Tuesday, July 15, 2008

“Give the tourist a ticket”

It's true, visitors should be advised (warned) to follow the speed limits exactly when passing through the nearby towns of Raymond and South Bend on Hwy 101. An article by Stephanie Frieze appearing yesterday in Tacoma News Tribune; In Your Neighborhood section encourages an inexpensive vacation to Long Beach and then offers some tour guide information; where to go, where to stay, where to eat.

I was reading along, agreeing, nodding my head in affirmation when I came to the last paragraph in the article

excerpt; Word of caution: if you have a heavy left foot (which is hard on the pocketbook these days) when you get near to Raymond, ease up on the accelerator. “Give the tourist a ticket” is a favorite sport of not only the WA State Patrol, but the Pacific County Sheriff. The South Bend Police Department has made it an art form and while the Pacific County Courthouse has a really cool dome, you may not want to have to appear to fight a ticket. Don’t even try. The new variation on the game is “pay us now, don’t get any more tickets in Pacific County for 6 months and the ticket drops off your record; fight the ticket and all bets are off.” Play it safe by driving safe. Don’t speed.

Well, it's true, and I had to nod my head in agreement. We try to always tell any of our guests traveling to visit us specifically to heed exactly the speed signs, and the speed changes throughout the span from Raymond till outside of South Bend. Can be 45 mph, then 30, then 50, then 45, then 30, then 40, then 55 on what is not much more than a 15 mile span along Hwy 101.

It's not all that friendly, and can be frustrating for those who, unaware, of the rapid changes in speed limits, find themselves 'caught' in one of the tourist traps. We know of visitors (not among our guests)who have not wanted to return to the area even with the siren call of Long Beach. And most people driving through on their way to say Long Beach, are from another region and don't relish the idea of returning to pay a visit to our Pacific County Courthouse to settle a traffic ticket.

But we, who live here, quickly learn about the shifting speed limits, and we who live here also know the siren call of Willapa Bay as well.

Oyster ’seeds’ are dying as Pacific Coast waters grow warmer.

"Alan Trimble, a researcher at the University of Washington, has noticed similar problems in the wild. Sampling seawater in Willapa Bay, Wash., he found that the oyster and clam larvae had disappeared in the last two years from waters where bacteria counts had been high."

Excerpts from L.A. Times article

click on link above to read entire article.

Oyster ’seeds’ are dying as Pacific Coast waters grow warmer.

Published on Sunday, July 13, 2008 by the Los Angeles Times

A Warning From the Sea

Oyster ’seeds’ are dying as Pacific Coast waters grow warmer.

by Kenneth R. Weiss
QUILCENE, WASH. – For decades, the unwritten motto at shellfish hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest was “Better oysters through science.”

Scientists mated the heartiest, fastest-growing stock to produce plumper, sweeter oysters for slurping raw on the half-shell or frying up to dip in tangy sauces.

They probed the genetic code to select for the most desirable traits of the Pacific oyster, an import from Japan that now weighs in, pound for pound, as the No. 1 aquacultured crop in the world: 4.5 million tons a year (shells included) valued at $3 billion.

They even bred out sexual organs that at certain times of the year can take up more than a third of an oyster’s body weight and give it a soft, mushy texture.

With selective breeding and genetic fingerprinting, they were on their way to developing a super oyster resistant to summer mortality, keeping one step ahead of a warmer, more polluted planet. Or so they thought.

Suddenly, oyster research bogged down as a riotous bloom of bacteria went on a West Coast killing spree, wiping out billions of oyster larvae.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Our dog, Jake, ACL surgery

Our dog, Jake, after surgery on his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). Didn't realize it was going to be such an invasive procedure. He healed, never fully, and has a permannt limp, and we are grateful the veternarian who performed the surgery did as well as he did. Prior to the surgery, Jake couldn't seem to walk at all. It took about a year of recovery, and now Jake bounces in excitement when we ask him if he wants to go for a walk. He walks and will walk forever, but he does suffer some the next day.

