31 Baskets

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I will post finished projects next week. I am waiting
to get one more back from the quilter.

Cider with Molly

So, there I was, roaming disconsolately around 'History Live!' the new wizzy and slightly queasy name for English Heritage's Festival of History at Kelmarsh. Why do they do this? It's like the English Tourist Board now being 'Enjoy England'. Yes, I will, thankyou. Anyway, I wandered about under the lowering skies, looking at Roman soldiers on their iPhones, chatting up WWII nurses doing each other's hair and generally feeling glum at the lack of light for my pictures when 'lo!', I walked into the beer tent and saw this on the bar. Now I don't normally drink the fruit of the apple, but how could I resist this? Quite apart from my well known penchant (in certain select quarters at least) for white on red polka dots, I just loved the design. It took me a while to get to the small print, but '100% cider apples' and 'Herefordshire' did it for me too. So what's it like? Let's put it like this. Come Christmas I want a reasonable quantity stowed in the cellars of Ashley Towers. As it says on the label: 'Well rounded, medium, still.' Thankyou to Celtic Marches who made it and designed the label- just for me it would appear. 
Sneak Peek
If you are participating in our Summer Block of the Week here 
is a little sneak peek at the finished project. Week Nine is in the mail
 and should be arriving in your mailbox soon. I hope everyone
is caught up and will be ready to put theirs together in a few weeks.
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If you missed out, the pattern will be available in September.
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If your Week Eight kit has not arrived yet or did arrive with postage 
due I am so sorry. I have had to become my own shipping
department and experienced a little technical glitch, something
 about the direction I put the label on the envelope. Who knew!

Ightham Smote

There can perhaps be nothing more English than watching an event in the pouring rain.  Considering the recent spell of excellent weather it really was bad luck that the al fresco performance of Pride and Prejudice at the National Trust's Ightham Mote should have been greeted and terminated by a storm of Biblical proportions on Saturday night. We arrived as rain swept across the lawns, tripping over our folding chairs and picnic hampers as we desparately tried to find a viewing position that didn't involve other people's umbrellas and massed ranks of hooded kagoules. I sat on a packet of wet scotch eggs, chucked a big glass of rose over the people in front and tried to keep an even temper as my chair decided to fold itself back up again and slowly sink into the grass. It was at this point that a lady thrust herself upon me and asked "Would you like to buy a raffle ticket?" I expect to hear of my membership suspension from the National Trust shortly.

But sincerest congratulations to the Chapterhouse Theatre Company for such a valiant and utterly professional attempt to give us the play for half an hour before a classic lightning strike threatened to take out the entire Bennet family. Two for one in one case as the actor playing Mr.Bennet doubled up as a very convincing D'Arcy, presumably doing very quick changes behind a convenient and very damp shrub.

28 Baskets

Almost done. 3 more to go.

Suicide Prevention Trainings

The Maine Suicide Prevention Program has announced its 2013-2014 schedule of trainings. The complete schedule and registration information is available at www.ccsme.org/train/suicideprevention.

The Maine Suicide Prevention Program is a statewide suicide prevention initiative led by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) in the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in collaboration with the Departments of Education, Labor, Corrections and Public Safety. Its training program is housed at the National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine Office (NAMI Maine) in Augusta and is being delivered through collaboration with Co-Occurring Collaborative Serving Maine (CCSME) and Maine Primary Care Association (MPCA).

For more information about suicide prevention in Maine, visit the Maine Suicide Prevention Program’s website: www.maine.gov/suicide.

Verdict First Trial Later: Edward Snowden

Just another day in week then.

A Shameful Day to Be a US Citizen

By Dave Lindorff
July 28, 2013

I have been deeply ashamed of my country many times. The Nixon Christmas bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong was one such time, when hospitals, schools and dikes were targeted. The invasion of Iraq was another. Washington’s silence over the fatal Israeli Commando raid on the Gaza Peace Flotilla--in which a 19-year-old unarmed American boy was murdered--was a third. But I have rarely been as ashamed and disgusted as I was Saturday reading that US Attorney General Eric Holder had sent a letter to the Russian minister of justice saying that the US would “not seek the death penalty” in its espionage case against National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, promising that even if the US later brought added charges against Snowden after obtaining him, they would not include any death penalty, and vowing that if Snowden were handed over by Russia to the US, he would “not be tortured.”

So it has come to this: That the United States has to promise (to Russia!) that it will not torture a prisoner in its control -- a US citizen at that -- and so therefore that person, Edward Snowden, has no basis for claiming that he should be “treated as a refugee or granted asylum.”

Why does Holder have to make these pathetic representations to his counterpart in Russia?

Because Snowden has applied for asylum saying that he is at risk of torture or execution if returned to the US to face charges for leaking documents showing that the US government is massively violating the civil liberties and privacy of every American by monitoring every American’s electronic communications.

