Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Billions and billions of people

According to my local NPR station, as of this month, we'll hit 7 billion people on planet Earth. Go team!

In the last century, we've made some pretty astounding increases in population and, while I believe this growth will slow due to limited resources, I do believe that when we hit 9 billion in the next 30 years we well nigh will have worn out our welcome.

So, on this occasion, what do you think? Are humans the greatest thing ever to evolve or are we parasitic and need some sort of control on population?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Urban Farming event tonight

I was hoping to have my interview up with Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, before this event, but she's been a tad bit busy. In any case, my husband and I will be attending an urban farming event tonight in Seattle if any of you locals are interested in going. Here are the details:

Essential Arts presents the 2nd edition of "Art+Agricuture" on Thursday, April 28, 2011, at Washington Hall. The program, on urban farming, will feature author and farmer Novella Carpenter, along with topical songs by musical performer okanomodé.

Following Novella's reading and okanomodé's performance will be a group discussion on urban farming, food justice, and the intersection of creativity and change, led by Eddie Hill of GroundUp, Seattle Tilth, and Creatives 4 Community. Eddie will be joined by numerous farmers and community organizers as well as the featured artists.

The event will also include an "Urban Ag Bazaar" (with various organizations including Seattle Tilth's Gardener Hotline, Central Co-op, Seattle Urban Farm Co-op, Jefferson Park Food Forest, and others), and beer, wine, and healthy treats for sale.

For more information, visit Essential Arts and for ticket info, head on over to Brown Paper Tickets.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Merino blanket - The 10 year project

Since the weather has been getting warmer, we've been waking up way too hot under our down comforter and have since switched over to lighter blankets. During this transition, we oftentimes wake up freezing, so I use a merino throw on my side of the bed that I made a while ago. But it is still a work in progress.

I just realized that I started this blanket when we lived at our old house. I had finished it as a throw when I decided I wished I had made it wider. That was over 7 years ago. Instead of starting something new I concocted a plan to widen it by knitting side panels that I would then "sew" onto the main panel using yarn (see photo below for a close up shot). I finished one of the side panels a few years ago and have been slowly making my way in fits and starts on the second.

Right now (with the main and one side panel done) it covers my side of the bed and then some. When I'm done, it probably still won't be big enough to fit all the way across our queen bed but, then again, my husband would find it too warm anyway. I figure, at this rate, I'll finish it in about 10 years time. But, I don't mind. Like my daughter's hand sewn quilt, I'm glad I took the time to make it, because it will be something that I'll keep forever and torture future generations with.

I'm also glad I spent the money on the yarn I bought because I'd hate to spend all those hours on something not as heavenly. The yarn I'm using is Crystal Palace Merino Frappe. It's 80% extra fine merino wool with 20% nylon that is brushed so it's very light, extremely soft and very warm. Emma loves to curl up in it and so do I.

Do you have a project that you've been working on for years?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Neighborhood meet-up: disaster prep

As you may recall, I sent out an email a little over a month ago querying the neighbors to see if they were interested in getting together to establish groups with common interests. I was nervous about proposing some of the things I did, mostly surrounding urban homesteading living, but the reception was positive and a lot of families were interested.

We had our first meet-up this past Saturday - a two hour affair with people bringing snacks, appetizers and drinks. Because my husband was still recovering from pneumonia, one of our neighbors ended up hosting it and a lot more people showed up than originally RSVPed. All told, about 9 families came to this first event, which was essentially a meet and greet, but we also went over basic disaster preparedness and decided how often we wanted to continue these events.

We socialized for about 50 minutes and then I got the group together to talk about why I sent out the initial email and we discussed how prepared people felt they were in case of a major event, what else they should be doing and what kind of neighborhood contact list we should have and what kind of information we should have on it. Of those who had some stored supplies, they were mostly following the 3-day standard, but I suggested that thinking beyond that would make sense and even having a shared neighborhood resource for water filtration and the like would be of worth.

I proposed creating a Google doc that everyone could access to add information ranging from where to turn off their gas line to what special skills or equipment (see water filter) they had. The City of Seattle also offers signs for residents that say "OK" on one side and "HELP" on the other in case of an emergency that you can put in your window.

Conversation turned more towards establishing relationships for less exciting things than an earthquake and more like heavy traffic or snow tying them up and someone picking up or watching their kids during times of need. In other words, creating more of that neighborhood network that I envisioned.

