Gardening Interlude

Operation Reclaim

Last year I posted on some worthwhile goals for the spring garden.  Some I accomplished, and some I modified along the way. This year, I have no goals except for putting plants in the ground.  Work has kept me extremely busy with more travel than usual, and frankly the writing I've been doing for this blog has taken away time from other activities. Nonetheless, I've managed to do a couple little projects that will pay dividends down the road.  One of them has been to reclaim/salvage a bed out at the hacienda's remote garden. Last year, this bed produced a bumper crop of potatoes, tomatoes and ground cherries.  The soil was a mix of aged cow manure, rotted hay and "forest soil" I dug up from under old oak trees around the … [Read more...]

Chain Posts and Post Links

Work Projects Administration - Scott's Run, West Virginia, 1937

Chain To Posts Seems I got tagged by PK over @  DQYDJ to participate in a blog chain mail, who was previously tagged by someone else to pass the chain along on pain of getting cooties or something.  Very briefly, the taggee has to answer a passel of random questions with a random theme, then gets some some kind of revenge satisfaction by tagging eleven or possibly 30 other bloggers with another set of questions. Would you rather be 8 feet tall and 100 pounds or 2 feel tall and 800 pounds? Depends on the state of the world at the time and which type of aliens are the invaders. A slender 8-foot tall figure would blend in well with the overlord species from “Falling Skies”. The squatter, low-center of gravity heavy-duty version … [Read more...]

Canadian Natural Resources and the Ecology of Business

"The Return of the Miners" - Constantin Meunier (1831-1905) - oil on canvas, Meunier Museum, Brussels

In my day job, I have to scour the planet for the cheapest/best/safest companies to manufacture our company's products. For the novice, the easy answer to "cheapest" is to find the lowest low-cost country (LCC, in procurement-speak) of choice, and a willing orphanage ready to put those lazy kids to work. Nazzo fast, Guido. Factories that manufacture equipment for the oil and gas industry (or aerospace, or automotive, or power gen) in turn require a host of outsourced and specialized services.  Testing, batch processing, finishing, contract labor, maintenance, etc. Each industry center of excellence creates is own ecological environment where sub-suppliers are born, fluorish, are swallowed by bigger fish (merged and acquired) … [Read more...]

Take It Easy, Just Go For a Walk

Olympic Marathon, Athens, 1896

  I believe that the Good Lord gave us a finite number of heartbeats and I'm damned if I'm going to use up mine running up and down a street.  ~Neil Armstrong on jogging, in an interview with Walter Cronkite Spend enough time reading PF bloggers, or really, bloggers in general, and you can't help but notice the odd post or two about weight management. Especially around the New Year, when those resolutions get made, talked up, enshrined in blog posts with the requisite tone of boundless optimism --- and eventually dropped like the bad habits they are. Resolutions on  shaving off a pound or thirty off the midsection are legion: Go to the gym. Eat like a 13th-century monk on penance. Go vegetarian. Take up … [Read more...]

More on Investing in the Basics: Chocolate

Nothing but chocolatey goodness (photo by Wikimedia - Andre Karvath)

Ask any lady about the bare necessities of life, and chocolate ranks way on up there. Food, fire and shelter... and fudge brownies. That could be one sexist statement unencumbered by cold hard facts, but sure, Valentine's Day was just but a scant week ago.  It's not for nothing that flowers *and* a box of chocolates do much to generate goodwill among the genders.  Not flowers and broccoli, not flowers and a toaster, but a dozen roses and some tasty truffles. In keeping with this site's model dividend portfolio, it's all about investing in the basics:  food, beer, smokes and now chocolates. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has been in operation since the early 1980's, with delicious chocolatey offerings and a tasty dividend yield … [Read more...]

A Little bit of Geopolitics, a Little Bit of Potash

"Dhow" - James Welsh, 1830

I like history. I like travel. I like politics. And I like travel books. Wrap those all together, and you've a Robert D. Kaplan book.  "Monsoon - The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power" is the latest book from this globe-trotting author.  From the inside dust jacket: On the world maps common in America, the Indian Ocean all but disappears. The Western Hemisphere lies front and center, while the Indian Ocean region is relegated to the edges, split up along the maps' outer reaches. This convention reveals the geopolitical focus of the now-departed twentieth century, for it was in the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters that the great wars of that era were lost and won.  Thus, many Americans are barely aware of the Indian … [Read more...]

Yakezie Carnival, Zombie Apocalypse Edition

Sheriff Rick and his six-shooter - photo courtesy of AMC

We have a double premiere tonight.  The Walking Dead on AMC, and the Yakezie Carnival on USA Financial Service. There are some who are unfamiliar with zombies, their origins and nature.  But let us not be deterred by lack of knowledge, for Wikipedia is ready to edify: Zombie (Haitian Creole: zonbi; North Mbundu: nzumbe) is a term used to denote an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means, such as witchcraft.[1] The term is often figuratively applied to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli. Since the late 19th century, zombies have acquired notable popularity, especially in North American and European folklore. In modern times, the term … [Read more...]

Great tips on how to live your life after an accident at work

Minor injuries are classed as being non-life threatening injuries. They can however alter the way in which you live for several months or more! Injuries such as sprains, grazes, cuts, bruises, broken and fractured bones, bite wounds, food poisoning, slips, trips, falls and whiplash are all classed as minor injuries and all can generally be treated by your local accident and emergency department or your GP at your local surgery. Minor injuries can occur in a variety of places including on the road, in the work place, at home or otherwise in a public place. Despite being classed as minor, they can still prevent you from working for a certain period of time. Work could in fact become impossible until you are fully healed. Being out of … [Read more...]

Travel Like a Boy Scout

Boy Scouts Flag-Raising Ceremony, Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming, 1943

And by that, we don't mean humping it with a sleeping bag, pack frame and tent, and hot dogs over a campfire. Merely to be prepared, as best as you can, for what the vagaries of travel may throw at you. I've traveled a fair bit so far in my life (40-plus countries and counting).  Eventually you figure out what works and what doesn't.  Don't carry a heavy coat, do carry a spare shirt on board the plane.  Forget the running shoes, remember the dental floss. The List I was once getting a ribbing by my traveling colleagues about "being a Boy Scout".  Apart from a multi-function knife and flint and steel, I guess the description wasn't too far off.  Compass? Got it!  Spare batteries? Right here!  Band-Aids?  Got those too. For … [Read more...]

Buying Uranium When It’s in the Gutter

German Stamp - Bundespost 1957

The following is a guest post by Fred Carach, a.k.a. The Riverboat Gambler. The March 2011 Japanese nuclear disaster gutted the uranium mining industry big time. Price declines in the range of 50%-80% from top to bottom were common. A bottom appears to be in but the issue at hand is can the nuclear industry recover? Popular belief about the industry’s future is that it will probably never recover. It is just too dangerous. What popular opinion is ignoring is that the nuclear industry is not a luxury that can be dispensed with, but a critical necessity. The great white hope of the general population is the renewables solar and wind. These perennial solutions have been touted since the oil crisis of the 70s. What is shocking when … [Read more...]