Archive for the ‘Banter’ Category

Fall has moved into our part of the world for its three months visit.  Like every season it brings with it its own beauty. The crispness I feel in the air  in the morning, the yellow, red and brown garments I note that many trees have changed into, the voices of migrating birds I hear and the evidence I see of Halloween  in stores all shout, “It’s autumn.  But the picture that for some reason lingers in my mind’s view is one of the past when fall came to the Prairie.

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I recently purchase and read a book by Tara Conklin called, “The House Girl.”  The book doesn’t feature a lot of intense action and drama.  It tells of a young lawyer who is part of a team planning a class action suit to compensate people whose ancestors were slaves in the tobacco and corn fields of the southern states.  The action switches back and forth between the present and the days of slavery.  One chapter relates the professional and social issues facing the lawyer and another describes the life of a slave house girl.

For me the most interesting parts of the book dealt with the hardships and the dreams of the slave house girl and the other slaves on the farm with her. Like I said, if you’re looking for a lot of bang, bang action, this isn’t the book to read.  Its interest lies in the way the author relates the two time periods, and how she deals with the young lawyer and the house girl.  One might make the point that the young lawyer was as as much a slave as the house girl.  In the first case the law firm exercises control over her life, in the second case the owner of the farm owned the house girl.  One learns a good deal about the people of the southern states both slave and free.

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Today I want to touch on the topic of wind farms.  One of many sets of turbinesIt’s a subject quite different from my posts of the past.  Harvesting wind power has intrigued me for a long time.  As long as the wind blew, I believed, wind turbines would give us cheap power.

Like with most things I like to draw on what history tells me for confirmation.  After all, isn’t past experience the best predictor of future success or failure?  Looking at the use of wind power of a couple centuries ago I note the success of the Clipper Ship.  Before steam engines replaced them the Clipper dominated the seas with Clipper Ship  Aits marvelous speed.

The windmills of the past used the wind to turn a huge grindstone  that ground grain into flour.  The invention of the windmill saved many hours of manual labor and was seen as a benefit to people.  These and other inventions speak favorably of seeing in wind farms a cheap way to light our homes.  It appeared safe to me to draw the conclusion that using what nature gives us freely can only benefit us all. DSCF0348

For that reason I applauded the construction of a wind farm on the northern tip of the island.  After all we get windy days almost all of the year. The power a portion of the turbines produce , it seems, is now hooked into the hydro network.  We should soon see a benefit to our hydro bills, shouldn’t we?

The experience in countries that have gone to wind farms to solve their power issues suggests otherwise.  Stories from England and Scotland now tell us that all is not as it should be.  The turbines don’t produce as imagined.  There are days when the wind does not blow or blows to hard, and backup power generators are needed.  The cost of constructing these giant towers with their huge turbines may never be repaid by the power they generate we learn.  We also hear of birds being killed in no small numbers.  Germany saw in wind farms the way to eventually dismantle their nuclear power plants.  The most recent news from that country suggests that it was a pipe dream, one that could set that country’s booming economy back a century or two. DSCF0349

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Going Nuts

In two earlier posts I gave a brief overview of two little books I read on the health benefits of dark chocolate and tea.  “The Healing Power of Nuts” completed this set of books I purchased.  In this post I want to share a little of what I found out to be the health benefits of nuts. April 2013 set 018

The author of this book, Michelle Price Mann, states that most fats found in nuts are monounsaturated fats.  This fat helps lower the fat (LDL) that is harmful to our bodies, and does not affect negatively (HDL) low-density lipoprotein which is good for us.  In so doing it promotes healthy hearts.  Nuts may also prevent cancers and other diseases.

Nuts also contain plant sterols which help prevent plaque building up in arteries and so can lessen the incidence of stroke and heart attack.

An interesting health study, the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, followed the diets of 86,016 women since 1980.  The study found that those ladies who ate at least five ounces of nuts a week were 27% less likely to get type 2 diabetes.

Nuts also contain several antioxidants that protect body cells from damage that can lead to cancer.  The Chinese Cancer Prevention Study published in 1993 suggests that antioxidants lower the risk of coming down with cancer.  nutty nutsOther studies show promise of nuts lowering the risk for getting prostrate and colon cancer.  Smaller studies have suggested that eating nuts might be good food for brain function and is helpful in  preventing gallstones.

