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Renewing My Mini Vegetable Garden


Each year I plant a small four foot by four foot vegetable garden.  This year I'm squeezing 4 tomato plants (hopefully 4 different varieties) and about 6 cucumber plants into this small area. I know it's less room than recommended but I always do it.
In the past the deer used it for a "salad bar". I tried a mini electrified fence which worked but the orange extension cord  looked out of place. The chance that it would be run over by a lawn mower if I did not disconnect it in time was not worth the risk.
I tried metal chicken wire strung out into a 4x4x4 cube. The cube turned into a dented box. It looked terrible.
Now I'm trying a four sided design. Two sides are fixed and two sides are removable. If needed I'll put a soft plastic net over the top at night when the plants grow high.
Here is the layout. I've weeded three out of the four quarters. The pile of weeds is to the right bottom of the photo. 

While weeding the last quarter I noticed how good the weeds looked!  It was beautiful once I had a closer view. The photos are not as sharp as I'd like but I was balancing on unsteady ground.





Last Snowfall of 2013




These images were edited from photos I took earlier this week. Now I'm looking forward to Spring weather. 







Bottle Still Life Tryout


I'm having a good time playing with my camera and various editing programs.



















































Weekend Gardner Website





I just found a website with great gardening advice. It also includes houseplants.

It's called:


The link is on my sidebar:


As an example here is the list of contents for growing tomatoes:


Tomato Link:
Growing Tomatoes, Tomato Growing Tips



Houseplants that Work as Living Air Purifiers



My daughter Laurissa sent me the link to an interesting article about the health benefits of houseplants..
From the article:
"In recent years, scientists at NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) have discovered that there are various houseplants that keep our household air clean and pure and balance indoor humidity. Not only do these plants absorb pollutants, they also scrub harmful gases out of the air and help fight pollution."

Read more at:


A Few Quotes




"Show me a sane man 
and I'll cure him for you".
-Carl G Jung


"Remember there's no such thing as a
small act of kindness. Every act
creates a ripple with no logical end."
- Scott Adams


"Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, 
at the huge waves of the sea, 
at the long courses of the rivers, 
at the vast compass of the ocean, 
at the circular motions of the stars, 
and they pass by themselves without wondering."
- Saint Augustine



A Gloomy Railroad Crossing

I found this view with spiderweb-like wires going in a two directional perspective. The pole at the far left seems to be supported by the wires instead of supporting them.


Here is a full color image which appears almost all black and white. The truck stop sign and red traffic light stand out.


Here is another color image, mostly black and white with the yellow traffic lights glowing. 


This would make a great scene for a mystery, thriller or horror story:
The Olde Stone Truck Stop


a-ha - Take On Me


Turn up the volume and enlarge to full screen!

video




Trigger Finger Release 2013


Above is an illustration of how a trigger finger becomes "stuck". The finger can still move but not easily.  It feels like I'm pulling the trigger of a gun. As it gets worse the movement becomes painful. Sometimes I need help from my other hand to let it move.

Cortisone injections only last a few months then the symptoms return.
Here is an illustration.


The video is of the surgical procedure.
Let me warn you. If you are squeamish don't watch it!

video

I'm scheduled to have the operation this coming Monday  I had to insist to the surgical center that I do not want anesthesia.  I just want a local anesthetic.  With anesthesia I would need an EKG, blood work, an IV and the anesthetic.  I'd also get charged for the services of a nurse anesthetist.  I'm more worried about the anesthesia than the operation.
With a local anesthetic I just walk in and walk out.  There is no pain.  The pressure of a tourniquet is mostly what I will feel.  Any pain afterwords will be the same as with the anesthesia. 
Wish me well. I've had the procedure several times before and I'm sure I'll need it again in the future. If I had to pick an illness this is it.  It's easier than getting a tooth pulled.



The Serenity Prayer



I've noticed that when I'm feeling a little discouraged, I get busy trying to organize small unimportant areas of my life. This gives me the delusion of improving my situation. It distracts me from my worries but wastes a lot of time and effort.

The Serenity Prayer helps me stop this futile compulsion.  It lets me step back for a moment to see what I can control and what I just have to live with.  

Yesterday I needed this prayer.  I say it each morning when I wake up but after a while it becomes a thoughtless routine.  When this happens I make an effort to really pay attention to its meaning.