What a great dog, we love our Jake. He is Australian Shepherd with some collie mix.

Monday, July 7, 2008

07-07-08, still smoke-free. Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my birthday = 57 years old. I'm pleased and proud to report that I am still smoke free, having smoked my last cigarette September 2006. Means that I passed my one year anniversary of no smoking September 2007 and am on my way to second anniversary smoke free this year.

It's been entirely 'natural' to give it up without regret, and without much in the way of pangs or temptation to take it up again. Very much, absolutely wish I had given it up 20 years earlier.

Recording this post into my blog because my memory is experiencing holes now or 'senior moments' and I couldn't recollect which year I quit. Asked hubby when he quit and knew it was one year later that I quit. So he quit Nov 2005, and I quit Sept 2006. There now, if I forget again, it is recorded here.

I haven't thought much about it at all, but visited my account Eon because I received a birthday greeting from one of the members. Haven't been back to my Eon account, forgot I had subscription here. But when I did return, I see my one and only blog entry was about quitting smoking. So thought I'd update on that post and then go on from there.

Rural life offer's MORE choices, not LESS

The link to the entire origianl article is in this post's title above.

The writer, Linsey Knerl - wheverever in rural America she is living - describes herself as a
"Stay-at-home Home-Educating Mama of four, I'm just cheap!"

The article is Linsey's contribution to:

click on image to go there.

After landing a very nice job at an insurance-related company, I was slowly seeing the world in a new way. Sweaters became suits, my pager was traded-up for a cellphone, and $2 taco dinners at the dive down the street gave way to $9 wings at the upscale brewery. Even my car (which I adored) was feeling the pressure of this faster, more expensive social circle. (I remember telling my new co-workers about my Dodge Charger. They ran outside to see it, envisioning some souped-up Dukes of Hazzard look-alike to be waiting there. Their disappointed faces told me that 1982 was NOT the year for that particular model. We took my friend’s pre-owned, 2-year-old Lexus to lunch after that.)

... 7 years after I moved away from my tiny rural town, I’m moved back again.

Right away, I noticed that nothing much had changed. I recognized my neighbors right away, because they were still driving the car they drove when I was in Junior High. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Since it was largely still a farming community, no one gave me a second look when I popped into town with muddy tennis shoes and a tore-up baseball cap. I wondered what my old friends from work would have said.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Socially revolutionizing our Life on Willapa Bay

Lietta and I have allocated enormous amounts of our spare time to a serious examination and plan of our response to the implications of Peak Oil, gas guzzling transportation and what to do about potential shortages of commodities, services and medical expertise that stare us in the face as we move into our 60's.

All this business causes us to miss some of the prime entertainment and diversion available via the media and often the question arises, do we need to prepare and participate in social revolution or should we continue mindlessly on distracted by corporate bread and circuses? (Well, not all. We've recently discovered Eddie Izzard who is sufficiently entertaining to get me to turn the TV on at night and stay subscribed to Netflix.)

This excerpt from Lietta's post July 2, about U.S. Rep. Brian Baird's Town Hall meeting in South Bend:

Gas Prices; Astonishingly - well to us anyway - when the question of gas prices came up, as we knew it would, and someone asked about off shore oil drilling and leased land not being used for oil drilling, Brian Baird started to discuss it and then asked the audience for a show of hands as to who was in favor of off-shore oil drilling. And almost all the hands went up. Then Brian Baird asked who was not in favor, with my husband, mine and probably 3-4 other hands going up.

I was stunned. And in somewhat confused language pointed out peak oil and global warming and then gave up, saying never mind. I could not believe what I had just witnesssed. An expectation that enough information is out there now about the growing oil crisis, that I had thought more would be appreciative of our need to change our lifestyle to become less oil dependent and the urgency in finding alternative energy lifestyles

The majority of hand-raisers were approving of off-shore drilling. When asked by Baird whether or not this community - whose economy is heavily reliant on the ocean - is willing to risk oil spills and damage to marine life (economic or otherwise), the hands stayed up. In fact one of the attendee's who had "done her homework" justified her vote based on the preserved integrity of off-shore wells in Louisiana during and after Katrina.

