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[sticky post] Other ways to contact me [Apr. 4th, 2017|12:06 pm]
E.G.
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If i quit posting here, feel free to look for me at http://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/ .

I receive email via google's mail service at the user name elaineforexample.

Confidantes may find more information at http://elainegrey.livejournal.com/654579.html
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(no subject) [Aug. 17th, 2017|08:39 am]
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[Sunday morning] I'm not sure it was rhetoric distressing me on Wednesday: i got myself into a right good funk though. Therapy was good, with gentle coaching through procrastination and the identification of a reward system for me.

I took Friday off, inspired by an errand i needed to run and, with the day cleared, i decided to spend the morning with my nephew & niece. We had breakfast at the classic small town restaurant (blueberry waffle & banana pancake for them, respectively, hashbrowns & eggs for us), a little visit to our home where they hadn't been for a while, and then -- yay, i found my beading tools! -- to their house for playing with beads for a bit. It was lovely, and now that i have all my kit, i should do it again in an organized way. Also, when my sister is there, so we can use her beads, too.

I'd made a bit of a mess trying to find stuff, so i spent some of Saturday in the residual moving task of sorting out jumbled stuff. We have many residual moving tasks lingering. I also fixed some jewelry of Christine's i'd said i'd fix and made the necklace and earrings to go with my Easter dress with the faceted yellow chalcedony and vermeil links and pendants i bought with birthday money from my grandmother. The dress is a 50s influenced, A-line dress in a print of lemons, so this necklace and earrings is a sparkling accent for that.

--== ∞ ==--

The week is flying by. Sunday i stopped by my parents after meeting, where "stopped by" means driving an extra 35 or more minutes. My parents are in the opposite direction of meeting. Later, as i was spraying my yellow squash and other cucurbits with a milk-soap-baking soda mixture, my dad stopped by to take a look at the crack in the slab in our front porch. He agreed with my assessment that the "fix" someone had applied in the past was part of the problem. He also knew a much better way to repair it than someone had told Christine. (That instruction was to essentially replicate the bad repair.) He confirmed it was a cosmetic and not particularly structural issue, and wouldn't stop thinking about the issue until he came up with a cause for the crack.

We also have an issue with the light that is not quite over the island in the kitchen: i think "Mr Handyman," the previous owner, caulked the halogen light bulb into the socket. I am happy for the excuse to replace the otherwise attractive but poorly located pendant lamp with a ceiling fan with lights.

Yesterday, my niece and nephew stayed with us during their parents' workday. They had to entertain themselves mostly, but over lunch we made oobleck, a non-newtonian fluid with interesting shear properties. That is, we mixed one part water with around two parts corn starch and examined how the behavior changed when you stirred it slowly vs quickly and a variety of other messy experiments. My favorite was watching an apparently solid chunk fly out of the container, hit me, bounce off, land on the counter and then slowly melt into a puddle.

Making gravy will never quite be the same.

I tried mowing last night, but somehow our lawnmower has lost the adjustments to the front two wheels and all one can really do is scalp the grass. There are some areas where that is desirable, but it was even scalping the moss, which isn't.

It's miserably humid, by the way. Miraculously the forecast for Monday is "clear", although the detailed prediction for Brevard, NC is 50% cloud cover in the afternoon. I've been trying to pretend like it's no big deal and have not been practicing camera stuff, etc. I guess i ought to be getting out the eclipse glasses and filters now, though.

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(no subject) [Aug. 9th, 2017|10:55 am]
E.G.
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Oddly, or maybe not, the rhetoric around North Korea is distressing me.

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Funk [Aug. 4th, 2017|08:46 am]
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Thursday: I think i'm identifying a pattern to my nadirs, a pattern i had hoped to have aged out of. Ah well. And so, here i am.

Christine has been helping her sister out by watching movies that are being vetted for a festival. One recently earned her description as being about the "tyranny of the mundane." I think i felt victim to such a tyranny in Mountain View at times, and i reflect that perhaps part was how it took an effort to get away from suburbia. Not a large effort at all mind you, but when depressed effort is magnified.

Here, even in a funk, i can witness the pollinators dancing around the bright yellow flowers of the bearsfoot, a doe stepping through the yard -- and by following her gaze and going to another window -- witnessing a small herd of deer in the glade. There's a magic to it all that i can rest on.

Friday: today a new sort of magic: new to me monitor, new webcam. All this to compliment the new chair i bought at the beginning of the month. I sit properly now, with my hands at the right level. Next will be to consider whether to get an ergonomic keyboard, so that i don't have the laptop monitor somewhat obscuring the bottom of the larger monitor. I'm not sure any of this will address the persistent elbow ache, but hopefully it will help me open up instead of working curled over and into the laptop. I'm able to lean back a bit right now. It feels good.

Although i never learned to type. So now i'm finding out that i can sort of touch type from the years of keyboarding. It's a little odd, like finding one's way through a familiar house in the dark. I doubt myself, but find i am not blundering around.

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(no subject) [Aug. 1st, 2017|05:46 am]
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Animals. Carrie and the boyos woke me up in the wee hours. I think Edward was snuggled against my back and Carrie had settled in by my legs. When i turned and woke them, Edward was startled to find himself so close to the dog. Tossing turning, Carrie wanting out, Carrie bringing a chew toy to the bed and crunching on it, cats walking across me, hot, cold....

So I went outside in the blessedly cool air and the boyos (Edward & Luigi) followed. Before bed, last night, i stood in the yard, delighting in the owl's call, the stars and moonlit clouds, the moonlight in our yard. The owl was still calling moments ago; first bird song at 5:45.

