Our Planting Continues


Don’t ask me how, but this week has turned into Agricultural Awareness Week at the Fox house. Heaven forbid you’re a plant on-the-edge. This week, baby, you’re outta here!

There weren’t too many replacements necessary, but I like making myself sound like a real tough guy when it comes to plants.

We do have one problem area, a large planter near the front door. It gets first sun through early afternoon, but it’s been a dead zone for us! We’ve tried twice and just picked the wrong plants.

Helaine and Stef decided we should give it another go with succulents. This is a dry climate. We have no frosts. In the Northeast they’re houseplants. They live outside in SoCal.

Doppler in tow, we headed to the other side of Irvine and OC Succulents. We’ve been before. We like the place.

I don’t know their backstory but I suspect they started small and just kept growing. In a city of neat and planned, it’s a strange mix of inside/outside with a greenhouse that couldn’t co-exist with winter’s real fury.

As we walked in, a woman obviously in-charge said we couldn’t bring Doppler! Yikes. That’s very unCalifornian.

We decided Helaine would shop and make decisions, leaving me and Dop in the car, a/c running. I got to say yea or nay at the end, but this is H’s vision.

While shopping Helaine did get to hear how dogs became ‘canine non grata.’ They’d always been allowed, but plants and pesticides are dangerous. Somehow, a dog got sick.

Who knows what the cause actually was? The Agriculture Department came in and performed a three day inspection. In the end they had to promise, no dogs.

The people who run the place are as disappointed as we were. I’m sure this costs them business. We almost turned around and left!

So, here’s today’s catch and the finished planter. We were told it’s OK to pack these plants in.

Now grow!








Where Was Plum Island’s Security?

Basically you would expect this place to be protected in the manner of a James Bond villain’s lair! High tech security. Constant diligence. Massive law enforcement presence

anthraxresearcher.jpgWhy is no one else disturbed about the recent Plum Island incident? The boater that washed ashore on Plum Island last week may have saved his own ass while also showing how lax security is on a most mysterious and hazardous island!

I hear your question. Why should I care about Plum Island?

Plum Island is located off the North Fork of Long Island. It’s less than 10 miles from Connecticut. It used to be run by the Department of Agriculture. It’s a scary place.

We’re proud of our role as America’s first line of defense against foreign animal diseases.

We’re equally proud of our safety record. Not once in our nearly 50 years of operation has an animal pathogen escaped from the island.

The island houses labs performing dangerous research often with live diseased animals! They publish papers with titles like, “Swine Genomics and Biodefense Countermeasures Discovery ” Some tests are performed on genetically engineered cloned swine–so called “knockout pigs.”

No wonder Plum Island needs “state-of-the-art biosafety practices and procedures to prevent a disease organism from escaping into the environment.”

In case you weren’t already convinced of this place’s importance, “Land, buildings and other facilities of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center were transferred to the Department of Homeland Security in June 2003.” You know them–the shoe people from the airport.

Basically you would expect this place to be protected in the manner of a James Bond villain’s lair! High tech security. Constant diligence. Massive law enforcement presence. Actually that’s close to what Plum Island claims.

Restricted access to authorized employees and approved visitors. Trained security professionals and surveillance systems guard the island, laboratory and storage areas 24/7. All employees have pass security clearances.

Last week an unlucky boater drifted across the Sound, landed on Plum Island and walked a few miles across it before being found… but only because he’d stumbled upon the security facility and waited!

New Haven Register: “Security personnel had been away from the office to look for Young and found him upon their return, according to John Olsen, Coast Guard operations controller.”

Just a guess, but had this been a real emergency I don’t think he would have walked to the office and waited, right?

I don’t know everything on Plum Island and probably don’t want to. Even with the little I know this undetected incursion scares the crap out of me.

Has DHS come to the same conclusion I have? God, I hope so.