Friday, August 31, 2012

He had the surgery

Hanno had the surgery yesterday. I was starting to wonder if everything was okay because he was away from the ward for five hours. It turned out it was worse than they thought. He had cut tendons, ligament damage, there is a problem with his index finger that I don't understand yet and they had to repair the artery. Originally they said he'd missed it by a fraction but it sounds like he actually

Clint Eastwood is No Abraham Lincoln

Poor old Clint Eastwood.  His ignorance was out there for all the world to see.

Presidents with NO business experience:

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Harry Truman
  • Dwight Eisenhower
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson
  • William Jefferson Clinton
  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • Ronald Reagan

  • Presidents with business experience:
    • George W. Bush
    • Herbert Hoover

    Presidents who were practicing lawyers:
    • Abraham Lincoln


    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    Another update on Hanno

    He waited to go to the OT all day yesterday, complaining how hungry and thirsty he was. They took him in at 4.30pm, the doctor looked at his blood test results and they postponed the surgery until this morning. I didn't tell you all yesterday but he's been taking Warfarin, which, of course, made the bleeding after the accident much worse than it would have been. The test result showed his blood

    Easy Peasy You Can Too!

    OK Girlfriends
    Yesterday and this morning I received numerous comments and emails concerning my tidy way of living.
    Several gals believed that 
    A - they could never do it
    B- never maintain it
    C- afford to do it
    and then a few want to do it,
    but are lost as to where to begin.
    Well I'm gonna knock those thoughts up with 
    the Mars Rover
    no pretty pics, just info

    The first thing I do for myself and any client is to see if shelving can be added to any closet, because it's cheap, it's easy to do.
    In this laundry area I added one additional long shelf across the back and you'll soon see multiple shelves off to the right of the dryer under an eave, to hold appliances 
    that are infrequently used.
    I also added a small shelf right above the dryer originally planning to keep soaps there but they dripped sometimes and looked messy so I changed to a basket I could easily remove from top of dryer. 
    I also keep a pretty woven laundry basket there but this a.m. it was upstairs waiting to be emptied.

    Lock and Lock  boxes and ricers/ Martha's Storage I have had for decades

    Once I have additional shelving, I start my basket or bin or jar systems. Now I have been collecting jars and bins and baskets for 30 some years and always on sale, with coupons etc...
    so don't expect you have to do it all at once. 
    Try a shelf at a time, spread it out over months. OR Use plastic shoe bins to start. They're 1.00 ea. The smaller drawer bins are sold in multiples for a few dollars also. You can use inexpensive canning jars, recycled plastic bottoms of containers.
    Get as creative as your budget allows.


    Drip dry Hangers accessible for hanging on door rack/ Lock and Locks/ my seldom used ricer

    Why the basket or bins?
    Using this system assures continuity.
    In other words you would have to TRY to make it messy again.
    When there is a basket for JUST drip dry hangers, or 
    tupperware etc, you merely toss it and everything goes where it should...and you'll find it just as quickly next time.
    No shoving aside, things falling over, or shoved "just anywhere".

    Another major problem for almost every client.
    TOO MANY STORAGE containers
    as in tupperware or saved empty butter containers.
    No one EVER has that many leftovers.
    Invest in a stacking set of no more than 
    3ea of large, medium, small.
    Then three lock and locks or similar storage for cookies,
    or major party leftovers. THAT IS ALL YOU NEED.
    Most of you will free up an entire shelf or two.
    I see it in every house.
    Also never used gadgets. Purge those babies,
    or give to a gourmet who might use (once).
    No one needs 15 spatulas, four garlic presses,
    12 mixing bowls.
    no client...

    Muffin tins, cake pans, small cookie sheets/cooling racks tucked between baskets/ silpats cheesecloth

     I also use these inexpensive plastic shelving risers to separate heavy items. If you have 10 platters stacked you have to move all ten to get out one, whereas my way each one slips right out. On top of platters are my wicker trays, serving baskets.

    To the left are aprons, paper lunch sacks, laundry delicate bags,
    a dustpan tucked in and a lint basket easy to remove and empty.
    Some wire baskets are hung from a nail up top.

    This is the side shelving, holding crockpot, mixers, cookie sheets, blender, grinder, ice buckets, panini press etc.
    At the middle left are the pants hangers I use for drip dry.
    I attached industrial pipe straight out from wall.
    If you have the room, this is great for drip dry also .
    For drip dry I use a fold down flip up rack 
    attached to garage door just beyond laundry.
    Originally there were ugly bifold doors in laundry closet. I removed and added full length floor to ceiling ivory corduroy curtains from Ikea. Small peek at basket on floor where I throw non clothing items to be washed....rugs, rags, dog toys etc

    Drip dry in use. 
    You can also see stick on lights I have on shelves 
    in dark corner.

    In other baskets and on shelves I have bakeware, 
    pizza stones, plastic wraps etc.
    The more you keep the baskets solely for one type of item, the 
    less likely you are to just dump anywhere.
    If you are really tight on space, try to keep like items together
    as much as possible.
    If you need reminding, add stick on labels or tie on tags.

