Friday, February 27, 2009

Surgeries, Spring, Bees and Life

Today my Mom had her second eye surgery in a month.  We were there at the crack of wait...we were there way before dawn!  We left the hospital around 10 am and then returned to her home.  She is not allowed to bend over, pick anything up or exert herself in anyway so I spent a quiet day at her house fixing her meals and caring for her.  She slept most of the day which allowed me to work on my Soap Making book.  I made a lot of progress. It is amazing how much I can accomplish when my children are busy elsewhere!  I am sorry I'm behind on has just taken a few unexpected turns lately!

For those of you who have placed orders the last 24 hours, thank you!  I'm sorry I wasn't here today.  I won't be back from the Dr. with my Mom before the post office closes tomorrow so I will get those orders packed tomorrow and sent out first thing Monday morning! Look for a little something extra to thank you for your grace and patience! I like to send orders out within 48 hours but I'm afraid I won't make it this time.

I was hoping to have my calendar done by now took a back seat to life and taxes are due soon.  So, I will be posting the "to do" list from the March page of my calendar on March the first.  I will be your gardening drill sergeant until I get this calendar redone.  Come on folks - everyone needs to have a garden this year...hard times are coming...start some place.  Perhaps it is an acre garden and perhaps it's just a couple of pots on the balcony of an apartment.  Each thing you grow is one thing you don't have to buy.  (I know...I'm not participating in the "stimulate the economy" scam that is going around. ;) ).  So, pick up those shovels..."A-Ten Hut!"

Spring is close....we have had some beautiful days in the 50s quickly followed by snow flurries but I know it's close.  I was checking the tail ligaments on our pregnant goats today - and babies are getting closer.  We haven't had babies the last few years and I am eagerly anticipating them this year.  Goat babies are our favorite animal baby - just SO cute and cuddly!  There will be plenty of pictures I can assure you! Here are some from years past...

Babies in the barn!

Babies in the house!

Yes, dear readers, there was a goat in my house.  Over the course of our years here, I have had chickens, roosters, bunnies, turtles, birds (wild), and goats in my home....and in my car.  Actually, I've even had a calf in my car!  I'm sure I've forgotten some other animal...evidently there is a HUGE sign on our roof alerting all sick and wounded animals that there's a free lunch and free meds if they drop in on this farm.

A couple of weeks ago, Josiah and I attended a local gardening meeting because the head of our local beekeeping association  was speaking.  We want to raise bees this year but we want to make sure we do things right.  She invited us to the next beekeeping meeting and told us they would be giving three "beehive kits" away.  Josiah marked it on his calendar and last Monday we attended the meeting.  It was packed...evidently lots of people heard about the free beehive kits.  They decided to do a raffle and guess what?


The second number they drew was Josiah's number.  He had to sign a contract promising his life's blood lots of things (membership in the local and state club, working with a mentor, attending a course and more) but all of those things are in place to help him become a good steward of his bees.  This kit contains every thing he needs except the bees.  There is a hive body and all the things to put it together, frames, foundation, a hive tool, a whamma-dyne smoker, hat with veil, gloves and even a book on keeping bees.  They even provided the nails! This was one excited kid!  He prayed and saw his heavenly Father bless him once again.  What a testimony of continual provision he has experienced from his heavenly Father! He was even more excited when the person who volunteered to be his mentor turned out to be the head of the beekeeping club...she is a professional beekeeper and has over 35 years experience.  I think she has around 100 hives! When it was announced, a gentleman leaned over to Josiah and told him he got "the gold standard".  We are looking forward to our first visit from Miss Sarah as she helps us determine a good place to set up his hives.

His Grandma had promised to give him his first package of bees.  Then a dear friend called and insisted on blessing him with a second package of bees.  Josiah was over the top excited!  I don't think I have seen him that excited in a long time.  A package of bees looks like this..

Bees...and lots of 'em!

