Monday, December 30, 2013

Why not ask a perfectionist to do any yard work?

When I returned from Georgia after a week of 20s here, my locally-infamous Rube Goldberg watering system had decided to give up the ghost (even though I'd turned it off at the main).

So I bit the proverbial bullet and began a planned xeriscape revamping. The landscaper began by removing the grass last week. This afternoon, I went out to collect the Iris before the yard work begins next week. (Last year, I had two boxes of Iris and gave away half, but now the iris have multiplied again. In fact, I found more after this photo. Thank heavens I save all those boxes....)
Boxes of too many iris

While I was out in the yard, I noticed some roots protruding in the area below the kitchen window where they took some grass out. Oh, good, I thought, those nasty Ivy roots are exposed; time to get rid of them once and for all. (When I moved in, ivy had taken over my house and was invading the roof; it's been a continuous battle to keep the plants from reviving.) I pulled and pulled and cut and stuffed the yardwaste bin full. It was pretty satisfying, but that was only the minor ivy area. Nonetheless, I didn't go searching out more ivy roots -- and I didn't even take a picture. (In fact, I got the iris picture hours later.)

Instead, I liberated some of the brick edging:
overly-well-secured brick edging

For sure, those previous owners didn't want that brick to MOVE. You can't really tell from the picture, but the gray part is a BASE of concrete that the brick edging is set into, and it is BEHIND another edging of concrete curbing. The second base is about 6" deep. No way that stuff is coming out without a machine. And the bricks aren't likely to be easily liberated unless they happen to WANT to be freed -- I had a couple sections that came loose with just a shovel pry and once I shoved a section with my foot and it (to my surprise) gave way. But the rest is intended to be there for life. :( This is BAD because that is NOT the new edging location for my yard plan.

Anyway as I inspected the edging, I noticed... wait for it... more roots. Not ivy this time but back in the yard. Ah, I thought, the roots of a defunct tree. Yes, it was the ex-pear tree roots. (The pears were bad -- so inedible even the birds would eat them only on one side; mostly the pears just cluttered the yard and rotted -- in huge piles; it was a very prolific, useless tree. And it had as many roots.) I pulled. I pulled some more. It was a Hydra, a mythical beast, branching out away from the edging. Its tentacles reached out toward every corner of the yard. They crisscrossed and interlaced, but I persevered.
Root Hydra
This is the first hydra. As I worked at liberating its tentacles, I found more hydras. In the end, there were three fully formed hydras with many, many interlaced tentacles.

Hydra Tentacles
This is the area near the ex-pear tree location after my victory. On the other side of the brick edging, the hydra continues; there are two more hydras I have identified. And I didn't even look at the (also yard littering) ex-plum or (dying) ex-almond areas. Fortunately, it got dark. I came in and made a margarita-tini from Crystal Light and tequila. As a hydra fighter, I deserved this reward. After another, I felt maybe I could face the hydra tomorrow and cut it up to dispose of all the tentacles, but it may have to live there for a week because my bin was already full....

You are probably asking yourself, as I did several times while amputating hydra limbs, is this really necessary? You are probably concluding, as I did each time, NO. The dirt is going to be moved around and the edging dug out, any hydra tentacles that exist will be buried during the prepping for the new backyard plan (which hasn't even been formulated yet). And still, I pulled hydra limbs and traced hydra tentacles and dug up hydra intersections. I cut the hydra at the brick edging -- on BOTH sides because of course you can't pull the hydra tentacles out from under the overly-well-secured edging foundation.

This is not the task for a sane homeowner. Once you start, it is like an OCD compulsion. You think, this branch will end and that will be the finish. But the branch always intersects another, and you find an additional full hydra tempting you to pull some more. It is crazy-making. It is obsessive. It is ridiculous. And yet you think: just another pull and it will be the end. Trust me: the hydra never end. Do NOT do this in your yard.

When I dispose of the already-exposed hydra, I am going to try very hard to ignore the other protruding roots. Fortunately I had a skype yoga class to teach Sunday at 2, so prime hydra hunting time was effectively interrupted. Thank goodness. Doing my taxes (my other weekend task) has seemed almost preferrable -- but just as tenaciously neverending (what myth-maker estimates those recordkeeping and preparation times?). Or maybe there, too, I need to realize: perfection is NOT required.

Wish me luck -- or sanity....

Friday, December 13, 2013

How can you stop the polluters?

In a time when the world is increasingly aware of humanity's impact on the climate, who in their right mind would propose a new power plant that would increase, rather than alleviate, those concerns? The United States, and its leading environmentally conscious state, should be at the forefront of green energy technologies, not perpetuating a dying and increasingly-damaging fossil fuel industry.

At 10am Tuesday Dec.17, 2013, the Antelope Valley (CA) Air Quality Management District is holding a hearing on the proposed Palmdale Power Plant. As a resident of Lancaster, I am categorically opposed to this pollution-producing proposal.

I have asthma, and the windy conditions of Antelope Valley naturally stir up more than enough air pollution to affect my breathing. I certainly do NOT need an intentional source of 546 annual tons of pollutants diminishing the air quality at all times.

I have studied the "clean" fossil fuel reports, and there is simply no truth to these claims. Scientific studies by environmental experts both here and abroad have debunked these industry-sponsored papers.

In reality, "clean" claims for fossil fuels are the last gasp of a dying industry. So-called "clean" coal, fracked gas, and tar sands oil actually pollute far more, both in the environmental damage of the extraction, processing, and production and because of the the pollution of the air quality when consumed. So-called "clean" fossil fuels also cost more to produce than conventional fossil fuels, in terms of both actual extraction and necessary refinement processing. Neither extraordinary cost is one that people or the Earth itself should accept.

Nor do the costs to the community or its air quality portend well for the immediate Antelope Valley area or for the planet. Since the California Energy Commission already deplored the proposed Palmdale Hybrid Power Project in its 2010 final assessment, I cannot fathom why the revised Palmdale Power Plant, which precludes including a solar component, would even be considered. California and the Antelope Valley should just say NO to the Palmdale Power Plant.

If you are available at 10am Tuesday Dec.17, 2013, please attend the hearing at the Antelope Valley College Performing Arts Center. If not, you can send your statement opposing the proposed plant to It is time we stand up for our homes, our health, and our planet's future.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Where in the world are our priorities?

Ever wonder why the US has so many ignorant citizens? Is it our priorities that are confused or do we just take whatever the media dishes up for us?

It seems unconscionable to dumb-down America's awareness of world events, but the December 9, 2013, issue of Time magazine does just that.

How can we expect public perception of reality to keep up with what's going on in the world when we cover up important current events. The US deserves to know what is important enough to the rest of the world to deserve Time's cover.

According to DailyKos, the fluff for news substitution has happened before. Doesn't that make you Wonder?

Media that is co-opted by its corporate owners sounds suspiciously like #6 on Laurence W. Britt's list of 14 early warning signs of fascism:
  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
  2. Disdain For Human Rights
  3. Identification of Enemies as a Unifying Cause
  4. Supremacy of the Military
  5. Rampant Sexism
  6. Controlled Mass Media
  7. Obsession With National Security
  8. Religion and Government Intertwined
  9. Corporate Power Protected
  10. Labor Power Suppressed
  11. Disdain For Intellectuals & and the Arts
  12. Obsession With Crime & Punishment
  13. Rampant Cronyism & Corruption
  14. Fraudulent Elections
America's pest problem is the current state of its media. Mind control is a terrible waste of national resources.