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Picture by Cassie

Busy as a bee

Samson was scheduled to do this week’s blog but he is up to his eyeballs in moving and getting settled.  So, this is kind of an intermission.   The intermission is a trailer for the award winning documentary Food, Inc.  This comes with a warning.  If you can’t stand the truth or you are not ready for the truth then do not watch this. “You will never look at your dinner in the same way again.”

I wondered about the old adage, “The truth hurts” and asked myself what does that mean?  How can the truth be a bad thing? I pretty much decided that facts are about as close to the truth as you are going to get. Or perhaps the certainty of numbers are very close to an indisputable truth.  I mean 1+1 for all intent and purposes is always going to = 2.  So, who is hurt by the truth?  I think honest persons can not be hurt by the truth.

Tell an honest person the truth and they will appreciate knowing it. However, tell a  person who knows the truth and covers it up with an intent to deceive and you have someone who would be exposed for lying about the truth and that would hurt.

What is the truth?  The truth is. What is a lie?   A lie is a cover-up of the truth.  The truth be told would expose a lie.  So, only a liar could be hurt by the truth.  And if that is the case then the old adage should really say, “The truth only hurts liars and that’s a good thing.”

I don’t have any idea of where all that came from. All I know is, that is what you get when someone says, We need something up and we need it up quick.  So there’s quick.

Watch the trailer and tell me who you think is telling the truth and who you think is lying?  And why.

http://www.foodincmovie.com/

Also if you want the latest GMO news this is it.

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_20188.cfm

The Good News

http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/en/press/releases/us-court-ruling-on-gmo-rice-af

Even better news. How to Fight the Good Fight and win.

http://www.celdf.org/

http://www.celdf.org/Default.aspx?tabid=61

http://www.soyinfo.com/haz/gehaz.shtml great resource page for groups, blogs, organizations, political action groups

P.S. Added Feb. 10,2010:  Huffington Post publishes the 12 most unethical companies in the WORLD.  The worst of the worst.  Too delicious.  I am not an I told you so type person but I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!

http://tinyurl.com/yhy36hc

P.S.S. Studies link GMOs with toxins, allergies, infertility, infant mortality, immune dysfunction, stunted growth, accelerated aging, and death. Whistleblowers were fired, threatened, and gagged. Warnings by FDA scientists were ignored. Expert Jeffrey M. Smith, author of the #1 GMO bestseller Seeds of Deception, and Genetic Roulette, presents SHOCKING evidence why these gene-spliced crops may lead to health and environmental catastrophes. Learn how to protect yourself and discover the Campaign for Healthier Eating in America—a brilliant plan to quickly end the genetic engineering of our food supply.

Gotta see it.

http://vimeo.com/6575475

We will continue our regularly scheduled blog next week.  Ciao for now.

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Meet Charlotte Photo by Cassie

Meet Charlotte Photo by Cassie

As near as I can tell this is a Eriophora transmarina from Australia. It was sitting in a covered glass on the counter top when I came home from work last night.  A note on the top read.

Beware

Beware

“Jessica saved your life. Beward! Spider! Real One!” I picked up the glass and shook it to get a better look at what was inside. It stayed still and curled up. I thought that saving my life meant the spider got dead. I looked at its markings. I was not keen on having poisonous spiders laying about and this one did come with a warning.

Just a couple of days earlier I had noticed all kinds of spider webs popping up in the garden with beautiful big webs. I looked up orb spider because I remember Samson talking about orb spiders in the garden one day. Well, sure enough it was an orb weaver. And it is holding true that spiders that make pretty webs are pretty harmless. This orb weaver is harmless but will bite  if provoked. This is just saying she is not looking for a fight but will defend herself if she has to. The bite is not terrible but you might want to avoid provoking her.

I stopped shaking the glass now so as not to piss her off.  Here is a great site with some very interesting facts about this spider that looks like Charlotte  from Charlotte’s web.  She has the cute little bangs in the front and eyes all a glow.  Amazing web making ability. How about alternating sticky line with non-sticky line. Silk web strong enough to net some birds.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orb-weaver_spider.

Once I got a little movement out of her I turned her loose in the honeysuckle vine right outside the front door.  She didn’t go very far either. Next morning there she was right above the front door, tucked under the eaves.

