Friday, July 10, 2009

Insecticides and herbicides.

I was over at Dock Road today. We lived there for 28 years. Some one asked me if I had a problem with Japanese beetles, I said, no. Then I got to thinking about it, the birds eat the beetles. We get a few, they attract the birds who eat them. There are grubs that live in the lawn and eat the grass roots. Moles come and eat the grubs, the moles make tunnels but when the grubs are all gone the moles go. The cabbages and broccoli used to get caterpillars on them, when I saw them I'd go out and pick them off. Sometimes I found myself competeing with the birds. My neighbors on the other hand would spray. This would kill the insects, the birds eat the dead and dying insects and the birds die. Does this make sense? Now there are no birds to eat the insects, so when the insects return - as they always do - more spray. You can also spray to kill the grubs in the lawn, doubtless the moles will eat the poisoned grubs, and die. Now you have no natural controls. Also in my garden were many praying mantiss, they eat lots of insects as do lady bugs - several times their own weight in insects every day. If we spray to kill the insects we also kill the natural controls. And not just the control insects, insecticides also kill bees and butterflies. These sprays are poisons, they go into our food, into our air, into our water and into us. I'm sure that a lot of people will say, "The poisons are safe. The manufacturers say they are." Well I say, "Ask them to drink some, and see how safe they think they are then!" What would you expect the manufactures to say? What would you say if you were selling something? Of course they are going to say they are safe. And of course they are not safe. These poisons are endemic, they are everywhere, as I said before in our food, our air, our water, our children and us. And there are more and more of them being spread over the landscape every day. The touble is, once upon a time there would be an infestation and you would use the insecticide to get rid of it. Now we see one Japaneses Beetle or half a dozen caterpillars and the whole garden has to be sprayed as if there were a plague of locusts! Come on, give the birds a chance, they are anxious to eat them, give them a chance, by spraying everything in sight we are just killing the beneficial insects and birds and everything else that has taken care of these problems for centuries - and longer. It's better to put up with a few weeds and insects that will be taken care of anyway by the things that were put here to do just that, rather than poisoning ourselves, our children, our air and our water. Weeds - there are "Perfect" lawns all over the place, but what I see are huge amounts of weed killer that washes into our water and into the Bay. The Bay used to have lots of underwater grasses, in these grasses lived small fish, crabs and all kinds of life. It was the nursery for our food chain. The grasses have gone, could it be the thousands of tons of weedkiller that are spread on all those lawns? I prefer to have underwater, fish, crabs, oysters, clams and the whole myriad of life that used to be in the Bay. I'm quite happy to put up with a few weeds in exchange for this. If you don't like dandelions, a few minutes each day with a trowel and you can get rid of them, they are easy to find - just look for the big yellow flower that sys "Here I am" - after the first few days you find less and less, and you are comuning with nature and enjoying you property more. Listen to the bees, watch the butterflies, enjoy the 'weeds'. If you have 'weeds", you will also have more bees and butterflies, that is what they feed on. No flowers (weeds), no butterflies. Look at those 'weeds' sometime, there are some lovely ones. buttercups are beautiful, so are violets, cornflowers, red and white clover and many more. Right now my lawn in some areas has masses of 'weeds' with tiny blue flowers on them. There are probably a dozen or more different flowers in my lawn, I can't name them, but I can enjoy them. The weedkiller manufacturers spend millions getting us to hate weeds and telling us to kill them!
(Just like on another subject for another day, our politicians spend millions telling us to hate other peoples. Then when we hate them enough and go to war to kill them they can make vast fortunes selling weapons! But lets save that for another day!)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What about Watermelons?

"What about watermelons?" said the parking lot attendant. "OK" we said, confused,"What about watermelons?" He replied, "You get four for a dollar and one free." as he pointed across the parking lot at the largest pile of watermelons that I had ever seen.
We were in El Paso Texas, just across the border from Juarez Mexico. The time was June 1970. We, was my beautiful wife Julia and myself. If you think Julia is beautiful now you should have seen her in 1970. In 1970 she was 28 years old and 'breathtakingly beautiful' would be a more accurate description. But the attendant was not interested in her, he was only interested in selling his lovely watermelons. Who could resist 5 watermelons for $1.00? Even way back in 1970 that was unheard of. Certainly we couldn't resist and we were soon on our way with 5 big, beautiful, bright green watermelons.
But what were we going to do with 5 watermelons, we were not even all that keen on watermelons, it was not our favorite fruit. But at five for a dollar the deal was irresistable. We stopped and ate a watermelon. We drove on, it is HOT!! in El Paso. We needed ice for the watermelons, ice costs money. Just then we passed a family store at the side of the road. Going back, we went in and asked the owner, "Do you have any water melons?" His answer of "No." encouraged us and we asked "Do you like watermelons?" He looked puzzled, we repeated the question and we were even more encouraged when he replied "Yes." We exchanged a watermelon for a bag of ice. Further up the road we repeated the deal.
Just one of my memories of a full life. I have many more, if you'd like to hear another one leave me a comment. Just click on the 'comments' under this post and ask. I can tell you several stories about when we went into Mexico, or of our travels around the US for three months in a VW bus, or how about Texas at Christmas 1967, or, well you tell me a tale and I'll tell you one. Or two. Or more.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Planting trees.

I have been planting trees and bushes at the Lake House for the last few days and I am reminded of the old saying - "The best time to plant a tree is last year, the next best time is now." This is of course because everyone says, "If only I had planted it last year, I would have a tree by now." From there you go to, "Well you'd better plant it now - or next year you will be saying 'If only I had planted it last year . . ." Again. So, I am planting trees. I'm putting in more than I have room for, more than I need and more than I want, but, some will die and I can pick and choose among the rest which ones to keep. I can even try to move one or two, maybe they will survive and maybe they won't, but at least I won't be saying, "I wish I had planted those trees last year!"

Do it now.

Confucious him say -

Yes Confucious really existed, and he really was smart. Here's an example of just how smart he really was, I like this saying because it reflects my feelings exactly -

"No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance."

I could not have put it better or more concisely myself. Unless it is to say - read, or even, please read.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

7-7 the UK's 9-11

Today is the fourth anniversary of the Muslim terrorist bombings in London when 52 people were killed and hundreds injured. It happened on July 7th 2005.