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Cropping Up

Yes, this is another garden update. Hopefully the last for a while, as most of my plants are in the ground and sprouted now … if I can just get them to mature.

On April 19th, I planted rows of Detroit Dark Red Beets and Chantenay Carrots. The following day I transplanted thirty cabbage from where they were sown (Glory of Enkuizen strain) and a dozen Rutger Tomatoes, from 10-ounce cups to the garden. I also planted rows of green beans (local strain), Sugar Snap Peas, and radishes (local strain).

All seeds, except for the local strains, were purchased from Skyfire Garden Seeds, which I discussed in the Growing Pains post. All new plantings sprouted within days, with excellent germination rates, and are growing quickly.

Now, updates on other previous plantings. The yellow onions that were about 6 to 8 inches tall are now about 15, with shafts as big as my index finger. And are quite tasty. The potatoes which had just begun to show on my previous posting are about 6 to 8 inches tall, but more than half never broke the ground. Very disappointing results, especially considering at least half had begun to sprout before being put in. But they were just potatoes from the store, eyed and planted, and perhaps some were too old to grow properly (they were on sale) or engineered not to produce true (many fruits and vegetables are now). I’ve grown a lot of potatoes in my time and never had such trouble with them. Usually they and onions are the only “guaranteed” crop I have. Also had zero luck getting a sweet potato to sprout, and I think age is to blame. He was store-bought and to date has managed only one tiny, sickly sprout though he were started in mid-March. I’ve never had a sweet potato not sprout, but he comes the closest.

My Orange Sun Bell Peppers also seem to be behind, but we’ve had many very cool nights the last few weeks. On April 21st, I transplanted them from an open tray to a 10-ounce cup each. And I still set them in direct sun whenever possible, along with the tomato seedlings not yet big enough to transplant into the garden (though they soon will be). A few of the peppers look puny but most are straight and green, just small. But most of our cooler weather should be over and I’ve read peppers like warmth so hopefully they’ll perk up in the weeks to come.

Well, I think that gets the updates back up to speed. I’m waiting for the ground temperature to come up more before I plant anything else. And for more references to how it started out, see the Growing Pains post from a few weeks back. Happy gardening.

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Theme-ing Mad

Don’t panic. Yes, this is still the Life Obscure blog you’ve known and loved (hopefully) for the last year and a half. It’s just that the old one-column green theme is gone and a slick new one has taken its place.

During this re-vamp of ye olde blog, don’t be surprised if it looks different day to day and/or if things change inexplicably for the next week or so. I may yet switch themes again, add or subtract widgets, and generally spruce things up a bit for the next several days. Sorry for the mayhem until I get it all settled.

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog…

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Fire It Up

A neat little mosaic…

1. [Eternal love] : | : 2. Les mans que dónen vida a l’argil·la : | : 3. The head : | : 4. “You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.” – V for Vendetta : | : 5. Dirty hand : | : 6. Faces of Congo : | : 7. clay pendants : | : 8. Dirty, Filthy Hands : | : 9. Faces de Cristo – Parte I

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‘Ello ‘Ello

Well, I’m back much sooner than planned and with a pack full of failure and dirty clothes. Nearly a total waste of time and energy. Yes, that was precisely how I wanted to spend a week and a half. Thank you for the opportunity. Much obliged.

And now that the sarcasm has been let out, let me say that it’s good to be back and I look forward to a more regular posting future … although future trips are not out of the question.

Oh, and Happy Saturday! 🙂

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Boots For Walking

Once upon a time someone sang a song about boots that were made for walking, and that was just what they were going to do … Well mine are in the same situation.

I’ve been called away on business once again and will likely not reappear for some three or four weeks, perhaps a tad more. I’m sorry. I’ll get back when I can but don’t expect me anytime too soon.

I hope you had a good Easter (or whatever holiday you may celebrate) and have a wonderful remainder of April. See you in May.

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The New Houdini

I hate to say it but I’m going to be disappearing for a while … again. I’ve been called away to a godforsaken wilderness where even dial-up fears to tread. (Well, actually it’s just East Texas but I won’t have internet access so I thought I’d try and spice it up a bit. 🙂 ) Don’t give up on me, I will return someday, but it will probably be two or three weeks down the road.

