Monday, September 28, 2009

Stupid Can Be Contagious

I've enjoyed this comic strip for a long time and feel, like the editor of Seattle Weekly who said, "Readers of alternative newsweeklies across the country have for years enjoyed the comic strip “This Modern World” by Tom Tomorrow. When I was at Seattle Weekly during the Bush years, we carried the strip and readers sent letters telling me that it kept them sane. No one is better at seeing through the madness of contemporary politics and media than Tom’s wise penguin Sparky.”
(Click image to enlarge it.)

Here's to sanity....

Read more: Comics, Tom Tomorrow, Salon Comics

Tom Tomorrow's cartoon This Modern World appears regularly in Salon.
This Modern World archive.

Tom Tomorrow's blog.

This Modern World animated at YouTube...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Che, eh? Mmmm. Nom nom.

This odd fruit,
Cudrania tricuspidata (which in this image seems under ripe or a different variety than mine), is presently (Fri Sept 5, 09) yielding (finally) beautifully, abundantly and deliciously in my USDA Zone 6a-b ridge-and-valley landscape in Southern Indiana (a quarter century ago it used to be Zone 5) in heavy clay and (this year) a wet season (with a three week drought in late Aug through recently). It seems to be resistant to pests, the birds have tasted it (must observe more) and there are at least 200, inch-to-inch-and-a-half, fruits with about half of them ripe at the moment. About 50 taste testers at recent party said it reminded them "melon", "mulberry" and "fig" (it is related to the latter two) and generally enjoyed it. It's six years old, was transplanted here from W. NC, three years ago, and it lived at least its first year in a pot. I'd say that indicates sturdiness.My thornless cultivar is grafted onto an Osage orange seedling. I recommend it highly. You can buy it (where I did) at Edible Landscape in VA. :

(This picture resembles more the ones in my garden. If there are color variants there might be taste and other variants, too.)

; Common Names: Che, Chinese Che, Chinese Mulberry, Cudrang, Mandarin Melon Berry, Silkworm Thorn.

Distant Affinity: Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), Jackfruit (A. heterophyllus), Fig (Ficus spp.), Mulberry (Morus spp.), African Breadfruit (Treculis africana).

Origin: The che is native to many parts of eastern Asia from the Shantung and Kiangson Provinces of China to the Nepalese sub-Himalayas. It became naturalized in Japan many years ago. In China, the leaves of the che serve as a backup food for silkworms when mulberry leaves are in short supply. The tree was introduced into England and other parts of Europe around 1872, and into the U.S. around 1930.

Adaptation: The che requires minimal care and has a tolerance of drought and poor soils similar to that of the related mulberry. It can be grown in most parts of California and other parts of the country, withstanding temperatures of -20° F.


Growth Habit: The deciduous trees can eventually grow to about 25 ft. in height, but often remains a broad, spreading bush or small tree if not otherwise trained when they are young. Immature wood is thorny but loses its thorns as it matures. Female trees are larger and more robust than male trees.

Foliage: The alternate leaves resemble those of the mulberry, but are smaller and thinner and pale yellowish-green in color. The typical form is distinctly trilobate, with the central lobe sometimes twice as long as the lateral ones, but frequently unlobed leaves of varied outlines are also found on the same plant. As the plant grows, the tendency seems towards larger and entire leaves, with at the most indistinct or irregular lobing. The general form of the leaves comprise many variations between oblong and lanceolate. The che leafs and blooms late in spring--after apples.

Flowers: The che is dioecious, with male and female flowers on different plants. Appearing in June, both types of flowers are green and pea-sized. The male flowers turn yellow as the pollen ripens and is released, while the wind-pollinated female flowers develop many small stigmas over the surface of the immature fruit. Male plants occasionally have a few female flowers which will set fruit.

