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    Thursday, August 31, 2006

    Gnomes with Tools

    Keebler reminded me of a funny thing at his work the other day. Seems the other tech working the site with him was only an inch taller than he is. (Keebler is 5'3".) He said it was quite the visial, both of them looking into this hole in the wall trying to figure out a problem, looking nothing so much as gnomes with tools. Then he informs me that gnomes with tools is a terribly frightening thing, and after my blank stare of several seconds, he goes on to explain.

    It seems that (In the world of D&D), gnomes were, as a race, cursed by some deity or another to have eveything they build turn to crap. Gnomes are great builders and mechanics he tells me, but there is always a design flaw or some other problem that frags the project. Then I'm informed that one or two gnomes working on a thing isn't too bad, as long as there is a human engineer there as well to check for flaws and make repairs, but that one of the most terrifying things many realmdwellers can imagine is an entire tribe(?) of gnomes, with really good tools, and unlimited materials. DOOM and DESPAIR!!

    So I remember to write this post today, after learning that while some cities are nearly ignoring gender in the schools (letting the kids dress however they like and providing unisex bathrooms), the Springfield Public school system is considering segregrating students by gender (because boys are more self-confident but have shorter attention spans, and girls are more self-consious, but can think for longer periods of time). *gasp* As if the genitals you are born with have any danged thing to do with what kind of person you are or what your learning style is! *growl*

    Then I read that in another local school district, the higher grades are being taught that skinny is beautiful with manditory body fat testing, added exercise, and consistent heart monitoring (to see how fast they are loosing weight). I feel really sorry for those poor kids with medical conditions (like diabetes or thyroid disorders) in situations like this. And it really is shocking (read the article) as part of the testing is an electrical shock administered to each student. *shudder*

    And this is yet another great example of why I homeschool and fight for homeschool and educational freedoms for all people, but I wonder; for how long have gnomes been working in the policy offices of the public school systems, and how do we take their tools away?

    The Chimes

    Tried to post this lastnight before we went to bed, but something was wrong with the internet connection. *shrug*

    We went to the chime ringing (chimes being the thing kids can ring before they graduate to bells) class / opening party for Ladbybug today. It was quite a bit of fun and everyone but Littlebit (she was not allowed, too young) rang the chimes a few times. It was a pretty nice event, and afterwards, we traded recipes with the teacher. *grin*

    Then we did a Freecycle(tm) and had an impromptu dinner date, watched Shaun of the Dead, and chatted into the too-darned-late hours of the morning.

    Gads I'm tired!

    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    Autumn Melancholy

    Cold and wind greeted me as I walked out the door this morning to finish measuring for the raised bed we're building. Immediately my mood sank. Nothing says the end of the growing season like a blustery day and not enough time to get the greenhouse plastic up. *sigh*

    If we have the spare money (who am I kidding?!) I'd like to build some cool covers for the crops (who are just starting to ripen) so that I can extend the season even outside the greenhouse.

    With the end of summer comes the blatant exhultation of many moms on the blogosphere extolling the virtues of a near-childless life due to school starting. I'm really not sure what to think about these posts in whole, but when I read them, a small part of me gets wistfull. Oh the joy of silence, the opportunity for true productivity, the chance to not have the kids for just a short while per day so that I could have any time to myself without having to loose sleep to get it. *sigh*

    Then I come to my senses and remember all of the myriad reasons that I keep them out of the grasp of the public indoctrination & juvenile prison system. Want a horrifying read? Try "The Children's Story" on for size. In just a few short, quiet minutes at the beginning of the school day, a new teacher literally destroys the families, and faith of an entire classroom. It is frightening and really makes you think. I donated my copy to The Radish several months ago because it needed to be shared. Or read the heartbreaking short tale at the beginning of "The Teenage Liberation Handbook" for why children should be given permission to make their own educational decisions, or at the very least kept out of the public schools. Our children are so very precious.

    I had even given thought to sending the girls to the new Sudbury school that is opening up in town. Sudbury is "the unschooling school", so it's worth looking into if for nothing else, curiousity's sake. Amongst other factors, we didn't have the money to do it, so home they stay. It would have been a fun experiment to have tried though.

    We will be attempting to enroll them in the Boys & Girls Club's after school thingie, and a few homeschooling parents are talking about 4H and Campfire (which aren't very active around here, so there weren't any groups available). It would be awefully nice to get them back involved with some groups for activities that I don't have to schedule, plan, and facilitate all the time. *smirk* Now if I can only manage to arrange a carpooling thing as well for all of this stuff, we'll be set!

    I worked a lot (like 5 hours) on modifying the blog's template and basic layout, polinated some flowers, let mother take the children again, made a really great dinner (recipe later), Keebler knocked down some wood poles that were in the way of my new raised bed (and we'll recycle the wood into the project too), and he & I visited my friend Bobby after we finished with everything else because Bobby looked really unhappy when we saw him on Monday. Come tom find out he had helped a friend of his move an ancient (read: a lot of cast iron) player piano and was seriously in pain. I took him into the back room of the bar and realigned everything and gave him a quick back rub. (I'm not known for my gentleness, just my effectiveness. *chuckle*) He's doing somewhat better for it, and hopefully a good night's sleep will combine with the work I did to fix him up by the morning.

    I've been doing a lot of sewing lately (by hand) too, as the girls' Halloween costumes have to be finished relatively soon, and sewing machines hate me (long story, another time maybe).

    I went to my first schmeeting in quite a while today and nearly started several arguments by simply translating some notes I had taken during a discussion at the pot luck yesterday. But all good things came of it. It was sort of like a white water rafting trip. Kind of uncertain, sometimes a bit on the edge of danger, but productive, mostly fun, and everyone got off the rafts safe and laughing together at the end of the trip. *smile* I'm glad I was there this time, and I plan to make more meetings in the future. Meetings are at 7pm on Tuesdays, and usually cover several topics throughout the month, from fund raising, website design, and flier making to general Radishal discussions about the space itself. Next week is flier making at The Radish So come on out and get your crafting scrapbooky groove on! *grin*

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    Cute Fuzzy Aminals

    The boys
    And the girls,

    And the boys,

    And the only not-camera-shy girl (and her shadow), all say hello *smile* They are all so big now! Know anyone who wants some girly rattlings? *chuckle*

    On with the day!

    Got up at 6:30am, made breakfast (french toast), drove Keeb to work at 8, came back home, passed out in the bed. Woke up at noon to Littlebit crying. Why? Her sister has put her into the dog crate they play in as a punishment. She can get out just fine ion her own, but it's the whole idea of being punished, you see. So I get onto both of them for innapropriate behavior ("don't lock your sister in the toys" and so forth) and move forward with my day.

    Friends stopped by, the maintenence man dropped in asking for a bit of help from Keeb, my mother called, and Keeb called to let me know that he was ready to come home for work. I kicked out the friends, told the maintenence guy to wait while I went to get Keeb, and left the house.

    Upon our return, Keebler helped move a 220 air conditioner, got a promise of help building that raised bed I've been on about recently, and we had leftovers for dinner. I poliated the new flower on the mystery plant and checked on the mayan squash. Seems I polinated it a bit too vigorously, as the flower has fallen off. Smaller brush and gentler strokes next flower. *blush*

    We rode our bikes to the grocery store (on my flat front tire) to get some ingredients for what I planned to make for the potluck, but instead rabbed some clearance scones and brought them. *chuckle* It's a good thing too, or we would have been eating leftovers for a week and sharing with the neighbors again! (not that the neighbors complain of too much free food) *laugh*

    The kids were obstinant and yippy, but otherwise good for the majority of the day.

    Then off to the Radish we went, where there was a lively discussion about how things are being run, as well as permaculture, and various how-tos *smile* It was a MUCH better turn outthan last week's potluck, and it felt a bit more like home with all of the active and free communication.

    Not much else happened, but it was a better day than yesterday, so things are looking up! *grin*

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    Mystery Plant, Pollination Shields, Sneaking Chocolate

    I pollinated the mayan squash again (new flower opened under the polination-pruf screen -note the paintbrush that lives under the screening too-), and then made a new cover for the mystery plant, who has decided to flower again. I pollinated that one too (with a different paintbrush of course) and covered it to avoid crosses, just in case we happen to like whatever comes of it and want more next year. *laughs & shrugs*

    Ya never know, right?

    Anyone have a clue what it is? (sorry closeup is so fuzzy, winds were good, but bad for pictures)

    Yay for the game of "Identify that" *chuckle* At least we know it's one sturdy plant, as we had this thing sprouting up everywhere this spring and throught the summer (even to the point of sprouting during the hot flash)

    Here's a shot of the new anti-natural-polination screen. Anybody want a how-to for that one?

