Friday, March 20, 2009

Firsts, or seconds

Ahhh! the first day of spring, finally. But my horoscope says, "Although the birds and buds know that spring means it's time to come out and be seen, you are somewhat more tentative." I am? Maybe.

Have you ever felt like your head was so full of stuff you wanted to say that you just didn't know where to begin? That's how I'm feeling right now:

Unwarranted alarmist bloggings about the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, H.R. 875.
Sod busting today at the White House for Mrs. Obama's new veggie garden.
The first day of spring, and it's 28 degrees??
Number 2 son's 16th birthday.
A buggy bug talk with no Power Point projector.

So, how do I fit all that into one compact little blog post? If I ended it now it'd be nice and compact wouldn't it? But then I'd feel like I hadn't given you your money's worth (Arrgh! I just compared myself to AIG!).

First, let's get this H.R. 875 jazz out of the way. I don't claim to know a lot about politics, but I do know the basic workings of the legislative process. A similar bill was proposed in 2007 and it failed, I give the new one the same chance. But this isn't to say we shouldn't be aware of what's goin on. However, let's not be obtuse about the situation because then you risk being seen as ultracrepidarian.

Secondly, some folks (my lovely wife included) are having a great deal of difficulty picturing Michele Obama actually workin in a garden. My wife says the First Lady may get out a time or two for a photo op, but probably won't do a lot of weeding herself. I suppose if I had someone to do weeding for me (Dale Haney is the White House gardener, I've not Googled him yet but give me a few minutes, there.) I doubt if I'd bend over backwards to get it done. So, maybe she won't, but then again, maybe she will. I have no trouble picturing Ms. Michele in an old pair of jeans and a short sleeved shirt (and I'm not saying anything about her biceps) hoeing a garden.

Third, spring has sprung is how the sayin goes. But I'm a realist when it comes to zone 5 western PA gardening. Here, unless you have a greenhouse or live in a microclimate, it just doesn't stay warm long enough in March to do anything in the garden. Plus, it's usually a mud pit anyway. So, we try to schedule a little trip south to Kentucky at this time of year so we can experience the true arrival of spring.

Fourth (and why am I counting these things off??), I have four children. Of those, three have birthdays this month. Do you remember your 16th birthday? I can tell you what I remember about mine in two words: drivers license. The other day I stopped in at the Drivers License Center and picked up a copy of the drivers manual for my son. I had just downed a lukewarm cup of coffee before I left the house and knew that I'd be needing to pee pretty soon. I also knew there'd be a public restroom at the DLC. Ladies, when you're using a public restroom please lock the door behind you so that the unexpected doesn't happen at a most inopportune time, like when your panties are down around your ankles!

Lastly, I am looking forward to my "The Good, The Bad, and The Bugly" bug presentation tomorrow. I gave this talk last July at the public libary and it went over quite well. My wife asked if I'd be interested in giving the presentation to the ladies in the Herb Thymers herb club. How could I refuse? But I'll have to do without a Power Point projector since I don't own one. I guess I'll just have to rely on my skills as an educated orator (read: fake it).

Here's one of the pictures I'm using to get the Herb Thymers attention:


Have a great weekend and with March Madness in full swing I may not be around till Monday! Happy first day of spring!

18 comments:

flydragon said...

Haha. I always knew Clint was a praying man...
A little show at the DLC???

Roses and Lilacs said...

Love the picture.

I don't understand the criticism of Mrs Obama. She may not garden herself but will give it a cachet that lots of people will want. Its great to introduce new people to gardening.
Marnie

Daisy said...

Love the picture!! As for the first lady gardening, I think she'll be too busy. I can see her rolling up her sleeves and getting dirty, though. The girls might really enjoy the process, too.

Terri said...

I'm not sure I agree with you about alarmist bloggers, although I'll 'fess up to a bias since I blogged the topic myself. Still, I am reasonably sure that the folks who are supposed to be representing us don't read half the bills they're voting on, so when something comes up that looks problematic, I write and encourage others to, as well. The simple fact that something doesn't make sense hasn't stopped our lawmakers in the past and I don't expect it to in the future!

Great photo, by the way!

The verification word: berstax. The berstax are out in droves now that spring is (almost) here!

Frances said...

I agree with Marnie. Mrs. O is a very busy lady with a schedule that would give most people nightmares. The fact that she cares enough about the food we eat to have this garden speaks volumes. I sure don't expect her to do the dirty work, that's what paid staffs are for. She can select what is grown and eaten though, and probably will. That poor woman using the ladies room, maybe she was in too much of a hurry to lock the door. Always knock first is a good rule. The bug talk sounds delightful if that photo is any indicator!
Frances

Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

Regarding HR 875, while I agree with Terri that half of the legislation passed these days seems to only get a once over after it has been passed, a lot of what is being said about HR 875 is a bit on the alarmist side. I've read some blogs that are convinced that it spells the end of organic produce and farmer's markets. Come on folks! Even if it is passed, why shouldn't farmers be subjected to the same food inspection rigamaroll that restaurants go through? If hole in the wall restaurants can do it, so can small farmers. If they are already following good safety practices, it shouldn't be that much of a burden on them. And some sort of oversight on food labeling has been needed for a loooong time. Yes, it is more work for food producers, which in turn causes food prices to go up. But consumers need a reliable way to know what it is they are eating. And quite frankly, if food suppliers had done a better job of policing themselves, no one would be putting forth a law like HR 875.

Susie said...

Boy did I enjoy this post! The bathroom story was pretty hysterical! Nuff said about that!

