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Showing posts from 2013

Grist for the Mill - or in This Case, The Slaughter-house

It is Wife Swap time, meaning we watch episodes (from time to time) of Wife Swap. It's a good show in that it [usually] teaches each family to relax a little and meet things more in the middle, instead of being super-neat or super-sloppy, but just normal. By no means do we run around cleaning every day, which is too much; nor do we never, ever, clean but have the house cleaned top to bottom every two weeks. That is normal.
Well, this week, we have the Haigwood family swapping their wife/mother with the wife/mother of the Hess-Webb family. And what an adventure this is...
The Haigwood family, out in the wilds (well, farm) in Massena, Iowa, do not clean their house at all. No exceptions. Not even soapy water and a sponge. I might understand that chemicals are looked upon as poor, for whatever reason, but something - anything - needs to be used to clean the house once in a while. That is rather disgusting and incredibly unsanitary, but this by far not the worst thing about them. No,…

Living in the Old Farmer's Almanac in December 2013

Wow. The end of 2013, beginning of the new year, 2014. Happy Yule! Good luck for the coming year.

Farmer's Calendar
If you are like most gardeners, you probably put your tools away at the end of the growing season and don't think very much about them until they are needed in the spring. But if you take a bit of time during the offseason to maintain and repair your tools, they will be safer and easier to use.

Wooden handles on tools such as shovels and iron rakes may become rough and splintery with weather, use, and age. Often, you can restore them by sanding the surface until it becomes smooth again and then applying linseed oil to protect the wood. Handles with deep are a hazard and should be replaced.

Repair rusted metal tools by cleaning them with steel wool or a wire brush and then wiping on 30-weight motor oil to prevent further rusting.

Chances are, the blades on your prunes, loppers, and hedge shears could use sharpening. USe a fine, flat file to touch them up. Be caref…

How New Jersey Am I? (A New Jersey Meme!)

1. What is your age?  Under 18 Years Old 18 to 24 Years Old 25 to 30 Years Old 31 to 40 Years Old 41 to 50 Years Old 51 to 60 Years Old Over 60 Years Old2. What is your gender? Male Female3. New Jersey is also known as what? The Keystone State The Garden State The Pollution State The Empire State4. How many issues of Weird New Jersey have you read? Zero One or two Between three and ten More than ten5. Have you ever eaten taylor ham with cheese on a hard roll? Yes No6. Have you ever found yourself at a diner at one o'clock in the morning? Yes No7. In the summer, do you "go down the shore"? Yes No8. Does summer for you begin on Memorial Day weekend and end on Labor Day? Yes No9. Have you been to places featured in HBO's The Sopranos? Yes No

Living in the Old Farmer's Almanac in November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


Farmer's Calendar
After a treacherous voyage and first brutal winter spent along the shore of Cape Cod Bay, the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony had a stroke of good fortune. Members of the Wampanoag Nation offered to teach them how to gather food from the wild and cultivate native crops such as corn. The first harvest, in 1621, proved so successful that Governor William Bradford ordered a feast to celebrate. We now call this the Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving, although they considered it simply a harvest festival. The event, however, was a far cry from today's observance.

The thankful colonists soon joined by their generous Native American friends, took part in a 3-day party that included singing, dancing, musket and bow-and-arrow competitions, and footraces.

Historians can document with certainty only two items on the menu for that day: fowl provided by the Pilgrims and venison provided by the Wampanoag. Seafood such as bass, cod, eels, clams, and mussels may…

Living in the Farmer's Almanac in October 2013

Happy Samhain!


Farmer's Calendar
Compost, often referred to as "black gold", is a safe, efficient fertilizer that contains all essential plant nutrients. In addition, it conditions the soil for maximum root growth and helps to retain soil moisture.

Creating compost is not a new idea. In fact, Nature has been doing it long before dinosaurs roamed. When leaves and dead branches fall to the forest floor and decay, they are composting. This is natural recycling, brought about through the activities of soil microbes, releases nutrients to feed plant roots, allowing future generations of leaves and shoots to flourish.