Snowden has made that claim in seeking asylum because he knows that another whistleblower, Pvt. Bradley Manning, was in fact tortured by the US for months, and held without trial in solitary confinement in a Marine military brig for nearly a year, part of the time naked, before being finally put on trial in a kangaroo court, where the judge is as much prosecutor as jurist, and where his guilt was declared in advance by the President of the United States -- the same president who has also already publicly declared Snowden guilty too.

It is incredibly shameful that we US citizens have to admit that we live in a country that tortures its prisoners, that casually executes people who are mentally retarded, who are innocent, who had defense attorneys who slept through their clients’ trials, whose prosecutors slept with the judge, who were denied access to DNA evidence that could have proven their innocence, or who were convicted based upon the lies of prosecutors and prosecution witnesses.

This country’s “justice” system has become so perverted and politically tainted that the rest of the world, including Russia, knows that Snowden is telling the truth when he says he cannot hope to receive a fair trial here. Indeed, Congress has passed laws, and the President has signed laws, giving this government the power to lock someone like Snowden up indefinitely without trial, to torture him, and even to kill him, not through a jury decision on capital punishment, but simply on the basis of a secret “finding” by the President that he has aided or abetted terrorism.

No wonder Russia and several other countries, including Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, have offered or are considering offering Snowden asylum.

And no wonder that, in its obsession with getting its tyrannical hands on him, this government is willing to promise not to kill him or torture him (for what a promise from the US government is worth, especially since when Holder makes his promise of "no torture" we have to remember that Holder and the US don't define such horrors as waterboarding, stress positions, keeping someone naked in an unheated cell, or employing prolonged sensory deprivation are not "torture").

Shame and anger are the only appropriate responses to that letter from Holder.

If this were a country that honored the rule of law, Attorney General Holder would not need to promise not to torture. He would need only to point to the US Constitution, with its ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.” He would not need to promise a fair trial to Snowden, with no capital punishment on any charges. He could point instead to the Constitution’s promise of a presumption of innocence and of a public trial by a jury of the accused’s peers, to make the case against the granting of asylum.

In such a country, someone like Snowden, with the help of a crack legal team, would have a fair shot at proving to a jury his innocence of the government’s frivolous espionage charges. He’d have a fair chance of convincing at least one juror of his absolute innocence of any crime, making his conviction impossible.

But that is not what this country is, especially today.

In today’s US courts, we know the “Justice” Department would seek to bar testimony about Snowden’s motives in leaking the documents he downloaded from the NSA’s computers. They would ask the judge to limit defense arguments and testimony in the case to the narrow issue of whether or not he downloaded and leaked files, not to whether those files exposed Constitutional violations and needed to be brought to the public’s attention. Our judges, nominated by presidents and confirmed by senators, Democrat and Republican, who want jurists who favor government secrecy and who generally side with the government against the people, can be counted on to grant the government’s motions.

In such circumstances, a defendant like Snowden, facing charges of espionage or theft of government secrets, has no ability to defend himself. The trial would be like in a Lewis Carroll event: “Verdict first, trial later!”

Hopefully President Vladimir Putin will not be pressured by the US into pretending that Snowden has nothing to fear in going back to face “justice” in the US.

It is bad enough that we Americans have to hang our heads in shame as our Attorney General pretends, against all evidence to the contrary, that there is still a fair legal system operating in the US, and that the US respects human rights and the rule of law.

We should not have to also endure yet another kangaroo court trial, this time of Edward Snowden.

Snowden should be granted asylum in Russia, or should be allowed to travel to one of the other countries of his choice that have had the courage to offer him asylum.

If we’re going to have trials on the issue of spying in the US, let them be of Holder himself, and of President Obama. This Can't Be Happening

Puttin’ the Pressure on Putin

Puttin’ the Pressure on Putin
By Ray McGovern
July 28, 2013
Exclusive: The Obama administration continues to compound the diplomatic mess around former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The latest blunder was announcing that the U.S. wouldn’t torture or execute Snowden, a reminder to the world how far Official Washington has strayed from civilized behavior, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
The main question now on the fate of truth-teller Edward Snowden is whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will see any benefit in helping stop the United States from further embarrassing itself as it prances around the globe acting like a “pitiful, helpless giant.” That image was coined by President Richard Nixon, who insisted that the giant of America would merit those adjectives if it did not prevail in South Vietnam.

It is no secret that Putin is chuckling as Attorney General Eric Holder and other empty-shirts-cum-corporate-law-office-silk-ties – assisted ably by White House spokesperson Jay Carney – proceed willy-nilly to transform the Snowden case from a red-faced diplomatic embarrassment for the United States into a huge geopolitical black eye before the rest of the world.

