Still Laughing For Joy #7

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Back to out regularly scheduled program which is WORKWORKWORK on this article article article!

Midland City, AL

Thanks, Carrie, that should keep your bloom starved southern associates going for awhile. :-)
Some wildflowers are blooming well here. The Ohio spiderwort was blooming like crazy today. None of it on the Wildflower Slope where it is supposed to be, of course. (Jim)

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Do you have signs for all your different spots? Is your spiderwort the same Transcendentia (sp?) I'm trying to grow here? We have some signs but some of the areas have changed since they were first named.
We have:
R.R. Carrie
Rose Boxes
Wall Garden
Coral Garden
Family Tree
as actual signs. Daylily Row, The Annex and The Iris Pie don't have signs. R.R. Carrie extension, the back garden room and The Shade Garden are all just fantasies at this point.

The Coral Garden was only supposed to have salmon and coral colored plants (pink and orange were OK too) but it gets way too much shade, and more every year. Somehow some lilac or lavender miniature monarda snuck in, and they get mildew every year, without fail.

article article article article write write write

(Debra) Garland, TX

Littletunia Petunia still gamely skipping on...

Thumbnail by lovemyhouse
Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

I have a white petunia,pink petunia and lavender petunia,red zennia,yellow zennia,pink rosemoss,pink sedum,and one pink daylilly blooming.tomatos,and cukes did not do well at all.
Vickie

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

If I put up little signs identifying each garden area do you think the plants would be better about staying in their alotted places? LOL. It's a bit of a maze around here. That sounds like a fun idea.
The spiderwort I grow is the straight species Tradescantia ohiensis. I think it has some more refined relatives. Incredible blue and they bloom all year if you keep deadheading them. It is determined to grow along the irrigation trench no matter how many times I dig them up from there.
Sounds like I need some petunias, if they are blooming for you guys. My mother had the old-fashioned kind growing around the base of all our huge pecan trees. They didn't mind the high canopy shade. k*

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Whoa, would that spiderwort bloom for me? Be perennial for me?

DH spent a few hours working in The Annex and came down with a horrible case of poison ivy or something! Poison ivy doesn't spread, right? I mean if you have it on your left arm, touching it to your right arm won't make it spread to there. You have to have actual contact with the oils from the plant. He definitely has something. He got cuts, like the superficial slashes in your shins you might get from walking in tall, sharp grass, but they're all quadrupled in size, like the P.I. got in his blood right there.

(Debra) Garland, TX

If there is oil on the skin from the first area of contact, and you touch another area of skin, the oil can transfer. It can also transfer from clothing to skin.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Carrie, PF says Tradescantia ohiensis is hardy up to zone 4b. I was going to put some in one of your packages because I know you like blue, but was afraid it might be too weedy looking for a suburban lot. I would be happy to send you some if you would like. This shade of blue is the only color I have.
If you can talk your DH into taking an oatmeal bath that will help both the itching and aid the healing process. The simplest way (and the one with the easiest cleanup) is to put a cup of oatmeal in a bath bag or (a tied off knee-high stocking will work). Put it in the bath water. Stay in the tub for, at least, 15 minutes. Gently pat skin dry when you get out. No vigorous rubbing. It is a little more effective to grind the oatmeal in a coffee grinder or something and put it directly in the water. But that is a little messy. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties so it speeds healing in addition to alleviating the itch. You can buy the packaged oatmeal baths, but Iíve never used one so I donít know how effective they are. With the little cuts, Echinacea wouldnít be a bad idea either. You can find that just about anywhere these days even some grocery stores and Wal-Mart.
You might want to wash his shirt separately from the other laundry. Debra is right. The oil can cling to clothes and skin. Jim doesnít react much to poison ivy so he usually pulls up any we have. Then, comes inside and chases me around the house saying he wants a hug. lol. As he well knows, the oil can be transferred from one personís skin to another with direct contact. -There is still a 9-year-old boy living inside that 6í3 body. He comes out to play sometimes. k*
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/2026/

Thumbnail by Amargia
Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

We don't have a bathtub but I guess he could soak in a dish pan. The weird part is that it seems to be spreading up his leg with no new contact with the PI, wearing different clothes etc. I'll suggest the oatmeal idea.

Kay, I would love the spiderwort! I'll have to make sure DH plants it.

