A different potato salad recipe

My family loves my potato salad, but several years ago I decided to try a new potato salad recipe, that’s completely different than mine. It’s the Barefoot Contessa Old-Fashioned Potato Salad recipe that I found in one of her cookbooks. It’s made with red potatoes and it’s got a lot of chopped fresh dill in it.

When I told my husband and sons that I made a different potato salad recipe they complained about how they love my potato salad and why mess with that. Then they tried this new potato salad… and they loved it. I make mine sometimes and other times I use this Barefoot Contessa recipe. If you’re looking for a different potato salad recipe to try this 4th of July, I recommend giving this one a try. It goes together quickly. Go generous with the chopped fresh dill , because that makes this potato salad absolutely delicious.

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Yikes: “the future of the Liberal World Order”…

Short politics post here:

Tens of thousands of farmers are protesting in the Netherlands about new legislation passed:

“THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Farmers protested around the Netherlands as lawmakers voted Tuesday on proposals to slash emissions of damaging pollutants, a plan that will likely force farmers to cut their livestock herds or stop work altogether.” https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2022-06-28/explainer-why-are-dutch-farmers-protesting-over-emissions

This has echoes of the truckers’ protests in Canada last year when prime minister, Justin Trudeau, pushed another global liberal cause – more Covid rules that targeted the livelihood of workers in a vital industry. Trudeau was hellbent on enforcing more and more CVOID restrictions, but now climate change and green policies moved back to center stage for power grabs by the “Liberal World Order.”

Within the climate change activist sphere, the green energy proponents faced a set-back in the US, with yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling limiting the EPA:

” WASHINGTON (AP) — In a blow to the fight against climate change, the Supreme Court on Thursday limited how the nation’s main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.”

“By a 6-3 vote, with conservatives in the majority, the court said that the Clean Air Act does not give the Environmental Protection Agency broad authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that contribute to global warming.” https://apnews.com/article/supreme-court-epa-ruling-2e893673819a1b6c6aa272a5e814f0b0

Of course, if Democrats lose control of the House, Senate or both in the elections this fall, that might lead to America dodging a bullet from having the US Congress passing legislation similar to what’s passed in the Netherlands. However, the Biden administration assuredly will continue their war against American fossil fuel and pushing the green agenda. Here’s a video from yesterday with a top Biden official’s response to a question about families who can’t afford high gas prices:

The Biden administration policies continue to push the global green energy agenda, regardless how much it hurts American families and workers. Although it’s easy to think the green activism has almost a religious fervor to it, I still believe this is all about power and big money. Many very powerful and wealthy people are propelling the green agenda, because they’ll reap billions upon billions of dollars from green energy technologies and policies.

Everything connected with Covid mitigation and the vaccines led to quick power grabs and certain companies and wealthy people making vast amounts of money, at the expense of smaller businesses, who faced shutdowns and all sorts of restrictions. The people pushing these latest green measures will likely use similar tactics with forcing their polices on certain groups of people and certain businesses in various western countries. During Covid, many big corporations working in conjunction with Democrat politicians imposed rules and restrictions on their employees and with their business practices, to advance the Democrats’ policy agenda without Democrats having to pass new legislation or impose new rules. More of this social engineering/stealth imposition of liberal policies by corporations seems likely.

More fun times ahead.

Update: 7/1/2022, 7:51 pm – The “liberal world order” is a phrase that’s been used to describe western democracy, I know. I saw a conservative pundit comment that he didn’t understand the uproar over the Biden official using that phrase. My opinion is there’s a sleight of hand going on with the Biden administration messaging effort. First, a few months ago, Psaki dismissively suggested Americans just need to buy electric cars when gas prices started climbing rapidly, then the Biden WH floated “Putin’s inflation” and trying to scapegoating oil companies as being unpatriotic for high gas prices. All the while the US and a whole lot of western Europe was still buying Russian oil and natural gas. Here’s a NYT report from June 13th – Russia’s Oil Revenue Soars Despite Sanctions, Study Finds. The legislation in the Netherlands is about the green agenda, not Russia or the war in Ukraine. Likewise, the Biden policies regarding American fossil fuel production are about the green agenda. Biden officials have been traveling to countries, like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, whose values run counter to the “future of the Liberal World Order,” trying to buy oil from them and the US is still buying Russian oil. I believe the “liberal world order” the Biden administration is concerned with is the global green energy policies and ideas coming out of the EU and Brussels, not liberal western democracy.

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Harder struggles

Watermelons are growing.