Setting up housekeeping

Setting up housekeeping

Not that the web isn’t  interesting enough but I will be reading between the lines and looking for a message from my dear Charlotte. Is that a ‘p’ I see just on the left there?

Here are some more great pictures and info on Orb weaver spiders.  http://tinyurl.com/4m3w26

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Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow

350.org is conducting a world wide event on October 24 to bring attention to the critical what-we-need-to-sustain-life-on-earth carbon number 350. We are at 387 and rising.

Every year since 1992, the United Nations hosts a two-week long conference for world leaders to meet and discuss what to do to about the global threat of climate change.

In December of 2009, this meeting will be in Copenhagen, Denmark. There, delegates, non-governmental organizations, and businesses from every nation will meet to finalize a new global climate change agreement.

350.org has launched a massive, first-of-its-kind campaign that spans the entire globe scheduled for October 24. Why? To let those people in Copenhagen know that everybody in the world knows about this carbon thing and to let them know they better do something about it for real. There are events taking place in 158 countries around the world.  This. Will. Be. HUGE. The events from around the world are being televised on the screen at Time Square. On the Monday after October 24th, the 350.org crew will be visiting UN headquarters in NYC to hand-deliver the photos to diplomats and delegates from around the world to make sure they know how much you want a global climate deal that meets the science.

I am going to give you the link for happenings here in SLO. Then you better check out the 350.org site. This is going to be something you are going to tell your kids about. You were there. You were part of it.

Here’s SLO stuff. DO IT. http://tinyurl.com/yzg5g2e

Go here to find out what you can do right now to get on this bandwagon http://www.350.org/9

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow

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One for the Money

One for the Money

To most people Bamboo is a nuisance at best, a scourge at its worst. Horror stories of running bamboo taking over yards or neighborhoods is a long-standing urban myth. Unlike the Kudzu, http://www.herbreference.com/kudzu.html

Now this could be a nightmare

Now,this could be a nightmare

that has taken over entire southern states bamboo enjoys limited exposure as a ‘Lucky’ plant grown in an 8oz container, or the main food source for the cute and cuddly panda in zoos, or safely observed from afar in bonsai exhibits at garden shows.

In China and Japan bamboo is a mainstay. Japan says its country is held together by bamboo and china builds bridges with it. Bamboo shoots are a food source, a feedstock, and of course timber bamboo has the tensile strength of steel, hence bridges and houses that last hundreds of years. I would not be surprised if author David Blume,  “Alcohol Can Be a Gas” could not brew up a batch of alcohol fuel from this sweet grass.    http://www.permaculture.com/

The running bamboo gallops in zones 4-10, hence the term running as opposed to clumping.  And if we were not so intent on killing or confining it, that running factor alone is a real asset.

How it gets up and goes

How it gets up and goes

Like crab grass it sends underground shoots in all directions and comes up with a new shoot the first chance it gets. This new shoot is a new plant that will send out more runners with more shoots to make more plants and on and on and on.

Crab grass is not a food source at least not to humans, nor can you build houses, flooring,

Pretty smooth stuff

Pretty smooth stuff

and tiles, make paper, clothes, musical instruments like flutes and reeds, window shades or bridges with it. You can’t reroute rivers or keep a denuded mountainside intact.  So, I can see the reasoning behind discouraging crab grass from running wild but, I do not understand why one would discourage, no, try to obliterate and eradicate a plant with the potential to reverse the current downward economics and raising CO2 trends. Growing bamboo for timber has all the earmarks of an industry that lends itself very nicely to the triple bottom line philosophy.  A win-win-win business philosophy that puts corporate greed in its place by practicing in unison the 3 P’s, planet, people, profit, thus the triple bottom line. “Building a Green Economy, by Kevin Danaber.” http://tinyurl.com/yauw8he

As a renewable, sustainable, pure green, job creating, out-and-out cash crop, bamboo is unbeatable.  It is a gift from Good Old Mother Nature like gold, sliver, diamonds, oil, air and water. The big plus side of Bamboo is that you don’t have to wait a million and half years to harvest this bounty.  Unlike Mom’s buried treasures that require deveining Her arteries, beheading Her mountaintops

or denuding Her ancient mantle for the treasured nonrenewables, bamboo is right there in your face, ready, willing and able to grow and multiply.  It screams, “Here I am. Come and get me.” Not using Bamboo as a natural resource is about as stupid as not using Hemp with all its natural renewable resources. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.  http://www.hemp.org/

Lets look at some hard cold facts about Bamboo as a Big green, sustainable, life producing manufacturing plant.  This plant can create wealth right here and right now. “Bamboos are the fastest growing woody plants in the world. Their growth rate (up to 60 centimeters (24 in.)/day) is due to a unique rhizome-dependent system, but is highly dependent on local soil and climate conditions.  Timber bamboo grows in zones 4-10.  Here is a zone map http://tinyurl.com/yep5hf3.  San Luis Obispo is Zone 9.

