Saturday, June 28, 2008

Presidential Quote

Theodore RooseveltWhen American troops were fighting in France and Belgium during World War I, President Theodore Roosevelt was asked to write an inscription for the American soldiers’ pocket New Testaments, given by the New York Bible Society in 1917. The following are his words, meant for soldiers facing battle:

“The teaching of the New Testament is foreshadowed in Micah’s verse: ‘What doth the Lord require of thee than to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.’ Do justice; and therefore fight valiantly against those that stand for the reign of Moloch and Beelzebub on this earth. Love mercy; treat your enemies well; succor the afflicted; treat every woman as if she were your sister; care for the little children; and be tender with the old and helpless. Walk humbly; you will do so if you study the life and teachings of the Savior, walking in His steps. And remember: the most perfect machinery of government will not keep us as a nation from destruction if there is not within us a soul. No abounding of material prosperity shall avail us if our spiritual senses atrophy.”

Theodore Roosevelt (taken from the Presidential Prayer Team website)

I hope that our next president will understand, believe, and live this while he is in office.

Shhhh! Don't Tell Anyone...

StillWaters Jazz Band playing at Dixie's Coffee Shop in China Grove, NCThere are unconfirmed reports that the StillWaters Jazz Band will be playing an unscheduled appearance at the StillWaters' Homecoming Sunday night.

The "homecoming" will be held at the Kirkers' home in Windmill Ridge at 5:30 on Sunday, June 29th.

The SJB is a little lighter than they were for their first gig at the Kirkers' home way back on December 2, 2007. Lately they have been performing sans bass.

There are also rumors that the SJB's days are numbered. Key members of the band will possibly be moving out of the area by the end of July. Their July 19th, 2008 Farmers' Day gig at Dixie's on Main Street in China Grove may be the band's last concert.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Out Of The Boat...

Stained glass of Jesus and Peter walking on waterTonight I was afforded a great opportunity to "get out of the boat."

For those of you who may not be familiar with the story that I'm alluding to, let me sum up.

Jesus' disciples had left Jesus alone to pray after an incredible miracle involving the feeding of thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread and a couple fish.

The disciples were sailing across the Sea of Galilee when the weather started getting rough. As if that weren't bad enough, out on the water they saw something that shouldn't have been there - it looked like someone was walking across the water towards them.

The disciples were terrified, thinking that it was a ghost, but Jesus called out to them, telling them to not be afraid. It was him.

Jesus' followers really weren't convinced and Peter - one of those closest to Jesus - called out and said that if it were really Jesus to call him to come to Him out on the water. (Not really sure why this would have proved that He wasn't a ghost, but I wasn't there...)

Well, Jesus called him, and Peter stepped out of the boat and began walking to Jesus. Everything was going pretty well until he noticed the power of the wind and waves around him and stopped trusting Jesus and began to fear. Immediately he began to sink.

Jesus was right there to rescue him, but Peter was chided for his lack of faith. If you would like to read the whole story you can check it out at Bible Gateway.

Anyway, tonight I was given my chance to step outside of the safety and comfort of my own "boat" and reach out to some of my neighbors. I was able to spend an unprecedented amount of time chatting with my across the street neighbors. I got to meet Bob and Debbie (Again... we had met before, but it had been so long since we had spoken to each other that none of us could remember the others' name! I was "Gary" for most of the night!), Aunt Mary, Nikki, and Irene... I think. I'll have to check up on that one again.

Long story short, it was nice to find out some things about them and the stuff they have done and to get better acquainted. It dispelled some misinterpretations that I had made about their actions at times. And hopefully it opened the door for us to interact with each other again in the near future.

Quote Of The Day

Liberals complain that -- as B. Hussein Obama put it -- there's "no way that allowing offshore drilling would lower gas prices right now. At best you are looking at five years or more down the road." (This is as opposed to airplanes that run on wood chips, which should be up and running any moment now.)

Moreover, what was going on five years ago? Why didn't anyone propose drilling back then?

