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Sunday Soliloquy

Posted by Nancy on August 31, 2008

Coverage of preparations for Hurricane Gustav are showing how much FEMA and Louisiana’s governor Bobby Jindal have their act together.  He asked the feds for help days ago, and together they have evacuated 90% of coastal residents.

You do all remember that we have a federalist form of government, right?  State governors have final say over affairs within their state and the federal government cannot come in to help without being invited.  That permission wasn’t given until wa-a-ay  too late last time.

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Many on the liberal blogosphere are gleefully hoping the hurricane is mishandled so it can be used for political fodder.  Michael Moore said on national TV “Gustav is proof that there is a God in heaven.”  And former DNC chairman Don Fowler is on tape laughing about the fact the storm will hit on the first day of the Republican convention.   People’s lives and homes are on the line and they are hoping it’s bad just for political gain.

Shame on all of them.

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The federal government and FEMA have been very busy over the past few years developing a comprehensive Incident Command System in case of natural or man-made disasters, and teaching it all across the land. 

As an elected official I have personal experience with this system, since every employee of every governmental entity has to learn where they fit in it and take online tests to receive certifications.  (I had to study for tests on three sections.) 

If things go wrong in dealing with this hurricane it won’t be because of lack of preparation.  There are some things you just can’t prevent or foresee.

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The Democrats and the media seem to be in full panic mode over Sarah Palin, with misogynism falling out of talking heads everywhere.  Their chief point seems to be that she is not experienced enough to be qualified.  Compare her accomplishments with Obama’s at_this_site.   Good grief is she more experienced and better prepared.  And ethical.  (It’s kind of humorous, too.)

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I found screen shots of the decision on Daily Kos to make up and run the story about Sarah Palin’s youngest son not actually being her own but her daughters.  Daily Kos is as left wing a blog as you will find anywhere, and they actually had a poll about whether to run the story even though they knew it wasn’t true.  A plurality of those responding (49%) said control of the government was at stake and anything was worth it to win. 


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 N~ came in my back door this evening and excitedly told me to come see what was in my garden.  Since I had just picked everything I couldn’t imagine what he was talking about.

“Ticks!” he said excitedly.  “You have lots of ticks in your garden!”

This is what he saw.

                         Squash Bug

It’s a squash bug, or squash vine borer, a key pest of winter squash and pumpkins.  I had seen them all over the butternut squash while I was in the garden earlier.  They are very large bugs, and I would hate to meet a tick that big.

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I’m making a birthday cake for Kelli, whose birthday is on Tuesday, for Elaine’s Labor Day picnic tomorrow.  Happy Birthday Kelli!


Posted in Gardening, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes

Posted by Nancy on July 21, 2008


It has been five days since I did any work in the garden, so the cool of the evening seemed the perfect time to go do a little weeding.  Unfortunately, the mosquitos thought it was a good time to visit the garden too, those crepuscular* little critters. 

I barely escaped with my life, and not from the mosquitoes. 

Does anyone else remember that cult classic,  Attack_of_the_Killer_Tomatoes?   It was a 1978 parody where tomatoes rise up and attack innocent people.  I think that’s what’s going on in my garden right now. 

In the movie the world is saved when they corner the tomatoes in a stadium and play a knock-off of Donny Osmond’s Puppy Love, causing the tomatoes to shrink in horror while the people step on them and squash them. 

I’m not sure if the tomatoes in my garden will be conquered that easily.

This picture of C~ and W~ looking at my tomato plants was taken six days ago:


Now they (the plants, not the kids) are almost as tall as I am.  I have never seen such robust plants; they have some tomatoes and a plethora of blooms on them too.  I don’t know how I will ever harvest them as they ripen (especially important with the cherry tomatoes) because I can’t begin to get in among them.  I can’t even see in among them. 

And yes, they are in cages, all twelve of them, for all the good that is doing.

I suspect it must be a result of global warming.  Oh, wait.  Temperatures have been well below normal all year and have only recently felt like summer weather.  But global warming might be the cause of all the rain we have been having, which could explain why the plants are growing so tall.

Then again, maybe it’s the big bag of fertilizer Bud tilled into the soil before I planted this year.

I picked some summer squash and hot peppers, but the bell pepper plants are looking pretty sorry and have no fruit on them.  I suspect either fusarium or verticilium wilt, but have never had problems with either before and cannot identify them with a certainty.  Doesn’t matter, since there is nothing you can do for it anyway.


I can’t find the zuccini squash plants for all the butternut squash vines. The butternuts are taking over the garden and I ended up taking scissors down and cutting the vines back to keep them away from the peppers.  Next time I may need a machete.  The cucumbers are nearly ready for picking, and the pole beans are finally taking off.