Reminding the planet how out of step the United States has been from most of the civilized world, Holder offered a written promise to the Russians on July 9 (and released on Friday) that Snowden would neither be tortured nor put to death for disclosing secrets about how the National Security Agency has been spying on Americans and pretty much everybody else on Earth.

Holder assured the Russian Justice Minister that the U.S. “would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States.” Holder also saw fit to reassure his Russian counterpart that, “Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States.” Wow, that’s a relief!

The United States is so refined in its views on human rights that it won’t torture or execute a whistleblower. Of course, that only reminded everyone that the United States is one of the few advanced societies that still puts lots of people to death and was caught just last decade torturing detainees at CIA “black sites,” not to mention the brutal treatment of other prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

And, there was the humiliating treatment afforded another American whistleblower, Private Bradley Manning, whose forced nudity and long periods in solitary confinement during eight months of confinement at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C. prompted international accusations of torture.

Holder’s strange promise may have been designed to undercut Snowden’s bid for asylum, but it also reminded the world of America’s abysmal behavior on human rights. And, even if the United States promises not to torture someone, government lawyers have shown how they can play games with the definition of the term or just outright lie. Holder’s reputation for veracity is just a thin notch above that of National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who admits he has chosen to testify under oath to the “least untruthful” things.

Perhaps no one has told Holder how shockingly out of step with other civilized nations the U.S. finds itself on the issue of capital punishment. Just calling attention to that is a diplomatic gaffe of some proportion. The global trend toward abolition of the death penalty is unmistakable and increasing. The United States even is the outlier on this issue when compared to “brutal” Russia. In Russia, there has been a moratorium on executions since 1996, although it is still technically lawful.

The European Union holds a strong and principled position against the death penalty, and the abolition of capital punishment is a pre-condition for entry into the Union. The U.S. enjoys the dubious distinction of joining a list with China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia as the leaders in executing people.

Closing the Barn Door Too Late

Holder’s high-profile push to get the Russians to hand over Snowden damages the United States in other ways, too, such as reminding the world how the U.S. government has violated the privacy rights of people everywhere, including in allied countries. There is a reasonable argument to be made that the smartest U.S. move would be to simply leave Snowden alone.

Depending on your perspective, Edward Snowden has already done his damage – or, in my view, accomplished his patriotic duty of truth-telling – demonstrating with documents how the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama have trashed the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Moreover, Snowden apparently had the foresight to handle his revelations in such way that, to the degree there are still more genies about to be let out of the bottle, it will be near impossible to stuff them back in. Indeed, he has said as much, in indicating how easily he can accede to Putin’s condition that he does “no further harm” to the U.S. Snowden has even been specific in acknowledging that he cannot prevent journalist Glenn Greenwald and others from publishing more of the material he made available.

So why the hue and cry from Washington? While the Obama White House has utterly failed to honor Obama’s earlier promises to run a transparent administration, there is one area in which it has been as transparent as Saran Wrap. And that is its fixation with pursuing whistleblowers “to the full extent of the law” … and then some.

The administration has been transparently vindictive, revengeful and determined to exact retribution on “leakers” as a warning to others whose consciences might trouble them enough to reveal war crimes, as Bradley Manning did, or crass violations of our rights as citizens, as Edward Snowden did.

But the recent thrashing around — demanding and cajoling Putin to turn over Snowden — has further made the United States look petulant and inept. Meanwhile, Putin has demonstrated a much more deft touch in handling this delicate international incident.

After making it clear that “we do not extradite,” Putin has had the good sense to put some distance between himself and the Snowden affair. As Secretary of State John Kerry bemoaned (from Saudi Arabia, of all places) about “standards of behavior between sovereign nations,” and (of all things) “respect for the rule of law,” Putin said the issue is simple:

“Should such people [as Snowden] be extradited to be jailed, or not? In any case, I would prefer not to deal with such issues, because this is just the same as shaving a piglet – too much noise but too little hair.”

Will Putin Cave?

Do the feckless folks running President Barack Obama’s foreign policy really think they can force Putin to back down? Can they actually believe they can achieve that by putting into play what they apparently consider a diplomatic “nuclear option”? The thinly veiled threat surfaced ten days ago that Obama will snub Putin by canceling their planned tete-a-tete before the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg in September.

Can they possibly think that by pouting, jibing and stamping their feet, they will frighten Putin into “behaving” as obediently as the malleable Italians, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Austrians did when they forced down Bolivian President Evo Morales’s plane for inspection? Morales was en route home from a visit to Russia when someone provided the U.S. with a “tip” that Snowden was hiding on Morales’s plane.

I find myself wondering who provided Washington with that great tip, and whether it is no longer the practice among U.S. intelligence agencies to take rudimentary steps to verify such tips before they let their masters get greasy diplomatic egg all over their faces?

Finally, how many more times does Putin have to say, as he did through his spokesman again Friday that: “Russia has never extradited anyone, and will not extradite [Snowden].”

