Thursday, May 31, 2007

Some Garden Updates

Blogging has been terribly slow this week. Since my laptop keyboard no longer works because I soaked it with coffee I have to u se the desktop....and it's just not my computer...if you know what I mean. It doesn't have the same OS, browser, my files or dropdown menu and is a general pain in the ass. Hence....I have spent far less time in front of the screen this week.

Just went out and took some new pics of my garden. The first two are of a couple of zinnia's I have. One is bright yellow and the other one will be a scarlet red when it finally opens up.

This next one is of some pitiful watermelon plants I set out last weekend. I let them stay in their cup too long and I don't know if they will recover in time to produce anything...we'll see.

These next two are of my tomatoe's. The first one is of actual tomatoes on the vine and the second is my all-in-one tomato cage. I didn't have enough wire to make seperate cages for each plant so I made one large cage for all of them. It has an opening on the other side for easy entrance.

Spaghetti Squash

This one is of a couple of pepper plants.

Here is one of the girls in their day pen. Haven't had any more problems with varmit's toting anybody off.

This one is of one of my dahlia's. The light green buttons will soon open into blooms. Both plants are covered in them.

This cucumber suffered the same fate as the watermelons. We'll see what they do.

This one is of my Romanesco Veronica cauliflower. A really beautiful plant!

These are some lima beans that are doing very well.

And this last one is of my black-eye-susan vine. I have a couple of these and they are just stunning. A must have for any vine lover.

ACLU Town Hall Meeting Crack vs. Cocaine

If you are interested please attend this town hall meeting on Saturday. I'll be there.

ACLU to Host Townhall on Need to Repair Discriminatory Federal Drug Sentencing Policy


May 15, 2007

Contact: Rachel Perrone, (202) 675-2312,

Washington, DC - On June 2, 2007, the ACLU Washington Legislative Office and the ACLU of Alabama will host a townhall in Birmingham, Alabama on the need to repair the current discriminatory federal drug sentencing policy. The event is open to the press, and ACLU speakers will be available afterwards for interviews.

What: The Incarceration Nation - Townhall Meeting on Crack vs. Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparities

Speakers: Senator Jeff Sessions (R - AL) (invited)

Ed Vaughan, President, Alabama State Conference NAACP

State Representative Artur Davis, (D - Birmingham)

Dr. Ralph Hendrix, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Deborah Vagins, Policy Council for Civil Rights, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

Barry Hargrove, Field Organizer, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

When: 9:00am - 1:00pm Saturday, June 2

Where: Church of the Reconciler - 112 14th Street, North - Birmingham, AL

Currently, distributing just five grams of crack carries a minimum five-year federal prison sentence, while distributing 500 grams of powder cocaine carries the same sentence. Despite repeated recommendations by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Congress has not addressed this 100:1 sentencing disparity, which has devastated African-American communities and undermined faith in the criminal justice system. African-Americans comprise the vast majority of those convicted of crack cocaine offenses, although whites and Hispanics form the majority of crack users.

A 2006 ACLU report found no medical or legal justification for the unfair sentencing disparity ratio. Although Congress' stated intent was to target high-level cocaine traffickers, the result has been just the opposite - a 2002 USSC report found that only 15 percent of federal cocaine traffickers can be classified as high-level, while over 70 percent of crack defendants have low-level involvement in drug activity, such as street level dealers, couriers, or lookouts.

The ACLU report, "Cracks in the System: Twenty Years of the Unjust Federal Crack Cocaine Law," is available at:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Catching Up

Last week was busy and I have not had time to catch everyone up on the committee hearing last week. I'll try and get that posted today.

I had a streak of bad luck over the weekend. First, my rooster got eat up in broad daylight. Then, yesterday I was drinking coffee by my computer and it sliped out of my hand and soaked my laptop. At first, I thought it was completely destroyed, but after I let it dry out a while it came back on. The only problem it seems to have now is that the keyboard has nice, thick, coffee syrup in it, which makes the keys jam thereby making the machine practically useless. I don't know how to take it apart and clean it and don't have the money to have someone else do it. I am using our old desktop, which is a pain in the butt...but I sure am glad to have it.