The garden is pretty clean and relatively weed free, considering all the rain we have had.  Of course with all the tomato and squash leaves the weeds don’t have a chance to find sunlight.

*This word is for cousin Gay and my children, some of whom love to collect words as much as I do and maybe already know it.

Posted in Gardening, Global warming | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Camping, But Not Primitive Style

Posted by Nancy on July 10, 2008

“The new girl’s cabin they built at the place where we’re going camping in two weeks only has ONE ELECTRIC OUTLET in it!!!! We’ll all have to share ONE OUTLET!!!”

I was in the Young Women’s organization for something like a million years, as president three times in two wards, and as counselor in two wards and the stake.  I went to camp with the girls a number of times. We didn’t have electric outlets. We didn’t have mess halls.  We didn’t have beds. Heck, we didn’t have cabins.

We had T-E-N-T-S.  And sleeping bags on the ground.  We cooked ALL our meals over CAMPFIRES.  We tied a scarf around our hair and didn’t worry about what we looked like, since that is what everyone had to do.  And we had a blast.

I think something is getting lost in the translation here, that the church youth camping experiences all seem to involve cabins and prepared food.  I hope they at least still take hikes and have testimony meetings around campfires in the evening (I’m sure they do).

S~ and I made her ward’s flag for camp today.  I asked how it would be displayed – carried on a pole or what – and she explained it would hang outside their cabin.  The cabin with only one electrical outlet.  And OH MY GOSH, how are we all going to do our hair with only ONE OUTLET?

The flag is a red and white pennant (a flag with a V notched out at the bottom) with black lettering.  It looks good and she seems happy with it.  It took several hours to make the flag and applique the letters in place, but I got a big hug for it at the end, which made it worth all the time.

I spent even more time working outside at Doug’s today, while also either developing my tan or cultivating a burn, I’m not sure which yet.  He bought a house that is surrounded with bushes as foundation plantings, and they have all been let get overgrown.  Since they just moved in I took pity on them and took my trusty hedge clippers and lopping shears with me, and spent about four hours whacking at them (the bushes, not the people).  S~ helped quite a bit too. 

It looks a lot better, except that the detritus from my hacking is still lying in the yard – all over the yard.  I only had so much energy and I figured those able bodied kids could clean up the mess tomorrow; it’s going to take quite a few lawn sized trash bags to get it all.

Another long day – I got home at midnight.  Tomorrow Bud and I leave for Amish country, where he managed to find a hotel room while searching online today.  Oh happy day, we do get to spend some time in one of my favorite parts of the state.

Finally, I would like to thank those who have left comments about appropriate Sabbath_Activities.  I appreciate your input and welcome more from anyone who has an opinion.

Posted in Family, Gardening | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Really Cool Results

Posted by Nancy on July 5, 2008

When is the last time you remember a Fourth of July where the temperature didn’t manage to climb out of the 60’s?  Never?  Me neither.

Cool temperatures were perfect for painting the kitchen yesterday; we could leave the windows open so the fumes could dissipate and the breeze helped with the drying time.  Unfortunately the humidity from all the rain didn’t help, but who wants to turn on the air conditioning when it’s 65 just to remove the humidity?

Didn’t think so.

We got the ceiling scrubbed and painted, all the frou-frou stuff on top of the cabinets taken down and washed, and the cabinets themselves scrubbed and new shelf paper put up.  Bud did the painting, but I did a mighty fine job of standing back and telling him what he had missed with the roller, since it was nigh on to impossible to tell from on the ladder.  (I wasn’t nitpicking – he asked me to do it.)

Unfortunately, the light and fan did not make it up.  The unit is all assembled, but the electric box needs to be replaced before Bud can install it.  The box sits about half an inch too low from the ceiling.  Hmm.  Looks like this is going to require a reconnaisance mission into the attic, but I’m afraid that will have to wait a couple days.

This morning we’re off to Doug’s for the move and the pool party, and tomorrow is the blessing and the pond party.  It looks like a warming trend is finally coming our way, with a high of 80 today and 85 tomorrow, so we may actually be able to get in the water without freezing.  

We may have a real summer yet.

This weather has not been kind to my garden.  The tomato plants are the biggest I have ever seen this early in the season, but they’re all leaves with almost no blossoms or tomatoes.  They love hot days and warm nights, and they aren’t getting them.  The peppers are struggling too, and the weeds are almost impossible to control from all the rain. 

I found another really good article on global_warming yesterday.  I have also decided to add to my list of links because I read it daily and am fascinated with the science behind the issue.  I don’t always understand it, but it is enlightening to read anyway.