Wherever you’re at on your life’s journey, the truth is everyone’s path takes twists and turns that are a little bit different than everyone else’s. Everyone learns different things and forms their own perspective and views. A phone conversation with my youngest daughter this morning got me thinking about how there’s so much blanket advice and how many people become committed to a one-size-fits-all approach in so many areas – even gardening.

I mentioned the watermelons growing in my container garden and my daughter right away reminded me of how when I grew watermelons and cantaloupes in my backyard years ago they got rotten spots on them before they were ready to pick or the bugs got them. I told her I remember all that. That’s why when I posted a picture of the little watermelon the other day, I said I don’t expect much.

I used to plant an in-ground garden. After my melons rotting the first year, in subsequent years I put mulch underneath the melons right when they formed to keep them off the wet soil, with no success. Then I tried trellising the cantaloupes and gave up on watermelons. I had minimal success with growing melons in my backyard, which was GA swampland before they built this residential area.

Our property wasn’t a designated floodplain when we bought our house, but many years later FEMA redid the floodplain map and a small corner of our backyard fell into being part of a designated floodplain. We had to purchase flood insurance, in addition to carrying homeowners insurance. The new designation cost us money, but the reality has always been that the backyard is often very swampy. And yes, my husband put down more top soil and he added a lot of amendments to the garden area, but it didn’t help much.

One of the first things my father told me when my parents first visited our new house was that we would have been better off buying a house up the street, because it’s on higher-ground. Luckily, knock-on-wood, our house has never flooded, but if we get a heavy rain we’ve had our backyard remaining a swampy mess long after the front yard has dried out.

An in-ground garden was a constant struggle in my backyard and even with this container garden effort, I weighed the pros and cons of using weedblock fabric and putting woodchips down to keep the containers out of sitting in mud, if it rains a lot vs. woodchips attracting more insects and voles. We’ve had voles many times in our backyard.

With gardening a lot of people have very strong views about which methods, which seeds ( I buy some heirloom, some hybrid and I don’t care one iota about “non-GMO” truthfully), which products and how to deal with challenges are the right ways and I’m pretty much agnostic. I’m willing to try different things, but I don’t have rigid views on gardening. I’m an amateur gardener and have had more success growing flowers than vegetables, but even with flowers, I’m a realist. My climate and especially my yard isn’t conducive to growing things like tulips or daffodils, so I just buy a small pot at the store to put on my table, if I think I need some tulips in the spring.

I bet some of the backyards in my neighborhood up the street, that are on higher ground, are probably better suited to growing vegetables, but I live here and will make-do with what I’ve got. I’ve been grateful for everything in my container garden that grew this year and produced food. I made 7 pints of dill pickles today.

I’ve seen a lot of debate about back-to-eden/no till/lasagna gardening methods vs. traditional tilling methods or using woven groundcover.

I had an elderly friend give me some Jerry Baker gardening books many years ago, but I never was taken with his home plant concoctions. I did try mixing up one long ago, but when I told my mother about it, she didn’t think much of using that. It didn’t work.

Instead, one of the gardening books I’ve found most useful is a GA Master Gardener’s Handbook I bought for under a dollar at my local Goodwill store many years ago. That handbook has clear information and science-based advice from UGA’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Studies. UGA has a ton of information specific to my area online. Someone else might be a Jerry Baker adherent or Ruth Stout or think back-to-eden is the best method.

I did buy the Patricia Lanza book on lasagna gardening and a Ruth Stout book, based on a recommendation from a guy who has a YouTube channel about no-till gardening. I’m curious to learn more, but at the same time I’ve seen numerous gardeners and homesteaders who say why these no-till methods didn’t work for them in the Deep South. I am open to trying a small area in my backyard using a no-till method and seeing how it does.

The truth about my backyard is it’s naturally GA swampland and that’s a reality no amount of gardening information and savvy will change, so I’m trying to work with what I’ve got and what I can manage. The container gardening has worked better than in-ground gardening did, but I would like to try a couple raised beds and see how that works.

There’s very productive farmland just a little further inland (my area is considered part of coastal GA) and I used to tell my husband repeatedly that I wished we had bought a house out that way in a more rural area, but at this time here’s where I am and the benefits are medical care is nearby, grocery stores are nearby, friends are nearby and aside from the swampy backyard, I like my house a whole lot.

