Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Meet My Guest Blogger, Pat

Last year my family joined Pat Whetham's organic vegetable CSA* farm, here in Genesee County, Michigan. Just to give it a try see how we liked it. The food was fresh and healthy, organically and locally grown. It was a good year. And luckily, our half share was plentiful: we had more than we could use.
And, just maybe because of all of the green leafy veggies, my cholesterol level this year was better than last year's reading. All good, all good.
(*Consumer Supported Agriculture)

Farming is a real life gamble, when you think of it. We get a taste of that when we buy a share in a CSA farm and then wait to see what happens with the weather and insects and whatever else Mother Nature has in mind for us. Like with stock, 'the market doesn't always go up'. This uncertainty is what the farm family has to deal with every year for their livelihood.
It gives us a clearer idea about the precariousness of the climate change that we are beginning to experience as well.

Anyhow, this year I like to think we were first in line to re-subscribe.

We shareholders receive occasional e-mails concerning relevant topics from our CSA farmer, Pat, and upon reading the latest one, I had 'the light bulb' turn on over my head:
Ask Pat to be a guest blogger!
In other words, ask her permission to post her emails and help spread her words of wisdom and experience! So I turn this space over today to Pat.

From Whetham Organic Farm - "The Way We Live Now"

In the interests of further educating everyone I know:

[Linked] to this is a very interesting article by Michael Pollan, author of The Ominivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. ... I really want you to read it and think.

Pollan is good at making us think (at least in my opinion) and his work has helped fuel the 'eat local' movement across America by describing the production of industrial food in great detail. In this article he is very definitely equating our food choices with our environmental or carbon footprints. And it's about time. I've been trying to do that for 20 years, but no one would pay attention - including the environmentalists.

By the end of the [linked] article Pollan finally is saying Grow your own food. It's the best choice for the whole entire world and everybody in it. I agree and say also that garden needs to be organic, not chemical (because chemical gardening -and farming- uses more resources as well as being unhealthy for you and the planet).

Can you believe that many 'gardeners' never grow anything edible? Those people need to be encouraged to put some fruits and vegetables among those ornamentals!

Pollan talks about viral social change - that phenomenon where ideas spread like a computer virus. Let's help this particular virus along. Start praising all the gardeners you know for growing their own food.

Encourage others to try it. That's one of the reasons I started an organic gardening class this year - to encourage others, to show them how it's done if they don't know, to spread the word as Pollan is trying to do.

For those of you who can't grow your own, CSA is a good choice, particularly a really local CSA where you can see your food being grown, maybe help out a little, and gain some understanding of the whole process of gardening and farming and the ways it can help or hurt the world.

I have a few more "viral" ideas coming along in my mind. Expect to hear about them soon.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

NGJL "Hope"

"Hope" by George Fredrick Watts

A bumper sticker on the car in front of me on Hill Road got to me yesterday, while on my way to the Home Street garden to do a neighborhood walk to invite the community to an informational meeting on urban community gardening. It was a quote from Mother Theresa of Calcutta (who we've lately learned also had a jaundiced view of religious institutions) that read: "It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."

Most probably the owner of that bumper was anti-choice in the Snowflake Debate, but I think Sister Theresa was talking about our many daily choices. Are you on the Recession Diet yet? Are you warehousing food? Are you planting a Victory Garden in your backyard? Or are you clearing the rice shelf at Sam's "Club"?
Did the Presidents of Peru and Ecuador telling the United Nations that 'growing food grain for fuel was making the choice to starve people in the third world' affect you as you drove your SUV to the mall?
Did you write or call your congressional representatives about the Farm Bill for Agribusiness, or the Taxpayer Subsidies for Corporate Oil?

