Castor Bean | Hard Freeze | Update 6

Links to the Original post, Update 1, and Updates 2 and 3, 4, and 5


It was bound to happen. Cold air from the north arrived recently and killed the once tall and strong castor bean plant. It looked so sad. It will not regrow in the spring. I will see if the seeds are viable.

20141107_085035

November 8, 2014

The seeds never quite fully ripened. The prickly pods contain 3 in each. A few were starting to split. I cut off the long stalk of them for a closer look. Plus, they will be destroyed and not put out to the environment for animals or children to access. They are toxic.

2014_1107_03

Click to embiggen

Show me more

Election 2014 | Some Thoughts

Originally posted on JAR Blog...:

French ballot box 2007 | wikimedia

Our team of volunteers was like thousands of others around the country. During the two weekends prior, and during the four days of GOTV November 1-4, we sent out canvassers to knock on doors. We reminded people of their early voting opportunities and of the need to return their absentee ballots if they had one. We sent canvassers at 9, 12, 3, and 6. Some returned to our staging location with absentee ballots which we gave to our county auditor that day or the next.

Ours is a heavily Democratic county. Our tally of votes during the general election would help our candidates running statewide for U.S. Senate and Congress. The countywide results after the election showed our Democratic candidates received twice as many votes as their Republican opponents. We did our job well. Statewide, the results were disappointing for the Democrats. Iowa is a rural…

View original 468 more words

Election 2014 | Getting Out The Vote

Originally posted on JAR Blog...:

Communities all across the U.S. have elections this coming Tuesday Nov. 4. My state of Iowa is electing a governor and a senator. We will also elect a member of congress from our district. There are races for many other state and local offices and some ballot questions to decide.

Both Melanie and I are volunteering with our Democratic party Saturday through Tuesday to Get Out The Vote – GOTV. We have also been helping before these final days. There are thousands upon thousands of citizens who are doing this all across the country. They come from both major political parties. I think this is the correct grass-roots way.

The overwhelming amounts of BIG donations coming from undisclosed donors is destroying our system where each common person feels their vote counts as much as the next. People feel their voice does not count any more. They are losing interest and are fed up and…

View original 194 more words

Solar Eclipse | Images | Not Mine

Originally posted on JAR Blog...:

I was hopeful the sky would clear enough to the west to let me see the eclipse. It was not to be. Better luck next time. Instead of sharing my own photos, I visited Slooh which had a telescope trained on the Sun from Prescott, AZ. Slooh covers many live astronomy events in partnership with observatories. They covered this entire event and have a recording available for you to replay. In addition, there is commentary about aspects of the eclipse that is helpful. Visit their website linked above for the replay. Scroll down their page for highlights such as these.

That big sunspot group just below center was the subject of a story by Astronomy Picture of the Day. Follow the link to see it up close and in great detail.

Image Credit & Copyright: Randall Shivak and Alan Friedman

View original

Solar Eclipse | Safe Viewing Methods

Originally posted on JAR Blog...:

The current visible satellite images show many areas of the country will have clear conditions late this afternoon. Click on this link to see what might be in store for you. Online viewing is available at Slooh, and at several sites listed here by Sky & Telescope.

Here are two completely safe viewing methods for this evening’s solar eclipse. Push a thick pin, thin toothpick, or pencil point through an index card or piece of foil. Try to make the hole very round and not too big. Hold the pinhole two or three feet from a white surface so it projects sunlight onto it. Tape the card onto something so it is not moving.

Make a box viewer with the same pinhole technique. This will improve the contrast of the image. The link in the caption of the picture above has an…

View original 19 more words

Solar Eclipse | 23 Oct | Partial Near Sunset

Originally posted on JAR Blog...:

Late in the day on Thursday October 23rd, the Moon will pass in front of the Sun and obstruct part of it. This partial eclipse will occur at sunset on the east coast. Nearly all of the states will have the opportunity to see a crescent shape to the Sun. Southern states will see about 40% of the Sun eclipsed. Northern will see over 60% eclipsed.

Below this graphic is an excellent video from the staff of Science@NASA which explains more about the eclipse and some interesting things to try to see. Now all we need is good weather. I will talk to my sources to see if it can be arranged.

Additional details can be found at this article from the editors of Sky & Telescope. I suggest you take a look.

SolEclip_10_2014

Sky & Telescope | Leah Tiscione

View original

Chicken Posole Stew

Loosely based on traditional posole recipes, my rich chicken stew takes advantage of summer ingredients. But because so many summer ingredients freeze well, you can enjoy this hearty soup any time of year.

DSCN2860

When I cook soup, I have ONE rule: use approximately as much liquid as solid. That has a fudge factor, of course. Use less liquid when you want it thicker and more when you want it thinner. This simple rule has served me very well, and served my household many years of delicious soups.

The “recipe” below is very loose, filled with approximations and guesses. I did not measure anything here. Using the rule above, it has somewhat less liquid than solid.

Chicken Posole Stew
3/4 – 1 pound cooked chicken, diced into small bites
4 – 6 cups chicken stock
(I roasted my chicken on Tuesday and made my stock from the carcass.)
1 carrot diced
1 onion diced small
(My onion was a summer CSA onion, diced and frozen.)
1/2 zucchini diced
1/2 yellow squash diced
2 medium tomatoes peeled, seeded, and diced, with juice if possible
(My tomatoes were from our garden, processed and frozen. You could use a can of diced tomatoes instead, including the juice.)
1 cup corn and black bean salsa
(This was also from the summer — fresh from the field sweet corn and tomatoes. You could substitute jarred salsa, or frozen corn separately. Or leave it out.)
2 hot peppers seeded and diced tiny
(I used a jalapeno and a Hungarian pepper, both from our garden and frozen. You could use a bell pepper but you’d lose the zing.)
1 can white hominy, drained

In large pot heat fat (I used bacon grease and a little canola oil) to saute carrot. Add onion, zucchini and squash, tomatoes, corn salsa, and peppers. Add chicken stock and let it hang out, simmering until the vegetables soften. Add diced chicken and drained hominy. Heat until hot through.

Note — I didn’t add any other seasonings. I didn’t add salt. I didn’t add pepper. I didn’t add cumin or oregano or cilantro or anything. You could. But taste it first to see if you really want it. If you like it hot, you might want another jalapeno, or even two.

Serve with corn bread. Make sure you have lots of butter and honey available for the corn bread. You may want a beer with it, too!