Next week, I plan to take an elderly friend, who is 85, to Lowe’s so she can look at the flowers and get a new flower arrangement for the table on her front porch. I worked with her for years and she lives nearby. She loves purple and I had gotten a container with purple petunias and some other lighter lavender flowers earlier in the spring, but I told her yesterday, it’s time for some new flowers for her front porch. The heat’s taken a toll on those petunias.

Her mobility has gotten very poor, so she uses a walker even in her house. She keeps telling me how much she’d love to be able to work on planting flowers in her yard, but that’s not possible. Instead, she has a lot of houseplants she tends by pushing her walker around with her watering can on the seat. She loves the flowers on her front porch, which I water for her, but she can’t safely work in her yard. I’ve been telling her about my container garden challenges and she told me for years she kept buying ferns for her front porch, which gets full-sun most of the day, and no matter what she did they died. I told her ferns love my front porch, because it gets a lot of shade. Sometimes we have to accept that some things we really want to grow where we’re at, aren’t going to thrive there.

I started buying cut flowers for her often and putting them in a vase on her kitchen table rather than putting flowers on my husband’s grave. She loves having a vase of pretty flowers to look at and truthfully, I know my husband would think getting flowers for her makes more sense than putting flowers on his grave. Her remaining son died last summer, a couple months after my husband died and she lives alone. She’s on home hospice care. Whenever you think things are bad, you don’t have to look far to find someone who is facing even harder struggles.

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Being like the water fowl

In my blog post yesterday I mentioned that my little container garden has brought me many hours of pleasure and it’s helped me come to terms with major loss and the loss part is what I want to write about today. No, this isn’t going to be about losing my husband, although that’s been the most crushing loss I’ve experienced in my life.

Being fearful is easy. Putting fear aside takes hard work. I speak from experience. I was an extremely fearful child, to the point “Scared” should have been my middle name. One of my biggest fears, besides the dark, was I was terrified of strangers. It took years and constant encouragement and prodding by my parents to get me past a lot of that. I had to work hard on dealing with my fears and learning to face them. Then I had to learn to not let fear take a hold of me and often that involves not listening to people spreading fear and for me it takes praying and asking God to help me.

Even as I reached adulthood, I was still a very fearful person and overly cautious. My husband helped me learn to face my fears and some of his courage and fearlessness rubbed off on me over 40 years of marriage. He always told me I can do things, while I would list the reasons why I would fail.I wandered around my home many hours each day for almost a year after my husband died last March.

Planting this little container garden hasn’t been some spectacular garden and some people would scoff at the small amounts it’s produced, but for me each seed that sprouted and grew into a plant felt like it was filling a hole in my heart. It felt like God was blessing me with growing things in my backyard and each tiny success gave me enormous hope.

When I was a kid one of the little habits I started when fears started taking hold was to deliberately focus on all the things that were good that were going on around me and all the many blessings all around me. By switching my focus to looking for positive things the bad didn’t disappear, but the good started taking an upper-hand over the bad and the fears. I prefer to focus on working on things I have some control over in my own life and trying to help people where I can. Worrying about global conspiracies, evil elites, even real major system failures with the global economy doesn’t get me anywhere, while looking around my own home, family, neighborhood and focusing on things I can actually do each day moves me in a better direction. What I do might not work for millions of people and it’s likely millions of people won’t agree with my views.

Writing blogs is a trend that’s losing popularity, as social media has moved on to other formats most people now use – video content is way more popular, podcasts are popular too. Instant and quick have large audiences while reading 1,000+ word blog posts is about like reading books – most people don’t want to invest that much time. In fact, even with news, it’s obvious on social media like Twitter that most of the blue checkmark crowd of politicos there react to headlines and don’t read through the articles linked.

Starting this blog was tackling another of my biggest fears. I always loved writing, but I had a lot of fears about writing and letting people read what I wrote. Self-doubt literally crippled me from writing. This blog was like a blank piece of paper that was mine to fill as I chose.

A friend urged me to start this blog and it’s been a whole lot of commentary on politics and current events. Watching the corruption expand in our institutions, from government to media to even things that shouldn’t be political, I’ve found myself becoming less of a right-wing partisan and thinking more in terms of just being an American citizen, as our politics has gone further off the rails in recent years. I don’t want to be part of Red Team America or part of Blue Team America. I just want to find ways to work toward things that matter to me and that I feel are positive for all of America.

I’ve had to catch myself recently with writing commentary on my blog about things I see on social media and disagree with, because I’m not into popularity contests, pissing contests, the clique mind-set or people caught up in their social media “followers” and “subscribers” status (I’ve watched this on Twitter, people on facebook bragging about the number of friends they have and on YouTube – those are the social media formats I’ve used.) And I do find a whole lot of things I see online that I think are fear-mongering for clicks, total bullshit, or the rush to weigh in without doing any fact-checking. It’s not just regular people who have social media formats that do this.

