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Archive for September, 2011

Is it just me…

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…or does Devon’s new napping position look decidedly uncomfortable? I think he might be going for a sort of “metal hammock” look…

(I might add that while he picked his head up to look at me while I took his picture, he is currently resting nose-first on a metal bar… which is squishing said nose. My face hurts just looking at him.)

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On my mind this week iiiiis… apple pie filling! I was blessed to be able to pick some apples from the two dwarf apple trees at my parents’ home. They planted about a dozen back in 1993 or 1994 and these were the only two to survive the deer, rabbits, snow, and subequent years of oh-I-forgot-those-were-even-there. They usually only have about a dozen or so apples on them, but apparently this has been a good year for apples, so they’re both pretty loaded.

Now, they aren’t treated or fertilized for anything, so the apples are small and have plenty of holes and scabs but BOY are they tasty! We think they are Macouns and Cortlands, if my father’s memory (and my taste buds) recall correctly.

So, here’s what I have picked thus far – about a five-gallon-bucket’s worth. I prefer to make applesauce from a greater number of varieties, so I’ll wait and pick up some “cider-grade” apples from the orchard market where I worked for a year, learning about apple varieties and how to grade them.

These are going to be apple pie filling. 🙂

(And yes, that is the Wee Goon assisting me. He’s going to make sure that the apples don’t get away.)

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Although I don’t really have the time for a true blog post at the moment, I wanted to share some of what I’m following on the blogosphere horizon, if you will.

Aside from my concerns about Herman Cain, there’s also the whole Rick Perry / Gardasil / Mandated Vaccination fiasco.

Merck-backed Rick Perry tried to mandate HPV vaccines for all young girls in Texas

The truth about Gardasil, and why Rick Perry’s endorsement threatened the health of millions

What really raised my hackles regarding Perry was his constant attempt to label the mandated vaccine as a “pro-life” issue. Excuse me? There are legitimate concerns about the effectiveness and side effects to several vaccines, let alone the stripping of parental rights in mandating this particular vaccine. Life can fall on either side of the vaccination line, frankly, and I think that it needs to be left up to the parents, not the government. That said, what about the recent study in which over 80% of the children who contracted whooping cough had already been vaccinated against it? Vaccines aren’t always what the medical community wants to make them out to be. Just saying. I highly recommend Dr. Sears’ The Vaccine Book and Aviva Jill Romm’s Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parents’ Guide for some healthy discussion of the pros and cons of vaccination.

Oh! I almost forgot. You know Rick Perr’ys “defense” during the recent debate in which he says he was lobbied by a young woman with cervical cancer, to pass the bill? Yeah, he lied. She lobbied him after he had already signed the executive order, not before. It made a good story, though. Probably brought tears to people’s eyes. You go, campaign manager who polished that story!

While we’re on the topic of vaccination, there’s this cheery tidbit about how the CDC is now calling U.S. households and demanding child immunization records as part of a vaccine surveillance and tracking program. But don’t worry – “Strict U.S. laws require that we protect your family’s information and keep it confidential.” Well, I just feel all warm and fuzzy inside now. After all, our government never flouts its own laws or the rights of its citizens. Nuh-uh. </sarcasm>

Oh, and my prayers go out to parents in Maryland right now. If you have a few minutes to spare today, consider contacting Maryland officials about the medical tyranny of threatening parents with jail time for not vaccinating their children. Yeah, you read that correctly.

On the bright side, at least we still have the freedom to choose what foods we will eat, right? Oh, wait… Wisconsin Judge Patrick J. Fiedler says we don’t. Le sigh. The wonderful website NoNAIS.org (does anyone else remember when the National Animal Identification System fiasco was taking place?) lists five main points in its article WI: No Right to Produce or Eat Food:

1) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;

2) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;

3) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to board their cow at the farm of a farmer;

4) no, the Zinniker Plaintiffs’ private contract does not fall outside the scope of the State’s police power;

5) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume foods of their choice;

In other words: Put down that carrot and backup slowly. Anything you eat or grow can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have now entered the police state of 1984. Shut up.

Well, the least that I can do is end this link roundup with a bit of humor, right? Wood Cutting 101, for those of you who live in the country, have lived in the country, or want to live in the country. Or if you just want to smile after all of the depressing links I already gave you.

