Of Garlic and Molehills

By: BriarCraft , 12:04 AM GMT on August 27, 2012

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I'm chagrined that fall is in the air. We've only had about 5 or 6 days of summer, or so it seems, but the early morning low temperature on Friday, August 24 was 39°F. Not fair! I've only had two ripe tomatoes, two zucchinis, and one lonesome cucumber thus far. No peppers yet and the basil is not big enough to yield anything for pesto either. The Climate Prediction Center is saying our weather will be cooler and dryer than normal. I can irrigate to compensate for dryer, but cooler is just not going to make those tomatoes and basil happy.





The annual Chehalis Garlic Festival was this past weekend and I went on Friday to get my fix of garlicious food and also to buy some gourmet garlic to enhance my cooking in the coming months.



Our little garlic festival is not much different than any number of local fairs and festivals. It's an excuse for catering trucks and craft vendors to peddle their wares while locals come to sample said wares, often to the accompaniment of live music from local bands. Nothing really momentous about such events, except that they give us incentive to part with some money and have a little fun. And, of course, one of the highlights of a festival honoring garlic is the creativity with which those catering trucks deal with the flavor du jour.



On the home front, the topic du jour is the on-going war on moles. In western Washington, summers are dry. The rainy season starts sometime in October and continues with varying intensity through May or June. July through September are dry. When the soil dries out, worms hibernate, curling into little balls deep in the soil to conserve moisture. Worms are the primary food of moles and they hunt by following the sound of worms moving through the soil. What do moles do for food when the worms stop moving? I have no idea.

I do know that a deep watering of the soil causes a chain of events that lead directly to my war on moles. Overnight, worms uncurl from their little protective balls and go about doing what worms do: moving through the soil, eating organic material as they go. The moles hear this wormish activity and come from wherever they've been lurking to feast on worms. In the process, they dig new tunnels to get from point A to point B, pushing excess dirt out of their way above-ground and exposing plant roots to air, which makes the plants very unhappy.

For my part, I dig down to a newly active mole run and set a trap. I cover the trap with an inverted flower pot so as to prevent any above-ground critters from disturbing the trap and possibly hurting themselves. I also have a Siamese cat named Wally who is an attentive mole hunter and a talented digger. So far this year, the score is 1 mole for me and 1 for Wally. It's a friendly competition -- friendly for me and for Wally, that is. Not so much for those pesky moles.

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71. GardenGrrl
10:02 AM GMT on September 17, 2012
Hooray for geezer pants. Comfort should always trump fashionista. Your going to feel great doing Tai Chi in those.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 254 Comments: 9515
70. BriarCraft
10:57 PM GMT on September 16, 2012
GGrrl: Nesting is best. We have Saturday game nights, but the gamesters don't expect anything special -- just a table and some chairs and maybe some coffee -- and they bring munchies. When relatives from out of town come to visit, we'll rent them a nice motel room, if for no other reason than I don't look or feel as good first thing in the morning as I did 30+ years ago. ;-)

SP: So your experiment was a success of sorts. Rubbery texture for garlic wouldn't make a noticeable difference to pesto, or soups and stews either. And my shopping excursion paid off.

Fun video. Truly a bird's eye view.

I did find some suitable geezer exercise pants: straight leg, stretchy, somewhat loose, no racing stripes. One pair in navy, one in charcoal gray. Not what I would pick to wear to town, but neither will I be embarrassed to pop into the grocery store while wearing them. First class is Sept. 24.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
69. Ylee
10:55 PM GMT on September 16, 2012
Hope you're having a nice Sunday, Briar!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15633
68. sp34n119w
7:29 PM GMT on September 16, 2012
I used some of the frozen garlic this week to make pesto. As the garlic thawed it became translucent so I suppose the cells busted as they froze. They were also a little rubbery in texture but, for pesto, who cares? Tasted fine!

I'm impressed that you are going to take Tai Chi! Bet you'll love it and it will really help with balancing your strength, side to side. When's it start?

Thanks for the Haines Index info - it's that time of year again.