What do you think when you read something like this that arrived in my e-mailbox today in my biweekly update from OCA:
"We should not hide the word hunger in our discussions of this problem just because we cannot hide the reality of hunger among our citizens."
- Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, speaking about the USDA's annual report on hunger in the U.S. For the first time in the agency's history, the USDA avoided the term "hunger" in its report and used a new euphemism in its place. The phrase "suffering from food insecurity" is how the USDA now refers to the nation's 35 million hungry.Learn more:

I don't spend much time listening to sermons, and readers who know me know my position on organized religions. But this old sermon (posted below) that I ran across while Googling 'Audacity + Hope' got to me. Another of those coincidental discoveries on this path I'm on.

I think, beyond the message of the sermon itself, which blow me away with its truth telling, that this sermon reveals a story that our corporate owned mass media missed, perhaps deliberately. I've heard the wealthy media pundits derisively playing with the words 'Hope' and 'Change'. Are they bitter, stupid, or just plain bad people?

Next time you hear someone deride Hope, Know them for who they are.

Here it is:

"Several years ago while I was in Richmond, the Lord allowed me to be in that city during the week of the annual convocation at Virginia Union University School of Theology. There I heard the preaching and teaching of Reverend Frederick G. Sampson of Detroit, Michigan. In one of his lectures, Dr. Sampson spoke of a painting I remembered studying in humanities courses back in the late '50s. In Dr. Sampson's powerful description of the picture, he spoke of it being a study in contradictions, because the title and the details on the canvas seem to be in direct opposition.

"The painting's title is "Hope." It shows a woman sitting on top of the world, playing a harp. What more enviable position could one ever hope to achieve than being on top of the world with everyone dancing to your music?

"As you look closer, the illusion of power gives way to the reality of pain. The world on which this woman sits, our world, is torn by war, destroyed by hate, decimated by despair, and devastated by distrust. The world on which she sits seems on the brink of destruction.

"Famine ravages millions of inhabitants in one hemisphere, while feasting and gluttony are enjoyed by inhabitants of another hemisphere. This world is a ticking time bomb, with apartheid in one hemisphere and apathy in the other. Scientists tell us there are enough nuclear warheads to wipe out all forms of life except cockroaches. That is the world on which the woman sits in Watt's painting.

"Our world cares more about bombs for the enemy than about bread for the hungry. This world is still more concerned about the color of skin than it is about the content of character—a world more finicky about what's on the outside of your head than about the quality of your education or what's inside your head. That is the world on which this woman sits.

"You and I think of being on top of the world as being in heaven. When you look at the woman in Watt's painting, you discover this woman is in hell. She is wearing rags. Her tattered clothes look as if the woman herself has come through Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Her head is bandaged, and blood seeps through the bandages. Scars and cuts are visible on her face, her arms, and her legs.

I. Illusion of Power vs. Reality of Pain

"A closer look reveals all the harp strings but one are broken or ripped out. Even the instrument has been damaged by what she has been through, and she is the classic example of quiet despair. Yet the artist dares to entitle the painting 'Hope'. The illusion of power — sitting on top of the world — gives way to the reality of pain.

"And isn't it that way with many of us? We give the illusion of being in an enviable position on top of the world. Look closer, and our lives reveal the reality of pain too deep for the tongue to tell. For the woman in the painting, what looks like being in heaven is actually an existence in a quiet hell.

"I've been a pastor for seventeen years. I've seen too many of these cases not to know what I'm talking about. I've seen married couples where the husband has a girlfriend in addition to his wife. It's something nobody talks about. The wife smiles and pretends not to hear the whispers and the gossip. She has the legal papers but knows he would rather try to buy Fort Knox than divorce her. That's a living hell.

"I've seen married couples where the wife had discovered that somebody else cares for her as a person and not just as cook, maid jitney service, and call girl all wrapped into one. But there's the scandal: What would folks say? What about the children? That's a living hell.

"I've seen divorcees whose dreams have been blown to bits, families broken up beyond repair, and lives somehow slipping through their fingers. They've lost control. That's a living hell.

