Sunday, May 22, 2022

The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

InadvertentResearch: Corn

Today's InadvertentResearch™️ is on corn. (Last week was wheat, and the week before was gasoline, and I don't mean to be like this; I can't help it). Corn futures are setting historic prices, and while I don't use corn much at all, it's in everything that comes of the shelves. It also has a huge impact on beef prices at the grocery store. Taken along with rising gasoline/shipping costs, this could mean that the spike in food prices is just getting started. [Most people who "pay attention to market forces" look at the DJIA; I watch corn, wheat, gold, and oil. I don't know why. I have been fascinated by this since I was a kid and read Little House on the Prairie.]

Anyway, beef and tortillas might be affected. I hope not. Who doesn't love a nice steak fajita in August?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Blessings of the Garden

The first harvest is here!
My bag was spilling over with scallions, asparagus, mixed greens, spinach, Romaine lettuce, butter head lettuce, radishes, kale, fresh oregano, and chives. I am a truly blessed lady.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Salad Days

Tomorrow the first farm delivery of the season comes, and I’m looking forward to a bag of goodness each week, a little bit of sunshine and love no matter how uncertain and bumpy the road is along the way. This week’s task list involves putting together the composted and ordering worms, cleaning the refrigerator shelves, and generally shoring up the organization to accommodate Tuesday afternoon processing and cooking. 

A friend asked a million years ago how to store vegetables, and I’m a big fan of using less plastic.

Ahhh, spring! 

That time of year when the garden starts sending out leaves and shoots of every variety! There's a reason that good times are called "salad days." 

For those of us with gardens or CSA subscriptions, storing the weekly harvest can be the most difficult part of the season. Here's a handy reference guide to keeping your lovely produce without plastic (and often without refrigeration):

Friday, May 13, 2022

Dogsitting life

A little sun between the storms today.

InadvertentResearch: Wheat

Let's talk about wheat.
The war in Ukraine put a drastic shortage on wheat in Europe. Ukraine is one of Europe’s largest wheat exporters. Drought in the United States left the winter wheat crops in a deplorable state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said 30% of U.S. winter wheat was in good or excellent condition as of April 3, well below the trade expectation for 40% and the year-ago 53%. That was the agency’s first national assessment of wheat conditions since late November.

Winter wheat production represents approximately 70 percent of total U.S. production, on average. US farmers planted 34.4 million acres of winter wheat for 2022, the most in six years (USDA, January). However, most of the Plains breadbasket is in the grip of a drought that is expected to persist through April, according to the latest seasonal outlook from the U.S. Climate Prediction Center. April rain, the most important element in a successful wheat crop for US production, was less than needed. Despite the increased planting, in May the USDA forecast an 8% reduction in output from 2021.

Globally, the wheat situation is bad everywhere except Russia. Ukrainian production is diminished and what is produced will be unavailable for export due to war. India has faced such a heat wave that crops are damaged, leading the country to forgo exports altogether, keeping such wheat as they can produce for domestic use. The USDA expects total world wheat production will decline 0.6% in 2022/23, with a 35% drop in Ukraine accounting for the biggest shortfall. Wheat crops in other countries are suffering from drought, including Morocco, where production is projected to be down 70%. As a result, the agency lowered its projection for world wheat ending stocks by 5% , the lowest level in six years.

All of this has pushed wheat futures soaring. Chicago futures for wheat are nearly double what they were in July.

Americans eat an amazing amount of wheat, even if they don’t realize it. Cookies, bread, noodles, you name it, wheat is on the menu nearly every meal, and definitely the backbone of snacks and desserts. The U.S., once the bread basket to the world, has been importing wheat to make up its shortfall over the past decade. As we go into the 2022/2023 year, the May report of the US Wheat Associates shows beginning stocks are down, production is expected to be down to decade lows, and consumption shows no sign of decline. Further weather fluctuations could imperil the reduced projections. Our staple food could get very expensive very fast.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Talent is Insignificant

INTERVIEWER: Can you discern talent in someone?
JAMES BALDWIN: Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.