Saturday, June 28, 2008

Flood Water Gardening

The Johnson County Extension Service has given some good advice about eating fruits and vegetables that have been exposed to the recent flood waters.

It only makes sense not to eat something that has been covered with sewage-contaminated water.  But even out here - in the middle of nowhere - we need to be aware of this danger.  The manure and chemical fertilizers and herbicides that were applied to the newly-planted fields right before the rains were washed into the creeks and rivers and thence over our yards and gardens. 

Common sense here, folks.  If you have any doubt about the safety of eating your food, then discard it.  "When in doubt - throw it out!"  That's been the canning mantra for years and it applies to your growing fruits and vegetables this season.  It sucks, I know.

Thanks to Genie of The Inadvertent Gardener for bringing this to my attention.  You can take the girl out of Iowa, but you can't take Iowa out of the girl.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Floods of '08

If you didn't know about Iowa before, you certainly do now. That is, if you watch TV or listen to a radio. In 1993 we had the Hundred Years Flood. Aught eight is now being called the Five Hundred Years Flood. We did learn from our mistakes in '93 so some of the damage has been mitigated. But we had (are having) more rain in larger amounts which are causing problems now. Levees are breaking, towns and cities are being evacuated, basements and fields are being flooded. Farmers are crying in their beer. (That's a lie. They're not crying. You can't be a farmer and be a wimp. You wouldn't survive. They are some of the most optimistic people I know.) It's a mess.

Thursday Bettina and Gary drove around the quarter and took some pictures. She said I could use them for this post, so here they are:


This is the golf course. Taken from the road, looking out over No. 2 fairway, No. 7 tee box and No. 3 fairway. That little building is used to sell beer and drinks during a tournament.


This is No. 2 green. It's usually much bigger than this.


This is the road you're sitting on after having driven through water washing across the road. You know you're not supposed to do that. It's very dangerous, but I'm glad you made it safely.


This crap is cornstalks that have washed downstream from a field and are now sitting on No. 2 fairway.


This is Ron Brown's sheep pasture. Don't worry - he'd moved the sheep up to the barn weeks ago to lamb. Kinda pretty, isn't it?


The field on the left is Ron Girres (I believe) and the one on the right is Little Jerry's. Somewhere in there is the lane going up to Jay's farm. Bettina would not allow Gary to try to drive through this. (Wise choice Bettina.)


Remember all those cornstalks above? This picture shows the greenskeeper, Blake Banwart, his two sons and another helper using a hose to push them off the fairway and into the fast flowing creek.


And, yes, they are standing on the fairway and the water is almost up to their waists. Blake said that when it went over their heads, they'll know they found the creek. Not funny Blake. Not funny AT ALL!

This has been a tiny picture of what's been going on around here. Many, many people, in Iowa and elsewhere in the Midwest, have it much worse.

Bettina has more pictures on her MySpace and I thank her for risking her life (and her truck) for going out and taking these remarkable pictures. You rock!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

New Masthead

Do you like my new masthead? Those cookies came from Mari and I was just thrilled to get them! Thank you sooooo much, Mari!

Mari is doing some updating on her website, so the cha-no-mari link isn't working. I'll put the link up as soon as she gets it fixed.

Edit: Link fixed. Go check out Mari's blog.

Big Changes Ahead!

We moved into our house nineteen years ago this week.  (It's hard to believe that we've been here that long! ) The carpet that was here nineteen years ago (green shag - need I say more) is still here.  But not for long!  This Saturday we're ripping up the carpet in the living and dining rooms!  YAY!!!

Don't get me wrong - it's been a good carpet.  Obviously it was a good quality one since it was probably 10 years old when we moved in.  But it's waaaaay past it's prime.  Years of animals and kids have taken its toll and it is literally falling apart.

So when Della and I painted the living room trim over Mother's Day, we "accidentally" pulled up a piece over by the bay window.  Just to, you know, see what was under it.  Imagine our surprise when we saw that the floor was Southern Yellow Pine (according to the local lumber yard guy) cut into wide boards.  And in pretty good condition.  According to Greg (local lumber yard guy), Southern Yellow Pine is harder than oak and more expensive to replace.  Of course, this was just a small part of the floor we were looking at, but if the rest of the room looks this good then we're going to sand and refinish it and I'm going to have a "new" wood floor!  NO MORE CARPET!

Another thing we found (ahem) was mold.  Lots of mold on the back of the carpet from all the years of scrubbing the carpet to try and keep it clean.  It's no wonder DH and I have been sick with respiratory problems all winter long.  Our house is killing us! 

DH is not one to jump into any life-altering (expensive) decisions and he has been dragging his feet about this whole "let's rip up the carpet" thing.  But when I showed him the mold I think he understands how important it is to get this out of here. 

So, Saturday's the day.  Don't worry - there will be plenty of pictures.  Do you want to see what it looks like now?  OK:


That's Elvis sitting in the living room.  And that's our carpet.  Pretty yucky, huh?  Not for long, baby.  Not for long!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Writing Rules

I've recently "met" a wonderful woman online. Her name is Irene Fulton (Reenie) and I do hope you take some time to check out her web site.

We both read List of the Day and she wrote the following in a comment. It tickled me so much that I wrote her and asked if I could use it in a post some time. She responded with:

"I'm glad you enjoyed the grammar list. After I read your profile I now understand your attention to details that might involve future litigation, but if there are copyright issues with the grammar list, I'd better start packing my bags to flee to some obscure third world country. :)"

So, without further ado, here is a list of grammar rules that we should have learned in high school, but it never hurts to refresh our memories.

For writing styles, be sure and follow these rules:

  1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
  4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  5. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
  6. Also, avoid annoying alliteration.
  7. Be more or less specific.
  8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
  9. Also, too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  10. No sentence fragments.
  11. Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
  12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  14. One should NEVER generalize.
  15. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
  16. Don’t use no double negatives.
  17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
  21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
  23. Kill all exclamation points!!!!!
  24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
  26. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
  27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  28. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
  29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  31. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  32. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.