(Okay, so mayhaps this turned into more of a post than a link roundup in the end anyway…)

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This was originally going to be a comment in response to Barbara Curtis’ post Herman cain: the one to watch over at Mommy Life, a blog that I regularly read. The more I thought about what I wanted to say, though, the more I realized that I needed more space than the particular forum of ‘commenting’ could offer. Now, this isn’t so much a rebuttal to Barbara’s post as it is a discussion of concerns. I’ll admit that there was a time that I was excited about Herman Cain. In fact, when I heard about his recent results in a Florida straw poll, I was encouraged. While he was not the candidate that I currently feel that I agree with the most, I did feel like he was someone that I could contemplate getting behind.

But I noticed something that concerned me. He was a chairman for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City from 1995-1996. Hm. The Fed. Granted, it was just a year. But a chairman? Oh my. Then I did some digging. Apparently he was a Class C Chairman, which don’t deal directly with the banking policy. In fact,

These directors are highly insulated from banking relationships. They may not be an officer, director or employee of a bank or bank holding company. Additionally, these directors may not own stock in a bank or a bank holding company.

Cain was selected due to his business acumen.
“Herman Cain worked at the Federal Reserve … So What?”

A’ight. So the whole “chairman” thing could be much ado about nothing. But then I heard what Herman Cain actually had to say about the Federal Reserve.

He says that an audit “is not necessary”. We have bigger problems, apparently… and we should just take the time to call up our local Fed office and have them explain to us exactly what is going on with our country’s monetary policy. Yeahhhhh. Am I the only one that thinks that this is a very naive view? Rather than re-hash why the Fed needs to be reviewed, let me direct you to do some Googling of things like “End the Fed”, or read 19 Reasons Why the Federal Reserve Is At The Heart of Our Economic Problems. He can say that we have bigger problems to face, but I would counter that the Federal Reserve is at the heart of many of those economic problems.

Above and beyond my disillusionment with his apparent naivete, today I read that he thinks these concerns are stupid! In fact, he thinks that the people who show up at his events, asking questions about where he stands on the Federal Reserve, are deliberate plants from other campaigns. Never mind that nearly 75% of Americans want a full audit of the Federal Reserve.

“I know it’s a deliberate strategy.” Cain writes, “How can a person randomly show up at a hundred events and ask the same stupid question to try to nail me on the Federal Reserve?”

excuse me? Nearly 75% of Americans want an audit, that’s how, Mr. Cain. It’s not a stupid question, thank you. We have legitimate concerns. Declaring that a legitimate concern of We The People is stupid, is just.. well, I hate to say it, but rather Obamaesque, wouldn’t you agree?

And, is it just me, or in that clip that I have earlier in the post… doesn’t he say that he doesn’t think we need to audit the Fed? We have more important things to do, right? Then why does he say the following:

“I have said: ‘I don’t think you’re going to find anything to audit on the Federal Reserve.’” Cain writes. “But they (Ron Paul supporters) want you to believe that Herman Cain doesn’t want the Federal Reserve to be audited.”

“It’s really becoming annoying more than anything else.” Cain states.

So, either he’s naive, or just plain dismissive. Or perhaps both. I’m not really sure. But suffice to say, I’m worried. Now, I know that we’re not going to agree 100% with ANY candidate on everything. It’s just not going to happen. But this combination just leaves me feeling a little disillusioned about Mr. Cain. (Let’s not even get started about the Federal Reserve’s latest intimidation tactic…)

Aside from the Federal Reserve issue, I read an interesting analysis of just how much we would be paying under his 9-9-9 plan.  Hm. Who comes out ahead here?

Update/edit:
I just want to reiterate that a) I love reading Mommy Life, b) I love a lot of what Barbara Curtis has to say, and c) I’m not trying to attack her or Herman Cain. It’s just that there was a time when I would have seen a political recommendation like that on the blog of someone whom I respect, and would have automatically assumed that they were someone I could get behind. Now that was naive of me. If you don’t have a problem with the Federal Reserve, and none of the thing I mentioned concern you, good for you. If you find that the things that concern you about Cain concern you less than your concerns about other candidates, so he’s who you want to support, good for you. Basically, I just wanted to point these things out so that the knowledge was out there as you make a decision about candidates to support. I hope that made sense. I’m typing this with a squirmy six-month-old on my lap who wants to help me type 😉 so I am trying to throw this out there as quickly as possible. Pardon the wonderful grammar and sentence structures, please.

