Most people are aware that Epsom salt makes for a soothing bath if you have itchy skin or sore muscles, but did you know it’s also beneficial to some of your garden plants?
Why Epsom salt?
Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is high in magnesium. Magnesium promotes the uptake of nitrogen and phosphorous from the soil. Magnesium also promotes the creation of chlorophyll, the stuff that gives plants their green color and is essential for photosynthesis. By improving photosynthesis the plant feeds itself better and stays healthier. Magnesium also aids a plant in the production of more flowers, which in turn become fruit. Boosting photosynthesis also boosts sugar production, so fruit trees and vines will produce sweeter fruit.
Before using Epsom salt it is recommended to have your soil tested for magnesium content; amending it may not be needed.
What Plants Benefit?
Most flowering plants can benefit from the use of Epsom salt. This includes flowers such as roses. But my focus is the vegetable garden, so I’ll confine my discussion to those plants. The primary benefactors are the nitrogen hungry plants like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumber, squash, and zucchini. Do not use it on beans (which are nitrogen fixers) and leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, chard, and kale.
Signs of Need
Continue reading Using Epsom Salt in the Garden
Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day doing battle with a contingent of honeysuckle and bramble vines that had invaded a stretch of fencing I was trying to remove from a now little-used patch of our property.
Many of the vines were inexperienced, but what they lacked in tenacity they made up for in numbers. And their base was protected by a thick layer of dead leaves blown against the fencing. I cautiously probed with pruners (for there was a threat of Copperheads lurking there), slicing and snipping the myriad vinelings to free the bottom of the fencing.
Some vines were more experienced and tenacious, but with a proper concentration of force my pruners handled them. A few were battle-hardened veterans. These sent me trekking across the property to bring in my heavy loppers. Even these stalwart defenders fell when such powerful weaponry was brought to bear.
In the end, though scratched bloody and soaked with sweat (which stings in those injuries) I victoriously dragged that length of fencing out of the battlefield where I could clean as much of the plant life from it as possible and roll it up for use elsewhere. As I put away my implements of war I was weary but satisfied in a battle well fought – and won.
This morning I find that insidious agents dispatched by the enemy Bureau of Pollination have infiltrated my sinuses and are engaged in combat with my mucous linings. In addition my upper legs, hips, and lower back are staging a revolt for the abuses they suffered yesterday. But, such are the wages of warfare. I shall placate my rebels with drugs until they forget the abuses they suffered and resume their normal functions.
The battle was won. The way is open to bringing my riding mower in to quell the attempted overthrow of that area by the indigenous species, which are attempting to re-take that sector of property for their own. That must not happen, shall not happen. That sector will remain under my control. I must see to that for the good of the empire!
If you are at all savvy with Facebook, you know that a “poke” from a friend is just a way of saying “hello” without saying anything. Kinda a reminder that they are there.
There is a place I have long thought would be a great place to work, and I heard they were hiring. I picked up an employment application the other day, took it home and filled it out. On my way to turn it in today I found myself asking, “Why am I seeking a job?”
Officially, I am now retired, but it’s not like I’m bored and need something to occupy my time. What with yard work and a herd of dogs to train and heal so they can find forever homes, I have plenty to do. It’s not as though we’re hard up financially, we could use a little extra; there are some projects I’d like to get done but God provides, and they will get done. So why do I need a job again?
Just at that moment the SERVICE ENGINE light lit up in the truck’s dashboard. ‘Oh yeah, now I remember.’ Thanks for the poke, God!
Cochise BigDog passed over the Rainbow Bridge on May 3rd. His final days involved three trips to Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital, two of them for surgeries, a special purchase of expensive clotting agents, a hasty trip to an Emergency Services clinic in Knoxville, where diagnostics, tests, more drugs, and consultation with an emergency service vet and an oncologist were performed.
Dr. Sandra O’Connor paid the emergency services clinic bill so I didn’t have to deal with that on top of losing our beloved Cochise, for that I am grateful. When everything is tallied up and posted to our account, I expect the charges for all these services will be … pretty high. I have opened a Care Credit account as a loan to pay them.
