Dealing with Gardening Pests and Other Things

Last year I wanted to have a garden but couldn’t get my dear husband (DH) to build me any raised garden beds. He works a heavy labor job so was always too tired after a 6 day work week and I didn’t blame him for not wanting to do a bunch of manual labor work on his days off. So, I tried container gardening and was profoundly unsuccessful other than our tomatoes. We have used a 150 gallon livestock tank for 15 years to grow tomatoes. So far we’ve always had a successful and bountiful tomato harvest.

This year I decided that regardless I’d have my raised bed garden. Because of the corona virus shut down in March the young man who used to mow and do odd jobs for us when we was still in school, was temporarily laid off his job. So I asked if he’d build the beds for me and help me fill them with compost I could buy in bulk from a local tree and landscape service. Over a couple weeks he built them to my specifications. We shopped for the materials and used his truck, or rather his dad’s truck, to haul the soil. I’m sure I paid more to build my raised garden beds than most people do. Still, I was happy to help him financially and get what I wanted; extra tall raised beds. I’m sure they will last a few seasons before they have to be repaired or replaced.

I began planting a few things either from seed or as seedlings that I bought right after the last frost in April. It did get a little cold those first two weeks, but not down to freezing temperatures. Some things had a slow start in germinating and the seedling grew slowly those first few weeks. There are a few things I should have planted more of and a few that I should have planted less or none. This is my first time gardening in raised beds and I have a lot to learn.

I have 6 cabbages that are being decimated by cabbage butterfly caterpillars. I’ve been picking them off but I can’t keep ahead of them. I also found I had a squash vine borer in my zucchini. So I began doing a little research into natural ways to control them. There are products that can be used and apparently are used by organic gardeners. However, at this time of year they are hard to get. Even Amazon is out right now.

I found a recipe for a natural way to treat the plants for both of my current pest problems. It uses garlic juice and fish oil in a ratio of 1% each to 98% water. I don’t know how you get fish oil that isn’t in a capsule so I bought a bottle of capsules locally and got several garlic bulbs from a lady at our local farmers market. I haven’t juiced the garlic yet but it is my plan to do that tomorrow while DH is at work. I think I have a new unused spray bottle that I can mix this 1-1-98 formula and spray on my plants.

I did do something drastic with the squash today, though. I saw that roots were formed further out on the squash vine going both directions from the original root ball and the vine borer had entered right at the base above the original root ball. I cut the damaged section out completely and pulled up the original root ball. I’m hoping that the two ends, which are pretty long already and have flowers blooming daily, will survive from the new roots the plant has put down. It’s now two plants actually. Even if one doesn’t make it I’m hoping the other one does. I’ll make sure to spray those cut ends to prevent another attack at the place where I did the major surgery on the poor plant. That is if the formula actually works.

Next year will be better; I’ve learned a few things and will make changes next year. One thing, if I plant another butternut squash it will not be in the raised bed. That plant is a monster! It’s crowding out everything else in that garden bed. It’s beginning to remind me of a pumpkin we planted one year in Tucson when our kids were still young. That thing took over almost a third of our back yard. We had so many pumpkins that we couldn’t even give them all away. The butternut squash isn’t quite that big, yet, but it keeps wanting to send vines over to the neighboring beds, the basil in the bed with it is tall and healthy, but the squash vines have surrounded it. I’d also put some purslane in the center of that bed for the flowers to attract pollinators, plus it is an edible green that I thought I’d try in a salad. You can’t even see the purslane unless you move the squash leaves aside. I’ve pruned the squash plant leaves back some so pollinators can find the blossoms. As a result it just put out more vine and more leaves. Next year I think I’ll only have one type of squash and I’ll plant it in a bottomless container away from the raised beds. Somewhere that it will have room to spread out.

Before I planted anything I purchased red wiggler worms to put in my garden beds. I was putting fresh vegetable matter directly into the bed to feed them. Well, I had gotten some potatoes that were going bad and decided that the worms might eat them. DH had commented about the worms not eating them and that I might have potatoes start growing. He was right. I have 3-4 plants growing between 2 of the beds. So, accidentally, I’ll have potatoes too. They came up near my red pepper plants and my basil. I’m not sure the one by the basil will survive the monster squash though.

Another thing I did for the garden this year, to try and attract and keep native solitary bees for pollinators, was put up a small bee hotel. It is on the east side of our storage shed so it can get morning sunlight and not too far from the raised beds. Several of the ‘apartments’ have been filled and a couple units are already hatching the bees that moved in. I’ll have to clean it up after the season so there is no chance of disease for next year’s bee population. I will have to refresh my memory on when the best time to do that is and just how I need to clean it. Hopefully over time more of the tubes will be occupied and I’ll be able to have a bigger occupancy in the bee hotel. I’d love to see it fill up. But, as with all things new, it takes a while for the native solitary bees to move into a new location and use it year after year.

A few weeks ago there was a batch of praying mantises that hatched out somewhere around the bee hotel. I was looking to see how many of the tubes had been used and saw a tiny praying mantis maybe half and inch long. Looking around there were several others too. It was like they’d all just hatched, or whatever the proper term is for their emergence. I was happy to see them because they are great for garden pests and I’m especially glad because I found scale on the crabapple tree this year. I’ve been trying to combat that particular pest. I bought ladybugs, but too many of them were DOA, close to half. I also tried to get lacewing larvae and maybe some survived but I wouldn’t bet on it, I’ve not seen any. The problem was, not long after putting up the envelope they came in, just as the package said to do, it rained, heavily. I’m pretty sure those larvae drowned because the envelope filled with rainwater. After the leaves fall and the sap goes into the roots I will treat the tree for scale and hopefully next year it will be free of the pesky bugs. Last year a magnolia had to be taken out because it was infested with scale. I liked that tree but it was in an inconvenient location. I’m actually glad to have the space useable now. For now a free standing porch swing sits there.