Months ago, former UK MI5 intelligence officer Annie Machon coined the term “asymmetric extradition law” referring to U.S. policy, which, in the vernacular, might be called “pick-and-choose.” While there is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Russia, there has been one between the U.S. and Italy for 30 years. Yet, Washington has turned a deaf ear to Italy’s appeals to extradite convicted kidnapper Robert Seldon Lady, former head of the CIA worker bees in Milan where the CIA mounted an “extraordinary rendition” against the Muslim cleric known as Abu Omar off the streets in 2003. Omar was given over to the tender mercies of Egyptian intelligence interrogators.

In 2005, when Lady got a tip that the Italian police were coming for him, he reportedly fled his villa without destroying sensitive files on the CIA’s mission. Italy convicted Lady and 22 other U.S. operatives in absentia and gave them hefty jail sentences. Last December, Italy’s justice minister signed a warrant for Lady’s arrest. On July 18, Lady was identified and detained in Panama, but slipped away the next day on a plane headed toward the U.S.

Few were surprised that Panama was pressured into joining the servile company of the four U.S.-crony European countries that had already embarrassed themselves as accessories to the Washington’s latest Excellent Adventure regarding Evo Morales’s plane – a fiasco code-named OARR (for Operation Airline Rest Room) after the suspected place where Snowden was believed stowed away.

But when it came to extraditing a convicted kidnapper from Panama to Italy? Puleeze. Great powers don’t have to do that kind of thing, treaty or not. Except for Russia, you see. Moscow must surrender Snowden, even absent a U.S.-Russia extradition treaty. And Putin should understand that, no?

It must have been that kind of superpower-think that prompted Jay Carney on July 12 to add insult to injury, as he jibed at the Russian government to “afford human rights organizations the ability to do their work in Russia throughout Russia, not just at the Moscow transit lounge.” That kind of comment is sure to endear the White House to the Kremlin.

Vladimir Volokh, head of the Russian Migration Service, seemed to welcome a chance to retaliate in kind. Rubbing in the awkwardness of Snowden’s present status because of actions by Washington, Volokh told the Interfax news agency Friday: “We know that he is Edward Snowden only from his words. The passport he has has been canceled. … He is under protection in the transit area for his safety. He is an individual being pursued and his life is in danger.”

The Russians, and pretty much everyone else, are smart enough to realize that, given Washington’s transparent motives, there is nothing to be gained by serving Snowden up to American “justice,” such as it has become. Russia is no banana republic, so it beggars belief that President Putin will follow the supine example of Panama. Nor is the fawning example of Italy, France, Spain and Portugal something Putin would wish to emulate.

Russian History more

You Wouldn't Hang it on Your Wall - Ink

You wouldn't hang it on your wall, why on earth would you hang it on your body?

Why tattoos make my flesh crawl

The tattoo has always been a mark of powerlessness, not individuality. And now everyone’s got one.
By Neil Davenport.
September 18 2012

Joanna Southgate’s heavily tattooed arms caused a stir at Royal Ascot last week. Apparently, the 34-year-old sneaked in and avoided being told to cover them up. In a discussion piece last Sunday, an Observer journalist argued that tattoos like Southgate’s can be beautiful and a work of art in their own right. Novelist and journalist Rachel Johnson, however, declared that they simply lacked style and elegance. If they’re not good enough for actress Kristin Scott Thomas, she declared, they’re not good enough for any stylish woman. In the Mirror, Tony Parsons also declared that tattoos were a depressing eyesore and that Britain has become a ‘tattooed nation’.

For once, I’m with Parsons. In Britain, when the sun comes out, so do the tattoos. Acres and acres of flesh vandalised by grubby-looking ink daubings: martial-arts symbols, nude dancers, flowers and roses, Guns’n’Roses, dolphins, dogs and loved ones’ names scrawled in Sanskrit. Tattoos used to be a subcultural expression of criminals, sailors and hard men. Now everyone, from footballers to the prime minister’s wife, has their body adorned in artwork last seen on a Prog-Rock album sleeve. To describe them as lurid would be an understatement, which is a word probably hated and feared in tattoo parlours everywhere.

So what’s going on? How did we arrive at a situation whereby not having a tattoo is now a sign of daring rebellion? While sitting in a pub garden recently, I realised I was about the only person whose flesh could be considered a blank canvas. Nor will I be getting my arms mutilated anytime soon. Apart from tattoos looking hideously ugly, they are also indicative of a person’s insularity. No doubt having a tattoo is widely seen as a mark of individuality and personal expression; that is, you have altered your body’s appearance to demonstrate something about yourself. As one blogger put it recently, ‘a tattoo is a life story. And with a virgin skin you obviously don’t have a life.’

