RSS Feed

Category Archives: Agriculture

… of things relative

There are dozens of tiny green tomatoes on this plant.  Even more exciting, there are dozens more bright yellow flowers….

 

Currently Reading:  The A B C of Atoms, by Bertrand Russell.  E.P. Dutton & Company, New York, 1923.  Date of first issue, 1908.

“But even if the size of an electron should ultimately prove… to be related to the size of the universe, that would leave a number of unexplained brute facts, notably the quantum itself, which has so far defied all attempts to make it seem anything but accidental.  It is possible that the desire for rational explanation may be carried too far.  This is suggested by some remarks… by Eddington, in his book, Space, Time and Gravitation…  The theory of relativity has shown that most of the traditional dynamics, which was supposed to contain scientific laws, really consisted of conventions as to measurement, and was strictly analogous to the “great law” that there are always three feet to a yard.  In particular, this applies to the conservation of energy.  This makes it plausible to suppose that every apparent law of nature which strikes us as reasonable is not really a law of nature, but a concealed convention, plastered on to nature by our love of what we, in our arrogance, choose to consider rational.  Eddington hints that a real law of nature is likely to stand out by the fact that it appears to us irrational, since in that case it is less likely that we have invented it to satisfy our intellectual taste.  And from this point of view he inclines to the belief that the quantum-principle is the first real law of nature that has been discovered in physics.

This raises a somewhat important question:  Is the world “rational,” i.e., such as to conform to our intellectual habits?  Or is it “irrational,” i.e., not such as we should have made it if we had been in the position of the Creator?  I do not propose to suggest an answer to this question.”

I LOVE skipping to the end of a book!

 

 

In The Beginning (of this blog)…

There was a tomato plant….

Several years later, there is another tomato plant!  It is gaining momentum!

2017-06-07_08.19.341

No need for a chain of command to appear here or, is there?

Sir!  Do we have enough tomatoes yet?  Do we need a discussion on this matter?  What about the aphids?  Sir!  Sir?  There are aphids!

Aphids?  This is not the Middle Ages!  We have to ask for permission.  This isn’t something we can just ‘handle.’  We need a committee!

Sir?

Stick around kid, I’m calling parliament — I’m on hold….  Be with you in a minute!  Do we have a call-back number?

SIR?

Solving for Pattern or, an Economy of Size

I have been reading lately.  I have been reading a lot, lately….  I could not sleep last night.  An old article by Wendell Berry gave me thoughts to consider and apply to my own small business.

 

Solving for Pattern.  Written by Wendell Berry.  Chapter 9 in The Gift of the Land:  Further Essays Cultural & Agricultural.  North Point Press, 1981.  Originally published in the Rodale Press periodical The New Farm.

Wendell Berry is a farmer and an author.  His writing is thought provoking and disturbing, well written, easy to read and difficult to walk away from…

 

Wendell Berry has been on my reading list for a long time.  It is time for us to get to know him, now!  Solving for Pattern is a short article that poses questions and discusses the long term meaning of economy.  Not of economics.  Economy.  Economy of size.  Small businesses.  Small farms.

Questions…  I went back to university several years ago.  I thought I just wanted to take a few courses, make my evenings a little more interesting.  I discovered that I was learning to read in a way that I had not even considered possible.  I am still learning about reading but now, I am also reading to learn to ask questions.  Wendell Berry has been asking these questions for a long time.  His questions about patterns, economy, conservation, and healthy living are worth considering.

 

Further Readings (I have already started reading The Unsettling of America):

Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America:  Culture & Agriculture.  1977.  Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1977.  This book is available in most libraries.  Read a review of this book here.

James George Frazer, The Golden Bough.  First published in 1890.  My edition was published in 1994 by Oxford University Press.  Available online, free, here.

 

 

 

Water Rights & Environmental Damage

I have been reading lately.  I have been reading a lot, lately….  I finished reading this article last night, on the bus on my way home from work.  Yes, I use public transit.  I gave up my personal gas pedal almost 3 years ago.

Water Rights and Environmental Damage:  An Enquiry into Stewardship in the Context of Abstraction Licensing Reform in England and Wales.  Written by Donald McGillivary.  Published by Environmental Law Review, Volume 15, 2013.  Pages 205-224.

Donald McGillivray, Professor of Environmental Law, University of Sussex, has a current publication list here.

I found this article doing a random search on water rights.  I was looking more towards Western Canada, where I live, but all information is good and this article is full of definitions that will probably help me in further reading.  And, bonus marks, Professor McGillivray’s writing is concise and clear.