The soil in the raised beds has settled from the level it was when I filled them. Next year I’ll add to the top soil. Hopefully I won’t have to buy any. Last fall I decided to save most of the autumn leaves for use as the brown element in an experiment in composting. There is a compost pile in the making now and has had grass clippings and some vegetable matter from trimmings of fresh vegetables for making salads added to it. There are a few coffee grounds and tea bags in there too. I finally got a garden fork to turn the mass periodically. I’m considering covering it to get it to heat up and decompose everything faster. There are a few small branches and twigs from the crabapple tree that were put in at the bottom last year and unless I get it hot in that pile it’ll take a couple years or more to decompose those pieces of wood. It’s an experiment, I’m certainly no expert at this gardening thing, but I do enjoy it and over the years I’ll get much better.

We’ve had gardens off and on over the years and I find that tending the garden is enjoyable and relaxing. Maybe it’s a built in desire to return to the Garden of Eden. I love growing things, a vegetable and herb garden or house plants, it really doesn’t matter; green growing things give me great pleasure in life, especially when they thrive. I sat some of my houseplants out under the base of the crabapple tree and they are doing beautifully. My problem will be space when I bring them in this autumn. Some are in bigger pots now and have grown much taller. There is the schefflera that I think I’ll have to prune and root the tops I cut off. I didn’t know I could do that until a few days ago. I’ll have to buy some root hormone to root the cuttings. That’s about the only reason I haven’t already trimmed it back. I read that in some places it is grown as a hedge; it just needs to be pruned to make it bush out.

Well, I think I’ve exhausted all that I had to say about my garden and the problems I’ve encountered and the things I’ve done, learned, and plan on doing. Hope this was an enjoyable read for you, even if I did ramble on and on.

May each of you be blessed,

Grandma Peachy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trip to the Northwest

My brother and me.

I have been wanting to go see my brother for awhile. I’d planned on going this summer. I had to wait because I’d used my travel funds already this year going to New Mexico at the end of February and the first week of March. When I returned home I was not home more than a day before I rented a car and went to Kansas to pick up my grandchildren and bring them to Nebraska during their spring break. It was during that week that the COVID-19 fufurah shut down most of the country. I did take them back at the end of the week and by then all the schools had shut down. The day that I was taking the grandchildren home I got a call from my brother that his dear wife had passed away after having had surgery earlier in the month. It was a very sad time especially because once she’d been taken to a rehab facility no one was allowed to visit her in the facility. She died there without the comfort of her family around her in those last days and hours. They could not have the typical funeral because of the virus scare. No true closure was available to the family. I wish I could have gone then but I just didn’t have the funds to make the trip.

So, as soon as my finances would accommodate a trip I scheduled a flight to Oregon to spend a week with my brother. While I was visiting they did have a virtual memorial service on Zoom for her. It was nice, but, not the same as an in-person memorial service. I’m glad I was there and could at least give some measure of comfort.

He lives on a pretty large piece of property along the southern coast of Oregon just outside of Coos Bay. His property is secluded and this time of year the lush, verdant growth around his place is beautiful and it’s quite peaceful there. But the cleared areas do grow up fast so while I was there he got on his Husqvarna mowing tractor to mow the property.

Small orchard as seen from the porch

Orchard from hill looking toward house

Now, my brother is an elderly man and not in the best of physical health. He is a bit stooped in the back and with post-polio syndrome has a difficult time walking even with his walking stick. But, he’s always been one to keep busy and maintaining the acreage around his home is one of the things he really enjoys. The property is not level except where the house is located in front and on the north side the land has been leveled. The rest is hilly. Down behind the house is a small fruit tree orchard he planted over the years. Behind the orchard is a steep hill with a clearing where he has a few fig trees and other things planted. Above that is another small clearing as well. 


After he’d gotten the areas around the house and the small orchard mowed he went up the steep hill to mow that area. The mower got stuck because some of that area is a bit on the marshy side. He got off to try and get it unstuck. When he got back on the mower it wouldn’t start. The battery had died and he said it was the first time that had ever happened. So we walked back to the shop near the house and got an extension cord and battery charger.

 

Tractor with front end loader bucket

He has a small tractor that has a front end loader bucket with forklift forks he manufactured for it and a small grader blade on the back.  Because the mower was quite a distance from the house and shop he used the tractor to get back to the mower. I told him I’d ride with him but didn’t see a place I could stand to ride back with him. He said I could ride on the bucket; so he lowered bucket and I climbed on. We went back to the mower at a snail’s pace. I could have walked it faster. But I chose to ride. At the steep hill to get up to the mower he had to raise the bucket to keep the forks from digging into the side of the hill, I therefore had to lean forward quite a bit for balance. All the while I was thinking, “Aren’t we something of a pair for a brother & sister. A 66 year old woman riding on the bucket of a small front end loader with an 82 year old man driving the tractor.” To outsiders we’d seem to be a pretty eccentric old couple. It was fun. After we got back to the mower he plugged the extension cord in at his pumphouse and I drug the other end over to the mower. Once the battery was charging he parked the front end loader with the bucket in the shade and we sat there talking until the battery was charged. Then he finished mowing and took the mower back to the shop.

We walked back to get the tractor. I was a bit concerned about my brother and told him he looked like he’d used up his oxygen. He asked if his lips were blue and I responded, “Yes, they’re purple!” After getting the tractor back to the shop area we went inside and my brother got back on his oxygen. He has COPD and should have had his portable oxygen tank with him. His children and of his neighbors up the road chastise him for not using his oxygen when he’s out puttering around. Like many old men, though, he’s a stubborn old coot and leaves the oxygen behind. It’s too bulky and awkward in his opinion.

I had a wonderful time while I was there. Being there is relaxing and serene. The time passed too quickly. It was an emotional parting when I left, I suspect I may not see him again in this life. I think he suspects the same. It will probably be the last time I see that property too. He was telling me that when he dies he just wants everything sold and the funds distributed to the kids. That is too bad, maybe one of them will have the ability to buy out the property from the estate. I’d love to see it stay in his family. I guess that is what he’s drawn up in his will.

