Thursday, June 29, 2006


What do Nick and Victor Frankenstein have in common?

They both love being "mad scientists." (OK, that interpretation of Victor is not exactly correct given the text of Frankenstein, but it worked well as introductory material.)

Here's the thing. Nick really really likes his garden, as we all know. And I like it too. And every day Nick asks me if I've shaken the tomatoes. Shaking the plants gently for 3-5 seconds in between the hours of 9am and 4pm increases the rate of pollination. It sounds like a simple task, but when I'm holding the baby on one hip and leaning over to shake the plants, I get this Igor kind of feeling--the slight humpback-like hitch in my walk, one eye squinting away the bright sun, and the shaking and shaking and shaking, all with the intent of making life. And if I'm Igor, then Nick is, well, you know, the mad scientist bent on producing new life where there was none before.

Just thought you all should be aware of what's going on here in the Webb household ... that way when you're visiting and Nick's out in the garden and you hear him muttering and then shout "IT'S ALIVE!!' you'll know that he just found another tomato growing.

I won't even mention the work he does with q-tips and the squash plants ... :)


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Beautiful Bran

So, I've been having a craving lately...

Call me crazy, but I've really been craving bran muffins recently. And I figure since this is "Salsa Night" (as in to trade salsa recipes) maybe somebody here has a good bran muffin recipe. Tonight I tried a recipe that I found on the internet, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for. I mean, I did eat 1/4 of the pan in one sitting, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. So, anyone have a good recipe? The only thing I ask is that the recipe doesn't include beets (Erin, I'm looking in your direction).



And the house on the rock stood still

Those of you who watch the news a lot, or perhaps the Weather Channel a little, know that the Washington, DC area and the whole of the eastern seaboard has received more than its share of rain in the last week. There have been floods, flashfloods, and mudslides, evacuations and lots of property damage. My sister's house was not excepted.

All in all, the damage isn't too bad. What really makes the flooding in the basement frustrating is that my sister's contractor just completed the finishing of the basement a week ago. The water only rose a couple of inches, but it did a number on the drywall (especially in my (future) room (I think we all embed parentheses just so we can be like Jon)). The carpet took the brunt of the damage; the tacking strips and the pad are gone, but we were able to dry out the carpet and it should be okay. It will probably end up costing a couple thousand dollars to repair and do some exterior work to prevent this from happening again.

This is where it gets interesting: We already have a sump pump because of the high water table. It may have to have its hole deepened so that it pumps out water longer before it reaches basement level. A contractor will also probably end up digging a ditch for an underground pipe that will drain groundwater to the street. So here's my question: is there a way to harness this water and use it?

As some of you Salsa Night frequenters know, I'm in the process of terracing my sister's hilled backyard (the week of rain, by the way, (with me out of town) has undone some of my hard labor there). Eventually these terraces will hold a garden, both of the vegetable variety and the flower variety. Is there a way to reroute this water so that it irrigates the garden? Would it involve purchasing more pumps? Is it potentially simple? Is it even desirable? Any input would be appreciated.

Meanwhile, I will get back to my garden project and try to actually get some block wall up before the next torrents arrive.



Sunday, June 25, 2006

Let Not Thy Left Hand Know What Thy Right Hand Doeth

(Unless your right hand is REALLY big)

Warren Buffet is giving 95% of his fortune (eventually 100%) to charities, most of it to the Gates foundation. Thats roughly 37 billion dollars and more than doubles what the Gates have in the foundation (more if his stock price goes up in the next few years). I've always respected filthy rich people who give all their money away. Even though God tells us that we should give in private, when you're that rich it would be nearly impossible to hide what you're doing with the money- so I have no beef with super rich people announcing to the whole world their charity. If only we had more rich people like the Gates and the Buffets, and fewer like the Waltons (walmart) who give a miniscule portion of their wealth to charities (at least publically- maybe I'm wrong and they give large private donations...).