Spent a great deal of time in the garden this weekend, staking tomatoes, planting watermelons, cucumbers and peppers and fertilizing everything. Hope we get a good harvest of what we have planted because with gas prices what they are poor people like my family are going to have a very difficult struggle just trying to afford basic necessities like food. I imagine at some point, if things don't improve, I will have to get over my aversion to eating animals I raise and send one of the kids out to chase down our dinner in the chicken yard.

So far, the squash and tomatoes are looking the most promising. I discovered that I planted spaghetti squash and not yellow crookneck squash. That's fine...I like spaghetti squash better anyway. I just kept wondering why my yellow crookneck squash looked like large, watermelons instead of regular squash. Yesterday I did a little order research and found the order number for the squash I ordered and wa-la! I'll try and get some pictures of them up later. They are very impressive.

In the meantime here are a few pictures of some brandywine tomatoes which are starting to fatten up and look tempting.

And here is a shot of my canteloupes which are starting to bloom.

Monday, May 28, 2007

I Hate a Damn Varmit!!!

Last week when I took Don Prockup back home to Butler, AL he gave me a beautiful Dominicker/Black Australorp cross rooster to go with my 9 girls. Don, like me, raises chickens for meat, eggs and organic fetilizer. Well, I don't raise mine for meat, but they can't be beat for eggs and garden fertilizer.

Don loaned me a cage and I packed Mr. Rooster up in the back of the car and trucked him home. He clucked and kept me company on the 4 1/2 hour ride from Butler to Alexander City. It was late and dark when I got home so I put Mr. Rooster in my shop for the night. The next morning I introduced him to my girls and they had a grand time in their pen getting to know each other. They all looked happier with a big, healthy rooster in there with them. He looked like their guardian and protector. My flock was complete.

The next morning Mr. Rooster felt at home enough to begin crowing and he had a nice set of lungs on him too. I love to hear a rooster crow in the morning. It just sounds like home...ya know what I mean? Saul didn't know what to make of the crowing having never heard it before. The rooster would crow and the dog would bark. It was like a game of tag for a while. Just hilarious. I took Saul out to meet Mr. Rooster and there was lots of excitement and sniffing. Mr. Rooster or 'Roostie-Roo' as we dubbed him spent one more happy day with his harem of young hens, crowing, preening and doing what chickens do.

Then yesterday morning something killed him in broad daylight. I got up around 630 to put the dog out. Normally I would stay up, but my back was screaming due to working in the garden and all of the driving I did last week, so I went back to bed. My husband was up, Saul was outside in his fence and the chickens had not been moved from the hutch to the day pen yet, so they should have been secure. I got back up about 9 and went to move them to their pen and low and behold Roostie-Roo's side of the hutch had been opened up and he was gone. At first I thought that maybe the stick I had used to close it wiggled loose and he was running free in the yard somewhere....then I saw the huge pile of feathers and then his sweet, little red comb laying on the ground and I knew he was dead. I followed the pile of feathers into the woods and saw where whatever had got him had dined well. I cried like a baby. I hate for my farm animals to get eat up. I get very attached to all of them, give them names and note the differences in their personalitles. They become pretty much a small part of the Nall family. When one get's eaten alive I want to destroy whatever did it.

I can't figure out what in the hell got his side of the hutch open, dragged him out, took him right by the dog pen, all of this in broad daylight and no one heard a peep and the dog never made a sound according to my husband. What kind of critter is that damn brave? I'm betting on a coon because some manual dexterity was needed to remove the sticks from the hutch door. Plus, this hutch is like a small house, with a roof and sits up way off the ground, so something had to climb up, hang on and open the door. I looked for some sort of track that would indicate what it was but since it is so dry there were no tracks, no pieces of fur to indicate what we are dealing with...nothing but a small pile of shit with berries in it near one of the feather piles.