As we get older, more and more of those we love pass on and we are left to mourn our loss. They live on in our memories. Eventually it will be our turn and those who only we remember are forgotten. Maybe there is an oral account of their lives that is passed on for a generation or even two, but, eventually we all are forgotten for the most part and no one is left to remember who were were and what we were like. God knows each of us and in eternity, those of us who have come to know God and accept his plan of salvation will live again in eternity with God as our king. We will be known as we were known. I have that hope.

Blessings to all,
Grandma Peachy

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About Racism and Civil Unrest

The other day I took time to actually listen to some videos and read some articles about what is going on in our nation. I was somewhat appalled at one suggestion that said we should be teaching our children about racism. Why? By nature children are not racist unless they are taught to be. Let me relate my own childhood.

I am the product of a multi-generation union. My dad was twenty-two years older than my mom. He was born in 1910 at a time when there truly was a problem with racism. But, he did not leave me that legacy. He taught me that decent people are decent people regardless of the color of their skin. The ‘white trash’ people were not any better than ‘black trash’ people, they are all the same. Poor didn’t mean you had to behave like trash. A man was respected because of his character not the color of his skin or any other irrelevant attribute. Dad was a firm ‘content of character’ believer long before that term was made popular. I was unaware of racism as a child.

As a matter of fact, the only time I ever recall noticing the color of a man’s skin was the day after I got out of 2nd grade in 1962. My mom and I were on a trip to pick up my brother to spend the summer with us. We were in a car accident and the following morning while we were at a restaurant having breakfast a group of black people walked in. One was an albino with yellow hair and very pale skin. I quietly leaned over to my mom and whispered to mom, “He’s the wrong color.” I was 8 and learned what albinism is, not what racism is.  It’s the only time in my recollection that the color of a man’s skin was ever a question.

I lived in several places during my childhood, some had very few non-white families and some had many. Growing up in the time when Martin Luther King, Jr. was raising awareness of the injustice of racism and segregation I was totally unaware of the conflict. I lived in Springfield, MO from 1966 – 1968 while my mom was attending college. The first place we lived when we moved there was in the middle of a pretty large black community. The school I attended for 7th grade was predominantly black. As a child I didn’t notice racial discrimination. I had friends that were black and the color of their skin wasn’t anything I ever though about.  Every day I walked to school alone past a small industrial area, a private college, and a high school. I was never concerned about my safety or anything, just getting to school on time.

During that time my dad operated a service station in an industrial section of town. The majority of his customers were black. I would walk to his station after work and would pump gas for customers. No one ever mentioned anything about the race of the customers or of us as a family of ‘white folk’ serving them. You know what impressed me the most? The gas wars of the time. I remember pumping gas for people when it was 11 cents a gallon. Oh, but that’s whole different subject.  The point is, I was totally unaware of racial unrest all throughout my childhood.

It wasn’t until I got to college, and I did not start college right out of high school, that I read about what had happened in a college history book. I was appalled and frankly quite surprised that I had grown up through that period of time and knew nothing about it. Nothing. The death of President Kennedy when I was in 4th grade was something I had a limited understanding about the importance of what had happened.  I was aware of the Viet Nam war and the protests against our being there. It didn’t end until the year after I graduated high school. But I had not a bit of knowledge or understanding of the civil rights movement until I was 24 or so in college. How could that happen? I think it was because my parents protected me from that so I would not be influenced one way or the other. How they managed to protect me is beyond me unless in the areas where we lived there was a total news black-out on what was happening.

My last two years of high school were in a small town in New Mexico. There were Hispanics, Navajos, and a diverse background of white people though the area was dominated by the Hispanics and Navajos. The whites were either rancher’s kids or teacher’s kids and a sprinkling of others that were neither. That was the first community in which I actually witnessed discrimination between the groups. The ranchers kids were more often the most discriminatory of all and I didn’t like them because of it. A few were not, but, for the most part they were. The Navajo’s kept to themselves, and I don’t blame them. At that time the Bureau of Indian Affairs had a dormitory in which all the school children from the nearby reservation were bussed and spent the whole week away from their family just so they could go to school. I’m so proud of those in my generation who changed that. They started a school on the reservation, first for the elementary age children and ultimately for K-12. (I was sorry to hear this week that one of the men I knew in high school and had become the athletic coach at the high school on the reservation died from this COVID-19, his wife and son had also died from it earlier. Very sad news, my prayers go out to that family.)

Back to the subject at hand, I spent those last two years of high school hanging out with the Hispanic group. There were one or two other, ‘Anglo’ kids who also were part of the group. You know, I didn’t even know I was an ‘Anglo’ until I moved there. I know the term comes from my Anglo-Saxon ancestry but I’d never considered myself anything but an American. We’re all American here, or at least that’s the way it was. I didn’t even consider there were immigrants who were not Americans. I had a lot to learn. But discrimination and racism wasn’t something I approved. It still isn’t acceptable to me. We are all humans. If we were invaded by what many would call aliens from another place we’d be united as humans and the color of our skin wouldn’t mean a thing. The cultural background wouldn’t mean a thing either.

In high school I was part of the FHA the last two years. One of those years I went to the state conference. There was only one thing I still retain to this day. There was a speaker who was apparently there to try and dispel racist attitudes. The one thing he said that rang true to me is that there is no such thing as a white man, black man, yellow man, or red man. We are all various shades of brown. It’s true.

Fast forward to today. The things happening around our nation are crazy. Protests that are being used as a cover for rioting over issues that really are not so much racially based as class based. But the news outlets are telling us it’s because of racial discrimination. Granted there are still some radicals out there that are racist, but, I do believe they are a limited minority. The worst I’ve seen in the news is not white against black but the other way around. Groups like BLM, who’ve been hijacked by fascists, are promoting an agenda that I think the majority of either or don’t agree with or if they are participating in their activities misunderstand the agenda being promoted.  A few may actually agree, but, very few in my opinion. Witnessing the news of the riots and destruction it looks like all the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been undermined in today’s society. He was a man of peace. He’d be appalled at what is going on, just as he would have been appalled at what happened after his assassination.

