Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

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Links May 2017

May 22, 2017

There’s so much worth writing about, from the ongoing war against nature, where humanity marches from victory to victory, to the turmoil in Washington D.C., to the stalemate in Yemen, the attempted partition of Syria, or Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s self-inflicted defeats.

Garden work has preference though, the weeds and pests don’t make a pause, billions of living beings are competing for their place in the ecosystem and I have to make intelligent and efficient corrections to bend the flow of nature in a way which benefits me by resulting in higher yields of fruits, herbs, and vegetables.

This blog post is therefore not much more than a notification that I want to continue publishing posts but at the moment have not enough time to make sound research and write useful commentaries and analysis.

Most of the blog subscribers are US citizens and to revel about the political chaos of the Trump Presidency would amount to schadenfreude, an unworthy, even disgusting sentiment. But isn’t it desirable that the Western Imperium is weakened by internal conflict? Is that not what anti-imperialists and anti-globalists wish for?

Most of the US subscribers will be aware of the neocolonial exploitation of developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America by trading overpriced services, high technology goods, and weapons against cheap commodities. Most subscribers will be aware that the global financial system is enabling this exploitation, that investment banks and the IMF are keeping countries in debt servitude, that big corporations are buying up land, expelling the natives, that US military power is enforcing the rules. Most subscribers will be aware that they are benefitting from the exploitation and yet, they will shudder at the thought that their living standard could be lowered as US global might suffers.

They are privileged and I, living in a Western European country, am privileged as well. My comfortable life is enabled by exploiting week countries and exploiting nature. The exploitation should stop as soon as possible. I know, that if it stops, life could become much more cumbersome. Maybe cumbersome isn’t the right word, but life at least will be very different and we will have to change our habits and learn how to get on with less. I’m preparing myself for these times.

Even the idyllic rural area where I live shows signs of environmental decay. It is most times quiet, no car can be heard throughout the night and after sunset moonlight and starlight are the only illumination. Occasionally a gang of adolescents in their late puberty terrorizes the village with their noisy and stinking motor scooters. Hunters drive by in their SUV’s, farmers tractors, big as battle tanks, pass by and curve across the fields. Plastic garbage litters the edge of the forest and swims in the few little creeks and rivers which agriculture has still not eradicated. Vegetation in the forest is slowly changing, as invasive grass species take over large areas. Bats and reptiles have disappeared. When the farmer sprays the nearby field with pesticides, my garden is full of dead or dying bumblebees.

This is unsustainable, is criminal, is insane, and has to stop! But how? I daydream about a crash and subsequent disintegration of the global financial system. I daydream about social unrest and political paralysis in the Western imperial nations, about a disintegration of the European Union and NATO. I daydream about a pandemic (flu, ebola, anthrax) spread by air travel, tourism, global shipments of goods, exacerbated by weakened human immune systems (weakened because of contaminated food, water, air).

This is an idea Dr. Eric Pianka (Lizard Man) vented in 2006, though he didn’t advocate it in earnest.
http://www.zo.utexas.edu/faculty/pianka/Pianka-did-NOT-advocate-ebola.html
The pain and suffering inflicted by such a pandemic is beyond comprehension and nobody in her or his right mind would hope for such a pandemic to occur.

I dismiss my daydreams. Has anyone a better idea? Paraphrasing the German philosopher Georg Friedrich Hegel: “The only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.” Maybe we learn from catastrophes? But only if disaster is hitting hard and hitting near. And not even that is a given, because, to use the widely circulated quote, which Albert Einstein may or may not have coined: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

I cannot stop with this pessimistic notion, it is not my intent to convey desperation and despair. For many years I dreamt about and trained to feel content, serene, at peace even in the bleakest situations. For many years I dreamt about and trained to feel love and happiness, to understand, tolerate, forgive. I dreamt and still dream that one day I will radiate happiness and wisdom, enchanting and elating everyone whom I meet, casting a spell of love and peace onto everybody.