So why not?
Peak Oil is here. Demand now outpaces supply and the number of global competitors for a diminishing supply is rising.

Regarding Peak Oil, all we need to understand is that an SUV getting less than 20-30 mpg needs to be jettisoned in favor of something smaller and now more expensive that reaches for 50 mpg. (BTW, I ran the trade-in value of a 2002 Ford Explorer Thursday. Where it normally hovered in double digit thousands, Kelly BB indicates $1850.)

My thoughts on Peak Oil

Peak Oil explanations have for the most part not told it all.

Surprising observation from Certified right-winger and advocate of the Corporate American Core Values, Charles Krauthammer:
"Forbidding drilling [in the Arctic refuge] does not prevent despoliation. It merely exports it. The crude oil we're not getting from the Arctic we import instead from places like the Niger Delta, where millions live and where the resulting pollution and oil spillages poison the lives of many of the world's most abysmally poor"
So should the amount of energy input required to get the oil include the 'cost' of basic human life?

Economic statisticians love to estimate the value of things and enterprises in terms of man-hours, labor units and whatnot. This from the point of view of valuing how much we First-Worlders must pay to get our oil from Third-Worlders who probably have very little say in whether or not we move in and take out there resources.

When a talking head expounds "knowledgeably" about the high costs of finding disappearing pockets of new oil, our wallets wiggle, self-focus increases and we begin to think of our 4-cylinder 1985 diesel pickup in the back yard with weeds peeking out from behind all the wheels.

But beyond our comprehension and more than likely not even considered by the authoritative Think Tank Energy Know-It-All is what reality is to our neighbors on other continents. Do they have a right to the stuff (as Carlin put it) in their own back yard?

You know, them folks who live in a society older than ours that already possesses a physical infrastructure older than ours. Theirs was built by how many millions of man-hours, labor-units, blood, sweat and tears?

I agree with the asker of the following question (all quotes in this article come from the reference link posted at the end of the article.)
" Do all the billions of hours of materialized human labor that have historically been destroyed by Westerners in the Middle East enter the equations telling us how many energy units are needed, under the current market conditions, to produce the equivalent of one BTU (British Thermal Unit) of energy? "
At the Baird Town Hall questions about immigration came up (see Lietta's article) and Baird gave excellent responses to an audience that included many who have some vague resentment of all foreign poor people that is driven by broadcast rhetoric regarding the status of aliens in our midst.

As we discuss our own and other nation's populations related problems - especially since we are an electorate which has approved by ballot an aggressive corporate imperialist rape of someone else's natural resource assets by the use of force, need we remember and understand that
"any proposed 'cost analysis' that excludes historically accumulated human social labor is not an a scientific explanation. Further, such a perspective is racist since the only human life worth its consideration, implicit in its tenets, is the ethnocentric, western self.

Just the amount spent on the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan is in the trillions of dollars. How many tens of trillions of dollars worth of human creation has this war actually destroyed? Do these destructions enter American environmentalists' calculations?"

Now this ought to remind baby boomers about sixties-era notions such as that book and movie entitled The Ugly American.

Problem is not so much the absence of lots of citizens who remember the Great Depression with intense feeling. No, our problem is the generation missing at the time of the Oil Embargo in the 1970's; today's primary consuming generation for whom all this is mere intellectual or conscious "information" buttressed by little if any real understanding or intuition as to what it all means.

"Now, we know that even in the worst locations on earth (except war zones) those fires, shootings, school fights due to hanging nooses, teachers and priests having sex with students/believers, and all the millions of miles of footage on this or that celebrity seen locally (or anywhere) were obviously not the only things happening within the local universe in the 24-hour interval between last night and tonight.

Some selection has clearly taken place, which is of course what 'news' organizations do to prepare their programs. This carefully produced selection, when repeated daily and over the decades, keeps the public on edge on two levels: envious of the rich and the famous and, more so and more importantly, scared and insecure about their own lives.

