Companion Planting

Below you can see one of the first of the garlic sprouts.  If I get to eat garlic from the garden, that’s wonderful.  The garlic’s main mission, however, is to keep some bad bugs away.  As you may know, this is called companion planting.  Since I choose to use no pesticides but like eating vegetables, the garden uses the pests’ own dislikes to keep them away.  Specifically, little pests called flea beetles eat eggplant leaves… but hate garlic.  I’ll get some eggplant seedlings a little later on, and we’ll see how it goes.


This little garlic grew about 4 inches in 5 days, so it seems to be off to an energetic start.

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I Could Be Wrong

I could be wrong.  It happens all the time.  There’s a wonderful freedom in admitting that.  Everyone knows we’re all human.  Humans aren’t perfect.  I can detach just a little from my ego and admit it.  Since I’m not wasting so much energy propping up my ego, which isn’t quite so fragile, I’ve got a lot more energy to problem solve.  The first step is identifying the problem.  There’s a beautiful bonus: by admitting I could be wrong, I often identify the problem!

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Weird Weather

The high today may reach 77.  In mid-February.  In the Piedmont on N.C.  One weird weather occurrence does not prove climate change.  Lots and lots of solid science and huge quantities of reliable data do that.   Therefore, I’m willing to bet some food that the growing season here is now starting about a month earlier than it used to.   I’m going to plant some lettuce in my container garden.  If we’re going to melt the ice caps, flood the coast, and burn down the forests, I might as well have lettuce.

OK, this concludes my climate change rant.

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Superbowl Sunday

Today is Superbowl Sunday.  I’m not excited.

Don’t get me wrong.  It doesn’t bug me if people want to watch the Superbowl, the half-time show, or the commercials.

Also, sports and physical activities are great.  People (myself included) desperately need to stay in shape.  Exercise is half (eating healthy is the other).  Human nature encourages us to do things we enjoy, so if we enjoy the exercise because it’s fun, we’re going to persist more than if it’s boring.  Score one for sports (and things like hiking that don’t require lots of rules and refs).  Related to this, exercise helps maintain my manly muscles, which makes me as attractive a man as I’m going to be.

Sports let people socialize.   Sometimes people argue against what they see as violent sports (like football).  However, channeling aggression into a sport with rules (and hopefully sportsmanlike conduct) is much better than exploding into random actual violence.  Score another one for sports!

Watching sports at least allows socializing and maybe channeling a bit of aggression.  I just don’t enjoy watching football much.  When I do, it’s college ball where I root for the teams of the colleges I went to.  Two teams from elsewhere that I just have no connection to… not interesting to me.

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Help Others

Many people have said variations of the following.  “If you can, help others.  If you can not do that, at least do not harm them,” advised the Dalai Lama.

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Team Effort

As I try to gain enlightenment, one thing I realize is that it’s a team effort. Sometimes I learn from other people. Sometimes (at least I can imagine) they learn from me. We’ve helped each other. We’re in this together. We’re not alone. You’re not alone.

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Back when I was a little boy living in the Piedmont of NC, I was frequently disappointed when it didn’t snow.  It felt like many times that the reality fell far short of the forecast.  Any measurable snow in counties that don’t have many snowplows meant a day off.  I’d get so excited, argue that I didn’t need to do my homework, and then it didn’t snow much at all.  To be fair, the conditions have to be just right.   Anyway, I learned to subtract three inches from the forecast.  If the prediction was 1-3 inches of snow, that would be negative snow.  Anyway, this time the forecast was for 5-8 inches.   Then it actually snowed about 6 inches!  Wow.  Life is surprising!

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New Year

Happy New Year!  As the Irish blessing says, “May the best of your past be the worst of your future.”  Peace

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  I hope that you can spend some time with family and friends and some time relaxing over the next few days (whatever your traditional holiday is).  Peace and joy



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Historical Fiction

When I was in high school, I didn’t learn a whole lot of history. Oh, the history teachers did their jobs, mostly, but I wasn’t interested. I didn’t pay much attention, so it didn’t stick. This leaves me terribly uneducated. As George Santayana said, “those who can’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” Despite that motivation, a dry list of dates and names still doesn’t hold my attention. Happily, though, a friend introduced me to really good historical fiction. My favorite author in the genre is a historian, and he diligently shows how he conducted his research in the non-fiction notes. He tends to focus on about four people on both sides of a war, and also gives a valuable non-fiction account of each person’s activities. But then he takes his research of letters and journals of the main figures and those around them to build an understanding of those figures as real people. He creates his stories around those characters, and he’s a great story-teller as well. The combination of a good story-teller who also reliably gets the history right is impressive. It isn’t a complete study of history, but it’s a good place to start.

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