Thursday, October 31, 2013

Weekend reading

You guessed it. If I have time this weekend, I'll be clicking away on the needles. I hope you can do something you love on the weekend too.

Please check below for details of a Permaculture Course in the Lockyer Valley.

Off the grid - Dutch documentary 2011 in English with Dutch subtitles - youtube
Meet the farmer - Joe Salatin - you tube
Living pay cheque to pay cheque
Make your own wine

A little Mickey BOO

Twenty Five years ago..
now THAT'S scary

Coffee and Provocation

Asian Carp Now in the Great Lakes Basin
Asian carp are now breeding in the Lake Erie Basin. A new study found four grass carp in Ohio’s Sandusky River and they are the result of natural reproduction.  Grass carp, by the way, were introduced as a "triploid" species -- a animal made sterile in the laboratory which supposedly could not breed in the wild, so it was going to be OK to put them in golf course ponds to eat algae and weeds.  Guess what?  Not all of the triploid carp got the message about being sterile, and some came out of the pressurized egg process fecund.  Whoops?  So no problem with that viral immuno-contraception thing.  I am sure that will end up being flawless
Not Making the Case Against Drone Strikes
The came all the way from Pakistan, but "drone strike survivors" who came to Washington found only five member of Congress could be bothered to show up.  One reason for that is the Pakistan and Al Queda are still the number one danger on earth and the number one terrorist group on earth, yet drone strikes have killed a remarkably few civilians.  It seems there are a LOT of survivors of drone strikes -- good people the drones did not hit.  The bad guys are generally dead.  Pakistan, which is outraged that we slam mostly very well-placed drones into terrorist camps they allow to operate in regions they cannot seem to control, notes that that 3 percent of 2,227 people killed in U.S. drone strikes since 2008 were civilians -- a total of 67civilans since 2008.  In the long history of warfare, I am not sure more really bad guys have been killed in so many separate incidents with so little civilian death as a result.  Can you imagine how many lives would have been saved if we had fought World Wars I and II, Korea, or Vietnam with drones? 
Best Bike Lock Ever?
It's a keyless U-bolt that opens when you approach it thanks to an encrypted phone-app.  And yes, the lock can be opened without the phone.  Added bonus:  the lock will tell you where your lock and bike are located in case you get to some serious drinking!  Not available yet, but there's a kickstarter campaign to fund it, and I think this one will happen.
How Do Your Get the Enemy to Give Up?
Play Britney Spears.  "As a tool against pirates, it is pretty effective."
50 Greatest Inventions Since the Wheel?
Survey says.. this is the list. The printing press is #1, followed by electricity, penicillin, the semiconductor, optical lenses, paper, internal combustion engine, vaccination, the internet, steam engine, nitrogen fixation from the air, sanitation systems, refrigeration, gunpowder, airplane, personal computer, compass, automobile, industrial steelmaking, birth control pill, nuclear fission, green revolution, sextant, telephone... and see the list for the rest.
Here Comes the Sun, But Walmart Wages Still Suck
Walmart has more solar capacity than 38 U.S. states, and twice as much as its nearest competitor... Costco.  Of course the thing that could save Big Bucks and Big Energy is simple weatherstripping and sealing leaky homes.  America could save $33 billion a year with low-tech and low-cost stuff to be found in the neighborhood.

Find the Weakest Link


Panda Twins -- First 100 Days

Prediction:  In 50 years, there will be more Giant Pandas on earth than there will be dogs registered by the American Kennel Club. After all, one is a thing that produces nothing of value and whose time has passed. The other is a panda.

Baby Back Ribs

From the Smithsonian Institution Tumblr library page comes this 1590s illustration of the "opportunities and customs of savages in Virginia."

Same as it ever was.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This is PETA

Click to enlarge

My 2009 post calling PeTA's "shelter" a slaughter house, and asking how it could possibly meet Virginia state regulations and standards, seems to have triggered an inspection by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Veterinary Services in 2010.

That would have been good, if anything had actually been done.  It wasn't.


So how does the PeTA Slaughter House still stay in business? 