In more amusing pet news, we were watching Netflix's series "Stories of Light" -- episodes documenting a photographer at work. This episode included tiger photography. When the tiger appeared on screen, Carrie growled. The photographer went to look for another tiger, this one carrying prey out of the woods. Carrie stood on the hassock, hackles and hair along her back to her rumpraised up, and barked and barked.

Wow.

She really does watch the TV; it's been very entertaining to watch her watching.

Mulling over tree purchases. Bloodmeal protectant or plastic tubes? Order seedlings from the state this year and plant willy-nilly? (Premise, now is the second best time to plant a tree?)

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(no subject) [Jul. 31st, 2017|07:03 am]
E.G.
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Oh divine low humidity day!

I spent it in the shady glade, following the shade around the northern border, weeding the moss by hand. We have a Adirondack style bench we stained over the 4th of July weekend that we intend to place back in the glade. I've not mown in ages, it seems (since before my brother's family came) and the glade is overrun with stilt grass. Where we want the bench and then, around the edge toward the ferns, i felt weeding by hand might be the best way to manage.

I'm glad i did. Moonworts are leafing out now -- genus Botrychium, a tiny cousin of ferns in the Adder's tongue family (Ophioglossaceae). (We have Adder's tongue, too, they came up in the early spring and have faded.) The tiny leaves would likely have been whacked, as i mow as low as i can in the hopes of exterminating many of the plants growing out of the moss. I also found some other small ferns in the process of getting established.

I'm hoping that i'm rested and back to myself. July seems to have gone by so fast, but swept my attention to a variety of things with it. I feel like i am still recovering from 2016's move and election.

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(no subject) [Jul. 30th, 2017|06:37 am]
E.G.
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Sleep is good, and i think i finally had a good night's sleep.

Tuesday night i was out late at a networking career thing of questionable value beyond practicing speaking to people.

Wednesday night i read a novel, but didn't go to bed promptly. Christine and i had a very late dinner and it was another late night.

Thursday we went to see an outdoor drama, home late, etc.

Friday night i think i went to bed at a reasonable hour, but Carrie woke me in the wee hours.

Last Saturday night Christine was triggered enough to open the gates for more elephants. The trigger was not elephants, and i think she's kept the elephants away from the trigger. Elephants didn't help this past week with my bad sleep patterns, but i think things will settle back down.

Last night i was to bed on time, woke on time, and the temperature outside is wonderfully cool.

I feel like skipping meeting again: i'm not sure this is a good habit, i know an edge of procrastination is running underneath (i said i'd do something and it ain't happened), but the past week did drain me. However, a quiet day with some waiting (silent) worship with Christine on the porch will help feed me.

Yesterday, i worked outside on things that didn't take much consideration and spent time watching butterflies flutter on the large Bearsfoot plants (Smallanthus uvedalius). The flowers are a bit like tiny sunflowers; the plants eight foot high with dinnerplate sized leaves. Pollinators seem to adore the blossoms. I wish i could think of more landscape uses for these perennials that disappear in the cool months and become so massive in the summer. Duh - where the sunflowers failed this year -- on the western exposure of our house, where i'd hoped for the shade to help with cooling. I guess the same challenge of the hard baked clay that didn't seem to support the sunflowers remains; although the Smallanthus are tubered plants. Maybe that will help them succeed?

I also made gluten free chocolate chip coconut cookies. I was dubious as i brought them out of the oven: crumbly, they didn't spread out, etc. But when they cooled they had a lovely texture. I put half the batch of dough in the freezer, so there will be more.

Dehydrated squash yesterday. That might be all i have to "preserve". I'd finally learned how to defeat blossom-end rot (remove the blossom) when i realized i have a terrible case of powdery mildew. Fie. I burned much of the infected foliage, but it doesn't sound like that's going to be sufficient.

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Dear Outside Weather, Really?? Really?? [Jul. 23rd, 2017|10:57 am]
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93.5 °F - Feels Like 106 °F

Just spent a half hour outside, and came in dripping. Ugh.

I was picking the grape tomatoes, squash, collards, and some of the popcorn. The popcorn is a mixture of strains, so every cob is a surprise. Some are much like this "glass gem" corn. Regrettably, pollination wasn't ideal, so there are lots of half populated cobs. Still, given everyone's dismissal of growing corn without a fortress around it, i'm delighted.

I ordered a dehydrator, so the large number of squash doesn't intimidate me. And now i kinda wish for exponential tomatoes, but they don't seem to be coming -- unless i want to pick green and let them ripen in the house. Which is very tempting.

Yesterday i spend outside 10 to noon doing a burn. Most of the time i spent running the hose over myself to keep cool while watching the fire. Usually i keep gathering debris, but not yesterday. I did do some weeding in the shade.

--== ∞ ==--

Christine had what seems like an elephant event last night. But maybe it was just life.

Carrie continues to negotiate bed space with the cats. Turning her back to them is the best thing she's learned so far. They know how to stand up to her when she confronts them, but a big dog back?

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Bail Reform & " Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act " [Jul. 23rd, 2017|08:57 am]
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This morning i started reading about bail justice. I was aware Kamala Harris & Rand Paul -- a name pairing that really gets my attention -- had introduced legislation, and was aware of SONG's (Southerners On New Ground) work in May. So when Song sent this call, i went to read up on the bill -- and found even more information about bail justice.

Across the Southeast, we intend to initiate Free From Fear campaigns to end the practice of cash bail. We see bail outs as an ongoing tactic to build a base, to expose the crisis of cash bail and the beast that is the criminal-legal system, to change hearts and minds, to make real and material impacts on the lives of our people, and to build power. We can think of no better way to commemorate the history of Black August than to bail out as many Black women, broadly defined, and Black trans people free across the South as we can.


The "report" generated from my citation tool Zotero, is below, and you can skim the notes or follow the links for more.