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“And every mother’s child is gonna spy,
To see if reindeer really know how to fly…”

It’s 80+ degrees outside, and I’ve got a Christmas song stuck in my head. Yeah, I have skillz.

In all seriousness, there is a reason that this refrain is reciting itself within my mind, and it has to do with the very first line of the song:

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose…”

Judging from the fact that Jack Frost is still off hibernating on this balmy September day, it’s the chestnuts. Or rather, what I think are chestnuts. You see, the Wee Goon and I were strolling out to give the local stallion his mid-day meal and retrieve the daily mail, and I discovered that there were a myriad of seed pods and nuts strewn across the driveway.

Upon examination, I wondered: “What are these?”

Upon further examination, I thought: “These look sort of like that piece of horse anatomy referred to as the ‘chestnut’. I wonder if that’s what these are!”

So, being the lazy foodie that I am, I took the opportunity to pick up all of the nuts that I could find in the driveway, stuffing them into every nook and cranny of the stroller that was out of Wee Goon’s reach, and carted them home. I say lazy foodie, because, ah… I don’t really weed. At least, I didn’t this year (my first at having a garden). I had intentions to, but things being what they are when there’s a newborn about… it just rarely happened.

Aside from that, I find excitement in foraging. I love picking wild blackcaps. I even found some poor-looking raspberries along the driveway this summer. Don’t even get me started on the mulberry tree at my parents’… delish! And I just picked a couple of apples from the wayward trees just outside of the goat pasture.

I could say that I like things wild. I like the adventure of finding a food source, growing independently on its own.

But, like I said, I’m also lazy. If it can grow itself – hey! I’m good with that. Grow away. Don’t let me stop you. I’m more than happy to feel like I’m on a safari when I go to harvest my peppers and celery!

That said… before I do anything with these ‘nuts’, I thought I ought to confirm with my foraging foodie friends (yes, I love alliteration): are these really chestnuts? And what do you do with them, exactly? Aside from.. you know.. roasting them. Over an open fire. 😉

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This constitutes ‘one of those things’ that I just assumed ‘had always been that way’. Or rather, I had never really thought about it. It just was.

But did you know?

Did you know that the whole keep-politics-out-of-the-pulpit/tax-exemption thing only dates back to Lyndon Johnson and the aptly named (wait for it)… Johnson Act (creative, I know) of the 1950s?

Yeah. Makes you think.

Or, at least, having watched America: Freedom to Fascism, which is in part an expose on the 16th Amendment, the Federal Reserve, and the IRS, it makes me think.

Just sayin’.

So what are your thoughts? Does the government have the authority to take away those rights in exchange for tax-exemption? (Then there’s the whole argument about the constitutionality of income taxes versus corporation taxes, et cetera, but I’m typing this on my phone so I can’t really delve into that right now to the extent that it deserves…)

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So, you know how I posted Murphy’s Law of Tomatoes?

Turns out I lost a whopping… wait for it… TWO.

Now, I shan’t complain, because lots of folks farther east than I lost entire crops to Irene when it cames through. I lost a couple of tomatoes to overripening. Big whoop. That said, I found myself staring at this big bowl of tomatoes on my counter, at a loss. It seemed like too few to can. But too many to dice up for salad (whose greens, I might add, have long since gone to the wayside). Hrm.

Soup!

So I added a lil’ bit o’ this, a lil’ bit o’ that… and had homemade tomato soup for dinner!

So, that constitutes today’s on my mind: the big bowl of soup that I’m about to eat.

What? You didn’t think I would be organized enough to take pictures when I first made it, did you? In fact, I made the mistake of mentioning said homemade tomato soup in my Facebook status and ended up getting questioned on my recipe.

…recipe? You mean, like, measurements? Oh, dear.

What do you think? Should I recreate my soup – this time using measurements – so that I can share it with the world?

Furthermore, can y’all point me to a good tomato sauce recipe that cans well? Turns out, I still have quite a few green tomatoes joining the ranks, and I’m determined to can some of them. Thanks muchly!

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