"I've seen college students who give the illusion of being on top of the world — designer clothes, all the sex that they want, all the cocaine or marijuana or drugs, all the trappings of having it all together on the outside — but empty and shallow and hurting and lonely and afraid on the inside. Many times what looks good on the outside — the illusion of being in power, of sitting on top of the world—with a closer look is actually existence in a quiet hell.

"That is exactly where Hannah is in 1 Samuel 1 :1-18. Hannah is top dog in this three-way relationship between herself, Elkanah, and Peninnah. Her husband loves Hannah more than he loves his other wife and their children. Elkanah tells Hannah he loves her. A lot of husbands don't do that. He shows Hannah that he loves her, and many husbands never get around to doing that. In fact, it is his attention and devotion to Hannah that causes Peninnah to be so angry and to stay on Hannah's case constantly. Jealous! Jealousy will get hold of you, and you can't let it go because it won't let you go. Peninnah stayed on Hannah, like we say, "as white on rice." She constantly picked at Hannah, making her cry, taking her appetite away.

"At first glance Hannah's position seems enviable. She had all the rights and none of the responsibilities—no diapers to change, no beds to sit beside at night, no noses to wipe, nothing else to wipe either, no babies draining you of your milk and demanding feeding. Hannah was top dog. No baby portions to fix at meal times. Her man loved her; everybody knew he loved her. He loved her more than anything or anybody. That's why Peninnah hated her so much.

"Now, except for the second-wife bit, which was legal back then, Hannah was sitting on top of the world, until you look closer. When you look closer, what looked like being in heaven was actually existing in a quiet hell.

"Hannah had the pain of a bitter woman to contend with, for verse 7 says that nonstop, Peninnah stayed with her. Hannah suffered the pain of living with a bitter woman. And she suffered another pain—the pain of a barren womb. You will remember the story of the widow in 2 Kings 4 who had no child. The story of a woman with no children was a story of deep pathos and despair in biblical days.

"Do you remember the story of Sarah and what she did in Genesis 16 because of her barren womb—before the three heavenly visitors stopped by their tent? Do you remember the story of Elizabeth and her husband in Luke I? Back in Bible days, the story of a woman with a barren womb was a story of deep pathos. And Hannah was afflicted with the pain of a bitter woman on the one hand and the pain of a barren womb on the other.

"Hannah's world was flawed, flaky. Her garments of respectability were tattered and torn, and her heart was bruised and bleeding from the constant attacks of a jealous woman. The scars and scratches on her psyche are almost visible as you look at this passage, where she cries, refusing to eat anything. Just like the woman in Watt's painting, what looks like being in heaven is actually existence in a quiet hell.

"Now I want to share briefly with you about Hannah—the lady and the Lord. While I do so, I want you to be thinking about where you live and your own particular pain predicament. Think about it for a moment.

"Dr. Sampson said he wanted to quarrel with the artist for having the gall to name that painting Hope when all he could see in the picture was hell — a quiet desperation.

"But then Dr. Sampson said he noticed that he had been looking only at the horizontal dimensions and relationships and how this woman was hooked up with that world on which she sat. He had failed to take into account her vertical relationships. He had not looked above her head. And when he looked over her head, he found some small notes of music moving joyfully and playfully toward heaven."

II. The Audacity to Hope

Then, Dr. Sampson began to understand why the artist titled the painting "Hope." In spite of being in a world torn by war, in spite of being on a world destroyed by hate and decimated by distrust, in spite of being on a world where famine and greed are uneasy bed partners, in spite of being on a world where apartheid and apathy feed the fires of racism and hatred, in spite of being on a world where nuclear nightmare draws closer with each second, in spite of being on a ticking time bomb, with her clothes in rags, her body scarred and bruised and bleeding, her harp all but destroyed and with only one string left, she had the audacity to make music and praise God. The vertical dimension balanced out what was going on in the horizontal dimension.
And that is what the audacity to hope will do for you.