Yet there’s more going on here than questionable aesthetic tastes. With tattoos, the emphasis is all on the self, and the centrality of the self, rather than anything outside of the body. You may not be in a position to make a mark on the outside world, or even on your local community, but at least you can leave a mark on your own body. In a deeply narcissistic age, self-aggrandising tattoos have become the body badge of choice for thousands. But by enlarging ourselves with tattoos, we’re belittling ourselves in the process. It’s a sign of our low expectations that having control over flesh decorations is considered to be the limit of our capacities as an individual. So while shaping the outside world seems near impossible, you can at least shape barbed-wire patterns on your arm.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Historically, tattoos have long been part of subcultures in which fundamental social change was dismissed. During the postwar period, tattoos were associated with rock’n’roll outlaw chic: the greaser, the rocker and the Hell’s Angels. In other words, tattoos were associated with an ‘outsider’ form of ‘cool’. And yet, the original definition of ‘cool’ was to be decidedly icy about the struggles between left and right, socialism and conservatism, workers and bosses. It was to be cool about the possibilities of human progress achieved through social transformation. To display your tattoos was to elevate the self over any commitment to engaging with and changing society.

Of course in an age where human progress has little positive meaning, it’s not surprising that ‘cool’, in its anti-political sense, has become so widespread. But the emptying out of politics has also gone hand-in-hand with a rejection of civilised mainstream values, too. Increasingly, universal standards in public life, from formality of speech to ‘dressing for an occasion’, are seen as irritating, even offensive, reminders of stuffy Old Britain. Anyone who questions the dismantling of such universal standards is seen as an out-of-touch reactionary who needs to ‘chillax’.

Public displays of tattoos, such as swallows on hands to denote having ‘done bird’, were often a sad display of self-loathing by marginalised individuals in society. In the early 1980s, lumpenised punks and skinheads would also have a ‘cut here’ tattoo dotted around their throat. A mixture of personal degradation and outlaw status has, historically, provided tattoos with their shock value.

In recent years, such shock value has now taken the form of the neck tattoo, where huge ink daubings have no place to hide. The comedy writer Armando Iannucci recently said on Twitter that neck tattoos must be ‘the worst sort of career move going’. But that is exactly why some individuals have them; it is a defiant rejection of the formalised dress codes required to advance in most workplaces, a tattooed sneer at the uptight world of white-collar work and ‘office drones’.

Imagining yourself on the margins, and not at the centre of society, is why tattoos have become so popular. Whether it is refusing to hold down a job or, in the middle classes’ case, rejecting bourgeois values, significant sections of society want to vacate the public sphere. Just like the historically isolated social groups with which tattoo wearers seek identification, today a lot of people want to be outside contemporary society. In effect, tattoos are a celebration of powerlessness and marginalisation. Getting tattooed up is simply a way of putting ourselves down.

Neil Davenport is a politics teacher based in London. He blogs at The Midnight Bell.
From hero to zero: Lewis Hamilton. Not only that, he's got Jesus.

Brown Fat: It's a Big Deal

Non-shivering thermogenesis is the process by which the body generates extra heat without shivering.  Shivering is a way for the body to use muscular contractions to generate heat, but non-shivering thermogenesis uses a completely different mechanism to accomplish the same goal: a specialized fat-burning tissue called brown fat.  Brown fat is brown rather than white because it's packed with mitochondria, the power plants of the cell.  Under cold conditions, these mitochondria are activated, using a specialized molecular mechanism called uncoupling* to generate heat.

The mechanism of brown fat activation has been worked out fairly well in rodents, which rely heavily on non-shivering thermogenesis due to their small body size.  Specialized areas of the hypothalamus in the brain sense body temperature (through sensors in the brain and body), body energy status (by measuring leptin and satiety signals), stress level, and probably other factors, and integrate this information to set brown fat activity.  The hypothalamus does this by acting through the sympathetic nervous system, which heavily innervates brown fat.  As an aside, this process works basically the same in humans, as far as we currently know.  Those who claim that rodent models are irrelevant to humans are completely full of hot air**, as the high degree of conservation of the hypothalamus over 75 million years of evolution demonstrates.

Two new studies concurrently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation last week demonstrate what I've suspected for a long time: brown fat can be 'trained' by cold exposure to be more active, and its activation by cold can reduce body fatness.

Read more »

Zucchini: The Home Gardener's Worst Friend? With bonus garden-related rambling.

One of my main gardening goals has been to harvest more of something than I can eat, despite my limited gardening space here in the Emerald City.  I want the feeling of abundance that comes with having to preserve and give away food because I can't eat it all.

Enter zucchini.  My grandfather used to say that in New Jersey in summertime, you'd have to keep your car doors locked, otherwise the car would be full of zucchini the next time you got in!  In mid-May, I planted two starts from my local grocery store labeled "green zucchini", with no further information.  I put them in a bed that used to be a pile of composted horse manure, and that I had also cover cropped, mulched, fertilized, and loosened deeply with my broadfork.  They look pleased.