As for Al Gore and his Nobel Peace Prize?  Watch this and see what you think:


Posted in Gardening, Global warming, Local happenings | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Some Things Never Change

Posted by Nancy on July 3, 2008

Once a foraging herbivore, always a foraging herbivore.

Drew came yesterday to pick up furniture with Pig-Van.  I was at the office when he arrived, but came home soon after and fixed supper for us (shrimp jambalaya – yum!).  I had a special treat for him, too.

When Drew lived at home he loved my vegetable garden.  Don’t get me wrong – he didn’t like to work in it or anything like that.  He just loved to eat out of it.  Him, and God, and nature, and vegetables.  No washing, no refrigerator, just straight from the garden.  He was there often and would just graze through it.

This is the kid who, as a baby just learning to talk, would plead with me in grocery stores to PLEASE buy him turnips, broccoli, beans, peas – you get the idea.  Women used to stare in awe and ask me how I did that.  The secret answer?  I didn’t; he came like that.

I had picked some fresh sugar snap peas earlier and put them in a plastic bag so he could eat them raw with supper.  Sort of a throwback to earlier days, don’t you know, and the only thing ready for harvesting this early in the season since my lettuce and spinach seeds all washed away.  I was surprised when he greeted them with a shy grin instead of open appreciation.

“Um, when I got here I went to the garden and ate all the peas before I even opened the door,” he said. 

“Not the little ones, just the ripe ones,” he added defensively

I should have known. 

Posted in Family, Gardening | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Sunshine Vitamin D

Posted by Nancy on May 31, 2008

There is only one vitamin the human body can synthesize on its own – vitamin D.  All other vitamins come from the food we eat, mostly synthesized by plants.

There are several forms of vitamin D, and the body creates D3, or cholecalciferol, from 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin.  It requires at least two or three weekly exposures of ten to fifteen minutes each without sunscreen, with the sun at least 45 degrees above the horizon, for this to happen.  This form of vitamin D: affects the immune system by promoting anti-tumor ability; regulates calcium and phosphorous levels in the blood; promotes bone mineralization and a strong skeleton; and is linked to decreased incidence of high blood pressure, cancer (especially colon cancer), periodontal disease, osteoporis, multiples sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, depression, and others.

I should be very healthy today.

When I went out this morning I remembered sun screen for my face, but that is all.  Four hours of trimming bushes, planting flowers, spreading mulch, pulling weeds, and in general doing way more than my body wanted to in two of the township parks gave me more than enough cholecalciferol to last awhile.  Too bad the body reaches an equilibrium point where it destroys the vitamin as it is created if you get more sun than you need – no saving it up for a rainy day.

Darn, I will have to go out in the sunshine again later this week.  And again.  Then again – all summer long.  What a sacrifice, having to enjoy the nice weather.

I didn’t get sunburned today, but I am sore from hours of trimming bushes with hand shears.  The exercise was probably even better for me than the sunshine, and with twelve people working in the parks they sure look a heck of a lot better than when we started.  Another hour or two with several volunteers to spread mulch in the one park (the township didn’t leave nearly enough at that one for all the flower beds) and we can call them done.

So remember, when you slather yourself and your kids up before going out in the sun, think of  cholecalciferol and its relationship to healthy bones and its anti-tumor activity, and all the studies coming out that say, “Oops, maybe we made a mistake when we said no one should go out in the sun without sunscreen.  Maybe you really do need some sun – specifically UVB rays.”

Moderation in all things.  Philip:4:5

Posted in Gardening, Township | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Sowing Summertime Pleasure

Posted by Nancy on May 30, 2008

While I was gone this week Bud got tired of fighting our old laptop and bought a new Acer that does wonderful things.  Office Depot had a great sale, and the price was amazing.  They are approaching throw-away status.

The only question is, why do we need two laptops and two desktops for two people?  Not like they’re all new, but they’re all here.  I think the one desktop could probably go and free up some space, since it is seldom used except when there are a bunch of grandkids here who want to play games.  I use a laptop for work, but that second one….

I finally finished planting the petunias in the park, but am still committed to helping the local historical society plant some in the township’s two “pocket parks” tomorrow.  That may or may not happen though, with thunderstorms predicted to go through the state tonight.  We could use some rain, but I’m not looking forward to any violent weather.  This has been such a weird spring, with below normal temperatures and above normal tornadoes across the midwest.

This evening I replanted  squash and cucumbers in my garden, since the first batch didn’t come up.  I seem to be out of luck on the spinach and lettuce though since the store didn’t have any of those.  Maybe I will try somewhere else tomorrow.  At least the peas are finally up.