The answer is that the terms "shelter" and "humane society" are not codified in the state of Virginia and so they can mean anything and nothing.  They do not mean "adoption facility" and can just as easily be used to label a slaughter house, as PeTA does, as a true No Kill or Low-Kill facility.

Something Good


Not Tested on Animals?

Your dog will be the first?  Good luck!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This Is Not a Poodle

This is a black sheep trimmed like a poodle by Dutch champion dog groomer Marieke Hollander.


If you are a Tea Party Republican, you may not know enough about Nazis and the history of racism and fascism to understand this. We apologize if your sense of entitlement has been damaged in any way by this post.

Predator Eyes Face Front

Predators:  their eyes almost always face front.

WebThriftStore Partners with Dog and Cat Killers

I got an email over the transom:

WebThriftStore, an online charity fundraising platform, today announced its new partnership with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA now has its own online store where donated items (such as clothing, electronics, furniture, household items, etc.) are sold into the marketplace to benefit the nonprofit in support of its mission to protect and strengthen animal rights.


Some outfit I have never heard of with a very dubious business plan is emailing me to tell me about their partnership with the direct mail fraud factory known as PeTA?

I am not sure that hits the right tone or delivers the message they are looking for!

Here's a hint:  If you have stuff to sell online, stick to Ebay, and if you want to help animals with cash, give to your local No-Kill shelter right in your own area. 

PeTA does nothing to help dogs and cats, spends almost all of its money on direct mail, and kills almost every dog and cat that crosses the threshold of the only "shelter" (actually a  slaughter house) they run in Norfolk, Virginia.

Into the Woods

Playing in a pretend wooded land 
with hidden deer and pixies

Trying to soothe myself...
How I wish I could take a real walk in the
woods of Pennsylvania.

Our family lost a dear friend last weekend.
Nathaniel was an artist, an educator, and a darling man.
I am blessed to have a painting he created just for me,
and hundreds of hand drawn or painted notes and letters.
He always remembered everyone's special days.
He was very much loved by his family,
and an entire college community of students, artists and friends.

He will be missed.

The internet - the good, the bad and the ugly

I think many of you would agree when I say that there are things on the internet that we don't want our kids or grandkids to see. I don't want to see them either. In certain areas of the internet, there are people waiting in chat rooms looking for children, waiting for adults to befriend so they can steal their hearts and dollars, and in many areas, including the general news sites, chat

Jack Russell Terrier Pumpkin Pattern

History of the GOP in 3 Buttons

The GOP opposed wage and hour laws, supported child labor, opposed OSHA, fought Medicare and Medicaid, and went to the mattresses in opposition to Social Security. The Republican party has never supported any form of assistance to the old, the poor, the very young, or the sick, but they have championed every tax cut for the rich and every give away extended to big business. This is not opinion; this is history.

Coffee and Provocation

This Gun-Wielding Idiot Got a Slap on the Wrist:
According to The Tribune-Review, Arcangelo "Angelo" Bianco, Jr. paid a total of $1,080 in fines, received six months probation, and performed 20 hours of community service for driving rapidly in reverse in the crowded parking lot of an Indiana, Pennsylvania Wal-Mart, pulling out a handgun, and then shooting the deer from his vehicle as the deer crossed a highway and fell into a residential backyard. Bianco, who did not even have a huning license, then loaded the deer into his pickup and drove away, and the whole thing was caught on security cameras.  Instead of going to jail  for 10 years and having his teeth knocked out like he should have, Bianco was accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for first-time "non-violent" offenders, and was put on probation. He never faced charges for reckless endangerment, killing big game unlawfully, failing to have a hunting license, discharging a weapon across a highway, discharging a weapon in a safety zone, and using a motor vehicle to hunt illegally. Feel safer now?

Hunting Improves Life for Australian Lizards
To flush out prey, the Martu people of Australia burn patches of grasslands. The regrowth accommodates a wider variety of wildlife, leading to more stable lizard populations.

Young Americans Very Commonly Get Arrested
The criminalization of discipline is ruining millions of lives and costing this country scores of billions a year in lost productivity as well as damaging lives for the duration. By age 23, between 25% and 41% of Americans have been arrested -- and the number is far higher for young men, especially minority men.  This data  excludes arrests for minor traffic violations.