Say, you know what we need? We need a class of people paid to anticipate national crises and plan solutions in advance. It would be such an important job, the taxpayers would pay them salaries so they wouldn't have to worry about making a living and could just sit around anticipating crises. If only we had had such a group -- let's call them "elected representatives" -- they could have proposed drilling five years ago!

But of course we do pay people to anticipate national problems and propose solutions. Some of them -- we'll call them Republicans -- did anticipate high gas prices and propose solutions.

Six long years ago President Bush had the foresight to demand that Congress allow drilling in a minuscule portion of the Alaska's barren, uninhabitable Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In 2002, Bush, Tom DeLay and the entire Republican Party were screaming from the rooftops: Drill! Drill! Drill!

We'd be gushing oil now -- except the Democrats stopped us from drilling.

- Ann Coulter

Not sure if that is the answer to the problem, but at least it is something. (Frankly, it would take a good bit of convincing to make me believe that the folks clamoring for drilling didn't have a conflict of interest somewhere down the line. The greed, corruption, and self-interest that I have seen in this Congress make me sick to my stomach.)

President Bush has been talking about searching for alternatives to our oil dependency for years now, but unfortunately it would seem that Congress (please refer to the quote in the header of my blog) had better things to do. For some reason I keep thinking about their great interest in running professional sports in this country... steroids in baseball or fuel independence? Which seems more important to you?

The Sombrero Galaxy

The Sombrero GalaxyThis is called The Sombrero Galaxy. Its boring, official name is M104. This galaxy contains 800 BILLION suns and is 50 light years across. The picture was taken by the Hubble Telescope. I don't know about you, but to get pictures like this it was worth every penny they spent on it.

Two Weeks' Worth

Jonathan Eller's vegetable garden June 26, 2008Things are still growing like mad in the garden this week. I spent several hours on Tuesday and Wednesday raking rocks out of the garden and hoeing weeds. I know that I raked at least twice as many rocks up as I removed when we first started working in the garden back in May. Now I have to get the blamed things up. I'll try to get a picture of it before I do. It looks like a little stone wall around the periphery of the garden. Unfortunately, the battery to the camera died before I could take any more pictures.

Not to complain, but these jobs are a WHOLE LOT like work. When I was finished, though, the garden looked incredible. Thanks to the raking it had the manicured look of a baseball diamond!

In fact, by the time I had gotten 1/3 of the way done my OCD tendencies started to kick in, and I had to go back and erase any footprints! I know it is sad, but it just looked so awesome that way!

Immature cantaloupeMuch to my surprise I have discovered that I already have a cantaloupe on the vine. It is already the size of a baseball. Hopefully, it will have many friends to join it soon! There are tons of blossoms and the honeybees are working it diligently.

The purplehull peas are full of bloom. I haven't looked closely enough to see if there is fruit yet. The okra is beginning to shoot up. I expect to see some blossoms on them soon.

Tomatoes are really putting fruit on. The vines look a little puny, though. I attribute some of this to suckering. It also seems that they aren't getting quite enough water. They probably also need another round of Calcinit Tropicote®. It will have to wait until it dries out a little bit. We watered them well yesterday, and I don't want to mire up to my waist.

There are several peppers on my plants. They are tiny. I'm sure they will get much bigger.

As you saw from the earlier post the lima beans are blooming as are the green peas. And it looks like I should have fresh squash by the end of next week.

As for the corn, in the most fertile parts of the garden it is taller than me. This isn't saying a whole lot - I'm somewhere between 5' 8" and 5' 10" (depends on how bulletproof I'm feeling on any given day...). However, it is doing very well. I noticed that some of it is beginning to tassel. Corn's a'comin'! According to the seed packet for the Ruby Queen corn we should have some by the end of July.

I've got to say that I am thoroughly enjoying my gardening experience this year, and have been trying to figure out how I can add some green beans, zucchini, and cucumbers next year even though that most assuredly means more wrestling with rocks.

The poison ivy that got sprayed is looking pretty dead. Unfortunately some of it got missed. We'll have to make up another batch. I'll give it a little bit longer and mow the dead stuff.