The unrest and chaos taking place around the nation seems to be isolated to Democratic controlled areas. There were a couple weeks of protests in nearby Omaha after the Floyd murder and a little rioting with some destruction of businesses in the Old Market area. As a result there were curfews established in Omaha and Lincoln and a few surrounding communities. Not mine, though, beyond what is already established for minors. We are a small rural community of about 2000 residents of diverse ancestry. It is a quiet community in which little sensational crime occurs.

I am concerned about the direction our nation is headed though. Our nation was established to free us from tyrannical government and our constitution begins with “We the People…” in bold letters. The government was not meant to control the people, but the people to control the government. At this point governmental control has gone way beyond what the founders intended. If they were alive today there’d be another war for freedom. Yes, at the time there was slavery on this continent and it wasn’t right, but, it was what it was. Eventually the nation did abolish the practice. That was several generations ago. In the meantime, there have been many emigrants from all over the globe come into our country to live the ‘American dream.’ What is that dream? The Declaration of Independence sets it out for us, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence stated that it is the right of the people to change their government when it descended into despotism. Here is an excerpt:

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

We can see that our government has been descending into a state where we need to alter it. Preferably back to what the founders intended when they declared independence from Britain. They were pretty smart men. Recognizing that we have a creator and he gave us rights that no man has the authority to take away from us as humans. What we see in our country today is man taking away our rights, either through laws that increase the power of the state, or lawless men creating a situation where our rights are trampled upon, supposedly, in the name of former injustices for which they believe all future generations of one group are responsible to make reparations to all the descendants of those wronged. This should not be so.

As I see it, the instigators of the civil unrest have a goal to destroy humanity. The evil that is in this world is greater than any one of us can imagine. That evil does not originate in the hearts of men, but is placed there by spiritual forces of evil that have been at war with mankind since the incident in the garden of Eden. It is a seed war and eventually our creator will step in and say, “That is quite enough!” and put an end to it. I look forward to that day, though; honestly I do not think it will happen in my lifetime. Still, I keep looking up in anticipation and hope.

Blessings to all, and may you find peace and contentment in your pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

Grandma Peachy

References to the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence:

https://constitutionus.com/

https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

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It’s a Crazy World

National News isn’t something I intentionally pay much attention to. However, having a news junkie husband I can’t help but hear about what is going on around our nation and the world. He gets up every morning and reads or listens to the news. When listens then I hear it to because it blares out on the bluetooth speaker.

Recently with the death of the man in Minneapolis at the hands of police there have been numerous protests around the country. If these were peaceful protests I’d be in favor of them because what happened to Mr. Floyd is unconscionable. But that has not been the case, rioters have been causing much destruction in cities around the nation. These are not beneficial to those who actually want to peacefully protest what has happened. These perpetrators are using the protests as a cover to be criminals.

There are reports that some groups are intentionally inciting rioting and violence. I won’t name those groups, but, one is now being designated as a terrorist group by our president. I believe that is an accurate determination in the case of that particular group. Whoever is funding them is wanting to destroy our nation. I think most of us know where their funding comes from, so I won’t mention any names here. In any case, people who are taken in by these groups are highly deceived and allow themselves to be manipulated without realizing the impact it has on all of us including themselves.

The more violence that occurs the more the government will take away our freedoms. One small example, here in my area there was a protest organized last Friday evening in Omaha. Protests continued on Saturday and Sunday. Most were peaceful protesters, then entered the rioters, the people who aren’t there to protest the death of Mr. Floyd, rather they are there to commit crimes. Over the weekend, one of the protesters was killed by a local business owner in the downtown market where rioting got out of hand and much property destruction took place. Monday I hear that no charges were going to be made against the business owner. Apparently he felt endangered. I have no idea what the young man who was killed was actually doing so I cannot make a judgement one way or the other on the validity of the business owners statement that he felt endangered. It’s anyone’s guess what will transpire over the next few days.

I don’t live in Omaha proper, rather in a small community outside of the city. There is another small community between where I live and Omaha proper. Because that community was annexed by Omaha a few years ago it is subject to any rules that are decreed for Omaha. So, yesterday evening I wanted to get a few things for my husbands lunches this week. Lo and behold at about 7 PM I went to a store in that other small community and discovered they were closing early because all of Omaha has been put on an 8 PM curfew for three days because of the continuing protests. The store closed early so their employees could get home before curfew. Really? As I understand the curfew exempts those commuting for work. It was most likely the company upper management who made that decision to close all stores in the areas where curfews are in effect. But that annexed community is a long distance from where the protests have been held and from the area in Omaha that is most prone to violence. Even our state capitol has issued a curfew, though I don’t know how long it will last. So, my freedom to go shopping for necessities was restricted by local officials. Sure it’s only a three day curfew, but, there is nothing keeping officials from extending that curfew indefinitely. Needless to say, hubby’s lunch today did not contain the goodies I usually put in them.

Now, there is the issue of lockdowns and restrictions around the round the country and the world because of the novel coronavirus that has caused such an uproar worldwide. People are getting frustrated with not being able to get back to their normal lives. This frustration, I’m sure, has an impact on the behavior of society as a whole. In my opinion some of the protest violence that is taking place is only an excuse to vent frustrations about the lockdowns and restrictions that have been in place for coming up on three months. People get irritable and even angry when they are shut up and unable to go about their daily lives as usual. Even I get a little perturbed about some inconveniences that I experience as a result. But, I’m generally a pretty even tempered woman so I don’t do anything but mumble to myself or say something to my husband about an inconvenience it’s causing me. Though the impact on me personally has been pretty limited. I seldom go anywhere except to the grocery store so self-isolation IS my norm.