ReadingsCollapse )
  • A Labor of Love: Black Mama's Bail Out Action + Reflection

    Type Web Page
    Author ignitekindred
    URL http://southernersonnewground.org/2017/05/a-labor-of-love/
    Date 2017-05-16T14:50:04-04:00
    Accessed 7/23/2017, 8:23:13 AM
    Abstract [CLICK HERE FOR SPANISH TRANSLATION] 1. Putting our organizing practice into action. At SONG, our organizing practice has long been based in love, longing, and desire across class, race, gender and community. This action allowed us to demonstrate our collective belief in a shared destiny with the dreams, demands and hopes of Black women in all of our varieties at the center. Our collective cup overflowed locally and regionally with gift cards, bouquets, clothes, services offered by local practitioners, prime ...
    Website Title Southerners On New Ground
    Short Title A Labor of Love
    Date Added 7/23/2017, 8:23:13 AM
    Modified 7/23/2017, 8:23:13 AM

    Tags:

    • Bail
  • Defendants Can’t Be Jailed Solely Because of Inability to Post Bail, Judge Says

    Type Newspaper Article
    Author Richard A. Oppel Jr
    URL https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/us/chicago-bail-reform.html
    Publication The New York Times
    ISSN 0362-4331
    Date 2017-07-17
    Section U.S.
    Accessed 7/23/2017, 8:23:29 AM
    Library Catalog www.nytimes.com
    Language en-US
    Abstract An order issued by Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans of Cook County, Ill., highlights a contentious national debate surrounding the ability of defendants to post bail.
    Date Added 7/23/2017, 8:23:29 AM
    Modified 7/23/2017, 8:23:29 AM

    Tags:

    • Bail
    • Chicago (Ill)
    • Prisons and Prisoners

    Notes:

    • In April [2017], for example, a federal judge in Houston ruled that Harris County could not keep those arrested on misdemeanor charges in jail because they could not afford bail. The judge, Lee H. Rosenthal, who was appointed by the first President Bush, found that the system disproportionately affected indigent residents and violated “equal protection rights against wealth-based discrimination.”

      Tags:

      • Bail

    Attachments

  • Getting Rid of Bail Is Only the Start

    Type Newspaper Article
    Author Ginia Bellafante
    URL https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/nyregion/getting-rid-of-bail-is-only-the-start.html
    Publication The New York Times
    ISSN 0362-4331
    Date 2017-06-01
    Section N.Y. / Region
    Accessed 7/23/2017, 8:23:19 AM
    Library Catalog www.nytimes.com
    Language en-US
    Abstract Using conflict resolution and social services to keep low-level offenders out of the courts should be the next wave in criminal justice reform.
    Date Added 7/23/2017, 8:23:19 AM
    Modified 7/23/2017, 8:23:19 AM

    Tags:

    • Bail
    • Brooklyn Community Bail Fund
    • Brooklyn (NYC)
    • Brown, David O
    • Law and Legislation
    • Poverty
    • Robberies and Thefts
  • Opinion | Kamala Harris and Rand Paul: To Shrink Jails, Let’s Reform Bail

    Type Newspaper Article
    Author Kamala D. Harris
    Author Rand Paul
    URL https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/20/opinion/kamala-harris-and-rand-paul-lets-reform-bail.html
    Publication The New York Times
    ISSN 0362-4331
    Date 2017-07-20
    Section Opinion
    Accessed 7/23/2017, 8:23:52 AM
    Library Catalog www.nytimes.com
    Language en-US
    Abstract Low-risk defendants shouldn’t be detained before trial just because they can’t afford it.
    Short Title Opinion | Kamala Harris and Rand Paul
    Date Added 7/23/2017, 8:23:52 AM
    Modified 7/23/2017, 8:46:32 AM

    Tags:

    • Bail
    • Browder, Kalief (1993-2015)
    • Discrimination
    • Prisons and Prisoners
  • Pretrial Justice Institute

    Type Web Page
    URL http://www.pretrial.org/
    Accessed 7/23/2017, 8:27:47 AM
    Abstract The ProblemThe American system of bail is fundamentally incapable of doing the job we expect from it. Those with money—regardless of where they got the money or their danger to the community or victims—can purchase their freedom while poor defendants … Continue reading →
    Website Title Pretrial Justice Institute
    Date Added 7/23/2017, 8:27:47 AM
    Modified 7/23/2017, 8:46:10 AM

    Tags:

    • Bail
  • Selling Off Our Freedom: How Insurance Corporations Have Taken Over Our Bail System

    Type Web Page
    URL https://www.aclu.org/report/selling-our-freedom-how-insurance-corporations-have-taken-over-our-bail-system
    Accessed 7/23/2017, 8:45:16 AM
    Abstract Selling Off Our Freedom: How Insurance Corporations Have Taken Over Our Bail System is a joint report by Color of Change and the American Civil Liberties Union’s Campaign for Smart Justice that documents how the for-profit bail industry fuels mass incarceration and perpetuates racial inequalities.
    Website Title American Civil Liberties Union
    Short Title Selling Off Our Freedom
    Date Added 7/23/2017, 8:45:16 AM
    Modified 7/23/2017, 8:45:16 AM

    Tags:

    • Bail
  • Type Statute
    Name of Act S. 1593: A bill to provide grants to States and Indian tribes to reform their criminal justice system to encourage the replacement of the use of payment of secured money bail as a condition of pretrial release in criminal cases, and for other purposes.
    Short Title Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act
    Date Added 7/23/2017, 8:36:42 AM
    Modified 7/23/2017, 8:37:42 AM

    Tags:

    • Bail

    Notes:

    • From NYT editorial, re Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act


      ...Excessive bail disproportionately harms people from low-income communities and communities of color. The Supreme Court ruled in Bearden v. Georgia in 1983 that the Constitution prohibits “punishing a person for his poverty,” but that’s exactly what this system does. Nine out of 10 defendants who are detained cannot afford to post bail, which can exceed $20,000 even for minor crimes like stealing $105 in clothing....
      ...black and Latino men respectively pay 35 percent and 19 percent higher bail than white men....