Fruit: Like the related mulberry, the che fruit is not a berry but a collective fruit, in appearance somewhat like a round mulberry crossed with a lychee, 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The ripe fruits are an attractive red or maroon-red color with a juicy, rich red flesh inside and 3 to 6 small brown seeds per fruit. The flavor is quite unlike the vinous quality of better mulberries. While still firm they are almost tasteless, but when fully soft ripe they develop a watermelon-like flavor that can be quite delicious. The sugar content is similar to that of a ripe fig. In colder areas with early leaf drop the bright red fruit are an attractive sight dangling from smooth, leafless branches.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One More Theory

Cycles and Rhythms of Fear and Anger

A few sample quotes from David Michael Green's entry in Counterpunch. See his website The Regressive Antidote

Politics in the Past Tense

Can America be Salvaged?


I really don’t know what to say anymore, about a country in which proposing a new and better version of corporate-plunder masquerading as national healthcare gets you burned in effigy for being a socialist stooge by gun-toting angry mobs.

I really don’t know what to say anymore, about a country in which the same people who hate you for being a socialist simultaneously hate you for being a fascist.

I really don’t know what to say anymore, about a country in which angry mobs of supposed anti-socialist demonstrators scream at their congressional representatives to “keep your government hands off my Medicare”.

I really don’t know what to say anymore, about a country in which claims that the government is going to start killing off seniors are taken seriously by tens of millions of people.

I really don’t know what to say anymore, about a country in which people are all worked up about government czars, but sat silently while the Bush administration destroyed the Bill of Rights and used a thousand signing statements to write Congress out of the Constitution.

I really don’t know what to say anymore, about a country in which deficits have all of a sudden become the source of enormous anger among people who said nothing about them previously, as the tax cuts for the wealthy, off-budget wars based on lies, and unfunded prescription drug Big Pharma giveaway transmogrified the biggest surplus in American history into the biggest deficit ever.

I really don’t know what to say anymore, about a country in which politicians can rant incessantly about other peoples’ sexual morality, get caught screwing prostitutes, and then still be reelected to the highest ranks of government by trashing the president.

I could go on and on, but what would be the point? The positions of so many Americans on so many policy questions are truly inane – yes, for sure. I wish that was all that concerned me. But it all goes so much deeper than that.

I doubt anyone has ever reminded us of this ongoing danger more eloquently than did the famous American diplomat, George Kennan, when he wrote: “The counsels of impatience and hatred can always be supported by the crudest and cheapest symbols; for the counsels of moderation, the reasons are often intricate, rather than emotional, and difficult to explain. And so the chauvinists of all times and places go their appointed way: plucking the easy fruits, reaping the little triumphs of the day at the expense of someone else tomorrow, deluging in noise and filth anyone who gets in their way, dancing their reckless dance on the prospects for human progress, drawing the shadow of a great doubt over the validity of democratic institutions. And until peoples learn to spot the fanning of mass emotions and the sowing of bitterness, suspicion, and intolerance as crimes in themselves – as perhaps the greatest disservice that can be done to the cause of popular government – this sort of thing will continue to occur.”

Read on...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Permaculture to the Rescue!!!

Can Permaculture Save the World???

from Permaculture USA and elsewhere around the net.

Editor’s Note: Point one – this article is circa 1998, from the now ceased-publication Permaculture International Journal. Point two – it is now more relevant than ever, so please read and ponder.

Ted Trainer argues that although the planet cannot be saved without Permaculture, not enough people in the movement realise where Permaculture fits into the solution.

We are fast approaching a period of enormous and probably chaotic change. Western industrial-affluent-consumer society is unsustainable and is rapidly running into serious difficulties.

Permaculture is a crucial component of the solution to the global predicament. However I want to argue that Permaculture is far from sufficient, and indeed that it can be counter-productive if it is not put in the right context. That is unless we are careful, promoting Permaculture can actually help to reinforce our existing unsustainable society. We must do much more than just contribute to the spread of Permaculture. We must locate Permaculture within a wider campaign of radical social change. Before I try to explain this, I need to outline how I see the global predicament we are in. Whether or not you will agree with my conclusions about what needs to be done and where Permaculture fits in will depend greatly on whether you share my view of the situation we are in.

Beyond the Limits to Growth

There is an overwhelmingly strong case that industrial-affluent-consumer society is grossly unsustainable. Australian per capita rates of resource use and environmental impact are far higher than can be kept up for long, or that could be had by all the world’s people. We are in other words well beyond the limits to growth. Following are a few of the points that support this conclusion. For detailed explanation The Conserver Society (Zed, 1995) or Towards a Sustainable Society (Envirobooks, 1995).

