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bvar22's Journal
Posted by bvar22 in Gardening Group
Sat Aug 09th 2008, 04:44 PM
In my youth in New Orleans (another time, another place), we regularly had a side dish called "Field Peas". They tasted somewhat like Black Eyed Peas, but were smaller, crisper, and better tasting. I didn't really know what they were...I only remember that I liked them. I don't think I ever saw them on a menu, or in a store. I haven't eaten them for many years. After moving to Arkansas, I mentioned Field Peas to Starkraven, and she said she had never heard of them.

In late June, Starkraven surprised me with a package of "Field Peas" seeds she had found at the co-op. It turns out that "Field Peas" are a member of one of the largest family of peas called Southern/Cow Peas which has literally hundreds of varieties, some of which are Black Eyed Peas, Purple Hulled Peas, and Crowder Peas.

Now I know many of you are going DUH!, but cut me some slack. I am really new at this.

Anyway, we had an empty box from the garlic harvest, and planted the Field Peas in late June.
We planted them mostly out of curiosity, and as a cover crop for soil conditioning. We really didn't pay much attention to them. They pretty much just grew themselves.

We pulled up our bush beans about a month ago ago, and the pole (green) beans have about stopped. Most of the beans are already canned or frozen. There are some blossoms on the Pole Beans, and we may get a few more fresh beans,.... but the Field Peas are now coming on strong. We will be harvesting this tasty veggie for a while. It turns out that they are a perfect late Summer crop. They thrive in the heat and low water and are pest & disease resistant.

We harvested the first pods yesterday, shelled them, and ate them over rice.
They were delicious.

The plants are about two feet tall, and the pods are really cool. They grow from a little stalk above the plant body which makes them really easy to pick. They are perfect for the Late Summer transition to Fall. They seem to be very productive, and it looks like we will have plenty to dry for the Winter.

AND, also.....
A BIG day for us.

We started 2 HoneyBee colonies in May 2007 as an adjunct to the Veggie Garden,
and harvested our first honey last week.

We got about 1/2 gallon from both hives.
We love our bees, and were careful not to take very much from them.
Thank You, HoneyBees!

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Posted by bvar22 in Gardening Group
Tue May 20th 2008, 11:31 PM
I have a slow Dial Up connection, and always appreciate the warnings.

XXXVeggie Garden PornXXX...Last Year
Twilight Harvest (Last Year)

This Year... Season Two

We spent Early Spring on Infrastructure and got a late start getting things in the ground this year. Starkraven and myself had planned certain minimal changes, but those changes grew while in process and required more time and effort.

Instead of adding 10' to the garden like we had originally planned, we dropped the garden fence all the way to the road, tripling the size of the fenced garden compound. There were a few small stumps to clear, some smoothing, and an erosion control problem to solve, but everything came out OK, and we are happy with extra room, but aren't sure exactly how we are going to use it. After clearing the brush and nettles, thick white clover grew back, which delighted us (and our bees).

For the new fence section, we used 8' landscaping logs, and 2" X 4" Welded Wire. The Landscape Logs are inexpensive, and you can get some straight ones if they let you look through the pile. The posts are set in cement, and the windbreaks were reused from last year. We will use windbreaks only on South side since our 1st season indicated that this is the only side where they are necessary.

We also decided to "reprocess" the soil in most of the boxes to get rid of the rocks. Last year, we used soil and compost from the abandoned chicken coop/goat shed to fill the boxes. A lot of rocks found their way into the mix. While they didn't really hurt anything, they were aggravating, so we built a shaker box with 1/2" hardware cloth and sifted our soil. The rocks and debris were used in the Erosion Control project on the downhill fence line. We were delighted and reassured to find gobs of big, fat, lively Earth Worms in the mix. We were careful to place them back in their homes.

We laid Landscaping Cloth between the boxes and covered it with hay for weed control and comfort.

Hyacinth Moonbeam

(That's Starkraven way in the back by the gate)
We planted the Garlic on the left last Fall, and it is almost ready for harvest. It did well over the Winter with very little attention surviving overnight temps into the low 20s and several brief snowfalls.