All of my girls are fine this morning, no tracks around their pen or any other indication of what kind of predator we are dealing with. My friend Ralph, who was very sweet and called me last night to say he was sorry about my rooster getting eat up, offered to loan me a Hav-A-Hart cage to trap whatever ate my rooster. He also suggested I put some flour down in front of their pen and see what kind of tracks I get. I think I will do that tonight. Ralph raises all sorts of critters. He has goats, lama, emu, peacocks, geese, ducks, a pot-bellied pig, pheasant and the last time I was over there he had a crow with a broken wing trying to nurse it back to health. He said he would get me another rooster. He knows a lot about critters and predators and about how angry and sad having one of your babies eaten alive can make you. I think I'll take him up on that offer of a cage to trap this thing in. I can't promise that I won't kill it once I trap it but I have to trap it first and we will go from there.

I have been really busy this last week in the legislature, traveling to pick up and drop off patients and other stuff and I am behind on my blogging. I started writing a post about the patient testimony before the subcommittee on civil jutice for medical marijuana, spent hours and hours on it, had it almost perfect and my browser crashed. Despite Blogspot's new feature that guarantees your post is being saved automatically every 60 seconds my shit disappeared into cyberspace never to be seen again. I'll have to start all over but have been too disgusted with losing the first one to start again. Maybe by the end of today I'll feel like it.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Oh Give Us a Home

I have a whole pile of really beautiful kittens that need good homes. Please take a look at these sweet babies and, if you are in Alabama and want one, reply in the comments section. I am not sure of the sex of any of these.

This first cutie has a black nose and one black eye. Looks like it has been in a fight.

I am actually going to keep this precious baby. We named it 'Velcro' because yesterday it climbed my daughter's leg and just stayed verticle on the side. I told her to pick it up and stick it on the side of her leg again. When she did it just stuck there. It looks like a Himalayan and has the sweetest disposition. Demands to be snuggled.

This next one is a real yowler. Makes me think it is a male. It is wirey, spunky and likes to make noise. Has beautiful markings like a leopard.

Even Birds Hate Bush

Thursday, May 24, 2007

House panel hears case for medical marijuana

Thursday, May 24, 2007
Capital Bureau
Mobile Press Register

MONTGOMERY -- Supporters of medical marijuana, including a Butler man suffering from two forms of cancer, asked a House Judiciary subcommittee Wednesday to approve a bill allowing doctors to prescribe the drug to patients.

Donald Prockup, a carpenter by trade battling leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, brought a box full of what he said were 1,000 prescriptions he had to help him deal with pain from his illnesses -- none of which, Prockup said, worked as well as marijuana.

"This medical marijuana alleviates a lot of this," Prockup told members of the House Judiciary Committee's Civil Justice Subcommittee. "I won't need (these drugs) any more."

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, would allow Alabama doctors to prescribe marijuana to alleviate the symptoms caused by 13 different medical conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, seizures and glaucoma.

It would also allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for any medical condition that severely limits a person's ability to perform "major life activities" or would cause serious injury to a person's safety or medical health if not prescribed.

Hall, whose son died of AIDS 15 years ago, said marijuana could have alleviated some of the symptoms that he faced in his final months, including nausea and loss of appetite. She called the bill "very personal."

"This is a difficult week for me," she said. "This week, in 1992, our son was dying of AIDS. He was very ill, and if I'd had any opportunity to make that time easier, I would have done that."

Michael Phillips, a former Montgomery Advertiser writer who suffers from a benign brain tumor that gives him seizures, said four surgeries to remove the tumor have failed. He told the committee that marinol -- an FDA-approved drug whose active ingredient is THC, which is also found in marijuana -- has not controlled seizures he suffers due to his condition.

Marijuana, he said, reduced seizures from three to five a day to two seizures every six to eight weeks. He said he has been arrested twice for possession.

"Because of my disability, I'm considered a criminal, because of my four unsuccessful brain surgeries," he said.