Katie gave me Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire today.  She says it is a pretty good book, so that is my next adventure into semi-fine literature, but one of these days I’m going to have to pull out some classic literature and give my brain some real exercise.  Somehow the vampires and werewolves I have read recently, and now take-offs on fairy tales, seem a little, um, fluffy.

Ah, but that’s what summer reading is all about – an easy escape.  All I need now is a beach and a hammock, then all will be right with the world.

Posted in Books, Gardening | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

An Olio of Oddities

Posted by Nancy on May 18, 2008

* Blogging would be so much easier if I had children at home to give me ideas, like Elaine’s blog today about the five legged elephant.  She and Katie crack me up with some of the things they write about.  Doug was keeping me entertained too, then he met Lolly and got too busy to blog.  Maybe once they’re married he will find time to blog every now and then? 

*  I had my first appointment for a temple recommend renewal today, and have the second part scheduled for Thursday.  It will be good to have that done before the last minute for the wedding.

* Anita took flowers from my yard for the altar at church today.  Why is it when I pick flowers and bring them in they just look like something stuck in a vase, but when she takes the same flowers it looks like someone bought them for a florist?  Guess I need to practice – either that or continue to enjoy them in their informal beauty.

* American_thinker has become my favorite website, and I found this and this there today.  When I started blogging I told myself i would stay out of politics, but with the presidential election coming up and all I’m finding that pretty hard to do.  I am still managing to stay out of local politics though, except an occasional mention of having to go to a meeting.  Like this Wednesday, when I will have to drive back from Doug’s with Z~ so I can attend a meeting with the architect about the new fire station.

*  I’ve noticed that pork prices are really down right now, so I’m stocking up.  I have read several articles saying the reason prices are down is because grain prices are so high and pork producers are thinning their herds (is that the right word? – herds of pigs?) instead of paying to feed them.  Prices are expected to climb rapidly – a word to the wise.

*  This has been the coolest spring we have had in a long time (blame it on global warming, which reminds me of another website, one that actually looks at the science and laughs out loud at Al Gore and the whole crazy idea).  This spring has been very wet, too, and we had so much rain last night my garden is a mud pit.  Good for the plants and seeds I put out yesterday, bad for getting the rest out tomorrow.

*  Tomorrow I am supposed to go with the township administrator to buy plants and put them in the ground in front of the township office building and along the stone walls into the plat.  We may have to put that off till later in the week; but it is supposed to rain then too.  We’ll have to see how the ground is tomorrow.

Posted in Gardening, Global warming, Local happenings, Politics | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Posted by Nancy on May 17, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Pretty well after today, thank you, even though my name is not Mary.

Today was busy.  Bud and I went grocery shopping, which included buying garden plants and supplies.  He then tilled the garden again while I started mowing the grass (with an acre and a third and almost 100 trees, it takes awhile).  He then finished the grass while I weeded and planted.

A dozen tomatoes of three varieties.  A dozen peppers, only two varieties – this year I’m forgoing the sweet banana peppers because everyone gets them confused with the hot Hungarian wax ones I grow for Sean and I end up with unpleasant surprises.  Last year someone picked all the long yellow peppers at the height of production and put them all in the same bag – they all went over to Katie’s house after that.

Spinach.  Butter crunch lettuce.  Summer squash.  Sugar peas.  Those are all in, but I still need to plant the pole beans, some bush beans, winter squash, zucchini squash, onions, cucumbers, and maybe cantaloupe.

I tell everyone that digging in the dirt is what keeps me sane.  I really enjoy working in a garden, but am behind this year because I got the flu right when i should have been weeding, fertilizing, and mulching the flower beds.  It has been a cool spring though, so I still have time to catch up.  Right now the vegetable garden is more important.

This evening Katie and I went to the local hobby store to buy beads and other necessary supplies to make jewelry.  I want S~, H~, and Z~ to have jewelry in the colors Lolly has chosen for her wedding, and this is the only way I see that happening.  So, I have a project to do with the girls when I am up there Wednesday.  I hope they like it.

Speaking of the girls, Doug was really proud of H~ yesterday.  She called her dad to make sure she had the story straight about Barack Obama refusing to support a bill requiring doctors to provide medical care for babies born alive during abortions.  She was trying to tell her mother about it, but Brokeback wasn’t believing her.  (You can read about it here, where it says he is more liberal than NARAL, or just Google “obama abortion illinois” and get multiple references.)  Doug was proud that she is thinking for herself, and  standing up for what she believes in.

Those kids are living in two totally different worlds.  I hope he is sucessful in his suit for primary custody this year.


Posted in Gardening, Wedding | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »