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TimeTo Bring Home The Tree [Dec. 22nd, 2014|06:30 pm]
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[Current Mood |awake]

When we bought the land, it had hundreds of invasive small (2-5 feet tall) Ashe junipers what had been open grassland.  R- cut nearly all of them out.  Ashe juniper is not a horrible bad trash tree, utterly useless, as some claim, but like any plant it will spread out of its normal habitat if what should be there is destroyed.  In this case, severe overgrazing had taken the native mid- and tall-grasses down to the nubs, and the juniper moved in.  Some juniper is of use--as windbreak and as food and habitat source for some wildlife.  I've seen flights of monarchs on migration sheltering in it when a wet norther  stops them; various birds and small mammals eat the juniper berries, other birds strip the older trees' bark to use in building nests, etc.  But too much juniper is too much, so we thin and cull and...near Christmas...go looking for one that's not ball-shaped but pointier for a Christmas tree.

Tree-before-cutting
This year's choice.   Ashe juniper tends to rotund, so nice shaped ones are short
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Where I ride II [Dec. 20th, 2014|11:22 pm]
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[Current Mood |awake]

Here are some more shots of the trail system where I ride...obviously not taken all in one session.   Once out of the back yard and through the north horse lot, there's the downward slope of the near meadow to the secondary drainage...the lowest point, which has flowing water in flash floods...and then back up a little to the old ditch crossing (we put rocks in it to drive over if necessary.)  Across the ditch, the Fox trail heads up toward the woods in the distance, climbing up and over two terrace berms, then a sharp turn up onto a third, along that, a turn left into a little swale.


Ditch-crossing-trail-split
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Where I ride [Dec. 16th, 2014|10:41 am]
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[Current Mood |accomplished]

Last week (Monday the 7th)  I was riding the bike on the land, checking the wildlife waterers and doing some trail maintenance  while R- was digging postholes along the south fenceline where he's building fence.   As I came around one narrow, snug turn (around a big juniper and between others on the outside) on the way back, I miscalculated my speed, tried to brake too hard, and lost control--and fell hard enough to lie there several minutes thinking "That was stupid...It really hurts...and this bike lying on me is not helping."    Yesterday, I rode the same trail, but walked it on the way out to see if I could spot exactly what I'd done wrong where, and realized that I had failed to compensate for the place where the slope changes (and speeds you up on the way back.)   It's not a huge change, but it was enough to get me going too fast to make the turn since I couldn't swing wider there.

North-trail-diff-turn1-12-15-14
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Torture [Dec. 12th, 2014|11:35 am]
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[Current Mood |determined]

Torture is wrong.  Period, end of sentence.  That's what I believed since I first knew what it was.  That's what I've believed in every subsequent situation that someone else has suggested might justify torture, including 9/11.  (Alan Dershowitz is a damn liar when he claims that "everybody" approved torture then.  No, they didn't.  He and his vicious friends did.  Not me.  Not my friends.  Not veterans I knew at the time.   Never.)

Nothing justifies torture.   Torture is wrong.   The torture apologists are the Big Brother of 1984...trying to rename it to make it prettier, less offensive.   It's not the name--it's the reality.   Waterboarding is torture.   Deafening noise is torture.  Forced sleeplessness is torture.   And everybody, including the torture apologists, knows that at root--because these are the kinds of things that even they call torture when it's done by someone else, especially by an enemy.   It's not "enhanced interrogation techniques"--it's torture.   Torturers themselves should not be tortured--because torture is wrong.  Serial killers should not be tortured--because torture is wrong.  The evil men who allow, encourage, support torture should not be tortured--because torture is wrong.   There are people in this world I would happily send to execution, if it were my choice, but I would not see anyone, anywhere, for any reason, tortured....because it is wrong.  It is a wrong so wrong that it contaminates those who do it, turning them as inhuman as they believe their victims are.  It is a wrong so wrong that it contaminates the entire chain of command that allows it.
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Addendum, an hour or so later.  Thanks to a friend on another venue who gave me this link:

https://www.aclu.org/national-security/acts-courage-against-torture

Maj. Gen. Taguba (ret) is one of my heroes for the way he handled the investigation of Abu Ghraib, knowing this would deep-six his career.   In a just country, he would have been promoted for his character and be on JCS. 
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Apple Pot Pie [Dec. 11th, 2014|02:41 pm]
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[Current Mood |accomplished]

apple-pot-pie
A One-Apple Pie

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Thanksgiving [Nov. 27th, 2014|09:41 pm]
[Current Mood |thankful]

We were thankful for a beautiful morning, both for the beauty and for the weather that let friends drive safely from their homes to ours.

Thanksgiving-morning

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The Night Before [Nov. 26th, 2014|07:06 pm]
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[Current Mood |hopeful]

Thanksgiving is the one big feast I do...yes, there are other parties, but they're all more casual.   For Thanksgiving, I pull out all the stops in terms of table decorations and food.  (At my level, that is.  Others do much more.)   Ordinarily, the prep starts back in October and carries on in an orderly fashion.  This year, however, the discovery that my husband has another cancer (discovery made about two weeks ago) threw my prepartion for a loop.  That plus various things in the Outer Real World.