    It rained again today, and now all of our water buckets are full again.

    The ants were quite happy to be visiting the newest corn to start the flowering process, and we went to grab the homemade bug spray. It was empty. All the work that went into making the 2 gallon container of natural bug spray into a foliar feed, all the brewing and mixing time, all gone. Why? Because Littlebit had chocolate (snuck) for breakfast, then went outside to play. Somehow she thought it was her duty to open the container and dump it all over the ground. We made more (without the foliar feeding properties) and sprayed the heck out of the flowers (and accompanying ants). I can hope she poured it on the garden somewhere so that it could have at least fertilized something.

    Later, she decided it would be a great idea to get into the forbidden (we copy them and save the workbooks to resell) workbooks so that she could tear them up and draw in them. Lovely. *sigh* Of course nobody was watching her because her oh-so-responsible older sister decided she needed a nap, her dad had decided on a day of rest withoug telling anyone, and I was busy working on the computer and cooking dinner simultaneously after having waited all darned day for NAY chores to have gotten done. *growl* The kids spent all day jumping on my head and demanding my attention, while alternately screaming, crying, yelling, or whining, while Keebler consistently ignored or accused anything that moved for no darned good reason. Later I found out that the Keebler "lazy" problem was all a simple miscommunication. Still really frustrating though. *sigh*

    Thus ends yet another not quite so great day.


    lrish company thinks it may have found free energy.

    Think they'll stop at taking your guns? Think again.

    There are 36 towns in the USA named "Springfield"

    New book Spurs citizen-level international discussion on sustainable communities.

    Human powered Mp3 playing Yo-Yos in our future?
    How about night vision contact lenses or floor tiles that generate electricity when they're walked on? Or even better, a thin suit of clothing that heats and cools itself on the wearer's command and is charged by the simple movements of the human body that wears it? (talk about saving on heating and cooling bills!) Read all about the human-powered challenge, the grand prize winners, and the runners up here:

    STOP the IRR Marine Involuntary Recall (Another Back Door Draft)

    Is Agribusiness Making Food Less Nutritious?
    Growing evidence indicates that today's fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products have less vitamins and nutrients than in the past.

    Saturday, August 26, 2006

    Mystery Mushrooms

    Remember Ladybug's watch breaking? That's a part of this tale as well.

    Keebler was feeling really ill this morning, so we let him sleep in. I made some breakfast and the kids and I were ready to go when I went to check on him and make sure he was allright. That's when he decided he was coming with us. I had thought (for the 20 minutes while he got ready to go) that he was wantng to come along because he felt better. I was wrong. 45 minutes after I had gone in to check on him, he is lying back in bed and we haven't left the house yet. I guess he had thought I had gone back to see if he felt good enough to come along yet. Poor thing. He rested the whole time we were gone, and is MUCH better now. *smile*

    It's 11:45 and we have to pick up a Freecycle(tm) and drop off a library book before we can go to the big back to school bash being held down on the south side of town. We flawlessly get the items (except one item I had specifically asked for, which I didn't grab quick enough I guess) and stop to chat for a bit. (remember that whole not having a watch or time device of any sort thing?) Dropping the book off at the library isn't a big deal either, and I have the girls fill up the water bottle while they are inside.

    Off to the party we go, and when we get there, it's shut down. 30 minutes late we were, and so the petting zoo I promised was already on the road home, and the suprises I had planned for them were all shut down, deflated, and put away. *sigh*

    The kids weren't overly upset by all of this, however, and as we made our way home we made plans to clean up the house a bit (room is a bit cluttered again) and then do some "fun work".

    That didn't quite work out either.

    The pizza place near the house had a sale on pizzas get a medium single topping for only $2.99, and we had just returned some dog nail clippers to the store. Woohoo! I didn't have to cook lunch! One pizza to go please.

    After dinner and a quick check of my email, I took an accidental (but necessary) nap of about 4 hours, and shortly after waking up, I got seriously ill for no reason whatsoever. I laid down for quite some time feeling nauseous, then decided to start working on Littlebit's halloween costume. Ladybug was then inspired to do a bit of sewing (and get some instructions) as well. Good thing I have several needles to spare. *smile*

    Thinking of it now, I should probably photograph the process and make a DIY out of it too *laugh* But it was a nice, quiet, non-mobile activity that kept my stomache somewhat settled for a bit longer until I decided I was capable of moving without some calamity befalling my bedroom floor.

    While I was down & out, Keebler did the laundry, and when I was finally up and about (albeit gingerly), he was outside hanging the clothes on the line. The outdoors felt nice, so I looked around for something worthwhile to do. I ended up watering the melon patch with the help of Ladybug.

    The other day after the rain, there were these strange mushrooms that came sprouting out of the compost pile. Strangest things. Black and ridged all across the top, tall off-white stem and the cap was prone to curling at the edges and slitting in such a way as it looked like it was some sort of weird black flower.

    Strange little things. Anyone have a clue what these are?

    I agree with Rambleman. Sometimes there are a whole lot of words to write when all you are really saying is "nothing much hapened today". *chuckle*

    Oh, I don't feel as bad either.

    Friday, August 25, 2006

    Interesting Times

    What a day!
    Keebler woke up at 6am to get ready for work. Lunch was packed, clothes were pressed, breakfast was made and fed to all, and everything was ready (right down to the briefcase). *chuckle* With over 15 minutes to spare and a 10 minute drive, we were on our way. I don't feel so good, and it's starting to storm. I dropped him off at work without incident (except for rude drivers on the road) and went back home where upon opening the door, I was greeted with Ladybug yelling and looking panicked. When I emerged from the bathroom (having waved her aside and told her I would deal with it in a minute), I was informed that Keeb was at the wrong address. *sigh* So I picked him up to drive him to the first place he was supposed to be instead of the second one (where his boss told him to be on accident). No problem, right? WRONG!

    So traffic is going about 20 MPH north on National (40MPH zone) and he didn't get very good directions from the woman he had called to find out what was going on. Really, all the info he gives me is "*mutter* Git 'N Go *mutter* then after that *mutter* turn right". RIIIGHT. So we turn right (assuming things here) after every random kum & go we find heading north on National, then right again. Nothing. We are looking for a street that does not exist. Keebler starts pointing out random streets saying that they sound familiar. He is SERIOUSLY late for his first day on the job. I turn down one with no luck, and give up. We go home and I mapquest the address. He was right. That last street he pointed at in desperation was where we had needed to turn. Heading back, nearly an hour late because of traffic and "unforseeable circumstances", we pull into a place. I drop him off, but sit and wait. I am SO not driving back to retrieve him again. I was wise to wait because he came back out and gave me more directions. Right street, wrong building. I'm starting to feel REALLY bad now, and the rain is coming down (yes we remembered to put out the catchment buckets)


    We FINALLY get to where we are going. He leaps out of the car and heads into the building. At less than 1/4 tank of gas, I turn off the car and wait. Then wait some more, and more... A woman comes out and I ask her if it is the right address. It is, she says. But I'm still not ready to go until he tells me himself that this is indeed where he needs to be. I thank the woman for her help and she offers to go in and get him to check. After profuse thanks, she runs back in and gets him. He looks confused coming back to the car and leans into the window to tell me that they didn't know who he was or why he was there! *rolls eyes dramatically*

    Anyheeway, He is finally at work, and I drive home. I want a nap SO badly I can taste it. My head is pounding like a smithy in spring and I feel like I've been gifted the additional pleasure of an ice pick through the skull. The human barometer strikes again. I lie down. The girls want to cuddle. After 20 minutes of snuggling, the phone rings. It's Keeb's boss. He wants to know if Keeb has a cell phone or a vehicle because he is needed at the other site. Oh my. I ask if I need to go get him and drive him where he needs to be, and he says no. Strange call.

    I'm feeling nauseous due to the pain bashing relentlessly against the insides of my head. I lie down to try a second time for the elusive nap, and the phone rings yet again.