"The apostle Paul said the same thing. "You have troubles? Glory in your trouble. We glory in tribulation." That's the horizontal dimension. We glory in tribulation because, he says, "Tribulation works patience. And patience works experience. And experience works hope. (That's the vertical dimension.) And hope makes us not ashamed." The vertical dimension balances out what is going on in the horizontal dimension. That is the real story here in the first chapter of 1 Samuel. Not the condition of Hannah's body, but the condition of Hannah's soul — her vertical dimension. She had the audacity to keep on hoping and praying when there was no visible sign on the horizontal level that what she was praying for, hoping for, and waiting for would ever be answered in the affirmative.

"What Hannah wanted most out of life had been denied to her. Think about that. Yet in spite of that, she kept on hoping. The gloating of Peninnah did not make her bitter. She kept on hoping. When the family made its pilgrimage to the sanctuary at Shiloh, she renewed her petition there, pouring out her heart to God. She may have been barren, but that's a horizontal dimension. She was fertile in her spirit, her vertical dimension. She prayed and she prayed and she prayed and she kept on praying year after year. With no answer, she kept on praying. She prayed so fervently in this passage that Eli thought she had to be drunk. There was no visible sign on the horizontal level to indicate to Hannah that her praying would ever be answered. Yet, she kept on praying.

"And Paul said something about that, too. No visible sign? He says, "Hope is what saves us, for we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope. For what a man sees, why does he have hope for it? But if we hope for that which we see not (no visible sign), then do we with patience wait for it."

"That's almost an echo of what the prophet Isaiah said: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." The vertical dimension balances out what is going on in the horizontal dimension.

"There may not be any visible sign of a change in your individual situation, whatever your private hell is. But that's just the horizontal level. Keep the vertical level intact, like Hannah. You may, like the African slaves, be able to sing, "Over my head I hear music in the air. Over my head I hear music in the air. Over my head I hear music in the air. There must be a God somewhere."

"Keep the vertical dimension intact like Hannah. Have the audacity to hope for that child of yours. Have the audacity to hope for that home of yours. Have the audacity to hope for that church of yours. Whatever it is you've been praying for, keep on praying, and you may find, like my grandmother sings, "There's a bright side somewhere; there is a bright side somewhere. Don't you rest until you find it, for there is a bright side somewhere."

III. Persistence of Hope

"The real lesson Hannah gives us from this chapter — the most important word God would have us hear — is how to hope when the love of God is not plainly evident. It's easy to hope when there are evidences all around of how good God is. But to have the audacity to hope when that love is not evident — you don't know where that somewhere is that my grandmother sang about, or if there will ever be that brighter day — that is a true test of a Hannah-type faith. To take the one string you have left and to have the audacity to hope — make music and praise God on and with whatever it is you've got left, even though you can't see what God is going to do — that's the real word God will have us hear from this passage and from Watt's painting.

"There's a true-life illustration that demonstrates the principles portrayed so powerfully in this periscope. And I close with it. My mom and my dad used to sing a song that I've not been able to find in any of the published hymnals. It's an old song out of the black religious tradition called "Thank you, Jesus." It's a very simple song. Some of you have heard it. It's simply goes, "Thank you Jesus. I thank you Jesus. I thank you Jesus. I thank you Lord." To me they always sang that song at the strangest times — when the money got low, or when the food was running out. When I was getting in trouble, they would start singing that song. And I never understood it, because as a child it seemed to me they were thanking God that we didn't have any money, or thanking God that we had no food, or thanking God that I was making a fool out of myself as a kid.

Conclusion: Hope is What Saves Us

"But I was only looking at the horizontal level. I did not understand nor could I see back then the vertical hookup that my mother and my father had. I did not know then that they were thanking him in advance for all they dared to hope he would do one day to their son, in their son, and through their son. That's why they prayed. That's why they hoped. That's why they kept on praying with no visible sign on the horizon. And I thank God I had praying parents, because now some thirty-five years later, when I look at what God has done in my life, I understand clearly why Hannah had the audacity to hope. Why my parents had the audacity to hope.
And that's why I say to you, hope is what saves us. Keep on hoping; keep on praying. God does hear and answer prayer.

