Weeds

One thing all this rain has done is bring out the weeds. They love it. That would bother many gardeners who look at the weeds as enemies. Personally, I’ve come to terms with them. The deal is they can do whatever they want in what was once a lawn so long as they behave in the vegetable garden. My big adjustment was when I realized that the weeds make great compost. That allowed me to look at them as another crop just like the veggies – to be managed and harvested at just the right time. Anybody’s who’s checked out compost at the garden store knows how expensive it is. So if weeds make good compost, they become a cash crop of sorts and one to be taken with respect instead of as a waste of time. There’s an optimum time to harvest weeds. You want them when there is substantial green material but no seeds. That means you don’t get all twitchy when you see a couple of small weeds pop up. You just be patient and wait until there’s a good crop worthy of pulling. You have to pull them out with the roots so that there’s a bit of soil clinging to add to the compost pile bacteria. Another negative I’ve turned into a positive is that because they grow low to the ground, you have to bend over to pull them. Great exercise for the back and stomach muscles. In the heat and humidity of central Florida, I work up a sweat pulling weeds in just a few minutes and if I’m working a good crop, become a dripping mess in no time at all. That allows me to justify a piece of carrot cake or some other delight that would otherwise carry a big guilt burden. Now if I could only come up with some rationalization for the rabbits.
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With all the coverage of the moon walk anniversary, I’ve been giving it some thought and come to the conclusion that it’s really an embarrassment that all this happened 40 years ago and not one more trip attempted. And further, that we’re close to the end of the shuttle program with no real follow-on and a period of time when the only way to get to space will be via the Russians. And the current administration seems to be taking a path that will slow us down even further – not that the previous administration(s) did anything spectacular. I have a theory about why NASA dropped out of the moon business. The very first attempt was a success and they were afraid they couldn’t duplicate it. They realized just how lucky it was that everything worked so well and that a failure could devastate them as an agency. In hindsight, the right thing to have done was turn the space program over to the military and fund it as a national security issue. That allows for some cover in the event of failures and a rationale for proceeding even with risks involved. I suspect the fact that no other nation has even tried a manned shot to the moon is also because of the success of the first mission. All subsequent attempts will be measured against the American success and nobody wants to look bad. I also found it odd when I heard that they were still analyzing moon rock from the first trip. How the hell can you still be studying something from 40 years back unless it has extremely low priority? Give the rocks to the new kid who just graduated.

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The passing of Walter Cronkite brought back lots of memories. My dad was a big fan – called him Cronky. Personally I preferred Chet Huntly, but when he died, I too switched to Cronkite. It was a ritual around our household when growing up – you ate dinner within a couple of minutes of dad coming home from work then sat around the tube to watch the Evening News. And it wasn’t just that way at our house – it was the way everybody I knew grew up. I think it elevated the intellectual level of the household conversations and gave us all a common base for discussions. When my aunts, uncles, and grandparents joined the fray, there were some great firework displays around the table or in the living room. It turned out later that we had an even closer connection to Walt. Nancy’s Uncle Vinny was a cameraman at CBS and often did the evening news. He knew Walter personally. So when they visited us or we visited them, he would give us the inside scoop on how these guys really were to work with. He was ok with Cronkite, hated Rather. Maybe that’s how come I have the same feelings.

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