Thursday, August 28, 2014

Habits Are Hard to Break

I started typing (as it was called back in the day) when I was in elementary school and took typing classes throughout middle school and high school. We were always taught to put two spaces after a period that ends a sentence. Imagine my surprise when I entered grad school and learned that we would be using the APA citation style and that one of the rules was one space at the end of a sentence. I thought it was either something specific to that form of citation (I had always used MLA or Chicago) or something new with the advent of personal computers.  

But that's not true. Actually, it was always proper to just have one space at the end of a sentence. I recently ran across this article in Slate  which cleared up the confusion for meIt was with the introduction of typewriters that two spaces were required. The reason was that with type setting, the letters are proportional (that is, an "m" takes up more space than an "l." However, with early and most typewriters, the letters are all the same size and the extra space was to make it easier to read. Not so with computers and word processors as the finished product is proportional like type setting.. 

After all these years of typing/keyboarding, it's hard to teach an old dog this "new" trick. But I'm working on it. In fact, after I typed this very post, I had to go back and eliminate the extra spaces. 

Maybe one day I'll do a post on the Oxford comma which also confused me due to grammar lessons in grade school conflicting with term paper requirements in college.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

As a regular (should I say obsessive?) tea drinker, I love this infographic on the health benefits of daily tea consumption:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trusting Corporations to Feed the World

American Goldfinch
It's really sad that we have become so dependent upon Big Ag - and all the associated "safe" chemicals - to feed us. Trusting large corporations to do the right thing for customers is really a bit silly when you think about it. Because corporations are profit driven and by law must always make decisions based on how they will affect shareholders - not the customer.

Since I've tended to shun the news over the last year or so, I'm not up to date on many goings on in the world. However, I stumbled upon a 2012 article in The Guardian that reinforces my belief that corporations are not to be trusted with our food, especially when they use the latest-greatest-technology. To paraphrase the great Humphrey Bogart, "I'm shocked, shocked, to learn that there was poisoning going on."

Scott's Micracle-Gro plead guilty to knowingly selling bird seed treated with pesticides to prevent insect damage during long-term storage.  This bird seed killed wild birds. Did you get that? Knowingly poisoned the birds. Apparently, employees alerted the company to the problem as early as 2007 and yet nothing was done.  

Management chose to ignore warnings from its scientists.  It would affect profits, after all. 73 million packages of poison bird seed was sold - and only 2 million were recalled. That's a lot of money riding on doing the right thing - destroying the poisoned food - or turning a blind eye and making profits for the shareholders. How many wild birds (and probably other creatures) were needlessly killed for corporate profit? Dare we trust this company (or any other) to make products that we put in gardens where we grow our food and on lawns where our children play? (And here's another earlier "oops" by Scotts Miracle-Gro just to show they're not very good about following rules.)

If corporations will poison birds for profit (and lie about it when caught), it really should make us pause to consider what they will do (and are doing) to food for human consumption. Let's start a revolution; let's start feeding ourselves organically, depending on home gardens, community gardens, and local farmers to put food on our table. Not corporations that knowingly poison the planet.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Morning Amazement

Usually I save Monday Morning Amusement/Amazement for something humorous or incredibly over the top. Today I'm sharing this meme (seen on Ecogrrl's site and pinned on Pinterest) because our throw away society truly amazes me sometimes. Something to think about:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Quote for the Day

"We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be."
~May Sarton

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Farm Saturday

Despite unseasonably cool and wet weather, it has been a great week on the farm. We had a good number of orders for deliveries, met some new customers, and today was a busy day at the market where we sold almost all that we brought.

I'm now feeling like a mushroom forager extraordinaire. Two weeks ago I discovered what turned out to be an edible mushroom called a cauliflower mushroom. Earlier this week I spied an interesting variety of mushroom and decided to harvest it to take to our friends at the market. I did some research and thought I knew what it was but of course I wanted to make sure. It turned out to be a chicken of the woods (aka sulfur shelf or sulfur mushroom:
I also found yet another variety growing and I was pretty sure they were chanterelles. A couple of years ago I thought I discovered some, but after some research determined that they were the poisonous lookalike called Jack O'Lantern. Now that I've found the real thing, I don't know how I could have mistaken the poisonous ones for the edible ones as they really don't look alike. Here's some more of the lovelies coming in:
Now there are three varieties of wild mushrooms that are easy for me to identify and that I know I can eat - plus the shiitakes we grow! We also did some bartering with our market friends who helped identify the mushrooms and ended up with two oyster mushroom logs and some black tea/hibiscus kombucha in exchange for a piece of the chicken of the woods.  The joys of homesteading!

Have a great weekend!*

*Postscript:  We went mushroom foraging this evening.  We found some blue milk cap mushrooms (edible but not necessarily tasty).  However, the best news is that we discovered several large patches of tiny chanterelles!  We'll keep an eye on those spots - plus I've read that they will come back in the same spot if the ground containing the mycelium is undisturbed.  Every cloud has a silver lining and now we know what to do when it's too wet to farm.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

For the past few months, I've tried to avoid the typical reaction to headaches and other minor aches and pains - grabbing an over-the-counter pain killer. Instead, I've been using white willow bark, which is the substance that aspirin was originally derived from. It seems to work. And whether it works medically or is a placebo effect doesn't really matter - because it works for me. Here's an infographic from Dr. Mercola, showing us the dangers of commonly used pain killers, also known as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs):
It's interesting to see how many people are hospitalized - and die - each year from using NSAIDS. If a natural supplement was linked to similar statistics - white willow bark, for instance, it would immediately be removed from store shelves and outlawed. Instead of reaching for that bottle of chemical pills for minor aches and pains, try a natural solution instead.