-The full text of Jeremiah Wright's "Audacity To Hope" sermon in 1990. Maybe, hopefully, Barack Hussein Obama heard the sermon that day. He did, after all, title his book, The Audacity of Hope.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

GTS: the audacity of hope - plant seeds

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Shelf #1 Mine: Lemon basil, lime basil, basil 'Purple Ruffles', basil 'Mexican Spice', Thai basil 'Siam Queen', holy basil, Genovese basil, basil 'Napoletano Bolloso', basil 'Mammoth', calendula 'Flashback', calendula 'Pacific Beauty', Celosia cristata 'Red Velvet', Viola tricolor, summer savory, sweet marjoram, stevia. (Rotated outdoors: pansies and parsley, flat and curled)

Shelf #2 Herb's: tomatoes, peppers and okra.

Snow is predicted this week. My memory tells me that for thirty years of observation (except for last year), it always snows on my daffodils. A blanket or only a few flakes, but it does. But the tender annual seeds are in the soil, safely indoors, waiting and preparing themselves for Memorial Day.

Yesterday at the Genesee County Herb Symposium, our speaker, Donna Frawley said something I that just loved that I'll try to paraphrase:

We gardeners have such imagination! Just think of how we sprinkle a few basil seeds in the palm of our hand and we can already smell the pesto! Imagine, bowls of pesto from those tiny black dots.

And of course there is the classic comment by Henry Thoreau in his last book:
"Though I do not believe a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders."
Henry David Thoreau
I'm doing the happy dance today, the herb symposium is over! and it was great fun! and I think our guests liked it too. What more can you ask?

Gardeners, Plant and Nature Lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

my borrowed view

Magnolia stellata. This 40 or so year old star magnolia in my neighbor's yard has had its good years and poor years. One time years ago when the house was changing hands, the new owner came outdoors with a saw and began to clear shrubbery. I reenacted "Woodsman Spare That Tree" with tales of the fragrance and promises of a beautiful flowery show in the spring, and he just trimmed it up a bit.
The gnarled old Henry Lauder's' Walking Stick (on its own roots, not a graft) was not so lucky.

For insurance I gathered seed from the magnolia and now I have my own tree growing in a bed in front of my house. In its third year of bloom my seedling tree is not as impressive as its mother, but working on it.
I detest chain link fences, but the cedar fence that was there when we bought this house is long gone, and the neighbors in that house always have dogs so it is probably as well. I remember reading somewhere (maybe advice from one of our best garden writers, Allen Lacy?) that if you want an ugly thing such as a chain link fence to disappear, paint it black. Sounds like gardening advice from Mick Jagger.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tidying up the Hellebores

They look like HECK before their spring haircuts, but they seem to be sturdy enough plants, and Hooray! on removing the dessicated foliage I found volunteer seedlings under the pink flowered plant. I do wish they would hold their faces up though so we could see their charming freckles.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

GTS: Some Herbs Are Making Their Comeback

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Motherwort: transplanted last year from Skip and Tree's yard, and Hooray! I see seedlings emerging all around it:

Lungwort: this one is a volunteer. I know, Pulmonarias have become a popular ornamental nursery plant, a favorite with hybridizers, but I like the old standby:

Lovage: can't (or should I say shouldn't) make chicken stock without some lovage:
Salad Burnet: another volunteer. In my yard burnet always makes an appearance in the gravel walks, not in the beds where I place it.

Hops: This is a prolific plant, so don't feel bad about giving it a severe cutting back. I'm thinking, from what I've seen this plant do, that if I left just a few stems, it would bear enough 'cones' for the family brewmeister, if he wanted some ... You can observe I need to do some work in the garden, cleaning up the winter debris.