Thought you might enjoy this short video taken by a seagull :)
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
67. GardenGrrl
10:12 AM GMT on September 16, 2012
Something about getting older and settled. My old place used to be set up for whoever decided to stop by and hang out, camp out. Now the new place is set up for the two of us to nest.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 254 Comments: 9515
66. BriarCraft
5:59 PM GMT on September 15, 2012
Ylee: Yeah, that's me. I gave good customer service. Still do, just out of habit. I just can't help myself, and really, that's not a bad thing. I do have my limits though: I served watermelon cubes and beverages, but did no cooking. Afterwards, I do reserve the right to grumble to WUfriends and feel mentally wiped out. >&-}

Poppy: I know you do!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
65. calpoppy
8:07 PM GMT on September 14, 2012
I love the yotes! :))
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3756
64. Ylee
7:33 PM GMT on September 14, 2012
Well, how nice of that fellow from San Diego to pop in for a visit! :P Apparently you left a most favorable impression on him in order for him to think he could impose on your good hospitality! At least he probably won't be back, I hope!

We have coyotes, too, but we are far enough away from the woods to not give them much cover if they ever decided to come near the house. One cat never leaves the yard, the other cat is "countrywise" enough not to put herself in jeopardy.

Good luck on the shopping! :)
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15633
63. BriarCraft
7:05 PM GMT on September 14, 2012
WTS: Lots of coyotes here, too. They put on quite a chorus every night with yips and howls, and I'd swear, laughter. It sure does sound like they're happy anyway. Because of the coyote population, and some big owls, our kitties have a curfew. They get locked in the house at night. Also, I've put cat doors not only into the house, but the garage, shop, and greenhouse, so they have bolt-holes handy when they are outside. So far, no cats lost to coyotes in the 9 years I've been here.

----------------

Just about time for a new blog, if only I can come up with a topic. In the mean time, since the week is pretty much lost, I might as well head for Longview and see if I can find some clothes loose enough for Tai Chi and nice enough for me to not mind being seen in public. I don't want much, do I?
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
62. WatchinTheSky
5:48 PM GMT on September 14, 2012
Chill envy, for sure :)
10:30 and 99 degrees and counting!
Our area is not outdoor cat friendly, too many coyotes..
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 131 Comments: 1939
61. BriarCraft
5:36 PM GMT on September 14, 2012
Somehow, I lost a couple of days. Hmmm. Wonder where they went? Oh yeah, a former client from San Diego that I never really knew very well is vacationing in Portland and decided to bring his girlfriend to visit us for an afternoon. So, day before visit: sweep the deck, clean the deck furniture, spiff up bathrooms, etc. Day of visit: smile, be friendly, try to think of something to talk about, buy them lunch, take them to a historical museum, smile, be friendly, breathe sigh of relief when they leave.

Sandi: Ah, you have "Indian Summer" too? Here, too. The afternoon highs are warmish, but evenings cool off quickly and have gotten as low as 34F, enough to kill my cucumber plant. We could use some rain here. It's been dry for a really long time, after such a miserable start to the summer.

WTS: Happily, surface winds didn't materialize here. For a day, the sky was so thick with high elevation smoke, there was hardly a shadow cast by the sun. It looked cloudy, except the "clouds" were the wrong color. As to squirrels, the cats are a pretty good deterrent. I have one cat who manages to catch a rabbit now and then, but they breed like, well, rabbits, so I don't think there is a solution to that problem.

