In architecture, a folly is a building constructed primarily for decoration, but either suggesting by its appearance some other purpose, or merely so extravagant that it transcends the normal range of garden ornaments or other class of building to which it belongs... Many follies, particularly during famine, such as the Irish potato famine, were built as a form of poor relief, to provide employment for peasants and unemployed artisans. (Wiki-Folly)
I'm sure you know where I'm going with this: I want one! I could make one! Could I? Let's see, I would need some bricks and cement and... maybe a masters degree in landscape architecture.
General properties of a folly according to the Wiki link above.
The concept of the folly is highly ambiguous and it has been suggested that the definition of a folly "lies in the eyes of the beholder". At best, some general guidelines can be produced, all of which have exceptions.
What follies are not (according to Wiki)
So, a Masters degree... let me get back to you on that one.
Now that I've seen what herbs do well here in zone 7B, I'm excited to start planning my gardens for next spring.
Here's what I'm thinking so far:
Herbs under a grow-light inside:
Pumpkins and squash in a greenhouse (which I need to build) outside:
This weekend I'll be planting tulip and daffodil bulbs, garlic and more.
Spring projects include:
1. Building a greenhouse, or cucumber frame
2. Upgrading my pumpkin garden into two, separate, raised beds with a fountain in-between. I'm most excited about this one.
That reminds me, can I borrow your truck?
I had an old glow-in-the-dark, baby t-shirt that was begging to be made into a scarecrow.
At first I was planning to use a trick-or-treat bucket for a head, but that didn't last long. I sewed the arms of the t-shirt closed at the shoulder, stuffed the chest and tied the arms behind. I like the way the round neck gave the head little ear/horns.
With a couple pieces of wood, I made a cross. Then I nailed the pants and a shirt to it and stuffed them with pinecones and leaves.
The scarecrow was frightening, because it was so kid-like. The whites of the teeth and eyes showed up well after the porch light went off.
Since I used organic materials to stuff the scarecrow and I nailed the clothing to the wood, I had to throw my creation away after Halloween, but it was fun while it lasted!
Seattle's Indian Summer is delightful. We're setting a record for consecutive days without rain. We've have gorgeous, blue, clear skies every day. After last summer's slugstravaganza, I'll never take weather like this for grantid.
Now that my "big kid" is back at school, when my little one is napping, the backyard is mine to meander. I've plucked the lavender, trimmed the roses, rotated the squash and chatted with the chickens. Pinecone grenades fall from above my garden while I fluff the pumpkin leaves and furrow my brows at some underperforming tomatoes.
Most of my summer projects ended with a flourish while others fizzled out mid July. I even had a great surprise when I reached into my potato condo and found... potatoes!!
How about a summer recap?
Just a reminder, my posts are organized by topic, so it's easier to follow a project from beginning to end, as opposed to chronologically and bounce around between my many, varying, sometimes fleeting interests. To find my most updated content, click a subject below and scroll to the bottom.
Someday soon, I'll come in from the garden and head back to my overflowing desk of "indoor projects" (sewing?!) for the winter, but not yet!
California will be voting soon, as to whether foods with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) will be labeled for consumers.
The movie Genetic Roulette shows the correlation between GMO foods and almost every recent health problem Americans have suffered from, since GMOs were introduced by Monsanto in the mid 1990's.
American's have had an epidemic increase in cancer, obesity, allergies, autism, diabetes, asthma, intestinal disorders, infertility and birth defects.
Genetic Roulette features interviews with physicians, scientists, farmers, dieticians, chefs and educators all discussing the problems with genetically engineered foods.
The bad news, our grandchildren could be sterile.
The good news, popcorn is still safe. (Whew! I dodged a bullet there.)
Grab a cup of non-GMO tea and watch the film.
My new resolutions:
Resource: non-GMO Shopping Guide
It should be noted that dog foods have genetically modified corn and soy as well, so if you have a pet that is allergic to its food, keep this in mind. The rule of thumb is, if it's not labeled "organic" or "non-GMO," beware.
Now, it's time to clean out the pantry...
As I learn more about gardening, I keep tripping over articles, posts and films about the practices of Monsanto.
A post by my one of my favorite Facebook pages TheCrunchyChicken led me to the following Natural News article; Shocking findings in new GMO study: Rats fed lifetime of GM corn grow horrifying tumors, 70% of females die early.