    Added shelving to door for small easily lost items.
    Wine rack on bottom actually holds long pkgs of pasta and 
    ramen packages. ( I see I need to add to grocery list)
    Seldom used liquors fill up each side on floor.
    Yes, my cans are on risers. Available almost everywhere.
    The one I have contracts and expands as needed.

    Baskets hold similar products.
    Baking, tomato sauce products, pasta.
    pull out the basket, select item, push back.
    I take instant oatmeal, granola bars etc out of original packaging 
    and each gets it's own basket. easy to grab and go.
    Easy to see quantity for shopping, nothing gets shoved to the back and expires out of sight.
    Instruction booklets for appliances at the ready,
    easy to locate.

    These jars are two deep, holding far more product in the same space. Air tight, no critters. All dried products go in jars.

    These are also two deep.
    Clear jars make it easy to identify product, no labels required.

    See the two shallow shelves I tucked way up top? Half the depth of regular shelves. Every inch used.

    Top and bottom shelves have small lazy susan's.
    Center shelf holds most used products at eye level.
    Corn starch, honey, vinegar, vanilla, baking soda.

    Everyday dishes use stacking shelves also.

    Mini dividers in drawers.
    Keep like items together as much as possible.

    Are you still with me or did your eyes glaze over 
    awhile back?
    I don't have to "Work" at this,
    once you set it up, it takes care of itself. Honestly.
    Next time a boring tv show is on, or you are waiting for a call or on a long chat, work on just one shelf or drawer.
    Use those Michaels, Jo Anns and Kohls coupons for 
    storage containers. When they're already half off and you get an additional 25-30% SCORE!

    This doesn't have to be daunting at all.
    Buy lots of sizes of containers. Return what you don't use. Don't spend hours measuring for sizes etc. 
    Just know your width and depth.
    You can spend a fortune and make it all pretty,
    or use what you have. For me? tidy and pretty enough for behind closed doors.

    Do I get teased about this?
    you bet
    Do I care?

    You see I can find my brulee torch
     nutcracker, bottle opener, garlic press,
    egg slicer and wine stopper before you can snap your fingers.
    I don't buy the same groceries over and over because I think I don't have it, or cannot find it.
    Being organized keeps your life simple,
    not difficult.

    I have very little storage, so I am forced to 
    be creative and organized, yeah - yeah I would be anyway.
    Sometimes I think these mega kitchens
     and closets make things worse for some.
    Nature abhors a vacuum.

    I hope you have found an idea or two 
    or at least are inspired to tackle your storage issues
    in your own way.
    If you have thought recently,
    "I'll just stick/shove/toss it here for now, 
    and deal with it later..." probably have issues.

    More to come,
    stay with me.
    You're getting oldgreymare for free.


    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    Nothing is Safe

    Nothing is safe around here.
    From the purge/tidy monster.

    Not pantry, utensil drawer,
    fridge or laundry room.

    Not obsessively clean, but frequently tidy,
    that's me.

    A little known fact about this gal.
    I came within a whisper of joining the military.
    Yep, me! Took the tests and everything.
    I was floundering post college days
    and the regimen appealed to me.
    Gosh, ya think?

    I still like everything lined up in neat rows,
    bedding tucked snug,
    mirrors polished.

    I hear my Dad's voice
    "A place for everything and everything in its place."
    Pop was a fan of Ben Franklin,
    (but there is no definitive proof he was the first to say this,
    I checked)

    I guess this Mackintosh did not fall far from the tree.

    It makes me happy.
    It makes my life
    easy and simple.

    I step back and inspect, 
    "ahh, now that's better"

    oh crap..thunder...

    Hanno - update

    There is no easy way to tell you this. Hanno had an accident with the chain saw yesterday and is in hospital. He'll have surgery today. I'll update you when I can. I'll be back to the blog when I can.

    UPDATE 9am
    Hanno has severed some tendons that attach his thumb to his arm. He's got a gaping cut down to the bone from the base of his thumb to about a quarter the way up his arm, and a few

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    Basic Go To Ground

    If you want to know how to start a terrier in the field, what equipment you will need and should have, how to build go-to-ground tunnel, how to provide basic veterinary care for your dog, what to do when your dog is skunked, how to find American terrier quary, and the true history of working terriers, click here.

    Maybe I'm Crazy :: Gnarls Barkley

    That Rorschach guy was a great painter, but how come he only painted dead hookers?

    The temptation to spend

    Travelling around as we have this past year, we're met hundreds of people and thoroughly enjoyed the experienced. Many of the conversations we've had have been filed away and some I'm still thinking about. Having contact with people we don't know has been such a stimulus for me because I'm hearing the thoughts of people of all ages who crave simple life and want to talk about it. Most of the

    Sasquatch Killed in Montana

    A Sasquatch was killed in Montana, run over by a car.