    It's my mother. She NEEDS to tell me something that she already left a message on the machine about. When I check the messages, I'll have to hear it all over again. Thanks mom, I didn't really want that nap that bad. *sigh*

    I make lunch and prepare us for park day. I've had this compulsion lately to be relatively on time for even social events. We check the mail before leaving to find no cancellation notices, so show up a bit early to park day, in the rain. Ladybug looses her watch on the way out of the house (we later discovered that the band plastic had begun to disintegrate because she never takes it off). We drag all of the books we plan to give away to the pavilion with our snacks, drinks, activity for the end-of-summer party, and personal reading books, and wait. Can you guess what happened? I bet you can. *laugh* Yep, we waited, enjoying the cool breezes and intermittent sun, reading our books and playing under the pavilion shelter for three hours. Yeah, you heard me right, three hours. At least we got some nice quiet time together out of the house. *grin* And Littlebit met the park trash man and learned all about how he changes the trash bags and keeps the park clean. Chalk one up for civics class! *laugh*

    Upon reaching home, I sit down to the computer for a minute (literally) and the phone rings. Keebler is done with work for the day, and ready to come home. After checking for Homeschool group messages and discovering the cancellation notice I missed by mere minutes, up I go again, to go get him from work (at the first place we were visiting this morning, that he moved to during the day). On our way home, the car starts to act weird, and I do the unthinkable. I stop for gas (YAY! Gas is down 20 cents since last week! There are reasons to be glad of the end of summer.) and pay with my credit card. *resigned sigh* I hate doing that, even though it is a prepaid card, but now he can get to work on Monday, right? *smirk*

    I get him home and we begin cooking dinner and preparing for bed. Crud! I remember that I had responded to a Freecycle(tm) offer, and haven't checked my email since. *blush* I check that and blast off a reply as soon as possible, after dinner, nearing 10pm. I may not get the items now, and if I don't, I'll understand. (They had wanted the items gone really quickly). I'll know sometime tomorrow for sure.

    The girls are on their way to bed, Keeb & I are both bone weary, and my migraine has finally receded to a dull throb. (Remember that old curse about interesting times?) Mayhaps if we are lucky, tomorrow will be a tad less interesting of a read? *wry chuckle*

    Here's a meaningless photo of our corn from above.
    (Keeb takes some pictures from the rooftop)

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Fun, Chatting, Shopping

    Went to the square to hang out with the folks in the Greenleaf group and discuss religion and other neat stuff. Keebler was wrangled into filming again, the kids ran wild, and we had a lot of fun talking to new friends and newly returned ones. *smile*

    Littlebit was really hot, so Wushih sprung for beverages for everyone. She rocks!

    Afterwards, we dropped by Dairy Queen to redeem the girls' reading reward coupons for free ice cream cones, where we were suprised with the offer of a shell dip for free as well! They can't have red 40 (no strawberry) or chocolate, so butterscotch it was. They loved it! (we tried it a bit too, and it's tasty stuff.) *smile*

    Without money, we went shopping yet again. *grin* The certificates for free clothes and shoes were redeemed today. We tried really hard not to go to walmart, but it just didn't work. Kmart (the only other place we could shop besides the thrift store) didn't have anything appropriate for the girls. Ladybug's feet have grown, so she got a pair of pants, two pair of shoes, and three pair of tights. Littlebit's tush has grown, so she got two pair of pants, a paier of shoes, and three pair of tights.

    By the end of the day though, Keeb and I were both on our last nerve (having gone shopping with our two perfectly lovely *cough* girls for several hours after having to pick them up from my wonderful *cough* mother's house because she was too busy sleeping to bring them back home like she'd promised.

    Anyway, He cooked dinner (Mac & cheese; homestyle, lightly mineral salted brocolli spears, and buffallo patties) while I did the email (which really needed done as I hadn't done any of it all day).

    Keebler got some really good ariel shots of the melon patch yesterday (and it really shows how close everything is together too). See the corn to the left, and the tomatoes to the rear and the left?

    Of course everything else here is pretty tiny too. Here's some of the squash and the water garden. (feel free to use the car and the hose as refrence points for size)

    I'm curious as to what's wrong with the hokkaido though. It looks a bit yellow and wilty around the edges. I'm hoping it perks up soon.

    Tomorrow Keebler has his first day of work, and I have my first park day without him. It'll be strange without him there.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    Tomatoes & More

    The tomato plants are doing great now that it's cooled off. So happy and healthy. Note the squash trying to take over the entirety of the yarden in the foreright of the picture (large yellow flower) *grin*

    We're going to have a heck of a time seperating everything to put the greenhouse plastic on. *chuckle*

    Even the bonsai tomato plants are happy. *laugh* (Bonsai meaning kept really tiny by not repotting into larger containers) I should probably tie up that tomato that is snaking across the walkway too, but I'm too busy (and lazy) right now. *smirk*

    These just finished ripening (Isis Candy cherry tomatoes) But we haven't had a chance to try them yet. They're terribly cute with their little yellowish splotches.

    But we tried the first of the mystery volunteer tomato just today. Very thick skinned for a tomato, really robust flavor, and nearly spicy. I love it! Sad that we don't know what it is so we can buy seed for it next year. *sigh*

    And of course, everyone has their favorite mutated tomato. This, I beleive is a double snowball tomato. A strange ruffled, white tomato with a very mild flavor. Color changing has begun just slightly and it looks like it's going white. (we only have two ruffly tomatoes, and the other kind is purple) Of course this was the first off of this one as well, so we don't know first-hand what it tasted like either. Heck, we only planted one type of tomato that we know we like, and that was a single roma plant. *laugh*

    The tomatoes grow right up against the corn, beans, and squash at the wall of the greenhouse. I never knew aphids liked corn, but the ants sure knew, so we did a total spray down of all the corn & tomatoes with the natural insecticide and foliar feeding mixture. I hope it works really fast, the corn was loaded!

    Anyway, today I spent nearly all day sitting on my rear getting the fliers and junk made up for the workshops & classes we are holding over the next couple of months. I still have to list them on a couple of community calendars yet, but I'm almost done.

    The first class coming up (in case you are interested in attending) is on September 9th from 3-6pm. We're going to be making fire and teaching others how, as well as teaching the making of a primitive fire kit that each participant takes home with them! There is a $7 fee per person. Neat huh? There is a lot more going on after that (nearly every saturday for two months to be exact) so we're in for some fun times. *grin*

    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    The Rest of The Story

    I offered some coupons and other goodies on Freecycle(tm), advertised the upcoming events nearly everywhere, screened in the temple squash (for seed saving), polinated the corn, updated the website (sad, sad thing that it still is), and went shopping on amazon.com with the gift certificates I've been saving up from my participation in an online focus group. For once, I will be among the first to have something new, as I pre-ordered the book "Food Not Lawns" for shipping when it is released. I hope it's as good as it sounds. *grin*

    Keebler cleaned out the animal cages again, and visited the grocery store for frozen pizza and soda.

    Littlebit and Ladybug helped out a bit and stayed out of the way, then my mother stopped by and begged the kids off of us for the night.

    Then Moose stopped by and I got nothing else done for the rest of the night, so I couldn't post pictures here because I was too tired to do anything when she left. *chuckle*

    Camera Story

    I called the camera repair place and asked about the message on the phone last week telling us that we had to prepay for the repairs. The fellow who was helping me said he'd been working there for over 30 years and he had never heard of such a thing, so he called the repair place to see if it was something on their end. I told him he was welcome to let the repair folks know that my mechanic doesn't make me prepey for car repairs either. He called back shortly (I was in the yarden, as I thought he'd take longer) and let me know that he had cleared the repair to begin. They'll have to order a part, but it shouldn't be long before we can get it back (I'm thinking a couple of weeks, max).

    Seems that when we went in to see if they could repair it and didn't send it off right then because it was the end of the month and we didn't have the $15 for shipping, so brought it back later, that the fellow we were talking with noted us as "not their regular type of clientelle" (read rich enough to just throw it away and get another) and decided to demand prepayment for the repair.

    The fellow who said I had to prepay was on vacation so I got it changed to they'll call me when it is done so that I can go in, pay, and pick it up. *grin* Either way, we're getting another camera just like it (with extended warranty) at the beginning of the month, and will get my camera back later once they are done repairing it. *smile*

    Product Reviews: Dare "Real Fruit Gummies"

    Dare Brand "Real Fruit Gummies"
    We tried the flavors; "Fruit Medley", "Orchard Fruits", and "Tropical Fruits". With no artificial colors or flavors and real fruit juice, we were sure they would be tasty, but were not prepared for how delightful these little fruit treats really were. Seriously true to the actual fresh fruit flavor (from fresh pureed fruits and fruit juices), and packed with juicy goodness.

