Saturday, April 29, 2023

Another one bites the dust


Number 4. All within 50 yards of the garden.

Seen while walking

Who knew that giraffes were a migratory species/

Any recommendations for shot size?

Carrot seedling vigor

It seems to me that there is still a place for the backyard plant breeder.

For instance, there is much room for improvement in seedling vigor of carrots, Daucus carota.

The primary impediment to seedling vigor is that the seeds of most common carrot varieties is tiny with most of them running 1.3 milligrams per seed.

Believe it or not, there are databases that list the seed weights of carrot cultivars (cultivated varieties). 109 of the 2775 varieties listed have seed weights above 3.0 milligrams per seed. 61 of the 109 hail from the country of India. Most of those are named "Gazar" or "Gajar". I assume that is "Carrot" in many of the major languages used on the Indian subcontinent.

It is also interesting that carrot seeds are sometimes used in Ayurvedic Medicine. Since the ratio of seed-coat to germ is higher when seeds are smaller, it seems reasonable that crops that are harvested for their "germ" will be larger than seeds not used for those purposes.

High Carotene Mass Carrots

The University of Wisconsin stumbled into a breeding line that had approximately three times as much carotene (beta-carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A) as most carrot varieties.

By selecting carrots from subsequent generations that had both high carotene and acceptable culinary characteristics, the scientists were able to raise the carotene content about 10% every generation. By 1989, they had a population of inbreds (used to produce hybrids) with carotene levels of more than six-times the average for carrot varieties.

The point being that researchers were able to keep moving the needle generation-by-generation.

A proposal

Some young fellow with ten years and a hundred square-feet of garden space plants some of these Indian heavy-weight seeds and saves the carrots. The next year he/she plants out the carrots along with some hybrids (the carrot root itself, not seeds) with good culinary characteristics and disease resistance. The goal is to have them cross-pollinate.

The seeds are collected and they are first sorted for weight using a laminar-flow, winnowing box. For the sake of illustration, suppose he collects 10,000 seeds which is only an ounce at 3mg per seed. If he saves the heaviest 10% and plants them in trays and then collects the first 10% to germinate to plant out, then he would have 100 plants to produce the next generation of seeds (the next 10,000 seeds).

If he started with more than he could exert even heavier selection pressure.

Since carrots are biennials, he could have two seed-lines he was developing in parallel. Maybe one is for seed-weight and the other is for speed of germination. Runty roots would be culled from the program. The bottom of the carrot can be sampled for eating quality and the top-half is plenty to plant in the spring for seed production.

Friday, April 28, 2023

The cost of growing corn in Illinois

The cost to produce corn (maize) in 2022 in Illinois.

In the central and northern parts of the state where the majority of the corn is grown, the variable cost of production was $650 per acre. Labor was included in the cost of variable production.

"Variable cost" is an important parameter because producers will produce even if they are not making a profit as long as they are receiving prices that exceed their variable costs. They do that because they would lose even more money if they did not produce. If they cannot cover even their variable costs then they lose less money by not farming.

The variable cost of farming in Illinois rose by 34% between 2022 and 2023.

Fertilizer was the single largest variable cost in 2022 at $240 per acre.

Pesticides and seeds were next at about $115 per acre, each. It is notable that the US imports a substantial amount of glyphosate (herbicide) from China.

Fixed costs (less land costs) were approximately $250 per acre. It takes a lot of equipment to farm and it depreciates. Mud and dirt are tough on moving equipment. Chaff can accumulate in engine compartments and start fires.

The cost of land was about $300 per acre. Even if you own some of your land, you still have to pay taxes on it and pay the mortgage.

All together, the cost to corn-farm a single acre in Illinois last year is within a whisker of $1200. For frame-of-reference an "American" football field is 1.32 acres.

Illinois had good yields last year and averaged about 233bu/a in the heart of the corn-belt. The cost to produce per acre is painfully sensitive to yields which, in turn, is very sensitive to rain fall.

The price of corn is about $6.50 a bushel so most of the guys from Illinois are doing OK. Farmers where there was less rain are hurting.

Their variable cost of production averaged $2.60 per bushel (which is not sustainable from the production end) and their total cost of production was about $5.10 per bushel.

Rainfall is "streaky". If you lived in a patch of Illinois that was unlucky you might have only harvested 170 bushels per acre (fifty less than the average) and your cost to produce would have been $6.90 an acre. The painful thing about that is your neighbor's fields a scant five miles away might have produced 250 bushels per acre.


Lent came and went.

It gave me time to think about some of the bloggers I list in my blog-roll.

Some of them exercise Rule 5. They post pictures of beautiful women. Sometimes those women display skin above their navel...sometimes a LOT of skin. That makes some devout folks...uncomfortable.

The moral tension is because the Puritans who had a much to say about the culture of our country had very firm views on "titillating" attire. Their thinking was very black-and-white.

As a practicing Catholic (while not on the opposite end of the spectrum from Puritans, not all that close to them either) I realize that there are many very Catholic cultures that consider a topless woman at the beach to be no more exceptional than a topless man. 

A topless woman, in their culture, is no more of an invitation to adulterate than a topless man.

From a purely Biblical perspective, one could look to the sequence of vignettes that start at Matt 5:19. Those vignettes describe "slippery slope" scenarios where the "sinner" is culpable when they decide to start dancing on that slippery-slope as opposed to the line Mosaic Law drew the line. Every individual has a unique coefficient-of-friction, a unique "weakness" with regard to various temptations.

In one sense, the vignettes anticipate "fuzzy logic". Morality does not always conform to a black/white dichotomy regardless of how much we (or the Puritans) might wish it did.

If looking at images of the boobs of a woman you are not married to increases the chances that you will cheat on your wife then don't click on some of the sites on my blog roll. I include the titles of their posts. You can tell if the post might be potentially titillating or otherwise.

