The good news in the latest episode of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”: 1000 people got taught how to make chicken stir fry in a massive week-long cook-a-thon and flash mob attack (or, at least that’s what I think they called it) AND the big noise at the local radio station is finally on Jamie’s side (the DJ was #1000 in the cooking classes; even the Governor of West Virginia was earlier).

The bad news: FRENCH FRIES ARE STILL CONSIDERED A QUALIFYING VEGETABLE FOR A REIMBURSABLE MEAL. Salad, on the other hand, is ‘optional’. People, we have GOT to do something about school lunch guidelines in this country.

The good news in rail (at least at my end of the world): The Ladies’ Room in my building has a window that lets me see right into the NS Rail Yard. One year ago, we probably saw 2 trains a day. Now, often (and yes, I’m washing my hands), I see three trains at a damn time in the yard trying to get by one another. Some of these trains have double-stacked semi trailers from trucking companies, a whole train full of them – 15+ cars. Local newspaper stories from our area in a circle of about 60 miles tell of small rail companies investing $100,000 and up to rehab their freight rail areas because of all the increased traffic.

The bad news? Well, I found freight rail statistics for this year vs 2009 and 2008. The good news part is that nationally, freight is up over 2009 (no duh); the bad news is that it’s still about 18%-20% down from 2008. The REALLY bad news for our area is that a lot of that increased rail traffic all over our area is due to – drilling in the Marcellus Shale in PA, farther to the west of us in the southern tier of New York. It’s all the hauling of the sand and chemicals to do the fracking. The New York City DEC is trying to stop any drilling in areas that feed into their watershed (where do you draw the line on that, anyhow? It’s like ‘the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone.”).

For ‘Good News/Bad News’ on Massey Energy, I think others are posting on that. The only thing I can say is, “Thank you, Tom DiNapoli,” (Controller of the State of New York) – FINALLY someone at the top in my state who seems to know his butt from a hole in the ground and actually get something done.

The Good News about our weather: glorious weather, and my seeds are up in the garden under the glass I put on top of the bed. We’ve been able to do a lot of work outside in the pastures, putting up fencing for the turkey poults that will be making their appearance next month.

The Bad News? It’s already Deer Tick Season and the DH came in with one of those babies head-first in the skin in the middle of his back. And he did not feel a damn thing. Head … first. And I discovered it at 9:30 at night so it was not as if we could go to the walk-in and get THEM to take the damn thing off, so Aunt Toby had to invoke ‘the ol’ doc’ and do it herself. We never had tick issues here before (well, we never had bear issues up here either but that’s all changed as of last year too), but I know when to look on the internet for a photo of a deer tick when I see it. And I also knew some friends of my parents who lived on Block Island, RI (where some numbskull decided about 25 years ago to import deer and ticks are all over the place, something the tourism people do not tell anyone). The wife got bitten; they did not recognize the rash until she was well and truly into the disease and it basically killed her but not before she spent the last 20 years of her life in extreme pain. Take Lyme Disease seriously. If you are not familiar with what one of these ticks looks like (versus other sorts of ticks), how to deal with it if you find one on yourself or a family member, what the rash looks like, etc. go onto the internet and find the hell out. OK? I can’t emphasize this enough. Take control – and make sure that your medical practitioners give you a big dose of Rx to take. And then keep an eye out for the rash anyway – no one’s out of the woods on this. And don’t go out without long sleeves, long pants tucked into boots or socks and your friendliest bug repellent sprayed on the clothing (not on your skin, ok?).

Local good news: Several not for profits are leasing city lots (and land made vacant by the big 2006 flood and can’t be built on anyway) for urban farms a la Grow Power. They have greenhouses and hoop houses to put up on them and are pulling together volunteers from the local area to work for food.

The bad news? Well, I lied – there is no bad news about that one.

Anyone else? Any good news in your area?