I do not like that they come in this flimsy little screen box.  I do not like it when they crawl, I do not like it when they buzz.  No siree, Sam I am, I do not like it at all!  Bees can escape from that box as you drive home from the bee store.  Even worse, bees not only CAN escape, they DO escape.  You are then trapped in a closed vehicle for an hour with angry bees who always want to investigate your face while you are driving.....I HATE THAT PART!!!  I would have them come in steel boxes with little, teensy, weensy, air holes...of course they would probably bake to death BUT my face would be safe!!  It seems that their favorite place to land is on my eyes UNDER my glasses.  Tell me true...would I look strange driving down the road wearing that beekeeping hat and veil?  Ask me if I care!

So, if you are in my area in a few weeks and see someone driving erratically down the road, waving their hands and ducking, wearing a funny hat and's probably me!  Steer DO NOT want to hit my vehicle with 6,000 bees on board!

More on our spring preparations that are going on soon!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A sweet reader writes...

I have had a few comments and some emails suggesting the same thing that Rachel does:

Why not run some kind of a sale or a donation drive to help pay those fees right away. I bet a lot of your readers would like to help you out, Mama.

I can't tell you how much this touched my heart and humbled me....thank you.

In my 50+ years, I have been blessed enough to be able to reach out and bless others.  I still do this as I am is one of the greatest joys in my walk with Christ.  One of the biggest challenges for me this last year, has been having those roles reversed.  I struggle with this (pride perhaps?) even though my elders have encouraged me that the roles will reverse again one day.  It is humbling and I am ever grateful to those of you who have reached out to the boys and I...truly I have seen brothers and sisters in Christ band together to be the hands and feet of Christ in our time of need.  My boys have been privileged, at young ages, to see the body bless us in many ways.

I so appreciate Rachel's suggestion about the donation drive, but I must confess that I am uncomfortable with that for me. I want to say up front that nothing I am about to say applies to anyone else but me.  Please do not take offense if you choose differently.  I am just not comfortable placing a donation link here.  I understand your heart....and it is such a lovely thought...but I just don't think it would be the right thing to do...for me. If you choose to place a donation link on your website, please be assured that I will not be offended.  I just don't have peace to do that for me.

Several dear readers have emailed to ask how they could  help.  Prayer is the first thing that comes to mind.  As our Father puts us on your heart, I would be so appreciative if you would pray for us...especially my boys.  Next, if you are a lover of handmade, natural soap, please consider visiting our website or if you are already a customer, please consider telling others if you are happy with my products.  Perhaps you might consider linking to my blog or website from yours?  From my limited understanding of the vast Internet world...this might be a helpful thing.  If you shop for dried herbs, Christian books, or you frequent Amazon's store, perhaps you would consider going to those sites through the links in my sidebar.  By clicking through me, I receive a small compensation and it doesn't cost you anything.

A few of you have very generously, and graciously, offered or sent a financial blessing as you have felt the Lord directing you.  These were most gratefully and humbly received. The notes attached always  remind me that the gift is from our Father and that you were only the mode of delivery He chose to use.  I am overwhelmed at your obedience to what you believe the Father is directing you to do and at His provision in our lives...always when we are most in need....but then....He knows that doesn't He?    When I look at my ever growing legal fees, I can become discouraged.  However, I have an attorney that has been extremely gracious to allow me to make payments and he just continues to tack on the additional fees, as they come, at the end.  I joke that we will have a long-standing relationship!  When I find myself is usually because my eyes have left my Father and are dwelling on my circumstances instead. As one dear friend reminds me (and I need to hear it!), "Remember who your source is!".  My Father is my source - and He uses many tools to accomplish His will.

You, dear readers, are a continual reminder to me that my circumstances are right, smack-dab in the middle of my Father's hands....and He always provides.

I want you to also understand that we still consider ourselves very blessed.  We have a home, food to eat and clothes to wear.  We may not have many extras but we have found that truly, while extras are nice, they aren't necessary.

Your many notes of encouragement, scriptures sent, stories shared and prayers offered on our behalf these last few days have been an incredible outpouring of love, encouragement and blessing to me.  I have shed tears and laughed out loud.  Thank you all!

