Archives for category: failure

One of the things I’ve wondered about is the big picture regarding Covid-19. Somewhere out there, people are calculating the “savings.” But I’ve seen nothing of it in the press. It must have occurred to others that the target population for Covid mortality is largely the Social Security crowd. Retirees. I ran some numbers–it’s easy. You can do it in just a couple of minutes.

Assuming that we’re probably at 200,000 deaths now (the official numbers are a bit lower, but there’s a nodding acceptance that we’re not including all the Covid deaths.) Figure about three quarters of them are seniors…with complications and co-morbidities. Those folks are collecting Social Security and they’re on Medicare.

If they average $1,000 per month in SS benefits (again, I’m picking a lower number, intentionally), then it’s 150,000 times $1,000, times 12 (for an annual number.) Do the math. It’s staggering. That number doesn’t address the savings in Medicare (which must be amortised to first cover the averaged $46,000 expense per Covid case.) And that’s for immediate deaths, so far. Estimates on senior Covid fatalities indicate that, on average, they’d have lived another 9 years, but for the pandemic.

Experts are saying our mortality numbers could easily double if we don’t take social distancing and hygeine protection (masks and hand-washing) seriously. Honestly, I don’t see evidence that the general population is taking adequate precautions. Many others will survive the actual illness, but ultimately die earlier, because of the damage done to lungs and hearts. One wonders if the government has dragged it’s feet, not out of incompetence (though there’s plenty enough of that) but leveraging the savings and relief from the burdens of supporting an aging population.

I’m not a conspiracy kind of gal, but I read a lot about Covid-19, and I am curious that no publication has noted the potential budget-balancing “upside” of the pandemic. Not one. Is this the Social Security solution?

What’s up with that?

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I have been an organic gardener for the better part of four decades. Each time I relocated, I would have to address problem soils, heavy adobe, poor in organic materials. I have been the roaming remedial gardener. But I persisted.

When Rick joined me in Two Rock, he too, became a gardener. It was our mutual refuge from trying times. Regardless what the world threw at us, we could always walk out to the garden, to plan dinner based on what was ready, fresh, in the moment.

And we had excess. We shared with everyone on the farm, and with our local food bank. In our last full garden year at Two Rock, we harvested over 700 pounds of tomatoes– not including what went directly to others. We grew winter squash by the trailer load–all of which we gave away–not being big fans of winter squash (but our landlord was.)

So when we relocated to Michigan, gardening was a big part of our vision. It turned out, that it was not so easy.

We had the soil tested, and the news was not good. Our soils, essentially glacial dunes remnants, are nutrient poor. And they’re alkaline. There was a clue–other than knapweed, one of the few things that grew was deer moss. Not a good sign. Deer moss grows in soils nearly devoid of nutrients. We amended–planting in amended beds, directly in the native soils, or in buckets set into the soils. Our garden was spindly, at best. Failure was a word that doesn’t come easy.

The next year we re-doubled our amending efforts, digging in blended compost and peat and manure. The garden started stronger–but petered out, mid-season. Another failure.

That next winter we learned how problematic knapweed can be. It out-competes neighboring plants, in part by poisoning the soils against them. This, we were sure was the problem. Those toxins can remain in the soils for years. We shook our heads. All of our efforts had been for naught. The only things we seemed able to grow–with even modest success–were potatoes and garlic. We couldn’t even successfully grow tomatoes or zucchini! I mean, who can’t grow zucchini?

The next spring we built a few raised beds and continued with the buckets. We removed all the native soils and filled them with blended soils and amendments. The gardens were a little better. Still, they faded mid-season, which we attributed to some neglect. We were still building and summer is the busy building season. Perhaps we were not attentive enough.

Last year, though still building, we renewed our efforts. Our raised beds and buckets were refreshed with compost and vegetables planted. I amended, weeded, babied, fed and tended. The results were barely worth the effort–except in one bed–which did much better. I racked my brains to remember what I might have done differently there.

I’d heard about using bio-char as a soil amendment. I didn’t really think of it for the garden so much as to build soil character in the amendment for orchard trees. Last year, when planting a couple of new trees, I’d taken the unburned charcoal bits from the wood stove, and crushed them up for the soils for the baby trees. (We have always planted orchard trees in heavily amended soils–and had great success.)

I’d thrown the excess crushed charcoal into that one garden bed. And it was the most productive of all. We were on to something. And about time, because we were demoralized by our garden performance. For 2020, we had a plan.