GGrrl: Trailer park or not, some people love yard art. There's a woman down the road who has deer to keep her gnomes company. I wish she'd do pinwheels and flamingos instead of deer. Frankly, we have too many real deer munching on stuff for me to think they're cute. Hmmm. Pinwheels, gnomes, and toadstools might make a fun combination for my yard.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
60. WatchinTheSky
3:57 PM GMT on September 13, 2012
Just saw your week forecast, low 80s, high 40s - you're killing me!
In deed, 'no butts, no tool sparks', and here it's also 'no back country cook fires' when the wind is howling! Although the folks passing through the back country hills heading north don't usually understand.
Smokey skies = not good.
Think the windmills or whirlygigs would keep the rabbits and squirrels out of the bird seed? :)
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 131 Comments: 1939
59. GardenGrrl
3:14 PM GMT on September 13, 2012
Hi, the pinwheel idea sounds great, the more colors the better. It's all I can do not to turn my yard into a lawn ornament sanctuary ;) I feel one can never have too many wind socks, pink flamingos or gnomes. The spouse feels otherwise so there is a set limit. "Course i counter with, "Aw come on honey, we live in a trailer park, can't we live the trailer park dream?" he he
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 254 Comments: 9515
58. sandiquiz
12:26 PM GMT on September 13, 2012
Just dropping by to say 'hello'.
Hope you are having a good Thursday.

We had rain overnight, which was needed, unbelievably after the summer we have had.
The Indian summer of the last two weeks dried things up really quickly.
I read your area is under fire warning. I hope you get rain soon to that area.
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 293 Comments: 26228
57. BriarCraft
3:42 AM GMT on September 13, 2012
So I'm not the only one who hasn't heard of a Haines index before. Maybe it's a weather.com thing making its way into WU.

Ylee: I love your new nighttime avatar! Of course, you knew I would. And yeah, I like win-win-win solutions best.

WTS: Yes, fire weather watches are not that common here. It takes an east wind and a long dry spell, which is not uncommon in western Washington (we had 0.04" of rain on July 27 and 0.13" on Sept. 10 with nothing in between). That's all we call it here is "east wind", but the same set of conditions is called "Santa Ana wind" in southern Cal, and I know you know what that means. The good news is this one won't last long. We started with blue skies this morning, but by evening, the skies were smoky gray-brown from eastern Washington fires as the upper level winds shifted. I see the Watch has been upgraded to a Warning, but as long as some idiot doesn't make a tool spark or toss a burning butt in the wrong place, we'll do just fine.

Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
56. Ylee
8:14 AM GMT on September 12, 2012
Here's my new night time avy! I hope you like it! I'm honored that you would share your photo like this!

Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15633
55. WatchinTheSky
3:33 AM GMT on September 12, 2012
I'll have to watch for the Haines index next time we get a Fire Weather warning, there were several last year. It's almost middle of September and no Santa Anas yet, would welcome the low humidity now.

Seems a bit odd for western Wa to have fire weather warning. Evergreen State, Emerald City, all that. I know the eastern side can get hot and dusty. Hope nothing dramatic happens!
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 131 Comments: 1939
54. Ylee
1:46 AM GMT on September 12, 2012
What you did for your anniversary sounds good to me! Cheaper, less hassle, probably tasted better, and you were together fixing it! Sounds like a win-win-win-win to me! :)

Never heard of the Haines index, either! Interesting!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15633
53. BriarCraft
11:58 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
I saw a new weather advisory on my WUhome page. I've never seen "Fire Weather Advisory" before, although the words are self-explanatory. The first paragraph of the advisory says:

... Fire Weather Watch in effect from Wednesday evening through Thursday evening for low relative humidity values combined with local east winds and a high Haines over the west slopes of the Cascades... eastern Olympics and portions of the interior lowlands...

I've also never seen the term "high Haines" before, so I looked it up and here's what I found:

In a 1988 paper, Mr. Donald Haines of the USDA Forest Service’s North Central Research Station proposed what he called the “Lower Atmosphere Stability Index.” Renamed the Haines Index in his honor since then, it has a value of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 and is a simple measure of how strongly atmospheric conditions near the earth’s surface might contribute to an existing fire becoming a dangerous, erratic fire with a strong, well defined updraft. It reflects atmospheric stability and dryness for a layer of the atmosphere roughly 1 to 5 km above the surface.

Since this is a weather site, I figured it might be worthwhile to share my learning with WU.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
52. BriarCraft
8:40 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
{{{Pros}}}

Ylee: Somehow, I just had you figured for being a responsible, caring dad with more than two wits to rub together. You just proved me right.

