Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Environmental Justice Activism.

It's a GREAT day to garden in North Texas, so I've been hitting my garden areas since before 8am, weeding, seeding, and getting some starts put into the ground. Typically, I garden for 30 minutes and come indoors for 10, garden for 30, come indoors for 10, but as the day goes on and my body becomes tired, I find myself gardening for 20, indoors for 20. If I encounter egregious personal injustices (like those which occur when one steps on a fire ant nest), I'm indoors for 30.

So, it was after my right foot stepped alongside the back fence to enable a fenceline weeding that I found Majora Carter giving a presentation at TED:



She's good, isn't she?

There's more to share today and tomorrow (another great gardening day, weather-wise), but this break's already been too long.

Em helped me decide what to do with my potato "apartment house" today. Reminded me of why we've been friends for so many years: "He's a GREAT listener!" There are two potato starts that are going gang-busters in the black garbage can that I call the potato "apartment house". There are also two vacant circles in the yard ... one intended to be a 5th sweet-potato circle and the other intended to be horseradish (neither of which survived).

So, taking another break from the weeding/seeding, etc. today, I came indoors and plunked myself down in a chair next to him and said, "Help me figure out what I should do about my potato "apartment house". I have two wealthy tenants who are rising stars. Accommodating them, I leave all the other apartment house residents behind. I'd like to move them out to give the other tenants a chance, and (it just so happens) there are two vacancies uptown.

I've spared you the other options I presented to him because (as is usual when I talk to Em), I heard myself talking. He didn't even need to respond; he could have been asleep in the chair. <-- Well, I don't think that would have worked, but he certainly didn't need to open his mouth (which he didn't).

I need to wait a few days before implementing this move because the wind that's been making garden work so desirable today will be making garden work desirable tomorrow, as well. NOT good weather for garden "circles" lined with wet newspaper & covered with wood chips. WAY too windy for that (which I learned when I saw today's efforts at a 3rd sweet-potato circle blow away).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

No. 1's Wedding Shower and a visit from No. 2.

No. 2 came on a plane that set down at 1pm yesterday on a trip designed to both surprise her sister at her wedding shower and get a little face time with her mama.

She arrived hungry (like most travelers), and I had mixed success providing her food. I'd thought soup and a sandwich, but the canned lite vegetable rice number in my pantry contained chicken broth. Had a few slices left of really healthy sprouted wheat bread (not to mention all those home-made buns), and she decided on a sandwich of asparagus/artichoke/cheese spread with tomato, avocado, and hard-boiled egg with strawberries, purple grapes, and a bit of kiwi on the side.

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We visited while I finished off the buns and potato salads & got ready to hit the road for the wedding shower. I made WAY, WAY too much food. I should have considered that the crackers, cheeses, grapes, and dipping veggies provided by the shower hostess would have at least cut the food requirements in half. <-- I know that now, for the wedding cooking which will also have a large mixed offering. Lessons learned hard are learned well.

The shower was attended by the usual mix and a few I hadn't met before. I think this was the "Have you known them 10 yrs or more?" photo.

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Two more recent (UTA) friends showed up a bit later. In the pink on the left is No. 1's Wedding Planner. She was in the military before she became the leftist pinko for us. :-) On the right is the Mexican who worried, "Are you sure your mom won't care that I'm Mexican?" to which No. 1 replied, "I don't think my mom would care if *I* was Mexican."
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It's always a good day when the girls and I are together, IMO.
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For some reason I just love this next pic.

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After the shower, No. 1, No. 2, and the wedding planner came back to our house for a while.

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No. 1 tried on her wedding dress again for No. 2 and the wedding planner, as neither were here for the legal wedding in January.

Dave came shortly after the dress affair and mostly spent time with Em while the girls and I took advantage of being together.

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No. 1 and Dave left to meet up with some folks at their place while we shared another hour or two with the wedding planner, ending our day past midnight sometime.

Today, it's all a blur already. Em went to work, No. 2 flew back to the midwest, and others are celebrating religious holidays. We'll be having pulled pork sandwiches with potato salad for supper.

Updated to add another pic, just because I love it and I just learned how to split screen and copy from one window's contents to another.
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Milling Grain.

Finally got low enough on flour to warrant using my Family Grain Mill. I was hesitant to take it apart to clean before use, but the instructions were good and it went right back together and fit into the motor unit. It took a few minutes to get the fineness adjusted to my liking, but once we got that done the entire operation was a breeze.

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Made 24 buns yesterday and making 24 more today for No. 1's bridal shower this evening.

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Some of my bread bags go back to 2005. Watch someone think the buns are old. :-)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Saving Water.

"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water." - Benjamin Franklin

Droughts are fairly routine here in North Texas, but few people not associated with farming even consider the ramifications of reduced rainfall combined with increased populations. Kirk England in a recent newsletter mentioned the drought and suggested that we turn off the water while brushing our teeth. We're in a position to go further than that and it looks like North Texas could have severe water shortages in 2010 if we don't.

So, I bought a few shower shutoff valves ... two for our bathrooms and one for No. 1 and Dave. Em's brother installed the one in OUR shower:
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and Em installed the one that's not shown (heh ... not because it wasn't installed correctly, because it WAS!). No. 1 is currently thinking that she likes to keep her butt warm while she washes her hair and shaves her legs in the shower, so theirs might get installed next year when there's not enough water in North Texas to keep her butt warm anyway.

Also, last evening I attended a class put on by Rainwater Harvesting in conjunction with my city's Make It and Take It.

Em had the season's "kickoff" to attend at Lone Star Park last night [he goes back to work tomorrow] at the same time as the class, but they were only 1 mile apart.

His orientation let out early enough for him to sit in on some of the class.

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That's the woman who did half of the presentation, and next pic is me screwing around with our new rain barrel, which we drove home in the Mustang with the top down last night.

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It wasn't so cold that we froze with the top down to accommodate the thing, and it does kindof add a grownup touch to the patio, dontcha think?

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There's another 5-gallon bucket outside the photo, and we have no idea where to put the rainbarrel at this point. We don't have gutters and downspouts ... YET.

More links:
TAMU Water Edu,
Texas Water Info,
Texas Water Matters.

Other half of the presentation was done by Pam's husband, and he grew to become just a little OCD about saving water after learning about all this stuff. I can certainly see how that could happen.