Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Contrary to what most of us have believed, it isn't the tread thinning out or going bald which can cause blow outs or flats, it's dry rot.
"The rubber loses its flexibility and begins to crack at the surface, and the structure becomes more and more brittle (think of a really old rubber band), leading to sidewall damage and eventual failure." UV exposure is the most common cause of dry rot and if you live by the ocean with sun, sand and salt, your tires will dry out much faster.
Something new to worry about. Here's a link with a few examples of what dry rot on tires looks like.
Does anyone else believe the makers of hand soap have gone small? It sure seems to me as though the bars of soap are smaller and less dense which makes them melt away to a sliver very quickly. Following the lead of every product these days-less product same or higher price.
And why does every name brand of shampoo have to have myriad varieties of itself nowadays?
A new USAToday column by Kirsten Powers who almost single handedly, with help from Mollie Ziegler, made other news outlets look at the Gosnell abortion clinic. At least they looked quickly out of the corner of their eyes. We need this conversation, we need people to look closely at what is actually happening. Who benefits in places like this, places that health departments have not inspected. Places nightmares are made of.
Maybe we haven't had this conversation because the reality is easier to live with if we don't look too closely.
Kirsten Powers is one of the honorable people in our media.
A story in Slate about a measles outbreak in Wales due mainly to families not giving children the vaccine over fears that the vaccine might be a cause of autism. What struck me in the story was the list of dire things that can happen if a child has the measles.
"On average about 1 in 1,000 people who contract it will die. Even those who don’t die have a terrible time of it. One in 20 children with measles gets pneumonia. One in 10 gets an ear infection. One in 1,000 gets encephalitis, which can lead to brain damage."
Wow. Admittedly, I'm older than most online bloggers and reporters, but in my day everyone got measles as a child. We all got chicken pox and mumps as well. They were pretty much standard childhood illnesses. Actually there were at least two types of measles we all came down with, the two week kind and the three day kind. I seem to remember one being named German Measles. In any event the most common fear was of blindness (if memory serves) so we were kept in a dark or dim room for the duration. Measles were itchy and rashy but otherwise we felt fine.I clearly remember my bout with the 3 day measles, spending my time on the back porch watching the other kids in the neighborhood play in our plastic swimming pool. I also listened to Red Skelton on the radio. What a memory.
Never heard of anyone who died of it or ended up with major complications.
The advent of our own children brought the vaccine and neither they or any of their classmates ever had any of those illnesses so I'm not cavalier about the importance of prevention.
Perhaps you've heard of one or both of these pranks/hoaxes. The first is mainly an annoying nuisance done by teenagers the second much more serious.
Gallon Smashing. A teen (usually a boy) goes into a grocery store, picks up 2 gallons of milk or juice and proceeds to throw them hard to the floor so that they break. He then pretends to slip and fall feigning injury. Other shoppers run to his aid. Dumb.
Swatting. This has been done to political foes, usually by extremist liberals to conservatives (maybe liberal is too mild a term). Or, it has been done to Hollywood celebrities by who knows who. It begins with someone calling 9-11 ostensibly by the owner of a home which says "I just shot and killed my wife" or there's a hostage situation, or some other horrific thing. The police come, surround the place and, not knowing the innocent homeowner has no idea about the phone call, put the family in danger.
The most recent Swatting took place Saturday night at the Michigan home of Republican congressman Mike Rogers. This is a dangerous game being played.
Ok. We had to get at it, rain or no rain, cold or not, because Call Day is this coming Wednesday and the campus will see many visitors who come to learn where their son, daughter, or friend will be sent on their first Call. The Call is easier understood by saying, they'll learn where their first congregation or parish will be. So Dale and I have been planting like madmen in order to help make the seminary look at its best. It hasn't been easy with this weather, the second coldest start of spring in US history.
In any event, I want to share a trick we have been using the past couple of years to keep pots and flower boxes and ground flowers hydrated beyond what they'd get from rain or hoses. This was especially helpful last summer when it was constantly in the upper 90's with no rain.
If your outdoor plantings and filled containers droop and shrivel you might want to look into this. We use hydrogels which come in a package and look like large sugar crystals.
You put the cyrstals into a bucket and pour in water. Lots of water.
And after a few minutes the crystals absorb the water and swell.
They are squishy
Then you add these to your potting soil. I've seen this done any number of ways, probably doesn't make any difference. Mix it into the soil mix or add some a couple inches under the soil. Swell them or sprinkle in dry. I swell ours up and so does Gayle, our campus grounds director. But you can also leave them dry, sprinkle in and either wait for rain or give them a watering. The science behind this is that the crystals swell up with water and slowly release that moisture into the soil or potting mix. Then rain or watering will swell them up again. It worked wonders for the big pots we have on our front stoop last year.
Now, here's the planting project we're undertaking as fast as we can.
We have window boxes outside each of our front windows (5). The easterly window received double impatiens because that spot isn't in direct sunlight most of the day.
They'll fill in nicely.
The other boxes received Americana Pink Geraniums and Denim blue verbena. They're still pretty small.
The pots on the front porch have the same
The tulips are still in full throat, it's that kind of year.
Dale's been tackling all the trees, putting in impatiens.
Got a couple of photos of 3 of the grandsons today. Katie and Charlie are with his twin brother Dan and wife Hannah and their two little boys. They're spending the weekend together at some Maryland Harbor and went down to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
The Bailey cousins. Jake is getting so big.
Then back in St. Louis, little Nick fell asleep on his ipad.