The strawberries in the center were planted last Spring, and also survived the Winter. This bed exploded in new growth in early Spring which led to a problem. The new growth combined with a wet Spring to produced a layer of gray mold at ground level that ruined the early strawberries. We thinned aggressively, removed all old dead leaves and ground debris, and laced a straw mulch around the plants pulling the leaves and berry clusters on top of the straw. The results were immediate, and a couple of days later, we are harvesting healthy, luscious berries.

Berries this good can't be bought.

We are adding another raised bed for more Strawberries. The new bed is 10' X 2'. The 2' width will make it easier to tend the berries, and allow more ventilation. We also added Raspberries to the fenceline, and added some more plants to our small Blueberry patch (not shown). The couple of Blueberry plants from last year are making a handful of berries for us this year.

Lettuce, Radishes, Carrots, Cilantro, Parsley, Marigolds, Basil,Oregano,...AND Tomatoes

We are still using Gardening by the Square Foot as a guide, but we are taking some liberties.
We are doubling the spacing for the tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, nasturtiums, and dedicating some boxes for a particular crop when it makes management easier (corn, strawberries, etc.)

We are still using the 1 foot grids for just makes everything easier to visualize, plan, and track. We are planting several things in staggered rotation (radishes, carrots, some beans, corn) for a season long staggered harvest. The grids make this much easier.

The two plastic jugs in the back of this box have pin holes in the bottom and are supposed to be a good way for long, slow, deep watering. So far, they appear to be working OK.

The superstructure on the box in the background is Starkraven's Web of Mystery. It is a complex (to me) woven structure for the snap peas to climb. They seem to like it. We are concerned because there haven't been any flowers yet, and it may be getting too hot for them.

In the far left background is a raised hexagon made from Landscaping Logs. We made two on a rainy day to break the monotony of our square garden. Corn, pole beans, and melons are planted in these two hexagons. A tepee structure or archway between the hexagons will be added later.

Red...Red...RED...too Red

This is one of our experiments.
I hated it at first. That much RED hurt my eyes, but I'm getting used to it.
It is a porous weed barrier that claims to reflect beneficial frequencies of light, accelerating growth and promoting robust health. It doesn't appear to have hurt anything so far, and the tomatoes might just be a little greener & bushier than our other plants......but it is impossible to judge against the red background.....I'm keeping an open mind.
This is also one of the narrow 2' beds. We had some difficulty reaching the inside areas of our 4' wide tomato beds last year. It should be easier to tend the tomatoes in this bed.

The Surprise of the Spring

We debated whether to plant Broccoli because it is inexpensive and easy to find.
We didn't really think that it would be worth the effort. We were wrong.
This was very tasty and well worth the effort. We are planning on another crop in the Fall.
We also planted a few Cauliflowers. The plants a growing great, but none of them show any sign of producing a head.....too late?

Full Moon Garden

A 30 second exposure of the garden under a rising full moon.

Be sure to get the June Issue of Mother Earth News.
They are going to publish a couple of my photos in the Community section!

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Posted by bvar22 in Latest Breaking News
Sat Jun 10th 2006, 03:17 PM
Secret Detentions, Secret Prisons, Secret Tribunals are an insult to EVERYTHING I believe in as an American!

The Forefathers made it clear that Human Beings are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.."--Declaration of Independence

The forefathers MADE IT CLEAR that our rights do NOT come from the government, but solely from the fact that we are Human Beings!
An attempt to argue that the Protections in our Constitution are ONLY for some Human Beings remind me of Animal Farm where "some" animals were more equal than others." Arguing that Constitutional Rights extend ONLY to US Citizens indicates a PROFOUND misunderstanding about America and the values this country claims to stand for.

It is very simple. You either believe that our country was founded on values that extend beyond mere governments, and that our sacred documents restrict Government, or you Don't believe it.


The right of Due Process and Public Trial was specified not ONLY to protect those detained by our Government, but it also confers on me, an American Citizen, the RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY to observe the Government in action. It is MY RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY to OVERSEE the government. It is absurd to argue that this RESPONSIBILITY is limited by our National Borders. There is NOWHERE in the WORLD where those who serve in MY NAME should be able to hide from the supervision of the American People. The Forefathers GAVE the PEOPLE the responsibility of Supervising the Government! Whenever those who serve IN MY NAME willfully hide the actions of MY government, something is BAD wrong!

