Archive for the ‘Rants and Wonders’ Category

Get ready for gardening season


2014
03.19
potato bloom

These potato flowers are such delicate little lavender flowers. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Gardeners Get In Shape

Getting in shape for the rigors of the upcoming garden season will prevent muscle strain and other injuries. I am neither a physical therapist nor a fitness trainer, but this works for me:

Start now so you can begin your fitness program slowly. Three days a week will yield results.

potato plants Strengthening arm and shoulder muscles: begin by standing outside on a level surface, and with a 5-lb. potato sack in each hand… extend your arms straight out to your sides and hold them there as long as you can.

After a few weeks, move up to 10-lb. potato sacks and then 50-lb. potato sacks, and finally get to where you can lift a 100 lb. potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.

Next…start putting a few potatoes in the sacks, but be careful not to overdo.

dig potatoes

Dumping the soil out of the potato planter and discovering the potatoes is a lot easier than digging. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Looking for frost flowers


2013
10.07

I wrote about amazing frost flowers in Missouri Gardener.  Just click  Have you ever seen a frost flower?

I suspect they are the work of garden fairies out visiting their friends and family, the woodland fairies.

I suspect they are the work of garden fairies out visiting their friends and family, the woodland fairies.

 

Yellow ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia) and white crownbeard (Verbesina virginica) can create frost flowers. White crownbeard is known as frost beard.

DSC04054

You have to get up pretty early in the morning to see frost flowers.

They amaze me. When neighbor Bill told me about them, I thought he was pulling my leg. So he went out, armed with a camera along with his deer hunting buddies. He came back with photos to prove they exist. I’ve never seen one. You can only find them in that precarious season between fall and winter.

DSC04069

Delicate and light, I have friends who said she ate them when she was a kid during the Great Depression.

Scout out the area while you can still identify the green plant known as ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia)

frost flowerIt happens when there is a freeze, but before the ground freezes.

It’s not likely that I will ever see one, as soon as the sun touches them, they vanish.  And, I’m not real sure I want to be out in the Missouri woods during deer hunting season. Deer Season is an event in Southeast Missouri, just about as big as Thanksgiving.

OK Texas, secede


2012
12.16

But first, you should probably figure out how to operate a highway system without federal dollars. You will be responsible for airports, air traffic control and all air, land, water transportation, security and emergency management. You need your own coast guard and DOT.

Your border and immigration issues will be even bigger now. You will need a passport to come to the USA and a green card to work here. Hey, Dallas Cowboys – you got passports? Papers, please.

What is your plan for emergency management? Because you can’t call NOAH or FEMA when there is a hurricane or a tornado. And they won’t be calling to warn you beforehand.

Severe weather disasters like extreme drought, flooding and earthquakes from fracking will be of immediate concern for your independent self. Houston, you have a problem: we want NASA back.

There will be no Federal dollars for national parks, presidential libraries, universities. alcohol, tobacco, firearms, drug regulation and weapons of mass destruction are yours to control. What will replace the American dollar?

You can’t call the FDA or the CDC. Good luck with no FBI, CDC or USDA.You might not miss these government agencies until you need the Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, Department of Interior or, Department of Health and Human services.

Time to cowboy up. Or is this Big hat, no cattle?

Been There


2012
11.01

Despite days of back breaking sand bagging, I’ve seen the devastation of flood waters rising to the ceilings of homes.

I’ve seen the neighbor’s house literally blown away by a tornado that left my home standing.

Pay it forward.

You will never forget that desperate and exhausted voice saying “I can’t find my grandson,” or “I’ve lost everything.” It will haunt you.

How disorienting it is when every street sign in the city is missing. Or, when there is no phone, no electricity, no way to get help.

So, before we dismantle big government FEMA, and before dismantal Obama Care, think about what you would do if there was no one to pull you out of the rubble and rush you to the hospital.

