Monday, September 27, 2010
I learned all these fascinating but quite unsettling things about our rejectamenta (isn't that a great word??). The most significant thing I learned is that while recycling is fine and dandy (it makes us feel good about ourselves), the most meaningful step we can take to reduce our garbage problem is to stop buying and acquiring stuff. (This makes me feel so much better about the slightly worn towels I can't bring myself to toss out.)
Did you ever suspect, as I did, that the carefully separated glass bottles and aluminum cans in your recycling bin ended up in the same place with the Chinese food containers you tossed into your trash? Depending on where you live that may be the case.
Did you ever wonder as you (I'm sorry) flushed the toilet where the contents went? If you lived in Boston up until 1990 the contents ended up being dumped into the Atlantic Ocean.
Did you ever wonder where all the hospitals sent their used bandages and surgical supplies? In most places the answer is "to the landfill," along with your Chinese food containers and your beer and wine bottles.
And of course some of our trash ends up on barges moving around the globe looking for poor countries that will take it off our hands.
One Ghanaian artist, El Anatsui, found a way to recycle some stuff. He made this piece of art called Dusasa II (2007) using found aluminum, copper wire, and plastic disks. It now hangs in the Met in NY. Not exactly a cost-effective plan for the rest of the planet but at least THAT stuff isn't sitting at the bottom of a 500-foot landfill in Ghana.
And the author doesn't address this problem, but if we all stopped acquiring rejectamenta wouldn't the manufacturing structure holding up much of the world's economy collapse?? These things worry me.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The bees seem to be fine, but I haven't done a hive inspection in weeks so who knows what's going on in there. It's been good that I haven't checked much as the summer wore on because the less the bees are bothered by the human involved the better they'll be. Possible threats that I could look for include mites, small hive beetles, foulbrood, and wax moths. I'll think about that soon, and then I'll have to decide if I'll take any action if I DO find any pests. I may not.
I started with 5 frames of bees and I now have 40 frames of bees, brood, and honey (well, sugar water honey for the most part). I haven't seen the queen for a long time but she appears to be doing a great job laying those eggs so hats off to The Queen! My goal this year was simply to end up going into the winter with a high population of bees and enough food to get them through till spring.
I'm feeding them a lot and the girls are sucking down more than a gallon of sugar water a day. I guess I'll just keep feeding them until...until what? It gets too cold to open the hive? So much I don't know.
I love beekeeping but am not sure I'm well-suited to it temperamentally. I worry too much. It's an activity that takes a lot of patience and optimism, neither of which I have in abundance. And I am highly suggestible, so when I read about potential problems I imagine that I have them all. I'll keep them over the winter and if they survive, I may donate them to another beekeeper in the spring.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Top: Looking roughly southwest across Central Park from the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 5th Avenue at 82nd Street. We walked around and inside an elaborate under-construction bamboo exhibit on the rooftop of the gallery. I could try to describe it but my words wouldn't do it justice. This is a good description.
The trip was to visit with The Daughter, check out her odd little apartment in the east 90s, meet her roommate, and see her very small school, which is housed in an old elegant be-chandeliered building just down the street from the Met, at the corner of 78th and 5th. I didn't get a good picture of the building (The Daughter: "no mom, please don't stop to take a picture there") but at least I got one quick shot from the corner (bottom).
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
My reliable old friends the 4 o'clocks. It was not a great growing summer for me, but these perennials have been in bloom for months.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Every day I read something else that makes me swoon over the miracle of honeybees. Here's today's fascinating (to me) report from one of the members of the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association:
"Bees don't freeze, as shown by the late Ed Southwick at SUNY Brockport when he put a hive in a freezer at -80 degrees C with temperature probes to record that they keep the brood nest at 92-93 degrees F as long as they can reach the honey stores."
[Another opportunity to post a picture of cute sleeping kittens.]
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
It remains my biggest mystery plant. (Update 10/10/10: Carolyn says boneset and I agree. This will be its last year in my veggie garden.)
On my other blog I posted earlier this year about this plant in an attempt to find out what it is. I'm almost certain it's not boneset (leaves aren't right) or Joe Pye weed (I've found no evidence of a pure white Joe Pye weed) or rudbekia (flowers all wrong). All I know is that I didn't plant it, it got enormous, pollinators love it, and it blocked the sun from half of my garden. I planted some cardinal creeper seeds that I saved from last year, and I like the look of their red flowers and lacey vine leaves creeping throughout the white blossoms and foliage of the mystery plant. What is it??? My earlier post on mylovelyweeds is here, along with the guesses a few people made. Anyone else have any ideas? There's lots of it in the park next door, bottom picture, so it's not rare, at least around here. Mine is so much bigger than those in the park. Probably my worm castings. Not my castings, the worms' castings.
Monday, September 6, 2010
According to Robin Nagle, Professor of Anthropology at NYU, "Every single thing you see is future trash. EVERYTHING."
Even these sweet clapboard and detached houses in Georgetown, where most houses are brick and attached. The above observation about trash came from this article that I stumbled across this weekend. I'm fascinated by dirt and garbage, and so is this professor. I missed my calling. I now know that I really wanted to be a garbalogist.
Nagle says "we are surrounded by ephemera, but we can’t acknowledge that, because it’s kind of scary, because I think ultimately it points to our own temporariness, to thoughts that we’re all going to die."
She trying to get NYC to create a Museum of Sanitation.
The beekeeping continues, I guess successfully. I have a lot of bees and I think that's my only goal in the first year. It's an odd hobby. It plays mind games with me. Drives me to a certain kind of worry that I don't particularly enjoy.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Top, from left to right: Christine (niece), Emese (Christine's older daughter), Lucy (kitty cat), Elaine (sister in law), and Ildiko (Christine's younger daughter). The little girls have Hungarian names because their dad, Viktor, is Hungarian.
Bottom: Ildie and I. Babies and kitties. What could be more delicious?