Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Raised Bed Chronicles - Part II

It's bigger! It's better! It took 15 bags of soil to fill it up and I'm starting to think this project has become slightly ridiculous in its grandiosity, but there's no turning back. Two little green pepper plants await their spots, and the carrots will go in next. And I'm trying to make this vegetable bed as organic as possible. Thank you, Thomas Supply (for concrete blocks) and Home Depot (for soil and seeds). I haven't even got the growing started yet -- the photo is from this morning, and lugging in the dirt was today's project -- and I'm already realizing that concrete block is going to absorb more water and not hold it in the soil as well as wood would have. I may line it with stone after this year's crop is done with, finances willing.

Long long ago, I copied this Once and Future King quote from a brochure that promoted a library reading campaign (You can click it, for a readable enlargement). It moved from bulletin board to bulletin board with me and then, when wall space was limited, to a file folder labeled "bulletin board type stuff," which I've just perused.

I have very little to be sad about. Everyone and everything is doing OK. My tendency toward melancholy is mostly brain chemistry, and mild at that, and what triggers it lately is more a matter of seeing "the world about [me] devastated by lunatics." But that's a big one. The lunatics are attacking on so many fronts.

On ronniecat's recommendation, I'm in the middle of reading Three Cups of Tea, and finding it very soul-lifting. The fact that it's won prizes and sold so well bodes well for many of the things it has to say; one of which is that fundamentalist, violent Islam is not all of Islam. The people of these villages embrace a Western stranger, and support education. For their daughters. For all their children, for everyone's future. Their ranking Muslim cleric supports the effort.

As I read it, i think, Good! the more understanding this book and this project brings to people who equate Islam with violence and oppression, the better.

Then I wonder, Why can't such an understanding of Christianity come about??

Why is only the fundamentalist brand, the brand that calls for the beliefs of fundamentalist denominations to be imposed on all, why is this the very definition of "Christianity" in the minds of so many people? Not just simpleminded, lazy, or mediocre intellects, but highly intelligent people?

In part, it has to be because we've let the narrow version of the faith co-opt the word. Those of us who honestly believe that the message of Christianity is one of love, not sweet sentimental gooey luv, but healing, feeding, building-for, lifegiving love, a message of offering, never forcing .... we've been too quiet. We've let it become synonymous with a politics that seeks to force the tenets of particular denominations on the most personal aspects of every person's life and heart.

It's something to work on.

All of which leads back to the garden. Learning really is a terrific therapy for being sad, but I'd add one. Another good thing for being sad is to build something.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Raised Bed Chronicles - Part I

Larry is growing the squash and tomatoes. I wanted to make a raised bed, for carrots and maybe something else. I tried raising carrots back in New Jersey 10 years ago and found that they are quite picky about soil conditions.

And I didn't want to use wood. Untreated lumber will rot. Treated lumber - I just do not want the chemicals around. I know they aren't as bad as they used to be, and i know that they don't leach all that far into the soil.

I don't care. I wanted concrete block. Also unnatural, but it'll have to do.

How to abuse a compact car.

Larry could carry two blocks at a time. I could only carry one at a time, plus I kept stopping to take pictures.

But I did almost all the building!

The Building Inspector

And .... this bed is too small.

So I redesigned it. It's now larger than the version in this picture.

Stay tuned for further pictures.

And for our negotiations with other interested parties:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Because an informed public is crucial to democracy:

Before CNN was there to keep us up-to-the-minute on the world's most vital issues, whatever did we do??

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Decline of Western Civilization

RS1, 11-09-67 * ......... 16.75 inches
RS252, 11-17-77 ........ 13.75
RS338, 05-05-81 ....... 12.5
RS1039, 11-15-07 ...... 12
RS1078, 05-14-09 ...... 10.8

* Only a replica, darn it!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ruth ... is Twitter-impaired

... is just no good at this quick-line thing. I either want to write some longwinded Meaningful Essay, or to accumulate the brief updates and post them in a big batch. It's kind of the same thinking that created the Variety Pack as a marketing device. Packaging a statement with a collection of other statements means any one reader is more likely to find something interesting in it. I'm also just no good at expressing even brief thoughts in 140 characters.

... and Larry had our 12th anniversary on April 25th, but spent it at a cousin's wedding and didn't do anything for our own until yesterday, which was a day-trip to Charleston, SC, lunch at Earth Fare, and a couple of hobby store stops. (189 characters. Disallowed.)

... bought a couple puzzles to play with and work kinks out of her brain. The tangram puzzle is kind of fun.

... found out weeks ago that my novel didn't make the next contest level, but had to wait another month to get the reader reviews, and can now fix some things in it. And found some of the entries that did make the semi-finals so appalling that I don't feel too bad about being out. Which is possibly a case of Sour Grapes that means I'm rather immature. (283 characters. Error.)

... wishes it would storm. It keeps clouding, rumbling, and then clearing, without raining. We need it badly.

... wishes that the alarming number of friends I have who need jobs would get good ones where their knowledge and skills are appreciated.

... didn't know that the metal titanium was actually found in nature. I thought it was a manmade substance. Yeah, really. I discovered this by happening across an eBay listing for a book on mining titanium ore. (170 characters. Fail.)

... wonders why the Farm Town game on Facebook does not offer a gate for the barnyard fence. I mean, what good is a fence that has no gate??

... thinks maybe I'm too involved in Farm Town.

... thinks M&Ms Premiums were invented just to torment me.

... finds having to refer to herself in the 3rd person in order to match her status statement up with the 3rd person default intro is ridiculous, and notices that nobody else does it either. (153 characters. Hang it up!)

... is going to get offline and clean up her office now.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009