuff for the peas that went in yesterday.
If the potato starts come in the mail today then think about planting those.
and on and on.

All my plants are out enjoying the sun and warm. This time I have protected them with bird netting so the birds won't pull them all up as they did last year.
Off to the outdoors.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Gardening Update

Busy for the last couple of days getting all the early seeds in their little pots. All of the tomatoes and peppers are going as well as artichokes and eggplants. Transplanted all the broccoli, cabbage(Chinese and regular) and lettuce plants from their starter pots(half toilet tissue cores) to actual pots and they all look happy. Divided and transplanted all the leeks from their starter pot into individual pots(again TP tubes) and they will be going into the ground as soon as it dries out a bit. The only thing left is to plant the okra which will happen today.

Still too wet to get the peas into the ground but the onions survived the snow and they are starting to show some growth. Potato starts should show up soon as it is time to get those going as well.
There are still spots of snow remaining on the ground but it should finally disappear today as we should hit the mid 60s.

I also managed to get the snow destroyed deck canopy down and ready to haul to the recycling center. I decided I would keep the corner pieces as they might make good pea or cucumber trellises. Waste not want not.

Update: I decided it wasn't too wet to get the first peas in. I had tilled an area the other day and it was just workable enough to hill up to get the first planing of peas in the ground. Sugar Snaps, Mr. Big(green shelling peas, Dwarf sugar peas, Paso(tiny shelling peas). 3 24 foot rows. Good afternoon's work. I was extremely pleased to see a lot of earthworm activity as well. All the leaves and wood chips are doing their job and improving the tilth and biological activity. I also took the time to inoculate all the peas with a dose of nitrogen fixing bacteria. It occurs naturally in the soil but adding a bit of legume inoculant when you plant peas and beans lets them get off to a fast start and insures enough symbiotic bacteria are present for them to start fixing atmospheric nitrogen right away.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Some Bad News on Climate Change

In spite of what you continue to hear from the Climate Liars and Obtuse Deniers (CLODStm for short) evidence continues to mount that we are at serious risk and not just in some far flung future. Something we have been warned about is the possibility of reaching irreversible thresholds where positive feedback from global warning triggers events that will hasten the global rise in temperature. One of the most significant positive feedback thresholds exists within the vast expanse of permafrost in the Northern parts of the globe. Permafrost locks up huge amounts of methane, an especially potent greenhouse gas. As long as the permafrost remains frozen this methane is safely sequestered but if we warm the globe enough we will reach a threshold where the permafrost begins to melt and release its methane. This will not be a good thing and it appears from a recent report  that hard evidence is showing that permafrost is, in fact, melting.
From Mother Jones comes the news of a new research report:
Arctic seabed stores of methane are now destabilizing and venting vast stores of frozen methane — a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The paper, in the prestigious journal Science, reports the permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf — long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in methane — is instead perforated and leaking large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Melting of even a fraction of the clathrates stored in that shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.

A report from Climate Progress gives a little more detail and links to some of the other research but on paragraph says pretty much all you need to know.
Scientists learned last year that the permafrost permamelt contains a staggering “1.5 trillion tons of frozen carbon, about twice as much carbon as contained in the atmosphere,” much of which would be released as methane.  Methane is  is 25 times as potent a heat-trapping gas as CO2 over a 100 year time horizon, but 72 times as potent over 20 years!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Joe's Been Writing Again

If you are not a regular visitor to Joe Bageant's blog you might have missed his latest two screeds. One of the best writers on the Internet.
Here are links to his latest two posts.  Round Midnight: Tortillas and the Corporate State and Moon Over Gringo Gulch

Here is a particularly nice paragraph from the last:
We find ourselves trapped on a dark and nasty merry-go-round. One that keeps going faster and faster to the point where everyone is too terrified to jump off. So we hang in there. And the state's one voice to the many says, "Don't pay attention to the wreckage on either side of the tracks. Because this train is bound for glory, this train. Ask any televangelist or Pentagon general. Ask any of the economist eunuchs inside the president's high sanctum, engineering "the recovery" in the name of God, cheap oil and the new jobless populist republic. Yessiree, there's light at the end of the tunnel, just around a few more bends. Don't let the fact that the track keeps descending downward bother you. And besides, if there is a buck to be made in hell, we will triumph. Because after all, we are The Americans.