Read more »

Shellfish Harvesting Closed in Olympia's Budd Inlet

This advisory is no long in place.
A marine biotoxin that causes diarrhetic shellfish poison (DSP) has been found at unsafe levels in shellfish at Budd Inlet in Thurston County. 
Washington State Department of Health and Thurston County Public Health have closed all of Budd Inlet to recreational shellfish harvesting.  The closure includes lower Budd Inlet (where shellfish harvesting is never advised) and extends all the way out to Boston Harbor and the tip of Cooper Point.  
Warning signs have been posted at public beaches alerting people not to collect shellfish.
What you should know about DSP:
  • DSP biotoxins are produced by naturally occurring algae. They can build up in the flesh of molluscan shellfish, such as clams, mussels, oysters and geoducks and make shellfish unsafe to eat.
  • DSP biotoxins are not destroyed by cooking or freezing.   
  • Symptoms can begin 30 minutes to 12 hours after eating contaminated shellfish. Diarrhea is the most commonly reported symptom but the toxin can also cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.  Most symptoms subside within 72 hours.
  • Shellfish harvested commercially (available in stores and restaurants) are tested for toxins prior to distribution, and are safe to eat.
DSP biotoxin is a new health concern for waters in Washington State. The first confirmed cases of illness caused by DSP in Washington State were in July 2011, when three people got sick after eating shellfish harvested in Sequim Bay in Clallam County. 
This Budd Inlet closure is the first DSP closure to occur in South Puget Sound waters.
Recreational shellfish harvesters should always call the Washington State Department of Health Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 or check the DOH website at www.doh.wa.gov/shellfishsafety.htm before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington.  


World Hepatitis Day is July 28. In recognition of the day, Maine CDC is highlighting US CDC’s Know Hepatitis B Campaign.

Hepatitis B is common worldwide, especially in many parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. In the US, Hepatitis B disproportionately affects Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). While AAPIs make up less than 5% of the U.S. population, they account for more than 50% of Americans living with Hepatitis B. One in 12 AAPIs has Hepatitis B.

For more information about the campaign, visit http://www.cdc.gov/KnowHepatitisB/

For general information about World Hepatitis Day, go to http://www.cdc.gov/features/worldhepatitisday/

Breast is best, even during emergencies

Every mother knows that breastfeeding is the healthy choice when it comes to feeding her baby. In fact, experts recommend that all babies be breastfed exclusively for at least the first six months of life.

But did you know that breastfeeding is especially important during disasters?

Breastfeeding is the safest option for feeding your baby during emergencies, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, as clean drinking water and sterilization may not be readily available for formula. Using unclean water for feeding can expose your baby to water-borne diseases such as cholera as well as diarrhea.

Plus, nursing comforts your baby. Breastfeeding increases skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby. During disasters, a mom’s warmth can help soothe a baby in distress. While stress may lesson a mother’s milk supply, breastfeeding helps to reduce her stress, too, says the March of Dimes.

According to the World Health Organization, breast milk contains antibodies that strengthen a baby’s immune system, which can be at risk during severe weather. Even better, breast milk is just the right temperature for babies and can help prevent hypothermia, when body temperatures drop too low. And best of all, breast milk is readily available.

If you must use formula during a disaster, the March of Dimes advises that you use ready-to-feed options that don’t need mixing or water.

For more information, check out the March of Dimes website and download our Get Ready fact sheet for pregnant women and new moms.


What A Deal
I have been having so much fun making these sampler blocks
with Marcus Brothers Centennial Solids. We started our second
session of the Solid Sampler a few months ago and I have a
few spots left. So here is the deal
- - - - - - - - - - 
Sign up today and receive
  one months kit and the pattern for free a $32.00 value
Monthly Kits are $18.00 plus 3.00 shipping
Call the shop and we will get you all signed up.
Don't miss out again!

New Arrivals

I've made some decisions this week, quite apart from re-starting my blog. But first a very big thankyou for to all those followers who didn't disengage and who have kept the faith whilst I've been faffing about. I've decided not to Twitter anymore after I looked at the last one I'd 'tweeted' that used all the word allowance to ponder on why there was a teatowel from Leatherhead blowing on my neighbour's washing line. And the same goes for MugBook. The truth is I just can't be bothered with all that, but what I will promise is that these Unmitigated Postings will be as regular as All Bran. It's a forum I love, I've been away from it far too long, and even if there's only my immediate followers out there reading it I shall be very happy.

The idea for my 'first' posting came from the above tin that I found irresistible in Market Harborough's Market Hall the other week, and the timing for it's first appearance is hopefully obvious. And having just received the fabulously beautiful gift of my first grandaughter from Only Daughter, I'm all ridiculously babied-up at the moment. So here's to all new arrivals, royal or not quite so royal. (Opens bottle of Pimm's, puts a teat on it, gurgles it down in one, falls over. Smiling beatifically.) 