    This is the ONLY kind of candy you would ever want in your backpack for hiking. It contains sugar in surprisingly small quantity for a candy (19g), salt in amounts I would expect having experienced it's ability to induce salivation, and thus enhance the flavor (5mg), and a very surprising protein count of 2g. (Measurements are per 8 piece serving)

    Price: 1.89 per 6.4oz bag
    Where to buy: Grocery store

    Monday, August 21, 2006

    Friends, Radish, Melons

    Visited another good friend today (who gave us tomatoes, sweet peppers, and empty pill bottles. yay!) and had a great (if too short) visit, dumped the rest of the caught rain into the pond, and then dropped in at the Radish for the potluck.

    The potluck was pretty dead (as in the only people there were working on moving stuff around, and we were the only ones who brought anything to eat), but things should be picking up again shortly as soon as we get some fliers up around the local campuses.

    The Radish has new bookshelves! Some generous soul has donated 4 sturdy wire bookshelves to the radish, and the space has once again expanded and mutated. This change means more space for shows, classes, events, and meetings.

    For those of us who have tried to call the Radish and received a busy signal for the last several months, there is a new development; The radish has now caught wireless internet from downtown. They're not rebroadcasting the signal yet, but are soon to be a hotspot if things keep moving along as they have been. Phone lines are open.

    There has been some talk about selling the giant Uncle Sham puppet on eBay to help raise funds and free up some more space, as well as some cursory discussion about getting rid of the couches in favor of something more readily cleansed (and moved), and holding creative events during the First Friday Artwalk and silent auctioning off the product of the previous month's community creativity at the following Artwalk. The schmeeting is next Tuesday at 7pm, so come on and share your opinion. Decisions are made by those who show up!

    Remember that teeny tiny little melon you saw at the beginning of last month before the camera died?
    Well here it is as of yesterday.

    We may not have gotten any squash during the heat wave, but the melons didn't seem to mind a bit as long as we kept the water flowing. *grin*
    Of course there was a distinctive lack of flowering for a while on all of the plants, but with the slight cooling we've received as of late, things are really looking up!

    We lost a fish to a noctournal watering accident, and replanted the Mayan temple squash in the greenhouse. It is already flowering, and I plan to save seed. Wish me luck!

    More great pictures tomorrow. We are so lucky to have such great friends like we do. Sometimes I feel like the richest person in the world. *hug*

    Article: Fauxtography: The Media Scandal Continues

    Fauxtography: The Media Scandal Continues
    By Michelle Malkin

    It's the story that the journalistic elite wishes would just go away. In the aftermath of Reuters' admission that one of its photographers, Adnan Hajj, had manipulated two war images from Lebanon after bloggers smoked out his crude Photoshop alterations, and all 920 of his Reuters photos were pulled, evidence of far more troubling photo staging and media deception in the Middle East continues to pour in.

    Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs (littlegreenfootballs.com) calls it "fauxtography."

    One of Hajj's photos was an iconic image of a dusty dead child with a clean blue pacifier clipped to his shirt, paraded by a corpse handler at the site of an Israeli airstrike in Qana, Lebanon.

    Mainstream journalists have sneered at bloggers' suspicions, first raised at EU Referendum (eureferendum.blogspot.com), that some of the gruesome photos from that scene may have been staged. Washington Post photographer Michael Robinson-Chavez, who was at Qana, huffed: "Everyone was dead, many of them children. Nothing was set up." But last week, a German television station aired damning video footage from the scene showing a lead propaganda director (dubbed the "Green Helmet Guy") positioning a young boy's corpse, yanking it from an ambulance, placing it on two different stretchers for the cameras and pushing bystanders out of the way for clearer shots. This Lebanese version of horror film director Wes Craven was identified by the Associated Press in a softball profile as "Salam Daher," who told the reporter, "I am just a civil defense worker. I have done this job all my life." To clear-eyed readers, that's an inculpatory statement, not an exculpatory one. How many more "jobs" has Daher overseen? And how many more media stage managers like Daher are out there?

    Not all photographers overseas have their heads in the sand. Last week, Middle East-based photographer Bryan Denton, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, revealed on the professional photography website Light Stalkers (lightstalkers.org) that he had observed routine staging of photos -- and even corpse-digging -- by Lebanese stringers:"[I] have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one case where a group of wire photogs were choreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put in graves so that they can photograph them in people[']s arms." Denton noted that he had witnessed the photo choreography at numerous protests and evacuations, as well as at an Israeli airstrike location in Chiyeh, Lebanon. Denton followed up with a second post reporting that respected photographer friends of his in Lebanon informed him that "this was not an isolated incident" and that "this has been something [I]'ve noticed happening here, more than any other place [I]'ve worked previously."

    That probably is why bloggers have noticed so many copious examples of phony-looking scenes -- from countless pristine stuffed animals lying in the foreground of destroyed buildings, to artfully placed Korans amid scenes of destruction, to a snow-white wedding dress on a mannequin standing in the middle of a street surrounded by piles of rubble, to intact cars photographed on Lebanese roadsides and dubiously labeled as being struck by Israeli missiles.

    Miscaptioning (which always makes Israel look worse, never Hezbollah, go figure) adds another dimension of fauxto deception. One Associated Press image of an anguished father carrying his dead 5-year-old daughter into a Gaza City hospital last week blamed the death on an Israeli airstrike. Charles Johnson found a correction of the caption revealing that the girl had been killed in a swingset accident. I found a Reuters photo of an 18-month-old girl with two broken legs that was pulled by the wire service in late July after being included among a photo set of hospital patients injured in an Israeli air raid. In truth, the girl had been admitted for a "routine hospitalisation." Then there was The New York Times' misrepresentation of a half-naked young man sprawled Pieta-like, appearing dead, amid Tyre rubble. The original Times' website photo caption? "The mayor of Tyre said that in the worst-hit areas, bodies were still buried under the rubble...Turned out the "dead" man was a "rescue worker" who was supposedly "injured" (with his baseball cap tucked neatly in his arm as he closed his eyes and flung his head back) and had been photographed in several other scenes running around the bombing site.

    Isolated incidents? In a rare moment of candor, CNN's Anderson Cooper revealed the routine mechanics of Hezbollywood propaganda tours last week: "I was in Beirut, and they took me on this sort of guided tour of the Hezbollah-controlled territories in southern Lebanon that were heavily bombed...they clearly want the story of civilian casualties out. That is their-what they're heavily pushing, to the point where on this tour I was on, they were just making stuff up. They had six ambulances lined up in a row and said, OK, you know, they brought reporters there, they said you can talk to the ambulance drivers. And then one by one, they told the ambulances to turn on their sirens and to zoom off, and people taking that picture would be reporting, I guess, the idea that these ambulances were zooming off to treat civilian casualties, when in fact, these ambulances were literally going back and forth down the street just for people to take pictures of them."

    "Just making stuff up." Remember that.

    Meanwhile, the media ostriches carry on. Joe Elbert, Washington Post assistant managing editor for photography, told ombudsman Deborah Howell smugly: "We don't use tools to change reality." Newsflash: You are the tools being used.

    (Michelle Malkin is author of the new book "Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild.")

    Sunday, August 20, 2006

    Camera, Computer, Feel Bads, Wermz

    We visited Hematite, who we don't see nearly as often as we should, and taught her how to make frybread. We found out once we arrived that it was her goal to have some for her birthday on Wednesday. *smile* We love helping, and making her birthday better made it even cooler! She let us borrow her camera, and we ran home to (let Storm get some rest), photograph the living hells out of the yarden (over 5o images in 15 minutes, there should be a competition) and get a couple of shots of Littlebit's head too. Despite some uncertainty to the contrary, the computer autoinstalled the camera and we were able to get the pictures off of it with no trouble at all. We didn't even need the software. *grin* I don't have time to upload them all right now, and we'll be taking more tomorrow, but here's a good shot of the corn against this evening's beautiful blue sky. It's getting tall. (pardon the incorrect date-stamp, I'm not going to go off changing her settings, ya know?)

    I hooked up the laptop to serve as a desktop computer, and as soon as we can, we'll be getting a USB mouse so I don't have to use the mouse on the laptop to navigate the computer. *chuckle* I will admit that is is much nicer to be able to have a full screen to work on that doesn't shut down every 15-20 minutes. Maybe now I'll be able to get more done in a day. *grin*

    When we got home and I finished setting up the computer, I checked my email and found out why Storm had been so reluctant to let me borrow her camera for even a short while. Seems when we bought a ratty exercise ball from them a few months ago, I forgot to give them the money for it. (I HAD said for them not to send it home with us until after we'd paid because I might forget due to my bad memory, but they insisted) I feel so hrooible for forgetting too (one of the other reasons I didn't want to risk leaving without paying). When we return the camera, we are SO going to bring the money with us for the ball. I feel like such a heel. I mean, seriously. What kind of friend forgets about money owed? It's not like me to forget about money, whether I owe it or it is owed to me. I just feel rotten.