😦 Sorry, my peeps.

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I am that I am

In a somewhat tangential vein to most of my posts, I would like to talk religion for just a bit.

For all our twenty-first century bragging, there’s still a lot of intolerance out there.  Even in the most “civilized” of places.  In America, it’s downright rampant.  And I know a lot of fingers automatically point toward the rural South but don’t kid yourself, there’s just as much racism and intolerance in upper- and middle-class suburbia, if not more.  Equally problematic and even more rampant is total and complete ignorance.  Walk up to someone on the street and ask them what Buddhists believe and you might hear anything, or nothing.  Ask them what Shinto is and they might think it’s the new GM hybrid.  To most people in this country, anything outside mainstream Christianity and Judaism is a total mystery, one they are not curious to solve.  If that were the only issue, I wouldn’t be writing this, but ignorance is not the real problem, intolerance is.

Despite all the WWJD bracelets, Billy Graham specials, and Daily Bread pamphlets, that good old Christian brotherly love seems to wane quite a bit when it turns out the brother is an illegal Mexican, or gay, or reads the Koran.  The last time I looked between the covers of a Bible (and it’s been a while, I admit), I didn’t notice any significant changes from the old days of “love thy neighbor” and “as you do unto the least of them you do unto me.”  Did I miss a new edition where illegals and gays and Muslims are no longer worth even the charity of love?  Did an unabridged 2nd slip by me unnoticed?  I could be wrong (truly I could; it’s happened before) but I don’t think so.  We’ve simply become a nation of pseudo-Christians who don’t practice or really believe the only religion we “approve” and who are only passing familiar with said religion at that.  What’s your favorite book in the Bible?  Your favorite parable, verse?  No peeking; don’t grab the copy gathering dust under the endtable or thumb through the pocket version hiding at the bottom of your purse, just rattle a couple off (and John 3:16 doesn’t count … it’s so overused even the deaf, blind creatures in the farthest pits of the deepest caves know it by heart).  But if the vast majority of people can’t truthfully answer even these vague questions, it bodes poorly for anything requiring a bit of involvement, knowledge, or faith.

That ignorance spills over into the propagation of half-truths, misinformation, and rumor about other religions.  And of course, since 9/11, Muslims everywhere are seen as threatening, often pigeon-holed and badly misrepresented.  But there have always been religious extremists giving the rest of their faith a bad reputation.  The perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition were every bit as Catholic as Mother Teresa but you could hardly lump them into the same character group.  And I’ve found that, with few exceptions, those who decry another religion the loudest know the least about it.

That said, I’m not what I would consider a “practicing Christian.”  I almost never go to church, read the Bible, or talk about Jesus.  Some days I can hardly bring myself to even think of a God who would create such a world, let alone try to profess a love for him.  And I have a hard time figuring out why the Catholic Church chose some manuscripts to be in the Bible but left others out altogether.  I have a real problem with the often misappropriation of donations, tithes, and other monies by preachers, missionaries, and others who do not work but make a living off the church and religion itself.  (I hear not all are guilty of free-loading, but my experiences have yet to bear it out.)  Besides these and other religious-based problems, I do not have the faith and willpower to lead a “good Christian life.”  But I do try to live a decent life, which includes helping others when I can and giving them the benefit of the doubt.  And it includes tolerance.  If even a raging sinner like myself can manage a reasonable amount of tolerance in my life, I have a hard time understanding why it seems so difficult for others.

What does it matter if someone in need of help is Mexican, or Sudanese, or Lithuanian?  How can you condemn someone for loving a person of the same gender?  Yes, the Bible says that homosexuals are cursed; it also says you shouldn’t eat pork but I sure as hell love my bacon.  It says God despaired of ever making man but I’m supposed to believe he still loves me.  The Bible says a lot of things, especially the Old Testament, but Jesus changed most of that.  Jesus was about love and mercy, grace and forgiveness.  It did not matter to him if you were a Roman or a Philistine, a pagan or a Jew, you were still worthwhile.  What happened to that?  When did that become obsolete?  Because I think as long as we treat others with intolerance and disdain we can expect no better in return.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog…

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