My garlic planting looks good! I planted these cloves last fall.
But whew! I didn't get around to photographing half of the neat things coming up!

Gardeners, Plant and Nature Lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I should say a few words about the Genesee County Herb Society Spring Symposium

A week from tomorrow the Genesee County Herb Society will have our biannual Herb Symposium, "Cooking with WHAT? Herbs!" We still have a few tickets left, so I'll tell you about what to expect in case you are nearby and would like to attend.

Our guest speaker will be Donna Frawley of Frawley's Fine Herbary based in Midland, Michigan, who will give two presentations and who will during the day be selling a variety of her herbal products.

Donna's keynote talk, in the morning will be "Cooking with Herbs" and her shorter afternoon presentation will be "Herbal Breads."
I've personally been to one of her presentations for the local District meeting of the Federated Garden Clubs and she does a great presentation, complete with demonstrations while she talks and yummy samples. Donna sells herbal culinary mixes has authored cookbooks and now has gone high tech with videos.

When you come in the door you'll be given your name tag and a goody bag and be directed to find a seat at one of the beautifully decorated tables in the auditorium, but before the day starts you can shop at our marketplace and preview the silent auction. We have added a plant vendor from one of the local nurseries, 'His and Herbs', this year and asked to have a good supply of culinary herbs to coordinate with the theme of our program. The GCHS is a non-profit organization and our biannual Symposium is one of our major fund-raisers to support our educational programs so we encourage you to shop til you drop.

However, if you need sustenance we have one of the best morning tea buffets, homemade sweet and savory treats provided by our membership ... so before the program begins you should take time to choose a plate of goodies and a nice cuppa tea and get settled. By the way, the centerpieces will be offered for sale in the silent auction, so choose your favorite! Take a moment too, to look around at the springtime decorations and herbal educational display.

After a few official remarks and the Keynote talk by our speaker, we will break out into your choice of one of seven workshops that our members will be teaching.

The make-and-take classes this year are:
Dried Herbal Seasonings - Better Than Store-Bought (with recipe booklet)
Herbal Tea in a Decorated Jar (with recipe booklet)
Place Cards for your Tea Table
Post-It Note Holder Made with Pressed Flowers
Holiday Table Favors - 12 designs, make 3!
Herbal Meals in a Jar
Using Herbs for Medicinal Purposes and Cosmetics

A delicious Luncheon follows, and then we will enjoy a second presentation by our guest speaker. Donna has told me she'll have a bread machine going, to add the fragrance of her herbal bread to the air while we enjoy her talk.

At the end of the day, don't leave before picking up your auction purchases, and have a safe drive home!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

minor bulbs and spring ephemerals

The floral calendar shifts into second gear. I hope all my little treasures will be able to adjust to the sudden sunlight afforded by the removal of the Colorado Blue Spruce that was providing shade for them during summers past.

Dutch Iris (Sorry for the blurrrr. The wind was blowing when I tried to take the photo.)


Dutchman's Breeches

Remember - for a closer look, click on the photo.

Spring Beauty


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

NGJL - ice cream castles in the air

I was sitting in the dentist chair yesterday watching HGTV when a commercial came on for a 'green house giveaway' which reminded the dental hygienist of a story she'd heard. A woman won a really, really big lottery and paid off all of her family's mortgages. And then she won another big one, and spent it all on herself, which led the young lady working on my teeth on a beautiful Michigan spring day to comment that winning all of that money was a scary thought.
Not exactly the word I'd have used.

So, in the usual manner of significant things just 'turning up' on my path, this morning the video posted here was in my mailbox, waiting to be connected for y'all.
What would you do with three trillion dollars?

The Three Trillion dot org interactive website is lotsa good clean fun, and makes me wonder why we don't have the collective will as a nation to spend our fortune on good things.
Go try it out: you can even put your kid's mortgages and health insurance for your grandchildren in your 'shopping cart'...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday Fun with Puschkinia

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Listen for the hummmm, and look closer... bees are flocking to the Pushkinia. How many do you see? Two here...