  • It takes about 4-5 ha of productive land to provide the lifestyle if people have (our "footprint"). If eleven billion people (the expected population of the world late next century) were to live in that fashion about 50 billion ha of productive land would be needed; but that is eight times all the productive land on the planet.
  • If all the world’s present number of people each used energy at the Australian per capita rate then estimated potentially recoverable resources of coal, oil, gas, shale oil, tar sand oil, and uranium would be exhausted in under forty years.
  • Climate scientists are saying that if we are to prevent the greenhouse problem from getting any worse we must cut annual fossil fuel use by sixty to eighty percent of present volume. If we cut by sixty percent and shared the remaining energy equally between the eleven billion people expected you would have to get by on only 1/18th of the present Australian per capita consumption.
  • The environment problem is basically due to all the resources our affluent-consumer lifestyles are taking from the environment and then dumping into it as waste. It takes twenty tons of new materials to provide for one American every year. One species, humanity, is taking forty percent of the biological productivity of the planet’s entire land area, mostly to provide well for only one billion people. If another ten billion want to live as we in the rich countries do, how much habitat will be left for the other possibly thirty million species? We cannot expect to stop the extinction of species unless we drastically reverse this demand for biological resources and the consequent destruction of habitat. We cannot do that without huge reduction in production and consumption.

World Resource Grab

These sorts of figures leave little doubt that the way of life taken for granted in industrial-affluent-consumer society cannot possibly be kept up for long or extended to all people. We can have it only because the one fifth who live in rich countries like Australia are grabbing four fifths of world resource production to provide per capita use rates that are fifteen to twenty times those averaged by the poorest half of the world’s people.

The outlook becomes far worse when we add the implications of our manic obsession with economic growth. If Australia averaged four percent growth from now to 2050, and by then the expected 11 billion people had risen to the living standards we would then have, the total world economic output would be 220 times what it is today. The present levels of production and consumption are unsustainable, yet we are committed to an economy and a culture which is determined to increase living standards and the GNP, constantly and without limit. It should be obvious that no plausible assumption about what miraculous breakthroughs technology will achieve will enable continuation of the living standards and the systems taken for granted today; the foregoing multiples are far too big for that.

This blind obsession with raising living standards and the GNP is the underlying cause of all our major global problems, including resource depletion, environmental destruction and the depravation of the third world. For example the third world has been developed into a form which enables its land, labour and capital to produce mostly for the benefit of the rich countries and their corporations. Most people in the third world not only get little or nothing from the development, their productive capacity is put into producing for export. Hence an increasingly critical literature argues that development is plunder and that growth results in depravation.

Globalisation is making all these problems worse. We are seeing a rapid restructuring of the world to give transnational corporations and banks even greater freedom and excess to resources, markets and cheaper labour.

This basic limits to growth analysis shows our predicament to be extremely serious. We are far beyond sustainability. The problems cannot be solved without radical change.

The Solution

If the limits analysis is valid then a sustainable society will have to involve much less affluent lifestyles, highly self-sufficient local economies, little trade, little heavy industry, cooperative and participatory systems and a steady-state economy. This means much more than merely getting rid of a capitalist economy. It means developing an economy in which there is no economic growth, the GNP per capita is a small fraction of what it is in Australia today, no interest is earned on savings (because if it is you have a growth economy), most economic activity takes place outside the cash economy and there are many free goods from the local commons. The "unemployment" rate might be eighty percent (because most work and production would not be for money), and in which much "tax" would be paid via contributions of time to local working bees and committees. In addition a sustainable society requires fundamental changes in world view and values. Cooperation must become the dominant concern, not competition. A strong collective orientation must replace today’s rampant individualism. Affluence and consumption must become distasteful; frugality and self-sufficiency must become major sources of life satisfaction. Giving must become a more important source of satisfaction than getting.

If the limits to growth analysis is valid then we have no choice about these changes. Whether we like it or not we must make these sort of changes if we are to develop a sustainable society.

