Designated Gardener Notes

Posted on 05/27/2019. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Early Blooming Bleeding Hearts Putting on Their Show

I became the designated gardener of our condominium when we moved here and suggested the landscaping could be improved. There was resistance to the idea by some owners who believed the lawn, trees and few scrubs that existed were adequate. However, after making some landscape improvements most people wanted more and we now have a numerous perennial gardens and flowering scrubs on the association property. I was 76 years old when we moved into our condominium fifteen years ago. If you do the math it will be apparent that my days as the designated gardener can’t last much longer. During the last few years I’ve asked myself if I could still do it. So far, every spring of those years I have found I could do it. One of these springs I will find I can’t do it and hopefully another designated gardener will appear.

The spring garden chores are about over. This included inspecting for winter damage. There were no loses despite a severe cold period, but some damage to boxwood bushes and to last year’s newly planted hydrangeas. Any emerging plants covered with leaves or pines needles were uncovered. Plants to be moved or divided were then dwelt with and new plants, shrubs and trees were planted. All the plants except rhododendrons were treated with a slow release fertilizer. The rhododendrons were fertilized after blooming. Any weeds that survived the winter were removed. After fertilizing, the gardens were mulched where needed using wood chips, pine needles or leaves. After mulching a weed suppressor was applied where needed. Toward the end of May seven containers were were filled with potting soil and annuals planted. These tasks took most of my time in May, in part because it takes me a week to do what I used to do in a day. I had help from the people that do our lawn and snow removal. I had them divide the Forster Reed Grass along the parking lot and at the front sign, plant some junipers and spireas and spread eight cu. yds. of mulch.

We replaced the contractors that had been doing the lawn care this year.  First impression has been good. The person that owns the business is also involved in work being done. Makes a difference. The previous contractor worked in a office and had a layer of managers between him and the people that actually did the work. The people that did the work changed often and likely were not concerned about customer satisfaction. No matter how automated the world becomes there will always be a need for people who provide services that can’t be automated and those services can best be provided by individuals who have a personal interest in providing the most satisfactory service they can deliver.

With the spring chores wrapping up, I hope to spend time on putting together two books of short stories that I am working on.

Below, a picture of a happy Gnome sitting in a bed of sedum.

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We Don’t Stop Learning Until We Stop

Posted on 11/01/2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

I am in the process of revising my first novel, Finding the Way, published ten years ago. Since the time I published this first novel, I have written two additional novels and have had my writing reviewed by editors, authors, writing group members, Goodread s and Library Thing members, and other readers. Feedback from those sources and thousands of hours of writing and reviewing and rewriting has affected my writing in a positive way for the most part. To say that I am a better writer today at 86 years than I had been at 76 implies that my ability to learn has not vanished at an advanced age. This is a sample of one that the ability to learn does not evaporate with age as long as you maintain functional mental capabilities.

I find that I am making changes to almost every sentence as I review and revise my writing done ten years ago. I use fewer words to say the same thing. To demonstrate this I show the following example of a change made to a paragraph while revising Finding the Way.

Original paragraph:

Many camps had unique traditions and Flambeau No. Three had one that had been established when the camp opened three years before. No one seemed to know how the tradition started but it was known and observed by all the camp’s lumberjacks. The tradition was that the French Indians would drop the first tree each morning when work started.


Revised Paragraph:

Many camps had unique traditions and Flambeau No. Three had one that had been established when the camp opened three years before. The tradition being that the French Indians dropped the first tree when work started each morning.


Note that in addition to reducing the number of words in the example, I also eliminated the word “was” used twice. I became aware that I used the word “was” excessively while writing my second novel. “Was” is a lazy verb. Its use may be grammatically correct but needs to be used sparingly.

I am half way through the revision and have reduced the word count from ninety-three thousand words to eighty-nine thousand words. A thousand of those words were a result of eliminating an episode that didn’t move the story forward. The rest of the word reduction resulted from revisions that removed unnecessary words by modifying sentences and paragraphs.

I plan to complete the revisions by the end of the year and have the changes edited and reviewed in time to publish the revised version of Finding the Way in early 2015.


Finding the Way top copver

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Do Deficits Matter?

Posted on 11/20/2010. Filed under: Discussion/Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

What could be the result of the United States not getting its fiscal house in order? PushBack provides a possible scenario.

One of the surprises in the book reviews and media interviews has been the concentration on the story setup where the United States Union dissolves as a result of an economic crisis. Only a few paragraphs in the first chapter deal with the collapse and the reasons for the collapse of the United States government, yet  reader and media attention is focused on that aspect of the book.

One interview question has been how a nation as powerful and rich as the United States could collapse so suddenly? I had looked at historical precedence when writing the story to convince myself that such a scenario would be possible. World history is replete with the rise and fall of dominating empires. Some fade slowly, some suddenly. The German and Japanese empires faded rapidly due to being on the losing end of a war, while the English empire, a war winner, also collapsed over a short period of time. The mighty USSR collapsed suddenly over the period of a few months. Power and wealth are one way equivalents. Nations cannot have power without wealth. When the United States has to borrow money from foreigners to finance its government and maintain its standard of living, it exchanges its strength for the use of foreigner’s wealth. It is a prescription for the loss of power and potential collapse.

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