We decided to meet the first Saturday of every month for an early evening deal, with alternating families hosting, which basically means pulling some chairs together. Fortunately, one of the neighbors has a 15-year-old daughter who babysat the little kids inside while we sat outside chatting, eating and drinking.

Because the group was so large and, I think, because many were there just to socialize, we didn't get too much decided by way of focusing on anything in particular for future meet-ups. I'll propose the next "theme" when I organize the next meeting and hopefully we'll get some more breakdown of particular group interests. I want to do a neighborhood garden tour and see what other people are growing. In the meantime, just getting people more familiar with each other is a good thing as is getting the ball rolling...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Urban homesteader goes crazy

Last week I was home from work for spring break with the kids and we had some great, mild weather. As a result, I worked out in the yard for 2 to 3 hours a day getting stuff built, dug up, planted and planned.

Here's the wrap-up of what I got done. Now, it's back to the daily grind.

Random stuff
Built a new 4' x 4' raised bed (mostly for herbs)
Built two hoop houses to go over 4' x 4' raised beds
Dug out two 7' arborvitae to make space for fruit trees
Dug trench for weed barrier (from our neighbors invasive lawn)
Harvested a ton of dandelions for the chickens
Put corn gluten on the lawn
Pruned back trees
Cleaned out chicken coop
Harvested three gallon bags of kale (made kale chips)

Planted
Broccoli
Lettuce
Spinach
Scallions
Dill
Parsley
Cilantro
Pumpkins
Elderberry
Onions
Cucumbers
Zucchini
Carrots
Radishes

Ordered fruit trees
1 cherry
3 plum trees
1 peach
1 nectarine
2 pear trees

More importantly, my fig tree seems to have survived the winter and has new buds growing on it. I thought for sure it was dead, since it was just a little twig out there, but hopefully it will revive.

After planting all of the above, and assessing what I have growing under lights in the basement, I'm coming to the conclusion that I don't have enough space so I'm still contemplating building another bed to round it out to 6 in the lawn in the back.

I'll let you know what I'm doing with all those fruit trees once I get them in and planted. It's a work in progress.

I've been reading The Backyard Homestead and it's making me want to grown my own small crop of wheat. We have the space for it, but it would have to be in the front yard and I don't think the neighbors would go for that. But, our front lawn is huge and growing grains closer to the house wouldn't be as obvious as near the street. I don't think our covenants say anything about that.

Do any of you grow wheat or grains on your urban or suburban lot? Is it worth it?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Italian Job

The Italian newspaper, Il Sol 24 Ore, interviewed me for their Earth Day coverage. It's a bit of an amalgam of the interview and other content from my blog.

If you can read Italian (or not) or use a Babelfish, go check it out!

Grazie!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Treehugger's Green Lifestyle Experts

Woohoo! I made Treehugger's Earth Day list featuring "13 Green Lifestyle Experts Tell Us Their Earth Day Plans". (I'm #2 in the slide show). There are some amazing people on the list. I don't know how the hell I ended up on it.


In any case, here's the page with my plans for Earth Day. Go check them all out and see what everyone is up to!

What are you doing for Earth Day?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's growing in the garden

Here's what currently outdoors and growing in the garden (versus the starts I have growing under lights in the basement). I thought I'd make a catalog of what's going on out there. It never really seems like I have much going on and, this early in the year, only a few things are producing in quantities enough to eat (like winter lettuce, eggs and herbs). It should pick up substantially soon.

I'm thinking of adding another bed to slap a pop-up greenhouse on in an attempt to actually succeed at growing things like peppers and basil this year. We'll see how much gumption I have. In the meantime, here's a picture of how things look in one corner of the yard.

Fruit
  • 3 x 1 Cherry tree
  • Columnar apple trees (2)
  • Peter's honey fig tree
  • Arbequina Olive tree
  • Bluecrop blueberries
  • Olympia blueberries
  • Grapes (3 types)
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries (thornless - 4)

Vegetables
  • Yellow Finn potatoes
  • Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Yellow Rock onions
  • Romaine
  • Redleaf lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Spinach
  • Winter lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Cauliflower
  • Red scallions
  • Garlic

Herbs
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Italian Flatleaf Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Bay
  • Apple mint
  • Lavender

Miscellaneous
  • Camellia sinensis (tea plant)
  • Morel mushrooms
  • Indoor banana (Cavendish)
  • Eggs (chicken)