    A man dressed in a military-style “Ghillie suit” who was attempting to provoke a Bigfoot sighting was struck by two vehicles and killed on U.S. 93 South of Kalispell Sunday night.

    “He was trying to make people think he was Sasquatch so people would call in a Sasquatch sighting,” Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Schneider said. “You can’t make it up. I haven’t seen or heard of anything like this before. Obviously, his suit made it difficult for people to see him.”

    The Beast of Exmoor and Other Nonsense

    A repost from February 2009

    Stories of feral "beasts" lurking in the darkness of the English countryside have been around for hundred of years, and were already old when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used such a tale as the basis of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

    The stories persist, of course.

    Here are a few contemporary descriptions of various U.K. beasties:
    • Beast of Muchty: "I was travelling to my work at 04:30 when a cat the size of a Lurcher, jet black, small head, very slim with a long tail ran in front of my car (about fifty yards). The whole incident was over in 2 seconds ... "
    • Beast of Bont: "The main evidence for the existence of these sharp-clawed, but mysterious stalkers has been the death toll among vulnerable herds of sheep."
    • Beast of Barford: "It is twice the size of a dog print and clearly shows three huge claws and a large pad at the back. Wildlife experts believe the print is the most conclusive evidence yet that big cats are roaming Warwickshire."
    • The Beast of Gloucester and The Black Beast of Inkeberrow: "A 'huge black beast' ran in front of Ray Lock's car on the other side of the river near Lydney... one evening near Monmouth where it was described as 'jet black and about the size of a large dog.'"
    • Beast of Burford: "A £5,000 reward has been offered for the capture of a 'big cat' which has been terrorising a farming community ..... Pc Ray Hamilton, wildlife crime officer at Thames Valley Police, admitted there had been several sightings - but said this was not unusual. 'We've had sightings of everything you could imagine - pink flamingos, lions, dingos, wolves and even a giant ant-eater in Pangbourne.'"

    The human desire to create imaginary "beasts" seems to have some correlation to the loss of large predators and true wilderness.

    With the extinction of the bear and the wolf, the U.K. has lost all large predators and now has to suffice with two rather unimpressive meso-predators, the fox (average weight 15 pounds and living almost entirely off of mice) and the badger (average weight around 25 to 30 pounds and living almost entirely off of worms, beetle grubs, and small bulbs).

    So what are these large feral "beasts" seen in the English countryside, and why is it that they are never actually found?

    The short answer is that these "beasts" are nothing more than large escaped lurchers (coursing dog crosses) that have taken to livestock-worrying. As an article on the Beast of Osset notes:

    "On a parkland estate in rural Yorkshire a poacher's lurcher (a fast greyhound-like hunting dog) was at large for six months but was sighted only once during that period. The gamekeepers knew it was there because they found the roe deer that it had killed, but it took a concerted effort with volunteers to flush it out of the wood."

    In fact, sheep worrying is a serious problem
    in the U.K., and while any dog can end up attacking sheep, it is the larger dogs such as Lurchers and Bandogs (mastiff crosses) that do the damage that lead some to think a large cat or lion is loose in the English countryside.

    Sheep worrying by lurcher.

    In fact, a lurcher really does look like a large cat if seen in the dark or fog, and especially if it is seen only briefly from a moving car, as most "big cat" sightings are.

    A Bandog (what the Hound of the Baskervilles was) really does look like a lion if seen under the same circumstances.

    What is amazing about the "big cat" stories in the U.K., however, is how easy they are disprove, and yet how utterly resistant people are to having their bubbles burst.

    Take the issue of "big cat footprints". Most of these footprints are clearly large dog prints. How can we be sure? Simple -- all the footprints show claw marks. All the large cats, except the cheetah, however, walk with retracted claws, otherwise they would quickly dull

    This foot print of the "Beast of Barford"
    is held up by a young hopeful.

    The other issue has to do with hounds -- the U.K. is crawling with fox packs, and yet none has ever chased and cornered a large cat other than the now very rare native Scottish Wildcat, which is not much larger than a tabby.

    You can be sure that if the big cats were out there, British fox hounds would have found them by now! In the U.S., small teams of less experienced hounds manage to track down marauding farm-country cougars in only a few hours time.

    Finally, we come to the issue of rub strips -- bits of carpet and tacks impregnated with a mixture of catnip and beaver castoreum -- that have failed to turn up any positive large cat hits in the U.K.

    Wherever these rub strips are used -- whether in North America, South American, Europe, Africa, or Asia -- they are quickly found and rubbed against by large cats and other predators.

    A DNA analysis of fur caught on the hooks of the carpet tacks can not only identify what species of animal has left it behind, it can identify what specific animal has come by in the night.

    Rub strips are so accurate they are now routinely used to survey population densities of such elusive large cats as leopard, lynx, cougar, and jaguar, as well as badger, wolverine, bear, wolf, coyote and bobcat.

    Of course, "Beast of" stories are not unique to the U.K.