And that, not information sharing, is the rhetorical agenda of 'news organizations': Danger creeps around every corner! Put your trust in the authorities! State violence is your only security!

Peak Oil serves exactly the same rhetorical purpose in a more nuanced way, with regard to the 'energy crisis': it keeps people revved up and on edge about the coming doom regarding oil and 'our way of life'. And who to trust to solve the problem?

Since Peak Oilers don't say, the actually existing answer is provided happily by, who else, the western corporations, the global 'free market' and the first world governments.

Now I'm curious in a kind of conspiracy-nut way as to the reality of how short we Americans are on native oil under our control. If as claimed, 60 percent of the current price of oil is caused by the futures traders in this commodity has nothing to do with supply shortages, is there in fact "too much supply for the actually existing capacity of refineries to refine the available oil fast enough?"

Chief Seattle could have uttered these words:

"Since Peak Oilers work with capitalist vocabulary, their solutions will never have anything to do with a fundamental reconceptualization of property rights, and no form of socialization of natural resources will enter their platforms."
As we read this, what comes to mind in terms of what we really need to be thinking about?

What is suggested is "nothing short of a social revolution."

That's what drives the small plans being implemented in our own household and on our little plot of land where we're investing in new personal infrastructure such as raised bed gardens, vegetables hanging from plastic buckets and turning one of our basement rooms into a root cellar.

It seems that a social-economic revolution in our personal and societal lives would be the "politico-logical thing to do."

Let me then speak to Rep. Baird's position vis-a-vis my son-in-law existing in harm's way for Baird's political justifications (and all those who insist that the broken pottery barn will go to hell in a hand-basket if we leave now. )

Any who believe that the United States of America is the global Roy Rogers wearing a white hat and spreading peace, prosperity, truth, justice and the American way to an ignorant, needy world are stuck knee-deep in their own personal intellectual quagmire.

We are not and have not been Roy Rogers. We are now and have been Oil Can Henry.

" ... the U.S. is a world imperialist power that historically has as often projected power through 'civil' means (corporations and financial institutions) as through state violence (coups, bilateral security agreements previously, and now open military interventions). For this type of imperialism, local or regional powers willing to and capable of acting independently and wielding power are not desirable, unless (as with Israel) such a local power is in a fundamental fashion (existentially?) dependent on Washington's patronage."
Other than quoting Lietta's post, all other quotes are from Peak Scam by Reza Fiyouzat, Online Journal Contributing Writer, Jun 30, 2008, 00:18

Hm .... looks like an Arab name. According to American jingoists, that probably means that Reza has written nothing truthful and that it only looks like Oil Can Henry riding Trigger.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Town Hall Meeting with Congressman Baird

Attended U.S. Representative Brian Baird Town Hall Meeting in South Bend, Pacific County, Washington on July 1, 2008. I had very personal reasons for wanting to talk to Congressman Baird this year based on our experience talking with him at his Town Hall meeting last summer.

You may recall that last year Congressman Baird made national news in his support of the 'Surge' (of U.S. troops deployed to Iraq. We were in great opposition and wanted him to know as his constituents living in his district our views as a military family, with 2 returning Iraq veterans.

Congressman Brian Baird talking with Lietta Ruger, Town Hall Meeting, South Bend, July 1, 2008

(photo courtesy of Steven Friederich of the Daily World)

This year, at his Town Hall meeting, which covered a range of issues, I had opportunity to discuss the Surge one year later with him.

On Monday, June 30, I received an email from Congressman Baird’s office advising he was holding a Town Hall meeting in South Bend, on July 1 (the next day). He holds Town Hall meetings annually in towns and cities across his district. I wanted to attend, for a couple of reasons.

