Monday, January 07, 2013


Julie and I had a TV that wouldn't die. It was the old tube style that was large and heavy. The picture wasn't the best and the sound was far from good. Giving up hope of it's demise in our lifetimes we chose to purchase a flat panel. We discussed what to do with the old television and decided to recycle it.

We tied up the power cord, placed the manual and remote control in a zip lock bag, took it to the end of our dirt road and placed it neatly by the mail boxes. Someone took it as we anticipated.

Over the years there have been several items recycled this way -- bicycles, furniture, tools and other items. The most unexpected was an auto.

I was going to work one morning and saw a compact car parked in the middle of the road with a sign on the driver's side window. Curiosity caused to me to stop. The note read "Free car, runs good, keys are in the ignition and the signed title is on the seat." It appeared to be in good shape. When I got home that evening it was gone.

Unfortunately, not everything is recycled. Someone placed a reclining love seat well behind the mail boxes where it is out of the way and, thankfully, mostly out of sight. It had seen it's life and had some frayed cloth covering. That was several months ago and it's still there. The sun, rain, snow and wind have done a good job of reclaiming the materials and it is quickly becoming a skeleton. I go to the land fill once a year. On my next trip I plan on adding the load.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


All moments  are beautiful but some are exceptional. Last October as I drove to work I had a truly exceptional moment of beauty.

I was about 4 miles from home when I crested a hill and saw a double rainbow that was arching over the road in a perfect half circle. I was driving west and the sun which was just above the horizon behind me  was coloring everything under deep gray clouds.  I came to the edge of a rain shower that was wetting the   landscape and causing it to reflect the sunshine. Rabbit bush was in bloom and both sides of the road were lined with brilliant yellow.

It was a moment that would fade quickly as the sun climbed and the rain clouds moved east. I pulled to the side of the road and took several photos before the intensity of the colors began to fade.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Two Sun Room Favorites

Favourites seem to come and go. At the moment two of my favourites are a Spider Plant and a Split Leaf Philodendron.

The Spider Plant was a gift from neighbors. Actually, it was a gift I requested. They have a Spider Plant and I asked for a start. Late last summer they dropped off a small plant. I repotted it and before long it began growing and putting out runners. When summer ended I moved it into the sun room and it continued to grow. Soon I plan on rooting two runners.

Spider Plant

The Split Leaf Philodendron was also a gift. Another neighbour was moving and didn't have room for the plant.  It's so large I was uncertain but decided to try it. We placed in in a window between the kitchen and the sun room where the leaves reach out toward the window. It continues to grow new leaves and anchor roots. It appears healthy than when we first received it.

Split Leaf Philodendron

Friday, January 04, 2013

First Rose

In August I took twelve small cuttings from roses planted in front of an old stone house on campus. The house was scheduled for demolition after I and my co-workers moved to new offices.

I took the cuttings, moistened them and put them in a plastic bag until I could get them home. Later that evening I trimmed each side of the cut end, dipped them in rooting hormone, put then in small pots containing a mix of peat, perlite and vermiculte. After watering the mix I placed clear plastic bags over the pots to retain moisture. I kept the pots on our north facing deck in a bright area out of direct sunlight.

When I saw signs of new growth I removed the plastic bags and monitored the moisture daily until cold weather when I moved them into the greenhouse. I lost only one cutting that never rooted.

For a short period of time I had an infection of thrips that I treated with a water hosing outside and periodic spraying with neem oil.

Not long ago I noticed a bud on one of the plants. It has opened and looks healthy.

I shared offices in the building with six co-workers. In the spring I'll divide the roses among this group so each of of will have one or two roses.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Hearing Aids

Before Christmas I decided it was time, went to the Speech-Language-Hearing clinic on campus and selected hearing aids. Later this morning I pick them up.

I never anticipated needing hearing aids when I was young but looking back at my behavior I see that it was inevitable. When a smart person would have worn hearing protection I chose to act as if I was somehow exempt from the danger.

 It has been interesting learning about hearing, hearing aids and some related neurological facts. In the late summer I picked up a copy of Oliver Sacks "Hearing Voices" which details his research about people born deaf, their education and signing. A thoroughly fascinating book.

I've adjusted to eye glasses and I'll adjust to hearing aids.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Julie is a grandmother!

On November 8 Julie's first grandchild, Daphne, was born. I have five grandsons and one great granddaughter but this is Julie's first.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Early Morning

I woke up about 4:00 AM this morning, checked the temperature outside (9 degrees F),  checked the temperature in the greenhouse (mid thirties), checked the fire in the stove, went back to bed and listened to 30 minutes of music before deciding to get up (which was partially motivated by Julie's decision to start the day).

Julie and I fixed a pot of coffee, slightly over toasted two english muffins and sat down in the sun room (which was a misnomer that early). I began reading  the most recent AARP Bulletin which has a cover article entitled '10 Healthy Resolutions You'll Love'. Expecting more of the same advice (loose weight, exercise more, eat a plant based diet, etc, etc, etc) I made a somewhat cynical comment, opened to the article and was surprised. As I read the list to Julie she called me to task for my earlier comment.

Here's the list of  '10 Tips for Better Health'.

  • Throw a party

  • Adopt a pet

  • Choose chocolate

  • Savor your coffee

  • Raise a glass of wine or beer

  • Have sex

  • Listen to your favorite music

  • Take a nap

  • Go au naturel

  • Get off your soapbox

  • Some of these catchy phrases don't communicate accurately the text that followed each item but I like the list and the science supporting each item.

    Today is the first opportunity to fax in a request for a Grand Canyon back country permit for April. I'm going to drive to town to a truck stop to locate a fax machine. 

    The new year is off to a good start.