The author insists that all nuts are healthy, but that some are “all- stars”.  Walnuts are such stars.  A study in 2005 showed they also contain good amounts of melatonin which has been linked to lowering the risk of cancer, heart disease and improves brain function.  Almonds, pecans, peanuts also pack a powerful heath punch.

One of the cautions I need to mention is that nuts are high in calories.  So to get the best effect from eating nuts one must cut back on other foods to make sure the total daily calorie intake is not compromised.

Like my posts about chocolate and tea this one provides only a brief summary of the healthful qualities of nuts.  Michele Price Mann wrote the book, “The Healing Power of Nuts”.   Diane L. McKay, Ph.D., F.A.C.N. assisted her.  It is an easy read.  I recommend the book for those interested in foods with potentially great health benefits.  Moreover, the reader can find many studies published on the Internet about the healthy ingredients found in nuts.

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The beauty of this earth

I had a wonderful day yesterday.  What can be better than to spend a day in the mountains with your son and grandson skiing, feasting on pure air and awesome scenery?Mount Cain trip 007Mount Cain  trip B 23 001 (1)Mount Cain  trip B 23 001 (2)


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Tea’s healthy cup

As promised in the earlier post, below is the briefest of summaries of the second little book in the set I purchased recently and that speaks of the health benefits found in tea.  The last book in the set informs of the healing power of nuts.  I’ll write a short summary of it in a future post.

In recent years tea has gained in popularity again as a healthy drink.  Long ago Chinese people had believed that tea  was a remedy for many things from headaches to melancholy.  In the past decade studies showed that tea contains three ingredients that pack healing power.  These are flavonoids, fluoride and caffeine.  The greatest benefits come from flavonoids.  Certain kinds of tea pack more flavonoid punch than vegetables and fruit, and the beauty is they have few, if any calories.  The downside is that some teas may react with medication a person is taking.  A word with the doctor should A cup of teaclear up what to do about drinking tea.

There are many types of flavonoids.  One called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which is found in green tea is believed to be very high in antioxidant.  Black tea, research shows, has the most fluoride which strengthens teeth and bones.  However, it is important not to exceed the healthy amounts of fluoride.  Here again it is a good idea to consult your doctor.  Black tea contains the most caffeine.  It is a stimulant, increases heart rate, and boosts metabolism which helps burn fat aiding in weight loss.  While recent studies have shown caffeine to have health benefits it does react with some medication and can become problematic.

In short, recent studies suggest that certain kinds of tea may have health benefits.  Among the benefits are heart health, help in preventing several cancers and control of diabetes.  Like with the post on dark chocolate’s benefits this post is only to help quench your thirst.  You can find more on the healing power of tea in this little book called “The Healing Power of Tea, ” written by Rebecca D. Williams and published by Publication International, Ltd.

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For this weekend I want to do something a little different from the proverbs in less than ten words.  Browsing in a local store a few weeks ago I noticed a book with a title that had me wanting to do somersaults.  I picked up what I thought was one book, “The Healing Power of Chocolate”.

It turned out that what I had in my hands was a package of three books.  The first one was the before mentioned “The Healing Power of Chocolate” by Carol Turkington and her consultant Diane L. McKay, Ph.D., F.A.C.N. .  I love chocolate, and thought I held in my hand the permission slip to eat it to my heart’s delight.

The author examines several different kinds of chocolate from their history and harvesting to the shelves of our stores.  The author tells us that chocolate does not cause acne, is not that bad on teeth, but is high on calories.  However, chocolate, primarily dark chocolate, has many positive health benefits according to the book.   Its healing qualities include: Lowering risks of heart disease and stroke by its effects on blood pressure, blood vessel function, clotting and cholesterol.  It is said to have healing effects on certain cancers and diabetes too.  Studies have also shown that memory and cognition are enhanced by dark chocolate.  The author cautions us lovers of chocolate to cut down on other food intake to compensate for the calories contained in the chocolate eaten.  So it is wise to be smart about eating this treat daily.  I know it’s an extremely brief summary of the benefits of  chocolate.  I only mean to whet the appetite to learn more.

ChocolateHere is the downside.  Not all chocolates pack the same healing power.  Certain dark chocolates are the best.  Harvesting, preparation and handling have an effect too, and of course you must eat it responsibly.  The author points out and emphasizes the need to lower calorie intake of other food items in order to have that daily chocolate treat and not increase the calorie intake.

Interested to learn more?  The book is published by Publications International.Ltd.

Check back in a few days when I will try to say a few words about the healing power of tea, the second book I found in the package.   (more…)

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