Three here... or four? (I do leave a plant tag planted here and there, but not for too long, just until I learn the name of the cultivar...) Do you label plants? A neighbor used to call gardens with too many plant labels "pet hamster cemeteries."

Three here definitely...

Gardeners, Plant and Nature Lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Most of the time, I'm a Canna

But this time, when I answered the questions on the little quiz, I've become a Snapdragon. Maybe I changed my mind about what color to paint my room?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Friday, April 11, 2008

time for a check up

I get mail ... from the League of Conservation Voters, an historically non-partisan pro-environmental organization. (Btw, did you see this absurdity?)

And I am wondering if other gardeners are concerned about such political things as Senators' voting records on the environment as I am? If so, then why is there so little written about it in the majority of self described 'garden blogs'? Just askin'...

Here is the e-mail from the LCV (it's a few weeks old) and the look up I did in response. I've been hoping to read some other garden bloggers who might be concerned. I'd appreciate a couple links if anyone finds one.

How did your representatives vote on clean energy and global warming last year? You can find out in the League of Conservation Voters just-released 2007 National Environmental Scorecard!

A big highlight of 2007 was passage of the Energy Bill. Thanks to thousands of emails and calls to Congress by LCV supporters, the new energy law increased fuel efficiency for the first time in over three decades!

The progress we saw in 2007 was largely due to new pro-environment leaders that you helped LCV elect in 2006.

As a matter of fact, Dirty Dozen politicians we defeated in 2006 had a combined average lifetime score of just 8%. The new members who defeated them had a combined average score of 88%. What an improvement!

Despite the progress on fuel efficiency, there is still a lot of work to do. In the Senate, a minority forced the removal of a renewable electricity standard from last year's Energy Bill. We also lost a repeal of billions of dollars in unnecessary tax breaks for Big Oil and Gas – by just one vote!

Check the 2007 Scorecard to see how your Members of Congress voted on these critical provisions of last year's Energy Bill.

After checking your Members' scores, please forward this to friends and family so they can see if their representatives vote for the environment.

So I did:
Stabenow: 67%
Levin: 67%

The Candidates:
Obama: 67%
McCain: 0%, He didn't vote (absent!!!)
Hillary: 73%

But we have a record!
Past Senate Voting Record

on the environment
by John McCain and Hillary Clinton:

Mac 41%
Hill 89%

Mac 56%
Hill 92%

Mac 36%
Hill 88%

Mac 6%

SIX PERCENT! Shame on you, John 'Maverick'* McCain.

*his adoring press's fond nickname.

Monday, April 07, 2008

GTS - one day late but hey, crocuses

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My crocus(es) of hope

Gardeners, Plant and Nature Lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

While I was occupied yesterday with my annual chore (as opposed to fun) of hacking back the miscanthuses, I heard the sounds of spring peepers, bees, and my first haiku of the season which seem to come out of nowhere while I'm gardening and usually return there.

"Spring ephemeral,"
she sighed, decapitating
another snowdrop.

Hey, I don't knock the heads off my spring ephemerals on purpose! Here is a happy little scene, and if you click on the photo for the enlargement you can see the hardy cyclamen pretty well.

My happy corner,
Will it blossom tomorrow
if you are not there?

On the topic of crocuses did you notice in the first GTS photo the damage to the petals of the crocuses? I think the bees did that!

The humming crocus
invites any bee in the
neighborhood to stop.

The tommies are the pale, more ephemeral looking crocuses in the photo above.
Some people will tell you the tommies are the first blooming of all crocuses, but around here the tommies are among the first of the crocuses to bloom.