Many of us with some direct experience of alternative lifestyles and the ecovillage movement know how easy it would be to build a sustainable and just and admirable society. Many who have lived simply and in cooperative communities know it is possible to design and run settlements in which people have a very high quality of life at a relaxed pace, in supportive communities, secure from unemployment, poverty and violence, on very low levels of per capita resource consumption. (This is not to assume that our society will make the transition. I’m increasingly pessimistic about this.)

Indications for Permaculture

Permaculture design principles are obviously crucial for sustainability. Viable settlements must be designed to provide most of their needs from the local landscape without external inputs of resources, and in ways that are ecologically sustainable. But given the nature and the magnitude of our limits to growth problem much more than permaculture is required. Fundamental economic, political and cultural change is essential and without these Permaculture will be of no significance even if it flourishes. Unfortunately much Permaculture literature and many courses tend to leave the impression that spreading knowledge about Permaculture techniques is sufficient to achieve a sustainable world and that there is no need to question affluent living standards or the present economy. In general far too little emphasis is put on the fact that a sustainable society cannot be achieved without a radical change in lifestyles, in the economy, in the geography of settlements and in world views and values.

The important point here is that Permaculture can very easily be part of the problem. It is part of the problem if it does not increase the realisation that affluent living standards and this economy are totally incompatible with sustainability and global economic justice. Much Permaculture literature not only fails to increase people’s understanding of these crucial themes, but much of it reinforces the impression that fundamental change is not necessary because all we have to do is adopt things like organic food, composting, recycling and community supported agriculture. Permaculture is part of the problem if it is essentially enabling people to do some ecologically correct things in their gardens such as growing some organic vegies, and then feel that they are making a significant contribution to saving the planet.

Many people do such "light green" things without questioning affluent lifestyles within a growth economy and without seeing these as the basic causes of the global crisis. For too many, Permaculture is little more than another toy to play with on their hobby farms.

Similar criticisms can be made of the ecovillage movement. This is an extremely important development; we can now point to functioning examples of more sustainable settlements. But the movement is not putting anywhere near enough emphasis on the development of self-sufficient economies, living simply and cooperatively and on the need to get rid of an economic system based on market forces, growth and the profit motive. It tends to give the impression that it will be sufficient to build ecovillages that will function within the present economy.

In other words Permaculture can easily be seen as another technical fix that can save industrial-affluent-consumer society. I think most people see things like solar energy, community supported agriculture, LETS [Local Exchange Trade Systems], earth building, reed bed sewage and Permaculture as new ecologically friendly techniques that will enable us to solve resource and environment problems and therefore to go on living with high living standards, growth and free market economies, jet-away holidays and so on. They see technical advance as capable of eliminating any need for fundamental change in lifestyles or in the economy. I think that we are giving the impression that Permaculture is another of the technologies that will help to save industrial-affluent-consumer society, when the most important message to be given now is that we have to largely scrap that society. There is a seriously mistaken theory of change underlying much of the Permaculture movement. Many seem to assume that the more people we get to take an interest in Permaculture and to practice it the closer we move to the establishment of a just and sustainable society. This is not so. If all we do is work at increasing the numbers who understand and like and practice Permaculture this will probably have no more revolutionary significance than if we increased the number of people who are interested in the RSPCA or golf. This will just reach the point where all those potentially interested in Permaculture will have become interested, and will be out there reading the books and growing things, while still living in and benefitting from (and not challenging) affluent-consumer society and the growth economy.

Building Sustainable Society

Again, replacing that society is the crucial task, not getting more people to like and practice Permaculture. Merely teaching Permaculture techniques will not get them to see that affluent-industrial-consumer society is a terrible mistake, that capitalism must be scrapped, that a growth economy must be scrapped, that we must build small and highly self-sufficient economies based on cooperation and participation, and that very different lifestyles and values must be embraced. People can become very knowledgeable and keen about Permaculture without understanding any of this.