Spring is Creeping In

Even though there is snow on the ground and it has only warmed to 43F today so far, the calendar and almanac are telling me that today is the day to plant tomato and pepper plants indoors. Minimonk sent me this picture this morning and I thought it was funny. It came with the caption "Summer's almost here...I can see the deer moving around in the backyard. Yep, won't be long" No idea who or where the picture came from but it is an appropriate sentiment for us frustrated Atlanta gardeners itching to get started with our spring gardens but thwarted by snow of all things. Off to play in the dirt.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Doing Your Best

Yeah it was seniors day at Kroger so Madam and I made the pilgrimage. One thing that really irks me about grocery shopping is the redundancy in products. Take toothpaste. It looks like P&G could make a really good toothpaste and call it Crest. It would be the best toothpaste that they could make. Just having the best of Crest should eliminate the need for all the other varieties of Crest and it would save a lot of shelf space.

How about chicken broth. I should make my own but I normally buy Swanson's reduced sodium broth. It is pretty tasty and very convenient. Swansons also has regulary chicken broth on the shelf. Why don't they just do the low sodium and give instructions on how much salt to add to make it regular? Let's save some shelf space.
You see this 'low sodium' and 'regular' conflict all the time and I always wonder why people just don't buy the low sodium and add salt to taste....seems much simpler.

You see this redundancy all over the store, reduced fat and regular, low sodium and regular, no trans fat and regular, diet and regular. It really doesn't make sense. All you need on the store shelf is the minimum version and let everybody add fat, sugar or salt to make their perfect product. Seems simple to me. Hell you could tie a little sachet of salt to the bottle of low salt V-8 just for those people that liked their V-8 with a little taste.

If you would like me to go on just request same in the comments. I just want every manufacturer to make the best product they can and not try and satisfy every silly whim. If you want it saltier then add salt. If you want it fatter then drizzle it with melted butter or olive oil. Give me a canvas folks and let me do my own drawing.

Labels, Labels- Don't Believe the Labels

Thanks to Marion Nestle

Finally, the FDA is beginning to crack down on food labels. The FDA issued a press release today targeting some food companies for their misguiding labeling with respect to health claims. Here are some excerpts from today’s FDA press release, “FDA Calls on Food Companies to Correct Labeling Violations; FDA Commissioner Issues an Open Letter to the Industry.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has notified 17 food manufacturers that the labeling for 22 of their food products violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act…In an open letter to Industry dated March 3, 2010, Dr. Hamburg underscored the importance of providing nutrition information that consumers could rely on.
…The violations cited in the warning letters include unauthorized health claims, unauthorized nutrient content claims, and the unauthorized use of terms such as “healthy,” and others that have strict, regulatory definitions.  Companies that received warning letters have 15 business days to inform the FDA of the steps they will take to correct their labeling.
Included in the press release is a nifty chart of the affected companies, their products, and the ways their claims violate FDA regulations. Also included in the report:
According to Marion the recent report by the  Center for Science in the Public Interest on violations of FDA regulations on food package labels, Food Labeling Chaos is the impetus.

The Bush administration's FDA was very lax, need I say negligent, in keeping the food companies honest with their package labeling and this is a much needed reversal for the FDA. Of course, if you follow Michael Pollan's rules for buying and consuming food you wouldn't by buying these products anyway. If you haven't already picked up a copy of Michael's latest Food Rules then you should. Simple, straight forward rules for buying and eating food. If you read In Defense of Food there won't be any surprises but it is a handy little guide for those that don't want to wade through the larger book.