    Here in the United States we have Sasquatch and some local tales of little green men, swamp creatures, and even a werewolf or two (all delivered with a wink to small children).

    In truth, however, we have far fewer fantasy "Beast" stories than the U.K. for a simple reason: we have more real top end predators.

    In states like Minnesota, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and North Carolina we really do have wolves prowling the remote sections.

    In Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina we really do have 12 foot lizards slithering out of drainage ditches and quite capable of eating an old lady alive.

    Mountain lions really do prowl the remote sections of Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Colorado and even Texas, and are now being found as far east as Iowa.

    Black bears number well over 400,000 in the lower 48 states, and there are over 100,000 more in Alaska.

    Bobcats are everywhere, as are coyotes -- the later so common that there are bounties on them, including in my home state of Virginia.

    No one living in a large America city today lives more than two hours away from a major top-end predator of some kind.

    This is a glorious thing, and something we should count among our greatest national treasures.

    But a "Beast of Bondwynn?" No, we don't have that.

    In a world in which top-end predators are still common, there is no reason to invent ghost stories.


    Monday, August 27, 2012

    This Land Is My Land

    The geology of some of the land I dig on with the dogs. 

    One of writer John McPhee's best little gems is a long essay called "The Gravel Page" which was first published in The New Yorker, and later reprinted in the McPhee essay collection entitled Irons in the Fire.

    "The Gravel Page" is about forensic geology, which sounds like an absurd topic until you realize there are people so studied in the shifting sands, alluvial deposits and quartz formations of the world, that they can look at the dirt under your car's fender and tell you where in the world it came from.

    And they can get it right within a mile or two. Amazing.

    The Gravel Page is more than excellent writing -- it is also good story (always that!) mixed with an exploding cosmos of knowledge and a new way of looking at the world. This is non-fiction writing at its best.

    I bring up John McPhee because I recently got two different emails about soil structure. One was about New Jersey soil as sandy and easy to move as cake mix, the other about Vermont ground so riddled with rock it requires three people, a pickax, and a steel digging bar to consider working a terrier to ground.

    Ah, America!

    In truth, we are a large and varied country and though we are one land, we are many soils. In fact, as odd as it sounds, about 20 state legislatures have actually named their state soils.

    Indiana's state soil is called "Miami" (no doubt named after the Indian tribe), while New Jersey's is called "Downer," and is described as "a grayish sandy loam."

    Vermont's state soil is thin stuff called "Tunbridge" which is described as being "20 to 40 inches deep over schist, gneiss, phyllite, or granite bedrock."

    Virginia's state soil is something called "Pamunkey." No one I know of has ever heard of Pamunkey, but it is described as the type of wash-down found along the banks of the James River and "which originated in every physiographic province in the Commonwealth and therefore represents the WHOLE state better than other soils."

    Ah, a political soil invented by a committee and named after a tribe. Of course.

    Maryland's state soil is something called "Sassafras" which is described as "a Benchmark and Hall of Fame soil series." Really? There's a Hall of Fame for soil?

    In truth, the Maryland dirt in which I dig defies all categorization. You may have good friable soil in a field, but 50 yards away will be a belt of trees and an area packed with cobbles and hard marl. A small ridge above the field may be of igneous rock so hard it could be used as an Easter Island hammer stone. Everywhere -- seemingly without rhyme or reason -- you will find broken pieces of shale mixed together like playing cards dropped by God Himself. What kind of soil have you got? We've got it all!

    I know about the soil in my neck of the woods from digging on it. This is not book knowledge. That said, I was rather pleased last night when I came across a web site with maps of Maryland soil by County, and with enough detail that I could identify the location of individual farms where I have been digging on the dogs. I cannot read much out of the maps yet, but I will drill a bit and see if I can sort it out. These maps, after all, are the back story of this land.

    The geology of this region is not a simple one. I live and dig near the area where Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia come together. A fall line shoots through the middle of it, and the ocean is not far away.

    To the West lie the Appalachian Mountains, one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, worn down to a few thousand feet from peaks that may have once been as high as the Sierra Nevadas.

    To the East is the sandier soil of the coastal flats and the Delmarva Peninsula.

    The Piedmont -- the geology of the area I think of as my home -- is the area that lies in between. These are the ancient foothills of the Appalachian mountains. Here most of the old rock has degraded to good soil, but there are still regular ridges of very hard stuff that Mother Nature and Father Time, working together, could not reduce to rubble.

    The area I call the Piedmont Breaks is the area running roughly parallel to Route 95 and is normally called the "Fall Line". This is the very edge of the Piedmont -- a kind of geological no-man's zone between the true Piedmont and the Coastal Plain.

    Here the continental plates of Europe and Africa have ground up against North America. As the continents crashed into each other, ancient rock folded up and ancient sea beds were pushed far inland. The last really major geological event in this area was the break up of Pangaea during the Mesozoic era as Africa pulled away from North America, forming large basins and shallow seas (the so-called Iapetus Ocean) that teamed with wildlife. The bits and pieces of broken shale I find all across this area are the vestigial remains of those vast mud-filled basins and ocean shelves.