Photo Notes
In the back (left to right): Oregano, rosemary, chives
In the bed (back left): Italian flatleaf parsley, cilantro, dill
In the bed (front left - old kid's sandbox): strawberries
In the bed (back right): Winter lettuce, spinach, broccoli
In the bed (hoop house): Lettuces, spinach, peas, broccoli
In the bed (front right): Garlic, onions, scallions (I like to call this bed "Allium Alley")

Monday, April 18, 2011

Urban farming therapy

I had quite the productive weekend here on the homestead doing some gardening therapy after a very stressful week. Hank's pneumonia is improving with the multitude of antibiotics and he hasn't had any crazy high fevers in a couple days.

I went a little nuts and bought a lot of plant starts so I prepped one of the raised beds and planted two types of lettuces, spinach, broccoli and green onions. Well, they are actually red in color, but you get the idea.

Since I had so many starts I ended up planting them across my three main raised beds. The middle bed, with most of the new starts got a floating row cover to protect them from our chilly nights.

This year I decided to dedicate a new raised bed to annual herbs (with a few other things). My husband is Mr. Herbs so I built and filled a 4'x4' bed and put in dill, cilantro and flat-leaf parsley. There's still space for some more plants so I'll be adding to it later. I dug out the container that formerly held mint (otherwise known as the giant root ball), put in new potting soil and two new mint plants. I think I'm the only person that can't successfully grow mint.

Anyway, I ended up doing a bit of weeding while I waited for our drill to charge to build the new bed and got to inspect up close and personal the blossoms on our columnar apples, cherry tree and blueberry plants. The blackberry bushes are starting to fill out and I found three more morel mushrooms growing in the wood mulch. Our oregano is coming back and filling in nicely as well.

Since I'm off from work for spring break, I'll be doing some more stuff, mostly indoor seed starting and putting up the hoop house over one of the beds. I figured out where to put this year's pumpkin patch. We'll be doing Cinderellas (a French heirloom, Rouge vif D'Etampes) and I'm trying not to go too crazy with them. But we do like them pumpkins and I suppose if we are overrun I can set up a pumpkin stand and sell some to the neighbors.

I'm hoping this year to have more food growing in our yard than in the past and have schemed up a few new ways to add growing space without breaking my back. I started two potato grow bags a few weeks ago but nothing has come up yet. I'm hoping they'll start peeking through the soil soon. I'll cover the other techniques as I get to them.

I'm not sure our dwarf honey fig tree survived over the winter, but if not I'm not going to cry. I can certainly use the space for something else. Maybe a columnar peach or something neat like a plum. And, I dreamed last night that I got an angora rabbit and named her Ms. Hopkins. I've been watching a little too much Regency House Party lately.

Well, that's it from over here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Top 25 Eco-Friendly Moms

This week has been awfully stressful. As I mentioned earlier, my husband has been sick. Monday we went into his cancer clinic to make sure he still had some white blood cells left, otherwise they were going to admit him to the hospital. His bloodwork came back normal (well, normal for someone with a bone marrow cancer), but he still wasn't faring well by Wednesday.

So, he went in for a chest x-ray. And, after six days of having fevers hovering around 103, they were able to determine he has pneumonia. For most people, this is a problem, but for him, having a new immune system (that is suppressed) and cancer makes it that much more worrisome. At this point, he's on three antibiotics and hopefully things will turn around soon.

Needless to say, my ability to concentrate on anything non-essential has been low. Which is why you're seeing this random post on the Top 25 Eco-Friendly Moms "contest". I can't say I like these personality contests, it kind of reminds me of high school. But, that doesn't mean I'm not one to get sucked up in it all, just like the best of them. And, honestly, I need the diversion.

That said, can you pretty please go vote for me to be in the Top 25 Eco-Friendly Moms? You can vote daily through April 17th.

So go vote for your favorites! And, I guarantee you'll find some new blogs to read.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Future of Food - Part 2

This post concludes the review of the movie, The Future of Food. To read Part 1, go here.

The second part of this film deals mostly with the risks of GMO food, namely the health risks and other unforeseen risks.

An example of a health risk with GMOs is the allergic reaction to StarLink corn, which contains Cry9C, an insecticidal protein. This protein does not seem to agree with some of the people who ingest it - they go into anaphylactic shock. Unfortunately, the StarLink corn wasn't tested before it was unleashed on the public.