21 Baskets

 21 Baskets only a few more to go. Keep up the good work.

Keeping food safe during flooding and power outages

Disasters can strike when you least expect them. Knowing how to properly store food ahead of time can help keep you and your family safe from foodborne illnesses.

Two of the most common emergencies that can happen in the summer are flood and power outages, both of which can affect your food and make it unsafe to eat.

Keeping food safe during power outages:

It’s important to keep meat, poultry, fish, eggs and other perishable food at or below 40 degrees and frozen food at or below 0 degrees. But how can you tell what the temperature is if the power is out? The answer is with an appliance thermometer. You should have one for both your refrigerator and freezer.

To keep your foods cooler for longer during a power outage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises you to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours and a full freezer will stay cold for about 48 hours, or 24 hours if it is half full. (It’s a good idea to print this information out and save it somewhere you can find it when the power goes out.)

If your refrigerator has been without power for more than four hours, discard any perishable food, USDA says. Never taste the food to test its safety!

Keeping food safe during and after floods:

After a flood, drink only bottled water, as public water supplies may be contaminated. If bottled water is not available, boil tap water for safety. Before using dishes, metal pans or utensils that have touched floodwater, wash them with hot soapy water and sanitize by boiling them in clean water.

Losing food to flooding can be devastating, particularly if you have a lot of it. It’s normal to want to save it. But it’s just not worth risking your health or the health of your loved ones.

After a flood, make sure to throw away any of the following if there is any chance it came in contact with floodwater:
  • food in cardboard boxes, paper, foil or cloth;
  • spices, seasonings, flour, sugar, grain, coffee and other staples;
  • unopened jars with wax cardboard seals, such as mayonnaise and salad dressings;
  • all canned foods; and
  • wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.
Remember: When in doubt, throw it out!

For more information, check out our Get Ready food and water safety fact sheet and get more tips on food safety from USDA.

Scatter Creek Community Open House & Workshop on July 30

You are invited to an open house and community workshop about the Scatter Creek Aquifer project, hosted by the Scatter Creek Aquifer Project Citizens Advisory Committee and Thurston County Environmental Health.

When:             Tuesday July 30, 2013
                        6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Where:            Rochester Middle School Commons
                        9937 Highway 12 SW
                        Rochester, WA 98579

Schedule:        Open House: 6:30-7:30 p.m. (includes children’s area)
                        Presentations: 7:30-8:00 p.m.
                        Questions: 8:00- 8:30 p.m.

The Scatter Creek Aquifer is susceptible to groundwater contamination because the area’s sandy, gravelly soils do not filter out contaminants well. Unlike many other areas, there is not a deeper aquifer below, which makes it the only source of drinking water for more than 18,000 residents.

Project activities include groundwater monitoring, groundwater modeling, and meeting regularly with a Citizen Advisory Committee to determine the best course of action to protect drinking water now and in the future. For more information visit the project website

This event is an opportunity for the community to learn more about the project and provide input.  For more information, or to sign up for email updates contact ScatterCreek@co.thurston.wa.us or (360) 867-2582.

Effective Tips for Daily Skin Care

Now that you have spent some time improving the health of your skin and giving it the tools it needs to rebuild itself, you can work on establishing the best possible maintenance routine. Remember that habits are made in three to four weeks. Start with what you know you can follow for those three weeks. If that means just working on establishing your skin maintenance routine for a month, then your hair routine, that's fine. Just don't forget your foundational routine improving your nutrition, hydration and rest!


1) Cleansing

All makeup should be removed before bed each evening. There are a countless number of products for cleaning your skin, with different formulas for each skin type. Unless you use heavy makeup, it's easiest to pick a cleanser that also removes makeup. Another option is to just use makeup remover or oil on eye makeup, as foundations and blushers usually come off easily with most regular cleansers.

Either way, clean your facial skin every evening before bed, and again in the morning. If you've cleaned your face properly in the evening, morning skin will just require a light washing to remove sebum and sweat and prepare your face for your makeup.

If using a water-based cleanser, wet your face with lukewarm water. If using an oil-based cleanser, apply directly to dry skin.

Using your fingers or a soft cloth, gently apply cleanser in small circles over your face, working from your nose to your hairline. Don't forget to apply cleanser to your neck, using soft swipes upward towards the jaw line. Be careful not to pull or stretch the skin when cleansing.

Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. If you are planning to take a shower or bath, apply your cleanser before getting into the shower/tub to give it a few minutes to work on your skin.

2) Toning

Toning restores the skin's natural pH and provides a protective acid mantle that makes the skin stronger. It helps remove any cleanser residue and reduces the size of pores. Depending on your skin type, toners will range from gentle acidic formulations to highly antiseptic formulas.