Some background: Last summer, Congressman Brian Baird held a Town Hall Meeting in Raymond, and this was at the time that Congressman Brian Baird who had voted against the invasion into Iraq, decided that he wanted to come out approving President Bush’s ‘Surge’ of U.S. troops in Iraq. Congressman Baird had made a trip to Iraq last year, to assess the situation of war in Iraq and had conversation with General Petreaus, coming home to believe in the value of proceeding with a Surge in U.S. troops deployed to Iraq. The deaths of U.S. troops was at an increasing frequency, and violence was rampant in Iraq, IED’s and suicide bombings - killing civilians, Iraqi police and soldiers, and U.S. troops. Last year, Congressman Baird made national news in his support for President Bush’s call for a ‘Surge’ (of troops) in Iraq.

My husband and I, being a military family with 2 returning Iraq veterans (both from Washington state), attended that Town Hall meeting in Raymond, WA last summer primarily to challenge the Congressman on his support of the ‘Surge’ and it was a contentious exchange with the Congressman. Please refer to the article ‘Baird faces his constituents in Raymond’ in Daily World last September.

The article features photo of my husband, Arthur Ruger, and the pointed question he put to Congressman Baird man to man -”was the war worth our son’s blood.”, to which the Congressman responded yes, he believed it was. That was a slap in the face to us, as we do not believe, have never believed this war was worth any son or daughter’s blood. It was important to me then, last night, a year later at the Town Hall Meeting in South Bend, for me to connect to the Congressman based on our exchange from last year. That same year, in December 2007 our son-in-law deployed to Iraq in his second 15 month stop-loss, extended deployment, where he is now.

I wanted very much to attend Congressman Baird’s Town Hall meeting last night, even though I seem to have run out of things to say about the wrongness of the Iraq war. We attended, and after Congressman Baird gave his presentations, he opened it to audience questions. I listened through all of the questions, intending to ask my two questions at the end of the proceedings.

Issues discussed during course of the meeting:

Gas Prices; Astonishingly - well to us anyway - when the question of gas prices came up, as we knew it would, and someone asked about off shore oil drilling and leased land not being used for oil drilling, Brian Baird started to discuss it and then asked the audience for a show of hands as to who was in favor of off-shore oil drilling. And almost all the hands went up. Then Brian Baird asked who was not in favor, with my husband, mine and probably 3-4 other hands going up.
I was stunned. And in somewhat confused language pointed out peak oil and global warming and then gave up, saying never mind. I could not believe what I had just witnesssed. An expectation that enough information is out there now about the growing oil crisis, that I had thought more would be appreciative of our need to change our lifestyle to become less oil dependent and the urgency in finding alternative energy lifestyles.

Acidic Ocean; Congressman Baird acknowledged Al Gore’s documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, and then explained to the audience about acidic ocean, disappearing coral reefs, and how as a coastal community we should be concerned about our oceans. Then he answered other questions, and while I was listening attentively, I had already recognized that once again, our views on oil dependency (my husband and mine) were indeed the minority opinions amongst the community we live in. We’ve encountered this before along the course of our speaking out against the Iraq war as military family with loved ones deployed in Iraq.

Funding Iraq War vs Domestic Needs; Later when a young reporter from the Aberdeen Daily World newspaper tossed out a comment about trading off the $$ being spent in Iraq against using for homeland needs, Congressman Baird explained that we were not using current funds, rather creating a deficit that would be paid in our children and grandchildren’s time. As Congressman Baird explained it that were we to withdraw the troops now (which he then went on to explain was a time consuming process and needed to be done responsibly so as not to leave troops exposed and at-risk), there would still be no funds available to be used for domestic concerns. Rather that it would reduce somewhat the future deficit which would be paid for by our children and grandchildren.