While global forces are beyond our control, our inner world is of our making — to some extent.

I’m still a novice in this respect, an amateur, making slow progress, experimenting, trying, failing, sometimes succeeding. I’m not giving up and maybe my blog posts prevent someone else from giving up. Enough said, every other words could be misunderstood as esoteric drivel.

Feline news:
https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/05/20/the-crazy-history-cat-lady/5DJaZf5QW0KPv8KTYBBGPO/story.html
http://www.boredpanda.com/stray-cat-mom-brings-kittens/
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-39931050
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4523778/Cat-mesmerized-kitten-sleeping-paws-air.html

Environmental news:
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176269/
http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Low-Oil-Prices-Wont-Deter-Russia-From-Arctic-Drilling.html Sadly, Putin is not an environmentalist. This is the one area where Trump and Putin concur.
https://www.oxfam.org/en/famine-and-hunger-crisis-ethiopia-food-crisis/drought-east-africa-if-rains-do-not-come-none-us-will
https://ensia.com/features/19036/ Fungal diseases increase.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-environment-idUSKBN17R2FT
https://www.kcet.org/shows/earth-focus/that-perfect-toxic-lawn-american-suburbs-and-24-d
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/plastic-waste-oceans_us_58fed37be4b0c46f0781d426
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40427-giraffes-are-quietly-disappearing-but-the-us-can-help-stop-their-silent-extinction
http://e360.yale.edu/features/why-its-time-to-stop-punishing-our-soils-with-fertilizers-and-chemicals One doesn’t need to be a scientist to understand that pouring lot of chemicals onto the fields will disturb the natural processes and kill essential life, from microorganisms to pollinators to birds and hedgehogs. But it doesn’t hurt if scientists after extensive testing come to the same conclusion.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/02/uk-killer-whale-died-extreme-levels-toxic-pollutants PCBs cause infertility in mammals, including humans. One step closer to a solution of the global environmental problems?
http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/05/09/521264/Tunnel-with-nuclear-waste-collapses-in-Washington-state
http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-hanford-nuclear-emergency-20170509-story.html Hot times in Hanford.
http://gizmodo.com/tunnel-collapses-at-nuclear-facility-once-called-an-und-1795058376
http://progressive.org/dispatches/tunnel-collapse-at-hanford-nuclear-dump-accelerates-the-coll/
http://thebulletin.org/predictable-nuclear-accident-hanford10774
http://www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2017/05/radioactive_contamination_foun.html
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/where-have-all-insects-gone
http://climatenewsnetwork.net/ocean-oxygen-decline-greater-predicted/
https://ensia.com/features/19036/#
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/05/20/vanishing-animals-future-generations-will-never-see/

Economic news:
http://evonomics.com/pretending-hard-science-ethics-free-julie-nelson/
http://evonomics.com/science-flow-says-extreme-inequality-causes-economic-collapse/
Media and technology news:
http://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/social-media/2017/05/guide-escaping-facebook-s-evil-clutches-without-erm-actually
http://www.zdnet.com/article/leaked-document-reveals-uk-plans-for-wider-internet-surveillance/
https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/kate-raworth/seven-ways-to-think-like-21st-century-economist
http://evonomics.com/doubt-capitalism-useless-jobs-rutger-bregman/
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/what-the-digital-resistance-movement-might-look-like
https://www.blackagendareport.com/activists_confront_amy_goodman_on_syria