    My own house, quarried from local gneiss and roofed by Vermont Slate, sits almost on top of the Fall Line that is the boundary line between the Piedmont and the Coastal plain.

    The house itself sits on a rocky knoll about an eighth of a mile back from the Potomac River. There has been no significant geological activity in this area for many thousands of years, and ground pressure is receding not building. I am not worried about my property values being decimated by an earthquake. About terrorism I am a little less certain -- the Pentagon is only a mile and a half away.

    The path down to the river is a gentle slope most of way, but that path ends at a sheer 90-foot rock cliff that goes down to the river. The only way to descend this cliff is to pick your way down steps hewn into the cliff next to a small waterfall. It can be treacherous going in winter.

    If you turn left at the base of the cliff, you can walk up the river bank to Chain Bridge about a quarter mile up. If you are traveling in a small boat, you can go no farther that this due to rocks, rapids and falls. Above Chain Bridge is Little Falls, and above that is Great Falls, a stretch of water sufficiently treacherous that it takes the lives of half a dozen people a year -- mostly young fools and foreigners who ignore the warning signs posted in a half dozen languages at water's edge.

    I am told this is the steepest and most spectacular fall line rapids of any river in the eastern U.S. The falls were once located at Chain Bridge but over many millenia they have chewed their way upriver to where they are now, in Mathers Gorge.

    If you turn right at the bottom of the cliff below my house, you will reach Key Bridge about a quarter of a mile away. This is the bridge that crosses the Potomac River into Georgetown, and it is the way I normally get into the city.

    If you were to put a boat into the water just below my house, turn downstream, and paddle 13 miles or so, you would slide pass Mount Vernon -- George Washington's old home. Keep on going and you will reach the Chesapeake Bay. Keep going from there, and you can reach the Caribbean, Paris, London, South Africa, Malaysia, New Zealand, California, and South America. To be on a river with unobstructed passage to the sea is to be connected to quite a lot.

    A river at your door is a great thing. Rivers last because they totally renew themselves every 24 hours or so.

    The soil lasts because it remains locked up in a vault of its own making.

    I am pretty sure that not much else lasts.

    We make our headstones out of rock in an attempt to find a kind of store-bought immortality, but after 100 years the names and dates are as meaningful -- and as meaningless -- as hieroglyphs.

    Not much else lasts either. I dig on land that has been farmed for over 300 years, and on much of it parts of the Civil War were hard fought.

    Yet there are no bones to be found, no bullets, no buttons, no bottles. Dinosaurs and deer have lived and died on this land for eons, and yet they have left not a single mark behind. Trees and bushes have risen (and fallen) for thousands of millennia but they too have left no sign of their existence except (perhaps) the soil itself.

    In a thousand years, I have little doubt that almost nothing extent today will be intact and recognizeable. But the river will still run through Mathers Gorge, and the soil maps made in 1950 will still be good.

    "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food
    until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken;
    for dust you are, and to dust you will return."
    . . .
    - Genesis 3:19

    Great Falls on the Potomac
    This is a repost from May, 2007

    What Caliber Would Jesus Shoot?

    From The Book of Mitt, a new book in the GOP Translation of the Gospels:

    The Lazy Paralytic

    1. When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at his home. 2. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. 3. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. 5. When Jesus saw this he grew angry, “Why did you wreck my roof? Do you have any idea how much that cost to install? Do you know how many tables and chairs I had to make in my carpentry shop to pay for that roof? The reeds alone cost five talents. I had them carted in from Bethany.” 6. The disciples had never seen Jesus so angry about his possessions. He continued, “This house is my life. And the roof is the best part.” The disciples fell silent. 7. “It’s bad enough that you trash my private property, now you want me to heal you?” said Jesus, “And did you not see the stone walls around this house?” “Yes,” said the man’s friends. “Are these not the stone walls common to the towns and villages of Galilee?” 8. “No,” Jesus answered. “This is a gated community. How did you get in?” The man’s friends grew silent. 9. Then Jesus turned and said to the paralytic, “Besides, can’t you take care of your own health problems? I’m sure that your family can care for you, or maybe the synagogue can help out.” 10. “No, Lord,” answered the man’s friends. “There is no one. His injuries are too severe. To whom else can we go?” 11. “Well, not me,” said Jesus. “What would happen if I provided access to free health care for everyone? That would mean that people would not only get lazy and entitled, but they would take advantage of the system. 12. Besides, look at me: I’m healthy. And you know why? Because I worked hard for my money, and took care of myself.” The paralyzed man then grew sad and he addressed Jesus. “But I did work, Lord,” said the paralytic. “Until an accident rendered me paralyzed.” “Yes,” said the man’s friends. “He worked very hard.” 13. “Well,” said Jesus, “That’s just part of life, isn’t it?” “Then what am I to do, Lord?” said the paralytic. “I don’t know. Why don’t you sell your mat?” 14. All in the crowd then grew sad. “Actually, you know what you can do?” said Jesus. “You can reimburse me for my roof. Or I’ll sue you.” And all were amazed. 15. “We have never seen anything like this,” said the crowd.

