Multiple Observations

It appears that my plans for the summer vegetable garden may be on hold… I found out last week that I need surgery on my left ankle & Achillies’ tendon, which means that after next week I’ll be on crutches for a month and then in a boot for another month after that. These last few weeks have been very busy for me, so I think I’m running out of time to get the raised beds installed before my surgery date.

Unless I get a perfect combination of free time, daylight and weather in the next week, I’ll be raising a few tomatoes & peppers in containers and that’s about it. I’ll then be able to get the beds in later this year, which means maybe a small fall crop of greens this season. It’s frustrating for me, but that’s life.

In other news, gas prices have already cracked the $3/gallon around here, and Memorial Day is still a few weeks away. It appears that there are a few things going on to cause this, including declining imports from Mexico, instability in Nigeria (West Africa now exports more oil to the US than the Middle East), the continuing mess in Iraq, and the fact that US refineries are running at close to maximum capacity right now while demand continues to increase. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that we’ll at least touch $4/gallon at some point this summer, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if prices ‘fall’ down to $3/gallon as the steady state over the winter. After I get the OK from the doc to begin rehab on my ankle, I think I’ll be biking a lot both to save some money and build up skills & strength for what may very well be an expensive summer of 2008.

It’ll be interesting to see what historically high gas prices will do to the upcoming presidential debate. My guess is that candidates from both major parties will be falling all over themselves promoting empty ideas regarding ‘green tech’ and the like, since that’s what big business wants to hear. The idea of somehow taking today’s rates of economic growth and ‘greenwashing’ them seems improbable to me at best.

One of the local TV stations ran a pretty good introductory report about the issue of ‘water diversion.’ The population of the Southwestern US continues to grow at a rapid pace, and they are increasingly unable to meet the basic water needs of the cities down there. One scheme that has been tried several times is to set up pipelines draining water from the Great Lakes and sending it to California, Arizona and similar places. This is a problem that’s only going to get worse over time, and is a huge reason why I personally think that the Southwest is a poor choice for residence right now.

In coming years, the combination of rising electricity prices (many power plants in that area are powered by natural gas) and lack of water may force a mass exodus to other parts of the nation. Living near the ‘Saudi Arabia’ of water as I do, I wonder if this means that housing prices around here will stay high relative to other parts of the country. Perhaps the upper Midwest and the Rust Belt will see a renaissance based on easy access to potable water.

This billboard was advertised in the news story… it speaks for itself:

On a final note, we’ve had a lot of rain here in the last few weeks which has greened up the region quite a bit. I was driving into work today and passed several fallow farm fields that were abloom with a yellow blaze of dandelions… very pretty to look at. Yet one or two of those little flowers popping up in my lawn or garden beds is an act of war that I must respond to with deadly force lest my neighbors complain to the HOA. I’ll be breaking out the hoe this evening to take care of business with the interlopers in a wonderfully hypocritical act of NIMBY-ism.

5 Responses to Multiple Observations

  1. Matt says:

    Sucks about your achilles. At least you can still hit the farmer’s markets.

  2. Keith says:

    Sorry to hear that you’ll have to undergo surgery! Best of luck and have a speedy recovery.

  3. Rebecca says:

    Bart, sorry about the surgery. Ouch. As for the beds, how about hiring some local teenagers to finish contructing them? They’ll usually work cheap.

    You can eat dandelions, you know. They’re good greens. Every part of the plant is edible -you can make tea from the leaves and roots, or roast the roots to make a good coffee substitute.

  4. Dan says:

    Too bad about your ankle/achilles. As someone who had knee surgury and was on crutches for 6 weeks due to a football injury, I can definately empathize (I think that’s the right word) with your upcoming situation. Good luck with your recovery.

  5. Bart says:

    Thanks everyone for your kind remarks… the recovery won’t be too bad, I think… the timing just stinks for trying to get a garden in this year. Rather than push things I think I’m just going to go with a few containers this year and then plan to get the beds in for the fall. I’d rather take my time and do things right rather than rush just to make a deadline.

    Dandelion heads can be used in wine-making as well… Dandelion wine used to be pretty common as a nice white wine you make in springtime that would mature just in time for Thanksgiving.

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