Jim, heuchera 'Firefly' is blooming, so I know which one it is. Want some?

This message was edited Jul 31, 2011 8:01 PM

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

He says I should tell you guys we haven't had a bathtub since 2008 when we took it out and had a roll-in shower put in. "No" to the soak his feet in a dishpan idea, lol.

(Debra) Garland, TX

Horse trough in the back yard? It's warm enough he could do it at night. 'Round here, we call it a redneck swimming pool, but it works well enough as a tub. :-D

Midland City, AL

Yes, I imagine tubs would present a problem. Iím afraid P.J. is going to become a grump when he is forced to give up his jacuzi tub. I think he is saving up for a shower set-up that has all the bells and whistles so maybe not too grumpy.
Iíve heard medical experts say you canít spread a poison ivy rash from say your hands to your face or from one person to another. And Iíve heard country people sneer at that because it doesnít jive with their real life experiences. I think the confusion is a matter of WHEN we are referring to. Medical experts only see a person after a rash has developed. By that time it is very unlikely it could spread because the affected area has been washed many times and there should be no irritating resin left on the skin.
Rural kids learn to recognize poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac about the time they are learning their ABCís. Itís a basic survival skill in the deep south. :) I grew up in an apartment, but I played in the woods behind the complex so I received a proper rural education from the elderly couple who owned the woods. Rural kids also inevitably goof up and learn to recognize they have a case of poison ivy before symptoms fully develop. (It takes a day or two for most.) The resin is both oily and sort of sticky and it can VERY DEFINITELY be transferred from one part of the body to another. I had it on the side of my face once. The pediatrician said I must have crushed the plant with my hand, and then transferred the oil to my face when I brushed the hair out of my eyes. I had a case on my arm from where P.J. took my elbow to steady me right after he had been pulling it. He had rinsed his hands at the outdoor sink, but we didnít keep hand soap out there then. We do now. Iíve also picked it up from Fenny-dog after she has been playing in the woods.
If he has already developed a full-blown rash, what you describe sounds more like a running allergic reaction. Benadrylís allergy formula stops the domino effect for me. Hope he is better soon. PI rashes are a pain in the aster. ~Nadine~

Midland City, AL

Hi, Vickie. When my Da wouldn't let me go to a friend's swim party. Miss Helen ran a big galvenised tub full of water and gave me a big bowl of ice cream to eat while I was playing in it. Could I have been in a redneck swimming pool and not even known it? Not sure what the tub was used for when there weren't little girls in Wonder Woman underwear playing in it. ~N~

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I've been trying to get him into something like that! I'll try the ice cream temptation trick. But it's been since Dec. and he's lost 40 lb.s! Maybe don't want to disrupt that success, and besides, we don't have a man-size galvanized tub.

We do have some leftover Avedo (?) oatmeal bath packages from when my DDs were littler. As asthmatics, they were both much more likely to be itchy little girls from dust, grass, pets, rugs, floors, whatever kids roll in. Sometimes it would leave them itchy .... hence the oatmeal bath stuff. Maybe if I make it into a paste?

Debra, the (what in tarnation is the name?) CONEFLOWER you sent me is flowering and flowering. It is reaching its true height. I was wondering how tall it would turn out to be. Thanks again.

Midland City, AL

Iíll get your spiderwort in the mail, Carrie. It grows fast. It might put on a show for you this year. And, yes, I would like to try ĎButterflyí Heucheraí. Itís a gorgeous plant and I think it would work well in theSoldierís Garden. There is a cooler micro-climate there where I think it will do well. Might want to tie a ribbon around the 'Butterfly' for now to let your DH recover and let things cool down.
Iíve heard Bobby McFerrin has something cooking that he will be serving up next year. Canít wait to see what he comes up with. Hang in there, Debra. Pick your favorite flower from this garden. (Jim)
http://www.quotegarden.com/worry.html


This message was edited Aug 2, 2011 3:41 PM

(Debra) Garland, TX

Carrie, it is Sundown. The one I had some years back was Sunset and it's hard to find now. Has a problem with the petals quilling. The Sundowns here are struggling. Too hot for too long. I'm keeping them going, if barely, and hope next year is more normal.

Thanks, Jim. :-)

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Hydrocortazone lotion from Walmarts helps alot but you can't use alot of it.
The galvanized tubs were used to wash clothes along with good ole rub boards, I've used them as a teenager. When you wrung the water out of the clothes they got very wrinkled.(Cotten that is,wool had to be washed gently by hand.synthetics were'nt invented yet.Have also used the heavy irons that were heated on the stove. You had to have at least 2 irons so you could iron with one while the other was heating.

Midland City, AL

Praise for modern conveniences! Without them I would certainly be wearing dirty, wrinkled clothes. Nadine is talking about "living primitive" off the land for a year and writing about the experience when we have things set up better. Yeah, right. This is the girl who pulls her rolling desk chair into the kitchen when she cooks and does dishes. (Our dishwasher in doing downtime. I'm not going to replace it until I can afford a high quality one.) Jim

This message was edited Aug 2, 2011 3:23 PM

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Is there such a thing as a high quality dishwasher?

mulege, Mexico

I think that's what I am. kb

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Nothing is made as well as it used to be. I know a story DH tells of c. 1955-60 their (B&W) TV stopped working. So his big brother (age 11, I believe) took it apart, checked every circuit, figured out which one was not working, went to the hardware store and bought a replacement fuse or circuit took it home, plugged it in and shazzam, the TV worked!

Then they invented planned obsolescence and now you just throw it away (or make a planter out of it) and get a new one. They have the means to make EVERYTHING unbreakable - washing machines, cell phones, computers, fans, cars, EVERYTHING. They don't because the economy would grind to a halt. People would have to find some other way of spending their time besides wishing they had a better snow-blower. There would be world peace and harmony. Who wants that? We need more generations of Wal-Mart customers, all over the world!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Yeah.... you and me both, kb!

(Debra) Garland, TX

I've lived pretty primitive a time or two and I'll take modern conveniences every time. ESPECIALLY given today's 110 degrees in the shade. Primitive means no AC, no running water, no electricity, no clothes washer...un-uh, me is a creature of comfort and climate control and like it that way!! :-)

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Yeah, but wouldn't you rather have an unbreakable laptop? That kids could use as a teething toy?

Midland City, AL

Thereís a running debate in the house as to whether hand washing or the dishwasher does a better job. I think I do a better job.
No electricity?! No running water?! NO COMPUTER?! No way, if I can help it!!! ďPrimitiveĒ is not the right word for what Iím considering. I envision more of an experiment in food self-sufficiency. I would like to see if I could thrive, not just survive, for a calendar year without buying groceries and keep records of the effect on my health. I would need a milk goat and chickens before I tried it or someone I could trade with for milk, eggs and meat. I know I couldnít do vegetarian. All this is an idea for several years down the line because I donít imagine doing without.
I remember listening to the stories of a very old man who grew specialty melons here to supplement his income. He told cool stories. The coolest were, of course, the ones the church ladies said he shouldnít be telling around children. Those were usually about his rum running days. Anyway, he always started his stories, ďBack in a time when panthers still screamed at night in these woods, in the tough old days of outdoor plumbing and polioÖ. ďHe never sugar-coated his stories because of that I donít think I romanticize the past. Old peopleís stories make for interesting listening, but Iím glad I didnít have to live those stories. My love of ease and comfort coupled with all the naked truth stories I heard growing up are probably what is behind my interest in wild foods and rudimentary, ďfrom scratchĒ, cooking skills. I actually enjoyed sitting out of sight and listening to the older adults talk. I absorbed all those stories about the Depression, the aftermath of hurricane Camille and the Dust Bowl years. (There are many transplants from Oklahoma in this immediate area.) If some major financial or natural disaster occurs in my time, I want to come through it in as comfortable a way as I can manage. Knowing I could do it if I had to gives me a sense of security. Iíve read and heard too much history to believe I wonít have to deal with any sort of major catastrophe in my lifetime. ~Nadine~

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Probably right. I have a good friend who says if nuclear power and nuclear weapons are 99% safe, given the amount of each that we have, and the probability of some person or machine failing at some tiny key step along the way, nuclear disaster is inevitable. He has devoted his life to the cause of nuclear disarmament.

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

I agree Nadine, We'll survive up here should most any disaster happen. But I'll injoy my comforts till then and not worry about it.The hot air bothers me some cause i can't breathe hot air. It just don't seem to go where it's supposed to.But i can lay down in the creek.The air just above the water is cooler.But i prefer AC. lol

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

It would be an interesting experiment. It would necessarily be a low-carb diet. Even if you were willing to do the work of processing wheat. It doesnít grow here. Even pioneers purchased flour, coffee and salt. I donít know of any way to get around buying salt.
There was a strange story in the March issue of Outside. It was entitled something like ďMy Primeval. Teaming Irradiated Eden.Ē The writer visited Chernobyl and encountered large mammals such as wolves, bears, foxes, elk, roe deer and even large herds of wild boar. Lower animals are known to have a higher tolerance for radiation, the presence of large mammals in the exclusion zone that show no obvious health problems is a surprise to everyone. Chernobyl has become a huge wildlife park/radiation laboratory. Their genes are almost certainly being scrambled. Some strange new creature is bound to come out of the exclusion zone. Although, officially there are no people living permanently in the zone, the writer claims some displaced farmers have crept back in. He claims to have talked to some and drank somegone (the Ukrainian equivalent of moonshine) with them. Thatís spooky! I couldnít believe anyone would be willing to pay to take a tour of Chernobyl, but it is the new destination for extreme tourism.) Thatís strange enough, but for those farmers to live thereÖ.and they are living off the land. Will they produce children who are more tolerant of radiation exposure? Will they even be able to produce children? Talk about experiments!
We have a nuclear plant in an adjacent county. I will breathe a big sigh of relief when someone comes up with a safe, viable energy alternative. k*

(Debra) Garland, TX

We have one to the southwest. Right in Tornado Alley and the prevailing winds are generally to the northeast. Right over Dallas-Fort Worth. Nuclear power, per se, is fine. But with that 99% safe, it is inevitable that somehow, somewhere, that 1% is gonna be a problem. I'd just agree with Kay that I'll feel more relieved when something else workable and cost-effective is available.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Like WIND or SOLAR! So much of the earth is desert, even the US Southwest can have solar energy farms, can't it, doesn't it? Or at least wind farms? If there's enough wind for a Dustbowl to happen, surely there's enough wind for a couple hundred windmills? The Middle East will stop selling barrels of oil and start selling big batteries powered by the solar farms they have over there. Or on the OCEAN? How about a giant floating solar/wind farm floating in the middle of nowhere, filling batteries? We have the technology.

mulege, Mexico

I just ordered a solar power book in Spanish. Tony is very smart and may be able to start doing solar here. He also has a wife and three smart children who could help get this going here. There was a solar power store here a few years ago but it was probably too expensive for most people. I found a solar site on eBay that is connected with a group that goes to poor villages and teaches the people to build solar stuff. They suupply components at cost.

We also get a fairly steady wind here and I've been told the wind turbines have improved a lot recently.

Of course a lot of the problem is that many of the people working on it want to get rich. Learning to build and maintain your own system seems to be the best way to go. But, then, it's another set of stuff to learn. And I'm so tired of learning. Can't I just veg for a while?

kb

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Oh, OK, Katie, YOU can veg, we can all veg. But the rest of the slackers out there in the world had better get on the ball or my 5 grandchildren and one nephew that are all under 11 are going to have nothing except these radiation-tolerant bears to eat.

Nadine, you're young and comparatively healthy. Maybe you could spend one hour a week trying to understand how to use passive solar to power something at Armagia. In Boston we DO have a program where if you have something (solar or wind or bicycle, whatever) that provides your energy, the elec. company will buy your extra when you don't need it and give it back to you when you do need it. Hmm I don't think I explained that well. The elec.co. is like a huge battery, it will store your extra (and pay you) and sell it back to you on a cloudy day. So you don't need to buy a huge battery, just get hooked up. You can tell we pay for ALL our energy and are not part of the program as I don't really understand it.

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

We have a nuclear plant in the next county. Have 2 nephews that work there.In tornado alley.I work hard at not thinking about it.
This lazy person just wants to go simple life and live next to a creek and have lots of firewood.
When we lived in Texas. There was a caddo Indian museum near Crocket. A and M students had built an exact replica of a Caddoan straw hut. That hut was cool with a breeze in the hot summer.Native Americans were a long way from being ignorant.
Nadine, I saw a picture of a swiss house and the whole roof was a solar panal.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Yep, American Indians had lived their way of life for millennia and found a way that worked for them. I remember going on some tour with my father and we stepped inside the dwelling (teepee, wigwam, whatever) and he said something sarcastic to the local guide who was sitting in a bench inside about how the system was totally flawed, since he (my father) was standing in a plume of smoke from the fire in the middle of the tent. The seated guide said something like "you're not supposed to stand in the smoke, you pale-faced idiot, you're supposed to sit down, then all the smoke can go out through the hole in the roof." That shut my father up for a few minutes. (Of course he didn't actually call my father a pale-faced idiot.)