Twelve states have decriminalized the use of medical marijuana, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York-based group that seeks changes to national drug policies. In 2004, 76 percent of respondents in a Press-Register/University of South Alabama poll said they approved of doctors prescribing marijuana to patients.

Committee members did not vote on the bill at Wednesday's public hearing.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill, a fact noted by subcommittee Vice Chairman Charles Newton, D-Greenville.

Newton said the witnesses made an "outstanding case, an eloquent case" for the bill, but that he wants to hear from any opponents.

"We may ask why other states have not legalized it," he said. "We need to be more informed."

The Legislature has only four business days left on its calendar, and Newton noted that it would be very difficult -- but not necessarily impossible -- to pass the bill into law.

Hall said she would be content with getting the Judiciary Committee to approve the it.

"I'm not known for having bills with easy roads," she said.

Medical Marijuana Gets Panel Hearing

By Jamie Kizzire
Montgomery Advertiser

Michael Phillips, 37, of Millbrook has sought surgery and medical treatments to curb the seizures caused by an inoperable brain tumor.

"I've been on every seizure medication known to mankind," he said.

The only thing that has helped has been marijuana. Since he began smoking marijuana, the number of seizures has been cut from several each day to one every six to eight weeks.

On Wednesday, Phillips and his mother joined four others to urge the House Civil Justice subcommittee to support a bill that would allow medical use of marijuana in Alabama.

While none of the six citizens support recreational drug use, they don't want the stigma of marijuana to prevent it from becoming a legitimate medical treatment in the state.

"I am considered to be in some people's eyes a criminal," Phillips said.

No opponents spoke at the public hearing, but committee chairman Rep. Charles Newton, D-Greenville, said he wished he could have heard the concerns of opponents.

Newton said 12 states have allowed medical marijuana. He said the opposing side might have told them why more states haven't followed suit.

"Alabama is not out there alone," Newton said. "We need to be informed as well as we can."

Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, asked if making medical marijuana available would send mixed signals to children being taught the dangers of illegal drugs.

Dr. Ken Collins of Gardendale, who spoke in favor of the bill, said it's simply a matter of education.

"There's recreational use and then there's medical use," he said. "I think the differentiation would come from just basic knowledge."

Phillips, who learned about medical marijuana from a news program, had to make that differentiation to his mother.

"I was totally against it to begin with," said Jackie Phillips. "But I have changed my mind."

Her son lives with her because of his condition. She has seen marijuana help curb his seizures.

"I pray to God it will be legalized (for medical use) because I know that there are people out there that it will benefit," she said.

Bill sponsor Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, said it's unlikely the measure will pass since the session is almost over. She said if the bill came up for a vote, there would likely be more opposition.

"A lot of times you don't hear from the opposition until it's ready for a vote on the floor," she said.

However, she said it's good to educate other lawmakers about the issue.

"These are real people who expressed their concerns," said Hall, who believes medical marijuana could have helped her son dying of AIDS in 1992.

Other speakers included Don Prockup Jr. of Butler, who said marijuana helped during his treatment for lymphoma.

Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, said the bill could help ease the pain of HIV and AIDS patients.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On the Road Again

For anyone trying to reach me today I will be on the road collecting patients from various parts of the state to testify at tomorrow's public hearing on medical marijuana. If you are working with me on medical marijuana and need to reach me today please call my cell phone at 256-625-9599.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Compassionate Care Public Hearing This Wednesday!!!!!!

UPDATE: After much confusion today over whether or not the COmpassionate Care Act would get a public hearing this Wednesday I have just learned that a public hearing will definitely take place at 9 a.m. on Wednesday in rm 123 of the Alabama State House. Please be there with bells on around 8 am to ensure you get a seat.


I have just gotten word that the Compassionate Care Act is tentatively slated to come up for a public hearing this Wednesday, May 23 at 9 a.m. in room 123 of the Alabama State House located at 11 South Union St. in Montgomery.

