Friday, June 20, 2008

Garden mishaps

Dear Bratty friends,

I don't have statistics anywhere for the wind velocity in Wenatchee over this last spring (as today is the official first day of Summer), but I can show you what wind and wet weather has done to certain crops.

Take the onions for example. The wind blows so hard here it blows over the onion tops, and then they stop growing. You can see from this photo that gale force winds hit these little guys as they are blown completely flat:



Next, here is our potato patch which Ken has worked so hard on this year. Note the skimpy row in the middle. That's what happens when your seed potatoes rot out due to cold, wet weather! He has had to replace almost the whole row with volunteer plants from last year in order to get the crop growing.


However, the grapes do look nice in the background, and the raspberries and broccoli are quite happy as well. Getting a lot of Chinese pea pods too. I'll leave you with a shot of the raspberries, which by the way our cat loves:

More later,

Bratty

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Colder than Siberia!

Dear Bratty friends,

The Seattle Times ran a story on the 11th with the headline, "Seattle Weather: Colder than Siberia!"

Here is the graphic that accompanied that story, so that you can see for yourself:




So...it wasn't a whole lot colder, but it was indeed colder. How about that?

It'll be around 100 today in Medford, Oregon where my father-in-law and his wife live. Sounds a lot better than another day of the howling wind in Wenatchee at 70 degrees.

Ah well...

Bratty

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Local letter to the editor

Dear Bratty friends,

This little gem ran in the June 5th issue of the Safety Valve in the Wenatchee World newspaper:

Warming solar system

A recent scientific report revealed that the planets Mars and Jupiter are also experiencing global warming. How can that be? Have the car manufacturers been secretly exporting SUVs to the other planets? What could possibly cause global warming on Earth and the other planets at the same time? (Hint: it's not CO2).

Turn off the TV and think!

Bill Everly

Tonasket


Anybody have any responses to that one?

It strikes me as though people do not want to blame themselves for any changes they have made to this world while they have lived on it. Perhaps that is too large a concept for some to grasp - that the Earth is a perpetually finite ecosystem.

Sincerely,

Bratty

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No global warming here....

Greetings Bratty friends,

It is the 10th of June in Wenatchee, WA, and it is snowing on the mountain passes, and raining here like a mad dog. Here is a view from the WSDOT camera of Stevens pass, and a photo of the Stevens Pass Lodge from the stevenspass.com website:


These photos were all taken this morning.


And also take a look at this shot from WSDOT of Snoqualmie Pass - note the new snow obscuring the camera lens on the right hand side:


And here is a weather report from Stevenspass.com that just isn't quite what we yokels over here expect for the 10th of June, just 11 days short of the "official" beginning of summer:

Current Conditions: Snowing!
Base ConditionsTop Conditions
Temperature: 31 °F / -1 °CTemperature: 27 °F / -3 °C
Wind: Light to ModerateWind: Moderate
Visibility: FairVisibility: Fair


Nice weather if you plan on hibernating for the summer!

NOBODY PANIC! STAY CALM. ADJUST YOUR SEATBELTS FOR THE BUMPY RIDE AHEAD.

Sincerely,

Bratty

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bio-identical hormones letter

Dear WA State Senator Murray, Senator Cantwell, and Congressman Hastings,

As far as I’m concerned, the pharmaceutical companies should not own the FDA. Yet, it seems to me that they are in cahoots with them. Take for example the fact that the Pharmaceutical companies again seek to challenge the compounding pharmacies rights to produce bio-identical hormones. The FDA seems to want to back them up on this. I do not believe this is the best course of action for three main reasons:

  1. The bio-identical hormones being targeted are a naturally occurring substance in the human body. They are not a harmful substance. In contrast, the non-identical products that the pharmaceutical companies produce are harmful to many women (see below).
  2. Use of these products is not for cosmetic purposes, unlike silicone breast implants. Prescription of these products by a physician is most often used to regulate women’s menstrual problems, or assist them with menopausal symptom relief. No other pharmaceutical products are offered that help women in this same manner.
  3. The pharmaceutical companies themselves could also offer women bio-identical products, but they choose not to. Instead, they just seek to keep others from offering them. Why? If the profit margin is too low for them, why don’t they let others sell it, rather than leaving women with no choice in the matter except to buy the non-identical and harmful products?

Ms. Murray, Ms. Cantwell and Mr. Hastings, the non-identical hormones such as those found in birth control pills are harmful to many women. Many cannot tolerate them. Others suffer health consequences because of them, or are at greater risk because of other factors. And these products were approved by the FDA! Have you ever read the birth control pill warning label? Well, here are the risks listed on the Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo tablet label in order of appearance:

  • Risk of developing blood clots
  • Heart attacks and strokes
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Liver tumors
  • Cancer of the reproductive organs and breasts

The package goes on to describe the risk of death from use of the birth control pill as follows:

“…the risk of death from any birth control method is less than the risk of childbirth, except for oral contraceptive users over the age of 35 who smoke and pill users over the age of 40 even if they don’t smoke….. over the age of 40, the risk increases to 32 deaths per 100,000 women… if a woman is over the age of 40 and smokes, her estimated risk of death is 117 per 100,000 women…”

Does that sound like something that you’d like to take?

I would also like to point out to you that most of the women who use compounded pharmacy bio-identical hormones are older than age 35, many are over 40 and in menopause, and it is unacceptable for them to face a higher risk of death just because the pharmaceutical companies don’t want to lose their deadly profits.

I ask you to do everything you can to fight the FDA and the pharmaceutical companies and defend the rights of bio-identical hormone manufacturers so that women over the age of 35 can continue to have a choice.

Sincerely,


Yvette Davis

Wenatchee, WA

Monday, June 2, 2008

June Day 2

Bratty weather.....

Well, here it is the 2nd of June, and the Chinese greens have all bolted, the radishes have bolted, and half of the spinach has bolted. When plants are exposed to longer days and higher temperatures, they almost automatically send up a seed stalk. Once the stalk is up, the sugars in the plant are transferred to the seed flower, and the plant becomes bitter (usually) and is not any longer good to eat.

In the Organic Gardener's Handbook it states that temps below 45' and temps above 75' and long days will cause bolting. We have certainly had both here in this very odd spring where we had the third coldest spring on record. According to the WW on 5/6/08....

"The average temperature in the Wenatchee area in April was 47.6 degrees. Only April 1948 and April 1955 were colder, with averages of 43 and 46 degrees...."

Brrr! And it also snowed on March 28th, sending fruit growers into a bit of a panic. (And the plants just loved the frigid dusting too, I'm sure).

However, at the moment it is 75', the Chinese peas are just flowering, the strawberries are producing, and we do that abundant lettuce crop to eat, so all is not lost.

More later,

Bratty

P.S. the Wikipedia article on bolting also states that low temperatures in the plant's early life cause bolting, which is not seen until the warmer temps arrive. Here is the link to the Wikipedia article on bolting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolting

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?