It just makes me wonder...if the body of Christ operates with such love and compassion here....I can only imagine what life will be like when we all stand together before Yahweh and worship him in spirit and truth!

Much love and many thanks from my family to yours...we pray that our Father would pour out His blessings on each and every one of you!

Cheri and "the boys"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Humbly asking for your prayers this morning....


Friday, February 20, 2009

Celebration of Love

Valentine's was wonderful. I worked that morning and came home to a few surprises. I had offered to cook dinner for family and friends. It was an easy day teaching so I was able to get home earlier in the afternoon than usual and found a lovely surprise had been delivered!
Beautiful tulips!

I had been admiring all the spring flowers arriving at the stores but just couldn't afford to purchase them.   It's been a long time since flowers were delivered to my home!   These were so lovely and very appreciated!

I made a huge salad with home made croutons, organic lettuces, organic raisins, and lots of other goodies.


I made a Raspberry vinaigrette, a homemade ranch dressing and an Asian/sweet and sour dressing...along with our standard Italian that we always have on hand.  If ya'll are interested, I'll do a post soon on making your own salad dressings...just leave me a comment and let me know.  They are so delicious, so easy and so much better for you than store bought!

I had thawed a package of our T-Bone steaks from our grass fed cow the day before.  I placed them in a marinade and let them work all night and all day.  They cut like butter and the taste was delicious.  One of my guests insisted that this would have cost over $25.00 each in a fine restaurant!

Grass Fed Beef!

I served these T-Bones with the salad, baked potatoes with fresh chives and heavenly yeast rolls that this lady taught me to make (it only took a year to learn!)

While I was working that morning, Josiah made some Valentine cookies for dessert and one of my guests brought some gorgeous strawberries that were hand-dipped in chocolate.  If you look closely on the table you can find them!  I can't begin to tell you how yummy they were!

Our beautiful table!

You also might notice a green checkered cloth on the table.  Elijah had confiscated some of Josiah's cookie dough and created something special just for me.  It was hidden under that cover until we got to desert.  Special heart shaped cookies and a pretty smiley face!

My children also presented me with handmade cards and notes that blessed my socks off.  I just have to share a part of one of seems that their letters always make me cry!
"Mother, of which I am so proud and love so much that I can't show it all...      1 Peter 3:4 "Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of Yahweh"

Mom, in the sight of me you are more precious than life itself!"

Someone please pass me a tissue!


Thursday, February 19, 2009


I'm just saying....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Get a red envelope.....

My sons have participated in silent protests over've seen it on the news...young people standing silently on courthouse steps with red tape across their mouths.  On the red tape, L I F E is written in large black letters.

There is another silent protest against abortion going on....all across the nation....and we can all be a part.  All you need is a red envelope (or many of them) and a stamp.

Visit The Red Envelope Project, read the story and participate if you are so led.   I know that we will be sending quite a few.  The goal is 50 million red envelopes - one for each murdered child.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Willi

The affectionate nickname for a very special group of people also known as the Willis family.  We met the Willis family last year and our hearts were immediately engaged.  It is amazing to me that we could come to love and feel close to this family so quickly and deeply.  It has to be a working on the part of our Father.  Sometimes the boys and I will talk about how long it's been since we've seen them..."seems like months" and we realize it has only been a week or two.  When we spend a day together the time flies...hours turn into what seems like minutes.  We share many common likes, experiences and I suppose this contributes to our heart-strings to this family but I still think it's a work of our Father.

You may remember that I talked about this family producing a CD - the children are all very musical, very talented singers and the players of many instruments.  Last year they asked Jeremy if he would be willing to play drums for some of the songs on their first CD.  You can read about that experience here.

I'm so excited to be able to tell you that their finished CD arrived this week!

The Willi

I encourage you to visit their website and listen to the tracks.....I am sure you will be blessed.  And contrary to some of the contemporary Christian music world, I can assure you that this family walks their talk.  Their lives are a testimony to our Savior. We've seen it, we've experienced it and we've been blessed by it.

The Tattered Old Flag should be played on the radio, at fairs, festivals, 4th of July celebrations and perhaps, most importantly, on the floor of Congress.  It is inspiring!

