Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2011

A Change for the Better

October 31, 2011 - I learned about something that's a real game changer last week. It's called Holistic Management (HM), and it has to do with the way grasslands are managed. The fact is, HM was developed for the express purpose of changing the way ranchers and farmers do business. Allan Savory, a Rhodesian (Zimbabwe was called Rhodesia decades ago) biologist, game ranger, politician, farmer and rancher, saw the need to repair grasslands in his native country nearly fifty years ago. What was it he saw?

Livestock Raising was being managed in much the same way all over the world at that time. Sedentary livestock was easier to keep track of than animals that were allowed to roam, so ranchlands had gradually been fenced off. Once cattle were confined, ranchers figured their lives had been made a whole lot easier. The land degradation that resulted from the continual scuffing of cows' hooves across a relatively small area was easily corrected: cattle were simply moved to another…

Speaking Truth to Power

October 24, 2011 - I learned last week of a speech, delivered to the U.S. Senate by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (what a name!) of Rhode Island the week before. The speech was about climate change, of all things. The senator, a member of the Democratic party, spoke very directly and pulled no punches. Rather than describe his speech, let me quote a small portion of it to you:

" ... There is a wave of very justificable economic frustration that has swept through our Capitol. The problem is that some of the special interests - the polluters - have insinuated themselves into that wave, sort of like parasites that creep into the body of a host animal, and from there they are working terrible mischief. They are propagating two big lies. One is that environmental regulations are a burden to the economy and we need to lift those burdens to spur our economic recovery. The second is [that] the jury is still out on climate changes caused by carbon pollution, so we don't need to worry abou…

Type II Climate Change

October 17, 2011 - A report has just been issued which states that animals and insects will adapt to climate change by becoming smaller. I'm sure this has something to do with the ratio of volume to surface area, not that I'm smart enought to explain exactly how they affect one another. What immediately comes to my mind is the fact that humans have been trending in the opposite direction; we've been getting taller as nutrition has improved since World War II, and recently, we've been getting substantially heavier, as well. It's my guess that those trends are about to be thrown into full reverse; our food-growing capacity has been affected negatively on a worldwide basis by climate disruption. Because of the instability of our climate systems, finding ways to compensate will be very difficult. We all need to remember to be VERY grateful this Thanksgiving.

Hold onto your seats, everybody: news doesn't get much worse than this. According to the October 5 Radio Ecos…

There's Nothing Alarmist About Storing Food

October 10, 2011 - I began storing processed food last year. Each time I go to one of the various places I buy food, I buy a little extra, and store it in the basement. One big closet downstairs is conveniently located next to the common wall with the garage, and it stays pretty cool. I'm currently not using the top two shelves, since they get warmer than the rest. That means, however, that I have food standing on the floor, which I'm also not crazy about. Pests have not been a problem, so far.

Ideally, I'd like to have about three months of food stored. I suspect I have closer to half that amount right now. I'm thinking I'll purchase some hard red wheat grain this winter, and grind my own flour. (The grain grinder was purchased early this year.) I've been baking a multi-grain bread lately that's absolutely wonderful. I need to post the recipe. Half the flour in the bread is a pastry/cake flour, and I'm wondering if I'll be able to make a flour with …

Accidentally On Purpose

October 4, 2011 - Amidst all the very real anxiety brought about by our transitional economy and the "New Normal," I think it's terribly relevant to ponder some of the unintended consequences of the aforementioned. Case in point: our declining consumption of gasoline. What years of well-intended non-profit preaching could not accomplish, a brutal recession has. Higher fuel prices and lower incomes are keeping people closer to home. Couple these two facts of life - experienced most poignantly by our shrinking, high school-educated middle class - with improved car technology, and the verdict is incontrovertibly in: Americans are using less fossil fuel to power their cars.

Energy Department statistics show Californians out in front in the race to clean up the air by burning less gasoline. Golden Staters can be doubly proud, since they have not only decreased their fuel consumption, but have done so while adding to the total number of drivers in the state. While gasoline cons…