Midland City, AL

Didnít mean to go MIA, but no one has had any free time lately. MKís been giving us some scares the last few days. She has a mitral valve prolapsed that causes heart arrhythmia. They donít think her condition has worsened. The episodes sheís been experiencing were brought on by heat stress. Never thought of heat stressing the heart.
PJ and I donít mind taking up the slack, but we given up trying to get her to stay inside. Sheís gone back to doing the majority of the outside work again. PJ and I are far less tolerant of the heat than she is and she claims there is a sensation of heaviness in the chest, like she canít take a deep breath, that tips her off to an impending attack of arrhythmia and now that she recognizes the warning sign, she has plenty of time to get out of the heat before it becomes a problem. Weíve come to a compromise. She confines herself to the deck and the Fragrance Garden visible from the windows when PJ and I arenít out with her. Everyone has to observe the 15-minute limit for staying outside. Iíve taken over the heavy earth work of the ramp project. This new set-up seems to be working. MK gets antsy and irritable being inside all the time. I guess not having an outlet for all that nervous energy isnít good for the heart either. There isnít a cool part of the day to work in anymore. Just a less hot part. It feels like the very high humidity doesnít allow your lungs to take in as much oxygen. Even I feel out of breath when the work is heavy. Humidity is 88%, at the moment. Yuk!
A couple of months ago I read a book by Ed Begley of HGTV fame. I think it was called Living like Ed. There is a small scale wind turbine he mentions Iíd like to try to power the Stormroom. Weíve got powerlines in the field behind us. (One reason MK was able to buy this property so cheaply.) The power company keeps their right of way for the lines clear of trees so ironically it creates a clear path for the wind like you would normally only see in the Great Plains. Iím still researching things, but I havenít found a reason yet why I couldnít use that wind to power the Stormroom. I wonder if Alabama Power would buy the power back or decide they should charge me for making a wind turbine possible. ROFL. We are not allowed to grow large trees on our property line to block the view of the power lines so we might as well make it work for us somehow.
In the long run, I think solar power would be our best bet here, but solar panels are very expensive and rather high maintenance. They must be kept very clean to maintain efficiency. Someone needs to design something like the automatic windshield washer in cars. Amymone, MKís oldest GD, wants to be an engineer and work on developing better alternative energy tech. Sheís 17 and I know enough like her our age to have plenty of hope we will have the breakthroughs we need to make things more affordable in the none-too-distant future. Right now the tech is more like computer technology in the early 70ís. Just beginning to come into the hands of Jane and Joe Average. The tech will be made more affordable and user friendly in time. You wonít need as much technical expertise as you do now. You will be able to have a home energy system and veg too. :-) ~Nadine~

(Debra) Garland, TX

Thank you for catching us up. Can see where would be a frightening situation. Sounds like a reasonable compromise was worked out. :-). 88% humidity! Aiiiiii! Our 105 is bad, but it's been dry, so breathing not bad. Just a few more weeks, Nadine, and it will be better.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Our summer has already almost passed :(. I mean it's not reliably hot enough to wear skimpy clothes around. I believe I mentioned that I've lost 10-20 lb.s in the last few years; I get weighed infrequently so I'm not sure how much I used to weigh, and probably I'm steadily converting muscle to fat. Anyway you put it, I've changed sizes. My old bathing suits were swimming on me, to make bad pun, many of my pants could slide on and off without undoing the fly, basically, I've changed sizes. Add to that: where I used to wear long underwear even in the summer and could NEVER not wear socks, NEVER wear shorts, ALWAYS wear a sweater in air conditioning, well, that's changed too. My body has changed heat zones. I drag this cotton sweater around with me everywhere but I just don't put it on.

All of this is leading up to the end result that now I have a new skinnier body and a few skinnier, skimpier clothes, and now it's going to be winter again for 9 months!

(Debra) Garland, TX

Always tradeoffs. :-)

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Snort. My old size was fine.

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