There are reports of other side effects of the lockdowns and restrictions. Suicides, domestic violence, death from existing conditions that are going untreated, and so much more are on the rise. All this because people are shut-in, locked down, told they can’t gather, or don’t have the emotional, financial or medical support they depend on. No wonder the world is going crazy. People need their social contacts,companionship, and human contact. It is human nature to be social creatures. Take that away and people become irrational and crazy. No wonder its becoming a crazy world.

Take care, be blessed and don’t let the craziness of what is going on around the world take away your hopes and dreams.

Blessings to all,

Grandma Peachy

 

 

 

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Current Events 2020

Times are changing. People are wearing masks in public. Businesses are closed, some permanently, while others are limiting access to brick and mortar stores. Medical services are limited and public gatherings are prohibited. Sports, the American pass-time, are all cancelled and the unemployment rate has skyrocketed. Political leaders are claiming more control than they were ever intended to have, with governors and mayors declaring a war on people who do not do as the government recommends, as though the recommendations carry the full weight of law. Business owners jailed for opening their business, moms arrested for taking their children to a park, surfers chased down by law enforcement, and so many other examples in the news.

Where are we going with this virus scare? When the federal government called for social distancing, wearing masks, stay at home self-isolation, closing of schools and ‘non-essential’ businesses, restricting or even preventing social gatherings, closing churches and synagogues, and other places, our lives were put on hold. We cannot visit our elderly in nursing homes or our sick in the hospital. Travel is restricted and we aren’t able to have funerals for our deceased family and friends. Life as we knew it is gone, maybe forever.

Consumer panic at the beginning caused store shelves to be emptied as shoppers hoarded necessities and others were unable to purchase supplies they would need. Demand exceeded supply and in some places prices rose dramatically. Restocking was difficult as the manufacture and distribution of those supplies takes time to catch up with demand. Some manufacturing was repurposed to make personal protective gear for the medical community, so the normal products were put on hold and may still be in a holding pattern.

Daily reports on the rates of infection, recovery, and death from this virus that has us all in its grip are the most prominent news. Some parts of a nation and some groups in the population are the hardest hit, while the risk for other places and people groups is limited. News went from all impeachment to all Covid-19 and we have little news about anything else going on in the world.

The information and misinformation we get through the news is almost impossible to vet for the majority of citizens. The way our leaders have responded to this new virus seems no different than if this were a true biological attack. I have considered that this may be a practice run for a biological attack. It’s speculation on my part but I don’t see that it would be much different, other than the probability that nothing would ever reopen until the war was over and half the world population eliminated. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like.

Then there are those who speculate that the worst hit areas of the world are those in which the new 5-G has been implemented. Some think that the virus was created in a lab either in China or here in the United States and exported to China. Was it something that originated with an animal and was spread to humans? Was it created in a lab and accidentally or intentionally was released? There is no way the average citizen could ever discover the answers to those questions. Those who do know will never tell us, and what the experts are telling us cannot be vetted by the average citizen. Our lives are changed over this and we’ll never know for certain why.

Personal freedoms have again been restricted by our government. Civil liberties are trampled upon and we are expected to just go along with whatever the government decrees. We are heading more and more toward a fully socialist state in this country. Not what our founding fathers ever imagined or wanted for the newly founded nation. They even wrote into the founding documents provisions to prevent the government from controlling every aspect of our lives. But, over the past century or so we’ve allowed government to slowly and increasingly take over our lives without question. It may be too late to reverse the result of that increased control over the people. People have become dependent upon the so called benefits of big government. We’ve become a nation with many people who no longer understand about freedom and civil liberties. Those things are no longer taught in our public schools, rights of the individual are suppressed and the information withheld from our school children. Thus they’ve grown up without a clear understanding of the background behind the founding of this nation. We now have a cabal of socialist politicians who believe the lie that socialism if controlled by the benevolent will work. Sorry, but power corrupts and there are no benevolent socialists. It creates a world in which people have no incentive to be productive, creative innovations are suppressed; no one wants to excel because there is no reward for excellence when everyone shares everything. In those situations the ones in control are the only ones who benefit. Greed and corruption are at the top, every time. The ordinary person suffers regardless of their skill set and ability to contribute. The ditch digger and the doctor both have the same economic status in a socialist state.

This Covid-19 pandemic scare has moved us that much closer to a fully socialist state. Either the citizens will allow the government to fully control our lives or there will be a revolt, a revolution even. I’m in favor of the revolution, first, while we still can, overturn the government and vote out all those socialist politicians at every level and replace them with people who do understand the Constitution and Bill of Rights and are willing to defend them for the citizenry. If that isn’t done, then I would expect a second revolution in this country. Ordinary people, taking up arms against the overbearing government isn’t out of the range of possibility. That is a risk the government has been trying to prevent for decades with all the gun control laws and restrictions. Not what the founding fathers intended and something that they planned for when they wrote the Constitution.

So where do we go from here? It depends on the conscience of the people. Are there enough to defend our rights? Is it too late to take back our God given rights? Are we going to be warriors or cowards? This is a war, but, not one that originates here on this mortal realm. Rather, it is a spiritual war, fought in the spiritual realm. For our battle is not against flesh and blood but rather against powers, principalities and wickedness in high places. Life will never fully go back to the normal we had before. But, we can pray for deliverance from the evil that has overtaken us as a society. That is where the power to win this war lies, in the effective prayers of the saints of God. Put on the full armor of God and be warriors against the evil that is upon us.

Blessings to all,

Grandma Peachy

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No Fan of Politics

Election years are a pain; I don’t like them. Certainly I do my duty, researching the candidates to find out just how close to my own opinions and beliefs are their talking points and actions. For state and local candidates it can be difficult to find the information I am looking for in any given election campaign.  Nationally it’s not as hard to get the information needed, just listen to the news. Not just the mainstream news outlets but all of them, including the alternative media sources.

