Sunday, March 26, 2023

Causing a Stir in the Garden: Plant Markers on a Budget

 (Cross-posted from our family blog, Sketch Stitch Stretch)

Stick with me, kid.

A week or so ago, my cousin posted a set of photos on her social media page, showing off her brilliant work on a packet of plant markers for a friend. She took paint stirring sticks, wrote on them with a wood burner, and then trimmed them with some nice beads and twine:
My cousin is a LOT more artistically
detail-oriented than I am. And her hand
is steadier.

Naturally, I felt the need to steal her idea (albeit with my own variations, to meet my peculiar preferences). It took me a few tries before I settled on the format I liked, and now I'm better than halfway through the list of the perennial plants requiring identification.

Ours is a big garden.

At any rate, some paint stores will give away a stirring stick or two, so if you shop around, you can do this on the SUPER cheap, but I ordered a packet of 100 from one of those giant online retailers who shall remain nameless, and the sticks cost an average of 25¢.

It also helps to already have a wood-burning tool on hand, but if you don't have one, and you think you might take the craft up as a hobby, these are not particularly expensive gadgets, and you don't need a lot of added doodads to make it a costly addiction... unless you decide you need to start working on specialty wood, or suddenly "need" a laser cutter/burner.

A pencil and eraser, also, are useful for marking guide lines and text. Don't bankrupt yourself on high-end toys. Just grab what you have on hand and have some fun.

Color enhanced for clarity.
Really. It's just pencil markings.

I admit it. I'm a nerd. I need to include basic Linnaean taxonomy.
And I did this on both sides of each stick.

For the record, my wood burning tool is a multi-tool, for soldering, stencil-cutting, and wood-burning. I bought it several years ago at my all-time favorite place to shop, and this is the first time I've applied it to wood. It's a learning process for me, too.

And I may also dig out an old can of spar varnish from the basement & give these puppies a coat of it, for durability out there in the elements. We'll see.

Thursday, February 09, 2023

A Higher Purpose

 I know, it's a long quote to be stuck in as though it's a meme, but it's a topic I've discussed with others more than a few times, over the past few years (including just yesterday, with me muddah).

I'm an outsider to religion in general, having been raised agnostic. Still, over the years, I've begun to recognize there are logical benefits which come of those religions in widespread practice today. 

This is what I've gleaned, so far: most modern religions have been built on the idea that man can and must rise above his animal nature, and the structures of those faiths provide guidelines for doing this. A successful religion persuades entire societies to become forward-thinking and civilized (what Shapiro and others will call "Godly"), creating advantage for both the individual and the collective – be it family, church, community, tribe, or nation. 

The most powerful message in all of these religions is "control your impulses." Acting without thinking can have dire consequences – whether it's the toddler grasping for something on a hot stove, or the man who seduces his friend's wife. The child risks deadly burns, and the man – at best – ends up with a woman he knows can not be trusted, and loses his friend in the process. At worst… we've all seen the headlines. 

Codes of conduct such as the Ten Commandments benefit individuals even more than they do the group, eliminating "blowback" or cascading risks for the person who chooses to live by the code, greasing the gears of society. But more importantly, they provide a means for learning to respect oneself. They are goalposts, exercises in self-improvement (toward enlightenment or godliness); with each goal met, strength deepens and confidence grows.

Spiritually strong individuals make strong societies. Persons who live beyond the moment are able – and often eager – to lift up others who are less capable, who, in turn, help the weaker still and (as has often been said), a rising tide lifts all boats.

Any set of beliefs which fails to encourage thoughtfulness and restraint must therefore fail human civilization, and deserves to be relegated to the ash heap of history, lest humanity end up there instead.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Cat Poetry Corner

She walks in poopy, late at night,
Then down the hall and 'cross the bed
O'er all the linens clean and bright,
To settle down upon my head;
Then acts offended at the sight
As I scrub out the reeking tread.

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Earworm of the Day: 'Concrete And Clay'

Let your day be a little less crumbly. Unit 4+2 has your back… or at least your ear, for a while.

Monday, July 04, 2022

The Sky Is Always Falling for Some People

 I was having a romp on one of the popular-with-idiots-and-journalists (but I repeat myself) social media sites, last evening, and ended up going on a bit of a rant. It went like this:

After presenting a few basic facts on a guy's thread refuting his claim that restricting abortions means women will die from untreated ectopic pregnancies, I've just been told "You're obviously a dude with no empathy so bugger off".

Since my “dude” vagina and I are no longer welcome to clarify, there, re: why I’m not in a panic over the Roe “trigger” laws, I thought I’d put a few of my points here. I’ll start with the biggie: what does the MO law (the one everyone keeps citing as most restrictive & therefore “dangerous”) actually say? 

Missouri bars abortion after 15 weeks; still allows for removal of dead unborn child lost to miscarriage, and permits chemical abortifacient treatments for medical emergency, (e.g. ectopic pregnancy) *in doctor’s office, under doctor’s supervision*, and gives the doctors power of decision, using “reasonable medical judgment”. 

Response: “concerns mount”  

If a hospital lawyer decides staff must wait until medical emergency becomes life-threatening crisis before treatment, and the doctors follow lawyer’s advice instead of protecting the health & life of the patient, the hospital should be in for a MASSIVE malpractice lawsuit.