Shore: Happy? Yes. Romantic? Not so much. DH did ask if I wanted to go out to dinner. Discussion ensued. Turned out neither of us had the ambition to get cleaned up, change clothes, drive 15 miles to eat some steak that we could just as well have here in our grubby jeans. So, I made a salad, baked some spuds, and DH fired up the grill. Sometimes, simpler is just better in so many ways.

WTS: Thanks for the How-To. I think I see a fun winter project, just in time to catch some fall clearance sales for the pieces and parts. Hmmmm. Anybody who loves backyard birds and bird baths ought to go over to WTS's place and check out his bird bath collage in #14.

Sandi: Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I've never heard of the pinwheel/whirligig/windmill solution for moles before. As I discovered from the link in your comment, Northern Tool even has an industrial strength "mole chaser". The whirligig solution would sure be a lot easier than digging holes and setting traps.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
51. sandiquiz
7:52 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Mark's Suggestion is one I have heard of over here. The wooden stick of the 'windmill', as we call them, does vibrate, and upsets them....but look what I found!

Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 293 Comments: 26228
50. WatchinTheSky
7:09 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Happy Anniversary! What a fun story. As I hear it, mole trapping can be quite romantic :)

That birdbath started as a 3 foot tall urn we found at a garden/nursery store. MRS WTS found a nice glazed planter base that I sealed to the top, added a pump and put the whole setup in one of those black plastic tubs, a little river rock to hide most of the tub. It only holds about 10 gallons and over the summer algae is a prob, as well as the rapid hardening of the water from evaporation. But we really like it, and thanks! I think the birds like it too ;)
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 131 Comments: 1939
49. shoreacres
3:24 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
Briar, happy anniversary to you. I know it was a happy one. I presume you did something more romantic than mole-trapping! Good luck with that!

Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
48. Ylee
2:52 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
Happy anniversary, Briar! I hope you two have a pleasant evening!

I'm teaching the boys not only how to do math on paper, but in their head, too! I've figured out a few tricks over the years, and sharing them will only help them get a leg up, I believe!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15633
47. Proserpina
12:21 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
Anniversary? HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 171 Comments: 18188
46. BriarCraft
12:09 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
Mark: Welcome! I'm intrigued by your mole solution. It's been decades since I bought a pinwheel, but I can't imagine they cost very much. Certainly cheap enough for an experiment and if it works on Washington moles, I'll be one happy camper. Besides, those pinwheels turning in the breeze can be attractive. Sounds like a win-win to me. Thanks for the tip!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
45. NavarreMark
11:17 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
We inherited a mole problem from our neighbor. We called our pest control man out and discussed it with him.

He told us that we could pay him good money and he could set traps and do other things, or we could just go down to the dollar store and by a bunch of pinwheels and stick them in the yard. (The big ones, not the ones little kids use at parties.) He said the twirling blades made a sonic vibration in the ground and it drove the moles nuts.

This sounded a little crazy to my wife and I, but we decided what the heck and went and bought a dozen of them and put them in the yard where the moles were.

The little buggers were gone in less than a week and they haven't bothered us for years now. We buy new pinwheels every year and when ever we see signs of them coming back we put them out. They now stay at the neighbors place where they came from.

Sounds crazy but it worked for us. Looks a little funny too, but we don't care. LOL
Member Since: September 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3827
44. BriarCraft
9:49 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
Thanks, Poppy! And thanks for the recommend, too. I second it and suggest others go see EarlB, too.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
43. calpoppy
9:36 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
One more thing, LOL. Have you read EarlB's blog, he is quite the talented writer. I was impressed.
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3756
42. calpoppy
9:12 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
Happy Anniversary!!!! Hope you both enjoy the celebration!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3756
41. BriarCraft
7:27 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
Shore: I think we're all used to seeing young people and even some not-so-young who don't know how to make change, especially if you throw in a couple of pennies to make things come out even. I would love to see more places like your farmers' market where someone is actually taking the time to do on-the-job training. I know I never mind when a clerk or waitperson apologizes for being slow or not knowing an answer because they're new. I've certainly been "new" at enough different jobs and tasks to sympathize. That's saying something about the soil if fire ants won't even make a home there.