Copper Roof Replacement at Pacific County Courthouse; would cost considerably more than was originally estimated with rising costs of copper. Inquiry if the Congressman could get the county some $$ help to replace the copper roof. It being a historic building, must comply with regulations pertinent to historic buildings. (Read more about it at this Daily World article, ‘Costs of New Roof Skyrockets’)

The discussions flowed covering various issues:

Historic Post Office in Raymond lacking accessibility for disabled; seems because the Raymond Post Office is considered a historic building, and it lacks accessibility for disabled, changes cannot be made to the building to be more facilitative without regard to the regulations governing historic buildings. At this time, disabled citizens (wheelchair bound, or unable to manage the stairs) are unable to make access to the Post Office. (Read more about this at Daily World article, ‘Baird Hears of Acces Woes’)

Illegal Immigration: Someone asked the Congressman about illegal immigrants, and he responded by breaking it out into three categories;

a) illegal immigrants who are hardened criminals should be sent back to countries of origins, but how to do that - ask the country ‘hey will you take back so and so who is a hardened criminal?’;
b) illegal immigrants who are hired by employers knowingly as illegal and paid under the table should not be permitted to remain; and
c) illegal immigrants who are hired by employers who have verified social security number and background and taxes are being paid out of wages - those illegal immigrants have likely been here number of years, working all of those years and some provision should be provided that permits them to remain on worker permit. Congressman cited responsive employers like Coast Seafood who work to comply with current laws and have large number of immigrants employed.

Columbia-Pacific National Heritage Area Study: Included was a concern expressed by owner of Rose Ranch regarding our area (Willapa region) becoming a National Heritage region. She identified probably 10 coalitions that have concerns should we become designated a National Heritage site. I have tried to blog some about this at Washblog, but am too underinformed to articulate the concerns well.As the meeting wrapped up, I was at last able to ask my two questions;

1) Senator Cantwell obtaining $2 million towards Doppler Radar for SW Washington due to the December 07 storm (read more here) , and what was his position on that? He said fully in support. Then I pointed out that while the $2 million was great it was going to take a lot more $$ to build the Doppler, and where would that money come from, would he work towards that end. He said something about $2 million being a big drop, and likely the rest of the money might have to come from the State.

2) Last year, in your Town Hall, we talked with you about our son in Iraq because you had just gone national in your approval of the Surge, and I guess I wanted to have you inquire how he is doing. Before I could finish the sentence though, it seemed that Congressman Baird did remember and did ask how our son was doing. Which left me with a weak follow up, that really that was all I wanted was for him to inquire after our son’s well being. Then the Congressman went on to explain why he took the position that he did last year on the Surge and how it seemed to be working, violence was down. I actually did find myself saying that conditions did seem to be more favorable to our son’s (actually it is son-in-law) deployment this time, or at least I’m relieved that if he has to be there, it isn’t the year before, and that I hope he gets through this deployment and safely home.

After the meeting concluded, Congressman Baird, did come over to where I was sitting, and had some private words with me. He wanted me to know that he cares, that what I was doing as a mother was natural and he was glad that I was doing what I was doing; that what my son was doing was patriotic and what I was doing was patriotic; that when he is in DC the groups that hold vigils in DC showing the 4,000 killed, he looks at each and every face and feels it deeply.

For the most part the words he chose to use with me were agreeable, but I didn’t like the words about patriotic - and I wasn’t altogether sure he understood that I am among those military families opposed to the war in Iraq and have been speaking out against the war in Iraq. Personally, I wouldn’t say the ‘Surge’ (of troops) in Iraq is working, that would really be beyond my ability to discern. But it does seem the violence is down, and whatever strategies are being used, our son-in-law who is deployed in Iraq now in his second ’stop-loss’, extended 15 month deployment seems to be less at risk than had he been deployed in Iraq a year earlier.

As Congressman Baird was shaking my hand and done with his part of the conversation, and before I could correct any misperceptions, others were coming around, and reaching out to me, whereby I offered my smiles of appreciation. Right about then someone else said to us, wait, wait, I didn’t get the picture, and then snap went the camera. I remember saying is this a photo op and we shouldn’t be smiling then. It was a confusing moment, and then there were 2 reporters wanting me to spell my name, wanting my son (son-in-law, I corrected) name which I never give, and the moment to correct any misperceptions that the Congressman might have about my position had passed.