    The Very Poorly Prepared Crowd

    1. The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve apostles came to Jesus and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” 2 But Jesus said to them, “Why not give them something to eat?” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 3 For there were about five thousand men. And Jesus said to his disciples, “You know what? You’re right. Don’t waste your time and shekels. It would be positively immoral for you to spend any of your hard-earned money for these people. They knew full well that they were coming to a deserted place, and should have relied on themselves and brought more food. As far as I’m concerned, it’s every five thousand men for themselves.” 4. The disciples were astonished by this teaching. “But Lord,” said Thomas. “The crowd will surely go hungry.” Jesus was amazed at his hard-headedness. “That’s not my problem, Thomas. Better that their stomachs are empty than they become overly dependent on someone in authority to provide loaves and fishes for them on a regular basis. Where will it end? Will I have to feed them everyday?” “No, Lord,” said Thomas, “Just today. When they are without food. After they have eaten their fill, they will be healthy, and so better able to listen to your word and learn from you.” Jesus was grieved at Thomas’s answer. Jesus answered, “It is written: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” So taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and took one loaf and one fish for himself, and gave the rest to the twelve, based on their previously agreed-upon contractual per diem. But he distributed none to the crowd, because they needed to be taught a lesson. So Jesus ate and he was satisfied. The disciples somewhat less so. “Delicious,” said Jesus. What was left over was gathered up and saved for Jesus, should he grow hungry in a few hours. The very poorly prepared crowd soon dispersed.

    The Rich and Therefore Blessed Young Man

    1. As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to him and knelt before him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 2. And Jesus said to him, “What have you done so far?” 3. And he said to Him, “Well I was born into a wealthy family, got into a good school in Galilee because my parents donated a few thousand talents for a building with a nice reed roof, and now I have a high-paying job in the Roman treasury managing risk.” 4. Looking at him, Jesus felt an admiration for him, and said to him, “Blessed are you! For you are not far from being independently wealthy.” And the man was happy. Then Jesus said, “But there is one thing you lack: A bigger house in a gated community in Tiberias. Buy that and you will have a treasure indeed. And make sure you get a stone countertop for the kitchen. Those are really nice.” The disciples were amazed. 5. Peter asked him, “Lord, shouldn’t he sell all his possessions and give it to the poor?” Jesus grew angry. “Get behind me, Satan! He has earned it!” Peter protested: “Lord,” he said, “Did this man not have an unjust advantage? What about those who are not born into wealthy families, or who do not have the benefit of a good education, or who, despite all their toil, live in the poorer areas of Galilee, like Nazareth, your own home town?” 6. “Well,” said Jesus, “first of all, that’s why I left Nazareth. There were too many poor people always asking me for charity. They were as numerous as the stars in the sky, and they annoyed me. Second, once people start spending again, like this rich young man, the Galilean economy will inevitably rebound, and eventually some of it will trickle down to the poor. Blessed are the patient! But giving the money away, especially if he can’t write it off, is a big fat waste.” The disciples’ amazement knew no bounds. “But Lord,” they said, “what about the passages in both the Law and the Prophets that tell us to care for widows and orphans, for the poor, for the sick, for the refugee? What about the many passages in the Scriptures about justice?” 7. “Those are just metaphors,” said Jesus. “Don’t take everything so literally.”   SourceTikkun, via altrernet

    Permaculture Noosa visit

    It's not often you have a crowd of people turn up to look over your garden but that is what happened here last Sunday. Permaculture Noosa came to look at our garden. They were such a lovely group of people from a very strong permaculture group that supports and encourages Permaculture and organic gardening in a domestic and community setting.

    Here is the group at the tea table. President

    They Had a Secret

    Ma and Pa Armstrong share a secret with Garry Moore who asks:

    "Now, how would you feel, Mrs. Armstrong, if it turned out - of course nobody knows - but if it turns out that your son is the first man to land on the moon? What, how do, how would you feel?


    Sunday, August 26, 2012

    Digging on the Dogs

    The rain came down sideways on the way out to the farm.  Through some odd miracle, however, it did not hit the little area I was digging in, though it was washing down the road only an eighth of a mile away.

    The dogs located two possums to ground, and after one short dig and one long dig we called it a day. 

    Just as we left, the rain started down full tilt once again.  We got away lucky!

    Mountain looking up a pop hole.


    Sorting the wheat from the chaff

    I read a wonderful post over at innerpickle on Saturday and it kept returning to me during the day. I love writing that makes me think and the question innerpickle posed to me was "what changed you?" I guess you could argue that everything changes you and certainly I am changed in subtle ways every day. So what, of the hundreds of things I do every day - which of those have made me a different

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    LL Cool J :: Momma Said Knock You Out

    Some fool decided to burglarize LL Cool J. Predictably, "Momma said knock you out."
    Jonathan Kirby, 56, suffered a broken nose, jaw and ribs when he encountered the muscular rapper-actor inside his Sherman Oaks, California, home, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons.