      This isn’t just unjust. It also wastes taxpayer dollars. People awaiting trial account for 95 percent of the growth in the jail population from 2000 to 2014, and it costs roughly $38 million every day to imprison these largely nonviolent defendants. That adds up to $14 billion a year.

      Bail is supposed to ensure that the accused appear at trial and don’t commit other offenses in the meantime. But research has shown that low-risk defendants who are detained more than 24 hours and then released are actually less likely to show up in court than those who are detained less than a day.

      ...

      Kentucky and New Jersey, for instance, have shifted from bail toward personalized risk assessments that analyze factors such as criminal history and substance abuse. These are better indicators of whether a defendant is a flight risk or a threat to the public and ought to be held without bail.

      Colorado and West Virginia have improved pretrial services and supervision, such as using telephone reminders so fewer defendants miss court dates and end up detained.

      These nudges work. Over the second half of 2006, automated phone call reminders in Multnomah County in Oregon, resulted in 750 people showing up in court who otherwise may have forgotten their date.

      ...

      The Pretrial Justice Institute, an organization that works to change unfair and unjust pretrial practices, estimates that bail reform could save American taxpayers roughly $78 billion a year. More important, it would help restore Americans’ faith in our justice system.

    Attachments



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(no subject) [Jul. 21st, 2017|12:05 pm]
E.G.
So, i just read about the current state of Mueller's investigation of All The Smoke Around The Trump Campaign to calm myself down.

We have logs from our various web applications at work.
In one data center the logging analysis software has been upgraded.
I now need to log in with my 14 character, must have different case, numbers, and punctuation password, that i cannot repeat for 20-some generations, and that i must change every few months.

And the log in form is http, not https -- that is, all the text is clear and readable on the internal network.

I wrote the person responsible with a request that they switch to https as soon as possible. The response, it's too much work.

I desperately want to sniff his password and use it to log into his email account and forward the email exchange to the head of security.

Instead, my manager is going after the offender.

Steam.

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(no subject) [Jul. 19th, 2017|03:43 pm]
E.G.
Woo hoo! Caffeine, antihistamine, and analgesics! I'll have plenty on hand for tomorrow morning.

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(no subject) [Jul. 19th, 2017|07:30 am]
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Odd, how a perfectly reasonable night's sleep can have one more grumpy. I think it's all about antihistamines: in that i had only one left (forgetting to ask Christine when she did a grocery run). Fortunately the loooong commute from the hotel to the office across the highway means i can swing by a grocery and pick up a bottle of pills, plus band aids for where my shoes are rubbing my feet.

The B52's Love Shack is playing as muzak.

I should have brought a few tea bags with me. I thought i could make do with coffee, but i am not a morning coffee drinker. Either that or the drip coffee in the room was vile.

I paid for a month's use of AirDroid pro so i could easily move files to my phone. I have a "Music" folder, and in the "Music" folder i made a "_Keep on Phone_" folder. The music app couldn't find that folder, so i ditched the underscores and created a "000Keep on Phone". That too is not being found. With this last phone i've just had no luck with audio files. It's good that my preference is for audio books.

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Written while waiting for takeoff Tuesday night [Jul. 19th, 2017|07:28 am]
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On my way to Ohio. 8 pm flights seem to be the way to go. Not only is it direct, but there was no line at security, and the plane is maybe half full. Yippee!!

Sunday I did get the rest I needed. My throat healed up, antihistamines made a difference, and all the other aches ... Well they don't seem as significant.

Yesterday & today I saw deer. I think I can identify two does by markings. One has a crooked ear, the other a white mark - a scar I would guess - on her right hip. Each day I have seen a doe& fawn. It seems plausible that they were the Same pair today & yesterday. Oh Monday a young buck came through as well.

I find it curious that I hadn't seen deer in daylight for a long time. Then they seemed to get active again.

They are nibbling at the garden but today's WRATH is reserved for the squirrel. I've been watching my tomato volunteer #2 set nice large fruit- and today I saw a squirrel near the raised bed . At lunch I went out to find half Eaten green tomatoes scattered under the plant.

FlE.

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Crumbling [Jul. 16th, 2017|07:26 am]
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My brother's family's last day in NC was yesterday.

The morning i had hoped to get somethings done outside, but saw a message from my sister. I'd sent her the news from the local farm store: all Guinea hen keets and a collection of annual plant starts were all free on Saturday morning. She was on her way over, and i got her to pick me up. The keets were all gone -- and, no, i dunno why baby Guinea hens are called keets -- but there were still plenty of plants. I picked up basil and peppers and flowers. I've no idea if they will thrive now that they are planted, but the peppers have not (yet) been nibbled by the deer, unlike the ones i've got.

Home to see Christine on her way out to a work meeting, and there wasn't much time before i would head to lunch. Hmm, i don't recall what i did. I was rattling around a bit, and i finally decided i was going to go, and if i was early i'd fiddle with my phone. I arrived as my parents and brother's family arrived, which was a little early. It turned out my brother hadn't told my sister WHEN to meet for lunch.

That morning, my sister had shared her anger and distress over some theorized and proven behaviors of my brother's boys. Apparently, i need to mull over this indirectly.Collapse )

I spent a little time worrying about the kid stuff compounded with my brother's fairly typical failure to communicate, wondering how poor my manners would be if i ordered the catch of the day (grouper) instead of a more modest dish (trout), and shared the story of the freebies and making seed tape with my parents.