Why, you ask? Because they didn't need to - it wasn't approved for human consumption. But, as we saw in the Part 1 post, cross-contamination of crops is rather prevalent. Or, in this case, many farmers may not have been clearly instructed not to sell the corn for human use, or were told that the unapproved variety would be approved by harvest time.

Part of the problem lies with the fact that the USDA doesn't require any environmental assessments with GMO crops. And the EPA regulates insecticides, but not food. Since insecticides are genetically engineered into all GMO crops and this is considered classical breeding practices, it is not regulated. Yet companies want to patent it without regulations. In other words, GMO falls through the cracks of all the agencies supposed to protect the consumer.

And if this doesn't make your blood boil, none of this fiddling with the food stock requires labeling. Polls show that 80 - 90% of people want GMO foods labeled, yet the manufacturers are still not required to do so in the U.S. The corporations want to make money by using GMOs but they don't want the responsibility when things don't work out.

Yet, biotech offers nothing for consumers. If offers no more nutrition (save for Golden Rice, and even that's debatable). Globally, starvation has nothing to do with quantity of foods. Farming is not a production problem, but an access problem and the U.S. subsidies prevent subsistence farming in other countries.

The U.S. farmers are overproducing crops like corn even when they can't cover production costs. So, we subsidize crops, undercutting the developing countries. For example, in Mexico it's cheaper to buy U.S. corn than the corn grown there (and our GMO corn is cross-contaminating the stock there, too). This system of subsidization has benefited U.S. corporations and not the developing countries.

Something that is also an issue to both U.S. and global farmers is the introduction of what's called terminator technology or the suicide gene. What this means is that farmers can't save the seed from generation to generation because it's sterile. So, they have to buy new seed each year. There are 15 patents on this suicide technology. What will happen if this gene pollutes crops around the world? Promoters say there is no out-crossing that can happen with GMO, but this is not true. And how do you switch off the terminator gene? Well, you need to spray it with a proprietary chemical to get it to germinate.

And last but not least, another issue to consider is the consolidation of food retail: Kraft and Nabisco own a huge market share; 80% of beef is processed by only 4 companies; and the vast majority of seed comes from four clusters of companies. In the next 10 years, all our food supplies will be controlled by a handful of companies, only one being from the U.S. - Walmart. Talk about a biosecurity risk.

So, what do we do about this? Well, you can start by supporting sustainable agriculture and avoiding big box grocery retailers and the national brands. CSAs create relationship with local families and create a connection with the community and provide a wide variety of produce rather than the monoculture of agriculture. Farmers markets also provide the community connection where you can meet the person that grew your food as you are purchasing it. You have the opportunity to discuss with the growers their farming techniques and philosophy. Consumers can't exercise their rights if GMO foods don't need to be labeled, but we can do so with our dollars elsewhere.

In other words, support your local farmers.

Disclaimer: This review is my account of the movie and may be highly fraught with inaccuracies. If you have any comment to add or to help clarify, please feel free.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Evolution, intelligent design and creationism

In spite of oil spills, nuclear catastrophes and whatever else humans throw at it, I still feel that the Earth and animal life on it (not any specific animal life, mind you) would survive whatever we end up doing to it. Since one of my degrees is in human evolution, I am always curious about people's opinions on evolution.

Generally, I usually am surprised at the number of folks who still think that the tenets of creation or intelligent design are true, so I thought I'd devote today's post to getting an idea of what you all thought. It still is, 80 plus years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, a controversial subject and a taboo topic of conversation.

Ultimately, I'm curious whether or not people who are interested in environmental issues tend to agree with the principles of evolution, ID or the belief of creationism? Or does it really matter?

So, what do you think? Does your understanding of how life is formed and evolved affect your environmentalism? Also, do you think that America's wishy-washy approach to teaching evolutionary science in schools has made us lose our edge in the biological sciences?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Backyard wild morels

Back in between the four thornless blackberry bushes and somewhere in the wood mulch, Emma discovered some morel mushrooms growing. Since our yard has a bevy of random mushrooms growing here and there, I initially just figured she found something equally inedible.

A few years back, I found a large shroom growing under the dogwood tree. I never did really figure out what it was, but I wasn't going to take my chances.