Probably the most important things that I realized while reading this article was that the environment is not protected by stewardship rights or laws.  That the only time we really protect the environment is when there is an overlap of needs between someone holding water (or land) rights and the environment.  In other words, when it benefits someone to protect something, the environment is looked after.  Not something that I had not realized before but, seeing it in a published article is different.

 

A couple of ‘Further Readings’ (from the footnotes) that I made note of:

E.D. Elliot, ‘The Tragi-Comedy of the Commons: Evolutionary Biology, Economics and Environmental Law‘ (2001) 20 Viriginia Environmental Law Journal 17, pages 17-18.

C.P. Rodgers.  ‘Nature’s Place? Property Rights, Property Rules and Environmental Stewardship‘ (2009), Volume 68(3) Cambridge Law Journal 550.

 

 

Beautiful Warnings….

The cherry trees lining the street where I work now are in bloom.  I have the privilege of walking by them several days a week.  Many of the buds have opened.

The "For Rent" sign was removed from this nest on Monday afternoon.  Renovations are underway and the new tenants are noisy and cheeky....

The “For Rent” sign was removed from this nest on Monday afternoon. Renovations are underway and the new tenants are noisy and cheeky….

 

This afternoon, there are more blossoms open.  Tomorrow the show of pink against blue should be stunning.

Tuesday Blossoms and the sky is even bluer....

Tuesday Blossoms and the sky is even bluer….

 

I have been privileged to stand watch as a four hour sunset turned into a four hour sunrise.  That was many July’s ago during a 12 hour graveyard shift on the roof of a coker at Syncrude.

I do not have a photograph, only memories…  Inside the plant, personal cameras are not allowed to be carried by employees.

 

Today is February 23, 2014.

The photos of the cherry blossoms were taken in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada where in February’s past we have huddled under umbrellas, pulling our jackets close as the cold winds blew in off of the water.  I grew up here.  The cold winds and wet weather of winter are what is necessary to keep the rain forests green.

 

Climate change is real.

 

I have recently read Naomi Klein’s newest book, This Changes Everything:  Capitalism vs. The Climate.  I do not believe that she exaggerates any point.

 

Every small thing we do (or don’t do) to stop the change helps.

Do Animals ‘Drink’ Intentionally?

A link to the following article was in my mail yesterday.  The article is interesting however, I don’t think it really gets at what might be underlying causes of birds imbibing a little too much or a little too frequently….

James MacDonald.  2014.  When Birds Drink Too MuchJSTOR Daily, January 1,4 2015.

 

There are two articles cited by the above mini-article.  I think that they are important and can be read online without any extra cost.

Frank Wiens, Annette Zitzmann, Marc-Andre Lachance, Michel Yegles, Fritz Pragst, Friedrich M. Wurst, Dietrich von Holst, Saw Leng Guan, and Rainer Spanagel.  2008.  Chronic intake of fermented floral nectar by wild treeshrews.  PNAS, Volume 105, No. 30, pages 10426-10431.

S.D. Fitzgerald, J.M. Sullivan and R.J. Everson.  1990.  Suspected Ethanol Toxicosis in Two Wild Cedar Waxwings.  Avian Diseases, Volume 34, No. 2, (Apr. – Jun., 1990), pages 488-490.

 

~~~

Treeshrews?  Waxwings?

Eberhard Fuchs and Silke Cobach-Sohle.  2010.  Tree shrews in The UFAW handbook on the care and management of laboratory and other research animals, 8th ed. Oxford, UK:  Wiley-Blackwell, pages 262-275.

Loren S. Putnam.  1949.  The Life History of the Cedar WaxwingThe Wilson Bulletin, pages 141-182.

 

~~~

My thoughts on this are going towards the caloric intake in fruits and berries that are fermented or are in the process of fermenting.  It seems to me that it might be higher than when the fruits and berries have just freshly ripened.

Eva M. Sehub,Alan C. Logan, and Alison C. Bested.  2014.  Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health:  ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatryJournal of Physiological Anthropology.  Article 332.

 

~~~

Is it just the birds or do other creatures like a little drink now and then too?

Cheryl D. Knott.  1998.  Changes in Orangutan Caloric Intake, Energy Balance, and Ketones in Response to Fluctuating Fruit AvailabilityInternational Journal of Primatology.  Volume 19, No. 6, pages 1061

 

~~~

Reading a bit further and another thought occurred to me!  Higher caloric intake for wildlife, just before winter sets in, would be useful for survival.  Putting on a little weight to get through the cold dark nights.  Can the fermentation of fruits provide other contributions to survival?

