Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Our friend JB is in the hospital again for another round of Interleukin-2 treatment. His last experience there wasn't particularly pleasant, and I ask all of those people who read this to send good vibes, to pray, to meditate, to do whatever you can do to send healing energy his way as he lays in the hospital receiving medications.

We love you JB and Jason and hope to see you soon.

"Outside, the freezing desert night.
This other night inside grows warm, kindling.
Let the landscape be covered with thorny crust.
We have a soft garden in here.
The continents blasted,
cities and little towns, everything
become a scorched, blackened ball.

The news we hear is full of grief for that future,
but the real news inside here
is there's no news at all.


Friend, our closeness is this:
anywhere you put your feet, feel me
in the firmness under you.

How is it with this love,
I see your world and not you?


Listen to presences inside poems,
Let them take you where they will.

Follow those private hints,
and never leave the premises."


Plastic water bottles can cause cancer

April 22, 2008
A Hard Plastic Is Raising Hard Questions

Are toxic plastics lurking in your kitchen?

It’s a question many families are asking after reports last week that a chemical used to make baby bottles, water bottles and food containers is facing increasing scrutiny by health officials in Canada and the United States.

The substance is bisphenol-a, or BPA, widely used in the making of the hard, clear and nearly unbreakable plastic called polycarbonate. Studies and tests show that trace amounts of BPA are leaching from polycarbonate containers into foods and liquids.

While most of the focus is on products for children, including clear plastic bottles and canned infant formula, the chemical is also used in food-storage containers, some clear plastic pitchers used for filtered water, refillable water bottles and the lining of soft-drink and food cans.

While there is debate about how much of a health worry BPA really is, retailers including Wal-Mart have said they are withdrawing baby products made with it. Nalgene, the maker of a popular sports bottle, and the baby-products maker Playtex have announced they will stop using it.

Here are answers to some common questions about BPA.

What is the evidence that BPA is harmful?

It all comes from animal studies. Rat pups exposed to BPA, through injection or food, showed changes in mammary and prostate tissue, suggesting a potential cancer risk. In some tests of female mice, exposure appeared to accelerate puberty.

A draft report from the National Toxicology Program, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, notes that there is no direct evidence that human exposure to BPA harms reproduction or infant development. “I don’t think there’s anything in this brief that should lead to alarm,” said Dr. Michael D. Shelby, director of the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction, who oversaw the report. “It means we’ve got a limited amount of evidence from some studies that were done in laboratory animals.”

The main concern is the possible risk to infants and pregnant women, although Canada has begun a study to monitor BPA exposure among about 5,000 people to assess any danger to adults.

More here:

Monday, April 21, 2008

First Food

We have tasted our first arugula of the season, stuff that I tried to grow a couple months ago, but then I gave up and it came up amidst other seedlings that we planted. It was a surprising amount from just being set under grow lights, and next year I am growing tons more. I just can't get over the thought of harvesting fresh arugula while snow is still coming down.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Very cool PBS show from Vermont

Permaculture show from Vermont:

Make sure to check out the other parts of each episode on youtube...

Leatherman Pruner/multitool

This has got to be the cream of the crop when it comes to pruners/multitools:

I have to admit I want one, but I love my Felco pruner and my Leatherman Wave forever. It just might be nice to combine them....

Monday, April 14, 2008

erratic entities

The sun has started to shine in earnest and all of us mammals are excited about basking in it, enjoying the warmth of that massive nuclear ball that provides us with the radiation we need to sustain our lives.

We have seedlings started and designs in the works for our gardens, and the more work we do, the more work there is. We have to design a a windbreak that protects a 100'x50' garden that lies behind the shop, with south and west exposure. The northwesterly winds are a hindrance to the garden in the spring. So far we are thinking about a polyculture of red cedar, highbush cranberry, korean pine nut, jack pine, and a dogwood. We are also looking to plant some red osier dogwood over on the north side of the pond, along with maybe some serviceberries.

First project for Local Roots is almost underway, I'm exited about getting out there in the sun. Meanwhile I'm stuck at home trying to paint the trim in the hallway for a little cash.

My russian comfrey plants are growing crazily. I can't wait to get them into the ground, as I hear they do not like to be potted, although at this point they seem as happy as any plant I've seen in a pot.

We have a variety of hops rhizomes that are ready to go into the ground, to join the others around the perimeter of the back garden. This year we are going to add compost to the soil when we plant them, because last year we didn't and the hops grew weakly, which surprised us as we have a couple hops vines in the backyard that grow like crazy in poor soil.

We have most of our seeds, except for the Fedco seeds, so I can't wait to get those. Once we get our site up and ready we will be posting inventories of seeds, plantings, designs, and all kinds of fun stuff. Meanwhile, I'll be posting random observations and info on here.

I might be helping a friend build some coldframes later on today.

What are you up to this spring?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

up at 5

I'm up early this morning, and I wish I could go back to bed.

We had a lazy Saturday yesterday. Went to Present Moment to pick up some healing herbs, then checked out Urban Earth Coop to see what they were all about. I can envision them growing bigger and giving classes, as they are in a great spot in south Minneapolis.

THen we stopped by my friend Heidi's house to check out some windows that she had dumpster dived. They were sweet and now a couple are in our car, and I hope to make some cold frames today for the upcoming growing season. While we were there, were we given beers, and the afternoon stretched outward.

As we settled in the comfortable clubhouse, we sipped beers and watched birds twitter and squirrels act indifferent. Overall it was a lovely afternoon, and then Heidi's neighbor came over to invite us to eat BBQed venison, which we did, along with some baked potatoes, organic butter and sourcream, baba ganoush and eggplant thai dip, and I tried to cut up three tasty mangoes, all provided by H and R. It was great food and we had a good time. It was a lot of beers and sun so we came home and went to bed somewhat early.

Today I hope to clean up the place a little and make the cold frames, and get our seed orders in finally. We have some seedlings poking their cotyledons up out of the potting soil, and I can't wait to see everything growing.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

pint of gold

We tapped about 10 trees on Sunday and most of those were SIlver maples, not a native species but it turns out they have about 3% sugar content in their sap.

There is something about the generosity of the maples as we tap them. They give up their sap without a whisper. They heal themselves with their substantial plant powers, fast and slow.

And then we boil and boil, and finally the sap lies sticky and viscous, a potent syrup of brown. A beautiful process in all.

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