Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Workers Rights at Risk

File:Haymarket Martyr's Memorial.jpg  This is a picture of the Haymarket Martyr's Memorial (picture taken by Jeff Zoline) located in Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois (just so happens I grew up in Forest Park, Illinois) and commemorates a tragic event in the history of organized labor in the United States, the Haymarket Riot.  Throughout the years, various monuments about the Haymarket Riot have been vandalized, I suspect to repudiate politicizing of the event. 

File:Riot Monument.JPG

The Wisconsin protests have me remembering the Haymarket Riot and the hardships workers suffered at the hands of corporation owners in order to obtain decent working conditions and fair wages.  These protests have everybody up in arms, and I pray for cool heads to prevail.  I am very proud of the people protesting for worker rights in Madison, and I am so happy that people realize the issue at stake is NOT salaries but WORKER RIGHTS. 

I have to include the "crank" call to Scott Walker.  I am sooooo glad I DID NOT VOTE for this guy.

John Ertl spilling his heart for his state

That's my nephew, John Ertl.  He is graduating from Cornell University this Spring.  Go, Johnny!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Keeping Busy

It's been busy around here.  My sister and I cleaned our Dad's house while he was in the hospital having a cyst removed from his kidney, and now we are running with him back and forth for various appointments.  Tom has been great about feeding Dad's outdoor wood furnace twice a day.  Then, our "Big Green" van ultimately died on us and we decided that we couldn't continue pumping money into it.  We went to Wheel Way Auto in Fifield and bought a 2010 Dodge Caravan minivan.  It was a great deal.  Because it was last year's model, we got a $500 dealer's discount, a $3,200 discount from Dodge, and another $500 discount because I'm a member of the Farm Bureau, so we got a nicely loaded new vehicle for just over $22,100.  The best part of it is that we started putting money aside for a new vehicle after we bought the truck in 2004 and we had enough saved to pay cash.  With the economy crashing I was glad to put the money into a tangible asset instead of having worthless paper.  The van is  metallic pearl black with grey interior.  We're not used to bucket seats, and riding on the road in it seems kind of weird after sitting so high in Big Green, but that new vehicle smell is soooo nice (even if it is toxic).   But buying the mini van was a bittersweet experience because with the "passing" of Big Green came the realization that a big part of our life is now over.  Big Green saw us see the kids through all the events of their school years, took us to both Fort Jackson in South Carolina to see our Soldier Girl graduate from Army boot camp and to Carbondale, Illinois to see her graduate from Southern Illinois University.  Big Green moved with us from our Chicago area home of 27 years to the family farm here in northern Wisconsin.  I couldn't even look at Big Green when we left it on the lot as a donation to a vehicle recycling program.  Well, we are not young any more and that's a fact.  You gotta keep moving on.

Finished the last apron.  I think it's beautiful.  We'll see if it sells.

Here's a close up of the print:

Our Eddy turned 24 on the 9th.  I bought him a good pair of steel-toed hiker shoes.  We had chocolate cake which he loves.

Tom is happy because he won a turkey hunting license in the state raffle.   Seeing turkeys in the back yard makes him VERY happy.

Well, I lost my winter hat and have to make a new one so I'll leave off for now.  Stay safe and warm!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day

I couldn't resist passing on this YouTube video of my all time favorite song.  Have a great day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Have you noticed how much more expensive buying seeds is?  I sure have.  I'm also finding that I have to shop more seed suppliers to find the varieties I want.  I used to be able to make one seed purchase from a choice among a number of suppliers and be done with it.  Increasing backorders are another problem I'm seeing more of.  This year the one pound quantity of seeds (corn and beans) that I wanted are already "backordered".  And that particular order was made on January 6th at the start of the year.  I don't even mind that much having to spread my seed order among seed companies, but when you total the shipping charges -- ouch! You can buy a good amount of seed with what you pay just for shipping.  For example, I made a $25 seed order to one company and had to pay $6 to ship just 6 regular packets of seed.   

I like to save seed from the vegetables I grow.  Unfortunately, our growing season is short.  A regular seed harvest for me is "iffy" at best.  (It doesn't stop me from trying though. :D )  Last year we went into October before we had a real killing frost and I was able to harvest some good seed.  Maybe I'm just more sensitive to the cost of seed because I'm a seed saver.  I don't know.  As a seed saver I know the labor involved in harvesting seeds certainly justifies seed cost.  In any event, I wish seeds -- and shipping -- weren't so expensive.

This year I have purchased small quantities of seed to increase the genetic diversity of seed I have managed to save on my own.  New this year are several types of small melons.  Melons seem to like my soil, but as usual, the difficulty is the short growing season and inability to bring the melons to maturity. I plan to start the melons inside a little earlier and keep them under low tunnels once they are transplanted out in the field, so we'll see how they do.  I'm also trying Tuscan Blue kale this year.  I've never tried growing kale before and am looking forward to eating it.  I found a beautiful French heirloom leek called Blue Solaise that I can't wait to plant.  Normally I grow Perkins Long Pod Okra, but this year I'll try a variety called Red Burgundy.  Growing hot peppers here has proven very difficult so this year I bought several varieties to replace the seed I've used up.  I love hot peppers!  Fortunately I was able to find more Red Cloud seed potatoes to replace mine that froze.  Overall, this year my garden will see fewer veggies but larger quantities. 

Cold winter days sure makes for fine garden planning!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

February Already

I can't believe it's February already.  And I know that this month will fly by; it always does. 

I've been watching the progress of the mega winter super storm that is crossing the country right now.  It looks like we will get a glancing blow and most of the storm will pass south of us.  Chicago and Milwaukee are supposed to get the worst of it. 

We had a lovely visit on Sunday with my nieces and their husbands.  It is such a pleasure seeing our fine young people grow up.  Their children were so kind to our Ed and Lara, too.  How people treat the disabled is always a sign to me of true character, and I was not disappointed.

Started working on the third apron and already have it about half-finished.  I have to admit that I'm a fabric junkie.  I'm one of those people who love going to fabric stores and just walking up and down the rows feeling and admiring the different patterns and textures.  If Hancocks of Paducah has a store, it's a good thing I don't live in Kentucky because I'd probably live in that store!  Can't wait to see the apron finished. 

I finally found a manual for the big floor loom and ordered it off the Internet.  It should come some time this week and I'll finally know for sure if I'm missing any parts. 

Well, I've got to call the dentist about getting a crown on one of my teeth so that's it for now.  Take care, and stay warm!