Why do you want people to take up Permaculture? Just to enjoy the idea and the practice? Or to help us build a sustainable society? If your answer is the latter, then we will not get this outcome just by increasing people’s understanding of Permaculture techniques. We make sure that wherever possible we connect Permaculture with the global scene and the need for radical social change, so that people understand that Permaculture is necessary but only as part of the bigger picture. We can’t claim to be centrally concerned with achieving sustainability is all we talk about is Permaculture. It is in fact only one element in the list of conditions and factors required for a sustainable world order. But there can be no doubt that it is a crucially important element.


Carolita Johnson Carolita Johnson cartoonista, etc.
Posted: September 8, 2009 08:26 AM at Huffington Post

Shift Happens....

JUNEAU, Alaska — Global warming conjures images of rising seas that threaten coastal areas. But in Juneau, as almost nowhere else in the world, climate change is having the opposite effect: As the glaciers here melt, the land is rising [3 Inches per Year] , causing the sea to retreat.

A few decades ago, large boats could sail regularly along Gastineau Channel between Downtown Juneau and Douglas Island, to Auke Bay, a port about 10 miles to the northwest. Today, much of the channel is exposed mudflat at low tide. “There is so much sediment coming in from the Mendenhall Glacier and the rivers — it has basically silted in,” said Bruce Molnia, a geologist at the
United States Geological Survey who studies Alaskan glaciers.

Read the rest at the New York Times...

Glacial Meltdown

Time-Lapse Videos Of Extreme Ice Loss Show Vivid Evidence Of Climate Change


Bill Maher recently annoyed a lot of people by calling Americans stupid. In case there's any doubt as to the validity of his claim I recommend a visit to (The Customer Is) Not Always Right. If its any consolation at all, its not just Americans.

"If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working in retail, service or other public-facing jobs, you’ve inevitably come across that occasional customer that either makes your blood boil, tickles your funny bone or leaves you totally confused. We all need a place to vent, so Not Always Right is a collection of quotes from these particularly memorable customers.

We believe that while customers deserve to be treated right, so do the employees and the other folks that serve them. Not Always Right is about leveling the playing field for those of us who toil and sweat every day trying to juggle demanding customers and often unreasonable corporate expectations. At the end of the day, it’s about remembering that whether we’re a customer or an employee, we’re all human, foibles and all."

Here's a sample...

Kookie Cookie Karma

Restaurant | New York, USA

Me: “Can I help you, ma’am?”

Customer: “Yes. What are these?”

Me: “That is a fortune cookie, ma’am.”

Customer: “It doesn’t look like a cookie. Where are the chocolate chips?”

Me: “Ma’am, these are a different kind of cookie. You open them up and they tell your fortune on a piece of paper.”

Customer: “What kind of cookies have paper in them!?”

Me: “Fortune cookies, ma’am.”

Customer: “This is an outrage! Cookies are meant to be eaten, and paper isn’t EATABLE!”

Me: “Please, ma’am, the paper is–”

Customer: “Shut up! I’m leaving.”

(The customer begins to storm out but in her anger misses the door and walks right into the wall. When she finally stumbles out, I open up the fortune cookie and read its message: “Do not worry. You will get what is coming to you in life.”)

Introducing The iKa-Chunk

Mobile Phone Kiosk | New Zealand

(A very elderly customer approaches me at my mobile phone kiosk.)

Customer: “Oh, these looks nice. What are you selling?”

Me: “Mobile phones, ma’am. They’ll allow you to keep in touch with people, wherever you are.”

Customer: “Oh, this one looks lovely, nice, and slim! *unfolds it and holds it to her ear* “What’s this one called?”

Me: “That one is called a stapler, ma’am.”

Friday, September 4, 2009

Top 10 Reasons To Grow Your Own Organic Food


Many studies have shown that organically grown food has more minerals and nutrients that we need than food grown with synthetic pesticides. There’s a good reason why many chefs use organic foods in their recipes—they taste better. Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, which eventually leads to the nourishment of the plant and, ultimately our bodies.

Growing your own food can help cut the cost of the grocery bill. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars and month at the grocery store on foods that don’t really nourish you, spend time in the garden, outside, exercising, learning to grow your own food.

The average child receives four times more exposure than an adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. Food choices you make now will impact your child’s future health.

“We have not inherited the Earth from our fathers,
we are borrowing it from our children.”