If you decide you'd like to purchase their CD, you can do so here. We did and have listened to it non-stop for the last few days.  It is encouraging, uplifting, worshipful....I think you will be blessed by this family's music...just as we have been!

Let me know what you think!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Where's the beef?

At our's in the freezer!  How thankful we are for our home grown beef!  I don't buy lunch meats.  I used was a staple in our lunch menu rotation.  There are many reasons I don't buy lunch meats.  Price is a factor but is probably on the bottom of the list.  I began to research the preservatives, chemicals, dyes (yes they are dyed!) and decided that it just wasn't worth it.   My boys have a lot of reactions to chemicals, dyes and preservatives.  My youngest is probably the most sensitive.  I wonder if it is because our diet had become so much more healthy before he was born that he hasn't had the exposure to the bad stuff that the others have had...perhaps that is why he is more sensitive.

Just because we don't buy lunch meats, doesn't mean we don't love a turkey sandwich or a roast beef hoagie.  It just means we go about it a little differently than ya'll might.  If we want a turkey or roast beef sandwich, we cook a turkey or a roast.  We don't usually cook them just for the sandwiches...when we cook a turkey, I always take a part of the meat and save it aside for turkey sandwiches.  I do the same with a roast.  Although, I have been known to cook one of our roasts just for lunch fact, I just did that last week.

I thawed a sirloin tip roast last week and roasted it to medium rare. I had Jeremy assemble our slicer, which I bought at a Costco "going out of business sale" for $15.00  Such a deal!  Once out of the oven, I allowed it to cool to room temp and then refrigerated it overnight.  For some reason, they always slice better when cold.  I sliced the WHOLE thing!

Here is a portion of my reward!

Home grown, grass fed beef!

There were several plates heaped with this wonderful beef! Next to it is a Boursin type cheese.  Wonderful made with raw cow or goat's milk but you could achieve the same thing by adding garlic and herbs to cream cheese and whipping it.

I wanted to saute some onions and peppers for our hoagie sandwiches.  I freeze peppers each year from our garden.  I slice them before I freeze them so they are quickly available for fajitas.  I raided the freezer for a bag of peppers.

Home grown sweet bell peppers!

Don't they just make your mouth water?  They are so wonderful.  I've gone through them quicker this year than normal so this summer we will increase the number of sweet bell pepper plants in our garden.

I grabbed one of my Grandma's cast iron skillets and sauteed the peppers with some onions and a little home churned butter....yum!


Evidently I was too excited to eat this wonderful meal because I neglected to take a picture of the finished hoagies but I can assure you we devoured them.  A toasted hoagie, a little cheese, peppers & onions and our beef...sigh....a glass of sweet tea and it's heaven on earth!

I also take the roast, slice it very thick and then cut it into strips for fajitas.  I usually do some chicken at the same time.  I combine the strips of roast and chicken into portions and freeze them.  I then have a "fast" meal for times when I need one.  Sauteed in a little soy sauce, brown sugar and!  All you need are the toppings and dinner is on the table.

What are ya'll's favorite home grown meals?


Sunday, February 8, 2009

No Stimulus

It may not be too late...please read and sign here if you agree...


Friday, February 6, 2009

50 Facts You Need to Know!

"Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it"   Cullen Hightower

Stimulate the economy?  Perhaps we can more accurately say, stimulate the pork!  Read through this....ignore the "Democrat vs. Republican" and the "Right Wing vs. the Left Wing".  They are all the same to me.  I think Chuck Baldwin has it right...we need to ignore the party lines and ask are they globalists or Americans.  Are they seeking to strengthen the sovereignty of this once great nation or are they seeking the "New World Order?"  Find out...then vote accordingly next election.  It is time to "clean" House...and Senate!  Chuck Baldwin's article follows tomorrow.
50 De-Stimulating Facts
Chapter and verse on a bad bill.
By Stephen Spruiell & Kevin Williamson

Senate Democrats acknowledged Wednesday that they do not have the votes to pass the stimulus bill in its current form. This is unexpected good news. The House passed the stimulus package with zero Republican votes (and even a few Democratic defections), but few expected Senate Republicans (of whom there are only 41) to present a unified front. A few moderate Democrats have reportedly joined them.