If you consider the female form, unadorned by artifice or fabric to be artful and beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, then feel free to visit those sites on those days.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Happy people

A recent poll discovered that the 1-in-8 Americans who are unusually happy share a few traits.

They are usually women, older than average, married and they believe in God.

What the do not tell us is how much, or how little time they spend watching TV or consuming social media or on-line news.

I suspect the amount of time they spend consuming cyber-vitriol is much smaller than that of the average American.

Have a happy and blessed day, ya-all!

(The next couple of days look like they will have good weather. Between the need for me to be outside working and my "infirmity" and being tired, blogging will be light)

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Hat-trick or double-double?


As long as networks are de-ballasting personalities that are seen as liabilities...


I came down with symptoms that suggest I am hosting Giardia.

WTMI below the break


Bumblebee in upper-right cluster of flowers. On right side of cluster

Snow was sprinkling down from the sky. I heard a buzzing and looked up into a sweet cherry. I saw a bumblebee moving from cluster of blossoms to cluster of blossoms. I went inside and noted that our outdoor thermometer was reading 37F. I grabbed my phone to take a few pictures.

Bumblebees: almost unstoppable!

Conditions that must be met before you can give something away

Please read this as entertainment.

Not only is my memory not what it used to be, but people are telling me that it is 200% better. That is, half of what I remember never happened; or so they say.

This is a memory from WAY back, maybe twenty years ago. If I recall, the couple who wanted the baby lived in California and the sperm-donor lived in New Orleans.

You cannot give away what is not yours

Picture in your head a same-sex couple (women) who want to have a child. Rather than adopting, they decide to find a like-minded man and do it the old-fashioned way.

They find a suitable sperm-donor in a distant city. A document is drawn up and the lesbian couple both sign that they will NEVER pursue child-support payments from the sperm-donor. The gay man does the deed. The woman who was to be the "birthing parent" conceives and bears a child.

The lesbian couple broke up. The birthing parent found herself in economic distress. She sued for child-support. The gay man who lived 2000 miles away produced the quit-claim-deed on his income.

The judge ruled in favor of the mother.

The judge's logic was that child-support is not the mother's right to be disposed of at her discretion. It is the child's right. The judge said "You cannot give away property or rights that don't belong to you, even if you are the parent/guardian of the person they do belong to."

A secondary consideration is that the legal system takes a dim-view on people blindly signing away the future. For example Anti-Competition clauses that are often a feature of severance-of-employment are rarely enforced because many judges willing to rule that they are bullshit: I doubt that there is a judge alive who would enforce the agreement if the former employee had to compete with their former employer in order to feed their family. 

Said another way, nobody is competent to read the future. So a contract might be held invalid if the signer was under-the-influence of cold medicines (for instance) because if the box has a warning "Do not operate equipment" on it, then the person is probably not competent to sign contracts.

Walking off with clients is slightly different. The "Roldex" typically belonged to the employer. Employers continue to use them because it does intimidate many ex-employees even if their legal standing is shaky if challenged.

Using that line of reasoning, one must wonder how WOKE parents can sign-off on having their children's body-parts chopped off and tossed into the incinerator. That practice fails on both counts. It fails because it is not the parent getting their junk or boobs chopped off. It fails because it irreversibly closes the door on future revelations of "gender" in the future.

Monday, April 24, 2023

"The Truth will Set You Free..."*

"The truth will set you many cases to find a job elsewhere". Said at every place I ever worked.

Tucker Carlson's net worth $515M.

Don Lemon's net worth $12M.

I don't envy either man their wealth nor would I trade places with either of them. Neither man will be reduced to poke-greens, corn grits and reusing coffee grounds in the near future. And neither will I.

One of the many "rules" in the Old Testament is that a money-lender can not accept a man's tools as collateral for a loan. For if the person who borrowed the money defaulted, then his family might become extinct because he would lose his livelihood. Basically, it had the potential to become a death sentence. Furthermore, the village would lose their potter or blacksmith or tanner or sycamore dresser...and the quality-of-life for everybody else in the village would be reduced.

One of the things that angers me most about the entire Covid episode is that the Government used "a man's tools" as leverage to coerce people into taking a highly profitable, experimental shot that in retrospect had many side effects and limited effectiveness. People were fired for refusing to take the shot. They were drummed out of the military. People had their licenses revoked and were prohibited from practicing their trade.

I respect Tucker Carlson. It is rumored that he did not care much for Donald Trump's personal style but it never tainted his coverage of Trump's policies and the impact those policies had on everyday life for normal Americans. To me, that is the definition of "Professionalism", not allowing personal feelings to impact the job one does.

Mr Carlson: You are still a young guy. You have a lot of life ahead of you. I wish you all the luck in the world. I hope you find happiness and fulfillment. To you, Adios My Friend.

To Mr Lemon: You get the other AMF.

* Half of John 8:32. The ENTIRE quote is: Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

Social experiments

One of the speculative fiction writers from that genre's golden age in the 1950s wrote a short-story about a civilization on another planet that was irrepressibly cheerful and happy. The author likened them to Munich when Oktoberfest was in full swing. Twenty-four hours a day. Three-hundred-sixty-five days a year.

When the leader of the exploration party asked how it was possible, he was told that planet decided to install "kill-switches" on every child when it was born. Then, if the child-adolescent-young adult ever wanted to remove him/herself from the gene-pool, they merely had to press a button at the base of their skull.

Early losses were staggering.

But since "happiness" is about half-genetic endowment and half imparted by culture (and since families are the primary sources of culture) within five generations the losses were down to chasing down random, recessive genes and unfortunate interactions between family cultures.

Within one-hundred generations, according to the story, mental health issues were essentially extinct.