Imperial news:
I published my take on the Trump Presidency already in February
In a weird way, Trump is our best hope.
As things turned out like expected, there needs not much to be added and one may just watching fascinated how the US media, spearheaded by Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post, builds up a case by mixing facts and fabrications, luring Trump into one trapp after the other, carefully choosing terms and phrases which are equivocal and yet suggestive, prompting to read between the lines.
They (the Washington political elite, called alternately “deep state,” “permanent government,” or “the Blob,”) are not fooling around, they are in for the kill. “They” (the insiders) will show Trump (the outsider) and anybody else, who is really running the show, who deals the cards, who pulls the strings.
Trump, the outsider, has to be destroyed to set an example and make it clear to whoever follows him and whoever in future runs for office that dissenting views are not allowed and unwritten rules must not be breached.
The Trump impeachment campaign is not yet as mean and vile as the smear and slander against Vladimir Putin, Muammar Gaddafi, and Dr. Bashar al-Assad, probably because public trust in government and the Presidency itself should not be eroded.
Donald Trump deserves no pity! Environmental regulations are gutted, the energy firms are jubilant, hoping for a windfall. Public goods are privatized everywhere, social services are cut back or starved by lack of funding. The big corporations and the superrich get tax cuts, while public spending for welfare and infrastructure is reduced. A 110 billion US$ weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, the greatest state sponsor of terrorism makes sure, that the weapons flow to Islamic militias never will stop, that the destabilization and destruction of Muslim countries can go on for another decade and longer.
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-19/russians-are-laughing-at-the-u-s-not-just-at-trump
European allies officially express fear that Trump’s political chaos is undermining US power. There is mounting concern among European leaders that the scandals could sap the White House’s ability to respond to challenges ranging from Russia to terrorism to North Korea.
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/04/obama-reportedly-accepts-usd400-000-for-a-wall-street-speech.html Now I know what center-left means: Faking, deceiving, and selling out like Barack Obama did.
http://petras.lahaine.org/?p=2140 A comprehensive review of recent US history, including an alternative view of Nixon, Carter, and other US Presidents, by one of the few great American journalists and commentators.
https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2017/05/comey-and-the-end-of-conversation/ Disinformation, echo chambers, social discontent and radicalization.
http://www.alternet.org/education/11-ways-chicagos-charter-schools-have-created-public-education-nightmare
http://www.workers.org/2017/05/10/congress-be-damned-fight-for-free-healthcare/
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/new-report-documents-pervasive-hunger-in-america/
Imperial conquest news:
http://nsiteam.com/social/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/A-multi-disciplinary-multi-method-approach-to-leader-assessment-at-a-distance-The-case-of-Bashar-al-Assad.pdf From 2014, but informative and astonishingly neutral.
Syrian President Dr. Bashar al-Assad gave an Interview to TV-channel TeleSur. The 5th question in the interview was:
How do you assess the current policy of Donald Trump in the world, and in Syria in particular?
President Assad replied: “The American President has no policies. There are policies drawn by the American institutions controlling the American regime which are the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the big arms and oil companies, and financial institutions, in addition to some other lobbies which influence American decision-making. The American President merely implements these policies, and the evidence is that when Trump tried to move on a different track, during and after his election campaign, he couldn’t. He came under a ferocious attack. As we have seen in the past few week, he changed his rhetoric completely and subjected himself to the terms of the deep American state, or the deep American regime. That’s why it is unrealistic and a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American President’s foreign policy, for he might say something; but he ultimately does what these institutions dictate to him. This is not new. This has been ongoing American policy for decades.”
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2017/846-george-monbiot-responds-on-syria.html
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2017/845-an-impeachable-offence-professor-postol-and-syria.html
https://clarityofsignal.com/2017/05/08/direct-jihadist-collusion-over-one-dozen-videos-capture-white-helmets-working-side-by-side-with-terrorist-groups/
http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/resurrection-hope-amid-suffering-and-grief-in-syria
http://news.antiwar.com/2017/05/02/yemeni-al-qaeda-leader-were-fighting-alongside-us-backed-forces/
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/10/libya-public-slave-auctions-un-migration
http://theduran.com/kiev-cuts-electricity-lpr-prepares-dpr/
http://www.workers.org/2017/04/29/u-s-u-n-move-wont-end-occupation-of-haiti/#.WQS6wlKB0UQ Of all the failed UN missions this one stand out because it is not peace keeping, it is an occupation force for the USA who pays the bills and controls the UN bureaucracy.
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/us-foreign-policy-has-brought-80-of-the-entire-population-of-children-in-yemen-to-the-brink-of-death/
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176278/ The costs of war. Must read.