    In cute news, Andrea called today and we had a fun chat about worms. Seems they have hatched some tiny little baby worms in her daughter's pet wormy bin and were all excited to verify the discovery and share the news. I'm so happy for them. If it keeps up, they may have to start a real family-sized bin just to house the offspring. It is good to see success. *smile* Success is sweet, even if it is just baby worms.
    And here's a lovely shot of Littlebit's mangled head. That look makes ya wonder what she's contemplating, doesn't it? She's still cute, even if I did give her a ring and we have to carry a necklace around with us when we go out in public. *snicker*

    Comments Answered

    I've decided to answer some comments on the blog because I don't know how often is it that a body comments on something then checks back on the comments for a response. I know I don't usually do that, no matter where I post, so this is a new segment on the blog. "Comments Answered" *laugh*

    Faith said...
    "What is melissa?
    and what do you do to help with your energy? I'm having a big problem with that myself.
    Oh, and I never did ask why Keebler is keebler and what is your special name?
    Full of questions this morning."

    Melissa supreme for Children by Gaia Herbs. Great all natural herbal treatment for hyperactivity and inability to pay attention. Works like a dream! Available at health food stores and online.

    I use special mineral salts in my morning and evenig meals, take vitamins, and herbal suppliments to help with energy. I also try to get a little bit of stretching or exercise at various points throught the day, as that helps me have more energy for some odd reason.

    Keebler is so named because he is short and makes great cookies. He got the name long before he met me. Yes, he does make great cookies.

    My "special" name is FrizZ, so named because of the auto-fro I have when my hair is not dreadded or otherwise tied down or wrangled into submission. I got the name many years ago.

    Better? *chuckle*

    Newsflash: Action Required!

    The religious right is spending billions a year to take away your rights and strip basic freedoms from the citizens of this country. Have you ever wanted to get back at these hypocritical bigots who hate everything? Are you non-violent? Maybe making them hurt a little where it counts is the answer. Hit them in their wallet and take away a bit of their spending power!

    How, you may ask? Simply go to the "Focus on the Family" website and click the resources link (look carefully, sometimes it is hidden) to pick your free items. You can pick up to $100 of free books, CDs, Videos and DVDs to be sent to whatever address you choose. That's $100 plus shipping that they don't have for their ads and campaigns! *grin*

    Now, you can have them sent to your house, they won't likely send junk mail, and then you can turn around and sell the books on eBay or turn them in to your local book store for credit to buy things you really want, or you can compost them. Doesn't matter, as long as you are getting the money out of their pockets! If they do send you stuff, that's even more money they are giving up, and you are able to keep informed about what they are doing so you can fight against that too.

    The great thing: Some of the literature is good, wholesome, secular stuff that is highly interesting or educational, and you might want it anyway. *smile*


    1. Go to http://www.family.org/ and look for the "Resources" link in the blue bar on the left-hand side, right above the "Search" box, and click it.

    2. Under the "Resource Category" menu on the left-hand side, you'll notice categories such as "Back To School" . Shop away. How about a nice copy of A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality?

    3. Click the "add to cart" button under any book that interests you. Please note: Focus on the Family won't send you more than $100 worth of materials for free in any given shopping trip, so be sure to keep it reasonable and return often.

    4. Bring the total as close to $100 as you can without going over to do the most potential damage.

    5. The next screen will ask you to sign up for an account and give your information. No credit-card number required. Enter whatever name and address you like, because you won't be paying anything, and they won't be checking either.

    6. Once you've filled out all the required fields (you can also create a fake e-mail account if you're super paranoid), click "Proceed to Checkout" one more time. You'll now find yourself at the "Here Is Your Cart" field. You may have to reenter your info again after this field to actually set up your account. But just keep going until you get to the "How Much Would You Like to Donate?" page.

    7. How much would you like to donate? Zero dollars, of course. Don't be fooled by the field in the lower-right-hand corner that shows you the suggested donation amounts. Simply select "Enter other total amount" and enter 0 as the amount you would like to pay. (Don't put in a dollar sign or it will ask you for credit-card information!)

    8. Proceed to checkout.

    11. You'll now be led to a screen that will try to make you feel guilty about the amount you haven't donated. But don't feel bad! Just proceed to checkout again.

    12. Click "Checkout Now" and you're done.

    You have completed a faith-based 12 step program and helped to rip a few dollars out of the freedom-hater's pockets, ensuring that it will be a tiny bit harder for them to run their next hate campaign. Want to do more? Tell your friends and go back next month to do it again! *grin*

    I'd like to thank Andrea for passing this info along to me via a forward of the article "Shopping Spree" from "The Stranger" (Seattle alternative newspaper) about how to reduce the money available for Focus on the Family's harmful crusades.

    Here's what the only other who has blogged it had to say:

    "And if your conscience begins to bother you, think of it this way: Focus on the Family would probably like for you to have the materials anyway, because there's that minute chance that, once in your hands, the materials may inspire you to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
    Finally, don't forget to pass this information on to all your friends. Proselytizing isn't just for Christians, you know." http://matty-mcphat.livejournal.com/319366.html

    A peice discussing Dobson says:

    "Focus on the Family http://www.family.org/ Is run by this guy Dr. Dobson who's revered to all bible thumping Christians as the maker of the rules. This guy bans Abercrombie & Fitch ads, Accuses Teletubbies and Spongebob of being gay and banning gay rights parades in the Springs. People take family vacations to this place...I shit you not. Although they have a huge twirly slide that comes out of the building and back into it at their main building so I guess Its like a Brainwashed Disney World." http://www.shawnlacroix.com/2005/12/i-went-running-before-work-tonight-and.html

    Saturday, August 19, 2006

    Newswire: Public Stoning: Not Just for the Taliban Anymore


    By John Sugg, Church and State.

    Two really devilish guys materialized in Toccoa, Ga., last month to harangue 600 true believers on the gospel of a thoroughly theocratic America. Along with lesser lights of the religious far right who spoke at American Vision's "Worldview Super Conference 2006," Herb Titus and Gary North called for nothing short of the overthrow of the United States of America.

    Titus and North aren't household names. But Titus, former dean of TV preacher Pat Robertson's Regent University law school, has led the legal battle to plant the Ten Commandants in county courthouses across the nation. North, an apostle of the creed called Christian Reconstructionism, is one of the most influential elders of American fundamentalism.

    "I don't want to capture their (mainstream Americans') system. I want to replace it," fumed North to a cheering audience. North has called for the stoning of gays and nonbelievers (rocks are cheap and plentiful, he has observed). Both friends and foes label him "Scary Gary."

    Are we in danger of an American Taliban? Probably not today. But Alabama's "Ten Commandments Judge" Roy Moore is aligned with this congregation, and one-third of Alabama Republicans who voted in the June primary supported him. When you see the South Dakota legislature outlaw abortions, the Reconstructionist agenda is at work. The movement's greatest success is in Christian home schooling, where many, if not most, of the textbooks are Reconstructionist-authored tomes.

    Moreover, the Reconstructionists are the folks behind attacks on science and public education. They're allied with proselytizers who have tried to convert Air Force cadets -- future pilots with fingers on nuclear triggers -- into religious zealots. Like the communists of the 1930s, they exert tremendous stealth political gravity, drawing many sympathizers in their wake, and their friends now dominate the Republican Party in many states.

    Titus' and North's speeches, laced with conspiracy theories about the Rockefellers and the Trilateral Commission, were more Leninist than Christian in the tactics proposed -- as in their vision to use freedom to destroy the freedom of others. That's not surprising -- the founder of Christian Reconstruction, the late fringe Calvinist theologian Rousas J. Rushdoony, railed against the "heresy" of democracy.

    A Harvard-bred lawyer whose most famous client is Alabama's Judge Moore, Titus told the Toccoa gathering that the Second Amendment envisions the assassination of "tyrants;" that's why we have guns. Tyranny, of course, is subjective to these folks. Their imposition of a theocratic state would not, by their standards, be tyranny. Public schools, on the other hand, to them are tyrannical.

    North is best known to Internet users for his prolific auguring that a Y2K computer bug would cause the calamitous end of civilization. In the days prior to the advent of this millennium, North urged subscribers to his delusional economic newsletters to go survivalist and prepare for the end. Many did so, dumping investments and life savings, a big oops.

