Improv During Quarantine, or, Reduce/Reuse/Recycle

It’s a cold January day, so naturally it’s time to prep all my veg seed-starting paraphernalia.  I cleaned up pots, set them up in flats, and reorganized the plant racks.  Even Misu got a new bed on her window shelf, from which she could supervise the operation.  I rearranged cat-friendly plants around her.  I even improvised these clever pots out of saved coffee bags, a trick I borrowed from the internet.  In early February I’ll fill them with starter mix and plant seeds.

Meanwhile, E made one of her famous savory pies, featuring tons of cheese.  We really do like cheese (and pie).

Even more serious crimes and negligence connected to or implicating the trump admin are surfacing daily.  Again, not surprising, but still disturbing.  Did I mention he got impeached twice?!  I hope they get put away for centuries.  Maybe on Mars.  Some of the new crop of repubs are pretty vile, too, but hopefully sanity will trump stupidity.



Is It Spring Yet?

And it’s cold and snowy again.  This is the southeast, right?  Is it spring yet?

I just have to say, who knew another old white guy for President could be such a relief!  Our outgoing abomination-in-chief has set the bar so low that any basically decent, competent, experienced alternative is like night and day.

Our ex accomplished less than zero; he made America medieval again [MAMA!], setting us back to savage times.  On Day 1, Biden/Harris, already exhausted from the preceding ordeal, will have to deal with the enormous backlog of disasters trump left us with, before they can even get us moving forward on track again.

That is, if they can even get through the inauguration safely.  Even with heightened secret service, national guard, local law enforcement, and strict security measures turning DC into a military state, nothing can be taken for granted in a trump world.  Even with him sulking elsewhere for the event, unlike any other president ever.

Still, seeing all his crap getting moved out was gratifying.  And presumably a hazmat team moved in to decontaminate.

And now back to hibernation.


Holding Out For Better Days

Just some random winter scenes, while anticipating the transfer of power to wonderfully sane, competent leaders, and expulsion of the psycho lunatics.  That’s half the battle right there.  Let it be a safe, secure transition.

Misu is perfecting the art of hibernation in the closet.  Outside, the sun is warming things up after a cold rain.

I made these Italian-style lasagna rollups filled with ricotta, parmesan, fresh herbs, and topped with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, and cheese.  E made this excellent cherry pie.



Who We Are

First, a disclaimer of sorts.  If I’ve ever used or implied the phrase “This is not who we are”, I withdraw it, with apologies.  It is obviously who we are as Americans, have been for centuries, just whipped into a violent frenzy under trump’s white supremacist regime.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger has pointed out from personal experience, this is much as Hitler’s holocaust began, with ordinary neighbors, with perhaps unacknowledged racist, antisemitic tendencies, just needing a small, egotistical fascist to unleash their fear and hate.

We built this nation on genocide, slavery, and immigrant labor, while claiming equality and justice, apparently for whites only.  This is who we are.  The consequences of our brutal atrocities are still coming back to haunt us.

If minorities dare to peacefully invoke civil rights or voting rights for all, instantly stormtroopers show up and start shooting indiscriminately.  If white nazi peasants with guns and pitchforks attack the Capitol as Congress is in session certifying a lawful election, a few security cops practically invite them in to loot, pillage, and kill.

Guess who looms large in both cases, goading them on?  A small, psychotic man and his fawning power mongers.  And your “normal, average” family and neighbors cheer them on.  A double standard, wouldn’t you say?

Meanwhile, many of the same people are blithely spreading this deadly virus, which is consuming us and our medical infrastructure at alarming, unprecedented levels.  Apparently convenience trumps survival, even that of your loved ones, until the virus eventually comes for you.  And marginalized minorities, as always, suffer disproportionately.  This too, it appears, is who we are.

There, I’ve said my little piece, and now back to the weather.  Which is snowing.  Again.  But…Spring is Coming!




Against my hibernating better sense, I ventured out in the cold to find something, anything, new and alive.  Nature, unlike some, is always busy transitioning and transforming, even in winter.  You just have to magnify your visual perception.  Look what I found, in these unpromising conditions– mushrooms!  Also, crocus shoots are already coming up in masses!  I predict a flowery spring.


One Yard at a Time

One of the main rewards of nurturing a natural habitat, vs. a sterile manicured lawn with a few exotic invasive shrubs, is watching a growing wildlife diversity move in, drawn by their intended native species of plants and prey, as it was meant to be.

Today a large, beautiful hawk perched on the fence right outside my window, probably attracted by small critters that were in turn drawn by scraps I throw out there.  (Sorry about the poor photo quality through the screen.)  The “craven” gang (crows posing as ravens) circled close by, defending their food territory, which “coincidentally” keeps moving closer to my window!  Sometimes at night I hear owls right outside in a tree.  I know just out of sight are larger native mammals who feel more at home here now, which makes me happy.

I feed all the birds during the winter, plus maintaining water sources, and compost, so the species diversity keeps growing.  I love the large flocks of bluebirds that thrive here all year.  It’s a good sign.  Allowing native trees and plants to multiply, and leaving dead leaves alone, also provides all these critters with additional cover, nesting materials, insects, seeds, berries, and other foods, as well as organic material for returning nutrients to the soil.  In turn, larger native predators are provided with cover and food sources.