Uncategorized news:
http://womenspost.ca/saudi-arabia-elected-to-un-commission-on-the-status-of-women/ This is not a joke and what else would one expect from the US dominated “United Nations” in New York. Saudi Arabia, the greatest initiator and patron of terrorist movements all around the world, has to be sanitized, has to appear to be inline with the endlessly cited “Western Values.”
http://exiledonline.com/russia-blog-day-3-about-that-credit-suisse-russia-inequality-report/ Must read.
https://nplusonemag.com/online-only/online-only/ecuador-after-correa/ Informative.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39784721
News from cat land:

Theres a ten hours working day again. Fruit harvest will be low this year, because a cold snap ruined many blooms of peach trees, apple trees, and plum trees. One old grapevine has died, it was the one with the most delicious grapes. Quite a few plants have not survived the winter. All rosemaries are gone, half of the lavender and sage, many strawberry runners who in other years would have had a good chance to survive.

The winter was not uncommonly cold, but marked by rapid temperature swings. In the last years such temperature swings have become common, a development predicted by climatologists (extreme weather).

Unseasonal mild wether in late winter entices the plants to wake up from dormancy and start growing new sprouts, branches, leaves. When a sudden merciless cold spell kills all the sprouts, branches, and leaves, the energy of the plant is often exhausted and it dies. This happened to my grapevine, and two years ago it happened to a three year old plum tree. It was the first to have fully developed leaves but after the cold spell all the leaves turned black and the tree died. I was very saddened because this tree was my dear friend. Many plants in the garden are my friends.

There is all kind of well meant advice on the various gardening websites how to protect plants against frost and freeze, but the proposed methods are impractical. How shall I cover the trees with fabric, when most of them are three to five meters high? I’m not Christo. Bringing the plants into the house over winter? That may be possible for a couple of bushes but not for hundreds. The berry bushes btw. have fared better than the trees — blueberry, gooseberry, jostaberry, raspberry, blackberry harvest should be okay this year.

I will replace the ruined plants with more robust varieties and find out which plants can adapt to the changing climate.

A forest alleviates climate extremes and the adjacent forest surely helps, but the surrounding fields on the other hand reduce this effect. Yet, as my little orchard grows, becoming higher, more compact, developing a dense canopy, the plants will be covered and protected from extreme temperatures. Plants, especially the grapevines, though need sun too, and I have to find out how to integrate these contradictory requirements into my garden plans.

The gooseberry sawfly or some moth larvae have striped complete braches of gooseberry bushes from all their leaves. It is not widespread and I’m already busy with the slugs and snails, so I have not taken action until now but I have to be vigilant because the gooseberry sawfly can produce up to three generations a year. I hope that my friends the spiders will take care of them.

Gandhi Jr. my big cat boy, killed two young toads and I was very upset and showed him my displeasure in no uncertain terms. I don’t know if that helps, I cannot imagine any method how to convey to the cats that they should hunt mice and voles but leave the frogs and toads alone. I find dead mice nearly every day, they are so plentiful that the cats don’t even eat them all.

Three days ago while I was just kneeling, weeding, I heard a strange squeaking sound behind me, As I turned I saw a young toad hop towards me, chased by Wendy, the longhair cat girl. I was not aware that toads could make such a loud squeaking sound. Fortunately Wendy is the slowest and most clumsy member of the cat family, so the toad had a chance to escape. I grabbed the toad and as I held it in my hand it stopped squeaking and calmed down.

I held the toad for some moments and talked softly to it before I carried it to one of the garden ponds. It didn’t try to jump off my hand. During my life I have held toads several times and they always were completely quiet and seemingly trustful. How do they know?

I had also bats, birds, and mice in my hand and they were not trustful at all, a bat did even bite me in my finger once, but that is a long story which I maybe will tell occasionally in another blog post.

Why are toads reacting so differently? Am I the toad whisperer?