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Showing posts from December, 2011

The Dawning of the Age of Hemp

December 27, 2011 - Perhaps one of the most telling historical facts about the use of hemp in the United States is this one, which I found in the Wikipedia article about hemp: "Hemp was used extensively by the United States during World War II.  Uniforms, canvas, and rope were among the main textiles created from the hemp plant at this time.  Much of the hemp used was cultivated in Kentucky and the Midwest."  In other words, when the chips were down, we knew what we could rely on.  Cloth made from hemp can be handed down from father to son, it is so strong.  Materials like canvas and rope, which must be able to withstand long, hard use, are at their best made of hemp.

Herbicides and pesticides are unnecessary when growing hemp, although I did get the impression from my reading that hemp is a heavy feeder, and would require significant amounts of fertilizer.  It does, however, grow in almost any kind of soil.  It is truly a Plant For All Seasons, and can be used in making bio…

Wonderful Whole Grain Bread Recipe

December 20, 2011 - Some time back, I promised to publish my recipe for whole grain bread.  I just took a look at Transition Voice's website, and - lo and behold - Lindsay has published her recipe for Butternut Squash soup.  It looks fabulous, and would be beyond amazing with my whole grain bread.  For those of you with the ambition and the time - enjoy!

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. oatmeal
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
Add a sprinkling of flax seed if you care to
2 pkgs. yeast
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 c. scalded milk
4 T. butter
1 t. salt
1 c. brown sugar

Combine yeast with 1/4 - 1/2 c. warm water and 1 T. sugar.  Combine milk, brown sugar, butter and salt.  When lukewarm, mix with yeast, flours, oatmeal and seeds.

Knead dough, and allow to rise for 2 hours.  Knead briefly again, divide between oiled bread pans, and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for another 40 minutes.

A Couple of Hints for Better Bread Ba…

Camelina, anyone?

December 19, 2011 - I'd never heard of the website known as Minyanville (http://www.minyanville.com/) before I read the article I want to discuss today.  The article, "Renewable Energy Crop Production Set to Soar in US," was first printed at oilprice.com, with no author's name shown.

Biofuels have suffered from an image problem ever since Bush II prematurely decided they were a good idea, notwithstanding the fact they were made out of food.  The resulting starvation in countries accustomed to eating corn (which is actually low in calories, or energy) has been only one side effect of our least intelligent President's passing thought.  That's why a crop called camelina will solve multiple problems, not just the shortage of jet fuel.

It's taken awhile to get biofuels up and running because of the lack of USDA federal crop insurance.  A wonder crop was needed, one that could withstand assorted growing conditions and still be a moneymaker.  A number of crops -…

Caring People Keep On Keeping On

December 12, 2011 - Abigail Borah took her brave pills last Thursday, and then proceeded to do what so many of us have wished we had the guts to do: she spoke Truth to Power.  While attending the Conference of the Parties (17), also known as the "climate talks," in Durban, South Africa, the junior at Middlebury College interrupted Todd Stern, chief negotiator for the United States.  Her voice high-pitched with fright, she said what has needed saying for too long:

"I am speaking on behalf of the United States of America because my negotiators cannot.  The obstructionist Congress has shackled justice and delayed ambition for far too long.  I am scared for my future.  2020 is too late to wait.  We need an urgent path to a fair, ambitious, and legally-binding treaty.  You must take responsibility to act now, or you will threaten the lives of youth and the world's most vulnerable.  You must set aside partisan politics and let science dictate decisions.  You must pledge a…

The End of the Beginning

December 5, 2011 - First of all, let me recommend the November 30 show of Radio Ecoshock (http://www.ecoshock.org/) to you.  Alex Smith interviews Allan Savory, about whom I wrote in my Oct. 31 blog.  Savory talks about the impact, and future, of Holistic Management.  I thought it was a very interesting show.

It really does begin to look as though the only solution to the human race choking to death on its own filth is the potential for economic collapse.  Depending upon whom you read/listen to/trust, the utter decimation of the European fiscal system is very much in the offing.  Standard and Poor's announced this evening that 15 European countries are being considered for a status downgrade.  Fifteen!!!  Much to the surprise of many, Germany is included in that less-than-august company.  According to Ilargi at Automatic Earth, the absolute minimum required for a bailout would be 25 trillion dollars, and that really would only constitute a start.  In short, it can't be done.  …