I read the article. Then I went to the Monsanto Wiki page, which may have been written by Monsanto itself. I read the entire page, including all the lawsuits filed by and against Monsanto. I learned about Terminator Seeds.
"Genetic use restriction technology, colloquially known as "terminator technology", produces plants that have sterile seeds. If put into use, it would prevent the spread of those seeds into the wild. It also would prevent farmers from planting seeds they harvest, requiring them to repurchase seed for every planting, although they also need to do this for hybrid seeds, because second-generation seeds are inferior, and in cases of patented transgenic seeds, where patent-holders like Monsanto enter into contracts with farmers who agree not to plant harvested seeds as a condition of purchase." (-Genetic use restriction technology Wiki page)
The World According to Monsanto, a 2008 documentary film directed by Marie-Monique Robin seemed like an interesting place to continue my Monsanto research. The film received thought-provoking reviews on Amazon, but the film is out of stock. Reviewers recommended Food Inc., which I haven't yet watched because I like food. Same goes for Forks Over Knives, which preaches a vegan diet.
I guess I can only bury my head in the sand for so long.
What really got my attention about Monsanto this time, is that they make Round-Up weed killer, which I used recently in my yard. I'm worried about my kids.
Monsanto's genetically modified corn is everywhere, even in canola oil and aspirin. Right now, I'm eating Dannon Oikos Greek Nonfat yoghurt. Modified corn starch is the fifth ingredient.
I'm not an alarmist and I don't bring up dinner-table taboo subjects, like... ever. But, it doesn't look like the government will be able to regulate Monsanto anytime soon. If I can keep GMOs out of my kid's cereal (corn) and make a few important changes, maybe my kids will live.
No plastic bags
No plastic water bottles
Grow more veggies at home
Eat organic meats
Learn more and pay attention
That reminds me, what's that crap that lines soup cans? BPA
“It’s not a matter of if, but when the next one will happen.”
-Brian Atwater, geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and University of Washington, to the Associated Press.
“The amount of devastation is going to be unbelievable… people aren’t going to be ready for this.”
-Rob Witter, coastal geologist with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.
"There is no question that centuries of pent-up stress in the Cascadia Subduction Zone will eventually cause the plates to slip in a cataclysmic way, but there is no way of telling if that will be in our lifetimes or centuries from now. It could happen tomorrow morning, or it could happen in another 100 years."
Quotes taken from Truth or Hype: Is Seattle Really at Risk for a Devastating Earthquake?
If you are a born-and-raised Seattleite like me, you've heard warnings about "The Big One" your whole life. In elementary school, we did earthquake drills, we brought our Emergency Pack with a couple granola bars to school on the first day and that's about it.
To me, "The Big One" is right up there with aliens landing on earth. It's a distinct possibility, but nothing has ever officially happened and how do you prepare for something like that anyway?
It has always been logical to prepare for an earthquake, but I've never taken it seriously until now. NOW I'm a parent and thus responsible for making sure that my kids are safe and fed, regardless of the situation.
Now that I've decided to prepare, to what extreme should I go? Should I keep a couple cans of extra tuna in the pantry, or should I dig a bunker in the back yard?
I looked at three distinct groups of people to determine the best Earthquake Prep steps for me and my family.
1) Californians- they've been dodging earthquakes forever and they have their act together when it comes to preparation beforehand and an immediate plan of action during and after.
2) Mormons/ Latter Day Saints- The LDS community had always been taught to be self-reliant in times of "adversity." Adversity is a nice, generic term, which in this case, will apply to earthquakes.
3) Doomsday Preppers- This TV show on National Geographic explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties.
Before I executed my earthquake preparation plan, I had to address my lingering questions, do some research and make an educated guess at the answers to my own Q and A.
FAQs (Asked by me, then Answered by me, my research and the Internets.)
Q. How big will the quake be?
A. Freakin' BIG. It will be one of the highest ever recorded, as the "Cascadia Fault (or Cascadia subduction zone, to use the more precise term) runs just off the coast from the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island past Seattle and Portland down to northern California. Scientists believe this tectonic fault is capable of creating extremely large earthquakes, topping 9.0 on the Richter scale, and that there is about a 40% chance of such a mega-quake happening in the next 50 years." (Sourced from "Is Seattle Ready for a Major Earthquake?") A quake of this magnitude may last around five minutes.