Remember "Eat food, mostly plants, not too much." and if it comes in a package it is suspect. If it has more than 5 or 6 ingredients then skip it and finally if your great grandma wouldn't recognize it as food then it probably isn't.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

We Know How to Fix This

Paul Krugman wrote yesterday about what the economy has lost as a result of the recession - $1 trillion worth of growth. It is very stark on the presented graph. Krugman is rightly upset that Washington is pretending the crisis is over, and not doing anything to try and close the $1 trillion gap with more stimulus spending. Krugman closes with the sentence "It's tragic." but I wonder how many people and especially those that can do something about it understand exactly what a $1 trillion loss in GDP means out here on Main Street.

The thing is that this trillion dollar loss is going to translate into hard facts when the cows come home. It means that millions of people that just a year or two ago were earning an income aren't anymore. We aren't talking just low wage earners here either. We are talking about a whole range of lost incomes and many, many of them three figure incomes(like myself) that are no longer a part of the economy. Many of these who lost their livelihood were already living from paycheck to paycheck and probably in hock and with virtually no savings with which to ride out the storm. These folks are hurt. Their lives are ruined. They may have already or are about to lose their homes. For many of these it means their children will never get the chance to reach their highest potential for lack of a good education. Many are facing hunger. Many are facing illness with no health insurance which in America today is a death sentence in many cases. Marriages are going to fail. Many are going to turn to crime just to survive. The road ahead for many looks very bleak. It's tragic for sure.

These are the people the Democrats and Barack Obama are supposed to be fighting for and aren't. We learned how to fix these problems back in the 1930's. Then they were new ideas and untested but today we know they work and for the Democrats(and to a lesser extent the Republicans) to refuse to address them is a crime. Yeah, I know it will add to the deficit but the naysayers are making a whole lot more out of the deficit than is reasonable. IF we take the hard steps and address these problems now, put the trillion back into our output with more stimulus, then future revenue will more than make up for the spending and debt we embrace now with extra to spare.  We learned this lesson once from Keynes and the Great Depression but for some reason we are not acting on it. Krugman is right...it's tragic and it is immoral to boot.

Isn't the Snow Pretty?

This heavy wet snow made short work of the deck canopy. I was standing under it a few minutes earlier taking the pictures of the birds in the previous post. I would not have been pleased (not that I am) if it had been my head supporting it now. The real tragedy is the broken pottery churn you see on the deck. Unknown maker but well over a hundred years old. Its mate on the other side escaped. It was cracked so I guess it was its time.

Birds in Snow

Birds were hot and heavy at the feeders today. In case you don't recognize them we have a male cardinal, a trio of a female cardinal and a male eastern bluebird with a male cardinal under. Finally there is a little hairy woodpecker waiting for his turn at the suet feeder. 

Not A Joking Matter

It is really hard not to make some crack about sudden impulses to buy a purse or adding more color to your wardrobe but the matter is really serious. Unless you pay attention to the farm/garden organic food world you probably never heard of atrazine. It's a herbicide that has been banned in Europe but is still used widely in the American Midwest, primarily for corn. Some 60 MILLION pounds of it 2008. New research shows that it is having a big affect on amphibians, most notably frogs. Researchers found that long-term exposure to low levels of atrazine -- 2.5 parts per billion of water -- emasculated three-quarters of laboratory frogs and turned one in 10 into females. Scientists believe the pesticide interferes with endocrine hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.  If the two hormones in question look familiar then you may know why spraying so much of this crap on a good portion of the Midwest might be a problem for us humans as well. A 2006 study by the U.S. Geological Survey found atrazine in approximately 75 percent of stream water and about 40 percent of all groundwater samples from agricultural areas tested between 1992 and 2001.

(CNN) -- Atrazine, a weed killer widely used in the Midwestern United States and other agricultural areas of the world, can chemically "castrate" male frogs and turn some into females, according to a new study.
New research suggests the herbicide may be a cause of amphibian declines around the globe, said biologists at the University of California-Berkeley, who conducted the study. The findings are being published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers found that long-term exposure to low levels of atrazine -- 2.5 parts per billion of water -- emasculated three-quarters of laboratory frogs and turned one in 10 into females. Scientists believe the pesticide interferes with endocrine hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.
"The effects of atrazine in the long term have been shown to demasculinize or chemically castrate [frogs], combined with complete feminization of some animals," said lead researcher Tyrone B. Hayes, a biologist and herpetologist at the University of Berkeley.