Next week's chores will include getting up the rocks (probably), fertilizing the tomatoes, tying the tomatoes, spraying, and hopefully picking our first squash. As for what will have to be done after that I have no idea, but there is always something. We may have to make some adjustments to the irrigation system too.

I think that we are getting ready to hit the really labor intensive part. Once the produce starts coming in there will be something to do every day. The cool thing about that is that I can sit over at my parents' and watch the Braves playing while we are shelling and otherwise putting up the fruits of our labors. I have already started trying to plan how I want to put it up. I'm looking forward to learning how to do that part. I never was really involved in the processing after the picking and shelling were done. I'll learn how to can and freeze stuff this year!

I'm hoping that the dry spell that we are in won't linger. There was a nice thunderstorm in the county today, but it didn't get everyone wet. I really hope that we don't have another terrible drought like last year, and I am praying about that even now.

One thing that seems evident now, though, is that the Lord has blessed this endeavor: from the rains falling at just the right time, to the fertility of all the seed that I planted, to the growth of the plants. I have truly witnessed one miracle after another with this garden, and it certainly re-affirms that God is good. Of course that fact never changes, but it is nice to see His favor in action on my behalf.

New Rules

Fordhook Lima Bean BlossomsThe lovely blossoms in this photograph belong to one of my Fordhook Lima Bean plants. Their advent means that there are new restrictions for my garden. As of this moment my brother is no longer allowed to enter this part of my garden without close supervision.

I know that to some this may seem discriminatory and even mean, but there is a very good reason for his restriction, and that reason goes back at least 27 years to a time when he and I were much younger and had been conscripted as slave labor on the family plantation. One of our many chores - and one that we hated dearly - was that of picking Fordhook Lima Beans.

Now this chore really is pretty rough. The beans don't grow very tall and it is nearly impossible to pick them by sight. You have to feel each pod to make sure that they are filled out before picking them. It is a slow task that forces you to spend what seemed like days bent over double. Add to that all of the bugs, the sweat, and the weeds that we had to pick around (we hated pulling weeds too...) and you had the makings of a task that was only slightly better than being flayed alive.

On top of that my dad always chided us for being too rough on the plants, knocking the blooms off. He explained that the blossoms were what became beans, and told us that if we knocked the blossoms off we wouldn't have any beans.

It was not fun, but somehow I survived long enough to have momentarily forgotten this horror from my childhood and plant four and ½ rows of them. There is a pretty good reason for that too - they are some of the best tasting beans that I have ever put into my mouth, and they aren't as good when bought from the grocery store.

My dad was always puzzled about why his beans produced so little. We had row upon row of them, but really never got that many beans - never enough to last until the next harvest. It was quite a mystery to be sure.

Years later the truth was revealed. One Sunday, long after we had all grown up, while sitting at the dinner table, my dad was recounting the puzzling mystery of why those beans never did any better than they did. My brother matter-of-factly stated, "Well, when you told me that the blossoms were what made the beans I started picking the blossoms off." Mystery solved. I was stunned. Such a thing would never have occurred to me!

Well, as hard as I have worked for those lima beans this year there is no way I am going to let him pick the blossoms off! Yet somehow I doubt that I'll have to worry about it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

AWOL

Sorry, folks. I have determined that leaving home is bad for blogging. The crazy thing is that I wasn't even away from a computer - I was house-sitting for my parents - but for some reason it is just hard to blog when I'm away from home. It may have something to do with the incredibly uncomfortable chair that they have in the computer room. I can't sit on it for more than about 30 minutes before it starts getting pretty close to unbearable.

My folks went to Frederick, MD to visit my brother. They had a pretty good trip. They took along my 12-year-old nephew who was apparently not terribly impressed with most of what he saw on their forays to Gettysburg, Antietam, and DC. Sigh.... How could you be bored at any of those places?

I had actually planned to post last night, but was too wiped out. In fact, I had planned to come home last night but was too wiped out for that too - that, and I found a good baseball game on the TV last night: Orioles at Chicago. I was pulling for the O's, but like both teams so I wasn't too disappointed that they lost.

