March 29, 2009


1.  Sign the kids up for the summer: cooking camp for teens.

2.  The White House garden story has gotten more press than it is probably worth in terms of it's potential impact on food systems (seriously, have you really been worried that el presidente wasn't eating well?) but I've been keeping an ear open for blow-back from the conventional ag camp regarding all the applause over an organic "first garden" and apparently it's out there.

3.  Colonel Sanders practices a little enlightened self-interest by filling in pot holes around Louisville, KY.

5.  With all the talk of collapsing bee colonies new emphasis has been placed on the role that wild bees play in crop pollination.  Here's a method that I had never seen for encouraging/protecting wild colonies:
Cane came up with the idea of using corrugated plastic totes—available from suppliers of mail and package handling equipment—as nesting shelters, and has tested them during spring and summer in California, Oregon, Wyoming and Utah. His experiments show that the lightweight, rectangular bins, each 23-1/2 inches long by 15-1/2 inches wide by 15-1/2 inches high, serve as a sturdy, inexpensive and reusable shelter for protecting bee nests against wind and rain.
Growers, professional and hobbyist beekeepers, and backyard gardeners who want wild bees to live near and work in their fields, orchards, vineyards or home gardens can use the totes to house nesting materials, such as five-sixteenths-inch diameter paper drinking straws enclosed in cardboard tubes and stuffed inside empty cardboard milk cartons. Wild female bees such as the blue orchard bee, Osmia lignaria, can use the straws as homes for a new generation of pollinators.
Wild bees are needed now, perhaps more than ever, to help with jobs usually handled by America's premier pollinator, the European honey bee, Apis mellifera. Many of the nation's honey bee colonies have been decimated by the puzzling colony collapse disorder or weakened by varroa and tracheal mites or the microbes that cause diseases such as chalkbrood and foulbrood.
A single corrugated plastic tote can accommodate as many as 3,000 young, enough to pollinate one-half to one-acre of orchard. And, unlike bulky or stationary shelters, the tote houses can easily be moved from one site to the next.

7.  Something for the kids: MS Office 2007 Ultimate for $59.99.  Ok, not just for the kids - you just need a .edu email, enrolled in a class somewhere (or be of low moral character), and use a PC.

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