James O. Vafidis, Ian P. Vaughan, T. Hefin Jones, Richard J. Facey, Rob Parry, Robert J. Thomas.  2014.  Habitat Use and Body Mass Regulation among Warblers in the Sahel Region during the Non-Breeding SeasonPLOS One.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113665

Mark C. Witmer.  1996.  Annual Diet of Cedar Waxwings Based on U.S. Biological Survey Records (1885-1950) Compared to Diet of American Robins:  Contrasts in Dietary Patterns and Natural HistoryThe Auk.  Volume 113, No. 2, Pages 414-430.

 

~~~

So, if the intoxicating fruits and berries are a good thing, why are some birds overdoing it?  Now?  Could it be that there is less competition for these yummy morsels?  Fewer birds equals more party favours?

Jennifer A. Howard.  2014.  The Lesser Coverts of Game BirdsBooth, Volume 6, No. 2, Page 1-2.

Probably not the best answer to my question but, a very good short story!  One that has me thinking a bit further off-track than usual.  I will come back to this story for another post.

 

~~~

And then, there are people….

Laren Cordain, S. Boyd Eaton, Anthony Sebastian, Neil Mann, Staffan Lindeberg, Bruce A Watkins, James H. O’Keefe, and Janette Brand-Miller.  2005.  Origins and evolution of the Western diet:  health implications for the 21st centuryThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Volume 81, pages 341-354.

Manas Ranjan Swain, Marimuthu Anandharaj, Ramesh Chandra Ray, and Rizwana parveen Rani.  2014.  Fermented Fruits and Vegetables of Asia:  A Potential Source of Probiotics.  Hindawi Publishing Corporation Biotechnology Research International.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/250424

 

~~~

And, because we can think of other things to do with ethanol products…

Veeranjaneya Reddy Lebaka, Hwa-Won Ryu, and Young-Jung Wee.  2014.  Effect of fruit pulp supplementation on rapid and enhanced ethanol production in very high gravity (VHG) fermentationSpringerLink.  doi:  10.1186/s40643-014-0022-8

 

~~~

And thinking along these lines… maybe we need to look at chronic diseases that may have some beginning in the foods that are available to us now as well as those that we choose to eat a lot of and, without competition, possibly eat a little too regularly – much like the small woodland creatures and birds in the first few articles.

Your thoughts are important to me and to continuing this as a discussion.  Please comment….

 

 

 

 

 

Mangrove Forests….

I just found a wonderful and interactive site!  Well, this isn’t just a site, this is a database and, it is worth a visit….

http://mangroves.elaw.org/map

 

~~~

Now, I tried to put the following into my own words but, it is so perfectly written that I have copied and pasted it here for you:

A Case for Mangroves
The approximately 70 distinct species of mangroves in the world cover roughly 17,000,000 hectares globally (Valiela et al.  2001) – only 0.12 percent of the Earth’s surface (Sullivan 2005, Ellison 2008).  The greatest diversity is in Southeast Asia (36-46 species); the lowest diversity is in the United States and the Middle East (1-3 species) (Polidoro et al.  2010).  Mangroves are being cut down or otherwise destroyed at such a high rate that they may be functionally extinct by 2100 (Duke et al.  2007).  In just the last 50 years, 30-50 percent of the global acreage has been lost.  (Alongi 2002, Duke et al. 2007)  Mangroves are among the most valuable and most threatened ecosystems on Earth.  The ecosystems services they provide—e.g., buffering coastal communities against flooding and storms, fiber production, habitat for thousands of species of birds, mammals and marine species—are estimated to be worth US $1.6 billion dollars/year (Polidoro et al.  2010).  In addition, recent evidence suggests that mangroves sequester carbon more effectively than any other tropical forest (Donato et al.  2011).”

This is important!

 

~~~

There are 65 of the most influential papers on mangroves and mangrove forests listed on this site.  All are worth reading but, we don’t all have that much time….

If there is a paper that you feel is missing, please add it in the comments below.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 

An Oilspill on December 15th, 2014 in the World’s Largest Mangrove Forest. Why isn’t this on the news?

The oilspill in the Sundarbans National Park seems to have been all but ignored by world news services.  I heard about it on a blog, SkyTruth, and decided that there must be information out there that would help me to understand the area, the damage, and the responsibility.