Luke Scott player for the Baltimore OriolesOne neat thing that I saw in the game last night.... There is a guy who plays for the Orioles that was having his 30th birthday yesterday. His name is Luke Scott. (I have a cousin named Luke Scott... but I digress.) It was kind of neat and he was excited about it because his number is 30 so he was wearing the same number as his age. The commentators talked about how his number was spiritually significant to him as well. It turns out that Luke is a dedicated Christian and he was excited about turning 30 because Jesus was 30 when He began His public ministry. The broadcasters were very complimentary of Luke and his witness. I always like it when I hear a good story! He was 2 out of 4 last night too!

That being said I am back home for a while now. I have lots of things to write about so you can expect more posts to come down the pipeline soon.

HOT!

Firefighter battling a wildfire in CaliforiaHave you ever stopped to wonder why powerful, destructive things are often fascinating and cool? Unfortunately, these "cool" forces aren't so wonderful when they are turned against you!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Farm Report

Jonathan's vegetable gardenIn today's farm report the garden is doing very well - even with my absence for most of the week. Yesterday I came over to work and discovered that the tallest of the corn is very near shoulder high, the tomatoes are full of fruit and growing nicely, the green and purple hull peas are blossoming, and I have baby squash and cantaloupe! I wish I had the camera with me so that I could post a picture. They are doll-sized fruits. It is so totally cool!

The camera is on assignment in Washington, DC for a few days. It should be back on Tuesday, and I'll get some photos then.

Yesterday's work included spraying the entire garden, (Worms had begun to eat my corn plants and had to be destroyed. Other various bugs had also been munching on the crops and had to be stopped.) suckering and tying up the tomatoes, pulling some of the more obvious weeds that somehow escaped hoeing, and fertilizing the tomatoes and corn.

I also had to do some equipment repair since my Hudson sprayer had stopped working the last time I sprayed. I am very proud to say that I not only found the problem and fixed it, but made it work better than it ever had before!

I almost forgot. I also have a baby pepper or two on the plants. There is also one other thing that has happened in the garden that I won't write about just now. I want to save it for when the camera is back here. I have a special story to tell. So don't forget to check back mid-week for this breaking news story.

The Eagle Faery Nebula

The Eagle Faery Nebula

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Al GoreIn an article at Newsmax.com Al Gore was shown to be the hypocrite that I have been claiming him to be for months now.

A little investigative reporting revealed that Al Gore's home used as much electricity as a small Southern town. And what is worse is that after he made it "greener" his energy consumption jumped over 10%!

In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former vice president’s home energy use surged more than 10 percent, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

“A man’s commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home,” said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.”

In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month....

DID YOU READ THAT?!!? Al Gore's main residence - not all of his residences together, just ONE house - uses enough electricity to power 232 average American households. 232! And I am supposed to take this boob seriously when he tells me to cut my carbon emissions? It is just like I wrote in an earlier article:

Here's the way the Socialist/Elitist/Liberal mind works: the sacrifices are for the little people to make, but the big, important people deserve these perks because of all the pressures they are under making sure the proles toe the line. Do you think that any of the world leaders supporting this fallacy are riding around in electric cars or taking a bike or, God-forbid a subway instead? No. Do you think they will suddenly change if they manage to get these stupid treaties passed? Don't be stupid.

They are now and always will be riding around in the biggest gas-guzzler that they can get their hands on.

My proof? Al Gore. "Captain Planet" is jetting around the world (emitting tons of carbon in the process) so that he can emit tons of hot air. This jet-setting is presumably to save us from global catastrophe. One problem - you could use the electric meter on his house for a fan! And would he have done anything about it? No, if the Tennessee Center for Policy Research hadn't exposed his hypocrisy he would have still been chugging along. However, looking like a hypocrite (even if you are one) is bad for credibility. So...