Now there are good charities and... less good charities. Good causes and, well, bad causes. Lets imagine that you were able to establish the (insert your name here) Foundation which had 20 billion dollars invested such that allowed you to spend 1 billion dollars per year on anything you wanted. What would you do with it? Would you focus on a particular area like world hunger or vaccinations, or medical research, or inner city programs, or building libraries? Would you have a philosophy of only making donations to projects that attack the roots of problems rather than their symptoms? (Like giving small business grants in poor communities rather than opening a soup kitchen) Would you just be indiscriminant (to a point) and give to whatever organization asks first? Would you spend nationally or internationally? Would you tackle less urgent matters than world hunger and poverty and go for things like arts and community activities?

Heres what the Webb Foundation might do:

Along with other donors, build a string of community colleges across South America (and other poor areas). I bet with a billion dollars a year, you could set up one every few months. One thing I noticed in South America was the lack of higher education. They had the University of Buenos Aires, and a few other private colleges, but the people that I served with just didn't have their sights set on higher education. If the colleges were brought to the people, and if they were cheap, then maybe higher education would become more of a way of life. Along with the colleges, a secular form of the perpetual education fund could also be set up to help impoverished people pay for college.

Our education system has problems. There are as many proposed solutions as there are members of congress. I consider myself conservative, and your average conservative balks at "throwing more money" at the problem, but honestly, if you were trying to support your family on one income, would YOU become a high school teacher? If teacher wages were higher, there would be more competition for the jobs, and the teacher quality would go up. So I would start setting up private schools in states that do school vouchers. Each school would be endowed with enough money from the Webb Foundation which, when combined with the government money would allow for high teacher pay, along with small class size and all the cool programs that many private schools have. These schools could then have more academic freedom from the government and could then be tailored more to the community. Parental involvment would be higher. These wouldn't be schools for rich kids, though they would be of the same caliber and could be selective of students based on things like their attendence. Again, with a billion a year, new high schools could be built every month or so... Obviously lots of details to work out, but I think that our current public high school model is failing and doesn't appear to be improving, and ultimately needs to be replaced.

PBS did a special on "microgrants", which are small business loans or grants to people in third world countries who want to start a local business. The effects they can have on poor people and communities is tremendous.


Friday, June 23, 2006


I don't like fireworks. I'm not talking about the kind at, say, Stadium of Fire. I'm talking more about the kind that the kids at my neighbors' son's graduation party were firing off when I was right on the other side of the fence mowing my lawn.

This happened last Saturday. I was mowing my lawn, trying to go fast because the sun was about to go down. (I waited so long because it was too hot to do in the afternoon, and I was too lazy to do it in the morning.) The kids were having a giant graduation bash which consisted of a lot of music (they actually had pretty good taste in music), a lot of food, seeing how many people could fit into the swimming pool, a bonfire, and fireworks.
Now the fireworks were probably mostly harmless, but I still don't get it. Maybe it comes from growing up it a state where personal fireworks are pretty much illegal. Or maybe it was because I listened when my parents told me I shouldn't play with fire. I really don't understand why they are so popular; lots of people I know seem to be obsessed with them. Anyway, my point is I think they are unecessarily dangerous for the benefit (BOOM! "Oooh! Pretty Colors!") Am I just being a stick in the mud?


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Garden Journal, Week 11

Yay, the blanket flower is starting to bloom. These last twp weeks have seen explosive growth in the garden. We're eating peas, zucchini, lettuce, basil, parsley, oregano, green onions, and in a few days crookneck squash.

The tiny green tomatos from two weeks ago are now getting quite large. Some of the bigger ones should be ready in two weeks or so. We have over 30, and it seems like every plant is average 10 baby tomatos (so far) so we should be in for quite a harvest. All that shaking is paying off.

Two weeks ago we only had zucchini flowers, now each plant has at least 3 large zucchinis growing. That plant is amazing. if only we could think of some more recipes to put it in.

The cherry tomato plants are getting HUGE. Each of them already have hundreds of flowers and dozens of tomatos, and they're still getting bigger...

The peppers. Several of them have tiny baby peppers on them- especially the sweet cherry peppers.

The potatos are getting tall, and are about to bloom. Soon after that they'll die off, and the tubers will develop underground. We'll have a nice initial harvest of "new" potatos, followed by hopefully quite a few large potatos in the fall.

Our squash plants are getting monstrous. I've never grown it this big. I guess the biweekly applications of the water soluble fertilizer is really helping. On of these as a little crookneck growing on it.

In a week or so the cucumbers should be getting their first flowers. Since we have so many, and they are usually very prolific, we are going to harvest them young and try making pickles.

The corn is up to my waist now. We've been having consistently sunny weather in the 90's, which the corn love.

Our fall harvest of corn is also coming along nicely.

And I figured the garden would make a nice final resting place for Maggy. She would always try and break in anyway and eat my tomatos, so I figured she would like it there.


Maggy the Puppy

In memory of Maggy.

I always made fun of the people who had pictures of deceased pets displayed on their wall as if they were family. They are usually elderly people, who have a string of such pictures on their wall, each of a different dog that kept them company since the kids left home.

Today I find myself in the same boat. I never realized how the loss of a family dog would affect me, mainly because I always thought she would live for another 10 years and I would have ample time to prepare for it, plenty of time to have fun with her before she got old and tired. But dying when she was still basically a puppy caught me off guard.

What it does for me, though, is help me appreciate my real family- we are all healthy, and will hopefully live a long time together in the future. It has made me appreciate a little more the time we have together, and gives me the desire to make every moment count, so at that day when one of us moves on, the ones who stay behind will be prepared and be at peace.

So at the risk of being really....corny, heres a short obituary:

(February?) 2004-June 18, 2006
Maggy probably ran away from her first family, as she seemed to be current on all her shots, and was already spayed. Needless to say, she was very adventurous and curious, and would always try and jump fences and get into things and places she knew we didn't want her to. She was fun to play with, good at chase, fetch, and was improving in her frisbee skills- she had finally understood the concept of catching it in the air. Though a very high-energy dog, she was a good companion for a nap, and was very gentle with kids, especially Lucy. Whenever Lucy was fussy or crying, I could always take her to play with Maggy, who was always able to calm her down with her licking, jumping and running. She had a boyfriend, Coleford- a big black labrador who is nearly double her weight, and yet she was always able to pin him in wrestling. Like us, Maggy loved tomatos, and in our garden the first year we had her, she managed to break in and steal the first ripening tomato. She loved going on trips to the doggy park, and especially to seattle where she could play with our nieces and nephews, as well as go to the ocean and eat crabs and chase birds.
Puppy, we'll miss you. May you always have green grass to eat wherever you are (she thought she was a cow), sticks to chew on, and other dogs to frolick with, and in the resurrection, we get first dibs on having you in our mansion.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Contrary to all popular beliefs...

It's Friday morning, and I'm looking forward to the weekend. In fact, I've been looking forward to this weekend for a long time, because I get to go and visit my fabulous sister and brother-in-law and their Amazing Baby Lucy!

Since I'm a very sharing person, I've shared my excitement with my co-workers. They all know ("yes, Julie, you told me three times already") that I'm excited about my weekend. However, one friend had a few words of wisdom and/or warning for me:

Glenn very kindly told me to be careful because "you know, Julie, contrary to all popular beliefs, babies come from holding babies."

This is not the first time I've been told I'm a little baby-crazy (I borrow babies at church, I ooh and ahh at the cute pictures of Lucy Jenny sometimes sends me (my computer background at work is, of course, Lucy (see, everybody loves parenthesis)), I visit friends with babies, and I love ward parties where I can play with all the kids). I think that what struck me is that Glenn's words are so funny because they're so true - borrowing babies doesn't keep me from wanting to be a mommy someday - it actually increases that desire.

So I'm ready to go have a great weekend, and Dan (my husband) will just have to put up with me when I get back because then I will be truly baby-crazy.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

An interesting question

Note: Alison does not bear any responsibility for any editing errors in this post. I assume complete responsibility.

So, I heard a question today that I thought was interesting and figured I'd ask everybody. It's in Approaching Zion by Hugh Nibley. Apparently the question was originally from one of Dr. Kearl's midterms. Anyways, here's the question:

"Assume that you have been guaranteed 1000 years of uninterrupted life here on earth, with all your wants and needs adequately funded: how would you plan to spend the rest of your lives here?"

My response was that I would need a lot of books and a frisbee.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ammaron and Mormon

Here's something that I wrote almost a year ago that has been gathering dust on my hard drive.

Towards the end of the Book of Mormon, the righteous civilization and way of life was deteriorating. The Nephite record was approaching a thousand years of history, and with it a thousand years of promises that it would go to future generations. Ammoron hid the plates as constrained by the spirit, as civilization became more decadent. Then he went to Mormon, and instructed him to take care of the plates when he turned 24, when Mormon was only ten years old. This was an incredible act of faith. Entrusting the future of such a record, with such promises about it in the hands of a ten year old kid who had little if any support around him is amazing. Telling a ten year old that in fourteen years he would have such a responsibility, including the necessity of learning a new script and the art of engraving, is mind boggling to me. Plus he had to keep track of everything going on around him in order to write the history of the people.
Everyone discusses how amazing it was that Joseph Smith had such great responsibility fall on him at such a young age. But Mormon was younger when he received his initial call, and in my mind had a more difficult task. He saw Christ at fifteen, comparable to Joseph, yet they had completely opposite callings. Joseph was to build up Zion, Mormon was to watch it vanish. Joseph was to bring the Book of Mormon to light, Mormon to watch it go into darkness. Joseph led the saints to (temporary) safety and watched over an ever increasing flock, Mormon led his people to death and watched them curse God and die. Joseph died with thousands of saints that supported him, Mormon died after watching the deaths hundreds of thousands.
When discussing Mormon, I think we need to realize how great he truly was. Being designated as the compiler of the Book of Mormon at ten, he lived in a wicked, hateful, and downfallen society, yet never lost faith. That is an amazing man.


Monday, June 12, 2006

The Wisdom of Calvin

I already feel like most of my current experiences are stories with no point. But is there really no point or value in Calvin's dad's reminiscence?



Sunday, June 11, 2006

Charity Never Faileth

Two things happened to me today that haven't happened since I was a teenager: I ran to the bathroom during church in order to cry, and I was given two dozen long-stemmed roses by a teenage boy with a mohawk.

Unfortunately for Nick (since he has to live with me), it's been one of those days--I've been overly emotional for no good reason (and no, it's not pms). This state does not bring out my best qualities. I think I'm just processing life stress--work, baby, bills, calling, etc.--and doing it rather poorly today. We were finishing YW opening exercies today and I made an announcement concerning an award that the youth are working on in preparation for their Trek experience this summer. And a woman I love and admire made an offhand comment as we were breaking for classes that just ... it just hurt. She wasn't even talking directly to me, but it was clear that it was about me, and that it expressed frustration with my inability to keep on top of organization and communication within YW.

I felt hot, and my ears rushed, and my eyes pushed against rising tears. I told the Laurel's teacher to start without me and held Lucy close as I hurried down the hall, past the primary, past the library without saying hi to a good friend, and into the mother's lounge where I shut the door and turned off the lights and then I held Lucy even closer as I finally sat in the mauve rocking chair and released.

The feelings of self-doubt, of knowing that others could do my calling much better than I do, the guilt of wondering if "my best" for the Lord could be better--their intensity surprised me. Lucy fell asleep on my shoulder in the darkened room; she didn't mind the tears.

I grew up. I pulled myself together. I wiped away mascara. And I went back to class where I stood with Lucy in the back, swaying, trying to keep her asleep.

I think what caught my attention here was how odd it all was. I generally try not to cry over comments made by other women. And this woman, my friend, would certainly be horrified if she knew how her words had cut--I know her well enough to know there was no malice behind them, or even simple dislike. And I felt like I had suddenly regressed ten years and was a laurel myself, crying in the bathroom over other comments, not necessarily as innocent as this one, and wondering if I would ever have friends at church.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when another teenage experience was repeated later in the day. Mac stopped by as I was leaving to go visiting teaching and he said “Wait! I have something for you—” before he pulled the white roses out from the car. Just because he thought I’d like them. Platonic roses from a sixteen-year-old boy (don’t worry, they really are platonic—Mac’s been dating other boys for some time now). And my mind reflected on other roses (always pale: white, yellow, orange), and other boys who left them in lockers or cars or handed them to me just because they thought I’d like them, even though they had girlfriends. I placed Mac’s roses in water and left to go visiting teaching.

"Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended. . . . Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other" (Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “The Tongue Can Be a Sharp Sword” Ensign, May 1992, 18–19).

I shared this with my friend as we visited. Today I was reminded that I still need charity. I need it in my life and I need others to have it in theirs so they can live with me and I can feel safe with them. I still need it now, now even more than I needed it ten years ago when I was still only half-awake to the world and to God. The pure love of Christ—Christ’s pure love and loving Christ in purity—I thought about that as I said goodbye to my friend after an hour and she hugged me and told me she loved me and I knew that she meant it and the words she had spoken earlier in church, the words she didn’t know I even heard and that sent me running, those words are fading as I write. I cannot recall them now.



Today (Sunday, 11 June) is Nick's birthday. He has officially rounded the corner of "mid twenties" and is on his way to thirty. If we were filthy rich (or even just stinkin' rich) I would have flown you all out for a surprise party, but as we are currently not rich, the best I can do at the moment is to open this post--if you would like to add a birthday wish, feel free. If you would like to add a snide comment about Nick's aging process, feel free :)

HBN! (Happy Birthday Nick!)


Friday, June 09, 2006

Crazy People

Normally, when you see someone sitting by themselves, holding their backpack in their lap, looking wild-eyed back and forth while yelling the F-word at the top of their lungs, you think maybe they just had a bad day. Today, as I saw just such an individual at the train station, it became very clear to me that this person was not normal. I think he had mental issues. Or maybe he was REALLY drunk. Or possibly he had post vietnam distress syndrome. In retrospect, I think it was all three, by which you can probably guess it was a pretty interesting 15 minutes as I waited for the train to come.

It all started as I just barely missed my train by 20 seconds. So rather than run to catch it, I decided just to sit and read a book while I waited for the next one. (Jenny has been suggesting books for me to read since I finished LOTR. I just finished The Name of the Rose, a gripping thrillride where someone is murdered in the Louvre and we find out that Jesus might have been married to... Oh wait, I mean it was a gripping thrillride set in a 13th century monastary in Italy where a possibly gay monk is found dead, and a Sherlock Holmes type monk is brought in from England to figure it all out- "it all" meaning who killed the monk and why, and who committed the other 6 murders that soon follow the first over the course of 6 more days. Anyway, good book.) I sat down 6 seats away from this normal looking guy with his backpack in his lap, normal until I heard him muttering to himself what sounding like the F-word and the sh-word. Over and over and over. Then, about a minute into this, he started yelling them very loudly- not connected with any other words , just those two words by themselves, over and over. Loudly. At first I wanted to move to the other bench, but then the adventurous part of me said "Wait, lets see where he's going with this...."

Soon, he started mixing in other words with the swearing. I remember something about going down to Saigon to investigate something rather, and other stuff about Vietnam, still at the top of his voice. That's what made me think that maybe he was a vietnam vet who still hadn't quite adjusted. Then I got the waft of alcohol (a still very fresh memory from my mission. (Not from me drinking, but from all the bums that approached us on the street)) that was very strong in his direction.

It got very interesting when another girl sat between him and me. At first she just talked on her cell phone while he yelled his swear words, but then he started directing the swearing at her. She told her friend something about meeting her at a train station at 1:20, and then he started yelling "HEY! I'LL MEET YOU THERE! AT 1:24!!! AT 1:24!!! YOU STUPID UGLY B****!!!!!!" This was followed by more kindly remarks and swearing, including "YOU'RE NOT A REAL BLONDE!!! I KNOW REAL BLONDES!!!! YOU'RE SO FAKE YOU UGLY FAT B****!!!!!" Needless to say, had this come froma sane person's mouth, it would have been quite offensive. In this case, it was just slightly amusing and a little sad. Me and the girl looked at each other after some of his more outrageously offensive statements and shared a quiet chuckle. We were both reading books, and he accused her of not knowing how to read ("STUPID B*****!!!"), and me reading the Bible. (Not that I mind being accused of reading the Bible, its just that the book I was reading was very unbible-like). The kicker was when he referred to me as her N*gg** boyfriend reading his bible. That got me laughing out loud.

The train arrived, and the girl and I both boarded, but he stayed behind. It made me wonder what on earth he was doing there in the first place- the train going in the opposite direction had already left, and he didn't seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere. Who is in charge of this man? He is clearly not able to function outside in the world unattended. Why did they leave him at the train station? Did he escape from somewhere? Or does he really not have anyone to help him out and he just rides the train all day from station to station, stopping only to sit and harass strangers for an hour or two? It made me kind of sad. I hope I never become that crazy and Jenny is forced to just let me roam around the city being a spectacle for other's pity. I want to go out in style- with alzheimers!


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Being the Third Part of the Lord of the Rings

At the risk of turning this into some kind of fanboy nerd blog, I wish to broach the subject of The Lord of the Rings one more time. I have a few things to say now that I've finished reading the novel entire. Okay, so I haven't read all of the appendixed material. I am working on it, though.

On to the analysis:

I must say, along with most of the previous commenters, that I really like the film adaptations and I think that it will take some time before anyone could possibly rival Peter Jackson's productions. That being the blanket statement for what I liked about the films, I will now move on to what the books did much, much better.

For me the number one thing the books do better is characterization. I agree with Jon: for the most part, the movies cast and portray the main characters rather well. But the books gave an added measure of depth to the characters and bonded the reader to them much more effectively. Take Faramir, for example. In the movies we learn that he's a fairly effective military leader and that he has some deep family issues. Then we see him tempted by the ring, mercilessly using death threats to get Frodo to reveal who Gollum is, and veering Frodo from his path. In the book we see Faramir as a noble captain of Gondor. He is beloved by all of the men of Gondor, especially those who serve under him in the army and the city guard. He is thoughtful and clever. He threatens Gollum's life not to force Frodo into telling him anything, but because Gollum had discovered their secret place. Faramir is bold, brave, strong, etc. He's everything Boromir got portrayed as, but a bit wiser. I felt like the Faramir in the movie was kind of desperate and whiny. Even at the end when he's making eyes at Eowyn (much better in the book) he seems like a 14-year-old at his first EFY dance.

This analysis on Faramir applies to many of the other characters (though I think I felt more strongly about the misportrayal of Faramir than the others--nobody else was quite as mishandled, except perhaps Aragorn). Merry's and Pippen's characters suffered in the name of comic relief. It would have been much more worthwhile to show them join Frodo as true friends who did not wish him to go alone than as bumbling fools who were stealing vegetables. I suppose they did that in order to show a contrast in their characters when compared to the end of the story. I just think there were more effective ways to do it. For example: leaving in the chapter on the scouring of the Shire. That chapter more than anything showed the growth of each of the hobbits. Frodo had forsaken violence and sought peace to heal his wounds; he extended mercy to all, even Saruman. Merry and Pippen had become leaders of hobbits, even in a military capacity. Sam became revered and looked to for leadership, but maintained his humility in spite of it. The whole chapter completed the portraits of the four hobbits and showed us what they became.

I also felt like the Ents could have been portrayed better. I agree with Jon: the way they had to be tricked into fighting the war in the movies was lame. The way the Ents resolved to fight in the book was much better. And just because they take a long time to say things doesn't mean they speak excruciatingly slowly. Reading the way Treebeard and Quickbeam spoke in the books, I could not hear some slow-speaking snail of an orator. They took a long time saying things for the same reason Tolkien took a long time saying things: they saw all of creation in the quantity and details of their words; to them, creation was beauty.