What’s really distressing is how many professional journalists, political pundits, and even political leaders rush to weigh in on every hot button thing that flits across social media too. In the process, trust in the news media and our political class has plummeted. Too much of America feeds on reacting rather than taking some time to think about information, do some fact-checking and then taking a little time to think things over. I write my blog posts for myself, as my space online to write what I think and believe is the truth. I will never monetize my blog and I have no desire to venture into more social media formats. I don’t do public speaking, have never taken a selfie in my life (I found that selfie trend very disturbing when my kids were younger), I don’t do videos and I intend to keep it that way.

I’m also going to be consuming less prepper-related content and less politics content online, because very little of it makes me feel any-better informed. I don’t want to indulge in reacting to the latest hot-take conspiracy theory, dire predictions, or news reporting that is more retweeted crap by journalists that none of them fact-checked. I also don’t want to hear reports that random people send to a content creator that haven’t been verified in any way. I don’t want to lose my peace of mind in living a simple lifestyle and succumb to fear-based shopping or financial decisions or feeling America is doomed based on information that will likely completely change in 10 minutes, an hour and in a day most of the current hot take information will turn out to be totally wrong. Very little of “the facts” in the news that create a buzz online holds up in 24 hours.

Spending more time in my backyard has made me think about many things. I felt a keen loss of quiet time that this little container gardening effort has restored as I’ve spent less time online. In a recent blog post I wrote about my quotes notebook and our retired pastor’s wife when I was a kid. Her nature walk came to mind, because of a loud squabble one recent morning sitting on my patio sipping coffee after I watered my garden. I watched a water fowl (could tell from the legs, feet and size of the bird, even though it was a good distance away). It flew and landed in a tall tree in the woods behind my back fence. That bird created a near riot among the mockingbirds, which flew in from both sides of my backyard and one flew out of the willow tree in my backyard. Those three mockingbirds were squawking loudly as they charged toward that tall tree to chase the water fowl away. It was fascinating to watch those mockingbirds. Often I feel like people act like that too.

The water fowl flew away and the mockingbirds settled down. I’m flying away from some contentious things online too – and moving back to reading more books and writing about some topics besides social media drama, current events, politics and doom and gloom economic news.

I want to write more stories from American history

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A garden update and some thoughts

This is a sort of garden update post.

I started working in my little container garden before 6:30 am. Even small gardens take some time each day and with the horrible summer heat and high humidity here in southeast GA every summer, I try to do outside chores early in the morning or in the evening.

I’ve been enjoying this gardening effort and although it certainly hasn’t produced massive amounts, I did get a whole lot of cherry tomatoes – I had enough to freeze 4 quart size bags, make a pint of sun-dried tomatoes and I filled up a gallon glass container and fermented those, plus I had plenty to eat. I pulled out the last of those determinate cherry tomato plants this morning.

I haven’t had to buy any bell peppers or green onions so far this summer. I dehydrated kale four times and have a gallon container full of kale flakes. I dehydrated lemon basil, sweet basil and oregano. Cucumbers have done okay. I planted two pots of straight eight cucumbers and 6 pots of small pickling cucumbers. I made 6 pints of bread and butter pickles and I have enough small cucumbers picked to make several pints of dill pickles. I froze 4 quarts of green beans, plus cooked some several times. I’ve had plenty of lettuce, squash and green onions.

I have two dragon pepper plants (some sort of cayenne pepper) that are loaded with peppers, which are starting to ripen. I have a jalapeno with a lot of peppers on it too. I picked two very small heads of cabbage (have three left) and once I cleaned them, it came to about the amount of cabbage on a small head of cabbage from the store. It was plenty for a meal of kielbasa and cabbage.

My radishes, carrots, okra haven’t done well. My first strawberries bit the dust, as did my zucchini. I replanted and have four zucchinis growing. I replanted okra three times and I’ve got one okra plant that survived. I replanted radishes. I left the carrots in the container and they’re slowly growing and haven’t flowered yet, so I’m leaving them alone. My last yellow squash bit the dust, but I’m still getting a lot of pattypan squash and today I’m making squash casserole with some of the pattypan, because I have 7 of them sitting on my kitchen counter at the moment.

I planted plenty of flower seeds. I’ve always been more enthusiastic about growing flowers than vegetables.