Critics might point out that some causes of mental illness are caused by in-utero trauma and these would not be "culled out".  I think that is only partially true. A culture that puts pregnant women first, that strongly disapproves of pregnant women drinking alcohol or consuming substances that might harm the baby will have much less "in-utero" trauma to deal with.

Britain Enclosures-through-Industrial revolution period

Until recently, the British were esteemed by most of the world as paragons of civility and law-abiding.

That was not always so.

Britain was quite uncivilized in the time of Shakespeare. Crime was rampant.

To be fair, one school of thought holds that crime was a result of civil unrest...dislocation from "the land", Plague, Industrial Revolution, wealth inequities spawned by Imperialism. The contend that British society became more civil after these "shocks" were in the rear-view mirror.

Another school of thought is that British law's unbending devotion to apprehending and the severe punishments had much to do with the change from rampant lawlessness and extreme civility. At one point there were 220 crimes on the dockets that were punishable by execution.

According to one database on British Executions, the peak occurred in 1801 with 253 executions or approximately five-per-week. One must wonder if the executions that occurred outside of well-organized, city centers were recorded. At that time, London had a population of about one-million people.

Floggings and deportation were also used extensively.


The punishments were public spectacles with the intention of being object lessons.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Headlines you may have missed


To whom? Civilization? LGBT people? Enablers of the LGBT agenda?

Has me on the edge of my seat.

Well, Mz Bullocks, I suggest you open  restaurant in a large city WITH YOUR OWN MONEY and run it for a year and we will see if you are a millionaire? I expect you to put in 70 hours a week. Words are cheap, baby-cakes.

The shocker is that bosses are firing Gen Z (1997-2012ish) because they are not able to use "technology".

In general, Gen Z thinks "technology" is the most recent iPhone release and being proficient on the most popular social-media platforms.

Bosses think "technology" involves databases, spread-sheets, using spell-and-grammar checks on communications, hot-wire anemometers, PID controllers, not downloading malware and making the ethernet work flawlessly.

There is very little overlap between the two perceptions of "technologies". The Gen Z might tell you they are a "Rock-star" at technology and the boss might wonder why they are spending hours playing on their iPhone 144 Prophylactic Maximilian with the flexible screen.

If I could change ONE thing about Gen Z workers, I wish they would be just a little quicker to ask questions. An honest question does not make them look stupid. It makes it look like they care.

How to be an Outdoor Kind of Man


Blogger flagged a nine-year-old post for the link I used in one of my posts. I found a clean (no malware) version of the link and believe it is worth re-posting:

In part...

Own a truck.

Always have a knife.

Carry a knife. Always. The only time you should not have a knife is when you are naked, in a bed or when you’re swimming. (Real men swim, they don’t play in the water. And, there is only one kind of knife and that’s a sharp one. A dull knife is nothing but a flat piece of metal with a handle.)

Always buy the first round; nobody remembers who bought the second round or the last one.

Never ask someone if they have ever killed someone, never ask anyone if they ever slept with someone and never, ever brag or talk about doing either.

Little jobs yesterday

Yesterday was a "down day" due to weather.

I did some laundry and washed some floors.

During a non-raining spell, I did some concrete work to "lift" the steps to the front porch that had tipped away from the foundation.

Walk about the property

I walked around the pasture today and looked at the fences and the "woods". Nothing earth-shattering to report. I can see where some Mayapples are growing. I assume they are from the fruit I have tossed out there after Mrs ERJ and I went for our walks and I filled my pockets.

A time to cut down, a time to pick up...

One of the failure modes from last year is that I had filled the yard with brush and other "trash" from pushing back the jungle and then I got hit by a car. I had family members volunteer to drive out from da Big City and mow, but they mowed around the branches.

I am at a similar stage this year and I need to get that stuff dragged off the lawn and on the burn pile before I leave.

If I have to walk home it will take 100 days at fifteen miles per day.


While cleaning up last week I stumbled across an "old" laptop that was a tiny, easy to transport size. It is an Asus 1215P. I ordered a charging cable and a fresh battery...and the jacks that the charging cable came with were too big.

Apparently, the Asus 1215P uses a jack with an outer-diameter of 2.5mm. I hate to keep throwing money at the problem but the unit is of no value if I cannot charge it. I found one on eBay that should fit but shipping is slow.

A bird-in-the-hand and all that... 

An anniversary

I ran my first and only marathon on April 23, 2012. My time was five hours and twenty minutes.

I used Google Maps to chart out a 26.2 mile course that started near Spring Arbor, Michigan and ended up near Eaton Rapids. Southern Belle drove me to the start point. We stopped every three miles so I could cache a 24 ounce bottle of electrolyte in the weeds beside the road.

My original plan had been to run in a formal, planned marathon but I choked on paying $100 to run in a city, in a crowd. I have plenty of tee-shirts, thank-you very much.

The temps were mid-40s and the weather was cloudy with occasional mists.

Southern Belle surprised my by joining me for the last half of the run. She got blisters on the bottoms of her feet. We walked the last mile. I could have kept running but I was not going to leave SB behind.

My training program started in the fall. I became distracted during the winter. Then, as a lark did a training run in early March and saw that I still had the stamina to make the distance, although very slowly.

We stopped at the Quality Dairy to pick up drinks when we passed. That probably added ten minutes to our time.

That was about a year before I retired.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Presented without comment


Another productive day

Another productive day.

My hazelnut trees from Great Plains showed up. The Grand Traverse was 27" tall from the top of the root-ball to the tip of the shoot. The Beast was slightly shorter. They were still dormant and the root-balls had been removed from their pots and packaged in plastic bags which were then secured with wraps of packing tape to the inside of the shipping box so they did not bounce around.