However--though today has been a mad scramble and I'm not done yet--preparation has made progress.

serving-table-prep-11-26-14
What will be the buffet table.  Actually two slabs of plywood with folding legs
bolted to them, that we made about 30-something years ago.  It has
a new rust-colored tablecloth. 
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The Whited Sepulchre: The Stench of Corruption [Nov. 25th, 2014|12:32 am]
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[Current Mood |angry]

The Gospel According to Matthew 23:27...Alas for you, lawyers and Pharisees, hypocrites.  You are like tombs covered with whitewash; they look well from outside, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all kinds of filth.  So it is with you: you look like honest men, but inside you are brimful of hypocrisy and crime...

And here we have the white sepulchre, the carnal house of white supremacy, covering itself in white sheets and hoods, but inside--hatred, hypocrisy, crime.   For the coverup that began on the day Michael Brown was shot down for walking down the middle of a street...the day the police department began its campaign of lies to prove that he was a criminal and deserved to be shot down and left lying in the street for hours...that day was nothing more or less than the construction of yet another whited sepulchre of exactly the kind Jesus meant--a collusion of those in power to justify the murder of another African-American youth.  Whitewash the story, make it all about the poor innocent white man (in a car, with a gun) who was afraid for his life and had no other choice but to pour bullet after bullet into a kid...try to cover up the long stinking history of racism in Ferguson, of mistreatment and neglect and downright dishonesty towards its African-American citizens. 

But it cannot be done.  The stench covers the land...there is not enough whitewash and or white sheeting to smother that sickly odor: hypocrisy, hatred, malice, deceit.   It is not just in Ferguson.  It is in every state, in every county of every state, in every community in every county of every state.  The stench rises from every grave where a person of color lies who was killed because he or she was black or brown...while white people who had done the same thing walked alive and free, from every cell in every jail and prison where a girl or boy or man or woman sits confined because they were black or brown....while white people who had done the same thing went free or got "community service." 

You are like tombs covered with whitewash; they look well from outside, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all kinds of filth.

Those in power in Ferguson are white--have been white--have been content to see their African-American citizens suffer--to deny them justice, to deny them education, to deny them any respect at all.  Educated people.  Cultured people, they will tell you.  Law abiding people.   With that shell of white on the outside, they believe they're entitled to all the respect, all the privilege.  But inside, they are filthier, dirtier, nastier, uglier, more vicious than an entire slum.  And they know it.   And so they project their own crimes, and their hypocrisy, onto the poor, the powerless.  Instead of cleaning out their own filth, they blame it on others.

...And so on you will fall the guilt of all the innocent blood spilt on the ground...

And from Chapter 25, 31-46: When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit in state on his throne, with all the nations gathered before him.  He will separate men into two groups, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

The reasons for the division, for who is a beloved sheep and who is judged an unwanted goat?  Not intelligence, not creativity, not education, not wealth, not the color of their skins, not fame/celebrity, not power...but something simpler and much harder.   For the sheep, they had obeyed the command to love their neighbors:

For when I was hungry, you gave me food; when thirsty, you gave me drink; when I was a stranger, you took me into your home; when naked, you clothed me; when I was ill you came to my help; when I was in prison you visited me.

And that meant "anything you did for one of my brothers here, however humble, you did for me."

The goats...did none of these things and for that--for lack of love, for refusing to grasp that everyone in the community was a brother, however humble--...they will go away to eternal punishment.

There are, this tragic night, white people in St. Louis saying they're afraid now.   Never mind that whites control the government, the army, the National Guard--that they have the armor and the guns and the bullets and the tear gas.   These people have created in their own minds monstrous images to justify the killing of Michael Brown and others, the jailing of thousands more.  And so they're afraid. 

And they should be afraid.  But not of the people they think are scary...people who, at worst, can only kill their bodies--but of God, who can unmake them wholly or send them to eternal torment, as many believe.  Of God, who can see right through that white skin into that evil heart and thus knows the reality of each individual.   They should be afraid of Judgment.

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Frustrations, Medical [Nov. 22nd, 2014|01:42 pm]
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[Current Mood |grumpy]

So...husband's annual post-cancer-surgery checkup includes CT scan and endoscopy.  Last year all was negative.  Year before, all was negative.  This year...a new tumor.  The endoscopy was supposed to give a sample for pathology.  Last time--when the first tumor was found in his stomach, the first endoscopy produced only gastric mucosa...not a piece of tumor--and had to be redone.  This year...same thing.  Instead of finding out this week what the pathologist said about the tumor, he's going to have to have another endoscopy, another wait for the pathology report, before he can see the surgeon who'll do the resection.

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And Lunch... [Nov. 19th, 2014|01:30 pm]
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[Current Mood |accomplished]

Pork-rice-tomatoes-black-beans-11-19-14
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