Mostly, I’ve had fun planting seeds, watching things grow and tending to this little garden every day. I went into this container gardening effort, expecting to plant only a few containers for my patio, but I’m glad I expanded that. I’ve been buying a lot of seeds. I’ve saved two types of bell pepper seeds so far. And now I’m getting ready to start some seeds in July for a fall vegetable garden.

What I learned with using grow bags is the plants dry out quickly in the heat here and I’ll be using mostly plastic containers and larger plastic tote containers for my fall garden. I’ll still use grow bags for herbs and flowers, but I’ll be transitioning toward getting more large plastic containers. I learned that I could manage to take care of more plants, even in the heat, than I thought I could. I plan to put some raised beds together when the weather cools down in the fall and get them ready for next spring.

The violas are still blooming despite the temps being over 100 degrees several days. The five pieces of succulents Me-Su gave me are growing too.

There are three tiny watermelons forming on two plants I started in May, I think. I don’t expect them to amount to anything, but they’re cute.

This is one lantana that I planted years ago in front of my house. It comes back every year and grows out of control. I have vincas in front of my house that reseed on their own too. Not having plants that reseed themselves is a real downside to container gardening.

Beyond providing some food, this gardening effort has brought me a lot of pleasant hours working in the backyard and some coming to terms with major loss in my life.

While I think it’s unrealistic to begin vegetable gardening expecting to grow all your own vegetables or to plant an enormous garden without first having some experience gardening, jumping in does matter. It’s easy to get discouraged or to talk yourself out of attempting to learn new things. Every new kitchen and gardening skill can give you more self-confidence to tackle more.

The lines I’ve hated since I was a kid are when people say they don’t have a “green thumb” or that they’re such a bad cook they can burn water. I had my mother and great-grandmother telling me that I have a green thumb and my mother believed everyone can learn to cook, so she had us measuring, stirring and cooking things from a very early age. I remember plenty of plant failures and the first time I made pancakes by myself, they were burnt on the outside and runny on the inside. I got alarmed and my mother casually told me that I might want to turn the heat down for the next batch.

If growing vegetables or cooking aren’t your jumping off point to being more self-reliant, perhaps learn a new skill like something mechanical or some basic carpentry skills. Knife skills are useful in many dozens of ways, as is learning how to care for knives. Learning more knife skills is on my to-do list. A self-defense course or even starting an exercise program can help with being more self-reliant. There are thousands upon thousands of useful skills to acquire, so it doesn’t have to be gardening or raising animals for food.

My parents gave my youngest brother my mother’s old car that needed the engine rebuilt for his first car. He rebuilt that engine on his own with a little assistance from my Dad and some technical advice from an uncle who was a master mechanic. He was the kid who was always taking everything apart and often he couldn’t get them back together properly, but he did master putting together a V-8 engine kit that he got as a gift for Christmas one year. Everyone can learn new things – at any age.

Many people have been talking about the Great Depression, especially Great Depression cooking, since our economy is headed down the tank. An interesting fact about popular culture during that era was romance novels became very popular, board games were popular, and many people turned to listening to radio programs. Soap operas, comedies and music were popular, not politics. Popular movies weren’t about politics or serious topics – they were escapism with lots of musicals, comedies and romances, with characters living posh lifestyles.

I remain hopeful for America and for the future. Each day can be the start of something good. We don’t have to live in crisis mode everyday to be prepared for emergencies or bad times. I’m following the news, not burying my head in the sand, but finding some balance and looking for some good news matter too.

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Wild ride ahead

Well, time to buckle up for a wild ride ahead in America.

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Summer of rage likely

There was an important Supreme Court ruling this morning:

A Summer of Rage by the left just became much more likely. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade it’s a safe bet a good percentage of the left will lose their minds.

That’s the blog post. Have a good day.


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Finally, the quotes notebook story

Without trying to be controversial, the truth is there really are big conspiracies and some of them are carried out by rich and powerful people or by political factions, but where I have a problem is so many people leap to embrace conspiracy theories, without doing some research or even considering any other explanations. Most of the conspiracy theories I see floating on social media are garbage.

Over the weekend I saw a video of a fuming liberal lady, irate about high gas prices and she’s blaming the religious right for the high gas prices. She completely believes this:

Of course, I realize many people likely disagree with me and that’s fine. I grew up in a large family where a lot of us had opposing opinions, but my parents insisted when we sat down to eat dinner, we had to be civil to each other. I don’t want anyone silenced or shouted down, even this liberal lady or the prepper guy I criticized. I also didn’t get outraged by her rant, in fact, it struck me as an indicator that the soaring gas prices are affecting everyone and we’re all feeling the pain.