That picture of the Clint Eastwood bug will definitely get those ladies attention.

Okay, I'm still laughing at the bathroom story.

Greg said...

HR 875 is the brain child of Monsanto, ADM and other mega factory farm companies. Control the food, control the people.
I have to disagree with Fern,being in the catering/food service business I can tell you that there is a world of difference between regulating a greasy spoon than a truck farmer. If you go to a farmers market and pick up a tomato that's rotten, you know it right then, whereas you don't know how long that burger layed out raw on the counter with roaches using it as a highway before you ordered it and you can't see the salmonella that's about to ruin your day or your life. With the economy the way it is, more folks are gardening and plus with the rise in popularity with organic farming the folks at Monsanto and ADM aren't happy and they are dangling campaign contributions in front of the politicians that are in their pocket so they will take care of the little problem before it get's out of hand.

Dave said...

I'm not going to comment much on that bill as I'm hoping it won't pass and I hope it doesn't have an effect on small farmers or home gardeners.

If I had the opportunity to be in the garden at the White House I know I would. Everyone's lives are different so I won't fault Mrs. Obama for not getting out to the garden as much as I would.

Love the bug picture!
For now on when I see Mantises I'll be thinking "Go ahead, make my day."

walk2write said...

I'm glad your thoughts are swirling, TC. This post is fantastic! Lots of food (not fodder) for thought. I would love to hear your bug talk. Maybe one of these days you could do a video and share it on your blog? Good Lord, that bill is a piece of work! I'm not so sure that I like it, either. Too many items are vague and open for misinterpretation and manipulation by bureaucRATs. A national food safety standard is a good idea but ultimately another mountain of paperwork and burdensome costs that fall on the backs of small business owners. I hope that White House gardener has a strong back and a fearless disposition. He will be held accountable if the garden doesn't measure up to some pretty unrealistic expectations. Yeah, I can see it feeding the household from time to time but hundreds of guests at state dinners? As for organic, what about the pesticide/herbicide residues lurking about in the soil that has just recently been home to a lush lawn? Don't get me wrong. I think the WHG is a great PR idea, and I congratulate the O's for supporting the gardening movement. They just need some intelligent advice to guide them down the garden path. TC, you should submit your application.

marmee said...

so many topics so little time. i do have a hard time seeing mrs. o gettting in the garden unless there is press around. look what she had on to start the garden, not exactly the right attire. love the picture u are using for the presentation.

TC said...

FD: Yes ma'am, it was a show alright. And I wasn't the main attraction! ;~P

Ms. Marnie: I hope so. I was a little disappointed after seeing a couple of photographs of the "ground breaking." It looked pretty much like it had been staged. And the video out about it looks that way too, there's no sod being broke, no dirt on the shovels or rakes. Oh well, I guess that's the kind she'll pass on to someone else.

Ms. Daisy: Thanks for stopping in! And I too can surely see her getting dirty, but will she? It didn't look much like she wanted to when I was watching the news reports about it.

Ms. Terri: You're allowed to disagree here. I always encourage pithy rhetoric. And your points are valid. (The berstax haven't appeared here yet.)

Ms. Frances: I'm sure Mrs. Obama has a busy schedule and I'm glad about the garden too. I just think they should have shown actual work being done, by someone. And you're absolutely right; I should have knocked first and you can rest assured that I will from now on!

Ms. Fern: Well said and I think you bring up a valid argument. I also think we need more and highly qualified food inspectors.

Ms. Susie: I'm glad you were entertained, I love it when folks enjoy themselves here! The herb ladies were entertained as well and I got many compliments. Now stop laughing at me. ;~P

Hi Greg, good to have your input here and I think you have brought out some important points. Constructive dialogue is always helpful and the more you know, the better you understand. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you more often. ;~)

Dave: Although you didn't "comment much," you said just enough to make a great point: "I hope it doesn't have an effect on small farmers or home gardeners."

W2W: Indeed, I've been full of thoughts about that proposed bill. I do know we need a better system for checking food safety, and I think one of the ways to make it better would be to have more highly trained food inspectors. Those of us who grow our own, and who have access to locally grown, are pretty sure of what we're getting.

And you're absolutely right about that bill. I didn't read through all of it (Lord! who here could?) but the stuff I did read was pretty much open for all kinds of different interpretations by all kinds of different farmers and gardeners and food producers and food eaters. Maybe you and I could sit down and write up a standard that might be less wordy and vague. But who'd pay us??

And that's a great point about the organic side of the garden. I'm pretty sure they'll have the soil tested once the sod is removed, that should tell them if there's bad dirt in with the good.

If you know of a group who needs a speaker, I'd be willing to head south!

TC said...

Ms. Marmee: You feel like that too sometimes eh? And I thought the same thing when I saw what she was wearing. I've not seen gardeners here out in the dirt dressed like that. But maybe she aims to start a new trend? ;~)

Weeping Sore said...

That's one scary bug you have there. And the food safety bill is also scary. If it becomes law, it could interfere with my plans for world domination that begin with me canning my own tomatoes and selling the sauce at the farmer's market.

TC said...

WS: I think it's scary too, but I'm not panicking, not yet anyway. And when your reign of world domination begins, can I be your tomato gardener? ;~P

Helen @ Gardening With Confidence said...

I wish all my bugs looked that good!

TC said...

Helen, thanks for stopping in. I've always had a crush on Clint, and yes, I'm not afraid to say a man's handsome. ;~P

Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence said...

...me either...