Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Get Out of My Way!

Ever had food poisoning? Then you know what I mean. It is very much like being possessed by aliens. I will not linger on the gruesome details, just say it's been an unpleasant four days and leave it at that.

A visit to the doctor this afternoon, and the antibiotic she prescribed, will hopefully have me feeling about 75% better by this time tomorrow.

In the midst of this, Ian arrived and (bless him) winterized the deck, cooked for his Dad, cleaned and shopped. Where would we be without our wonderful children? He also brought me an early Christmas/birthday gift, a new digital camera.

I have sorely missed being able to take decent pictures of my garden this summer after my camera died. The FLIP video camera I bought takes nice video but the only way to get a "still" picture is to freeze a frame and do a screen capture. Furry, blurry, weird colour shifts. Anyway the FLIP goes off to live with Ian, and I have a new digital camera.

As proof, a badly focused photo of my sedum "Autumn Joy" which is blooming so beautifully right now. (It's hard to take a good picture when you are fighting the urge to throw up.)

More (and nicer) pictures later, when the aliens have granted me control of my digestive tract again.

Monday, September 06, 2010

KIVA Loans for September

The first week of each month brings the pleasurable task of choosing our KIVA entrepreneurs. And while this month we have donated to relief efforts in Pakistan, our KIVA commitment is on-going and always a joy. Each month we receive a progress report from each of our borrowers. We see that our modest loan has helped them secure a better future, for themselves and their families. It's a good feeling. We have much to be thankful for and it's so good to be able to give back in a small measure.

This month we have made two loans. The first is to a young married woman named Amina Okombe in Tumaini, Kenya. Amina has two children. One attends school and the other is still too young for school. Her husband is a businessman who works and contributes to the support of the family. The family rents a house with electricity but have no running water. Their greatest monthly expense is food. Amina's goal is to ensure the family has enough income to educate their two children.

To accomplish this goal Amina started a business seven months ago. She goes door-to-door selling second-hand clothing for adults. Now, with the money she has made selling clothing and her KIVA loan she wants to purchase a sack of green vegetables and fruit and set up a small vegetable stall.

Our second loan of the month is to the Dembagnouma Ii Group, in Wobougou, Mali. The group is composed of 10 married women with an average age of 29, and an average of 3 children. They live in traditional polygamous families.

In this Group: Assan Traora, Hawa Niamana, Yaye Diallo, Kadidia Diarra, Maramou Dembele, Djelika Dembele, Sitan Soumaïla Dembele, Baoumou Issa Dembele, Matou Issa Dembele, Mama Fomba.

This is the group's second loan. Their previous loan was repaid in full. They are borrowing money in order to better organize their rainy season activities. They grow, among other crops, rice, pearl millet, peanuts, and beans.

With this new loan, group leader Maramou Dembele has plans typical for this group of women. She plans on buying fertilizer and small farming implements. She grows peanuts and will pay someone to help her maintain her approximately four acre plot. The harvested crop is sold in nearby market towns. She hopes to make a profit of $145.00 by the end of the season.

Consider becoming a KIVA partner and extending a small loan to a hard-working business person who has little or no access to working capital through KIVA.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Moving Toward Hope

As we ponder ways to reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions, creating local, sustainable agriculture, using permaculture methods, provides us with a solution.

The video is the length of an hour's TV show with commercials removed (i.e. 48 minutes) so put your feet up, grab a cup of Joe, and enjoy the show.

Cat's Play

Our Great Ginger Hunter caught in a rare moment of relaxation.

A couple of hours ago Sal came in through the cat door warbling like a lark. He was talking with a mouthful of mouse. The great ginger hunter he is not. He has killed one mouse in his life and that was by accident and he nearly scared himself to death when he did it.

He didn't have that problem this time, because not only was this mouse still alive, it didn't even appear to have its fur ruffled. He set it on the floor and it took off like a bullet. He chased it all over the house. He has picked it up and carried it around, he has patted it, he has leapt in wild and crazy circles around it as it ran. It has hidden in inaccessible spots several times, and then ventured out to become a very unwilling participant in this game of cat and mouse. At one point Sal temporarily lost the mouse when it ran under him and took refuge under his belly. And once he sat down on it (poor thing! I told you Sal is not a hunter.)

And two hours later, while I have driven myself to distraction trying to catch it so I can take it outside, the little mouse is still as frisky and agile as ever. (I think it's hiding under my chair at the moment.) The bleeding useless cat is poking around in the corners, trying to figure out where his mouse has hidden this time.

Cats are supposed to keep the house mouse-free. Sal didn't read the contract, or he misunderstood the principle. The cat is not supposed to bring the mouse to the house.