Over the weekend one of the Rescue people we know through Facebook contacted me and asked if she could help us with Cochise’s final expenses, and if so, how? I honestly had not considered this possibility and wasn’t sure how to go about it. I made a few on-the-fly suggestions, but none were really good ones. Continue reading Cochise’s Final Expenses Fund
This poem by Rudyard Kipling was what the pastor at the church we attended this morning opened with. I’ve heard the first part re-done many ways, but I’d forgotten what an excellent poem it is. Enjoy!
by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: Continue reading If…
Cochise BigDog, also known as Cochise the Amazing Talking Dog passed away on Thursday, May 3rd around 9:30 PM at the age of ten years.
Cochise was a great companion to us for six of those years, an amazing mentor to 63 foster dogs, an effective Guardian of the Realm, and a great ambassador for rescue dogs everywhere, for he too started out abandoned in a shelter, heartworm positive and scheduled for destruction. We saved him then, now it’s time to let him go. Farewell my Bestest Boy, you will be missed.
Continue reading All Hail the Chief
Last week Cochise went to Cedarwood for his annual inspection — I mean examination, shots, blood tests, and a good, thorough poking all over. He had an unusual lump on his leg that raised some concerns.
In the end, what they found was described as “the most unusual thing we’ve ever seen.” – which is becoming a recurring theme with Cochise. Continue reading Cochise Is Declared “Unusual” Once Again
Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away … no, wait: wrong story. Let’s try “Once upon a time”, when I was in my 20’s, shortly after I had accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, I was studying under a dynamic young Preacher named Dennis. He was the first formally educated preacher I’d encountered in my adult(ish) life and he impressed me so much with his knowledge of the Bible that it ignited a fire in me. Dennis thought I showed promise and encouraged me to seek ordination by attending a local seminary. Dennis gave me a letter of recommendation and I filled out the admission paperwork and waited for the enrollment period to come around.
While I was waiting, the church Deacons discovered that Dennis was having an affair with the church secretary and sent him packing. When they announced this to the congregation, I felt personally betrayed by my mentor. Anger over this betrayal sent me off into a time I call my “prodigal period” where I shelved my faith for a while, including abandoning my plans for Christian education and ordination. Continue reading The Auspices of Ordination
Anyone who owns a dog knows that dogs love to run and play. Perhaps a geriatric dog would rather lounge in the sun and warm his aching bones, but most dogs want and need exercise. Walking on a leash with Master is seldom enough so, unless a dog park is nearby, a play yard is required. If planning a play yard, preventing dog escapes is a critical aspect to consider.
Why Your Dog Escapes
Most dogs are protective. Some are natural hunters. Therefore dogs will want to drive away perceived threats like other dogs, school bus monsters, delivery service trucks, and cars with loud exhaust systems. Some will chase prey: cats, squirrels, bunny rabbits, and birds. Others are gregarious and want to play with passers-by. Some have an adventurous spirit and occasionally get the wander-lust.
Our “Houdini dog”: Blondie Bear, fell into these last two categories. She likes to make friends, but also has (or had) a strong wander-lust. She’s a big girl: 90 pounds, but powerful and surprisingly agile for her size. She posed quite a challenge in preventing dog escapes, until I learned a few tricks. Tricks on preventing dog escapes that I will now share with you.
Some dog owners opt for the simplicity of putting their dog on a chain or vinyl coated steel cable that is attached to something solid. As a permanent solution to dog escapes, this is a terrible idea. Many communities are passing ordinances making it illegal to tether a dog for more than a very short time (like an hour). No one wants to see a dog living his live on the end of a six foot chain staked to the ground. This is abuse and can result in criminal prosecution.
If no other solution is available, using a cable & trolley run to extend a dog’s range while keeping him secured is better than a simple tether, but still presents problems especially in the area of potential injury to the dog. Continue reading Hindering Houdini: How to Prevent Dog Escapes From Your Yard
The pastor of the church my wife and I attend passed away this afternoon. This possibility was a prime topic of discussion at this morning’s services. There were many teary eyes. But as we contemplate the death of a Christian brother or sister, are tears appropriate?
Why Do We Grieve?
Grief is a natural reaction anytime someone close to us passes away. We grieve mostly because we miss that person. Depending on the relationship between us, that feeling of loss can have devastating results in our life — if we let it.
Generally speaking, we grieve because *we* feel loss; making the feelings self-centered. There are a myriad of circumstances that make that statement less fitting: Continue reading When Christians Die