Strange Fruits: Apple Galls and Their Kin

IMG_4241OakGall480There was a time when I would have posted this as a "nature puzzler" and opened it up to blog-reader ID or best-guesses.There aren't enough folks around anymore to make that any fun, so I'll just tell you what one or two of you already know: this is the gall produced by a gall wasp. It is called an oak gall (for its usual host tree species it grows on) or an apple gall (for its vague similarity to that fruit.)These are typically more often found later in the year after … Continue Reading ››

Story-Telling: The Foundation of Nations

Every civilization since the Stone Age has had a story about itself--to explain where the world and mankind and nature came from, what the future would hold and how to navigate safely and as comfortably as possible towards that future.Our current Big Story is now the Old Story. It is no longer capable of getting us to a livable future. It says that our national health is measured by what we use up (GDP) and that if our consumer economy stops growing (converting "nature's" resources into stuff) then humanity will wither and die. It separates the human economy¬† from Earth … Continue Reading ››

Canola: Rapeseed Oil By Any Other Name

No small wonder, before supercharging the world-wide marketing of this cultivar of Brassica napa, that the Canucks would want to change its name from "rapeseed oil" to Canola--Canada Oil.So much for the power of words, even though the term RAPE in this case is Latin for TURNIP.This turnip oil was once spurned by the health-conscious for its high levels of heart-damaging erucic acid in the native rapeseed. Even so it has been used for thousands of years for animal feed and such. It has more recently been genetically modified by direct gene replacement (hence it is a genetically modified organism … Continue Reading ››

Tell Congress: Don’t Sell Food Labeling Rights to THOSE GUYS

The illustrious US Congress is (again) being used as a blunt instrument against their constituents, wielded (again) by Big (fill-in-the-blank) In this case, Big Ag.I'm not perhaps as alarmed by the health risks of foods whose genes were modified "from the outside" rather than by selective breeding as has been done for millennia. But I am opposed to corporate control over even the knowledge of consumers of the ingredients of the things they put into our children (if we let them.)And I am very much opposed to proprietary tyranny over seeds and fertilizers used to grow Continue Reading ››

Photos and Front Porch Musing from Floyd County Virginia