Turning over the 2011 Garden (at least in our minds)

Today the seed catalogs started arriving in our mailbox, reminding us that we are only about 8 weeks from the beginning of planting seeds indoors in preparation for our 2011 Liberty Garden.   We enjoyed poring over the pictures of squash, tomatoes and lettuce while wating for our order at the Dryden Hotel.

We were interested to read in the Ithaca Journal over Christmas about the plans Katie and Dave Quinn-Jacobs have as they take the reins of the Ludgate Farms store on Hanshaw Road.  The  IJ article says the Quinn-Jacobs are planning a new line of home processing supplies like mills, canners, jars, and lids and a bulk buying club. 

 The Ludgates Farms webpage says:

The new owners, Katie & Dave Quinn-Jacobs, are looking forward to contributing to the productivity and future development of the farm stand in the years ahead.  Katie is the founder of IthaCan, the local home food preserver’s network and both she and Dave are developers for Harvestation, the online farmer’s market that was launched this past harvest season.  Betsy Appleton, who has a strong background in the local food movement, will be the new Ludgate Farms general manager-in-residence. 

Dairy Workshop in Dryden

From the CNY Farms Blog at the Post Standard:

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets is offering workshops in six locations that can help dairy farmers maintain their income while minimizing risk during times of volatile milk prices.

The workshops, titled “Managing the Margin,” will teach producers effective risk management strategies they can use to control price risks and improve their bottom line.

The Dryden session is Jan. 7, Dryden VFW, Route 13, Dryden, RSVP to Janice Degni (607) 753-5215 or jgd3@cornell.edu.

Check the original post for more details and other workshop locations.

Christmas is a season...


...not just a single day, and there's way too much joyful stuff out there for a single day anyway. Watch this and I guarantee you will smile, if not plain laugh out loud. Thanks to Sarah Palin, via Hillbuzz:


Deep in the heart of taxes

Here's a good piece in the NY Post (by a Texas resident) that's ostensibly about (not) living in NYC, but has a lot to say about (not) living or doing business in NYS in general.  For example:

Texas creates jobs like a fiend, in part because businesses large and small have no worry of obstacles such as plaintiff-friendly courts, consumer-friendly regulators or oversight-friendly lawmakers. Pro-business isn’t just a mantra; they put it in the water.

Read it all (h/t Hot Air).  Yo, people in Albany!  Listen up.

Desiring the undesirable

Underneath the Christmas tree was a copy of The Backyard Homestead, edited by Carleen Madigan.  This volume is part of the revival of the self-sufficiency movement, last popular in the 1980s (and pockets of which have persisted around Tompkins County).  The book reviews the joys and practicality of not only the home vegetable garden, but fruits and nuts, small-scale poultry, meat, dairy, home-grown grains, and beekeeping.

What struck me right away was how much could be done on a small lot:
homestead image
But, as I pondered it, this layout looked very familiar.  I realized that I had seen it before, marked "Undesirable" (underlined) in the Dryden Residential Design Guidelines.
 comparison from Dryden residential design guidelines 
The clustered, "desirable" alternative presented in the guidelines is much less compatible with self-sufficiency.  As each day's news indicates that economic stress can be expected to grow, which kind of development would you rather see in our town -- homes where people can provide at least part of their own needs, or clustered housing in which you are basically plopping urban dwellers into a rural setting, necessarily dependent on others for everything?

A walk in the woods...


...beats sitting in front of a computer screen any day:

Today, Upper Buttermilk

I'll get back to blogging soon...

A Christmas Carol

To offset a Scrooge-like earlier post, here is the story of Steve McCann, a frequent American Thinker contributor. Like Dickens' famous "carol," this is a cautionary tale of transformation and redemption.

Preparations are underway in the United States and the nations of Europe to celebrate Christmas first and foremost as a tribute to materialism.  These increasingly agnostic and secular societies have chosen to ignore the existence of God and have instead placed more and more trust in man.  The consequence of this misguided reliance and the reality of God's outstretched helping hand is embodied in the story of a young boy from the streets of a nameless city in an unknown country....

Read the whole thing.  Merry Christmas!

Rebranding Tompkins County Republicans

So apparently "Steven Spielberg advising Nancy Pelosi on rebranding Democrats." Which famous director are we hiring to help us out with our rebranding?

From Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin:

Given how last month’s election turned out for the Dems, the perfect choice for someone to put their story to celluloid would have been Irwin Allen, but unfortunately he’s no longer with us.

What might Spielberg’s production dedicated to House Democrats be titled? “San Fran Nan and the Temple of Doom”? “Tax Me If You Can”? “Jurassic Pork”? “Close Encounters With the Third World”? “Dude, Where’s My Gavel?” Time will tell.

UPDATE: Heartache (h/t WeaselZippers)

Steven Spielberg's spokesman,Marvin Levy, has responded to a Dec. 22 Washington Post report that the Oscar-winning director may soon advise Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on a planned political PR campaign. Levy denied his client's involvement in a press statement, saying: "Today's story regarding Nancy Pelosi made a reference to Steven Spielberg that requires a response. I can say as a long-time spokesman for Steven that he has made it his career to direct actors, not political figures."

"What a State Bond Default Looked Like When It Last Happened, In 1933"

Pay attention, Albany.  From Ace:

In 1933, nobody thought Washington should get involved in a state bond default. In 2010, that’s the first place we would look for help.

So back then, it was a surprise that the federal government should do this; now it's just expected.

So what incentive do states have to make tough cuts? None, it seems.

And in a related story...

This piece is connected to so many topics, I can't even think of all the ways this post should be tagged. From the Poughkeepsie Journal (h/t Thomas Lifson at American Thinker):

WICCOPEE — In a stunning reversal, the frequently lauded and taxpayer-funded SpectraWatt Inc. has told the state it will close its solar cell plant starting in March and lay off 117 workers.

....Created with nearly $100 million in private and public investments and announced in April 2009, SpectraWatt ramped up quickly, creating jobs in the midst of high unemployment. It began production by March this year and became one of the brightest new lights in the Hudson Valley economy. Now it has blinked, and may well go out.

....The company said, "This action is undertaken in response to deteriorating market conditions resulting from a harsher-than-usual European winter causing a large drop-off in demand for solar cells.....


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