– Lester Brown

The Soil Conservation Service estimates more than 3 billion tons of topsoil are eroded from the United States’ croplands each year. That means soil erodes seven times faster than it’s built up naturally. Soil is the foundation of the food chain in organic farming. However, in conventional farming, the soil is used more as a medium for holding plants in a vertical position so they can be chemically fertilized. As a result, American farms are suffering from the worst soil erosion in history.

Water makes up two-thirds of our body mass and covers three-fourths of the planet. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates pesticides - some cancer causing - contaminate the groundwater in 38 states, polluting the primary source of drinking water for more than half the country’s population.

American farms have changed drastically in the last three generations, from family-based small businesses dependent on human energy to large-scale factory farms. Modern farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry, consuming 12 percent of the country’s totally energy supply. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops in the United States. If you are growing your own food in the city, you are cutting down on transportation and pollution costs.

Many pesticides approved for use by the EPA were registered long before extensive research linking these chemicals to cancer and other diseases had been established. Now the EPA considers 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides and 30 percent of all insecticides carcinogenic. A 1987 National Academy of Sciences report estimated that pesticides might cause an extra 4 million cancer cases among Americans. If you are growing your own food, you have control over what does, or doesn’t, go into it. The bottom line is that pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms and can also harm humans. In addition to cancer, pesticides are implicated in birth defects, nerve damage and genetic mutations.

A National Cancer Institute study found that farmers exposed to herbicides had six times more risk than non-farmers of contracting cancer. In California, reported pesticide poisonings among farm workers have risen an average of 14 percent a year since 1973 and doubled between 1975 and 1985. Field workers suffer the highest rates of occupational illness in the state. Farm worker health is also a serious problem in developing nations, where pesticide use can be poorly regulated. An estimated 1 million people are poisoned annually by pesticides.

Although more and more large-scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small, independently owned family farms of fewer than 100 acres. It’s estimated the United States has lost more than 650,000 family farms in the past decade. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted that half of this country’s farm production will come from 1 percent of farms by the year 2000, organic farming could be one of the few survival tactics left for family farms.

Mono-cropping is the practice of planting large plots of land with the same crop year after year. While this approach tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970, the lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients. To replace the nutrients, chemical fertilizers are used, often in increasing amounts. Single crops are also much more susceptible to pests, making farmers more reliant on pesticides. Despite a tenfold increase in the use of pesticides between 1947 and 1974, crop losses due to insects have doubled—partly because some insects have become genetically resistant to certain pesticides.

Besides being used to grow food, community gardens are also a great way to beautify a community, and to bring pride in ownership.

Source PDF (Printable Version):

Cow Farts and Other Myths

Debunking the meat/climate change myth
If those people concerned about rising levels of greenhouse gasses, instead of condemning meat eating, were condemning the enormous output of greenhouse gasses due to fossil fuel and fertilizer use by a greedy and biologically irresponsible agriculture, I would cheer that as a truthful statement even if they weren’t perceptive enough to continue on and mention that the only “new” carbon, the carbon that is responsible for rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere, is not biogenic from livestock but rather anthropogenic from our releasing the carbon in long term storage (coal, oil, natural gas.) Targeting livestock as a smoke screen in the climate change controversy is a very mistaken path to take since it results in hiding our inability to deal with the real causes. When people are fooled into ignorantly condemning the straw man of meat eating, who I suspect has been set up for them by the fossil fuel industry, I am appalled by how easily human beings allow themselves to be deluded by their corporate masters.

An Inconvenient Cow
In his fascinating recent book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, Charles Mann paints a picture of wild ruminant populations before the arrival of Europeans: “North America at the time of Columbus was home to sixty million bison, thirty to forty million pronghorns, ten million elk, ten million mule deer, and as many as two million mountain sheep.” That’s just North America. We have not even considered the enormous herds pounding the African plains, nearly all of which are methaneproducing ruminants including wildebeest, Cape buffalo, giraffes, gazelles, antelope, kudu—you get the point. Even today, these animals number in the hundreds of millions; their numbers were many fold greater in the past. How can it be that we have been able to overlook this perfectly natural scenario and move forward with casting the blame on the world’s 1.5 billion domesticated cattle?