    "I lost a million and a half dollars when I sold off real estate," one of North's fans, a home-schooling advocate from Florida, told me during a lunch break between lectures touting creationism and damning secular humanism. But my lunch companion still anted more than pocket change to hear North make more prophesies in Toccoa. "I believe Gary North on Bible issues," he explained. I suggested that false prophets often pocket big profits, but I was talking to deaf ears.

    Hosting the "Creation to Revelation... Connecting the Dots" event was a Powder Springs, Ga., publishing house, American Vision, whose pontiff is Gary DeMar. The outfit touts the antebellum South as a righteous society and favors the reintroduction of some forms of slavery (it's sanctioned in the Bible, Reconstructionists say) -- which may explain the blindingly monochrome audience at the gathering.

    The setting was the Georgia Baptist Conference Center, a sprawling expanse of woods, hills and a man-made lake in the North Georgia mountains. Four decades ago, the Southern Baptists officially declared, "no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state" and "the church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work."
    Times change. The Baptists lust for power, and they demand the state to do their bidding. I guess that explains the denomination's hosting of theocrats no less rigid and bloodthirsty than the Taliban's mullahs.

    DeMar christened the gathering with invective against science.
    "Evolution is as religious as Christianity," he said, a claim that certainly must amaze 99.99 percent of the scientific community. Science is irrelevant to these folks.

    Everything they need to know about the universe and the origin of man is in the first two chapters of Genesis. They know the answer before any question is asked. DeMar's spin is what he calls a clash of "worldviews." According to DeMar and his speakers, God sanctions only their worldview. And that worldview is a hash of enforcing Old Testament Mosaic law (except when it comes to chowing down on pork barbecue), rewriting American history to endorse theocracy and explaining politics by the loopy theories of the John Birch Society. (Christian Reconstructionism evolved, so to speak, from a radical variation of Calvinism, AKA Puritanism, and the Bircher politics of such men as the late Marietta, Ga., congressman, Larry McDonald.) For most of the four-day conference, DeMar turned the Bible over to others to thump. North blamed the Rockefellers and the Trilateral Commission for the success of secularists. Titus told of Jesus making a personal appearance in the rafters of his Oregon home.

    At the heart of what was taught by a succession of speakers:
    Six-day, "young earth" creationism is the only acceptable doctrine for Christians. Even "intelligent design" or "old earth" creationism are compromises with evil secularism.
    Public education is satanic and must be destroyed.

    The First Amendment was intended to keep the federal government from imposing a national religion, but states should be free to foster a religious creed. (Several states did that during the colonial period and the nation's early days, a model the Reconstructionists want to emulate.)
    The Founding Fathers intended to protect only the liberties of the established ultra-conservative denominations of that time. Expanding the list to include "liberal" Protestant denominations, much less Catholics, Jews and (gasp!) atheists, is a corruption of the Founders' intent.

    Education earned the most vitriol at the conference. Effusing that the Religious Right has captured politics and much of the media, North proclaimed: "The only thing they (secularists) have still got a grip on is the university system." Academic doctorates, he contended, are a conspiracy fomented by the Rockefeller family. All academic programs (except, he said, engineering) are now dominated by secularists and Darwinists.

    "Marxists in the English departments!" he ranted. "Close every public school in America!"
    Among North's most quoted writings was this ditty from 1982: "[W]e must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation...which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God." Titus followed that party line when he proclaimed that the First Amendment is limited to guaranteeing "the right to criticize the government," but "free expression is not in the Constitution." When I asked him if blasphemy -- castigating religion -- was protected, he shook his head.

    Like North, Titus sees public education as decidedly satanic. Also, welfare. He contended the Founding Fathers -- and Americans today -- owe their "first duties to God. It's not just worship. It's education... welfare to the poor. Welfare belongs exclusively to God. Why do schools fail? They're trying to do the business of God. Medicaid goes. Education goes. The church gets back to doing what it should do." And what should the church be doing According to these self-appointed arbiters of God's will, running our lives. And stoning those who disagree.
    At the Toccoa conference, DeMar organized several debates -- and he commendably invited articulate opponents of his creed.

    One was Ed Buckner, a retired Georgia State University professor, unabashed atheist and a member of the Atlanta Freethought Society. He debated Bill Federer, who makes a living trying to prove America's founders intended this to be a Christian nation.

    Buckner offered to concede the debate if Federer could disprove any one of four points: Americans don't agree on religion, human judgment is imperfect, religious truth can't be determined by votes or force and freedom is worth protecting. Federer ran from the challenge, and instead offered a litany of historic quotes showing that most of America's founders believed in God.

    Federer never got the point that if, as he argued, government should endorse his faith today, tomorrow officials might decide to ban his beliefs.

    The other debate featured University of Georgia biologist Mark Farmer versus Australian "young earth" creationist Carl Wieland. Farmer, religious himself, tried to explain that no evidence had ever damaged evolutionary theory -- at best, creationists point to gaps in knowledge.

    "Yes, we don't know the answers to everything," Farmer told me. "That's what science is all about, finding answers."

    It would be easy to dismiss the Reconstructionists as the lunatic fringe, no more worrisome than the remnants of the Prohibition Party. But, in fact, they have rather extraordinary entrée and influence with top-tier Religious Right leaders and institutions.

    James Dobson's Focus on the Family is now selling DeMar's book, America's Christian Heritage. Dobson himself has a warm relationship with many in the movement, and he has admitted voting for Reconstructionist presidential candidate Howard Phillips in 1996.

    TV preacher Robertson has mentioned reading North's writings, and he has hired Reconstructionists as professors at Regent University. Jerry Falwell employs Reconstructionists to teach at Liberty University. Roger Schultz, the chair of Liberty's History Department, writes regularly for Faith for all of Life, the leading Reconstructionist journal.

    Southern Baptist Bruce N. Shortt is aggressively pushing his denomination to officially repudiate public education and call on Southern Baptists to withdraw their children from public schools. Shortt's vicious book, The Harsh Truth about Public Schools, was published by the Reconstructionist Chalcedon Foundation.

    There are big theological differences between the Religious Right's generals and the Reconstructionists. Traditional Christian theology teaches that history will muddle along until Jesus' Second Coming. That teaching is tough to turn into a political movement. Reconstructionists preach that the nation and the world must come under Christian "dominion" (as they define it) before Christ's return -- a wonderful theology to promote global conquest.

    In short, Dobson, Robertson, Falwell and the Southern Baptist Convention (the nation's largest Protestant denomination) may not agree with everything the Reconstructionists advocate, but they sure don't seem to mind hanging out with this openly theocratic, anti-democratic crowd.
    It's enough for Americans who believe in personal freedom and religious liberty to get worried about -- before the first stones start flying.

    John Sugg is senior editor of Creative Loafing Newspapers. He was the recipient of the 2005 Society of Professional Journalists "Green Eyeshade" award for serious commentary, and he has won more than 30 other significant awards.

    New Neighbors, Rabbits, Chickens

    Keebler's outside measuring for the raised bed, Littlebit is watching TV, Ladybug is spending yet another night at her father's house, and we have a visitor here checking his email. *smile* I'm glad he stopped by, as I haven't seen him in a bit, and I was starting to miss him.

    We saw new neighbors moving in. They were suspicous looking. A bit too shifty-eyed for my liking, really. Looking at my stack of wood in a somewhat desirous manner like they were and such. Kind of creepy. But that wasn't the neighbors who were moving, that was his family. He's not even in town yet and they were moving his stuff in for him before he got here. I can only hope that he's a good person, or at least less creepy-seeming than the rest of his family *twitch* I'll happily tell my children to give the new neighbors a wide berth and to leave them alone. If he ever smiles or waves at us parents, then we'll go over and say hello.

    It's past time to breed the rabbits again, but I don't know where to get inexpensive cages, so I haven't done so. We need a minimum of 4 more cages in the next month, and that's without breeding again, just to house the rabbits we currently have. Then of course, I want to get some Aracauna pullets (female) so that I can start raising for farm fresh eggs here on the citystead as well. We'll have to keep the chickens in roomy cages or the greenhouse, but that's not too bad a life, especially when one considers how the factory farms do things *shudder*

    Glad I'm Raising Rabbits

    As if we didn't have enough dangerous additives to our food already, the government has decided to spray all ready-to-eat lunchmeats and meat products with a 6 virus combination spray targeted to kill one bacteria that kills about 500 weakened-immune people in the states each year.

    Already in the works is more bacteriophagic (bacteria-eating) virus sprays for use on beef before it is ground.

    Now, I know I've been eating ground meat and pre-prepared meat products my whole life and I've never gotten sick from them.

    I know that only immuno-suppressed people (and only 2.500 of that population segment) get sick from the bacteria in the first place, and that the government wants to put viruses into my food on purpose!