I cut the tips off of the tiny trees to make a couple of back-up copies. I have several seedlings that are shy producers and are not paying their rent. They have great root systems, so top-working them to a more productive variety is a way of getting a jump on a full-sized plant in the right place.

"The Beast" is Trademarked so I cannot sell the backups nor could I sell nuts from those backups under the name "The Beast". But the breeder's number OSU 541.147 is not Trademarked. That number is a neologism which identifies the breeder (Oregon State University), row number and seeding-in-that-row number.

Plant breeders migrated from Plant Patents (which run out 17 years after application) to Trade Marks which are eternal. It takes the majority of that 17 years to gain acceptance of customers in the marketplace. Consequently, most of the "protection" of a Plant Patent occurs when there is very little revenue. 

There is more flexibility associated with the Trade Mark. The holder of the Trade Mark is also protected against "improvements" on the original "invention". Had the name "Honeycrisp" apple been Trade Marked, sports and mutations of the actual apple like "Red Honeycrisp" and others would also have been protected.

Bumblebees active

Cloudy. 58F by our thermometer. I wanted to dig up some tiny persimmon seedlings in a patch of Dead-nettle. A bumblebee disputed my claim. We compromised. I out-waited him/her. Bumblebees are not as sensitive to the weather as honeybees.

Wild plums are starting to bloom. I have a friend who lives 25 miles south of here who has a magnificent stand of Japanese plums that have been very shy bearing. Presumably due to lack of viable pollen. I intend to take her some sprigs of wild plum (P. nigra, in fact) for her to festoon her trees with nose-gays. Monday is predicted to be partly sunny and Tuesday mostly sunny.

One more woodchuck went to Woodchuck Valhalla

I am not a finish carpenter

But I try.

Quicksilver is pulling at every loose, tag end. We have a wee-bit of vinyl floor covering in the kitchen that was not battened down with a molding. I rectified the situation today.


The Great Misinformation Superhighway informs me that sage seeds can take SIX WEEKS to germinate.

I guess I have to be patient.

Apple trees

This image is in black-and-white so you cannot see that the building is Smurf-blue. Cinder-blocks are to prevent the bags from rolling down the hill.

I had five apple trees left over from my wholesale purchase that are earmarked for my nephew's new demesne. Mrs ERJ and I moved them to a 7 gallon tub and into dog-food bags.

It was not intentional that three of the five varieties tend to be very large but that is how it worked out.

One is Liberty/Bud-9. It will be a puny tree.

The other four are Enterprise/G.890 which will be great big brutes, relatively speaking.

I top-worked three other varieties into three separate trees. All three of these varieties are late-for-our-area:

GoldRush: As hard as a rock and as tart as battery acid when first picked. Develops intense, rich flavors after a month of storing. Keeps until May.

Boskoop: This heirloom keeper apple originated in Boskoop, Holland, in 1856, and is still prized in Europe where it is a popular commercial variety. Trees produce heavy crops of very large apples that are superior for cooking and baking into pies, with a rich balance of sweet and tart flavors. Red Boskoop is rated among the highest in phytonutrients, high in Vitamin C making it healthful and delicious!

The apples, which are russetted over a red base, ripen in mid-late fall and store well all winter long, with flavors improving as they age in storage. Trees have some resistance to scab.

Spigold: Spigold apple tree produces an exceptionally high quality apple in most locations. The Spigold is a very large yellow fruit with firm, juicy flesh that carries an aromatic spicy flavor. It's hard to believe that such a large apple can taste so good. Spigold apples are best picked and stored for a few weeks for optimal flavor. The Spigold apple tree is a delicious blend of flavor of its parents. One also favored for pies. Displays some resistance to fire-blight. 

My nephew is already asking about hard-cider and what kind of blends would work. Frankly, you press what you have, add sugar if required. Yeast makes a difference. Lavlin 71-B makes a cider that is not tart. EC-1118 is a very fast yeast with no distinctive flavors. Red Star Cote de Blancs makes a hard cider with flavor and mouthfeel similar to Chardonnay wine.

Friday, April 21, 2023

The people in power want an army of terrorists

Participants in the January 6 panty-raid were tracked down via cellphone records.

Flash-mobs in Chicago and other places are organized via social media and dozens of people were taking video with their smartphones. Pretty good bet that more than 95% of the flash-mob were carrying their personal cellphone.

If it suited the powers, the terrorists destroying our cities could be found quite easily. The thugs could be collected from their homes or on their way to school or where they buy weed.

Take-away: The people in power want our cities destroyed and their residents angry. They want an army of terrorists.

The plan evolves

The new-and-improved plan is to tow the Malibu behind the truck...maybe on a dolly.

That puts Handsome Hombre and me in the truck swapping off driving duty.

The problem with cell phones is that I have to look away from traffic to activate it or to call a number. That might be a bad idea. Same for answering the phone. I have to push buttons to accept the call.

Comments appreciated.

Recovery day, I guess

Alas, I could not sustain the pace.

Tall and gangly, like the girls I remember from 8th grade. They should straighten up in a few days under the lights. The plants are sitting on a polystyrene foam pad to insulate them from the floor.
I did get the tomatoes repotted. I moved them from 6-cell pots that are 2.3" tall to 3-cell pots that are 3" tall. They are now in the basement under a light on timers.

I got the rosemary moved out into the garden.

My sage seeds have not shown any interest in growing. I wonder if I got a bad batch or if they are just slow.

Today is scheduled to be a burning day. I will be hauling junk-wood from the yard to the garden and burning it. I might as well burn it where I want the potassium from the ashes. 

I also plan to "pot" my excess fruit trees in bags to hold them until my nephew has possession of his parcel. Some knife stabs in the bottom of the (dogfood) bag, woodchips, then roots+potting soil. I will top work one tree each with Spigold, Boskoop and Goldrush. I will leave one of the Enterprise as-is and he gets a Liberty/Bud-9


Mrs ERJ and I went for a walk yesterday. I was carrying my backpack. I need to toughen up for the grandkid. We made it 40 minutes before Mrs ERJ got a phone call demanding her attention.