There is.  There is a lot out there to read!  Scientists and other concerned people have been writing about pollution, oil spills and clean-ups for a very long time.

Here is some of what I have been reading as well as some of what I will be reading:

~~~~~

The Sundarbans National Park – A UNESCO Heritage Site

The Sundarbans is an area composed of rivers, some arable land and the largest mangrove forest on earth.  It is also home to some of the poorest people on earth.  There is no industry here.  There are no resource friendly alternatives to illegal fishing and hunting.  There are no jobs.  This is an area where caste restricts choices.

Abhiroop Chowdhury and Subodh Kumar Maiti.  2014.  Mangrove Reforestation through Participation of Vulnerable Population:  Engineering a Sustainable Management Solution for Resource Conservation.  International Journal of Environmental Research and Development, Vol 4, No 1, pp. 1-8.  Link

There is a novel that depicts the Sundarbans as treacherous with humans holding on to a tenuous existence in the presence of an untamed nature.  (The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh, 2005.)  Even the islands that dot the waterways are not constant but change, grow, disappear and reappear with seasons and storms.

Louise Squire.  2014. The Thoughts in our Head: A World.  Alluvium, Vol. 3, No. 1.  Link

Huma Yaqub.  2014.  Tides of Change Breaking against the World of Sundarbans:  A Study of Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide.  International Journal of English Language, Literature and Humanities, Vol. II, Issue V, pages 104-113.  Link

Mangrove Forests:

Ken W. Krauss, Karen L. McKee, Catherine E. Lovelock, Donald R. Cahoon, Neil Saintilan, Ruth Reef, and Luzehn Chen.  2013.  How mangrove forests adjust to rising sea level.  New Phytologist, doi:  10.1111/nph.12605  Link

Daniel M. Alongi.  2008.  Mangrove forests:  Resilience, protection from tsunamis, and responses to global climate change.  Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, Vol. 76. pages 1-13.  Link

Kandasamy Kathiresan and Narayanasamy Rajendran.  2005.  Coastal mangrove forests mitigated tsunami.  Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science Vol. 65, pages 601-606.  Link

Daniel M. Alongi.  2002.  Present state and future of the world’s mangrove forests.  Environmental Conservation, Vol. 29, No. 3, pages 331-349.  Link

Ivan Valiela, Jennifer L. Bowen, and Joanna K. York.  2001.  Mangrove Forests:  One of the World’s Threatened Major Tropical Environments.  BioScience, Vol. 51, No. 10, pages 807-815.  Link

Tigers:

Chloe Inskip, Zubair Fahad, Rowan Tully, Thomas Roberts, and Douglas MacMillan.  2014. Understanding carnivore killing behaviour: Exploring the motivations for tiger killing in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh.  Biological Conservation, 180, pages 42-50.  Link

Chandan Kumar Mondal, Bholanath Mondal, and Debashis Sarkar.  2014.  Study on Utility and Revival through Community approach in Sundarbans Mangrove.  International Journal of Social Science, Vol. 3, No. 2, pages 191-203.  Link

R. Mani Murali, P.J. Vidya, Poonam Modi, and Seelam Jaya Kumar.  2014.  Site selection for offshore wind farms along the Indian coast.  Indian Journal of Marine Sciences.  Vol. 43(7).  Link

Dolphins:

B.E. Smith, G. Braulik, S. Strindberg, R. Mansur, M.A.A. Diyan, and B.Ahmed.  2012.  Habitat selection of freshwater-dependent cetaceans and the potential effects of declining freshwater flows and sea-level rise in waterways of the Sundarbans mangrove forest, Bangladesh.  Aquatic Conservation:  Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, Vol 19, pages 209-225.  Link 

Ram Boojh.  2014.  Ensuring Sustainability of Wetlands in the Global Context, in International Conference on Lakes & Wetlands:  Bhopal, India.  Link

UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

This Link will take you to a map of all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  Just point and click or, search for the Sundarbans.  Link

~~~~~

How did we find out about this spill?  Satellite images!  I would like to find something a little more current but, for now this is interesting….

