ecology (42)

Washing Dishes

We wash dishes by hand (in a rectangular Rubbermaid dishpan), rinse and place in this drying rack/storage unit, built maybe 20 years ago by Lew Lewandowski.

When we had goats, I had installed a dishwasher, but found that we practically had to wash the dishes first (so as not to have food particles going into the septic system). Plus it used a lot of water and electricity, so I took it out and we’ve used this system ever since.

Another feature in this kitchen is a 5-gallon electric water heater right under the sink. While I’m not fond of electrically-heated water, this unit is so small, it’s energy-efficient, and we get instant hot water.

We use rubber spatulas to get food off plates, pots, and pans; edible scraps go to chickens, non-edibles (coffee grounds, avocado pits, etc.) go in a stainless step-operated trash can for the compost pile.

After I finish the book on the ’60s, I plan to do one titled The Half-Acre Homestead, all that I’ve learned abut building and raising food over 50 years.

Apropos of nothing here, the Amazon series “Sneaky Pete” is wonderful. Great story, fabulous acting all around.

I’m off for Oregon early tomorrow morning.

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First-hand Account of Global Warming in South Seas

My longtime good friend Sam Rehnborg and his wife Francesca took off this summer on their 70-foot sailboat for the South Seas, retracing a voyage they made over 30 years ago. They got some rude shocks from the effects of global warming, as he explained in an e-mail to me last week:

“Bottom line for me is that it was a great experience retracing my steps through this part of the world.  It only reinforces what I sort of knew anyway about the ocean temperature, which has been averaging up here about 88 degrees F.  The fish have disappeared.  The corals are bleaching and dying.


 The water is getting acidified.  The local people are doing the best that they can, but there is not much they can do about some of these big, big changes that are taking place.  The efforts are going to have to take place on a much larger scale.”

The photo shows him sailing out from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco this July, heading for The Marquesas Islands. His blog on the trip: https://drsamsblog.com/

Sam has a Ph.D. in Biophysics and a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and is the president of the Nutrilite Health Institute, makers of vitamins and dietary supplements. He just got back and is motivated to do research on global warming.

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Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops

In October 30, 2016 issue of The New York Times

“LONDON — The controversy over genetically modified crops has long focused on largely unsubstantiated fears that they are unsafe to eat.

But an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.

The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides.

Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents, using independent data as well as academic and industry research, shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise.

Broken Promises of Genetically Modified Crops

About 20 years ago, the United States and Canada began introducing genetic modifications in agriculture. Europe did not embrace the technology, yet it achieved increases in yield and decreases in pesticide use on a par with, or even better than, the United States, where genetically modified crops are widely grown.

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Bringing Back California's San Joaquin River

At 85 years of age, organic raisin farmer and lifelong river advocate Walt Shubin is not slowing down. He has dedicated the last 65 years of his life to restoring California’s once-mighty San Joaquin River to the wild glory he remembers as a young boy. Driven by his passion for the river, and despite worn out knees and joints, he takes us on a journey to help us understand why this river is so important to all of us as well.

From David Shipway

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