Change of plans

Southern Belle decided flying back with Quicksilver and Mrs ERJ was the smart thing to do.

I breathed a sigh of relief. Handsome Hombre and I will drive the vehicles back.

There are likely to be other complications. Each of us will be driver, navigator AND communications officer.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Obligatory Thursday Tomato Plant post


Last week

Two weeks ago


What is wrong with this picture?


I rarely get more than 1/3 the way through my list of things to do in a day.

Yesterday, I came within an eyelash of knocking them all off!

  • Move seedling hazelnuts to the food-hedge (CHECK)
  • Move blackberry plants (Triple Crown) to the food-hedge (CHECK)
  • Move leaf lettuce seedlings to kitchen garden (CHECK)
  • Chainsaw trees beneath power wires (CHECK)
  • Repot tomatoes into larger pots
  • Top-work Novaspy apple trees to Liberty (CHECK)
  • Top-work Tashkent quince to Potomac pear (CHECK)
  • Move catnip to row where herbs will be grown (CHECK)
  • Fertilize onions (CHECK)
  • Mow grass (CHECK)

Once again, I hit the wall at seven hours but I took a short nap and then worked for another two hours after that.

Much iced tea was consumed over the course of the day.

God willing, today will be another productive day.

Bonus image

What marketing directors who graduated from an Ivy League university think 'dirt people' look like. Even I don't wear different color socks or tuck in my tee-shirt. And his shorts are ghey.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Economic cannon-fodder

Soros is regarded as one of the worlds "premier" currency speculators.

He made a billion shorting the British Pound in 1992.

I wonder what timetable for the destruction of the US Dollar maximizes Soros' profits.

I wonder if "the big guy" gets a cut.

Read the side-bar

I have a two day window to catch up on my gardening.

The last couple of days were busy in other ways.

I got to sit next to a Progressive at a social function that I was not able to avoid. She was 67 years-old and had never met a Trump supporter...ever.

I informed her in a factual voice that I had voted for Trump twice and suddenly, I was under the microscope. She believes that Biden's dementia and out-of-touch behaviors were sudden onset.

I ran into another Progressive (a woman of about 40) and the topic turned to assisted suicide. She does not think it can happen soon enough. She posed it as a compassion issue. It is so hard for families to watch their loved-ones suffer. Not the person with dementia or debilitating, physical issues suffering...the heirs.

After I pointed out the potential conflict-of-interest she blew off my objection "Well, you have to trust someone."

My thought is to at least give me a sporting chance. Gimme a backpack and a .22 rifle and no electronic tracking devices. Drop me off 200 miles away from the person who signed my death-warrant.  Gimme their address. Let's see what happens.

I am much happier to be in my garden.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Nashville Manifesto

At this point, what are the odds that the original, unredacted and unreleased manifesto of the sicko who shot up the Christian school in Nashville was not released because it listed specific, actionable targets?

Like the old saying goes, "Taking names and kicking asses". Did the manifesto list names and it is being withheld to delay the ass-kicking?

The suspicion is that the "manifesto" listed names. Names of the person/people who incited the useful idiot to lethal actions. Names of people/persons/institutions who/that weaponized that useful idiot (and presumably many others).

Perhaps the manifesto was specific in what the idiot was told. Perhaps a "hub" or umbrella organization is listed which was/is the nexus of that evil.

If that umbrella organization is one that is close to the Deep State's heart, one would expect to see the crawfishin' (rapidly moving backwards while waving their claws) that happened.

In Michigan, Planned Parenthood is moving into a Full-Service, One-Stop Shopping, Transgender Provider. Apparently, the number of women choosing to terminate their pregnancy each year is no longer a growth industry and that is crimping their cashflow. Perhaps even more-so because there are pills that can kill the baby and mothers no longer need to visit PP. So, Planned Parenthood is diversifying their menu of services, at least in Michigan.

I am not saying that Planned Parenthood of Tennessee/Northern Mississippi directly groomed and then incited the Nashville shooting. I have no information that directly supports that. is within the bounds of the possible.

It would be understandable if the Deep State elected to squash the manifesto if it identified one of their sacred cows, Planned Parenthood, as a legitimate target of war.

Feeling a little pithy today

To whomever it may concern: Our German Shepherd now identifies as a vegan, Rainbow Tortoise with a very small carbon foot-print.

We switched to Celsius in the winter and keep our home at a frosty 20 degrees. We programmed the AC to kick on at 533 degrees Rankine.

Wiccans are always welcome on our front porch. You cannot beat wiccan furniture for comfort on a hot, summer day.

The spark-plug on my lawn-mower runs on electricity. Guess that makes it an electric mower.

We drive in reverse when returning from trips to put fuel back into the tank.

We are down to eating only two eggs a week: Seven weeks old, plucked, eviscerated and roasted with rosemary.

We plant only indigenous species. I try to avoid megafauna because they require big holes.

Knowing that we eat better than most people in the world, Progressives are frequently invited to devorar my fecal output.

I take great comfort in the verses Mark 5:1-13. 

Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.  And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,  who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains,  because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.  And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.  And he cried cout with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”

For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!" Then He asked him, “What is your name?”

And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”  Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains.  So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.”  And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.

Change "name" to "pronouns" and "...cutting himself with stones" to "...gender affirming procedures" and "cannot be bound by chains and shackles" to "revolving door, Woke justice system" and you can see it is happening again today.

Anybody know where I can purchase a large herd of swine?

Fine Art Tuesday


Mourning the Master (Dead Miner)
Charles Christian Nahl born in Germany in 1818, lived the last half of his life in California and died 1878.