This time, however, it was pretty clear what was growing. They fit the classic description and, when I cut them open, the morels were hollow inside. They couldn't have been anything else. I was actually planning on "planting" morel spawn to have our own patch, but I guess I don't need to now, depending on how many more we get, of course. I left a few out there to hopefully propagate (or whatever that type of mushroom does).

In any case, we had a delicious morel, garlic cream sauce on our pasta last night. We're not dead yet so that's a good sign. I have to say, we're pretty damn lucky.

Do you have edible mushroom growing in your yard (on purpose or otherwise)?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Better Off Book Club - Section 1

Welcome to the first post of the Better Off Book Club! I'll be doing three book club summary and discussion posts, covering the three sections of the book, Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology, by Eric Brende.

Summary
In Section 1: Planting, the author explains a little of his background, going from MIT graduate student studying the effects of technology on humanity to taking the plunge and deciding to live among an Amish-like group with his new wife for 18 months.

Not satisfied with the loose interpretation taken by many modern Amish, Eric finds a community that is more strict than most Amish groups and even Mennonites. The community they settle on contains a mish-mash of locals as well as "foreigners" looking to live a technology-free life. This was the land of horse-drawn wagons, corn husked by hand, hay loaded by hand and firewood cut with bucksaws. There was no electricity, phones, cars or motors of any sort.

Eric and his wife, Mary, end up leasing the home of a local family (the Millers) who provide them with far more than just housing. Straight out of the gates, the Millers are loaning them not just furnishings for their house, but a kerosene range, a hand crank washing machine and other equipment. To top it off, the many talented and skilled Miller children provide guidance and support to help get their first farming season off the ground by planting their garden before they arrive and helping them with other chores like spreading manure and providing planting tips.

Eric quickly learns that they are ill equipped for the life they have chosen, not having the background and having a whole lot of naivete in spite of how much research they have done. Help from the neighbors is more than welcome and the Miller family also helps them build up their cash crops by loaning them space to grow pumpkins as well as sorghum for making molasses. While on one hand their neighbors were overly helpful and seemed to anticipate their needs before they did, they also came off as distant and hard to read.

The phrase "many hands make light work" was woven quite a bit into this tale and the concept of many people working together made the author forget or, at least, made the back-breaking jobs more bearable and, in some cases, turned it into a tolerable, if not pleasant, job instead.
Gradually, as you applied yourself to your task, the threads of friendship and conversation would grow and connect you to laborers around you. Then everything suddenly became inverted. You'd forget you were working and get caught up in the camaraderie, the sense of lightened effort. This surely must rank among the greatest of labor-savings secrets. Work folded into fun and disappeared. Friendship, conversation, exercise, fresh air, all melded together into a single act of mutual self-forgetting.
As the season wears on, the Millers drop off a milk cow for their use and they are reminded that their beans are getting too far along to be picked, that the weeds are taking over and they need to start collecting firewood for the winter. Keeping track of all the duties they needed to get done was difficult. Having the neighbors offering tips on one hand was extremely helpful but, on the other hand, Eric and his wife were somewhat embarrassed by their needing to have these things pointed out.

When the neighbors offer to provide running water to the house using a device called a "ram" (basically a water mill for pumping water), Eric felt that this mechanization was a little to close to breaking their technology-free rules. In looking at the technologies that the "Minimites" used - air tight combustion wood fired cooking, canning equipment, buggies and cultivators - Eric wondered where the line was drawn and also pondered the immense skills these people had to make up for the lack of technology.

The second to last chapter of this section revolved around the problems they ran into with their lack of refrigeration and the inconvenience of not being able to keep leftovers cool. This was problematic in that they had to make three meals a day from scratch rather than making larger meals for use on multiple days. They solved the problem by storing leftovers in large glass jars and submerging them in cool water from the cistern.

One thing that Eric and Mary discovered was that, without the distractions of modern life and technology, even with the extra work, they had a lot more time on their hands. They learned the difference between "fast time" and "slow time", with fast time referring to the modern convention of daylights savings time and slow time referring to the preservation of the natural markers of dawn, noon and dusk. In other words, "it was the Minimites acknowledgment of an entirely different structure in life, an entirely different pulse."

Discussion Questions
Feel free to answer some or all of the following questions (even if you haven't read the book). Or you can just comment on the first section as a whole.

1. Do you feel that you are knowledgeable enough about how to live technology-free if you had to? In other words, do you feel like you have the skills to do what they did or do you think you would fail at first and need a lot of help?