As I watch, listen, and read what the various news sources are covering I wonder that anyone in the nation can make informed decisions. Recently about the only thing in the news is impeachment. We don’t hear much about other things going on. Passing stories of international news can be found. Even stories about significant events affecting our military or the news of tragedy such as the horrendous fires in Australia and the loss of our own firefighters who went to help. But, after that, back to impeachment. I’m sick and tired of hearing about it. Day after day, week after week, the same things are said by both sides of this issue. Nothing new is really said, just repackaging the same old lines.

My husband is a news junkie and he spends much of his free  time listening to news. As a result, I hear it too.  I’ve got opinions and suffice it to say, my opinions lean toward the conservative side on most things. I think I’ve registered as a Republican, though it is possible that when I renewed my drivers license I re-registered as an Independent. Honestly, I’m not sure. It really doesn’t matter because I vote my conscience.

Now, about the recent debacle called the impeachment. The way I see it is the majority of the House of Representatives would like to take over the government regardless of the results of the past two elections, the midterms of 2018 and the general of 2016. Instead of addressing issues that are meaningful to the people of the United States they are trying to get a sitting president removed from office. The excessive investigations and probes since 2016 have been a waste of taxpayer dollars, not in the best interest of the country, and dubious at best.

If the U.S. House of Representatives are successful in getting their way, then all future presidents are at risk of having their hands tied and unable to do their job as the chief executive of the nation. He or she will just be a figure head. The founders of this nation designed the constitution to prevent such unbalanced control over the governing of the people. The government is supposed to be for the people and by the people. When we elect these congressmen and women we believe they will act on our behalf for our benefit and well being, not for self interests. But that is seldom the case. When they are sent to Washington in our stead, more often than not, they change their focus to gaining power for themselves and do just enough to satisfy the people who elected them so they can be reelected over and over again, election cycle after election cycle until they have been in office for most of their career. Employee turnover in the private sector is significantly more rapid than in the public political arena. We the people really should consider a major turnover of the people we elect every election cycle. There may not be term limits for those in congress, but, as a population we could certainly force the issue at the ballot box.

In some places, though, the person in office runs unopposed. Ordinary people could challenge the incumbent, after all there are capable people in society who would be excellent leaders if they just chose to pursue it. People who could go to Washington, or their state capitol, or even local offices, serve a term or two, have an impact on the direction our nation, states, and communities are headed, then return and resume their private sector affairs. But the political atmosphere has become so polluted that no sane person wants to become embroiled in the expensive and convoluted process involved in running for office.  So we are stuck with career politicians who are there almost for life.

That is the problem. In 2016 a man who had the money, business savvy and experience, ran for president of the United States, and won. He wasn’t a politician as others and had never held a political office in his life. Instead he was a businessman with leadership skills from a whole different arena, a man with ideas on what needed to be done to improve the state of the nation. That was a threat to the established politicians on both side of the aisle.

I suppose that many of the Republicans have come to be cooperative if not supportive of this businessman turned politician. But the Democrats have still not accepted that a businessman, well known because of his real estate empire and some reality TV show, actually gained the favor of enough American citizens to be elected president. Instead they have been concentrating on trying overturn the election results of 2016 and failing to do the job they were elected to do, represent their constituency in congress.

I know the argument that the president did not get the majority of the popular vote. There is a reason that the popular vote is not what elects the president. A current movement to abolish the electoral college, or at least its intent, is to have states agree that their electors would vote based on the national popular vote. This would undermine the effectiveness of the electoral college.  The founders set up the electoral college for a reason. It is to prevent the major population centers from always dictating who is elected president. At the time the nation was small, now it is half of a continent and the population is huge. Population center cities and states would determine every president if the popular vote were the determining factor and all those smaller population areas would not be adequately represented. Their votes for president would not count at all. Each state decides how their electorate representatives are selected and used. (1) In most states the electors vote according to the majority of popular votes in their state, for two states, however, the electorate votes are allocated according to the majority in each congressional district with two electorates for the overall winner in the state. Those states are Maine and Nebraska, of which I live in one. Historically though, those two states have only once split their electoral votes. Maine in 2016 and Nebraska in 2008. (2)

The last thing that really bugs me are the calls and texts to my cell phone. Some guy by the name of Donald, presumably in a neighboring state, has erroneously been linked to my cell phone; I’ve had the same number for almost 15 years.  Last midterm election I discovered that the Democratic campaign of a politician from a neighboring state was calling for Donald and I asked to be removed from the call list as I am not a resident of that state and don’t even know a Donald. That was ineffective, I am once again getting political campaign calls for Donald. But Donald isn’t the only problem, as the election draws closer I know that I’ll be getting all sorts of calls to support this or that candidate, or to answer poll questions, which generally don’t even have an answer choice that fits my opinion. These calls can get to be very annoying and on some days they call my phone every 20-30 minutes during certain portions of the day. I’ve gotten so I don’t answer calls that are not in my contacts list and occasionally if a call comes from an area code matching my own I may miss important calls that I would otherwise want to answer. I really do not like election years. No fan of politics as they are today.

Blessings to all,

Grandma Peachy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) https://www.prageru.com/search/?query=Electoral%20college&page=1

(2) https://www.archives.gov/electoral-college/allocation

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Saturday Morning Thoughts: Tragedy, Sin, and Spiritual Warfare

Last week I made a quick, spur of the moment, trip to see my husband’s parents. Mine are both gone for over 22 years now and my in-laws have been as parents to me for many years.  As a result I’ve not finished reading any books to post book reviews, or been able to get on-line to create a new post until now.

One thing that is on my heart is the evil that is in this world. On my way to visit I met, at a gas station, another family from the area where I live and they were just returning from El Paso, which is just a few miles south of where I was heading. They informed me of the tragic shooting that occurred that day (Saturday) at a WalMart in El Paso. The incident had occurred just before they left town and in the neighborhood where they had been visiting.  My immediate response was to get on my phone and inquire of my family and friends who live in El Paso. All but one had marked themselves as safe. I sent a message to the one and at a later time she too told me she was safe. After arriving at my destination, as time allowed, I watched news video about the incident.