I ended up getting the trout, and in the first bite i managed to do myself injury. The pelvic and pectoral fins had been left on, but i didn't see them. In my first bite, i felt something sharp and i realized i had swallowed a fin in the pointy-side first direction. I worried a bit about issues in the later parts of gastric system, but my sister simply said "Stomach acids are wonderful." I put it out of mind.

Home, I had a cup of coffee and realized that the fin had made its mark on my throat. Discomfort set in.

Summer thunder clouds periodically darkened the skies outside. The weather pattern is so familiar to here, but so different from what i experienced in California. I've found "partly cloudy" to be such an inadequate descriptor. In the shade of the tall clouds, it seemed comfortable enough outside, so i leashed Carrie and went to do some light work in the yard. When the sun poured through, i moved to shade. While it wasn't very hot, it was still dripping wet humid. Spending time bent over doesn't leave my digestive system feeling very good, but i can't not pull up weeds here in there. (When i mean to weed, i have a kneeling pad, which is a more agreeable position.)

The tasks i had and Carrie on leash worked well together. My kneeling under a dogwood and weeding the moss seemed particularly agreeable to Carrie. I held out hope that she might help me weed -- i've seen her try pulling up plants before -- but she just snuffled around.

Oh, i don't know why i am going on. Suffice it to say that despite a nap and a good nights sleep i am still tired. That yesterday evening my joints ached, my eyes itched, my psoriasis itched, my throat hurt, and going to bed i felt like a bundle of broken parts. This throat discomfort is just enough to make all the other usual discomforts clamor as well.

I think this was just an exhausting week. (I took a very long walk with my sister on Thursday night: that's probably why my ankle is aching.)

OK: i'm skipping Meeting this morning. I need the rest.

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Writing and not posting until days later [Jul. 13th, 2017|09:15 am]
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I have a very nice new chair. I lowered my desk so my arms would be in neutral position (with the possibility that one of the ikea legs will never extend again). I finally understand why an external monitor is a good thing. So, i've rigged my iPad up as a second monitor. It's working OK, but since the connection is via wifi, there's a little lag when mousing around. We'd been talking about a new TV -- Christine has proposed one, and i'm pondering whether it would be more energy efficient to get a new one. She's proposed i use the TV as an external monitor. Hm. I wonder if an inexpensive monitor would still be cheaper overall (due to reduced power usage) than continuing to use the TV.

TUESDAY: took the morning off to take a boating trip with my brother and his eldest, my sister's eldest, and my dad. The morning was misty, foggy, overcast, and made for a pleasant first half of the morning on the water. When the clouds burned off, though, it was a bit intense. Dad didn't have all the kit to put the canopy up both front and back, so i huddled under the little shade available. No one caught anything, but they will take a serious fishing trip a few mornings from now (the "on the water at 5 am" type serious). Many blue herons, a juvenile eagle, a beaver, and a turtle were some of the more remarkable sightings. The boys saw a deer, that i just could not pick out in time. Confronted with a wooded shoreline, "by the tree" fails as a landmark. I'll see how my photos turn out. And then sooner or later i need to figure out where i want to post them. I lean towards setting up a photo website on Amazon S3.

Twitter and (sigh) Facebook can direct enough attention to any photos: they need not be on Flickr. (I still glance through my friends feed of flickr photos once or twice a week, looking at Gurdonark's & Crookedfinger's bird photos. (More frequently than i look at facebook!)

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(no subject) [Jul. 9th, 2017|07:09 am]
E.G.
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This news story is just shy of being a Gary Larson "Far Side." One wonders about a child getting in and finding both of the items that were in the vehicle, but i'll assume that the owner lived alone in the woods.

SpoilerCollapse )

--== ∞ ==--

In more uncomfortable thinking, tensions about "cultural appropriation" on a mailing list continue into a second week. There's some generational tension, i think, and today's post had hand-wringing over "Why must we be so painfully correct all the time?" There was an attempted distinction between micro-aggression and cultural appropriation: this makes me bang my head because the precipitating issue can easily be interpreted as a micro-aggression as well.

I think the original purpose was what i'll call a subversive ministry of gender expression to tradition bound American men when transgender folks were deep in closets. Having a S-- Day to celebrate a skirt-like item of clothing that was gender neutral made for a way to encourage men to wear skirts for a day without the "feminizing" label "skirt" or the defensive masculinity of a kilt. Theoretically, it's gender inclusive, but it certainly misses the obverse of constrained gender expression for women. Indeed one person, female identified at birth, gently noted this issue.

I don't think they were heard.

I think attitudes have changed enough in liberal Quakerism, that addressing gender expression with a "S--- Day" isn't nearly as powerful as it may have been originally. I wonder, even, if younger folks completely miss the subtlety of the choice as they ask, "Why not just have a skirt day?" which would be an honest and plain spoken goal, but far more challenging to masculinity.

Then, there's the fact that this is not a formally organized event, as far as i can tell, but one person's celebratory mission. That the person who brings it forward is more boomer generation than millennial does not escape my notice. That they may not be aware of the male privilege inherent in the framing despite challenging the policing of male privilege is intriguing.

All of this plays out in the larger context of some tempest over white privilege and white supremacy in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, where i also perceive a generational divide between "I marched at Selma, how dare you!" and "Black Lives Matter", get woke folks.

I don't think S--- Day is any more culturally appropriative than wearing pajamas and is less so than a Kilt Day. I do think there's much more going on though, and the energy of the kerfluffle on list certainly strikes me as pulling strength from some warm ocean of discontent. I wonder if the current group can survive it's calling to be radically inclusive when it comes to nostalgic folks who feel they've done their work.