After the Tennessee Center for Policy Research exposed Gore’s massive home energy use, the former Vice President scurried to make his home more energy-efficient. Despite adding solar panels, installing a geothermal system, replacing existing light bulbs with more efficient models, and overhauling the home’s windows and ductwork, Gore now consumes more electricity than before the “green” overhaul.
What the hell is he doing in this house, enriching uranium? How is it possible for one house to use enough electricity to power Woodleaf, NC? Here is the truth once again - the real reasons that Al Gore is so "concerned" about the environment:

In the wake of becoming the most well-known global warming alarmist, Gore won an Oscar, a Grammy and the Nobel Peace Prize. In addition, Gore saw his personal wealth increase by an estimated $100 million thanks largely to speaking fees and investments related to global warming hysteria.
For Al this is all about stroking his bruised ego and lining his pockets.

I'll leave you with these words:

“Actions speak louder than words, and Gore’s actions prove that he views climate change not as a serious problem, but as a money-making opportunity,” Johnson said. “Gore is exploiting the public’s concern about the environment to line his pockets and enhance his profile.”
I couldn't agree more. If you are interested in reading other rants about this "global warming" crock you can click on the "Climate Change" and "Al Gore" labels towards the bottom of the side panel.

An Anniversary Dear To My Heart...

Lithograph of Union prisoners playing baseball at the Confederate Prison in Salisbury, NC
Today is the anniversary of the beginning of modern baseball. According to the Free Dictionary:

The foundations of modern baseball were laid with the 1845 formulation of the "Knickerbocker Rules," which formalized the game. According to these rules, a runner could not be sent out of play by getting hit with a thrown ball; instead, fielders were required to tag or force the runner, as is done today. It is widely thought that the first competitive game under the new rules was played at Elysian Fields in Hoboken, NJ.
The picture above is a representation of a baseball game played by Union prisoners-of-war at the Confederate Prison in Salisbury, NC in the early part of the War Between The States. It is reputed to be the oldest known picture of baseball.

The website where I found this picture had some really good information about baseball during the time of the Civil War that will corroborate some of the information included in the earlier article and offers some other very interesting insights into the national pastime.

There's no question that baseball is my favorite sport. I wish I could play it! Unfortunately I didn't stick with it long enough when I was a kid to learn how. There is nothing like going out to the ballpark on a mild summer evening and watching a game or socializing with friends or both!

And that is the beauty of baseball: as long as you aren't sitting in the line drive foul territory you can pretty much just enjoy being at the game without having to pay too much attention to the game, and if you want to watch, the game is complex enough to keep you plenty occupied.

And there is nothing like the atmosphere of being at the ballgame. There are the smells of hotdogs, peanuts, popcorn, and other ballpark food, the sounds of a well-hit ball and a hard thrown ball smacking the pocket of a glove, the action of a perfectly executed double play, and the sights of all kinds of interesting people. It's just plain hard to beat.

Today would be a great day to go out and root for the home team in honor of this special anniversary. See you there!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Check This Out

video
This is the second video that I have found in less than a month of someone who has figured out how to use water as fuel - and it didn't take a multi-billion dollar budget to do it either.

Is it possible that too many of the professional research organizations out there are less interested in true innovation and discovery than they are the grants that keep paying them? For all of the billions spent, it seems that we should have a few more solutions than we do.

Now let's make sure that the automobile companies are forced to take advantage of this technology and not shelve it.

Just An Update

Hello there. Unfortunately tonight I won't be able to dive into any topics too deeply. This will just be an update.

Over the past couple of days my web design has been brought back to the front burner. I have been working with a new program, Microsoft's Expression Web. I like it. It is pretty comprehensive and automates a lot of the process. I haven't found it to be terribly clunky either. Of course, very little software is as intuitive as I would like to see, but overall I am happy with what I am seeing so far. It allows you to handle styles in a variety of ways, but the coolest feature that I have found so far is that it makes it easy to preview your work in any web browser that you have installed on your computer.

All this has come about because I am the acting webmaster for a friend's company. He has an interesting product - home automation. Right now I am in the process of tweaking a couple things on the website. Next my job will to be to find some ways to make the site even cooler. If you are interested in finding out what home automation is you can check out his site at http://shautomation.com. So far none of my changes are public, but I hope that I will have several changes available by the weekend.

I am also hopeful that as I learn more about Microsoft Expression Web that it will help me to expedite the go-live of a couple other sites I am working on... including a redesign of RealSalisbury.com.