Now my thoughts. There is much evil in this world and all of it is instigated by the dark forces of evil, namely, as many would recognize, Satan, the Accuser is the source of this evil. The people who do these evil acts are in some way possessed of the devil, by some demonic spirit who takes control of that person’s behavior.  It is my opinion that because society has strayed so far from God the demonic spirits are given permission to enter into people and wreak havoc. The Bible tells us that Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).  Without belief and faith in Jesus a person is subject to this demonic possession.

Is it any wonder that these kinds of tragic incidents seem to be on the rise? We’ve taken  God, the Bible, and prayer out of our schools. So many churches are social clubs rather than places where the Word of God is taught in depth. False doctrines have infiltrated churches with things like prosperity ministries and lukewarm, tickle the ears, sermons that do not serve to mature believers into the power that is available to them through the Holy Spirit.  Jesus gave us the power to cast out these demons that cause all kinds of sickness of body, mind and soul.  So few churches teach their congregants about this and if they do, the members will either fire the preacher or leave the congregation because they are offended.

Truth is offensive to those who do not know the truth. The Bible says that the truth shall set you free (John 8:32). Jesus said of himself that he is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). So, in order to get to the truth we must believe in Jesus. Those who believe in Jesus will be able to cast out devils (demons) and lay hands on the sick and heal them (Mark 16; 17-18). A few ministries do teach this truth, but many believe the lie that these gifts were only given to the apostles of Jesus day. Satan does not want God’s people to know this truth because it is the greatest weapon we have against him.

Before a believer can be effective in exercising the gifts given to us by God, through the Holy Spirit, we must be fully prepared. That preparation is itemized for us in scripture. We are told to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17). I’ve covered this armor in a previous blog post a couple years ago (The Armor of God May 28, 2017). Exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit is going directly into spiritual combat and one will be attacked by the enemy of our souls when we go to war.

One of the things I’ve learned is that when we allow sin into our lives we will be ineffective in spiritual warfare. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’ve let sin settle into our life. Regardless of whether we realize it or not, by letting sin have a foothold in our life we’ve given the enemy of our soul permission to rule our lives, after all, he is the source of all sin. Human weakness is the inability to rid ourselves of sin, only Jesus can deliver us from our sins. That is why he came to earth and lived as a man without sin, offered up his human life as the once and for all sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Anyone who believes that he died on the cross and was raised again on the third day and accepts his sacrifice for himself can be freed from sin, from the wages of sin, which is death, eternal death as I understand it.  Certainly there is no one who is without sin. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But, by repenting of our sin He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin (1 John 1:9). setting them apart as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).

Once we do ask forgiveness and repent, repentance is important, we cannot continue in our sins and ask over and over again to be forgiven of the same sin and consider that repentance. No, repentance is turning away from that sin. Yes we occasionally fall back into a sin, say, for instance, we have a terrible temper and we repent. Most of the time we do not let our temper get the best of us, but on occasion we may still have something that the enemy of our soul throws at us and we’ve let down our guard, our shield of faith, and we explode in a fit of unrighteous anger. If we recognize that failure and ask forgiveness then he will forgive and set us back on the right path. But to allow ourselves to continue with the angry outbursts day after day, even asking forgiveness every time, is not true repentance.  True repentance is turning away from the sin and not allowing it to rule our actions.

So, if we are to work in the power of the Holy Spirit in this spiritual war, we must repent and put away our sins. Then, and only then, can we be the light to the world and have an impact. When we walk in the light of God and work in the power of his Holy Spirit we will be able to cast out demons and heal the sick, and this world is very sick. The sickness of sin is the reason for all the tragic events such as the shootings that occurred in El Paso and Dayton this past weekend. Satan is allowed to run rampant in the world and there are simply not enough people working in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring people to salvation and prevent these horrendous acts.

These acts of violence are not the only things that are caused by the workings of the enemy of our souls. Demonic influence is the source of all sickness as well. God created a world without sickness, but, Lucifer, that old serpent, deceived mankind and he sinned, and through that disobedience to God sin entered into the world. Now it’s a broken world and there is sin, sickness, violence, perversion, lies, and a host of other things that make it an imperfect world. None of the imperfections are God’s doing, rather, it is the work of Satan, the accuser of man, prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He devoured the man (men) involved in the tragic shootings that have been happening, in the spread of diseases that occurs, in all forms of wickedness that occurs. Yes, we have medical and psychological explanations for all these things, but, in the end the ultimate source is Satan. The only real answer is Jesus.

Do you know and trust in Jesus? If not, then the trials of life will be a burden to you, give your life to Jesus and let him carry your burdens, he said in scripture that his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Fro as a believer I am no longer a slave to sin, but a servant to righteousness (Romans 6).

Blessings to all,

Grandma Peachy

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Book Review: The Box by Kevin Lake

The Box by Kevin Lake is a new adult contemporary urban romance starring Christina, a financial planner, and Devin, a two time college dropout.   This relatively low key romance is a commentary on society, relationships, and today’s technology. At first I did not know if the plot would actually go somewhere and entertain me. But after the first few pages the story engaged my interest and ultimately I read the book straight through in a few hours and enjoyed the read.

The story takes place in and around Charlottesville, Virginia. The descriptions of the scenery were well done and I could visualize landscapes I’ve never actually seen in person.  The characters were believable and fairly well developed, even the stereotypical shallowness of some supporting characters was well portrayed, though somewhat exaggerated. But isn’t that what fiction is, an exaggeration of reality?

The author wove much of his own brand of wisdom into the story. The hero’s mother and to some extent the hero himself were used to impart a common sense wisdom about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

I’m not a romance reader in general, but, I would say this one is for readers who prefer a main plot to focus on something more than the developing romantic relationship. The Box is a clean read with a little use of mild cuss words and a single, non-detailed, reference to a sexual encounter.  Though the story is aimed at new adults in their early twenties, I would let any teen read the book.