Bogon: Thinking about your speculation from afar, I think you hit the nail on the head. Recalling the layout of the registration room, the orientation of the In and Out doors would facilitate traffic flow if the place was crowded. I figured the architect must have had something in mind when the plans were drawn up. It just wasn't intuitive to me. And I do tend to be a linear thinker unless I make a conscious effort to step back and look at the broader picture. And yes, I would imagine those women are used to being the adults in the room and don't know quite how to adapt to the presence of a geezer.

Ylee: Since you're a current, active parent, I'm sure you're right that a huge part of schooling is training to the tests. When I've seen classrooms on TV, I'm appalled to see computers on all the desks. When I was going to school and even when I passed the IRS's Enrolled Agent exam, no calculators were allowed. Knowing the formula wasn't enough, we actually had to know how to do multiplication and long division with paper and pencil. I hope you teach your kids how to do arithmetic, even if the school doesn't. They may hate you for it now, but they'll thank you some day. Good luck with your mole hunting!

Ggrrl and Sandi: Thanks! DH and I have been a couple for 16 years, but decided to make it official 6 years ago today, while his folks were visiting from MN. We had a surprise wedding in the middle of a family gathering. I never will forget the look on our parents' faces when a stranger drove up to perform the civil ceremony. It's fun to remember.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GARDENGRRL!!!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
40. sandiquiz
10:05 AM GMT on September 10, 2012
GG says it is your Wedding Anniversary, so I will leave you my congratulations, too:)

Hope you and DH have a wonderful day.
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 293 Comments: 26228
39. GardenGrrl
9:56 AM GMT on September 10, 2012
Is today your anniversary? Hope i got it right.

Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 254 Comments: 9515
38. Ylee
9:08 PM GMT on September 08, 2012
I know I said this on another blog(Bogon's ,I think), but around here, a huge part of schooling is used to enable students to score well on standardized tests, in order to get more gov't funding. Elementary and middle schools here have a regular class each day to help them do this! I believe there are better uses for their time!

After a series of rains, the moles are starting to get active again. Sigh.
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15633
37. Bogon
10:49 AM GMT on September 08, 2012
BriarCraft, perhaps the same linear thinking that works for catching moles and caulking gutters doesn't serve as well for negotiating the byzantine registration process at the community college. Maybe the tai chi can help with that.

More idle speculation from afar: the In and Out doors are probably set up for those times at the beginning of a semester when thundering herds of post-adolescents line up for the registrar and cashier. The direction of passage may be designed for smooth flow. One would like to think so, anyhow.

As for the unhelpful help desk, I imagine that those ladies are accustomed to being the adults in the room. One would also like to think that they may rise to the occasion during peak season. You happened to visit during their down time.

If you ever take another course, you'll be all set. You know the ropes now. You can be in and out (through the designated portals) in twenty minutes.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3698
36. shoreacres
2:56 AM GMT on September 08, 2012
Hi, Briar,

I've been having a whee of a time reading everything here. The gardening I'll pass by, because I don't do that. And I like garlic, but I don't do anything spectacular with it, and I certainly wouldn't put it in ice cream!

On the other hand, I know where there's some good corn, and I'm going to pick up some tomorrow. Now I have your handy-dandy tip for how to get it off the cob without making a total mess. That dual-bowl system is really good.

I sympathize re: your trip to Academia-land. It does seem to me that some of the most basic aspects of civilization - like proper signage - are just withering away. And that's such a sad story about the young woman. I see it at the farmer's market I go to. Making change or figuring the price seems to be beyond some folks. BUT - there is one farm that sends a family member along with the other workers at the stand. If a worker can't figure out a price, everything stops while they work it out. It's on-the-job training, actually - and the customers are wonderfully patient with it all. The good news is that since everyone knows what's going on (or is informed by the regulars) there's little embarassment for the kid who can't figure out how much to charge for the produce.

