Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cabbage Leaves Replace Aluminum Foil in Cooking Salmon

Cabbage leaves covered Salmon for baking

Trying to minimize the aluminum foil we use in cooking, my lovely wife tried Savoy Cabbage leaves for covering a 3-pound salmon baked in a pyrex dish, with a few chopped veggies.

It worked! It worked great! The salmon was tender, tasty and perfect.

In the photo, the leaves may be a funny shade of brown but remember, we weren't planning to eat them (we don't eat the foil after all). I'll probably toss them in the crock pot anyway.

This is only a minor savings, but every little bit helps. We can grow cabbage a lot easier than we can mine and refine aluminum!

Previously, we cut out using aluminum to edge piecrusts by getting a pie ring: Pie for the Apple of Your Eye

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Planted This Week

This week I planted:
  • Vincula (complete plants) among the boulders. These came from a neighbor a few blocks over (on our route to the busstop) who had evidently cleaned out a patch and left a big bunch on the sidewalk with the sign "FREE"!  I hope these will displace some of the grass and be more attractive.
  • Sunflower (seeds). These are the little sunflowers you get by planting sunflower birdseed. My experience last year is that they grow into a variety of sizes, none huge but all nice flowers that the birds enjoy pulling the seeds out of. I spread some next to the fence where they'll be no trouble.
  • A Tasty Cup Of WatercressWatercress (complete plants). Kris bought some live. They're "planted" in a couple of slightly chipped coffee cups half-full of rainwater.
  • Dill (seeds) in pans of dirt to be transplanted when they are big enough, and the remainder among the boulders. This packet came from the seed swap at Seattle Community College where we stopped at Saturday. We bought a few bucks worth of stuff, but this packet was in the free pile of "last year's seeds" so it's a complete gamble. Dill's pretty tough so I imagine it won't mind the boulder/dirt environment.
  • Bulbs from my sister Kat's. Frankly, I don't know what they are. One recent holiday (maybe Christmas?) she just handed some over. I put them in pots on the deck so they can come with us when we move.
  • Cantelope. This is a total gamble. I unfortunately forgot the cantelope I'd bought last week, and it went squishy. I halved it with my shovel and buried it in two places near the fence. Hopefully at least one of the seeds will turn into a nice surprise for whoever rents this place after us! At the worst, we have merely enriched the soil.
That's it for now, but there's a lot more to come! The above were free or almost-free, which is always nice, but we also ordered a huge batch of heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds  - all old varities, pre-GMO and dating from the time when taste and nutrition mattered more than shippability. We may have gone a little teensy bit overboard quantity-wise, but we'll plant something from each pack and swap the rest. We had so much fun with our small container gardens last year, and expect this coming year to be even better.

When we move to the Hummingbird House down the street, we'll leave behind everything but what's in pots, but we like to keep the grounds up and we'll enjoy seeing the results every time we walk by!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ben Salmon: Working-Class Religious Conscientious Objector

I don't have this guy's stones but I definitely have to admit his courage AND fortitude. Having heard about him on Thom Hartmann's listerner blog, I did some quick research:
Ben Salmon (1889-1932) was a World War 1 conscientious objector who completed a lengthy critique of his Roman Catholic Church's Just War Doctrine while in prison.

Salmon was born and raised in a working-class Catholic family, and became an office clerk with the Colorado and Southern Railroad. Outraged by the Ludlow Massacre, he become more active in populist causes such as unionism and the single tax. When President Woodrow Wilson ordered a draft, Salmon was one of a small number of Americans to refuse to cooperate.

Salmon was arrested in January 1918 for refusing to complete a Selective Service questionnaire. While out on bail, he was re-arrested for refusing to report for induction. He was locked in guardhouse for refusing to wear uniform and work in the yard. Despite not having been inducted, he was court-martialed at Camp Dodge, Iowa on July 24, 1918, charged with desertion and with spreading propaganda. He was sentenced to death, but later re-sentenced to 25 years in prison at hard labor. After World War 1 ended, his imprisonment continued, so he took up a hunger strike "for liberty or death". The government claimed that his fast was a symptom of mental illness and sent him to a ward reserved for the "criminally insane" at St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the Insane in Washington, D.C.

While in custody, and despite having only a grade school education, Salmon wrote a lengthy and systematic critique of just war teaching, probably the first American Catholic to do to so.
The fledgling ACLU eventually took up his case, and the tide of public opinion, post-war, favored the release of conscientious objectors. Salmon was pardoned and released in 1920, and given a dishonorable discharge from the military service he had never joined.

Upon his release, Salmon led a quiet life with his family but his prison ordeal, which included beatings and force-feedings, had permanently damaged his health. He died of pneumonia in 1932.

Salmon cited his religious faith as the reason for his utter pacifism and refusal to cooperate in the business of war. In this he suffered initial opposition from his local church leaders and prison chaplins, who refused to administer to him the Sacraments, even in prison (one brave priest who relented and gave him communion was disciplined for this act!) Today, however, he has been cited as an inspiration for other religious pacifists, such as Father Daniel Berrigan.
I put the above into a little wikipedia biography and hope better scholars can clean it up. When you look at the details in the references, it's quite a ripping yarn.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Evolution's Problem of Transitional Forms

A evolutionary biologist walks into a bar, and the bartender says, "Whaddya having?"

The scientist says
Let us say that we have two species S0 and S1, and it is clear to everyone and his dog that S0 evolved into S1. However, creationists insist there's no "transitional form". So we go over the evidence, to see if there's a pattern.

Problem #1: Creationists say that there is no transitional form between S0 and S1.
Solution #1: We find a fossil transitional form between S0 and S1 is found, which we call S0.5

Problem #2:  Creationists say that there is no transitional form between S0 and S0.5, or between S0.5 and S1.
Solution #2: We find fossil transitional forms, which we call S0.25 and S0.75

Problem #3: Creationists say that  there is no transitional form between S0 and S0.25, or between S0.25 and S0.5, or between S0.5 and S0.75., or between S0.75 and S1.
Solution #3: We find fossil transitional forms, which we call S0.125, S0.375,S0.625, and S0.875.

Problem #4: The more fossils we find, the more Creationists bitch about the lack of transitional forms.
Solution #4: We go get ripping drunk.

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