    Whatever happened to people changing their diet for the betterment of their health? Jeez, is it too hard to avoid pre-prepared meat products if you are immuno-suppressed or pregnant?

    The things some folks want to impose "for the greater good" sometimes make me sick, and could you too!

    Of course we all know we can trust the FDA to not falsify reports and not take bribes and all of that, right? *sarcasm*

    Read more about it:




    More Energy

    Today we went to park day (which was great) and the end of summer luau at the library. Both were quite a bit of fun, but only because my friends were there. *chuckle*

    We got some gas, returned some books, redeemed the girls' reading promotion coupons for free Krispy Cream doughnuts and sodas. Keebler can't figure out why Littlebit has been so hyperactive and antsy today, but I know. *laugh* I really should have just given her some melissa and gotten it over with. She's behaving much better now. *smile*

    After the library, we dropped Ladybug off at her father's house to show off her Hogwarts student robe (just delivered lastnight from Diagon Alley with attatched Gryffindor badge - took me two bent sewing needles, hot glue, and several hours to get that finished-) and spend the night over there having fun with him, his roommates, and her step-mother to be.

    Then we dropped by the grocery store to do a bit of shopping, and we saw ALL of the natural, no antibiotic, chemical free chicken eggs were all on clearance!!! So I now have about a gross of eggs sitting in my fridge, ready for eating. (Hey Rambleman, my fridge's top shelf looks like yours now! *chuckle*)

    Rambleman posted "Three Ways America is Screwing up the World" on his blog. Such truth.

    I simply MUST find a way to get more energy. Somehow, I forgot to post this yesterday, even though it was completely finished. *blush* Sorry about that.

    Friday, August 18, 2006


    After 40 years' burrowing, Mole Man of Hackney is ordered to stop

    In 2021, You'll Enjoy Total Recall

    Strange looking biofuel watercraft visits Seattle
    Revolutionary powerboat that runs on biodiesel will attempt record-setting trip around the globe.

    Artwork 'changes to suit moods'
    Synthetic artwork that changes to suit a viewer's mood has been created by scientists.

    Square-shaped watermelons are to be sold in the UK.

    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    Nothing Done, Catching Up

    Yesterday we were completly non-productive. Instead of doing work in the house or running errands we took the entire day off to spend time with Rambleman & family. After they left, my mother stopped by to steal the girls for a day on the town today yard saleing and going to Incredible Pizza with one of their best friends. We had a blast visiting with our friends (it's always great to see them), and hopefully we'll be able to see them more often. Unlike most of our other first-time visitors, they found the place with no problem, so I'm thinking the map was a great idea. *grin* We got to bed REALLY early, and still managed to sleep until noon. *blush* But by golly we were rested. *chuckle*

    Which left us with enough time today to have a great breakfast (the eggs are amazingly yummy and satisfying! We have to get ourselves some chickens!), unexpected visitors that made me somewhat sad that the girls were gone (one of the family friends & her son) and sit and chat with them for a while, clean the rabbit cages again, go out and buy the supplies for the girls' halloween costumes and some more school stuff for them both. *grin*

    I'm writing this on the linux machine because I am trying to repair the XP box and not having the best of times with it. *sigh* I'm giving serious consideration to just wiping it and starting fresh with a new PS, as the XP repair process is a real pain.

    I'm still really tired, and tomorrow there are two events at which we must make appearances.
    'Night all *waves*

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006


    Greenland melt 'speeding up'
    The meltdown of Greenland's ice sheet is speeding up, satellite measurements show.

    Someone else is getting a profit off of global warming
    A brewery in Greenland is producing beer using water melted from the ice cap of the vast Arctic island.

    Five Generations of a Family Suffer From Excessive Hair
    Although I wonder how long we will have to wait before terms like "werwolf", "dogboy", and such stop being used.


    Decended from royalty? So what?
    Famous Ancestors Adorn Almost All Family Trees

    Where do all those forbidden airline items go?
    The Army Knife You Gave Up In Philly? Good Change You'll Find It On eBay

    Sight unseen: Are we hard-wired for religion?http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/living/religion/15254298.htm?source=rss&channel=macon_religion

    Cancer Drug Behind Cyclops Birth?http://www.wirednews.com/news/technology/medtech/0,71569-0.html?tw=wn_index_3

    Chinese 'anger bar' is a big hit
    Customers can release anger caused by the problems of daily life A bar in eastern China has come up with a novel way of attracting clients - they are allowed to beat up
    the staff.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Mystery Flower

    Woke up early to quiet. The children were asleep, Keebler was in his noctournal coma, and the world was at peace. Add to that the fact that I was well rested, and the day started out beautifully at 8am.

    Then I decided that I had the rare opportunity to lounge around in bed enjoying the blessed silence for a while. I work hard, I deserve it, right?

    So I woke up at 11am to the doorbell ringing. It's my friend IA with some baskets for us. I threw on my clothes, and ran out to greet her. After a short tour of the yarden and a few minutes chatting, she had to head on her way, and we had to sort some baskets. *grin*

    We have 4 more new melons, and the mystery plant is flowering. A strange parchment-like flower with widely seperated petals. We have alsop discovered that where we planted the spaghetti squash and the loofa is growing an orange-green sort of squash that looks suspiciously similar to a buttercup (only buttercups are supposed to be either orange (red) or dark green according to Google, not both. I can't wait to find out what it is. *chuckle* When I borrow the digital camera, I'll ju8st have to take pictures of those as well and take the images in to the MSU horticultural department for identification.

    Strangely I have had a good many people offer to loan me their digital cameras, but nobody has a devil ducky to spare. *chuckle* I haven't gotten to arranging a borrow yet, but I will likely do that in the next couple of days.

    Some friends came and picked up the kanji today, and tomorrow someone is coming to pick up the craft supplies. The livingroom is still a huge mess, mother took the girls to dinner and a game of bowling (free coupons are your friend) as a surprise for getting their room clean, But she statyed to visit fo a couple of hours too, so we didn't get as much done as we could have (or had planned on).

    Later in the evening, we picked up some wood for the raised bed we'll be building.

    Product Reviews: La Loo's Goat's Milk Ice Cream

    La Loo's Goat's Milk Ice Cream Company

    (free coupon on the website)
    Flavors tried; "Deep Chocolate" and "Vanilla Snowflake"
    No artificial colors or flavors and a simple recipe unite to make one of the richest frozen treats we have ever tasted. The chocolate was similar in flavor to the Hagen Das "Mayan chocolate" without the cinnamon, only richer with a somewhat creamier texture. A robust and solid nearly dark chocolate flavor that explodes on the tongue.

    The vanilla on the other hand is a serious case of creamy goodness. Exceedingly rich and bursting with flavor, it is almost buttery, a truer vanilla than any I've ever tasted, and completely irresistible.

    60-85g of cholesterol, 50-55g sodium, 17-18g sugar, and 6g of fat make this ice cream a daunting treat for the health conscious, but the protein count of 5g per 1/2 cup serving is a surprising benefit to an otherwise health-bomb of decadence.

    The first time we tried this, we sampled it in the car and downed the entire pint between the two of us (the kidlettes were at grandmother's house) within 15 minutes. To top it off, we were eating it slowly, savoring it while I drove us around town on errands! It is simply that amazing!

    My personal suggestion would be to serve this at a dinner or cocktail party as a delicate dessert. A melon ball sphere of this ice cream on a natural brownie would be a prepare-ahead frozen delight few could (or would) resist.

    Price: $7.90 a pint
    Where to buy: Health food store

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Not Razors, Diamonds. OR Where to Get Your Tounge Sharpened

    We went shopping, cleaned out the magic closet, had a phone call from my mother (the obligitory 2 hours chatting about nothing), had a visit from Moose, had a visit from my mother, had a lovely gender-confusion experience in walmart, We asked for a "devil duck" from those special packages of Axe body care products. (We hate the product, but MUST have the duck!) and asked to borrow a digital camera on Freecycle(tm) (we MUST show you pictures of the yarden and Littlebit's head!), Keebler cleaned the rabbit cages again, we saw a long lost friend in the store (and traded information), where we almost bought a new camera and an air pistol, but decided against it, and also saw that our beautiful camera (well the same model anyway) was on clearance for only $200! Wow, next month, we are SO getting another one!