Why we Need MBTA Prosecutions for Cat Colony Suppliers:
Workers at the Portsmouth Virginia Humane Society released some 300 feral cats into the wild and counted many of them as having been adopted in order to boost their statistics, state investigators said.  Three former employees at the said shelter bosses instructed them to release cats brought in by residents and city workers alike. The shelter, which serves as the Portsmouth animal pound, is supposed to neuter the animals and put them up for adoption.  State investigators fined the shelter $1,250 and the Humane Society fired the shelter's executive director, Jenn Austin.  It is unclear to me why the PVHS and Ms. Austin are not being prosecuted for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, since they caused a situation where thousands of illegal bird deaths a years were certain to occur.

A Tiny Wonder of a Book:
Looking for a book for a birder friend for Christmas?  How about Audubon's Birds Of America, Tiny Folio edition? This sparkling little hardcover copy displays all 435 of John James Audubon's hand-colored engravings, with an introduction by Roger Tory Peterson. This is a very good small-sized reproduction of the Baby Elephant Folio reproduced in a miniature, gem-like version, all for only $10 in a hardcover!
Melting Glaciers Give Up Clues of Production:
A melting glacier in Norway has revealed an ancient bow and arrow set tipped with slate.

The Death of a Thousand Movie Plots:
If you steal really famous and expensive art, you will find it is worthless, impossible to sell, and will get you arrested.

A Real Cure for Baldness?
A cure presupposes an illness,  but I think baldness is more of a feature.  That said, baldness could soon be banished after researchers discovered how to use a person’s own cells to grow new hair.

Balancing Goat Street Performer

I expect to see this trick being done by buskers all over Europe and the U.S. in the next few years.  There is no torture here -- wild goats are natural rock climbers that can balance on a tiny nub of rock 200 feet up a cliff.

Training a Wild Otter

It just takes a calm, deep voice, a little fish, and a recognition that Otter like to eat alone.  This is in Finland -- the country that brought log cabins to America.

I Am a One Percenter!

This is an ad for a correspondence school in 1916 when the average wage earner made about $650 a year.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Make and mend your own household linens

According to this article, handmade crafts are making a big comeback in America, with $29 billion reportedly spent on craft materials in 2011. There are many reasons for the popularity of crafts again; some are working towards self-reliance, some want to learn traditional skills, some want non-commercial and unique items, some want the beauty of something hand made, others just love working with

Please Throw Away the AKC

Made in China.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Asian Volcano that Forested New England

From Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comeback Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds by Jim Sterba:

There were lots of reasons to quit farming in New England in the nineteenth century, but one early event stands out: the most violent explosion in recorded history halfway around the world.

On the island of Sumbawa in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) near the equator, a volcano named Tambora began to rumble and cough on the evening of April 5, 1815. On April 11 and 12, eruptions shook houses and boats hundreds of miles away. Over ten days, Tambora belched twenty-four cubic miles of lava and pulverized rock (try to imagine a cubic mile of anything), and created a crater more than three miles wide and nearly a mile deep. Flowing lava, flying rocks, and deadly gases killed thousands of people on Sumbawa and nearby islands. Earthquakes and tsunamis killed tens of thousands more. Hundreds of millions of tons of ash filled the sky, turning days into nights and blanketing the nearby island of Bali in a foot of volcanic soot. The ash smothered vegetation on islands for hundreds of miles around, and carpets of floating pumice covered the seas. An estimated 117,000 people in the region eventually died, many from starvation caused by crop failures and epidemics.

Tambora was much bigger (24 cubic miles of ejected debris) than Krakatoa (3.5 to 11 cubic miles), or the famed eruptions of Vesuvius (1.4 cubic miles) and Mount Saint Helens in Washington (less than 1 cubic mile).

The summer after the eruption — crop failures dotted the Northern Hemisphere. Rice failed in parts of China, wheat and corn in Europe, potatoes in Ireland (where it rained nonstop for eight weeks and triggered a typhus epidemic that killed sixty-five thousand and spread to England and Europe). Famine spread across Europe and Asia. Food riots and insurrections swept France, which had already been caught up in chaos following Napoleon’s 1815 defeat at Waterloo.