They are of economic and high cultural significance in East Asia and South East Asia where they are used extensively in gardens, as a building material, and as a food source.” We know it works and is sustainable.

Why not?

Grows .00002 mph

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo

Compare This: Timber bamboo takes 5-7 years to grow to the point it can be harvested.

With a 10-30% annual increase in biomass versus 2-5% for trees, bamboo creates greater yields of raw material for use. One clump can produce 200 poles in the five years it takes one tree to reach maturity.

In Costa Rica, 1000 homes are built every year with all of the building material coming from the same 150-acre plantation.

Bamboo homes can withstand 173 mph hurricane winds and 7.3 earthquakes.

Not to shabby

Not to shabby

Bamboo grows anywhere, from the equator to the Himalayas. There is Bamboo as a ground cover that you can mow once a year, or some timber Bamboo that grows to 100 feet in the first year.  It eats carbon dioxide. http://tinyurl.com/yemx3w8

One hundred and fifty acres of timber bamboo can produce 1250 board feet of timber in one year’s time compared to using native species, which takes  30-50 years to produce the same amount.  We get most of our Bamboo products from China and Japan. China and Japan get most of their lumber from our old forest. That does not seem like a fair trade. Bamboo grows anywhere. All you need is some dirt and sunshine.

As a commercial enterprise, the processing and impact on the environment in terms of chemicals, waste, toxic byproduct used is minimal compared to processing lumber for paper or pulp,  if it is done right.

Fun to watch

Fun to watch

For backyard gardens I grow bamboo in pots for fun and profit. I grow Black bamboo for the sheer beauty and grace. Green and yellow bamboo again for its beauty and it makes great all natural, no BHA, straws because there is at least 12” between nodes.  I also use the variegated variety for stakes in the garden or make fencing and criss crossing traps to keep critters out of the garden.  I keep cutting it and it keeps growing.

I am lucky.  I live in a town that is looking for a growth industry that is user and planet friendly.  We have the land, the climate, and the will to live a sustainable lifestyle.  There are two independent lumber yards that might be interested in a grow-your-own-economy that bamboo could provide.  Bamboo is amazing.  Working with Bamboo is working with  Mother Nature at the Grassroots.  Here are a few sites to get  you started http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ecoph39.htm .  There is a lot of information here.    http://www.bamboos.com/timber%20bamboo.html Also, locally we have Bamboo Batu.  This is a  local business with more facts and bamboo products.  Check it out.  http://www.bambu-batu.com/24-0-factoids.html. We get no kickbacks from any of these sites.  We are doing it for the love.

The Big Picture

The Big Picture

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Denette and I were at Avila with the kids a few Sundays ago, whiling away the day in the sun and the water. As we left, we noticed the Avila Farmers Market was getting rolling, so we decided to visit.

We were kind of disappointed. The market is more fun than functional, with only about six stands of produce vendors And only one fish vendor. Yikes.

However, among those vendors were two gems:

  1. Our friends at Wind Dance Farms make an incredible organic olive oil that they grow just down the road in Avila; they alone are worth a trip to the market
  2. Chaparral Gardens, which makes the best vinegars I have ever tasted. Bar none.

The iPhone camera just would NOT focus!

The owner was selling some organic mixed greens, and I wanted a salad when we got home so I bought some.

Then I sampled his vinegars.

Sold.

We came home with the Pacific Spice Vinegar, which starts off sweet and finishes with a beautiful hot spiciness. We went right home and had it on our salad.

SO good with the Mt. Olive spicy olives and the CG vinegar...I feel a habit forming.

Then I proceeded to put it on everything else until it ran out.

In a week. Yep, it’s that good.

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