Q. Will the house fall down?
A. Probably not. My house was built in 1998. The real question is, will food stored indoors be accessible? Will I be able to collect my clothing, boots and contact lenses? If you live in a brick house, move, cause it's coming down. Or just go outside when The Big One hits.
Q. What if we're not home when it happens?
A. Start walking. Some Californians have their 72-hour kit (more on this below) in their car, along with a compact bicycle to ride home. The likelihood of you being somewhere that can accomodate you for three days until help comes is foolishly optimistic. If you can't walk home, make a plan now, to make a plan for a disaster.
Q. What about the kids?
A. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Keep a 72-hour kit in your car, one per person.
Q. How long will we be stranded?
A. Supposedly, federal aid should come in at least 72 hours. Local aid, by police and the fire department may take a couple days, as communication and well, everything will be in utter chaos. People will need to rely on each other and I'd rather have people relying on me, than the other way around.
Best and Most Applicable Practices
Now, I wouldn't presume to call anyone else crazy (Noah's Ark anyone?), but, well... Doomsday Preppers on Natoinal Geographic is all I have to say. These preppers are HARDCORE. They have "bug-out" plans where they stash their spam and guns into their van and hide out in the mountains. They remain anonymous on the show so we can't all go to their bomb shelter and steal their stuff. Hopefully, there wont be looting and rogue packs of desperate zombie-humans, but let's not dwell on it. (More thoughts on "Doomsday Preppers" from blog, Notes From The Outside. "Carry your survival cache in your head, and you're truly free.")
Just imagine if you were a Californian, Mormon, Prepper!! Safe. And. Sound.
But I digress...
My Seattle Earthquake Paranoia Plan of Action!
What I chose and why I chose it.
My "Off-site Earthquake Kit" is going into my garden shed in case the house falls down. I'm keeping water (Rule of thumb is 1 gallon per person, per day), some high-protein foods with a year+ shelf-life (clif bars, peanut butter, beef jerkey, almonds...), a PreparePack full of who-knows-what (First Aid stuff and a water purification system?), one outfit, eye glasses and a pair of old shoes... okay, I admit it, I also packed toothbrushes and a little toofpaste... and some baby shampoo.
Inside my house, I'll keep more shelf-stable food than usual in the pantry.
In my car, I have another PreparePack full of who-knows-what, two gallons of water and and Go-Bag.
Go-Bag (from 72Hours.org)
A component of your 72-hour Kit (below) is your Go-bag. Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly. Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.
72-hour Kit (from 72Hours.org)
After a major disaster the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones, may be unavailable. Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location. Put contents in a large, watertight container (e.g. a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels) that you can move easily.
Your basic emergency kit should include:
That seems all pretty simple considering how much time I've wasted freaking out about being prepared. Another good suggestion from our LDS friends is to have a list, like, on actual paper (Paper! I know, right?) of important phone numbers and an out-of-state contact. I can't think of a place within 5 miles of my home, that might have a payphone. So, those numbers might not do me much good.
I checked Amazon for an emergency radio and the reviews were so frightening that I didn't want to pay for anything that wouldn't work. During this supposed earthquake, I'll have to rely on rumors and fear-mongers for information.
Also, please remember, dear readers, that I live inland. I'm not prepping for a tsunami. I'm worried about having potable water, food and shelter for my family and since my husband scoffs at my request for Earthquake insurance, I'm readying my family for life without water, heat, natural gas, electricity... and plumbing.
If you live in Seattle, PLEASE read: 72Hours.org It's an awesome, simple Earthquake Prep site.
Now that I'm prepared as much as I care to be, I can put Earthquake Preparedness to rest and get back to my life. I know I've done as much as I can to ready myself, and it's time to move on.
Although I was a little embarrassed to write this post, thus revealing my Seattle earthquake paranoia, I decided to go ahead with it, with the hope that other, well-adjusted people will take the time, money and energy to prepare a disaster kit or plan for their family. Worst case, just have some water, beef jerky and a first aid kit out in the garage and in your trunk.
If you need another kick in the pants to get started on your own disaster kit, know this: You need to get your act together and prepare for yourself because it's your job to be responsible for you and your family. The government will not be able to help for at least a couple days and you (presumably) don't want to be "that guy" breaking into a neighbor's house for food, because when people feel threatened, things turn nasty quickly.
Here's more about My Seattle Earthquake Paranoia on Pinterest.
That's all. xoxox
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