This is how we heal and restore biodiversity and the environment, one yard at a time.  The more yards people return to a more natural state, the more species are rescued from endangerment and extinction, a very real threat, especially with climate change.  All these local native species were intended by nature to interconnect and interact as a complex, healthy network, which in turn directly benefits us in crucial ways.  The added bonus is the incredible natural beauty of sustainable, low-maintenance surroundings.  The less we interfere, fuss, overwater, or chemicalize, the more nature will restore itself to a healthy balance.  It actually improves with a little neglect.

While all this action is going on right outside my window, we’re doing what any sensible mammals do in winter, semi-hibernating.  Misu approves of this message.  Sometimes we eat a homemade pizza by E.  And plan our spring gardens.  And dream of a more sane, democratic union.



Just a Normal Roller Coaster Day

Yesterday was a wild cyclone ride of unprecedented events, ironic backfires, and miserable fails, from the early hours of the morning to late into the night.  Like watching a bizarre, twisted version of “West Wing”, we were glued to our screen all day, unable to look away, though not totally surprised.  You can’t make shit like this up!

It started with the triumphant, close shave election of Rev. Warnock to the Senate, which probably wouldn’t have happened if trump hadn’t insisted on runoffs and recounts.  That left only Ossoff’s equally historic win for the same reason, bringing the Senate under dem control with VP-elect Harris as tiebreaker.  The latter triumph, however, occurred anticlimactically in the midst of trump’s disgraceful riot and siege of the capitol, so it almost got upstaged by all the drama.

The unprecedented insurrection incited by trump and his clueless goons, of course, defeated his whole purpose of insisting there was a rigged, fraudulent election and that he won, against all evidence to the contrary.  All he did was temporarily, albeit violently, disrupt the routine ceremonial procedure of accepting already certified electoral votes for each state, and further prove he’s a mentally deranged criminal and traitor.  Not to mention staging yet another super-spreader stunt in the midst of a devastating upsurge in COVID cases and deaths.

Not only that, but his chaotic mob scene actually caused some of his loyal obstructionist repubs in congress to stand down and not go through with their agenda to pointlessly object to and debate the already approved electoral votes.  In the end even Pence and McConnell defied trump’s pressure and threats against a peaceful, constitutional transfer of power.  Still, the ritual, with some objections, proceeded through the night, arriving at the prescribed official acknowledgment that Biden/Harris are indeed elected.  Even trump had to concede defeat.  It’s just mind-boggling to what extent he can get away with blatant, treasonous crimes, before he can be removed and convicted.

Just a normal day at the trump funny farm.  Whatever will we do for entertainment once he and his thugs are put in their rightful prison cells?  I guess we’ll be too busy rebuilding from the rubble he left in his sorry-ass wake.  Maybe the ultimate irony he leaves behind will be more bipartisan cooperation and civil progress, the very values he tried to sabotage.

This four year “reality” show is almost over (one can hope), and if we can just get through a simple inauguration without more mayhem, we can maybe get back to relatively routine sitcom reruns, as it were.  We won’t miss the psychodramas.

Here’s another dawn, and some more homey bread.



A Day of Good News and Chaos

The ironies just keep on coming.  Through his own insane bluster about fraudulent, rigged elections, and plots to undo legal, constitutional procedures, our loon-in-chief defeated his own purpose and shot himself in the foot in Georgia!  “Thanks” to him and his loony confederates, as of this writing not only did we gain the one and probably two crucial Senate seats that repubs might have won if they had left “well” enough alone, but Warnock and Ossoff will be the first Georgia Black and Jewish senators, respectively, and two of the few in US history.  How’s that for ironic justice?

It also indicates how voter demographics are changing in the south.  Younger, more educated people of color and minorities are becoming more engaged in the democratic process, despite repug efforts to impede their voter access and rights.  It gives a ray of hope to the rest of us in last holdout southern states.

Meanwhile, trump’s desperate super-spreader riots are ensuring that thousands more of his lemmings spread the virus and die off.  Today pro-trump rioters mounted an actual siege and illegally stormed the US Capitol building.  Chaos ensued, and lawmakers had to be evacuated. Trumpsters are diving off the deep end.  It’s just sad and senseless that we all have to pay such a high price for their delusional behavior.  If Black Lives Matter demonstrators, or any dems for that matter, acted like that, it would never be tolerated by law enforcement.

As for the absurd attempt to challenge the constitutional electoral vote count, which is just a formal reading of a certified result, it’s just another futile, farcical last gasp by a few repubs.  Thank the forefathers that we still have a basic democratic bottom line below which nobody, not even the president or vice-president, can sink.  Sometimes it seems like the sky’s the limit for getting away with murder or corruption, but we still have some checks and balances in place.

Today is a momentous test of our constitutional democracy, demonstrating that facts and rule of law can still trump a rogue, delusional president and his minions.  Our messy system has many weak points and breakdowns, but in the end the American people’s votes still matter.  To paraphrase a quote, if you count us out, you prove you can’t count.



Surviving Winter by Thinking Spring

I skipped a couple of days, partly because I’m now in seed ordering mode.  I put in my first partial order from Annie’s Heirloom Seeds, one of my favorite veg/herb suppliers.  It may be the beginning of winter, but my head is already in early spring.  Next, I’m going to try a new (for me) company, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, for more southern heat-tolerant varieties.  Finally, I’ll supplement with flower seeds from Seed Savers Exchange.

Meanwhile, our mobster-in-chief is busily and stupidly digging his own legal grave, without any help from anyone, or need for comment.  I just hope this time around they have enough tangible legal evidence to nail his coffin.  It’s hard to ignore blatant law-breaking by the president, even when his reign of terror is over.

Here are some random outdoor and indoor plant life shots, and some delicious homemade sourdough bread by E.