What makes this complicated is that the Senate is still stalled and the House is not wanting to take up any controversial bills for the remainder of this session especially since the Senate is expected to continue to stall and a special session will be called. However, if the judiciary cmte calls for a public hearing on Wed., as I am hearing they will, then I will be there with all my folks and I would like for everyone reading this message to try and make it as well. We need to pack the room so be there around 8 a.m. to ensure that you get a seat.

Please RSVP and let me know whether or not you are coming on Wed. If anything the bill isn't coming up for a hearing, then I will let everyone know.

Hope to see you on Wednesday.

Loretta Nall

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Ron Paul Campaign in Alabama

Dear Friends,

I am writing today to ask you to join the AL4RonPaul email group at Yahoo if you are not already a member. Please click this link and sign up.
Ron Paul 4 Alabama. Also pay a visit to the official Ron Paul for President website.

I have spoken with one of his campaign organizers in TX about what we can do in Alabama. We will be having a more in-depth conversation later on today. One of the things that all of us who want Congressman Paul to be our next President can commit to doing now is voting in the Republican primary in Jan. 08' for Ron Paul and convincing as many of our friends, relatives and co-workers to do the same thing. I know many of you will be extremely adverse to voting Republican....and nomally so would I...but this is one instance where I am asking you to forget that stupid little letter beside the name of the candidate and look at the man's record.

Many of you probably don't know that I know Congressman Paul personally and visit him at his office every time I am in DC. He is a true statesman who has voted RIGHT on every single piece of legislation ever placed before him during his tenure in Washington DC. Read that again..He has never voted wrong. Congressman Paul measures every bill sent to him against the Constitution, and if it does not pass Constitutional muster then he votes NO. Check his record. What more could we Constitution lover's ask for in a President?

There is a lot of excitement around the country about Ron Paul's run for President. I feel American's are starving for the truth and hearing Ron Paul speak it on the debate stage has really lit a lot of grassroots campaign fires across the country. Let's start one in Alabama. There will be massive amounts of media attention on this state come primary time in Jan. 08. We need to put on a very real show for Ron Paul.

So, who's with me?

Loretta Nall

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Reckon What Laid These??

I was in the garden earlier digging me a new patch for some more okra and I accidentally dug up these tiny eggs. They are about some of the most perfectly formed eggs I have ever seen and were buried pretty deep underground. I think they are one of three kinds.

1. Snake
2. Turtle
3. Lizard

Anyone out there ever seen these before in Alabama? If so, what eventually popped out of them.

I feel terrible about disturbing somethings nest so I put these two eggs in a bowl of the garden soil they were found in and have them in a sunny, warm spot. One of them was wiggling and leaking in my hand. If they ever hatch I'll let y'all know what we get.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Farm Blogging

YAY!!! It's Friday!!! YAY!!!

The Friday Farm Blog posts continue to be some of my most popular ones. I guess a lot of my poor city-slicker friends like to live vicariously through me and my garden, chickens, cats and dog. I feel sorry for folks who live in the big city with traffic, air pollution, smog, noise and no place to go for a walk in the woods and no yard to grow anything in. I'd go nuts if I had to live in the city again. My motto is "If you can't pee off the back porch without your neighbor seeing you then you live too close to your neighbor."

I am gonna start today's farm blog post off with a story about everyone's favorite dog, Saul Nall, aka....

Snoot Doggie Dog

Yesterday evening around 5:45 pm I decided to take Snoot out for a walk and a bathroom break. I live way up on a hill and have two window unit air-conditioners going full blast so it is hard to hear when someone pulls up outside. As Snoot and I rounded the corner there stood John Law beside his Sheriff's Deputy cruiser. My initial reaction was fear (naturally) and the dog started barking the second the adreniline hit my veins. I had his pinch collar on him (thankfully) but that didn't deter him much. He started dancing around at the end of the leash trying for all the world to get away from me and eat the intruder. The deputy started to move towards us and I hollered out, "Hang on, we didn't know you were out here and I need to put my dog up. I'll be right back." With his eyes glued to the dog, he took a step back and said, "OK."