As for those moles - I'm not even sure we have them. With the heavy gumbo soil here, I'm not sure they could dig through the stuff.

Actually, I just learned something very interesting a couple of weeks ago. When I went out to Nash Prairie, there wasn't a fire ant mound in sight. As it turns out, the biomass under the ground on unbroken prairie is so dense the ants can't build their mounds or tunnel! There's another good reason to save the prairie!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
35. BriarCraft
2:45 AM GMT on September 08, 2012
Pros: Isn't that a sad statement on today's education system? I've heard rumors that they aren't teaching cursive writing any more, either. I can just imagine "signatures" in the future, printed in childish block letters. Or maybe they'll just use thumbprints or retina scans.

Thanks for the tip on the monkeys at Ylee's. I finally got to see them!

Sandi: "Please tell, why was the door arrangement an English set up?" I'm baffled. And yes, I can read and understand the words IN and OUT, but I just never expected to need to read anything other than PULL or PUSH. My mind didn't register.

They do have online registration, put apparently only for students on track for some degree or certificate. People like me who are not regular students need to register in person. Or maybe I just didn't understand their website either. Why is it a college can do such a good job of making me feel stupid?
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
34. sandiquiz
2:40 AM GMT on September 08, 2012
Oh, dear, we both seem to have had a frustrating day on Thursday.

And you forgot one item, too! No, Blue is still biscuit-less. Oh, he does have some, but I need to restock his supply cupboard with the special biscuits for 'elderly' cats!!

Please tell, why was the door arrangement an English set up? Most places here have one door for both entrance and exit. I am trying to think what happens when there are two - I must pay more attention next time I visit one!!

As to your saga with the class register - don't your colleges do on- line registering ? When I signed up at the local college for my digital photography, it was on line.

And as to help desks that are not helpful.. ..... Don't get me started!! Lol
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 293 Comments: 26228
33. Proserpina
2:11 AM GMT on September 08, 2012
Hi, I just read about your challenging day. Yes, things do change and not always for the better.

The young lady may not have been taught arithmetic not only by the parents but by the schools she attended. I do not know the young lady's age but I do know that by the time that I retired math teachers were allowing students to use their computerized thingamajigs to get answers, even on tests. My guess is that arithmetic may be a thing of the past, just not taught anymore!
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 171 Comments: 18188
32. Proserpina
1:55 AM GMT on September 08, 2012
Hi, if you are still up, the monkeys are in and around the pool right now.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 171 Comments: 18188
31. BriarCraft
9:11 PM GMT on September 06, 2012
Ylee: Tai Chi has always looked interesting to me, like a slow-motion martial arts dance, but I've never tried it before. And it's something I could not have done at least the last 2 years before the hip replacement. The reason I decided to go for it now is the course description says that it is a great way to improve lower body strength and balance -- just what I need about now.

--------------------------

Yesterday, my comment closed with BBL, but I didn't make it back later. First, let me say I accomplished everything on yesterday's To Do List. It did not go quickly or smoothly and I came home tired and frustrated. On the one hand, the visit to the college made me feel stupid. On the other hand, a visit to my favorite produce stand had me shaking my head in disgust at the education system. In between was aggravation at people messing with cell phones when they should be paying attention to the world around them. In short, I was not in a happy place to be visiting WUville.

This morning, refreshed and renewed, I took a step back and thought about yesterday's frustrations in a more objective, less subjective manner. What a change in perspective.

After a quick stop at the feed store for 50 pounds each of chicken scratch and sunflower seeds, it was on to the community college. It's not a huge campus -- only 5 city blocks long by 2 blocks wide. There were large signs pointing to various named buildings, but nothing said "office" or "administration" or "registration" or "admissions". Hmmm. After circling a couple of times, I decided to just find a parking spot and walk into the center of the campus. I wandered into the "Student Center" thinking that might be a cafeteria/lounge area for students to hang out between classes. No. That building contained the Registration Office and the Bookstore. Who'da thunk it? Certainly not me.