Gardeners have devised ways to speed up Nature's metabolic method. They mix lots of "brown" (carbon-rich) materials, such as straw and shredded dry leaves, with a smaller amount of "green" (nitrogen-rich) materials, such as grass clippings and garden waste. When combined properly, the materials heat up and decompose with no bad odor. Turnin…

LIVING IN THE HURRICANE SEASON: Does the August Lull in Atlantic Hurricane Activity Mean We Won't be Having an Active Season?

Image
September 12, 2013 August 2013 came and went without a single Atlantic hurricane. That's unusual, but by no means unprecedented. On average, August has two hurricanes, and the first major hurricane has generally formed by September 4th.  The short version of my conversation with Dr. Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, on the significance of having no August hurricanes is: "We have been fortunate to date, but don’t be fooled. There will be more hurricanes this season. Remain prepared.” As if to prove his point, later that same day, what had been Tropical Storm Humberto intensified into a hurricane. Infrared image of clouds, including Hurricane Humberto, over the Atlantic observed by the GOES-13 satellite on September 11 at 1:45 p.m. Eastern time. The clouds are overlaid on a composite image of the Earth made from multiple NASA satellite images. Image by Dan Pisut, NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab. Bell said that he and his office, NOAA’s Climate Predictio…

Living in Lyrics: Salt in the Wound by Delta Spirit

I want to disappear
Far from the folks I know
I want to get an answer
To why I was even born

No one here can tell me
What's been haunting me all my life
Well, this rat race has left me limping
'Cause I balanced on the edge of the knife

Why am I here?
Oh, what should I do?
Well, is this the point I'm trying to prove?

If there's a God in my head
Then there's a devil too
How can I tell the difference
When they both claim to be true?

Maybe God is God
Maybe the Devil is me
Well, I just throw my chains on
And tell myself that I'm free

Chains, are they really there?
Is this just in my head?
Well, I'll just stay in bed

Life sure has its meaning
Over years I have postured the sun
Thieves and preachers robbed me
For many hat that I've hung

Now with my heart wide open
I listen to the wind just for a word
Sure, I know it's futile
But that's all I have in this world

To look down from the hill and howl at the moon
All the tears I cried never salted any wounds
Well, the earth is so …

Living in Hell

Luis came home last night and got all bent out of shape that I'd spent all day in bed. He was really ticked off about it. Of course, what does he understand about any of what I am going through? He understands nothing - zilch. He does try from time to time, but truly it is a wasted effort: not because of lack of imagination, but lack of knowledge. He has never missed a day of work in his life. I think he has taken a total of eight sick days with CLS, where he has worked since age 19. He rarely if ever takes vacation, even though he fought hard for CLS to give three weeks (instead of the paltry one) - and let's be honest, here. I was the one who pushed like mad for that. A company is only as good as it's employees, and unhappy employees are not good ones. But I am losing my focus.
Luis has never taken any kind of disability - not temporary or permanent (don't be fooled by the term "permanent" as pertains to working. Temporary disability is for six months, and…

Living in MasterChef - Only Five Standing

And two of them are the worst-tempered, egotistical, wretched people in the show.

Such a pity. I realise that this is not Hell's Kitchen and they need not work well others and play nice in the sandbox as managers, but still - who wants a woman who is stuck in high school and thinks that beating other women up is the way to handle people and a woman who rides all others as lesser beings and can't be civil to her fellow contestants to win? The answer is no, no one does. Forget the other prizes involved, I don't feel they deserve or can handle the cash prize involved any more than they can handle people.

I digress.

This is it: we are down to the last five contestants. It is now 4 September (this aired last Thursday; the new episode will air tomorrow night). The new "regular" television season will begin very soon. It is time to wrap this "off-season" chow and move on. We are all ready to see who will (well, has) become the new MasterChef.

The remaining co…