There are people on the right who believe that everything going wrong is because of liberals. Interestingly, this lady says she gets her information from Robert Reich. In a recent blog post I mentioned a former Clinton administration official who tweeted about putting Americans who wouldn’t get vaccinated in camps, well, that was Robert Reich…

That’s kind of where America’s at these days. What alarms me is a whole lot of powerful political players and influencers online amplify many of these conspiracy theories to agitate their respective partisan followers against the other side or get clicks. It’s a very deliberate effort to fuel divides for partisan political gains.

This Libs of TikTok Twitter account is basically catnip for the right, I know, but this is an excellent example of the rage that’s pretty palpable around all sorts of hot button issues – on both sides of the political aisle.

Many people are concerned, anxious, afraid, angry, and some are fighting mad about everything that’s going wrong – from shortages, to sky-rocketing gas prices, to runaway inflation (yeah, inflation is rising faster than most of us will be able to keep up with), and all the other alarming happenings in the world, from the war in Ukraine to the economic war between the US and Europe vs. Russia and China, to the continual finger-pointing from the President and dismissing concerns about inflation and high gas prices.

There are more major, global crises incoming right now than I can remember in my lifetime, so all any of us can do is try to position ourselves, as best we can, to focus on trying to cover the basics. There isn’t any sort of master plan that guarantees any of us smooth sailing through any of these crises as they hit, but economic hard times are already barreling towards all of us.

Trying to keep ourselves grounded, calm and hopeful will help all of us weather the coming storms.

Finally here’s the story about my quotes notebook. I wrote about it long ago on my blog, but I don’t remember what post that was. I’ve been writing this blog since 2012.

I grew up in rural northeast PA, in the Pocono Mountains, right by part of the Blue Mountain Ridge, which is actually part of the Appalachian Mountains

My area of Monroe County was called the West End and we were considered the hick farmers of the county, even though family farms had mostly died out long before I was born. A lot of people, including my parents had other jobs and commuted to other towns and areas with jobs and industry. My father was a supervisor for a road construction company and my mother was a registered nurse.

My father was an excellent gardener and both of my parents worked in our large vegetable garden. I remember my mother used to lecture me not to touch the plants in the garden when the leaves were wet and I got the lecture many times about how that spreads plant diseases. She was also big on saving seeds.

We lived in the same house with my great-grandmother and she was an avid needle-worker, everything from quilting to embroidery. She grew up on a farm, worked her own farm when she was raising her family and she was very good at starting flowers, plants, shrubs and trees. She knew which propagation methods worked best for each thing. I trotted after her as she tended her plants and showed me how to do things.

My area was characterized by the locals, who were mostly of PA German ancestry (they had been farmers) and although we weren’t Amish or Mennonite, among my parents generation a lot of the locals spoke PA Dutch at home. My father and his family spoke PA Dutch amongst themselves. PA Dutch cooking lives on too.

The Poconos became famous for being a resort area in the early 1900s and that continued through the last century, although when I was growing up, many city people from Philadelphia, New Jersey and NYC began migrating to the Poconos and living there year-round, while commuting to their jobs in the city. This influx of city people created a culture clash of sorts and it also dramatically changed the local culture as the area became more populated. Many city people also bought summer homes in the Poconos, so between the resorts and summer homes, we had a seasonal population influx.

In 2020, with the pandemic, some of the northeast counties in PA became Covid hot spots due to this movement of city people back and forth. I remember this, because one of my sisters gave me an earful about those “damned city people.” I grew up hearing about those “damned city people” and even as I moved around with Army life. In phone conversations, my mother frequently had some complaints about some encounter at the grocery store or some new things that were going wrong due to those “damned city people.” I remember my mother’s outrage about some lady from the city wanting sidewalks to be built. My mother went on and on about, “if that lady wanted sidewalks she should have stayed in NYC.” This bias continues with my sisters, brothers, many locals, and me, even though I moved away from the area in 1979, when I joined the Army. In fact, those “damned city people” are why I have no desire to move back there and why I much prefer living in GA. The Poconos is nothing like it was when I was growing up.

My “damned city people” bias and broad stereotyping is what I want to talk about and my quotes notebook is part of the story.