It is MY RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY as an American Citizen:

*to know the NAMES and ORIGIN of those who are being held captive IN MY NAME!

*to HEAR their OWN story in their OWN words delivered in a PUBLIC Forum

*to study the evidence and testimony of those who have accused them

*to hear and study ANY evidence that the accused can present in his/her defense

I DEMAND that my government HONOR my RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES as an American Citizen.
The secret detention centers and secret tribunals are an INSULT and an ABOMINATION to ALL American Citizens, and a direct violation of the Limits imposed on Government in our Constitution!
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Posted by bvar22 in Photography Group
Sat Apr 01st 2006, 02:56 AM
....well, not really night, but you get the picture.
It was a dark and rainy afternoon.

1/30 F9 ISO 400

I went looking for someplace to try out a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 AF.
This place looked perfect, and it was out of the rain.

1/160 F5.6

I locked the lens down to 1.8 to have some fun.
Lots of other photographers were trying to stay dry today.
Look at the size of the lens on that......nevermind.

1/320 F1.8

Stealth photo....through the that depth of field.
It really was pretty dark in there. This lens is fun.

1/320 F1.8

No tripods allowed today, so everything was handheld.
The flowers were beautiful.

1/180 F1.8

1/160 F1.8

1/100 F1.8

1/180 F1.8

1/200 F1.8

These are from a different wing. I set the camera on AUTO.

1/80 F4.5

I love this one!

1/30 F2.8
I wish I had left the setting at F1.8

The next "Tripod & Easel Day" is April 23rd. I'll be there early and bring my lunch.

I love this lens. It took a little more work to frame the pictures than I'm accustomed to,
but was worth the effort for the F1.8
I want something even 30mm.
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Posted by bvar22 in Minnesota
Thu Mar 30th 2006, 10:26 AM

Originally posted to the Bicycle Forum, but cross posted here because all the pictures are from Minneapolis/St Paul.
This post brought on by the recent warm weather. I did manage to ride through our rather mild Winter....

....but I am READY for Spring!!!

On you marks.....Get Set....GO!!!!

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Posted by bvar22 in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sun Jan 29th 2006, 02:35 AM
Please go here and click on the 1st link:

June 2005
The Democrats' Moment to Engage

Click on the "Analysis" link. It will be in Adobe format which is why I can't Copy & Paste here: I WILL be posting this information later today as a separate thread. Please note that this analysis was co-authored by James Carville, a Conservative Democrat and Campaign strategist for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Many in the Clinton administration give Mr. Carville much of the credit for the Clinton successes. He is generally considered a brilliant campaign manager and and unrivaled expert.

Here are some excerpts:

"Over 3 surveys in three months, Democracy Corps national survey show (that)...By a 20 point margin (56 to 36 percent), voters think the country is seriously off on the wrong track.


But for all that, Democrats are at risk of making only modest gains in 2006. The Democrats gains in in the congressional battle have come more from Republican slippage than Democratic gains and, alarmingly, the president's deep troubles have produced no rise in positive sentiments about the Democrats.


The Democrats can achieve major gains, however, if the party moves
decisively to a new stage of engagement. They must poise sharp choices-
ones that define the Democrats, not just the Republicans and ones that, in every battle, make the the instrument for reforming and changing Washington"
The Democrats' Moment to Engage
Analysis (link here)

The "We're just like Republicans only nicer" campaigns of the Centrists Democrats have proved to be a disaster. Whether you agree or not, the average citizen sees the Democratic Party as an imitation Republican Party.This is the result of two disastrous campaigns where the Democratic Party ignored traditional issues , and chased after mushy republican voters with campaigns of "Centrism". These polls shout that voters want a sharp distinction, NOT Republican lite.

If the Democrats want to turn the bush*/Republican drop in popularity into positive gains for Democrats, the Democrats must offer choices on issues that are "sharply different" from the Republicans.