The idea that the government can spend the economy out of a recession is highly questionable, and even with Senate moderates pushing for changes, the current package is unlikely to see much improvement. Nevertheless, this presents an opportunity to remove some of the most egregious spending, to shrink some programs, and to add guidelines where the initial bill called for a blank check. Here are 50 of the most outrageous items in the stimulus package:

The easiest targets in the stimulus bill are the ones that were clearly thrown in as a sop to one liberal cause or another, even though the proposed spending would have little to no stimulative effect. The National Endowment for the Arts, for example, is in line for $50 million, increasing its total budget by a third. The unemployed can fill their days attending abstract-film festivals and sitar concerts.

Then there are the usual welfare-expansion programs that sound nice but repeatedly fail cost-benefit analyses. The bill provides $380 million to set up a rainy-day fund for a nutrition program that serves low-income women and children, and $300 million for grants to combat violence against women. Laudable goals, perhaps, but where’s the economic stimulus? And the bill would double the amount spent on federal child-care subsidies. Brian Riedl, a budget expert with the Heritage Foundation, quips, “Maybe it’s to help future Obama cabinet secretaries, so that they don’t have to pay taxes on their nannies.”

Perhaps spending $6 billion on university building projects will put some unemployed construction workers to work, but how does a $15 billion expansion of the Pell Grant program meet the standard of “temporary, timely, and targeted”? Another provision would allocate an extra $1.2 billion to a “youth” summer-jobs program—and increase the age-eligibility limit from 21 to 24. Federal job-training programs—despite a long track record of failure—come in for $4 billion total in additional funding through the stimulus.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a liberal wish list if it didn’t include something for ACORN, and sure enough, there is $5.2 billion for community-development block grants and “neighborhood stabilization activities,” which ACORN is eligible to apply for. Finally, the bill allocates $650 million for activities related to the switch from analog to digital TV, including $90 million to educate “vulnerable populations” that they need to go out and get their converter boxes or lose their TV signals. Obviously, this is stimulative stuff: Any economist will tell you that you can’t get higher productivity and economic growth without access to reruns of Family Feud.

$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
$380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children program
$300 million for grants to combat violence against women
$2 billion for federal child-care block grants
$6 billion for university building projects
$15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college scholarships
$4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion for “youths” up to the age of 24
$1 billion for community-development block grants
$4.2 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities”
$650 million for digital-TV coupons; $90 million to educate “vulnerable populations”

The stimulus package’s tax provisions are poorly designed and should be replaced with something closer to what the Republican Study Committee in the House has proposed. Obama would extend some of the business tax credits included in the stimulus bill Congress passed about a year ago, and this is good as far as it goes. The RSC plan, however, also calls for a cut in the corporate-tax rate that could be expected to boost wages, lower prices, and increase profits, stimulating economic activity across the board.

The RSC plan also calls for a 5 percent across-the-board income-tax cut, which would increase productivity by providing additional incentives to save, work, and invest. An across-the-board payroll-tax cut might make even more sense, especially for low- to middle-income workers who don’t make enough to pay income taxes. Obama’s “Making Work Pay” tax credit is aimed at helping these workers, but it uses a rebate check instead of a rate cut. Rebate checks are not effective stimulus, as we discovered last spring: They might boost consumption, a little, but that’s all they do.

Finally, the RSC proposal provides direct tax relief to strapped families by expanding the child tax credit, reducing taxes on parents’ investment in the next generation of taxpayers. Obama’s expansion of the child tax credit is not nearly as ambitious. Overall, his plan adds up to a lot of forgone revenue without much stimulus to show for it. Senators should push for the tax relief to be better designed.