Of course, the immediate response I got was “It’s happening already! There were nurses posting on their social media about it!” My reply: “It must be true because I saw it on social media! (eyeroll emoji)”, which was deemed, by them, a copout. But I’ve fallen for a few fairy tales on here, due to confirmation bias. I’m not saying it never happened…

but unless someone actually follows up with, say, multiple witnesses, some documentation, & maybe, a lawsuit or two, I’m inclined to have my doubts. It’s too easy for someone to hide behind credentials to push an agenda. Granted, that goes both ways, but (and here’s what started the shift of my own opinion on the issue a couple of decades ago), the pro-abort crowd has a longer history of lying.

First, they swore that all they wanted was simple legalization, to stop back-alley abortions & save women’s lives. Remember “safe, legal, and rare”? But, once legalized, the pro-aborts turned a blind eye to Kermit Gosnell’s charnel house for DECADES.

Next, it was “we’re pro-choice, not anti-abortion”.

“It’s not a human being.” “It’s just a parasitic clump of cells.” “It’s not alive until it takes its first breath.” 

Under the new ruling, with trigger laws, “some states have NO exceptions.” 

“It’s a private matter between a woman and her doctor only.” Baby makes three.

Anti-abortionists only care about making sure the baby is born. They don’t care about its life afterward.”

“You want the fetus to have more rights than the mother.” No, we want the baby to have the *same* right to life his or her mother has.

And here's where I answer the "no empathy" part: I've been through an unexpected pregnancy or two. One was ectopic, and I almost died before I got treatment. That was because I was *ignorant* of my condition and the laws.

When you deliberately lie in order to make people afraid to (a) seek help and/or (b) give lawful aid, you endanger lives just as surely as though the laws actually read they way you claim they do.

That's all I have, for now.


I could probably have found a few dozen more to share, but I got tired. These people & their shamelessness exhaust me.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Seasonal Volatility

I'm a bit agitated, lately, but Mother Nature seems to have arranged a good workout for me, this holiday weekend.

Yesterday started off pretty nicely. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the geranium was just beginning to bloom again after being transferred from the dining room to the front yard.

And then the sky darkened, the city emergency sirens started howling…

Fun stuff coming up from the south

strong winds tore through, flash floods and 

I wonder if I find a way to make the
sidewalk look like this all the time?
Safety questions aside, that is
big-ass hailstones poured down from above.

tiny, translucent turtles!

Heirloom twig?

We're crossing our fingers that we won't
have to replace the tomato plants

or the hostas

If hostas were palatable, I'd have a lovely
chopped salad… maybe with some tomatoes

or my geranium.

blooming tragedy

Pop took out the electric chainsaw between rain showers…

Maybe now we can persuade the neighbor to take down that weed tree, though. Neighbor guy seems somewhat more amenable, since he is currently the one with the chainsaw chores, now that Pop's gone on vacation.

It would be nice if his girlfriend agreed to our removing that thing.

Meanwhile, I'll be out there figuring out how to make portable, pop-up protection for my precious plants. Before we get more of that kind of weather, man.

Sunday, April 03, 2022

Today's Tintypes: Dynamic Duos

For someone who has been trying to collect just postcards, I certainly am discovering a lot of not-postcards in those albums and cases. 

They're getting moved to a home or two where they'll be better appreciated, but in the meantime, they got the royal digitization treatment: brightened, contrast boosted, yellowing/sepia corrected back to original black & white (and, on a couple of faces, some traces of post-darkroom rose paint on the cheeks), and larger blots and blemishes cleared away. 

They look like nice enough people, they deserve a chance to be seen clearly again.

 click any image to embiggen. if you like what you see, please share

Is… is this Ed Harris and one of his grandkids?

He: Being a gentleman farmer is easy
She: I broke a rib laughing at that

"You can't prove we did whatever your other camera says we did…"

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Postcard of the Day: Fair Warning

 Just thought you'd like to know… 

this postcard is about 115 years old. So the joke is even older. 

In case you were going nuts wondering.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Postcards of the Day: Party Time!

 This week, Pop celebrates the 90th anniversary of his birth. I'm baking a pie or two, in honor of the occasion, and we'll have a bit of a celebration with our closest friends.  First we send the invitations,

and wait for the replies

Then there's the party, followed by the realization that we were FAR from politically correct in our conduct…

but nobody around here really cares.

It's just how we do things, here.

And maybe in Kansas City, too.

click on any image to embiggen. if you like what you see, please share

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Partial Photo Packet of the Day: Scenes from Monmouth College

These pix are numbered as though from a set, likely a small souvenir packet of scenes from around campus – or even around town. Clearly, I don't have the envelope/pouch/packet they originally came in, let alone a complete set. Still, I have learned something today (I might have known this long ago and forgotten it, but I prefer to pretend my memory is less flawed than that):

the music building, long known as Austin Hall, had once been a dormitory called Sunnyside. I lived in an apartment next door to that place for a couple of terms, and knew it had been a dorm, all right, but Sunnyside? Really? What's up with that?

I suppose, since it was on the east side of the street, opposite campus, there's a logic to the name, but… wow. 

Anyway, no surprises with the other four snaps of my old stomping grounds.

Wallace Hall
(or, as the label says, "89 Monmouth College")

"-80- Library - Monmouth College"
Now called Poling Hall, but we old-timers
still pronounce it "CAR-nuh-ghee" 

"–87 – Auditorium"
Still one of my favorite structures on campus.
It's lovely, and has darned good acoustics.
When they don't overdo the upholstery

"-86-Monmouth College Gymnasium" 
Ask me, sometime, about the
dirt track in the basement. 
Under/around the pool.