Saturday night. Looks like a miner getting hooched-up and about to be cheated by the buyer.

Sunday morning in a mining town. Nahl painted several of these "busy" paintings in his life where he captures much activity in a compressed space.

Monday, April 17, 2023

The Beast and Grand Traverse

Great Plains Nursery has approximately 500 "The Beast" and 500 "Grand Traverse" own-rooted hazelnuts in stock. They recently marked down the price.

They are "container" plants in one-quart pots.

Since they are own-rooted, any suckers will be true-to-type and can be moved to increase your hazelnut orchard.

Stock photo of The Beast


The Beast

  • High yielding "hybrid" hazelnut tree with small nuts and adequate blanching after roasting, making it suitable for a variety of confectionary and baked good applications as well as for direct eating once roasted
  • Kernels do have a high level of fiber compared to the other cultivars, but this is removed during roasting
  • Vigorous, upright tree with a moderately spreading growth habit
  • Trees at 15 years can reach over 20 feet tall
  • Carries an EFB resistance gene from C. americana 'Rush' that has been shown to provide excellent protection from the causal fungus (it is susceptible to bud mite in Oregon, but this has not been observed in New Jersey)  ERJ note: this gene has been very durable and effective against all EFB strains.
  • 'OSU 541.147' The Beast nuts have an attractive, chestnut brown shell and a majority (>85%) drop free from the husk and fall cleanly to the ground at maturity
  • Nuts typically fall in the 2nd half of September
  • 'OSU 541.147' The Beast is suggested for use primarily as a pollinizer in New Jersey, but growers may find that its consistent high yields of nuts outweigh its small kernel size
  • Tests have shown it can be grown in USDA Zone 5 making it a possible production cultivar in colder regions
  • Regarding pollination, it has S-alleles 8 and 23 with S8 expressed in the pollen, and blooms in the early to mid-season in New Jersey
  • More cold hardy than most pure European hazelnuts, which expands the regions in which it can be grown
  • Rutgers University is recommending that it be grown primarily as a pollinizer in the Mid-Atlantic region since it produces abundant, cold hardy catkins with compatible S alleles. However, it should be noted that some growers are not concerned with the smaller nut size and have decided to plant it as a production cultivar due to its regular high yields, particularly in colder areas that may not support our other production cultivars.

Grand Traverse

Grand Traverse is a cross between a Turkish tree hazel hybrid named ‘Faroka’ with an unknown European hazelnut – That makes it 75% Corylus avellana and 25% Turkish tree hazel. Developed by Cecil Farris and first described in 1989. EFB resistant and cold hardy in Nebraska which is Zone 5. Nuts mature in September. Needs a compatible pollinator to get nuts – options are, ‘The Beast’ (available in 2020/21), or planting 2-3 American Hazelnuts. It has an average nut size between 5/8”- ¾”, a kernel wt of 1.3g and is nuts are 40% kernel. Last data showed about 11 lbs per tree avg. Can grow up to 15’ tall and 10’ wide.

Fruit tree planting distances

Placed here to make it easy to find in the future

Liberty/Bud-9 can be planted 8'-to-12' apart in the rows. Bud-9 is not a strong rooter and it requires support like a fence post or a trellis wire to support the tree. Otherwise it will lean over or snap off at the graft. Weed control is also mandatory. Irrigation in the early years is a very good idea.

Enterprise/G.890 can be planted 15'-to-20' apart. It makes a MUCH bigger tree than Bud-9. While it does not require support, it will bear more quickly and more heavily if support is used. Weed control is required in the early years.

Bluebyrd European Plum can be planted 10'-to-15' apart. Bluebyrd requires another European Plum for pollination but it can be a single, small branch in the tree. While it does not require support, it will bear more quickly and more heavily if support is used. Weed control is required in the early years.

Potomac Pear/OHXF 87 can be planted 10'-to-15' apart. Potomac requires another pear for pollination but it can be a single, small branch in the tree. Bradford flowering pear will supply pollen that will set fruit on Potomac. While it does not require support, it will bear more quickly and more heavily if support is used. Weed control is required in the early years.

Note on mulch: Some people use discarded carpet for mulch but it must be pulled away from the trees before the snow flies or you are likely to have rodents girdling your trees. Cardboard covered with woodchips can work as long as it is applied early in the season so the cardboard has time to sag down such that it does not provide ready-made travel galleries for mice and voles.

Discarded, aluminum window screen makes a safe and effective barrier against rodents and rabbits. Wrap the screen around the trunk and crush it with your grip. Do not tie. The screen will expand as the tree grows if you do not tie it. Make sure you get down all the way to the soil line.

What does $30k/acre corn ground mean to the consumer?

The price of a bushel of corn (56 pounds) over the last 20 years

If you took Econ 101 in college then you learned that prices stabilize at the point where equal amounts of capacity enter and leave production.

The price of corn is distinctly bimodal. It languished for many years around the $3.75 a bushel range with distinct plateaus around $6.50 a bushel.

The production of ethanol for gasoline "extender" is a major use of corn. The rise in price between the beginning of 2020 and 2021 may have been the market anticipating Biden winning and ending inexpensive gasoline and diesel. That simultaneously increased the cost of production AND created more demand for ethanol.

In a rational world, it should be possible to estimate the cost of an acre of land from the price of corn. Assuming 200 bushels of corn to the acre and $3 a bushel for variable production costs, the Net Present Value of (Corn Price-$3) over 20 years at 6% discounting should yield a decent first-order approximation of the price of corn ground.

Net Present Value is very sensitive to interest (i.e. discount rates with increasing rates reducing NPV) and prices (with increasing prices increasing NPV). It is also more sensitive to prices in the near future than it is to prices in the distant future. 

Since one is looking into the future, the variance between what the market is paying and what NPV predicts using current prices and interest rates is indicative of what the "market" thinks about future trends.

Somewhere in Iowa

Iowa is corn country. They grow corn and do it as well as anybody in the world.

But even the most optimistic economists were stunned when a "corn farm" in Iowa sold for $30,000 an acre.

There are only two scenarios where that makes any kind of sense:

  • Corn selling between $15 and $20 a bushel
  • "Real" interest rates (i.e. interest rates minus inflation rate) going VERY negative.

The market isn't always right. It can remain irrational longer than most short-sellers can stay solvent.

But for me it is eye-opening that there are a couple of bidders out there who are willing to bet very big money that food and fuel prices will triple ($18/$6.5) in nominal prices in the near term (i.e. five year horizon).

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Borderline Personality Disorder

Is it Borderline Personality Disorder where the person who is mentally-ill blames their partner for everything that is wrong in the relationship, and then becomes enraged when that partner leaves?

Blue Cities/Corporations. The politicians in Blue cities blame capitalism and private enterprise as the root of all evil within 'da city. And then they go ballistic when companies decamp to more favorable business climates.

Why did McDonalds ever move their HQ into Chicago and GM into downtown Detroit? That is the definition of enabling. If I were a shareholder in either company I would demand that they move to whatever jurisdiction that offered the most advantageous tax and regulation climate.


Japanese agriculture is exceptionally productive on a per-square-meter basis. The image above is from a region of Japan where two-crops per year are the norm. Each square is a farm. Yup, the whole farm.

The squares are 100m on a side or approximately the same area as two, American football fields. If you figure three people per household, that works out to about 700 people to the square mile.

Japan's caloric self-sufficiency rate is estimated to be in the range of 35%-to-40% and the number of people in agriculture is estimated to be 5%. Pushing the numbers around, (700 * (1/0.05) *0.37) you get a carrying capacity of 5000 humans per square mile if you dense-pack most of the consumers in cities and leave the land free to produce food.

A typical mid-Western city like Lansing has a population density of 2800 people per square mile. Indy has 2450/square-mile. Columbus has 4100/square-mile.


Japan's climate is very hospitable to crops even though the percentage of land area that is suitable for agriculture is small. That means they have a wide range of crops that can be mixed-and-matched to squeeze two crops per year out of each patch of land.

Michigan's climate is more challenging. For example, what can be combined with potatoes without depressing the potato's productivity?

The crop must either be planted very, very early or planted late. That limits the field to crops that can tolerate cold. 

One candidate for the "early" slot is to plant onion sets and yank them out as green onions when the potato plants are about 10" tall. That does not produce much more protein or calories as you are basically converting the bulb into greens.

One candidate for the late slot are snap peas. Not only are the peas edible, but so are the growing tips of the vines. They produce a reasonable amount of protein and the snap peas are a premium food product. Being a legume, the plants have the capability of fixing nitrogen (a fertilizer).

Timing could be a little bit tricky. A plant that is listed as requiring 60 days to maturity might take significantly longer sailing into the headwinds of shorter days and cooling temperatures. But if you figure a harvest date of October 15 for digging your potatoes, then you might plant from mid-July to August 1st which would give you 75-to-90 days. It would be an easy experiment to run, planting one row-every-three-days during that potential window.

I remember Kennebec plants as being very upright which would make working the seeds inbetween the potato rows easy.

Most potatoes start to get a little bit tattered looking by September. The plants are sucking nutrients out of the leaves and stems and moving them to the tubers. The loss of yield should be pretty low as long as the pea plants are not shading the potatoes before September.

One advantage of snap peas is that they are heavy yielding since you eat both the peas and the thick, crunchy pods. Another advantages is that Mrs ERJ adores them and I adore her. So by the transitive properties of gardening, I adore snap peas.

Bonus images

This year's  lesson was to have the blade of the shovel vertical and ALMOST touching the string marking the row. That resulted in a hole that had a vertical face in-line with the string and a sloping side away from the string. The potato pieces were place at the bottom of the hole which did not vary in relation to the line regardless of the variation in the depth of the hole.

An additional advantage was that the shovel did not knock the string around the way it did when I was not as deliberate with the angle of the blade of my shovel.

I placed a marker stick every 8th hole and I lined it up with the bottoms of the holes, not the string. You can see there is a little bit of off-set in this image.

One of last year's failures was when I was not able to till the patch and a young man graciously offered to do it. I pointed out where the first two rows were and he seemed to be able to identify the potato plants among the weeds.

He couldn't, and was too embarrassed to admit it. He tilled over five of the seven rows of potatoes.

This year, I pushed in sticks to mark the precise location of the rows. And I was not happy with how well the sticks blended in with the dirt so I tied an 8" whisp of Mrs ERJ's yarn on each marker.

Double-bonus pictures

This is the 1800 square-feet that I planted to a cover crop. The circle is where the hay feeder was placed and the beaten area was caused by the cattle's feet when the ground was muddy.

This is what it looks like away from the beaten area.

The composition varies by location but generally includes clover and rye plus the normal assortment of weeds. 

I broadcast red clover seed into the patch to thicken it up. It will be interesting to see how the area beaten by the cattle's feet will respond over the growing season.

I have about 1500 square-feet of potatoes planted and the 1800 square-feet of the cover crop. By my figuring, that means that on a square-footage basis I have about 27% of this year's garden planted.

Springtime is a time of new beginnings

Happy Easter

May those who practice the Eastern or Orthodox customs of Christianity have a blessed Easter.

My Greek friends like to remind me that nearly all of the ancient texts that serious translations of the Bible are based from were written in Greek. The primary one written in Latin was called "the Vulgate" translation. Greek was the language of the educated up until 1000 AD. Unless of course you are Greek in which case you tell your non-Greek friends that it has ALWAYS, and still is, the language of the educated.


I am embarrassed to report that it just occurred to me that the reason water is used for baptism is that newly born animals (lambs, calves, humans) are dripping wet. It is one of the notable features of them. Slimy, slippery, wet-wet-wet.

It would have been totally obvious to somebody in the middle-East in the year 0 A.D. when every family had sheep or goats. Not only that, but babies were born at home and EVERYBODY knew that newly-born babies were wet. The connection between "dying to our old, sinful selves and being reborn" and being very wet would have been intuitively obvious to that audience.

Stretching the analogy, in cold weather, some lambs become hypothermic and stiff. You can stick your finger into their mouths and it is cold. It is common practice to put them under heat lamps today but I am confident that back-in-the-day shepherds would dry them off if they were wet and then place them by the fire. Then, as soon as they regained their swallow-reflex, start dribbling milk into their mouth. Once again, some of those who seemed dead are miraculously pulled back to Life.

ERJ has his picture taken with a Celebrity!!!

Yesterday's big surprise was pulling into the Charlotte Walmart parking lot and seeing a college track-team milling about a bus. They were on their way to a meet.

I pulled into a  parking spot close to the bus and asked if I could have my picture taken with a celebrity.

They were delighted. Track teams don't get much recognition. Not even the ones from Division I Universities.

I especially singled out the throwing team. Here is my celebrity photo with the discus thrower. Throwers often get forgotten. Most people associate Track (and Field) teams with runners and jumpers. 

Running is fine. I do it myself. But it is nice to have artillery available for those times when retreat is not an option.

I think his name was Dylan. He needs to get more sun.

First tick

I picked the first tick off my head yesterday. It had not embedded.


It is no secret that the characters in my stories are modeled after real people. For instance "Clayton" was modeled after one of my nephews.

That nephew (proto-Clayton) is moving his young family out of Lansing. Their offer on a parcel was accepted and they close next week. The parcel is approximately twelve miles west of where I live and five miles west of where another nephew lives.

Happy times.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Some light, enjoyable videos


First day of Rural Medicine

These are fun videos. He keeps them short (about two minutes) and light. They tie in with the blog posts about rural areas, life expectancy and heart attacks.

This is actually satire about the state of rural medicine and how people are shaped by it.

Farmer pain scale

Pathologist goes to Therapy

Generational differences

I was listening a pleasant, young lady (in her early 50s) talk about how weird it was that our parent's generation had so many women put their careers on hold to have children.

It struck my that a watershed was crossed during my generation when women worked as a matter of necessity until they got married. Then the man was expected to bring home enough money to cover the basic necessities of raising a family.

The women rejoined the workforce out of economic necessity or because they found fulfillment in it, but in general women did not have a career, they had jobs.

Thinking back even farther, there was a watershed crossing in my parent's generation when the vast majority of all workers had "jobs". The guy tightening Lug-Nut #3 at the Ford factory didn't think of it as a "career" with possibilities of advancement.

And before that, the vast majority of workers It was seasonal in nature and you had a series of "gigs". Cutting timber might last most of the winter. Planting might last a couple of months. Haying a couple of weeks. Picking berries might only last a few days.

In many ways, this is not much different than the birds of the field whose diets change in blocks of half-weeks based on what is ripe, the weather (rain brings worms closer to the surface) and the needs of their nestlings.

TB over at .45 blog is showing giving us lessons on resiliency.

We are reminded in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 that there is a time for everything; that the sun rises every morning and that there is always work...some kind of work...that needs to be done.

Dance with the one that brung-ya

I finished the last two rows of potatoes. I planted about 60 hills of Red Pontiacs, just because.

It seemed like they had a distinctive, pleasant to me, fragrance as I cut the seed.

I also planted seven fruit trees over at the house of the woman who provided day-care for Belladonna and Kubota. She always dreamed of having an orchard but her children were into goats. Goats and fruit-trees do not mix well. Her last goat is now 18 years old and on his last legs.

She gave me her list of intended uses (canning, canning and more canning) and asked me to select the varieties. She got 2 Liberty/Bud-9 apple. 1 Enterprise/G.890, 2 Bluebyrd plums/Myro, 2 Cresthaven peach/Lovell. I need to graft a second variety into the Bluebyrd plums because that variety is not self-fertile. I am leaning toward Seneca as the second variety.

It makes a lot of sense to combine orders and make a wholesale order. With shipping, the trees cost $20 each while trees ordered retail currently run $60 a stem and the shipping is on top of that. 

She was tickled to pay for six trees and I threw in an extra Liberty/Bud-9 because I like her and because apples on Bud-9 run "small" in size.

Bully pulpit

There was a side-discussion on carrots in one of my earlier posts.

MR Tumnus weighed in on the discussion. He has been spectacularly successful in growing carrot. HE would not say that because he is modest.

My small addition to the discussion was to suggest the use boiling water to sterilize the soil where the carrot seeds were to be planted. The motivation for doing that is that carrot seeds are puny, fragile things and newly sprouted carrot seedlings are spindly, unassuming shreds of green easily mistaken for grass or weeds.

By sterilizing the soil in a very local fashion, there is a darned good chance that the green that sprouts will, indeed, be carrots and not weeds. And since carrot seedlings are so enfeebled, not having to duke it out with weeds is a major benefit and they can size up and capture sunlight without much competition. 

Using boiling hot water is pretty straight forward. Till the soil. Make a "ditch" with a hoe where you intend to plant your carrot seeds. Fill the ditch with water heated to boiling in a stock pot (typically 16 quarts) using a sauce-pan to transfer the contents. Fill the ditch to the brim. Patting the sides of the ditch will help contain the water an reduce the amount of water needed to accomplish the task.