$15 billion for business-loss carry-backs
$145 billion for “Making Work Pay” tax credits
$83 billion for the earned income credit

Even as their budgets were growing robustly during the Bush administration, many federal agencies couldn’t find the money to keep up with repairs—at least that’s the conclusion one is forced to draw from looking at the stimulus bill. Apparently the entire capital is a shambles. Congress has already removed $200 million to fix up the National Mall after word of that provision leaked out and attracted scorn. But one fixture of the mall—the Smithsonian—dodged the ax: It’s slated to receive $150 million for renovations.

The stimulus package is packed with approximately $7 billion worth of federal building projects, including $34 million to fix up the Commerce Department, $500 million for improvements to National Institutes of Health facilities, and $44 million for repairs at the Department of Agriculture. The Agriculture Department would also get $350 million for new computers—the better to calculate all the new farm subsidies in the bill (see “Pure pork” below).

One theme in this bill is superfluous spending items coated with green sugar to make them more palatable. Both NASA and NOAA come in for appropriations that properly belong in the regular budget, but this spending apparently qualifies for the stimulus bill because part of the money from each allocation is reserved for climate-change research. For instance, the bill grants NASA $450 million, but it states that the agency must spend at least $200 million on “climate-research missions,” which raises the question: Is there global warming in space?

The bottom line is that there is a way to fund government agencies, and that is the federal budget, not an “emergency” stimulus package. As Riedl puts it, “Amount allocated to the Census Bureau? $1 billion. Jobs created? None.”

$150 million for the Smithsonian
$34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters
$500 million for improvement projects for National Institutes of Health facilities
$44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture headquarters
$350 million for Agriculture Department computers
$88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building
$448 million for constructing a new Homeland Security Department headquarters
$600 million to convert the federal auto fleet to hybrids
$450 million for NASA (carve-out for “climate-research missions”)
$600 million for NOAA (carve-out for “climate modeling”)
$1 billion for the Census Bureau

— Stephen Spruiell is a staff reporter for National Review Online. Kevin Williamson is a deputy managing editor of National Review.

A big chunk of the stimulus package is designed not to create wealth but to spread it around. It contains $89 billion in Medicaid extensions and $36 billion in expanded unemployment benefits—and this is in addition to the state-budget bailout (see “Rewarding state irresponsibility” below).

The Medicaid extension is structured as a temporary increase in the federal match, but make no mistake: Like many spending increases in the stimulus package, this one has a good chance of becoming permanent. As for extending unemployment benefits through the downturn, it might be a good idea for other reasons, but it wouldn’t stimulate economic growth: It would provide an incentive for job-seekers to delay reentry into the workforce.

$89 billion for Medicaid
$30 billion for COBRA insurance extension
$36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
$20 billion for food stamps

The problem with trying to spend $1 trillion quickly is that you end up wasting a lot of it. Take, for instance, the proposed $4.5 billion addition to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget. Not only does this effectively double the Corps’ budget overnight, but it adds to the Corps’ $3.2 billion unobligated balance—money that has been appropriated, but that the Corps has not yet figured out how to spend. Keep in mind, this is an agency that is often criticized for wasting taxpayers’ money. “They cannot spend that money wisely,” says Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “I don’t even think they can spend that much money unwisely.”

Speaking of spending money unwisely, the stimulus bill adds another $850 million for Amtrak, the railroad that can’t turn a profit. There’s also $1.7 billion for “critical deferred maintenance needs” in the National Park System, and $55 million for the preservation of historic landmarks. Also, the U.S. Coast Guard needs $87 million for a polar icebreaking ship—maybe global warming isn’t working fast enough.

It should come as no surprise that rural communities—those parts of the nation that were hardest hit by rampant real-estate speculation and the collapse of the investment-banking industry—are in dire need of an additional $7.6 billion for “advancement programs.” Congress passed a $300 billion farm bill last year, but apparently that wasn’t enough. This bill provides additional subsidies for farmers, including $150 million for producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish.