Here is an amusing bit: while I was off looking up the correct plural of crocus, I ran across this:
crocus [ˈkrəukəs]
Arabic: زَعْفران زراعي
Chinese (Simplified): 藏红花
Chinese (Traditional): 藏紅花
Czech: krokus
Danish: krokus
Dutch: krokus
Estonian: krookus
Finnish: krookus
French: crocus
German: der Krokus
Greek: κρόκος (το φυτό)
Hungarian: krókusz
Icelandic: dverglilja, krókus
Indonesian: krokus
Italian: croco
Japanese: クロッカス
Korean: 크로커스
Latvian: krokuss
Lithuanian: krokas
Norwegian: krokus
Polish: krokus
Portuguese (Brazil): açafrão
Portuguese (Portugal): açafrão
Romanian: şofran
Russian: крокус
Slovak: krókus
Slovenian: žafran
Spanish: azafrán
Swedish: krokus
Turkish: çiğdem; safran
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary (Beta Version), © 2000-2006 K Dictionaries Ltd.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

NGJL, little flagman

I've decided to post a little waving cautionary flag in my subject line, to alert my casual reader who links in from garden related lists, expecting garden commentary, who may be disappointed to find something off topic posted here.
NGJL, if I remember to use it, will alert you that the pertinent blog entry is concerned with some other subject in my eclectic existence and may not be a pretty tulip photo for instance. (Not intending to insult tulip photos, I love them as much as the next person.) Oh, NGJL stands for Not Gardening Just Life.
On my search to find just what it was that Randi Rhodes said to get her hand slapped, I ran across this gem.
Max might have been a good blogger, had he lived. Kinda a theme this week, no?

Also off topic:
Did you think back, yesterday, to remember where you were, and what you felt, and what you did, forty years ago? I did.
And I thought the world would be so much better by now.

Friday, April 04, 2008

finding Garden Lit in digital libraries a great occupation. Here is a page from a book I found in Google Books.

"Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden" was written way back in 1897 by Mrs. C.W. Earle and this copy is in the University of Michigan Library. Read it online and save a tree, find a hard copy through Google Books handy search, or download it.

Text not available
Pot-pourri from a Surrey Garden By Maria Theresa Earle, Maria Theresa (Villiers) "Mrs. C. W. Earle Earle, ", Lady Constance Georgina Lytton, Constance Lytton

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

As long as I'm using the scanner

... here's a photo from 1953.

The kitten's name was Boston Blackie.

If she had a computer in 1903

... she would certainly have been a garden blogger.
Here is one of the old gardening books I picked up at the Library Bookstore in Ferndale last week: "My Kalendar of Country Delights" by Helen Milman

And here is a scan of the "prelude" pages for Helen, who is long gone. Hope you can read it. She might have made a fine blogger, she had the right attitude.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

not just me

So I came home from a cold and gray "spring-break-in-Michigan" lunch with a big pile of gardening books. Tree knew of the best little indie bookstore in Ferndale right near the restaurant where we ate. I ask you how did my son ever find a such a girl?

And so I'm home again looking up a little info about my books on the net and somehow in the link trail I run across this video. Apparently Tori Amos, who incidentally Tree liked enormously a couple of years ago but I of the older generation never heard of, came out with an album based on a theme of beekeeping? Coincidental that I've just become interested in beekeeping this year.

It seems too, from her discussion of this number in her vid, that Ms. Amos is using her talent to explore her own 'path with heart' which is, what I think a lot of people are going at with this personal business of web-logging that some of us have been tugging at the edges of recently...

If you follow the Youtube link you can see the music videos. I just thought the explainer vid was something to think about. Seeing this young woman using bees as a way of exploring something she wants to talk about, put me in the Wayback Machine to a time when I was a young college student suddenly sure my ancient English professor had no idea of what Sylvia Plath's bee poems were talking about. That finding my own validity in thought was a moment of growth into adulthood for me.
I think Tree appreciates Ms. Plath as well, now that I think of it. How these associations do spiral in on something. This time, something to do with bees and validity and expression.

there are garden journals

and then there are garden journals...
The Sambhavna Medicinal Herb Garden (link)