Our elderly retired pastor and his wife lived across the road from us, right next to the parsonage. He was an expert woodworker and converted a small woodshop he had built into a small home after he retired. He had fit in perfectly in our area, because although he wasn’t from our area he was of PA German ancestry and spoke PA Dutch. His wife, though, in one of those typical American love stories, was from NYC, had graduated from Teachers College at Columbia and she was Jewish.

She was one of the most lovely ladies I have ever known and although she was very different than the female role models in my family, she was like another grandmother to me. I think everyone would benefit having a wise Jewish grandmother. She took me under her wings and tried hard to teach me to play the piano. I was a dismal failure. She loved opera and she would play her albums and explain the stories to me.

We didn’t have a local library, but our retired pastor and his wife had a pretty impressive home library and they had many magazines going back to the 1920s, all neatly organized on shelves in the attic. When my brothers and sisters and I had reports to write for school, she allowed us to scamper up the ladder to the attic and look through magazines, but she often would do research for us and have a stack of magazines and books with pages marked with information for our reports.

I remember one time during the summer, when her grandson was visiting she organized a nature walk in the woods, going up part of the mountain. At our dinner table that night, my brothers were talking about how dumb and boring that was. My brothers and her grandson had no interest in her nature walk, but I was captivated. She had field guides and was pointing out all sorts of things that I had never noticed before. It felt like I was seeing our woods through new eyes with her pointing out so many new things. To this day, I love field guides.

In my teens she let me borrow their copy of Bartlett’s Quotations to read and she urged me to start a notebook and write down the ones I liked. Thus my quotes notebook was born. I still collect quotes.

I never once considered her a “damned New Yorker.” I loved her like she was one of my grandmothers.

Traveling around the Army, I’ve met wonderful people from all over the world, including many people from NYC. Stereotypes get smashed to smithereens when you start looking at people as individuals and get to know them. I always told my kids to stop listening to gossip and bad things “about” people, because all you’re getting is second-hand information. I told them to get to know people – face-to-face and you’ll always be amazed at how interesting so many people can be. In fact, I bet when the ranting liberal lady in the TikTok video calms down and talks about her life, well, most of us might find some common ground with her and if all else fails, I agree with her that the gas prices are insane.

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Cats and conspiracies…

The economy is tanking, inflation is soaring and here’s a big CNN politics story today:

“As presidential cat, Willow Biden has privileges”

I kid you not.

Well, where to begin, first off, I’m going to try to shift away from commenting on social media content creators, because frankly, any criticisms are deemed “trolling” and from what I’ve seen across the board online, from professional journalists, politicians, and individual content creators, most people take any criticism as trolling and get up in arms. I figure if you walk into the public arena and post content, then if you face criticism, that’s part of entering the arena of public commentary. I don’t regret using that prepper channel as an example, because frankly talking about “be creative” in thinking about ways to defend your property and using the example of Ukrainian farmers poisoning cherries deserves criticism. This is America and we should be trying to find ways to pull our country together and help each other, since our inept government certainly won’t.

A frequent commenter on my blog mentioned that with how many right-wing people do get censored and have videos deleted, he found it interesting that video wasn’t banned. He wondered if that site was a law enforcement set-up, similar to what happened with the Gov. Whitmer kidnapping plot. I have no idea, but I will leave it at, if you’re giving advice to Americans on how to protect themselves and you’re talking about poisoning people as a creative example – I will never listen to your advice again. Period. I did check this morning to see if that video was still up and it is, but I won’t be clicking on that channel again. I think it’s a safe bet that federal law enforcement has some presence in the YouTube prepper community. And no one should ever consider poisoning people as a “creative” home defense idea. Seriously, this is insanity!

Among right-wing America there’s been a sea change with how reactionary many of them have become and I suspect a lot of it has to do with social media and the right-wing media space, selling paranoia and amplifying one conspiracy theory after another. Trump latched onto that and sold it too. This isn’t something new. I remember the Jade Helm conspiracy theories over a military training exercise in 2015. Another bizarre incident was there was an online generated confrontation in a TX town several years ago, where two groups of people showed up fighting mad at the other side, but the information spread online was all made up. (likely a hostile foreign information operation.) It was carried out sort of like scammers calling to tell you to send them money, to avoid the IRS coming after them, except they conned people with differing views into showing up to protest, pitting them against each other.

The belief that the government is trying to destroy the food supply is pretty widespread among the online right-wing sphere. It’s based on the belief that the Biden administration and Democrats are evil and want to destroy us. It jumped into high gear with a rash of food facility fires and the belief that there are just too many fires, so of course the only explanation is “they’re trying to destroy the food supply.” Of course, since the economic chaos in 2020, many businesses don’t have enough staff or have hired inexperienced staff and many types of food processing facilities are fraught with hazardous conditions, including fire hazards.