In New England, 1816 was called “the year without a summer” because there were crop-killing frosts every month, including normally frostfree months of summer, across the region. It snowed in Virginia in June and again on the Fourth of July. At Monticello, Thomas Jefferson, the retired president, had such a poor corn harvest that he had to borrow $1,000 to make up for lost income.

In their elegant 1983 book, Volcano Weather: The Story of 1816, the Year without a Summer, Woods Hole oceanographer Henry Stommel and his wife, Elizabeth, wrote: “The summer of 1816 marked the point at which many New England farmers who had weighed the advantages of going west made up their minds to do so.”

By 1840, reforestation was clearly evident in parts of New England. In western Massachusetts, perhaps half the farmland was abandoned within twenty years after 1850, and much of it was colonized by native white pines.

Work and relaxation

I'm not sure why but there are a lot of readers who are interested in what I do each day. I'm ordinary. Usually I'm here at home doing ordinary things.  When I'm writing, which I am at the moment, there's not a lot to report in my normal daily activities - I make three meals, clean up and write most of the day. But yesterday I took time away from the computer and spent most of the day working in

Farmers Market, Dupont Circle

I had an 8 am in the city and got there a little early despite having to negotiate the altered traffic patterns due to the Marine Corps Marathon. What to do?  How about a few pictures of the DuPont Circle Farmer's Market? Fall is always a colorful time, even in a smaller urban produce market, such as this one.  Pictures courtesy of the always-present iPhone camera.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October specials at EcoYarns

Vivian at Ecoyarns has some specials for you.

Vegetable dyed hemp.

Handspun Hand dyed with Vegetable colours : Hemp.
This is great for hats, bags, kitchen scrubbers, door mats or as a warp for a rug. Please note, Hemp releases some colour and has an odd smell when wet, this is to be expected and is not a fault. Recently restocked in all colours, come and grab them before they are gone!

Anatomy of a Bite Healing

I've only been bit twice in all the years I've live- handled groundhogs, possum, fox, raccoon, and rats.  The first was a very small single-canine puncture, through a glove, from a small raccoon.  

The groundhog, above, got me a little better.  My fault -- I was cleaning stone out of the hole and I knew that Mr. Monax was very close by, as there was only a foot or two more left on the pipe. I got a little careless, however, and was not respectful enough. Like the dogs, I got taught a small lesson about discretion. Live and learn. Old school operant conditioning, no clicker training or treats involved. Think I will forget this lesson soon?  I bet not!

No, I did not get a rabies shot and engage in a lot of drama.  I tore a strip off a towel, wrapped it around the wound and tied it tight with electrical tape and finished the dig.   At home I washed the wound, hit it with proviodine, and let it air dry like a sensible human being, with a small strip of loose paper towel over the wound to keep the public from gagging. 
The wrong way to deal with a wound like is to slobber antibiotic ointment over the damn thing and bandage it  up -- that simply keeps the wound wet and open and ready for infection. A scab is Mother Nature's way of sealing up a wound against troubles, and most wounds -- human or dog -- will fill in fine in time. I tend to load a ripped dog with antibiotics the first few days after they are bit, especially if it's a fox or a raccoon, but in this case I could see the wound very well (no hair) and simply flushed it well, first with water (never with hydrogen peroxide!) and then with proviodine.

Can You See Doc Martin's Place?

The village of Port Wenn in the TV show  "Doc Martin" is actually the village of Port Isaac, Cornwall, England.  This is Port Isaac from the air.  Nice!
It's not hard too see the impact of the Enclosure Movement -- one of the great shaping hands in the world of genetics, class division, fox hunting, and terrier work.  For a brief pictorial history and background about that, see here.

Getting Real

"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." . .  - The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Unboxing the New Computer


The old grey machine, also a Dell, had an 80 MB hard drive, and the new black one has a 500 MB hard drive and is much smaller.  

Windows 8 comes with this machine, and there will clearly be a learning curve, but I am sure I can climb the curve in time. What they say about old dogs and new tricks is actually a lie, and always has been.