--== ∞ ==--

Friday night we were out late celebrating Christine's sister's birthday. Carrie woke me at 6:30 barking at the young buck just beyond the deck. I skipped tea, worked outside in the steam for a while, and then dozed for the rest of the morning. Not a highly productive day, and i couldn't bring myself to go back outside at 5 pm, it was so steamy. By the time we could bestir ourselves, the evening thunderstorm hit.

This morning she woke us barking at 5:30, and it was too dim for me to see any critter. I was more rested this morning, and made tea, and have spent the time on the back porch. It's 99% humidity, with the dew point only a fraction of a degree below the temperature, but it's cool enough that, being still, i'm not soaking.

I finished the potato harvest in that outside time yesterday, and planted the whole row with a variety of seeds. On the ends of the rows, where the plants may sprawl beyond the defined borders i planted the mini-melons and yellow squash. The current yellow squash are in abundance, but i don't know if they'll survive to frost. In between i planted marigolds, peanuts, and some very old bean seed. I picked a ear of the popcorn. The pollination of the kernels wasn't as thorough as i'd wish, and -- while it may have been at milk stage -- it wasn't nearly as tasty as sweet corn. This might keep it from falling prey to critters. Time will tell.

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Critter watch [Jul. 6th, 2017|08:14 am]
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This morning, young Carolina wrens in the "greenhouse" -- i saw one just fall of a shelf. No harm to the bit of fluff. They ended up nesting on the front porch in the hanging basket. One day i watered and a little later out shot a bird. And then at some point i was planning to take the basket down, turned it to peer in the nest and a wren peered right back. It seems the wrens have fledged in the past few days: Christine had noticed the clumsy hoppings around over the holiday.

Later in the morning a squirrel loped across the back "woodland garden" (oh, someday) and went up on the large stump. I think the salt we'd put there for the deer also attracted the squirrel.

Then, as i sat down to work, the young buck was in the front yard.

Yesterday, crooked ear (the doe) visited out my work window. When she started in on the (well nibbled) peppers i went out the front door to fuss. She knows she need not flee, but sauntered off to the corner of the yard and then melted into the woods.

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Has SF ever exploited the concept of "cryptic natural (epigenitic) products"?? [Jul. 4th, 2017|07:50 am]
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http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2017/07/03/cryptic-natural-products-appearing

When i was listening to the biology & genetic lectures a few years ago, i was astounded by new realizations. The key has to do with how DNA is NOT a blueprint, a description of the final structure. It's much more like computer code, with all the cruft that developers often leave in a great big system, code that used to do something important, but the output is no longer needed. Somehow activate that code path, and the code can still execute. On the other hand, since the system has evolved away from that need, it the code does execute, it's not necessarily going to behave as it did originally.

DNA doesn't execute in a vacuum: chemical and physical signals affect what segments of the DNA will be activated. The embryonic environment has a huge impact on the gene expression in a developing organism -- i can't find a recent article i read about how poverty-stress of a mother can be expressed in the cognitive pathway development of the child, thus providing a physiological basis for poverty changing the way one literally thinks.

(In Butler's Wild Seed, one of the characters could "examine" the DNA of a creature and then express the creature. My awareness of how gene expression works triggered a momentary collapse of my suspension of disbelief.)

So, i pondered, what if an organism was exposed to primordial compounds, compounds that don't exist in the oxygen rich environment of today? What parts of the "junk" DNA might be activated? What might happen next? (Could an alternative being be in the DNA that could be expressed with the right primordial signals?) Keyword for more research: epigenetics.

" It’s for sure that there are many biosynthetic-looking gene clusters found in these species that don’t seem to be turned on most of the time, which makes one think that under the right conditions you could perhaps elicit some “break glass in case of emergency” structures that might be well worth seeing."

Derek Lowe, July 3, 2017


Why, yes, exactly.

[The group] ran all sorts of stress experiments on the organisms to see if any of these caused some activity. As it turns out, exposure to etoposide and to avermectin, both quite toxic to the organisms, caused some of these biosynthetic pathways to turn on, and several new compounds emerged, including one with antifungal activity and some that appear to be cysteine protease inhibitors.


Hint: Wikipedia relates that "Cysteine proteases... are enzymes that degrade proteins."

Organic chemistry and genetics are so incredibly amazing to me. I envy nascent scientists -- so many of these discoveries have been since i was in school. To be entering the fields with this landscape as a foundation....

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Betty Reid Soskin [Jul. 4th, 2017|07:20 am]
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A beautiful description of one persons' answer about why they blog: https://cbreaux.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-editor-working-on-my-book-asked.html

And, by the way, this is an amazing person: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Reid_Soskin

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HVAC efficency calculation [Jul. 3rd, 2017|01:26 pm]
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In good news, the investment we made in having the crawl space "conditioned" seems to be saving energy -- and we keep the place cooler.

Last year we had the thermostat set at 74°F when we arrived, and well before the end of June we increased it 76°F. (We were in shock: i know plenty of folks keep the temp warmer.) This year, since we were told that with the encapsulation we should keep the place at 74°F, i decided we would keep it at that temperature -- on average. Overnight we cool to 72°F, then over the morning we keep the place at 74°F or cooler. It takes a while for the outside to warm up the inside that 2°. Then at noon we let it go up to 76°. The air does run in the afternoon. When the sun gets low behind the pines, we start cooling back down to 74°F.

Looking at spring and fall months, i think i have a good idea of our "no HVAC needed" power load. June 2016 had 8 kwh/d for HVAC, while this June had 5 kwh/d for HVAC. This past June was cooler than 2016 (good, everyone said last year was abnormal). I dug up the number of "cooling degree days" from WeatherUnderground: June 2016 had 1.13 times the cooling degree days than June 2017 but used 1.6 times the power.