Things have been kind of quiet with the StillWaters Jazz Band. We had a gig two weeks ago that went fine. The only problem was that we only got to play to a handful of people. We played for the fundraiser for the JC Carson Bible Teaching Association. They are trying to raise the money to hire a Bible teacher at Carson High School here in China Grove. I thought that we played pretty well, it was just that the audience was sparse. We have a much bigger gig coming up on July 19, 2008 at Dixie's in China Grove. July 19 is Farmers' Day here and I expect that we will have a pretty good crowd. I don't know what time we are officially playing, but I'll get back to you as soon as I know.

The garden is doing well, but feeling a little neglected. I haven't been able to work in it since last Saturday. Now there is a ton that needs to be done. Everything needs to be sprayed again, and the tomatoes need to be tied, and the rocks need to be removed, and fertilizer needs to be put out. Dad told me tonight that the green peas have begun to bloom.

There are lots of other things going on right now that I'd like to comment on, but I am trying to think them through before I write and besides that it is late and my bed is calling me. Hopefully I will have some time between here and the weekend to do a little more posting. I'll talk to you then!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Priceless...

Fake shark fin in the foreground of city workers in Iowa floodsI love it when people can have a sense of humor in a bad situation.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Truth For Sale


You really should watch this report. This is one very large part of what is wrong in America today.

When I was growing up during the Cold War we were always taught about the difference between the freedoms that we have in the United States and the oppression that the Soviets suffered under. We were told that one of the greatest differences between our two cultures was that in America we had freedom of speech. It is too bad that that turned out to be an American mythology on par with the story of Washington throwing a silver dollar across the Potomac River.

Of all of the sacred cows that exist in this country, the First Amendment is probably the greatest. And yet this report shows just how greatly injustice, greed, and oppression are the rule of the day in this country I love so much. No wonder nature seems to be conspiring against us. If we don't change soon I fear that judgment will be unavoidable.

In the face of intentional distortion by the mainstream media is there any questioning why more and more people find themselves asking the very question that Pilate asked over 2,000 years ago? "What is truth?"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers' Day

Richard Eller, Wayne Eller, and Jonathan Eller fishing at the NC Outer BanksHappy Father's Day.

Today I had the wonderful privilege of spending the day with my Dad. We didn't do anything all that different than any other Sunday that I go over to share lunch and the day wallowing in front of the TV, but it was just nice being there with him today. Lots of folks can't do that.

My brother is out of state and wasn't able to enjoy this day with him. And both my Mom and Dad are unable to spend the day with their fathers. Mom's dad died back in 2002 and we lost my other Grandfather this past Christmas. It was a little melancholy for them today. Mom mentioned that she had a file full of Fathers' Day cards but no Father.

The picture above is from one of our recent beach fishing trips. I think this one was probably taken about 3 years ago. That was one of the things that my Dad, my Grandfather, and I shared together. I'm so glad that we did. I am especially glad that Grandfather got one more good trip in this past November - just a few weeks before he died. I think that we all knew that it would probably be his last, but that didn't mess up things at all. In fact, I think that realization made it even better. We really enjoyed each other as much as we had in years. And Grandfather had the best time that he had in years.

Here's a little story from that trip that I hope I will always remember. My Grandfather always had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember. This was a constant with him. Over the past few years, dementia had begun to strip away many of the layers of the Grandfather I had spent so many hours with throughout my life, but this is one thing that even dementia couldn't touch!

Anyway, one night Dad had gone to take his shower and had left Grandfather to fend for himself for a little while. I came up to get a little dessert, and when I got to the kitchen, I found him with a nice-sized stack of chocolate chip cookies and one of those Little Debbie® oatmeal cream cookies. When he saw me, he looked a little sheepish - he knew he had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar!

I said something like, "I see you found something to snack on." And I proceeded to go and cut myself a piece of my mom's pound cake. Well, Grandfather looked at that cake and said to me, "You know, I think that would be better than this. I'll trade you these cookies for a piece of that cake."

Well, I cut him a piece of cake too and he handed me the cookies and took both pieces of cake!