The Democrats MUST offer clear alternatives on issues:

*Instead of Free Trade and Outsourcing, the Democrats MUST offer Fair Trade and (at least some) protections for American Jobs (not corpoWelfare tax credits, LEGAL protections)

*Instead of Staying the Course, the Democrats must offer options for withdrawal

*Instead of Big Business, the Democrats must offer REAL protection and support for the Working Class and Poor

*Instead of Patriot Acts, the Democrats MUST offer protections for Individual Rights and Freedom from Big Brother and BIG intrusive Government.

*Instead of Fighting Terrorism by expanding the Military Wars overseas, the Democrats MUST offer improved security within our borders, and International Cooperation of Intelligence Agencies to track and capture International Criminals

*Universal Healthcare...the Americans WANT it. The Democrats MUST offer it. (To hell with contributions from Big Medicine and Big Pharmaceuticals)

*Instead of a Bigger is Better Corporate Policy, the Democrats MUST offer restraints, consumer protections, and Fair Competition legislation that makes it possible for Mom&Pop Businesses and Family Farms to compete with Wal-Marts and Corporate Factory Farms.

"Let's start with economic policy. The DLC and the press claim Democrats who attack President Bush and the Republicans for siding with the superwealthy are waging "class warfare," which they claim will hurt Democrats at the ballot box. Yet almost every major poll shows Americans already essentially believe Republicans are waging a class war on behalf of the rich. They are simply waiting for a national party to give voice to the issue. In March 2004, for example, a Washington Post poll found a whopping 67 percent of Americans believe the Bush Administration favors large corporations over the middle class.

The "centrists" tell Democrats not to hammer corporations for their misbehavior and not to push for a serious crackdown on corporate excess, for fear the party will be hurt by an "anti-business" image. Yet such a posture, pioneered by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, is mainstream: A 2002 Washington Post poll taken during the height of the corporate accounting scandals found that 88 percent of Americans distrust corporate executives, 90 percent want new corporate regulations/tougher enforcement of existing laws and more than half think the Bush Administration is "not tough enough" in fighting corporate crime.


On energy policy, those who want government to mandate higher fuel efficiency in cars are labeled "lefties," even though a 2004 Consumers Union poll found that 81 percent of Americans support the policy. Corporate apologists claim this "extremist" policy would hurt Democrats in places like Michigan, where the automobile manufacturers employ thousands. But the Sierra Club's 2004 polling finds more than three-quarters of Michigan voters support it including 84 percent of the state's autoworkers.


Even in the face of massive job loss and outsourcing, the media are still labeling corporate Democrats' support for free trade as "centrist." And the DLC, which led the fight for NAFTA and the China trade deal, attacks those who want to renegotiate those pacts as just a marginal group of "protectionists." Yet a January 2004 PIPA/University of Maryland poll found that "a majority is critical of US government trade policy." A 1999 poll done on the five-year anniversary of the North American trade deal was even more telling: Only 24 percent of Americans said they wanted to "continue the NAFTA agreement." The public outrage at trade deals has been so severe, pollster Steve Kull noted, that support dropped even among upper-income Americans "who've most avidly supported trade and globalization who've taken the lead in pushing the free-trade agenda forward."

You REALLY MUSTread the rest of this!

The Republican Party is seen by most Americans as the Big Business Party. Polling data analysis combined with performance in 2000, 2002, and 2004 clearly indicate that if the Democratic Party is to be able to capitalize on the low ratings of bush*Republicans, the Party MUST clearly and publicly show itself to be the Party of the Working American.

A UNIFIED PRO WORKER/PRO-LABOR Platform similar to Gingrich's Contract with America MUST be produced and SUPPORTED by the Democrats AS A PARTY!!

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Posted by bvar22 in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Dec 03rd 2005, 02:02 PM
This is not the only place this is happening.
A progressive, grass roots spawned, local Congressional candidate in Minnesota was swatted aside by the DCCC who used their BIG MONEY resources to back their Beltway Anointed candidate.

The DCCC should be using their resources to help local candidates win races.
The DCCC should NOT be injecting their "Corporate Preferred" candidates into OUR local races.
The DCCC should NOT be using their BIG MONEY resources to "snuff out" the campaigns of local "grass roots" progressives!