So, if i want to get the average amount of power per cooling day (instead of month day), i could calculate

(X kwh/d * Y d)/ Z CDD

to get the kilowatt-hours per cooling degree day. June 2016 is then 14 kwh/CDD and this June is 10 kwh/CDD. That seems a good improvement. 30%-ish?

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(no subject) [Jul. 3rd, 2017|08:42 am]
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A Black California Friend sends prophetic-voice email around to some collection of us, which i think varies. He's open in his distribution. Sometime i reply privately, sometimes publicly. His last email was on whether it was harder to be a Quaker Poet or a Black Quaker. He'd gotten back two answers along the lines of "Gee, people are challenged by poetry."

I feel i've learned something in this reply. Maybe it's saying "out loud" that i've given up on "Quakers," which in this sense happened very long ago.

Response, longCollapse )

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(no subject) [Jul. 2nd, 2017|12:29 pm]
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It is a bit ironic, perhaps, that it's more likely for Donald Trump to be removed from office that it is for him to be removed from Twitter.



I made an excellent potato bake casserole last night, all things considered. (TVP is not the most delightful of vegetable protein sources, but whatever.)

Overnight, Carrie ate one of my flip flops. If i could walk around barefooted i would, but between Achilles tendonitis and plantar fascitis.... pfft.

Spending a bit of time thinking about posting photo galleries (and blogs) to Amazon S3. I have discovered an Evernote blogging platform, Postach.io. Here's my naturalist notebook transformed through their interface. Essentially, you create an account on their site, give their system access to a notebook, tag notes with "published", and boom!, it's been posted to your postach.io blog.

I've found another flow that can depend on evernote notebooks as well, both more flexible and more technically demanding. I'm not sure i have an argument for blogging (beyond here) any time soon.

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(no subject) [Jul. 2nd, 2017|08:29 am]
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The end of last week featured a great deal of demotivated being. I think i understand it: a biological nadir, the joys of the self assessment at work, long weekend anticipation. I picked up two digital speculative fiction books from the library: I checked out Haldeman's Forever Peace and then my hold on Butler's Seed to Harvest came available. That's actually an omnibus edition and I have read Wild Seed & Mind of My Mind. I'm drawing the line at Clay's Arc some chapters in, partly because i need to get up, partly because I'm really tired of Butler's characters.

It's remarkable, given the semi-random selection i made from Overdrive, how very similar the concepts are in the two narratives -- and yet how very different. Race, with African American and African characters, is featured in both books, as is a sort of change of humanity. Butler's focus on slavery is far more prevalent than in Haldeman's, and i've been left with a great deal of discomfort. (And, after reading Butler's Fledgling, i feel the ground well explored.) I guess the power dynamics of manipulation and enslavement is a more accurate description of Butler's theme, not slavery outright.

I think the two books would be a little more comparable if Haldeman had kept going and described the post "humanization" world. In Butler's "Patternist" world, there was a clear hierarchy within the powerful. Haldman's optimism -- that there is a way to overwhelm the viscous part of human nature and bring compassion and love forward -- stopped at the point where the narrative gets challenging (but perhaps less dramatic). Would he have described a Quaker-like governance?

Butler's focus on manipulation exhausted me, but it's made me poke at Forever Peace and its focus on violence: am i missing something? I feel like i'm watching a magic trick where the violence is the misleading distraction. It might be a difference in scale. The powers in Haldman's narratives were governmental and global scale; the two "Patternist" books were much more interpersonal, concluding with a couple thousand.

I'm thinking about reading the nonfiction work The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters. It seems to argue for a fractal quality of ecological rules. Perhaps i could phrase that as "Life is life at any scale." I need to think about how that sort of fractal view meshes with the concept of emergent properties of complex systems. Hmmm, most of my learning about nonlinear mathematics and properties of chaotic systems was absolute ages ago. I bet there's some synthesis of understanding, a correlation between the concept of emergent properties and strange attractors.

This comes to mind because there may be some fractal similarity between Butler's communities and Hadleman's global consideration, human dynamics aren't linear.

I was watching the first episode of season 4 of Sherlock, where he makes some statement about if all the threads were known, everything is determined. Poor writer, missing the point of Lorenz's butterfly (and on the smallest scales, dice are everywhere).

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Woman reads online headline: you'll never guess what happens next! [Jun. 29th, 2017|01:48 pm]
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Before tags, journal entry titles were pretty important to me, but since ....

Christine just showed me some video of a child in a New Zealand zoo kissing the glass separating her from a male lion. The lion sat back on his haunches and rapidly beat on the glass with his front paws. (The girl, unfazed. Some adult, "I think he's asking you to step back.") The caption described this as the lion "freaking out" with which i take exception. Cat owners know what a cat freaking out is like: this was not that.

So i muttered my exception, then i muttered about click bait titles, and then i declaimed THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END.

Why do i care about click bait headlines? What offends me so? Maybe i should try titling my entries with click-bait style. There's no commitment to keeping the subject and the entry aligned with clickbait style titles, right?

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(no subject) [Jun. 29th, 2017|09:00 am]
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I am feeling particularly ill-motivated this morning, probably because my "most important thing to do today" is my performance appraisal. I hate those. This year is particularly bad because of management and direction changes.

Last night Christine and i both arrived home from various outings after 8 pm. Between the late summer light and our "after work" tasks starting three hours late, i think i was up later than normal. When Christine let Carrie in the back yard, there was a deer. I joined Christine on the deck and watched the as the young buck watched us back -- and then went back to grazing in the thick clover. The deer tolerated our presence for quite a while, with Carrie, Christine and I moving about in the fenced yard. Eventually he gave us another long look, then left. His departure started with a deliberate walk, then a lope, and then there was a flash of him leaping as he entered the woods. With the fireflies flickering around him, it was a lovely magical experience.