What if suddenly you don’t even have a pair of underwear, or a toothbrush or any form of I.D?

You can’t find your pets, you can’t call your kids to tell them you are alive, you can’t afford to replace the car, even if there was a road to where  you used to live.

 

 

Never Pass up a car wash


2012
08.18

I believe in supporting the people who support our community.

Support local efforts in community betterment. These folks are trying to raise money the best way they know how.

A car wash and bake sale raising money for breast cancer. One of the counselors has breast cancer. Everyone pitched in to help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat Control


2012
05.18

Are the kitties using your garden as a litter box? Here is a solution that Betty Ward uses.

forked

Plastic picnic forks deter the cats from digging in the mulch. Photo by Betty Ward.

Momma Cat scaled a privacy fence to get in the back yard with a tiny kitten in her mouth. The fenced back yard seemed like a safe place for the momma cat to raise the little baby. Those two cats who sought shelter in Betty and Louie’s well manicured back yard decided to stay.

No telling what unfortunate circumstance brought  the cats to the back back door.

But the Momma Cat was weak and exhausted though she continued to nurture her kitten. She needed to eat, and there was no cat food in sight. That’s because  the residents didn’t want a cat, weren’t interested in ever having more pets.

Still, the cats stayed. But the poor momma cat needed to eat. So cat food found it’s way into the couple’s grocery bag.  The cats were finally safe and well fed. Slowly, the couple allowed then into their hearts.

And since the cats were now residents, they needed names. Momma Cat and Babe now officially live in the well manicured back yard. They go to the veteranarian. They have their own cat beds.

Just one problem. Instead of the littler box, the cats use the beautifully landscaped  gardens. So, that is why there are little plastic forks in the mulch. The forks are meant to be a cat deterrent.

It may work. If you have had success with this deterrent, or if you have a better idea leave a comment.

The kitten is grown and both cats are well cared for. They have no intention of leaving. And the couple have no intention of having more kittens in their back yard cat sanctuary.

The cats have  been been spayed and neutered.

What’s that? Spaying is a general term used to describe the ovariohysterectomy of a female animal. Neutering is a general term used to describe the castration of a male animal. However, neutering is often used in reference to both genders. The surgical procedure, performed by a veterinarian, renders the animal incapable of reproducing.  –  American Humane Association

Babe and Mama cat

Babe is the black cat. The tabby cat on the right is Mama Cat. photo by Betty Ward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee in Springfield MO


2011
04.22

The Cup window watching the baker decorate cupcakes. photo: PBH

 

It’s impossible to know how many coffee shops there are in Springfield. They pop up and disappear quickly. You’ve got to sell a lot of coffee to keep the doors open. Here are some of the established Businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Shots I Coffeehouse Roundup in Springfield Missouri

I. The Coffee Houses: The Coffee Ethic, Hebrews Coffee, The Mudhouse

Heros: WAKE UP. DO GOOD. REPEAT photo by PBH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot ShotsII Coffeehouse Roundup, Springfield MO

II. The Coffee Houses: The Dancing Mule, Big Momma’s Coffee & Espresso, Heros and, The Potter’s House.

Dancing Mule photo: PBH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Shots III Coffeehouse Roundup, Springfield MO

III The Coffee Houses: Fog City, The Hub, The Buzz

Big Mamma's Plenty of room for conversations, or working on that American history exam. photo: PBH

 

 

A cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed-milk froth. The name Cappuccino comes from the Capuchin friars for their brown garb and ring of brown hair, hence, the name Cappuccino.

 

 

 


Appliances Unplugged


2011
01.11

This is a no brainer. Appliance makers should jump on this.

Appliances with electric cords

Which high-end appliance do you think I would choose, if my choice is between a slow cooker (or mixer, blender, box fan, table lamp, etc.) with a long, unmanageable, trip hazard of electrical cord, or an appliance with a retractable cord?

retactable cord on the rice cooker.

A quick fix.

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