Same goes for the thousands of cattle dying in Kansas recently in the heat wave. The online right-wing buzz is the evil “they” killed the cattle… “trying to destroy our food supply,” again. Here’s a 2017 story from weather.com and I don’t recall right-wing online hysteria about this happening: “California Heat Wave Kills Thousands of Cattle and Overwhelms Dairy Industry.” Large numbers of cattle dying in heat waves isn’t something new. That 2017 report estimated 4,000-6,000 cattle died in that heat wave. It took me less than a minute to find information on other incidents of large numbers of cattle dying in heat waves, but I guess it’s easier to get online and ramble on and on spreading conspiracy theories that it must be an evil government plot rather than taking less than a minute to do a bit of checking into the subject.

Where I suspect the real government overreaches are going to occur is in trying to react to the escalating economic and food shortage crises, because the mass panic will start, chaos will escalate and the Biden administration has no federal plans and most states aren’t prepared. Democrats have moved to prodding big corporations to take actions to circumvent Republican resistance and also to shift blame, which we saw during the pandemic. It’s easier to say private corporations can set their own rules and stores have routinely placed limits on some purchases, like sales items. So, I expect more stores to start limiting amounts of various items customers can purchase as shortages worsen and for a lot of “data-sharing” efforts between big tech, big corporations and the federal government to monitor individual Americans purchases. Tracking Americans will move into high-gear is my guess. Now, that prospect I do find ominous, but then again I find so much of data-collection already taking place creepy and invasive.

Yesterday, I saw a news item about the Biden administration had been mulling sending Americans gas rebate cards to help ease their pain at the gas pumps, but that it’s unlikely to happen. CNN played words games in their report. Here’s paragraph 3:

“However, this is unlikely to happen in part because it would be difficult to administer and there would be no way to ensure the cards are only used for gas, the official said. Moreover, Congress would need to approve funding for such an emergency move and that would be challenging.”

The other part which was reported elsewhere was there is a chip shortage, so producing rebate cards is an even bigger problem than Congress. Today CNN Politics is reporting about Willow, the Biden’s cat… Priorities in their news reporting at CNN are quite something.

I will get to writing about my quotes notebook, but I’m going to take a break from blogging this weekend .

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A few afterthoughts, as usual

Update: I had to deal with a mess of cherry tomatoes and decided to try fermenting them – got that done and now, as usual some afterthoughts. My previous blog post is intended, not to pick on the prepper channel I mentioned, but to point out something for the former military guys to think about. What happens if things do get more chaotic, as is likely if as radical Dems have promised, a Summer of Rage, and if the continuing efforts to hunt down “white supremacists” and undesirables on the right continues? It’s a long road to 2024. This isn’t about picking on this particular prepper channel, but I’m pointing out the reality of the situation of relying on liberal-owned social media platforms for building both your own platform and even bigger than that a community.

If anyone was paying attention to how many people on the right got silenced for Covid “misinformation,” if they disagreed with the politicized claptrap coming from the “experts,” well, this situation is going to intensify. I, along with other way more prominent people, like Sen. Cotton, questioned the origins of the virus and among the liberal crowd on Twitter and some NeverTrump folks, you’d have thought a crime was committed to even raise the question. There’s a full-blown effort underway to silence people on the right. I pay for my small space online here and consider myself more a voice in the wilderness. And I will say what I think, as long as I have this space. YouTube has all sorts of rules and even just randomly removes videos. This has happened to people like Bret Weinstein and there was a full-blown effort to silence Dr. Robert Malone, not just preppers and people on the right.

Anyone old enough to remember the 90s, should be aware of how some right-wing terrorist acts led to the liberal media, the Clinton administration and the FBI to insist there were right-wing militias behind every tree. That liberal political and media culture still dominates media in America. When the alt-right” liberal media hysteria began, it coincided with a massive effort to paint Trump as some evil authoritarian. That effort continues to this day and will intensify, but it’s not just Trump who will be targeted – it’s anyone who gets in the way of the liberal messaging efforts. Conservative and right-wing people who use social media platforms should never forget they’re operating on a medium owned and controlled by liberals who hate them. That’s a glaring strategic vulnerability, but also the larger point is should we all just accept America is doomed and sit around preparing for surviving the collapse? I refuse to accept that mind-set.

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