This morning fledgling wrens are flitting about in the a azalea just out my window. I think they are fledgling from their exploratory hopping. I first noticed when one hopped into the cardinals' empty nest and explored it.

Bird boxes.

While the humidity will return for Friday and Saturday, the rest of the long weekend looks pretty tolerable.

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First tomato [Jun. 27th, 2017|07:54 pm]
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Grape tomato,  that is. 


Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note5.


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(no subject) [Jun. 27th, 2017|07:33 am]
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Yesterday's weather did tick up a bit warm, but the blessedly low humidity still made for a pleasant walk at the lake after work. We took the western side of the loop trail at Seaforth from the boat launch parking to where the high water stopped us from going any further. The waters swirled around the trunks of trees, and the evening light reflected up into the canopy: a hall of green and gold. Carrie is still spooky around the sound of slapping waves (thanks to ski boats and jet skis in that reach of the lake) but she's getting more confident. She was also certain there was something she wanted to chase as we headed back to the car and dragged Christine along. She's such an odd mix of confidence and startlement.

I'm feeling less confident in my ability to weed up the stilt grass. In the sun, it seems, it spreads and crawls, and i don't think i can get all of it easily. I whacked some last evening in frustration, knowing it just leads to even lower growth and a seed set in the fall. I know a growing percentage of the yard is mown stilt grass, the winter greens fading, and even where we had lush clover is being replaced by another unruly grass (although i don't know what that one is).

By the way, just to give a scale, crab grass is well behaved compared to some of these grasses. We've got that, too. What i really want is for the native Dichanthelium species to take it all back. Doing what i can to further that goal.

Christine is changing elephant handling protocols. It's rough on her, scaring her as she goes through this period of instability with management. I trust that it will settle back down, noting her awareness and capacity despite the instability.

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Oh what a gorgeous day [Jun. 26th, 2017|01:19 pm]
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On the back porch because it's a California like day with low humidity, mild temperatures, and blue blue skies. Hmm, i could probably dry the towel load outside today.

The weekend was pleasantly spent. The local library seems to have switched to Overdrive for eBooks (or i found their Overdrive link) so i did some casual reading. We had a pleasant bit of thrift shopping after a late brunch out on Saturday. There was a fellow selling Adirondack-ish furniture at the circle in Pittsboro, and we finally stopped and asked after the pieces. We've been talking about a bench for the back glade

I made tamales, which i was certain were failures but were, actually, just fine. The Great Northern beans turned out ok despite using the "rapid soak" shortcut. The pickled peppers i put in the squash weren't too hot (indeed, perhaps a bit bland). The amount of salty veggie bullion in the masa was not really noticeable after cooking. The masa wasn't stale, even though my nose kept saying it was.

One thing i wasn't worried about was that i used processed coconut oil instead of the traditional lard. (I didn't fluff it up first, though.) It's the first time i've used coconut oil: it seems like a lovely replacement for the Crisco i grew up with. And then there's the thought of tropical tamales made with unprocessed coconut oil. Fish filling? It's been ages since i made tamales: i should do it again soon.

Meeting for Business did not need a lunch dish -- or such was asserted. Never trust someone who thinks their meeting agenda is short. I drove home pondering how i would clerk at this meeting. I was quite hungry when i got home.

I harvested the russet potatoes. There was a little wireworm damage, and they weren't as big as grocery store potatoes, but there's a good pile. I'm a little disappointed because i will need to use these damaged ones earlier instead of letting them keep. (I probably cleaned them all up too well, too. I know the advice says let the dirt dry and brush it off, but i want to see the pretties!)

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Notes [Jun. 20th, 2017|08:26 am]
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* Quaker History Roundtable: 20th Century American Quakerism - 9 hours video of the proceedings available at this time.

* Carolina wrens apparently make multiple nest starts before deciding on one. There was nesting activity at the same time in a hanging basket at the front. I just saw one hop from the nest, so i hope that's their choice. Their territory is 1/2 - 3/4 acres per some random website, it's conceivable two pairs would be about the house, but i'll assume it's the same pair.

* The cardinals fledged over the weekend. Sure didn't look old enough to manage that on Friday! I'm hoping they fledged and it wasn't depredation. I haven't seen Slugger or Louisa for a bit. -- Wait, there they are, foraging out my window. Hmm. I suppose they could have guided the fledglings into the woods where there's more cover?

* We had a day lily bloom yesterday at lunch but it was eaten by the time we went out for the dog walk. I suspect the young buck that cantered by my view.

* The peanut plants that were on the corner were nibbled, but not the ones more bounded by marigolds.

* We had over two inches of rain last evening and overnight. Some of the corn and the poppies are knocked over. I'm hoping that they'll lift themselves, but i suspect i'll need to stake up the poppies and reset the corn.

* I'm not focusing on work as much as i expect of myself. Trying to be gentle and observe.

* [ETA] Personal email box management seems to be effective. Struggling to get a few things NOT marked as spam, but i think i've come up with effective sorting that keeps different response efforts segregated.

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Tree of Heaven... NOT. [Jun. 18th, 2017|06:47 pm]
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So, just to assure [personal profile] randomdreams that his experience with Ailanthus isn't unique, there are small sprouts coming up everywhere in the septic field. Copper sulfate in the line hasn't discouraged it at all.

Fie.

Mimosa tree seedlings are everywhere, as well.

There's a cluster of non-native thistles beside the road maybe a quarter mile away. I so want to apply a flame thrower. And the neighboring lot also has a big patch of vinca.

The latest issue of "Conservation Gardener" from the UNC arboretum has an introduction from the editor that described their battling with invasives on their small patch of North Carolina. The challenge was observed, the drop-in-the-bucket-ness, but the editor concluded that it's the way forward. Everyone doing their bit.

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