More details of this Town Hall Meeting reported in the Aberdeen Daily World articles here and here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We're trying raised bed gardening - the slugs you know

Sweetie has been diligent in helping me create our kitchen vegetable garden bed these past several years. He digs it and turns the soil by shovel each spring, and then I add seeds, water and watch it grow. Oh were it that simple! Not!

The first couple of years, vegetable garden grew well. When he first laid out the garden bed, I came in behind him, laid down newspaper to cover the soil, then added bags and bags of topsoil. Planted seeds and good garden that year, lots of varieties of produce. . The next year, Sweetie turned the soil for me. Fairly good garden that year. The next year, Sweetie turned the soil for me, and increased the size of the garden bed somewhat. I repeated the working formula of coming in behind him, laying down newspaper and bags and bags of topsoil. Ooops - garden wasn't so good that year. And then last year, Sweetie turned the soil, and I planted and tended and the garden, and very little happened. No squash, no cucumbers, no tomatoes, squeaky little peppers, and pretty much everything planted didn't produce.

Well there are the slugs - voracious and muchly increased since the first year we began the vegetable garden. Sweetie supplies the heavy labor, and I pretty much tend to the rest. My gardening knowledge is limited and I am in a continual learning cycle. I don't think I've reached my learning curve yet. So this year, I asked him if we could try something different. He agreed to build me some raised beds. He has built 4 so far, and I will want several more to contain all the little baby potted seedlings that I have been growing from seed.

Using combination of 1/2 compost, 1/2 topsoil in the raised beds, I am hoping we can get a clean start this year while I work aggressively to fight off the slug population that has grown in our yard since I first began the vegetable and flower gardens. Looks like I may have planted the kinds of things that attract the slugs and they have ungraciously repopulated themselves many times over.

Will add photos of the works in progress. Mostly though, wanted to add a post sharing that I am so pleased to have my husband working in our vegetable garden side by side with me when he is home on the weekends. This last weekend, he completed another raised bed for me, and I attempted The Three Sisters model of planting that bed. Corn, beans and squash. I've been doing my research over the winter months, and was determined to try the Native American way of using The Three Sisters principle in planting out this combination crop.

But -- the weather in our region has been quite uncooperative, remaining unseasonably cold and chilly throughout most of the spring months, with even some hints of frost and snow way past the usual frost days. A trip to the local store in a nearby town helped me feel a bit better about the serious delay I'm experiencing in planting this year - their entire inventory was dead. Wow!
Rows and rows of dead and dying vegetables and flowers. Guess it was unseasonably cold. Good thing for greenhouses and nurseries, eh?

We paid a visit to the only greenhouse nursery close by, and she was having her end of the season, getting ready to close up for the season, so we got there just about in time. Was able to pick up a few vegetable starter plants - collards and swiss chard. Then a stop at our local public market (which is often short on plants and vegetables), I was able to pick up some more starter vegetables - primarily the squash varieties. Supplied to the public market by a nursery, I inquired where the nursery was, cause I didn't know about it, and was advised it is wholesale only nursery. Ah, too bad.

So armed now with my newly purchased squash starters, the corn seed which I had planted earlier was just about the right height to be transplanted, and ditto on the bean seeds I had planted earlier, our purchased compost and topsoil and the newly built raised bed Sweetie made this weekend, I was ready to plant that bed in the manner of The Three Sisters. While this is not quite at all the instructions I copied in how to plant in the fashion of The Three Sisters method of planting, I'm hoping this hybrided version will still net me results -- I mean produce.

The bed is in, and it remains to be seen now what kind of success I will have. The technique to The Three Sisters is planting the seeds in alignment with the growing season, so that the squash leaves don't shade out the beans and corn, the bean vines don't overtake and strangle the corn. Since I couldn't plant the seeds in accordance to the plan, I fear the squash starter vegetables may already be too large for the smaller beans and corns seedlings. Hmm, we'll see how it goes. Oh, and there was only room in the bed left for one sunflower - so that is more a symbolic gesture. Also, I'm thinking the container bed may be too shallow - not enough soil depth, but again, we'll see what we get. And hopefully the slugs won't have a feast before we do.
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