If Climate Change Isn't Enough

Seems the earthquake in Chile, besides being a disaster for Chileans, has directly affected the rest of us as well.

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- The earthquake that killed more than 700 people in Chile on Feb. 27 probably shifted the Earth’s axis and shortened the day, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist said.
Earthquakes can involve shifting hundreds of kilometers of rock by several meters, changing the distribution of mass on the planet. This affects the Earth’s rotation, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who uses a computer model to calculate the effects.
“The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second),” Gross, said today in an e-mailed reply to questions. “The axis about which the Earth’s mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters or 3 inches).”

Who is Getting Hurt

Everyone knows about Senator Bunning's stupid, hateful and ridiculous hold on the unemployment benefits legislation but there are a lot of others affected by this crazy crap. It is bad enough that Bunning has decided to be a one man Congress but now other Rethugs are coming to his defense. Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas)have jumped into the fray with stupid excuses why Bunning tantrum is right and proper. It just reinforces how mean spirited and unfeeling the latest incarnation of the GOP really is.

You keep reading about how about how many people are affected but no one seems to stressing how dysfunctional the Senate has become and how ridiculous it is that one idiot can hold up the entire country for petty and childish reasons. Think about how much money is being spent on salaries for staff and everything else over this mess on addition to the pain being caused by those not getting their pittance of unemployment or having to shell all of it out for COBRA. Add to this the doctors not getting paid for treating Medicare patients and the nearly 100,000 construction workers who thought they had a job. The White House should be taking every opportunity to ride the 'mean and spiteful GOP horse'. Bunning and his enablers need to be ridiculed mercilessly over this.

Lighting Up the Sky

I won't even attempt to explain or even theorize on what the meaning is of the strange lights over Chile  preceeding the whopper earthquake. Just strange, very strange. There is at least one eyewitness account of strange sky colors seconds before the quake.
A video has emerged of strange lights in the Chilean sky on the day before the massive 8.8 earthquake, causing speculation about whether the apparition was a HAARP projection or UFO warning related to the impending disaster.  Others point to similar videos taken in China and Haiti prior to the recent earthquakes in those countries, and the possibility that shifts in the earth's crust have a dramatic effect on the atmosphere.

Snowing Again

Woke up to a pretty good snowfall this morning. Temperature is about 34F but it is snowing pretty hard. We'll just have to see what it does. It doesn't look like it is sticking on the street just the grass, trees and rooftops. I did manage to get my onions in the ground yesterday so that is something. Looks like the peas will just have to wait. Very strange...yesterday was shirt sleeve weather and this morning freezing precipitation. This is definitely not your typical Atlanta weather....looks like General Beauregard was a little off in his prediction.

Update: Here is a picture of the rain forecast for today.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Spring is Springing-- Almost

Spent the weekend in the garden again. This time taking out a large poplar that was giving the garden just a bit too much shade in the afternoon. I had forgotten just how big a job a l6 inch tree was to take down and haul off. Just the branches to dispose of today.

My onion sets came Saturday in the mail and I need to get them in the ground asap. I also need to get the various peas in the ground. Tomorrow is forecast for a 'wintry mix' but I think the higher part of the garden is dry enough to till for the onions and peas. The thing is that peas don't like to be too close to onions and I will have to till up two areas so that everyone is happy. I got some seedlings moved to bigger containers as well, chard, parsley, cauliflower, and celery but the cabbage and broccoli are still waiting for a little more leg room...maybe tomorrow if it is 'wintry mixing'.

Now is the time to get the tomatoes and peppers started indoors as well. April 17th is the official last frost date here and that is 6 weeks away. The spring garden rush is here. Along with all the planting and seed starting I need manure and that usually takes the better part of a day. It is not that far away but loading and unloading is tedious as I can't get the trailer that close to the garden so it has to be done garden cart by garden cart.

It may be a little sparse around the blogging with all the garden work I have to do. Off to get some petrol for the old tiller and see about getting some spring tilling and planting.