Nature’s herds are by no means light on the land. Reports from the travels of Lewis and Clark attest to the fact that the herds of bison left not one scrap of fodder for their horses to eat, and the land was coated with a sheet of manure so thick, it turned vast expanses of prairie black. This manure, with the help of sage grouse, prairie chickens and dung beetles was then quickly recycled into some of the richest soil on the planet; this is the same manure that the U.N. blames for poisoning our atmosphere with nitrous-oxide.

Splendor From the Grass
...the way cows are fed today causes them to suffer from a range of health problems. Dairy cows are fed grains and soybeans, which have high caloric and nitrogen values. Sometimes rations even include bakery waste, such as out-of-date donuts, candy and pastries. These foodstuffs upset the delicately balanced ecosystem in the cow’s rumen. As rumen microbes digest the foods eaten by the cow, they produce waste products which inhibit the growth of other microbes. One of these metabolic wastes, acetic acid (vinegar), is used as an energy source by cattle. But the waste from microbial digestion of starches—like corn and bakery waste—is lactic acid, which has no value to ruminant. It also lowers the pH in the rumen, causing acidosis. The colostrum (first milk) of such acidic cows has very few antibodies because they are immunosuppressed.

Another serious consequence of grain feeding is that cows on grain absorb lower amounts of fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E, even when these vitamins are added to feed; and, consequently, less of these vital nutrients show up in the milk...

Of all the cull cows taken to slaughter today, only about 5 percent have livers that can be salvaged. Damage to the liver is attributed to high levels of protein in soy-based feed.



Thursday, September 3, 2009

Outstanding & Useful References

Tom Clothier's Garden Walk and Talk

Drawing of hand with green thumb. Introduction to the Archive

Drawing of hand with green thumb. Perennial Germination Database
Drawing of hand with green thumb.
Annual/biennial Germination Database
Drawing of hand with green thumb.
Penstemon Germination Database
Drawing of hand with green thumb.
Tree/Shrub Germination Database

Articles about seeds and seed starting:

Drawing of hand with green thumb. Seed Germination versus soil Temperature
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Soilless mixes - Sowing techniques
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Damping-Off -- Frequently asked questions
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Genetics for Seed Savers
Drawing of hand with green thumb. A Taxonomic Index of the works of Norman C. Deno
Drawing of hand with green thumb. A note on Seed Viability

Tom Clothier's Garden Perspectives

Drawing of hand with green thumb. Aphids
Drawing of hand with green thumb.
My Army of Groundskeepers (Insect pest control)
Drawing of hand with green thumb.
Asparagus Beetles
Drawing of hand with green thumb.
Garden Design (Weedy herbiage)
Drawing of hand with green thumb.
Growing & processing Black Walnuts
Drawing of hand with green thumb.
Growing & processing Horseradish
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Lettuce all year 'round
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Making your own soil
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Non-Insect pests
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Potentillas in my garden
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Pumpkins versus Squash
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Seeds
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Slugs & snails
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Squash vine borers
Drawing of hand with green thumb. The praying mantis
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Walking Stick Kale: Growing the hook for your cane.
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Weeds
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Three unusual fruits & vegetables (Weedy herbiage)
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Why aren't my tomatoes turning red?
Drawing of hand with green thumb.
Plant photos from my garden.

General Gardening Resources and Opinion

Drawing of hand with green thumb. Botanical binomials -- What do the names mean?
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Dictionary of specific epithets
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Nestbox construction for Bumblebees
Drawing of hand with green thumb. How mole hills become mountains
Drawing of hand with green thumb. A List of Hummingbird favorite plants
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Native Pollinator References
Drawing of hand with green thumb. A list of Bumblebee favorite plants
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Plant friends of black walnut trees
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Plants for attracting beneficial insects
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Seed envelopes
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Synonyms
Drawing of hand with green thumb. The interpretation of Garden Observations (Weedy herbiage)
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Developing your own seed start scheduling database
Drawing of hand with green thumb. Determining "weeks before last frost" in your area.