From the DLC's OWN Website:
"The New Democrats apparently have begun this long march. The DLC has made training of a new generation of New Democrat leaders one of its primary objectives, continuing its efforts to work with and influence up-and-coming state and local officials. The New Democrat Network has grown quickly, increasing its ability to fund New Democrat candidates for federal office, including those running in primary contests."

By their OWN admission:
*The DLC function is to change the Democratic Party to a more Corporate Owner Friendly Political Party.

*The DLCs function is to reduce the voice of LABOR and the middle class, and INCREASE the power of Corp

"At a time when the public thinks big business has too much influence in Washington, the DLC's mission is to increase the influence of business in the Democratic Party. Or as Simon Rosenberg, head of the DLC's corporate-funded political action committee, the New Democrat Network, put it, "We're trying to raise money to help them lessen their reliance on traditional interest groups in the Democratic Party."

The DLC (DCCC) is an enemy to the voice of the Middle Class, and an enemy to the voice of grass roots activism.

All Politics is LOCAL????
Not anymore!

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Posted by bvar22 in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Jul 30th 2005, 04:47 PM
They have NO grass roots, but are funded solely by Corporate Money.

The DLC's Prime Directive is to INCREASE the INFLUENCE of CORPORATE MONEY in the Democratic Party. Their funding is 100% from Corporate Special Interests. The DLC doesn't care about Social or Cultural Issues.

*The DLC does not Care who does or does not buy a gun

*The DLC does not care who does or does not get married

*The DLC does not care who get or does not get an abortion

*The DLC does not care what Church you go to, which god you pray to, or where the 10 Commandments are displayed

Since the DLC doesn't care about Social or Cultural Issues, their members are FREE to vote however they wish on these issues and still receive their checks from the Corporate lobbyists, and Corporate support for re-election. Some DLC members are Socially Liberal, and vote that way. That makes them appear moderate when examining ONLY their voting records. You would NEVER guess that they are OWNED by Corporate America, AND the DLC propagandists will point to their records and say,"SEE. They aren't so bad".

The DLC and their Corporate Financiers care ONLY about INCREASING the POWER and INFLUENCE of Corporate Money in DC. As a result, ONLY the votes that influence these issues are Representative of their TRUE allegiances and worth examination. Even then, the voting records are misleading. The DLC is NOT stupid, and DOES NOT require that their members vote their interests every single time. The DLC only requires that Pro-Coporate legislation PASSES every single time!. The DLC DOES require that ONLY ENOUGH members vote for THEIR legislation to ensure passage. After that, their vote is meaningless, and members are free to vote to cover their ass and camouflage their true allegiances. This also must be factored in when looking at the voting records.

The DLC will say, "SEE. he isn't so bad. He voted against CAFTA!. What they won't tell you is that his vote was meaningless because the DLC already had the votes they needed to ensure passage of CAFTA in the Senate.

If you go back and examine every legislative issues that INCREASED the POWER of BIG BUSINESS and DECREASED the power of the Working American, you will find a CORE of DLC Senators (I haven't done the House yet) that provided just enough votes to ensure that the Corporate Legislation PASSED. The NAMES of the individual DLC Senators that vote AGAINST the American People also ROTATE so that NO INDIVIDUAL Senator takes ALL the HEAT.

Most of the time, the DLC Senators will be joined by a few non-DLC Senators on particular votes when their Home State has a special interest. Such was the case on CAFTA. The DLC is quick to point to that vote and say,"Well {insert name of non-DLC} voted for it, and He's not DLC."
This also is a distraction. As long as ENOUGH DLC Senators vote ProCorporate to ensure passage, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.
Without DLC support in the Senate, CAFTA would have failed.

When was the last time a bill advancing protections for the American Working Class passed? When was the last time such a bill was proposed?
Bill Clinton submitted a HealthCare Plan that would have helped the Working Class. It was the DLC that rose up and defeated their OWN Party's HealthCare Plan.

Can anyone remember a Bill protecting the Working Class even reaching the FLOOR for a vote since the Corporations bought their way into the Democratic Party?
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