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This is nuts. The government is funding the fast food industry to figure out ways to add more cheese to their products.

What is driving the dairy industry to this is that they need something to do with the by products of low fat milk. So they encourage the folks who are eating fast food to eat even more poorly, instead of nipping the problem in the bud. The problem is low fat products. Whole foods = no byproducts (and cheaper production). I don't believe in most of the anti-fat propaganda. However, the amount of calories in proportion to nutrition in these extra cheesy products is absurd. And contradictory, as the USDA has programs to encourage less cheese consumption in its nutrition guides.

This kind of government program dabbling into food consumption makes me really angry. I'd be a little less angry if they were encouraging consumption of whole foods with my tax dollars, but this pushing over processed by-products of processed foods is beyond the pale.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
Everything here is so pretty. I keep wanting to shout that periodically. I will buy a house around here at some point. All the locals will think I'm Dutch. That's okay.

There were many Mairie visits yesterday (Vendenesse, Toulon sur Arroux, Issy L'Evec, M- oh crap can't remember right now- too much wine) and I played chauffeur for my injured colleague and took pictures of historic maps.

Today we visited the ceramic artist Carla, who is a Dutch ex-pat. I purchased a few things and I hope they get home safe. She is so awesome, I met her in 2003 and I was glad to see her again.

We also picked up the vans for the workshop (oh, man, I'm dreading all this driving, hairpin turns on the narrowist of roads) which took a couple of hours. And we had a lovely lovely meal provided by my most excellent colleague Will where we got to know the director/funder person of the workshop we are doing. She's cool, which is a big relief, as her emails made her sound irritated.

I have decided the key variable in my forest survey is going to be harvesting rates/use of the forests. Some are left alone (few) most are harvested, some are plantations. How much they are harvested varies. I'm also curious about the number of owners a forest has and how that might effect species composition or not (many forests are divided into many plots). The ownership variable is pretty straight forward. The harvesting variable... we don't have that data yet. It may exist though. We expect tax records may shed some light on the subject, at least in the first part of the study period (1800-1930 approximately). The methods of survey are still going to be problematic. I hope I have a brainstorm and a solution appears.

The cat is curled up in bed with me. She is a very standoffish little thing, so I'm a bit surprised. She is more than welcome, though, as she makes a fine defense against the local rodent population.

This is the text of the post I tried to post yesterday:
One of these fell from the ceiling of the bedroom I'm staying in, repeatedly, last night starting at about 2 AM. I set the resident cat on it, and the cat took care of it. My lovely colleague woke up and briskly got a broom and dustpan and pitched the corpse out the bedroom window. My other lovely colleague woke up and after being told what all the ruckuss was about, announced "I wanna see it" and bounced out of bed to view the corpse because she is terribly charming and funny.

Sigh. I'm pooped. Today we wandered around and I was the snake scaring person for the charming colleague who was taking water samples in a dryish pond area. I gave her some ideas about things (like pointing out that the burning on the hillside was probably making the water alkali). I also took pictures of casdastral maps at the very well taken care of Uxeau Marie.

I have been trying to think about scale, and how I might organize a forest survey in this area. I want to compare species diversity and composition between longstanding forest patches and newer ones, and also based on how many owners the patches have over the duration of our GIS. I am not an ecologist. I am also not a botanist, per ce. I recognize the in over my head thing, but given the fact I have consulted forest ecologists in this matter and not gotten solid advice, I'm figuring I'll just keep trying to figure something out even if I'm not technically qualified. The problem is that the patches are relatively small and heavily managed, so the usual 30 meter square isn't going to work. I'm thinking maybe of figuring out the average patch size, using that, and walking x numbers of transects over it. I mean, cripes, if anything I know its survey, just archeological survey not tree survey. No reason I can't apply the same strategies, I don't think. I wish I could find some good references to back my ideas up though.

I'm not a proper botanist either, and I have old French friends of my advisers bringing plants for me to identify. Oy vey. We'll see how this goes.

The workshop we are doing continues to be irritating. The funders continually get basic facts wrong or mixed up and then we have to do damage control with the participants. But the show will go on. The problems are administrative, not substantive and ultimately aren't my problem. So there.

On the bright side...
I love Regal De Bourgogne cheese. Its this sweet, soft, cows cheese covered in Marc (a liqueur) soaked raisins. I might have to revise my atheism in the face of this cheese. I've only found it once in the states and it was a tiny tiny slice for 12 dollars. Here you get a ball of it for around 8. Aaah, I love France.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
So, I am enjoying the God-Emperor of Beers: Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout with chocolate truffles for lunch. I really ought to eat something a little more lunch like, but right now its hitting the spot.

In order to acquire beer, among other things, I went to the Weaver St. Market. While I was there I was witness to a marriage proposal. In the wine section. He bent down on one knee and proposed in front of two of their friends. I was a little surprised, myself. And so were the folks working the cheese counter. I mean, maybe it was a joke? If so, that's kind of a mean joke. I don't think so though. If it wasn't a joke, maybe it should have been? Lame place for a proposal, I'd insist on a do-over if I was her.

Oh, and the hubby said I should talk about cheese in an entry, specifically the cheese that is now on sale at the Weaver. It is produced in NC, and it is a caraway seeded cheddar. It melts well, and I think it tastes great- makes a fantastic sandwich cheese. I also love the same dairies "daisy hoop cheese" which is a mild cheddar, especially great for grilled cheese. Anyway, for them that can get it let it be known that there is locally (relatively) produced good cheese on sale at the Weaver.

We are going to be eating lasagna, eating Affenois brie and baguette, and then hitting the Steam Punk night at the Mansion (5 buck cover - with DJ Mouse spinning) for V-Day. I'm not that into that scene, but I like DJ Mouse's spin, the Mansion is a nice bar and its a good excuse to dress up.

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