    If Americans Had Digging Competitions

    A repost from this blog, circa December 2005.

    The picture, above, is from a Fell & Moorland digging competition.

    Now there's a fun thing to bring to American terrier shows and trials in the U.S.!

    But how would we organize it?

    Would the women compete head-to-head with the men, since a badly skunked dog in a hole needs to be rescued fast regardless of gender?

    Or would we divide the competition by gender, age, height and weight in order to maximize the ribbon count? That would seem the best American way to do it.

    Then there is the mechanics of it.

    Would people be required to bring their own shovels? If so, perhaps we could get a tool company to sponsor it, as a lot of new tools will have to be bought. That seems like a marriage of expediency and capitalism!

    Would jumpsuits be provided so that the people in their fine clothes would not get too dirty? That seems only fair --- but it will get very hot with two layers of clothing being worn! Perhaps we could hold the competition inside and turn the air conditioning way up?

    If we do move it indoors for the air conditioning, however, there is the problem of the floor. How are we going to dig through the floor of the hotel where the show is being held? Perhaps the answer here can be found in a few hundred bags of fine potting soil purchased at Home Depot?

    But what about the people that cannot dig at all -- the physically infirm or old, or those that have a heart condition? It would be wrong to exclude them. Here's a thought: We allow people to show dogs they did not breed and let those dogs be handled by professional handlers ... why not do the same thing at the digging competition? We could have professional diggers brought in just to win the ribbon. It's all very historical -- after all, it's not like the Duke of Beaufort was digging the dogs himself, was he? He had kennel men and earthstoppers for that. So too did John Russell, who was past 50 when he really got to chasing fox at South Molton.

    Yes, the only real way to do it is with professional diggers, and perhaps a small side prize for "amateur diggers" who will do it themselves, with classes broken out by gender, age, height and weight. Everyone will get a ribbon!

    Excellent! A new American trial sport is born!

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Weekend reading

    Blogs from readers who have commented here during the week...

    I absolutely adore this idea. Real birthday parties on the farm
    I have met Linda and I think I've featured her blog before. It's a good one.
    Farm Fancies - there is some delicious looking cooking here.


    The wonderful David Holmgren's Retrofitting the Suburbs article. This make so much sense to me. There are other interesting

    Mitt's Magic Snake Oil Plan

    Mitt Magic.

    It's not just magic underwear and magic tablets.

    It's also magic jobs, magic Medicare, magical non-taxes that balance a magical budget, and of course magic energy.

    It seems in just eight years, Mitt is going to magically give us energy independence forever from magical reserves drilled and mined by magical companies that do it all in magic time, without any environmental problems or profitability problems.

    And how do we know?  Because his campaign has written a magical "white paper."

    Wow.   A 'white paper."  There's never been one of those before! It must be magic! 

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    It's Poly-Tick Season


    Wet Bird & Dog Poop

    So I don't write for weeks and when I do?
    I title it wet bird and dog poop.
    What can I say?
    It's just the way this noggin functions.

    It rained.
    and lots and lots
    Parts of the city are flooded
    All the streets are flooded.
    Never fear - way typical for lala land.
    Looked out the studio window and saw this poor fella
    perched and enduring the rain.
    Normally I would not have been able to see but 
    the center of all the ash trees in lala land are sick,
    so poor tree, poor dove, but lucky shot :D

    No phone, no cable, no internet all morning.
    Kinda nice. Played music full blast.
    My Sharona, Hooked on a Feeling, Lady Willpower
    Channeling my youth...
    bringing up memories.
    It is visceral to me.
    If I'm not careful, the wrong song slips in,
    and I spiral to another place.
    Not wise on a gloomy day.

    The rain on the tin roof on the porch is 
     a glorious sound.
    Called DD in NYC and held the phone up
    so she could hear "home".
    She said she wished the sleep sofa was still out there.
    We used to race to open it and pile on
     when the rains began ...way back in the day.
    Grateful for the memories.

    oh and the poop?
    well some of you may recall that Howie 
    marches to the beat of a different drummer.
    a very backward marching, off tune, out of step 

    When Howie becomes frightened, 
    by oh, lets say

    He has the shit scared out of him.

    LITERALLY folks.

    Shoots out the back like a cannon
    and you had better be up range.

    Organised chaos in the garden

    Hanno had surgery on his eye, had a checkup yesterday and he's fine now. He just has to take it easy and not do any dirty or dusty work for a little while. He asked me to thank you all for the good wishes sent to him. I thank you too.  :- )


    We're really lucky to have the opportunity to grow some of our food right outside our backdoor. All of us who grow what we can in the space

    The Real Work of Modern Dogs Is Psychotherapy

    Sigmund Freud and his dog.