The doors to the Registration Office belong in England (no offense, Sandi), as the IN door was on the left and the OUT door was on the right. I confess, I was busy looking through the glass doors, assessing what was beyond and didn't read the lettering on the doors. And walked right into the OUT door with a resounding thunk. Embarrassing!

Once I managed to go IN, I went to the Help desk, where two women were so busy discussing something and pointing at a computer screen, that I wasn't actually able to get any help. I looked around and saw that there was a window with a sign "Register" and another labelled "Cashier". Register, which logically should be the first stop was actually at the back of the room. I went to the Register window, showed the young woman the appropriate page of the college catalog and asked to register for that class. She sent me to a table to fill out a form, after which, I went back to her window. I flunked form-filling on my first try because I erroneously put the course number where I should have put some mysterious code.

Then I went to the Cashier, who hesitantly took my cash and made it seem like I'd done that wrong despite the fact that it was exactly $35, no change needed. I guess I should have presented a check or used a credit card??? I started to walk away, then decided I'd better confirm, "Am I done here? Do I just show up for the first class?" Nope. Turned out I needed a parking permit and guess where I needed to go to get one? The Help Desk.

The two women were still deep in discussion of whatever was on the computer screen, but finally one managed to tear herself away long enough to tell me to go to another table and fill out another form. Oh joy! Thankfully, I remembered my vehicle license number and managed to fill out the form correctly. Back to the Help Desk, where just minutes later, one of the women managed to take the form and hand me a sticker for my car.

Gee, it only took me about 15 minutes to find the registration office and another 45 minutes to complete the process. At the time, I felt like I should have attended a class to teach me how to register for a class. Now, I think I can't be the only person frustrated by such inefficiency. Aside from the two unhelpful women at the "help" desk, the other problems could have been eliminated by proper signage and putting the IN door on the right, where it should be.

On to the Safeway store, where I got most of what was on my grocery list. I did manage to forget one item. Oh well.

At the produce stand, corn was 3 ears for $1 and it was very nice-looking young, tender corn. I took 21 ears, along with some local organic strawberries, some Yakima Bartlett pears, and a Sugar Baby watermelon. The young woman at the cash register was unable to figure out how much to charge me for the corn. She quickly asked another employee and seemed embarrassed about it.

At the time, I simply was disgusted by our school system, that it would graduate someone who didn't know or couldn't manage to divide 3 into 21 to charge me $7. Now, I feel really sad for that young woman. When I made eye contact with her, I could tell there was a light on and someone was home. She was not stupid. Her inability to do simple arithmetic was not just the fault the schools; she was short-changed by her parent(s). Did her mother and/or father not care enough about their child to help her when she was growing up? I took a moment to be thankful for the multiplication and division flash cards my mother forced on me when I was young. I hope that young woman works to overcome the handicap passed along to her by those who should have taught her. It is a handicap, not only for her, but for any children she might have in the
future. That is really sad. Such a waste!

Sometimes, I find myself thinking that the way things were done in the "good old days" really were better. 40 or 50 years ago, a "student center" building would have been labelled as "admissions and book store". 40 or 50 years ago, teachers drilled us until we memorized our "times tables". And if a student didn't do it, or learn to spell or read, they were held back and made to repeat the grade. When I was a kid, no child was allowed to graduate if they couldn't do simple arithmetic in their head.

The Good Old Days weren't all that good in many respects, but in some cases, they really were better. A lot better.

Okay, enough ranting. I've got to go get a few more things accomplished before the day is over.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
30. Ylee
4:15 AM GMT on September 06, 2012
Is tai Chi something you couldn't do pre-surgery? If not, congratulations!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15633
29. BriarCraft
9:01 PM GMT on September 05, 2012
Skye: Mighty hunter here!

Rob: Weeds always seem to be happy, don't they? I finally picked tomato #3, plus 2 grape tomatoes. Whooppee!