Happy reading,

Grandma Peachy

Links:

Amazon Buy Here 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH6-DQu8LcAqOcVJpX-jZ8w

 

 

 

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Life Changes, Gardening, and Other Concerns

Time has come to revive this long neglected blog.  Sometimes one feels that the work of keeping up a personal blog takes too much time and that is what happened to me. Over the past year many things have changed while much has remained the same. What was once a multi-generational family disbanded in July of 2018 after nine years of living together and the family growing. It wasn’t too bad as we still lived in the same small community and grandchildren often spent the night with us. A year later that has come to an end. The young family made a beneficial move out of state. Granted it is the next state over and only a five and a half drive away. But, it does make seeing our daughter and her family a little more difficult and requires more planning.  I am happy for them though, this move is a good one for them.

This year I’ve tried to have a container garden for vegetables. The results are mixed. Tomatoes are producing, though not as well as in the past in the same tank. It could be the, timing of planting, location of the tank, the type of plants, one too many plants, or soil treatment that is keeping them from flourishing as well as other years we’ve used that tank for growing tomatoes.

Originally I wanted to do raised bed gardening, but, my husband has been so busy with work and comes home exhausted from his labor intensive job making light poles and traffic arms that he never felt like doing more work when he got home.  So I resorted to gathering up 5 gallon buckets and other pots to plant vegetables.

So far those have not been doing as well as I had hoped. I have yet to get bush pickles to set and grow. Every one that forms just turns yellow and falls off I don’t know why.  I use the recommended amount of vegetable fertilizer and they get watered when needed. My first attempt at peas didn’t make it at all. Since peas have a short time to maturity I started over, planting them in-ground this time, we’ll see how that turns out. There is a yellow squash at the end of that small space. Last year there was a cucumber plant in that area when we moved in. Honestly I think it was a volunteer.  It produced more cucumbers than we could use. There was also a volunteer cherry tomato plant that sprung up, but it did not produce much until the cucumber began dying back, then it flourished. The problem was we had our first frost before we could harvest very many of those tomatoes.

My single bell pepper has only produced one pepper, though there are a few more blossoms right now that I’m hoping will produce fruit. There are four okra plants and only two fruit have matured though there are a few more starting to grow. The beans have had a sad showing. Many blooms but few growing into beans.  I haven’t harvested a full serving for one person. The things that are doing well are my chard and lettuces. I’ve been able to get several salads from them and they are continuing to produce.

This year is definitely a learning experience for me. I’ve grown in-ground gardens but never tried container gardening other than the big tank we’ve used for tomatoes several times.  One of the things I think is a problem is a lack of pollinators. I finally bought a variety of colorful flowers in an attempt to attract native solitary bees to my garden. I’ve seen a few more of those little bees since I did that.  One thing I’ve considered lately is making or buying a bee hotel for the native bees. The problem is I think it’s rather late in the season to set one out.  From what I’ve read in researching the subject those things need to be set out in early spring.  It’s mid summer now.

Maybe It is a good thing that it’s worked out this way. An abundant harvest may have gone to waste this year. It’s been a painful year. Walking can be challenging at times. I’ve had good and bad days, weeks even. Steroid injections have become ineffective, so, in early September I will be having knee replacement surgery.  Concentrating on recovery will be right during the biggest part of harvest season and I don’t think I’d be feeling up to doing much canning and preserving this year.

We will see what the future brings. Maybe next year will be a much more successful gardening year. Until next time …

Blessings,

Grandma Peachy

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Book Launch: A New Summer Garden by Paul White

 

 

A New Summer Garden

An Electric Eclectic Novelette by Paul White.

A crime drama.

Sam was a down and almost out, with little prospect for the future when he meets Rachelle, the beautiful wife of the philanderous Peter, the kingpin of an international criminal business empire.

When Peter catches Sam ‘in flagrante’ with Rachelle, he ensures Sam’s simple life becomes complicated.

What happens next takes Sam on a surreal path, where the only plausible outcome is for Sam to end up in prison or dead… most probably both.

 

Excerpt               

I have never played poker before. The only game I played with cards was ‘Snap’ when I was a child and I usually lost then. Yet somehow, by one o’clock in the morning, there was a great pile of money in front of me, bunches of twenty and fifty-pound notes.

Things were looking good.

By three o’clock my entire wad of cash was gone. So was my original three hundred pounds stake money Peter gave me.

It had all gone tits-up.

The game was wound up at four o’clock and I was in the shit. I was left with five IOU’s, totalling five thousand seven hundred and twenty pounds. The debt belonged to the two Kosovans and the big Russian, with a few hundred owing to the three Polish fellows.

They said I had one month to come up with the cash or pay with my kneecaps.

Peter laughed aloud saying it was the best three hundred pounds investment he had made in years. In fact, he said, he often paid twice that amount to fuck one of his poxy little whores.

I knew then I had been fucked over. Again.

But this was not the end of the night. Oh no, things were to get a little more complicated than just being stitched up by a jealous husband and owing a gambling debt to a bunch of unstable, possibly ex KGB type, gangsters.

It was from this point on things began to get a little bit dark.

Very dark.

Pitch black.

***

You can purchase your copy of A New Summer Garden here, http://authl.it/az2

Authors Bio.

Paul White is a prolific storyteller, a wordsmith, tale weaver and an International bestselling author.

He writes from his Yorkshire home, situated near a quiet market town in the East Ridings.

Paul has published several books, from full-length novels to short story collections, poetry, children’s books, semi-fiction, non-fiction & military social history.

He also contributes to various collective anthologies.

You can find more about Paul, his current works-in-progress, artworks, photography and other projects, by visiting his website: http://paulznewpostbox.wix.com/paul

Paul is the founder of Electric Eclectic books, of which this, A New Summer Garden is one.

You can find all the Electric Eclectic books and introductions to the other Electric Eclectic authors by visiting the website. http://bit.ly/visitEEbooks

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