Soak a cosmetic pad liberally with your toner and gently wipe your face from your nose outward and over the forehead. Don't forget your neck. You can use cotton balls, but cotton cosmetic pads are easier. You should avoid the delicate skin around your eyes unless using a very gentle toning formula that contains absolutely no alcohol or peroxide and only then to remove oil and dirt from the eyebrows.

3) Protecting

Your skin should be protected from harmful UV rays daily. "Protecting" is a two-step process. The first part of the process is providing your skin with antioxidants and ingredients that will help it protect itself by maintaining natural protective enzymes. The second part is providing it with sunscreen protection.

If you are going to use a vitamin/nutrient antioxidant solution or serum, you can soak a cotton ball with your solution and apply to face, patting your "problem areas" first, then gently wiping over the rest of your face. Apply to neck in upward motion. If using a commercial antioxidant serum, follow manufacturer's directions.

4) Moisturizing

As women get older, their natural sebum production slows. Skin needs inner and outer hydration to maintain is strength, flexibility and integrity. Moisturizers also reduce the risk of mechanical damage to the skin, by reducing friction and reducing the chance the skin will be stretched or torn by contact.

You can protect and moisturize in one step, but use an all-inclusive skin lotion that provides vitamins C, E, and A, and oils to moisturize and a sun block. You can also provide your own antioxidant protection by applying solutions of nutrient vitamins/herbs to your skin, then using a moisturizing sunscreen. We'll show you more about which ones to chose and how to apply them in later chapters.

Apply moisturizer lightly to face in outward motions. Apply to neck in upward motions. Be careful not to pull or stretch your skin. For daytime, if your moisturizer does not already contain sun protection, apply a grease-free sunscreen to your face, throat, as well as all body skin exposed to the sun.

5) Exfoliate

As your skin grows and repairs itself, the outer layer of dead cells slough off. To expedite this process and get to the fresher, newer cells below, it's recommended that you exfoliate your skin at least once a week. There are basically two ways of doing this, mechanically and chemically. For mechanical exfoliation, you can use a good skin scrub, a microdermabrasion cream or a loufah pad. Chemically, you can use one of the common acidic exfoliating preparations, glycolic acid peels, lactic acid peels, alpha-hydroxy, etc. Some skin cleansers come with this step built right inside the formula. Your skin type will determine how often you should exfoliate and which method you should use. Irritated skin, like that with acne, eczema or rosacea will not appreciate the heavy scrubbing of mechanical exfoliants, and even a chemical formula may be too irritating for more than occasional use. Older skin that is highly sun-damaged may require either or both methods, perhaps more often, to remove the layers of damaged skin and help stimulate the production of healthy collagen structures in the deeper layers of the skin. Again, we'll show you how to determine how often and which method of exfoliation will work best for you.

Whatever formula you plan to use, exfoliants should be applied similar to cleansers. If you are using a chemical peel, avoid "scrubbing" your skin, let the chemicals do the work. If using a scrub, apply VERY light pressure, and work in tiny circles. Again, be careful not to pull or stretch the skin.

Most exfoliants will require some time to "work". Applying exfoliants right before showering is a good idea, because you can rinse them off under the shower, which helps in removing any residue.

6) Masks

Facial masks serve several purposes, the most important one being the deep cleaning of pores. Masks are also made for super-hydration, the increase of circulation and for sheer enjoyment. Which kind you use and how often will be determined by your skin type and your results using the P-Method. Generally, it is a good idea to use a deep cleansing clay-based mask at least once a week. Various cosmetic clays are used in these masks because they "pull" and absorb impurities, dirt and dried sebum out of your pores, allowing sebum to flow naturally and smoothly, brightening the appearance of the skin, helping to prevent acne infections, and improving the texture of your skin. Several types of clay masks are available for every skin moisture type.

Apply the mask gently and allow it to dry. Most clay masks will require 10-15 minutes to absorb all the impurities and wastes from your pores. Rinse the mask off gently with fingertips - don't pull. Again, it's a good idea to apply these before getting into the shower.

After exfoliating or using a mask, tone, protect and moisturize your skin.

Example Routines


Cleanse: Use a gentle cleanser to remove any sweat or sebum from your skin.

Tone: Use the proper toner for your skin type. Using toner will help your makeup go on smoother.

Moisturize: Use a non-oily moisturizer if wearing makeup. The combination of an oily moisturizer and foundation can make a made up face look cakey and greasy within a few hours - even on dry aged skin. If you don't wear makeup, you can use an oilier moisturizer.

Protect: Absolutely necessary - use a sunblock of at least 15 SPF daily (unless you work the graveyard shift). Even the darkest skin should be protected from the harmful rays of the sun. Sun protection can also be found in some commercial foundation formulas. If you use a moisturizer or foundation with a built-in sunblock of at least 15 SPF, you do not need to add a separate sunblock, though you should reapply these throughout the day.