--------------------

Off to Centralia College to register for a Tai Chi class and some grocery shopping. BBL
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
28. RobDaHood
9:45 PM GMT on September 04, 2012
Update.
Although its still plenty hot, we've been getting afternoon rains and some clouds which have kept from exceeding 92. Dipping below 70 at night so maybe will get some fruit to set on the sole surviving tomato plant. Peppers starting to produce a little. Weeds are very happy!
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32014
27. Skyepony (Mod)
2:12 AM GMT on September 03, 2012
I've never seen a cat eat a mole either.

Congrats on the catch.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 164 Comments: 37855
26. BriarCraft
1:11 AM GMT on September 03, 2012
SP: I never tried freezing garlic, though I can't think of a reason that wouldn't be just fine if sealed in glass. Otherwise, it might stink up everything else in the freezer. Another thought: make Italian Garlic Dipping Oil. (Note: I leave out the pitted olives when I make it.) It's not only yummy with crusty Italian bread, I like to use it when browning meats or sauteing veggies.

Special treats are due for Garage Cat. Moles are not friendly to anything you might have growing in your yard, edible or not. For that matter, I've never seen a cat eat a mole. They must be nasty tasting. That's why kitty treats are in order as a reward.

Poppy: Your mid-October timing might be just about right for Skye, too. It does like cool, moist soil. And everything's better with compost on it. Well, not everything, but every growing green thing.

--------------------

I caught a mole! That's 2 for me, 1 for Wally. He's been trying. He did some serious digging in a fresh mole hill yesterday afternoon. Then he got tired and just laid down on it and took a nap. I think maybe he actually chased that nasty old mole into my trap.

Chalk up another milestone in the hip rehab category. I just finished lugging around a 10-foot orchard ladder, caulking gutter ends and corners. I confess, my left leg did all the hard work of climbing, but the right leg had a equal share of the work of carrying that ladder around. And it didn't even hurt!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
25. calpoppy
3:00 PM GMT on September 02, 2012
Just another note on garlic, October would be the month to plant. The soil temp should be cooler then. I plant mine in mid October. The two best tasting hardnecks are Spanish Roja and Kilarney Red. I am impressed with the size and the taste of a softneck called Susanville. The Garlic Store is a good source of organic garlic. I also enrich the soil with my compost and composted horse manure you can get tops up to 4 feet tall with good soil.
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3756
24. sp34n119w
10:05 PM GMT on September 01, 2012
Mmmmm … garlic! I, too, have been past Gilroy during garlic season. Yum! Never been to a garlic festival though – I'd get heartburn and love every minute of it :)
My mom received a bunch of garlic from a friend and didn't know how to store it. Since it was already peeled(!) I told her to toss it in the freezer. Think that'll work? Hope so – I plan to swipe some, lol

Can't help with moles. Last one I saw was dead (thanks to Garage Cat, presumably). Anyway, I think moles are cool critters. Of course, I'm not trying to feed myself with a garden, and might feel differently if I were.
You can kill grubs (or eggs) by turning over the soil at the right time of year, no? To desiccate them. Worms will just dig back down but new grubs are more sedentary. That's hypothesis only and has not been tested by me nor anyone I personally know ;)
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
23. BriarCraft
7:25 PM GMT on September 01, 2012
Ylee: Even some of those nasty grubs can turn into beneficial insects when they eventually sprout wings. I never really know the good ones from the bad ones. To me, it's like the definition of weed: a weed is a plant that grows where it's not wanted, so even a pansy can be a weed if it volunteers where it's unwanted. As to poisons, the closest I come to that is the use of pyrethrums (an extract of chrysanthemums) or pennyroyal.

Sandi: I think a frost could happen here any time now. It got down to 37°F (2.8°C) the morning of August 31. Usually, we don't get the first fall frost until sometime in October. A very strange weather year indeed.

Pros: Thanks for sharing one of your lovely butterflies, complete with butterfly bush. That poem definitely feels like the first breath of fall.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4042
22. Ylee
6:04 PM GMT on September 01, 2012
White rabbitsx3, Briar!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15633
21. Proserpina
4:38 PM GMT on September 01, 2012
Photobucket


"The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze. "
- John Updike, September
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 171 Comments: 18188

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