    Dogs are entirely man-made, a function of human choice, and often a choice made by specific people in specific locations.

    The farmers and huntsmen of the fields and fells of Great Britain made working terriers.

    The native people of the Arctic made the sled dogs of the northern snow and ice.

    The stock men of Europe made the hard dogs that could stop angry bulls or wild pigs.

    The Bedouins and Tuareg made the running dogs of the Middle East.

    The shepherds of the borders and highlands of Scotland made the dogs that love and live to herd.

    But do we not have tribes of people today who are still making dogs?

    Yes, the tribes are different, but they still exist, and they are making dogs just the same.

    The terrierman with dirt on his hands has been replaced by the overweight matron with gold lacquer on her finger nails.

    The musher with 13 dogs dogs in harness has been replaced by a fellow with a sled dog on his passenger seat and 200-horses under the hood.

    The bulldog man now owns a wheezing wreck that can barely waddle to the edge of the field where it is trotted out as the team's mascot.

    The running dog is now sprawled on the couch, and instead of a night lamping it might get a slow walk around the block.

    The border man with stout legs and calloused hands has been replaced by a suburbanite whose dogs chase frisbees rather than herd sheep.

    Where are we going in the world of dogs?

    In every direction under the sun, and often straight to hell.

    That said, there is some comfort in this observation:  cool tools never die.

    And really is there any tool so cool as a dog?

    Sure there are a lot of very crappy shovels sold at Lowe's for the "Harry Homeowners" who confuses real digging with putting in a rose bush, but good shovels are still made and sold if you know where to go to find them.

    And so it is with almost everything else apparently, including working dogs.

    Real sheep herding men and women are not runnning to "barbie collie" theorists for stock or advice anymore than gun dog men are going to backyard puppy peddlers, or terriermen are going to Kennel Club pretenders.

    Up in Alaska, the pulling dogs are not registered in the Lower 48, and in the deserts of the Middle East, the test of a dog is not what's written on a piece of paper but whether the hare is returned to hand after a swirling chase in the dust.

    And as for the real bull dog, this country is crawling with well-built Pit Bulls capable of busting, catching and stopping a feral pig on any given night. Hell, we now have TWO television series devoted to their exploits!

    So what does it matter if there are a lot of pretenders in the world of dogs?

    So long as the dogs that result are not too seriouly deformed or genetically defective, what is the harm of barbie collies, tennis ball retrievers, and fantasy fox terriers?

    No, the work of these dogs is not in forest or field.

    Instead, the purpose of these dogs is to give their owners a sense of identity... or perhaps it's to serve as a surrogate child, or a welcome wag after a long day at a soul-crushing job. 

    Perhaps their job is to give their owner a chance to win a beauty contest or an opportunity to work out their long-repressed hair-dresser fantasies.

    But so what? Is it really that odd that this kind of psycho-therapy work has become the real work of the modern dog?

    Yes, many dogs today are transvestite terriers, counterfeit collies, and bogus bird dogs, but as pets most seem to work out fine, even if they are pale immitations of their storied ancestors.

    Isn't that good enough?


    On the Radio

    I was on NPR's Morning Edition yesterday, talking about health care fraud and in one of the quotes they ended up using I talk about ground-truthing.

    The term "ground-truthing" comes from my period working on roadless forest conservation issues.  When you "ground truth" a timber cut or a proposed forest service sale, you put on a pack and hike 12 miles up the mountain to see if what has been said on paper has even the most remote resemblance to the truth.  Not too surprisingly, you often find that a timber cut is larger on the ground than was permitted on paper, and it has also been "accidentally" moved uphill 500 yards so that more large trees fall to saw and chain than were actually bid for.  Whoops!

    But, of course, it's never a mistake.  Humans are predators -- you just have to look at our face to know that.  Predators have eyes that face forward so so they can judge distance when they strike for the kill.  Prey animals have eyes on the side, so they can increase their field of vision, and see the predators coming.  Humans are predators.

    But like all predators, we are opportunistic feeders.  Going after anything too big, or too vicious, or that will strike back with force and fury is maladaptive

    So we cheat on the sly, and we try to make checking hard because someone will either have to hike 12 miles up the mountain, or else they will have to go through 2 million records looking for the cheat, or else they will have to risk losing their job and their career if they are foolish enough to go to the authorities.

    And what happens when companies lie, steal and cheat?  If the fraud is not caught, it's fobbed on to the backs of nameless, faceless taxpayers like us.  If the fraud is caught, the fines are fobbed off on nameless, faceless stockholders.  Either way, almost no one inside the corporation who actually designed, operationalized, or green lighted a really big fraud being done by a really big company ever goes to jail, ever pays a personal fine, or even loses their job.  And the result?  While we recover billions of our stolen dollars every year, this sum represents only a small fraction of what is being stolen, and the behavior itself it not immediately and personally penalized in a meaningful way, which means the essential conduct continues, virtually unabated.