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I went to the creek today to gather sand and rock for some gardening projects. I found some native fresh water mussel shells. Some species are endangered because they can only survive in pristine waters. Older relatives tell of times past when the mussels were so plentiful that they were gathered and eaten like oysters. The mussel species frequently have folksy names like "Carolina Heel-splitter." 

I took this pic in low light to test my new camera.

The mussel shells in a bucket of sand and pebbles.
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Just today, Karissa told me about Colorado's law forbidding private citizens from collecting water in rain barrels. I just swiped this off the gardening blog. Colorado will no longer put you in the pokey over a little rain. In some parts of the country, it's still a crime. In others, it's a crime not to.
Wonder what Utah does to little kids catching raindrops on their tongues? Send them to juvie? 
ladyapple27: (Default)

I've already posted this in a comment, but I thought I'd share it with everybody. This article explains how different herbicides work in a way that people without a Ph.D in chemistry can understand.
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Dr. Bill Hanlin, our local agricultural extension agent, wrote an article in this week's local paper about a growing problem: herbicide residue in manure used as fertlizer. Broad leaf herbicides are widely used on pastures and silage crops. Because these chemicals don't break down quickly in the environment, residue collects in the systems of animals fed food from treated fields. The residue is deposited in manure, where it continues to act on plants. Some farmers and gardeners are reporting damaged crops due to the residue in manure. Hanlin suggests testing manure in a small area, or checking the provenance of manure before using it. Some crops are more susceptible than others. I'll see if Mr. Hanlin has a file of the article that he'd like to share.

If we keep on carelessly using chemicals that remain in the environment years after use, we're going to make the Earth barren. Anybody remember DDT and the food chain? Will we ever learn?

BTW, the residue isn't removed by composting the manure. 
ladyapple27: (Default)
I had a meeting with one of my instructors. On the way to town, I got behind an North Carolina Department of transportation pickup with a Caution: Frequent Stops sign on the tailgate. I didn't realize what the driver was doing until he pulled over at a stop sign and shot a HUGE stream of weed killer at the ground around the sign. He didn't even have to get off his rear; the truck was rigged so that he could sit there and spray the chemicals out the window.  "Look at me-I can poison the Earth while sitting on my rearend!"

Really, shouldn't citizens be consulted before toxins are sprayed along the roadways? What about the poor animals exposed to this stuff? A few weeds aren't going to hurt anything, but these chemicals may kill us.

On another note, it's dogwood blooming season. As I drove along, I saw whole sections of diseased trees with brown, withered messes where the snowy blooms should be. It's time to wake up-the dogwoods can't bloom, the hemlocks are dying, even the oaks have a new disease. We've changed the Earth and not for the better.

The beauty of this place used to take your breath away. Now the destruction does.   
ladyapple27: (Default)
Once a bad idea becomes economically entrenched, it is virtually impossible to get rid of.

Example #1 : Biodiesel. The rainforest is being destroyed in Brazil to make room for more crops to be converted to biodiesel. It is a myth that biodesiel leaves no carbon footprint; when you factor in the carbon storage capabilities of the lost forest, biodesiel causes a net gain in carbon emissions.

Biodesiel also causes a rise in food prices. The soybeans used to make enough biodesiel to fill one SUV tank would feed a human being for an entire year. Land that will be needed for food production as the population increases is being used to grow materials for use in biodesiel.

Why don't we abandon this foolish idea? Because an industry has grown up around it and many farmers make more money because of it. As long as anyone profits, they'll lobby for more laws encouraging the use of biofuels. To Hell with Mother Earth and hungry human beings.

Example#2 : Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining. Mountaintops are razed and nearby valleys are filled in. The environmental damage will never be undone. Recently, residents of this state were polled about a proposal to ban the use of coal produced by mountaintop removal. Some people actually spoke out against this measure, citing that their electricity bills would be higher and , besides, other states would keep on using it, thus gaining an economic advantage. Naturally, Duke Power Company is against the ban and fanning the fears of higher power bills. The coal companies aren't about to stop as long as the profits roll in. 

Aren't there somethings that are beyond price? Lord only knows how much damage mountaintop removal does to the watershed in times when demand for clean water is increasing. Pity the poor flora and fauna displaced by this savage practice. It isn't good for us either; there's only so much room on Earth, and once we've destroyed every square inch of it, we'll be like the doomed plants and animals-we'll have no where to go.     


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