I had to drag the ferocious beast back to the back door and damn near pick him up and put him in the house myself. He weighs well over 100 pounds at 8 months old. The whole time I was outside talking to the deputy I could hear Snoot rampaging through the house, barking and snarling. Going from window to window. It was a very impressive display of his protection instinct. This dog would not hesitate to kill over me or my husband and kids. I feel much safer knowing that if the kids are ever here alone and someone tries to harm them the dog will do his level best to stop it. It would be hard to get a shot off and hit him because he moves like greased lightning. He lunges on his hind legs and goes for both shoulders with his front paws to knock you down and God he is so strong. I should have named him Hercules.

It was a strange incident because his experience with other people in the yard has consisted of him being inside his fence when UPS or FedEx would pull up. He would sit at the gate and look at them. As soon as I got otside he would bark a little but not too much. He had never come around the corner and seen an intruder in his yard like that. I have never felt fear from the delivery guys. It fascinates me how he picks up on my reactions to things and acts accordingly. He is such an amazing animal and as gentle as a lamb with his family. He started using his right front paw to give me hugs this week. He'll come over and put his head on my leg, scooch his nose betwen my arm and body and put his paw on the outside of my leg. It's the sweetest thing ever. He is just like a kid.

John Law was looking for someone else, as it turns out. Kinda funny that he would stop at the most notorious Tallapoosa County citizen's house and ask for directions, especially seeing as how my case just made front page news here after the dismissal. It is possible that he did not know whose home he was at...he looked to be a green rookie. Who knows, maybe the guys at the Sheriff's office have started using me to break their new boys in as some sort of practical joke. I didn't know who he was looking for and wouldn't have told the bastard if I had. I ain't helping'em do fuck all if it has nothing to do with an actual crime like murder, rape, arson and so forth. I'll gladly help with those things but nothing like delivering subpoenas over old bills and what not.

Frances the Cat

This cat is Saul's nemisis. I also have a solid black one that he hates with a passion. He doesn't really ever go after the other cats but Frances and Smoke he has marked.

Here are some photos from the garden this week. We continue to have to water everything on an almost daily basis. Yesterday afternoon we fertilized everything with Expert fertilizer and Super Thrive which is vitamins, trace minerals, macro stuff and plant hormones. You add it to your fertilizer and it suppossedly increases size, blooms and yeild. I'll post the results when they are in. I had heard of Super Thrive before....know a huge number of pot growers who swear by it and was really surprised to see it at Wal-Mart.

Black-Eyed Susan Vine & Blanket Flowers



Romanesco Veronica (Cauliflower)

Lima Beans




Malabar Spinach

Garden Squash

Container Squash

My container squash seems to be much happier than my garden squash. I guess the miracle grow soil makes a huge difference. A funny thing is happening with the squash though. It is producing both big and small fruits. The small ones are turning yellow and the big ones are still green. I think this may be the spaghetti squash that I odered and not the crookneck that I thought I planted. It'll be an adventure to see what it actually turns into.

The Girls

The girls have sure been enjoying their yard we made for them to run around and scratch in. I put them in every morning and take them out when the sun sets. They are pitiful when the sun goes down and they are still in their pen. They just cry and tweet really loud. They all bunch up in one corner and wait for me to come and rescue them. Yesterday one of the little black ones started clucking like a hen when I picked her up. It was so neat to hear a 'bok, bok' as opposed to a 'tweet, tweet'. Chicken's are some of the coolest animals on the planet. I really enjoy sitting by their pen in the afternoons and watching them scratch in the pine straw, chase bugs and fly around to the best of their ability. Later today we will be moving their house over to their pen and wiring it in. I'll put a plank or two in so they can walk in and out of their house and not have to have me rescue them when the sun set. I will also spend part of the afternoon making tomato cages. They are huge and beginning to fall over.

That will do it for this weeks farm blog entry. Hope y'all have a great weekend!