$4.5 billion for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
$850 million for Amtrak
$87 million for a polar icebreaking ship
$1.7 billion for the National Park System
$55 million for Historic Preservation Fund
$7.6 billion for “rural community advancement programs”
$150 million for agricultural-commodity purchases
$150 million for “producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish”

Open up the section of the stimulus devoted to renewable energy and what you find is anti-stimulus: billions of dollars allocated to money-losing technologies that have not proven cost-efficient despite decades of government support. “Green energy” is not a new idea, Riedl points out. The government has poured billions into loan-guarantees and subsidies and has even mandated the use of ethanol in gasoline, to no avail. “It is the triumph of hope over experience,” he says, “to think that the next $20 billion will magically transform the economy.”

Many of the renewable-energy projects in the stimulus bill are duplicative. It sets aside $3.5 billion for energy efficiency and conservation block grants, and $3.4 billion for the State Energy Program. What’s the difference? Well, energy efficiency and conservation block grants “assist eligible entities in implementing energy efficiency and conservation strategies,” while the State Energy Program “provides funding to states to design and carry out their own energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.”

While some programs would spend lavishly on technologies that are proven failures, others would spend too little to make a difference. The stimulus would spend $4.5 billion to modernize the nation’s electricity grid. But as Robert Samuelson has pointed out, “An industry study in 2004—surely outdated—put the price tag of modernizing the grid at $165 billion.” Most important, the stimulus bill is not the place to make these changes. There is a regular authorization process for energy spending; Obama is just trying to take a shortcut around it.

$2 billion for renewable-energy research ($400 million for global-warming research)
$2 billion for a “clean coal” power plant in Illinois
$6.2 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
$3.5 billion for energy-efficiency and conservation block grants
$3.4 billion for the State Energy Program
$200 million for state and local electric-transport projects
$300 million for energy-efficient-appliance rebate programs
$400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments
$1 billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries
$1.5 billion for green-technology loan guarantees
$8 billion for innovative-technology loan-guarantee program
$2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects
$4.5 billion for electricity grid

One of the ugliest aspects of the stimulus package is a bailout for spendthrift state legislatures. Remember the old fable about the ant and the grasshopper? In Aesop’s version, the happy-go-lucky grasshopper realizes the error of his ways when winter comes and he goes hungry while the industrious ant lives on his stores. In Obama’s version, the federal government levies a tax on the ant and redistributes his wealth to the party-hearty grasshopper, who just happens to belong to a government-employees’ union. This happens through something called the “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund,” by which taxpayers in the states that have exercised financial discipline are raided to subsidize Democratic-leaning Electoral College powerhouses—e.g., California—that have spent their way into big trouble.

The state-bailout fund has a built-in provision to channel the money to the Democrats’ most reliable group of campaign donors: the teachers’ unions. The current bill requires that a fixed percentage of the bailout money go toward ensuring that school budgets are not reduced below 2006 levels. Given that the fastest-growing segment of public-school expense is administrators’ salaries—not teachers’ pay, not direct spending on classroom learning—this is a requirement that has almost nothing to do with ensuring high-quality education and everything to do with ensuring that the school bureaucracy continues to be a cash cow for Democrats.

Setting aside this obvious sop to Democratic constituencies, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund is problematic in that it creates a moral hazard by punishing the thrifty to subsidize the extravagant. California, which has suffered the fiscal one-two punch of a liberal, populist Republican governor and a spendthrift Democratic legislature, is in the worst shape, but even this fiduciary felon would have only to scale back spending to Gray Davis–era levels to eliminate its looming deficit. (The Davis years are not remembered as being especially austere.) Pennsylvania is looking to offload much of its bloated corrections-system budget onto Uncle Sam in order to shunt funds to Gov. Ed Rendell’s allies at the county-government level, who will use that largesse to put off making hard budgetary calls and necessary reforms. Alaska is looking for a billion bucks, including $630 million for transportation projects—not a great sign for the state that brought us the “Bridge to Nowhere” fiasco.

Other features leap out: Of the $4 billion set aside for the Community Oriented Policing Services—COPS—program, half is allocated for communities of fewer than 150,000 people. That’s $2 billion to fight nonexistent crime waves in places like Frog Suck, Wyo., and Hoople, N.D.