2. Do you think that using a ram to deliver water to their house is "cheating" or well within the "rules" they have placed on themselves?

3. Did you feel like their neighbors liked being helpful or were resentful for feeling like they had to help Eric and his wife through their ineptitude?

4. Would you be able to live without a refrigerator? Or electricity? Or running water? What would you miss the most?

5. What do you think Eric meant when referring to "slow time" as the concept that "leisure didn't end when work began, but pervaded every moment of the day"?

6. Do you feel rushed in "fast time" with all our distractions, TV, movies, Internet? Do you wish you could follow the rhythm of the sun and enjoy a more leisurely day without the fast paced distractions of set work and school schedules?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Aches and pains of farming

My husband always jokes that we couldn't run our own farm because we are too infirm. Between my husband's bone marrow cancer and stress fractures and my chronic lower and upper back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, it's unlikely we would be able to get anything done.

This weekend was no different. My carpal tunnels was acting up like crazy, mostly from doing far too much sewing and a little too much vacuuming. I did get my potatoes in, but that require a lot of lifting of bags of compost and gription strength that I don't have. Fortunately, the weather was crappy, so I wasn't tempted to do too much.

But, I did think of all those things I would like to do out in the yard regarding building new beds but where I'm limited due to physical problems. We have a ton of lawn in the front yard that is begging to be turned into something edible, but between my back and wrist, I need to pace myself. I can't really ask my husband because he has more problems than I do. He could help out, but he doesn't really like doing yard work type stuff to begin with and, given his own physical problems, I don't ask.

I have to admit I'm jealous of those of you who can spend hours working in the yard without pain or have a husband who can help out with a lot of the physical stuff or, at least, one who volunteers to do it and/or likes to do it.

In any case, I have limitations that I have to work with. I can do a little bit at a time and I can get it done. I just can't over do it.

Are you dealing with physical limitations that prevent you from doing the kind of yard or farm work you want to do?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why I'm going to vote for Sarah Palin

I've been more and more disillusioned with President Obama in the last few months. He's not representing any of the things I thought he stood for during the election and his latest stance on environmental issues and energy policy has been egregious. I understand that running a country as complicated as the U.S. is a difficult job, but that's no reason to completely backslide. In the end, you aren't satisfying anyone. No Republican will vote for him in the next election and, at this rate, no Democrat will either.

Which is why I'm going to vote for Sarah Palin in the next election. You know what you are getting when you vote for Sarah. Nobody is going to mistake her for being an intellectual who commiserates with the common man, no matter what she claims.

So, here are my top 5 reasons why I'm voting for Sarah Palin:

1. She knows how to make some cash
Between the books deals, speaking engagements and the reality shows, she (and her family) has shown time and again that she can rake in the money when it counts. I'm hoping she can apply the same sort of monetary skills to lowering the budget and, hell, just plain eliminate the entire deficit in her first term. I'm confident she can do that.

2. She can charm the pants off of anyone
Okay, maybe that anyone has to have an X and a Y chromosome, but with her powers of persuasion and good ole aw' shucks personality, she's sure to bring peace to the middle east, wrap up all those pesky wars and turn the White House into an international Party House.

3. She's self-reliant
Sarah will make Michelle Obama and her lawn garden look like a kindergarten seedling project. Forget raised beds and backyard bees, try some elk, moose and wolf hunting right there on the White House lawn. And let's pop that lawn open and get ourselves a stocked pond for fishing. People would pay out the nose to go hunting and fishing on White House property, especially when their least favorite legislators are visiting. (Refer to point #1 for hunting fees to bring down the deficit.)

4. Science is the real problem
All the world's ailments can be reduced down to one thing: too much science. With Palin in office, we can look forward to a life more simple, more biblical, less messy. While it will be difficult to argue that a woman's place is in the home (er house, I mean White House), life will be so much easier when women are in their place, stem cells are just a mere blip in the history of biology and the human race is again divine and there's no more of this monkey business.

5. She's hot
No self-respecting person likes to admit it, but she's easy on the eyes. Even if there is shit coming out of her mouth. But all those good looks won't be going to waste. In times of fiscal crisis, good looks (and a g-string) can be used at state dinners to collect some extra cash for the coffers. (Again, see point #1.)

All kidding aside, we haven't talked politics much lately, but how are you feeling about our president and his choices these days? Are you glad you voted for (or against) him?

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