Mervin F. Fingas and Carl E. Brown.  2000.  Review of Oil Spill Remote Sensing.  Emergencies Science Division, Environment Canada.  Environmental Technology Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  Link

~~~~~

What have we learned and what do we do?  Whatever it is, we must do it carefully and with thought for the future….

Luis A. Soto, Alfonso V. Botello, Sergio Licea-Duran, Marcial L. Liarraga-Partida, and Alejandro Yanez-Arancibia.  2014.  The environmental legacy of the Ixtoc-I oil spill in Campeche Sound, southwestern Gulf of Mexico.  Frontiers in Marine Science, Vol. 1, Art. 57, pages 1-9.  Link

Naomi Klein.  2014.  Chapter 13: The Right to Regenerate.  In, This Changes Everything:  Capitalism vs. The Climate:  Canada:  Alfred A. Knopf.  Pages 419-448.  Link

Dagmar Schmidt Etkin.  2000.  Worldwide Analysis of Marine Oil Spill Cleanup Cost Factors.  Presented at:  Arctic and Marine Oilspill Program Technical SeminarLink

S.R. Pezeshki, M.W. Hester, Q. Lin, and J.A. Nyman.  1999.  The effects of oil spill and clean-up on dominant US Gulf coast marsh macrophytes:  a review.  Environmental Pollution 108, pp. 129-139.  Link

~~~~~

Where does the information in these papers come from?  Research!  Research by the authors of these papers and by researchers and authors before them.  A selected bibliography is here (this will be a large file!):  Soon….

 

~~~

Added on February 8, 2015.

A collected bibliography, most gathered from the above articles but not all, for you to peruse.  Possibly, this bibliography could be called ‘second generation’ as it provided the writers of the above research papers with documented research that they could use and further….

Reading List – Blog Post Dec 21, 2014

This document is fairly long.  There is a lot of good information in there, research and writing by many very qualified science specialists and others…..  I began to put links in to the articles in this list but, there are just too many.  If you have trouble finding anything on this list just leave a comment below I would be more than happy to take a look and see if I can help.

 

Voices from the Past – Article Link to writings on Poverty, I wonder how much has changed in 15 years….

I am placing the link information for these articles here with the thought that easier access to free e-books such as this will encourage reading and open discussion.  This is also an open invitation for you to write a precis on this book (or, on any other article or book or section of such, that you find necessary or interesting)….

~~~~~

e-Book:  Voices of the Poor:  Can Anyone Hear Us?  Voices From 47 Countries.

Author:  Deepa Narayan with Raj Patel, Kai Schaffi, Anne Rademacher, and Sarah Koch-Schulte.  pdf

Published in:  1999

This is a published study that was funded by the Poverty Group, PREM, World Bank.

My copy was downloaded in November, 2014.  I found it here

http://www.iczmpwb.org/main/pdf/ebooks/vol1.pdf

Find more of Deepa Narayan’s writing here  –  Publications Link

If the link does not work, please contact me and I will try to help you find a copy.

~~~~~

~~~~~

Here are a couple more articles that I have found to be of interest in a “connections” sort of way.  I hope that you might find them interesting too.

~~~~~

Article:  Causal Stories and the Formation of Policy Agendas.  pdf

Author:  Deborah A. Stone

Published in:  1989

Journal:  Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 104, No. 2 (Summer, 1989), pages 281-300.

My copy was downloaded in November, 2014.  I found it here http://www.wilf.org/Sapir/stonecausalstories.pdf

~~~~~

Article:  Do the Weak Stand a Chance?  Distribution of Resources in a Competitive Environment.  pdf

Authors:  Judith Avrahami and Yaakov Kareev.

Published in:  2009

Journal:  Cognitive Science, Vol. 33, Issue 5, pages 940-950.

My copy was downloaded in November, 2014.  I found it here http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291551-6709/issues

Find more of Judith Avrahami’s writing here  –  Publications List

Find more of Yaakov Kareev’s writing here  –  Publications List

~~~~~

If any of these links do not work, please contact me and I will try to help you find the article or book that you are looking for.

~~~~~

If you find any broken links on this blog, please leave a comment or send me a note so that it can be repaired.  Thank  you….

Article Link: Multi-Scale Characterization of Soil Variability by Martin Yemefack, et al., published in 2005

I am placing the link information for this article here with the thought that easier access to articles such as this will encourage reading and open discussion.  This is also an open invitation for you to write a precis on this article (or, any other article that you find necessary or interesting)….

Older articles such as this one can be used for comparison with the data in newer articles.

~~~

Article:  Multi-Scale Characterization of Soil Variability within an Agricultural Landscape Mosaic System in Southern Cameroon.

Authors:  Martin Yemefack, David G. Rossiter, Rosaline Njomgang

Journal:  Geoderma.  Vol. 125,  pages 117-143.

Published in:  2005

My copy was downloaded on November 22, 2014.  I found it using a Google Scholar search.  If the link does not work, please contact me and I will try to help you find a copy.

~~~