    We split up to go shopping so that we could get done faster (dinner was cooling at home and waiting for us) and Littlebit had to go potty. So Keebler took her potty. No big, right? Wrong. So he sends her into the ladies restroom to releive herself, and dashes into the men's to do a quick visit himself. He returns about a minute later to wait for her outside the bathrooms when he is approached by someone asking if he has a little boy in a striped shirt because some lady brought him out of the ladies restroom and took him to the service desk. *growl*Lucky for everyone involved I wasn't there when some strange appearance-obsessed female laid hands on my child, stripping from her the ability to releive herself, and delivering her into the hands of other strangers while somehow insinuating something mildly distasteful about the parents of said child. *hiss spit*

    How DARE some woman deign it her responsibility to decide what gender my child is just because of the length or style of her hair or the cut or color of her clothes, much less lay hands on her! It's not like Keebler could have followed her into the restroom himself anyway, and it's seriously improper to take a nearly 6yo little girl into the men's toilet.

    Like I said, whoever that woman was is VERY damned lucky I wasn't there before she left the scene!

    *ponder* I just read this post to Keeb, like I sometimes do before I hit the publish button, and he tells me that she was indeed there, and heard me ranting right there in the store about it. He just didn't point her out because he wasn't in the mood to watch me lash the female to death with my diamond-tipped tounge.

    Though I feel a little better now, knowing that she heard precisely how enraged her assumption and subsequent actions had made me, and knowing that Keebler was kind enough to save her and I from feeling worse about the whole thing afterwards if I had gotten a hold of her.

    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Big Scary Spider, Curb-Swag

    We inventoried the wood we have for making the raised bed, realized we didn't have enough and asked for scrap lumber from Freecycle(tm), did three loads of laundry, sorted through the "magic closet" (that's the one full of art supplies) and offered up some goodies and antiqued kanji on Freecycle(tm), did a small bit of grocery shopping, and planned on going shopping for other things we desired (like waterproof sealing caulk) before I realized it was Sunday and we decided to stay home. *chuckle*

    Instead of running errands, I worked on the computers and got quite a bit done in the way of preparing to teach myself the dreaded CSS for my Joomla page, and Ladybug got a lot more done in her room. At the peak of my productivity, my mother came over so that she could yell at my walls about how my grandmother needs to stop being all passive with her hired workers when it comes to having her house the way she wants it, while I nodded sympathetically. It destroyed my productivity, and after scooping that spider off of the door sweep. I was already a wreck, but hey, that's what family's for, right? *smirk*

    Anyway, it took me 6 more hours to finish writing directions to my house for a visiting friend (It included a satellite photo, edited by hand for legibility)

    It hadn't started out with me playing with a spider. I began by applying new draft tape to the back door near the yarden, then I spotted her... I was standing on this wobbly dining chair gently scooping an unknown type of large spider off of the door sweep (a fleece cover for the door to cut down drafts) with two flimsy plastic cups and just as I pulled the cups free of the sweep-curtain, having Ladybug yell through the door to Keebler caused me to freak out something seriously and throw the cups (and spider) out into the yard somewhere. I'm mildly afraid of heights, I don't know if this spider can kill me or not, and here my kid is yelling while I have an unidentified, might-be-poisonous arachnid in my hands and I'm unsteadily standing on a dining chair. I thought, for just a moment, that I was going to fall flailing from the chair and have this rotund white eight legged giant fly down with me and bite the living frag out of my face out of sheer terror when it landed . (yeah, I was shaking for most of the rest of the day, and no, I didn't ever finish getting the draft tape up.)

    Right before bedtime, we get a knock on the door. It's Dliwehtfollac! He has found a great lot of goodies laying out free somewhere, but they are too heavy and cumbersome to carry on a bicycle. Can we help? Of course we can! *grin* So we load into the car and drive off to grab some curb-swag. After completely filling up the trunk and every available non-personed space in the car, we head home to transfer the newly-acquired goodies into an unused shed. Craft time is going to really fun this winter, even if we are still growing plants all season long. *laugh*

    I Promised

    Picked up some pots from Freecycle(tm) and started grazing on the giver's yard plants(they were edible, and she is the one that picked it :P), cleaned out the trunk of the car, gawked at all the water we caught the other night, ate leftover fake meats from the last couple of days, brought home a stock tank from another freecycle(tm) member, got chiggers, killed our arms holding it on the roof (with the three tie downs we used) on the way home, learned a better way to tie oversized round items on top of the car using the car's internal frame supports, arranged the next 6 workshops and started writing up the ad copy for the various advertising outlets and the fliers, and filled Keebler in on why I feel that we have no money with nearly $300 in the bank (can we say camera repairs, new cages, animal food, vitamins, herbs, a new spare tire, and the phone bill is due? I knew you could!).

    *pant pant pant*

    In other news; Ladybug has shown supreme resolve and determination in getting her room clean. (there is so much fun stuff for her that is riding on it getting done now)

    Now mayhaps you know why I was so tired yesterday? *chuckle*

    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    Raw & Irritated

    We did quite a bit today and I really wanted to get to bed at 8pm because I was so tired.

    It is almost 11pm. Every time someone picked up a telephone all day long, the internet stopped working. It has taken me forever to get anything done.

    I'm exhausted, the muses are on strike for words and art, and Keebler "just wants to help" by hovering over me watching me mess up page after page of markerwork, talking about his own ideas the moment I start typing so that I will forget what I'm typing, or ignoring me completly.

    If he wanted to do something, he could pretend he cared instead of this overacting faux crap.

    We're fighting because he thinks my being tired means that I'm automatically grumpy and attacking him (so he responds as if I've attacked him, so that I feel attacked and get angry at him... See how this goes?)

    My eyelashes are sticking together, and it's WAY past my bedtime.

    The kids still aren't asleep.

    Keebler has just begun the evening ritual. Before that he was reading webcomics, and before that he was watching TV, and before that he was reading webcomics. But I have to give him credit, before all of that, he made me a sandwich. That counts for something, right?

    Maybe I'll have some inspiration to write about all of the fun little adventures of the day tomorrow. I just don't have it in me right now. *sigh*

    It's gearing up to be another long night when I don't get to bed until 4am, and Keebler gets to sleep a good 1/2 hour later than I do (not to mention the kids waking me up several times during the night and letting him sleep through)

    Ladybug just came out to ask me a question about nothing (something that is only important to her and could wait until morning, especially when she's supposed to be in bed)

    Motherstress! HA!

    Frack this crap. *scowl*

    Studio Friday

    I've decided to start this stuff up again, even if my camera is dead.

    The topic of the week is:
    Living on a paradise island, what three things would you take with you from your studio?

    I would take;
    My digital camera bag (with it's contents once the camera comes back from the repair shop)

    My laptop case & contents

    A rubbermaid storage tub

    See, I can make paper, glue, pencils, knives, and even paintbrushes. I can harvest fruits & plants to make dyes & paints, and my "perfect paradise island" would have sattelite internet, a solar setup & array already on it when I arrived so i would still be able to participate in fun things like Studio Fridays. *laugh* Oh the joy of being a survivalist and an artist.

    I figure if all us artists get stranded together, I'll open up a store, right? *chuckle*


    Have you ever wondered what some of those product labels actually mean? For example, many personal hygiene products boast that they contain "No dyes" - but what does that mean? As it turns out, it doesn't mean much. It is a very specific claim, but there is no organization that verifies the use of this claim other than the company manufacturing or marketing the product.

    You'll also find how trustworthy various certifications are and what they are about. For example, The Fair Trade Certified standards aim to ensure that farmers and farm workers in developing nations receive a fair price for their product, among other things.

    Good consumer info site that helps take the mystery out of various claims and certifications. Check.....it......out. http://eco-labels.org/home.cfm

    Ya Can't Keep a Good Thing Down


    I know, in my wildest dreams. *laugh*

    Really, I'd prefer the mini auto that seats four with adjustable pull out trailer and optional locking trailer lid that can haul1,000 pounds behind the vehicke, or fold up tight to the rear of the car when not in use, but that's just me. *EG* Of course, when fully loaded, effeciency would drop dramatically, but even for 10 cents a mile, ya can't go wrong, and that's an average decrease of over 1,000% above unladed MPC (miles per charge)

    Have I mentioned recently that everything on this blog is copywritten? *laugh*

    Of course there's also the Xebra, which I would be overjoyed to own, it costs less than $10,000 new, and I wouldn't be afraid to let Ladybug drive it once she got her lisence (it has a max speed of 40mph) http://www.zapworld.com/cars/xebra.asp

    Of course one of the standard colors is what we have come to affectionately call "ArtFoodFun dot green". *chuckle* But ya gotta love the zebra striped xebra, just on principle.

    But no matter what it looks like, the oil companies can't keep the electric car down! *grin*