Here are some notes I found on wikipedia:

I have no idea who he was but from the 8th-century Indian Buddhist scholar Shantideva of Nalanda University: 
If there’s a remedy when trouble strikes,
What reason is there for dejection?
And if there is no help for it,
What use is there in being glum?

Again, I'm not sure who this was. The philosopher W.W. Bartley (1695)  had a Mother Goose type rhyme for this:
For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.

Here is the "original?" long version:
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

I'm not what could be called a very religious person.  I believe the universe must make sense, even though I can't see how.  I hope there is a God and a life after death.  I wish I had faith.  I try to be kind to others.
Anyway, this prayer helps.






Weekend of Daylight Savings Time 2013



Before:    It was too spread out and floppy.


After:  It's balanced.









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HUNGRY BLUE JAY 




It was an enjoyable peaceful day.



My Cousin Angela


I found this picture in the pile of old photos I have in my basement. Here Angela has her arms around me. My mother is on the right and my aunt is to the left. My brother looks bored.  I can't tell if the men in the background are our fathers. I'm not sure who took the photo.
I like the style of the old cars. The location is Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York.

Our outfits remind me of the old TV show The Little Rascals.
It looks like I'm wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers T-shirt!
   
A post from the blog: Stonehouse Cottage Potpourri~ encouraged me to post this photo.


It was sometime in the 50's. Angela's family lived in another state so we didn't get together much. But when we did we had a good time.

I had a boyhood crush on her. I even gave her my doll. I know boys are not supposed to play with dolls. I'm not sure where I got it but I really liked that doll.

The link to the post: 1952...Cousins and Best Friends


Explore



The adventure of life is like sailing in a small ship.  We can adjust the sails and rudder but the wind and waves are mostly in control.  Reaching our goals, changing them when the situation proves they are unobtainable, recovering from unexpected hardships, succeeding when it seems all is lost; in the end we have much less control than we believe.  This makes life scary but it also makes it exciting and enjoyable.

I wrote this quote, inspired by a post from the Aphorism of the Day blog.
The link:
http://mydailyaphorism.blogspot.com/2011/04/sailing-wouldnt-be-much-fun-if-we.html?showComment=1303423745399#c2686770346005764239


Getting Old, Thinking Young


Yesterday I attended a six hour lecture about the aging brain.
"Advances in Preventing Cognitive Decline: Getting Old, Thinking Young"
The lecturer is a research professor at Johns Hopkins. The hippocampus was one of the main topics discussed.
Definition:
The hippocampus is a complex neural structure (shaped like a sea horse) consisting of grey matter and located on the floor of each lateral ventricle; intimately involved in motivation and emotion as part of the limbic system and has a central role in the formation of memories.  
video

It was very interesting but I'm sure I won't remember the complex medical details; which are too much for the average person like myself.
I made an outline of some of the information that I believe I can use:
~SLEEP (usually 7 to 8 hours) (6 to 9 hours as needed) Don't set alarm?
~STRESS- AVOID! (Affects the health of hippocampus as does depression and anxiety. The nerve structure physically changes into a less healthy state!
~HEART HEALTH = BRAIN HEALTH (The brain needs the blood flow to stay healthy, so exercise 30min)
~BRAIN EXERCISES (see below)
~SOCIAL CONTACT ("not Facebook") I imagine face to face interaction may be better.
~MEDITERRANEAN DIET (olive oil, nuts)
~CAFFEINE ( 200 to 400 mg helps) I was surprised by this one.  I drink plenty of tea so I should be okay.
~No benefit from Co Q 10,  Vitamin E,  Vitamin B-12,  Folate (though they may be good for other health benefits) This also surprised me. I'm taking a multivitamin with minerals now. I'll have to check into what health benefits other supplements may have.

BRAIN EXERCISES:
Learn something new.
Chess
Reading
On-Line and iPad free games and exercises
Drive a different way to home or to work
Learn a new language
Mirror Drawing
Juggling

Learning tips:
~Spacing out learning with breaks in between = learn & remember more and longer than cramming.
~Testing frequently while learning.


Zebra Plant Progress

The small top of this plant fell off one day. See my older posts about this.

Here is the original Zebra plant.



The tip:












It was hard not to shake while taking these photos especially for these closeups.  I was not in the mood to set up a tripod so they're not as sharp as I'd like.
Here's the progress of the tip so far:

Notice the bottom zebra striped leaf.

 
I hope it will continue to grow.