Aside from characterization, there's really only one other broad thing that I think the movies could have done better. The movies definitely captured an epic feeling, but it wasn't the same as the epic feeling of the books. The movies presented an epic adventure. The books presented an epic mythology. I felt drawn into this world of Nordic lore, kind of touching my own roots. It was like Beowulf, but readable. I actually liked the songs and the minute details, characters like Tom Bombadil and such. It really created a world within the book that seemed to be connected to Nordic legend. It drew me in. The movies created a world, but I did not feel connected to it. It lacked a sense of heritage, if that makes sense.

This is a long post, but I must voice one last complaint that nobody else has mentioned: Aragorn as the healer. This was one of my favorite chapters in all of the novel. I nearly cried a couple of times as Aragorn showed his merciful side and took time to visit the sick and afflicted and heal them. I already knew Aragorn was a Christ figure, but this sealed it in so well. He had shown himself as a captain in battle, one who descended among the dead, one who inpired awe in his majesty. At the end of the battle he showed himself to be compassionate, loving, and charitable. It was powerful.

Those are my main points. Responses? Agreements? Disagreements? I eagerly await the coming discussion.



Sunday, June 04, 2006

Garden Journal, Week 9

The tomatos are FINALLY starting to set fruit! We started shaking the plants every day around noon to help them pollinate, and it has worked wonders- almost every plant has at least 5 baby tomatos on it.



Tomato row


Tomatillo. I just learned this week that tomatillos are NOT like tomatos in the sense that they do not self pollinate. They need another plant nearby, and bees to do the pollinating. As we have no bees, I might have to use the cotton swab method.

Heres a romaine plant that came up from last year's seed that was scattered.

Potatos. I've hilled up almost a foot. I think I can go more...

The peaches are getting much bigger than last year. This time they are not withering, probably since I picked most of them off, and water a lot more.

Heres the box with strawberries, zucchini, watermelon, spinach, garlic, and carrots. off to the left are some raspberries, that in the fall I will transplant to a better location.

This box has tomatos, peppers, peas, cucumber, jerusalem artichoke and crookneck squash.

The flowers in the front yard's circle are coming along nicely.

My basil seeds I planted a month ago are finally getting more than their first set of leaves. I moved two plants to the shade to see if they do any better there, since the spot they are in now gets sun the whole day and they never seem to do very well...

The Gladiolas are multiplying and replenishing the earth.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Oh My....

Last weekend brought us little taste of early spring- it dropped down into the 30's over a few nights. As it happens, tomatos don't especially like cold, and most of our plants turned a little yellow. Our neighbors fared a little worse than ours, which have by now recovered. Theirs turned even yellower, though they looked a little small and sickly to begin with. Our neighbors are older, probably in their seventies, retired, and seem intent on dedicating the remainder of their years to having the greenest lawn on the street. They are excellent landscapers, and seem to spend hours everyday working on their lawn, hedging, bushes and flowerbeds.

They also have a beagle named Crissy.

In the gardening department however, they seem to be a little lacking, for as I mentioned before, their tomatos never seem to do as well as mine (I'm not prideful or anything). So I try and give them some pointers every now and then- "the yellowing leaves was just because of the cold. They're fine." "Make sure you shake the plants around midday to help the flowers pollinate" "You only need to water every other day, or when the top two inches of soil is dry". They always graciously accept the advice (it is usually sought after advice in the first place), and then comment on what a great FARMER I am. Farmer? I've always thought of myself as a gardener. I didn't think I would reach farmer status until I had my own farm and Erin was in charge of it for us. It just made me laugh that she called me a farmer to my face.

What is even funnier is that they are EXTREMELY impressed that I actually go out and research the things I grow and read up on gardening techniques. They never struck me as the academic type, but I never thought looking stuff up in a gardening book or the internet qualified one as academic either. But they just marvel at the intelligence of those young spunky neighbors of theirs that get their lurnin from them books. Funniest of all, which will be difficult to express in writing since the humor was in her tone of voice, when I told my neighbor that you have to help the tomato plants pollinate themselves by flicking their flowers, she replied "Oh my...." I'm sure the last thought in her 75 year old brain was that I was suggesting she aid her plants in having.... ahem... in the propogation of their species, but as she said that in the tone of voice she said it in, it was like I was suggesting something extremely improper. "You want me to help them do WHAT? Oh my..."