The great French economist Frédéric Bastiat called politics “the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” But who pays for the state bailout? Savers will pay to bail out spenders, and future generations will pay to bail out the undisciplined present.

In sum, this is an $80 billion boondoggle that is going to reward the irresponsible and help state governments evade a needed reordering of their financial priorities. And the money has to come from somewhere: At best, we’re just shifting money around from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, robbing a relatively prudent Cheyenne to pay an incontinent Albany. If we want more ants and fewer grasshoppers, let the prodigal governors get a little hungry.

$79 billion for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund

Disheartening isn't it?  For this, we are creating more debt for ourselves, our children and even our grandchildren.  Name me one sane and intelligent person who thinks you can spend your way out of debt.  Perhaps the foolish, unprecedented spending proposed above explains our position on this graph.

Call them, hold their feet to the fire, keep them accountable and remind them that how they vote will affect how you vote the next election!


Thursday, February 5, 2009


We don't express it enough...especially to these people!  My father was a Marine and served 27 years.  I understand the sacrifices that not only these brave soldiers face...but also their parents, husbands, wives and children.  We try to take the time to shake a hand, look them in the eyes and say thank you.  We're never sorry.  I encourage you to do the same.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Poke, not something your children do to each other....I'm talking about Poke weed (Phytolacca americana).  One of my students at the college asked me about Poke last week.  He wanted to know why you freeze it before eating it.  I thought perhaps ya'll might be interested in learning more about Poke.

I want to get back to writing more about herbs and how to use them.  I have decided to create a post, at least once a month, about an herb. I chose February's herb because of my student's question.  I hope this will help all of you widen your herbal knowledge.  I will try to pick common herbs, not wild-exotic-never-be-able-to-grow-it-here plants.

Poke weed

Poke, as it is known around my parts, is also called poke weed, poke bush, or polk salad/salet/salit.  Poke is an herb that can grow from 1 to 10 feet tall...or so they say.  What I see locally is usually in the 2 to 4 foot range. I've never seen a 10 foot tall example....I can't even imagine it.  Poke has large leaves and the stems are colored pink to red.  It produces a beautiful cluster of greenish-white flowers which turn into beautiful purple berries - don't eat them...they are poisonous.

In fact, poke contains phtolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin - both are toxic.  Birds enjoy the berries and aren't poisoned by them only because the seeds have hard outer shells and can pass through a bird's digestive system intact.  Poke is very nutritious when it is harvested and prepared the right can make you very sick if you don't know what you are doing...and for small children or the elderly it can be deadly.

However, many people love poke salad.  They use young poke weed leaves  that are no longer than 6 or 8 inches.  Harvest the leaves before the plant has flowers and before the stems turn red. Poke leaves need to be boiled three times, each time discarding the water (and thus the toxins that boil out). Then they are considered safe to eat.  You can even find commercially canned poke salad...sometimes called poke salet or salit.  You will probably only find canned poke salad here in the south.  We even have festivals for Poke.

Poke is very nutritious, high in calcium, phosphorus, Vitamins A and C, iron  and more.  I have heard the taste described most often as similar to spinach.  I have even heard it likened to Asparagus.

I haven't had poke.  I don't like cooked greens - I like them raw.  Nothing is better than a raw spinach salad...but cooked spinach...not my cup o' tea!  However, this is good knowledge to have tucked away just in case!

Poke has been used for many things.  It has been used both topically, for acne and arthritis, and internally for everything from arthritis to swollen glands to weight loss (possibly achieved by the massive vomiting that will ensue if you eat too much or don't get the toxins out!) .

Poke berries

Poke berries (also known as ink berries) have a glorious history!  Did you  know that the Declaration of Independence was written with fermented poke berry juice?  Native Americans used them as a dye, many soldiers from the Civil War used poke berry juice to write letters home.  You can also dye fabric with poke berry juice!

I never did find a reference to freezing poke before using it.  I don't know if this is something handed down in this young man's family or if there is really a benefit to freezing poke before cooking.  If ya'll know about this, please leave a comment and share that with me!


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Related Posts with Thumbnails