I sure miss him.

This summer I am getting a great opportunity to work with my dad in the garden. He is giving me some much needed advice and is pitching in here and there with physical assistance too. And last night we did something that we haven't done in probably 18 years - we went to see the Rowan American Legion baseball team in action. The tickets cost us $9 for both of us and then you could get loaded hot dogs for $1.50, drinks for $1.25, and peanuts and popcorn for $1 each.

It had just started raining when we got to the ballpark. They played the first inning (Rowan jumped out to a commanding 4 run lead) and then they stopped the game because of the rain. It rained pretty hard and we were sure that there was no way that we'd be watching nine innings that night, but fortunately (for the game) the rain tapered off and we were able to enjoy the entire game. It is fun to build these memories with him. (Rowan won 8-4 by the way!)

I am very blessed to have a father who loves God, loves my Momma, and loves me. (He even loves my brother and sister!) It seems to me that there are only so many ways to express your admiration and appreciation of your Dad. I find that words really don't convey the truth about how much I appreciate, love, and look up to my Dad. Hopefully he knows this because he has been in the same spot.

Anyway, here's a Happy Fathers' Day to my Dad - the best dad in the world!

The Latest On The Garden

Jonathan's vegetable gardenApparently water is very important.


I am once again amazed at the transformation of the garden by one small act. Once we got the soaker hoses put out and figured out the best configuration for them the growth that has taken place in the garden has been amazing. Some of the plants shot up six inches or more almost over night. In just a week the corn has gone from being about a foot high to being over waist high. The tomatoes have been tied up three times now and really need it again.

I spent about 4 hours in the garden on Wednesday hoeing to take out the weeds. After looking around yesterday I could see that my success was only moderate. So I'll have to go back again this week and get the stubborn survivors. If I have to I'll get down there and pull them up by hand. I'm not going to have a bunch of nasty old weeds mucking up my pretty garden. We also put down some fertilizer.

I need to let things dry out for a couple of days before I venture back in though. I discovered that when the ground is pretty wet you will mire up past your ankles in a heartbeat. I think that I would prefer to be on more solid ground this time around. I also need to bite the bullet and get some rocks up. They definitely got in the way when I was trying to hoe. It is like trying to dig up a parking lot!

Yesterday I got most of the garden sprayed. The bugs had availed themselves of my fresh produce and were beginning to take a toll. The tomato plants were looking rough. I got done with the spraying just in time for the rain shower that they had been promising all week (and putting off because they were wrong all week.) That means that I will have to spray again, but that's OK. I'll take the rain anytime I can get it. I did a couple things that probably ensured that it would rain though. I sprayed the garden, and I left the windows in the truck down when I went out for the evening. The only thing that would have made the rain more sure is if I had washed the truck too! (If I had, it might have rained all night!) Like I said, I don't mind. The Lord can send a shower any time He likes, and I'm grateful for this one.

Dad sprayed most of the poison ivy and it is looking a little peaked. We have to get that knocked out before the cantaloupe begins to run. It is putting on blossoms now, so I expect the runners to start any time now. The squash is also blooming as are the pepper plants. Some of our tomatoes are about golf ball size now.

So, this week's garden projects are to:
  1. Get up the rocks.
  2. Put some Calcinit Tropicote around the tomatoes.
  3. Weed.
  4. Put out Ammonia (or is it ammonium?) Nitrate around the corn.
I'm sure we can find something else to do too. As always, I'll make sure to keep you up to date.
Apparently, water is very important.

Wicked...

Huge tornado slams into a building in Iowa

Check out this phenomenal picture of one of the tornadoes in Iowa last week. That is utterly amazing. I'm thinking the photographer was mostly insane and/or had a death wish, but she got a really amazing picture.

I've Probably Killed My Traffic...

Hello, folks. Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Not exactly sure what happened. One day I got busy and thought, "Well, I'll get to it tomorrow." and the next thing I knew a week had passed and I hadn't written a thing.

Part of the problem has been a little writer's block. There really hasn't been anything in the news that has particularly stirred me. I kind of wanted to wait for Friday to do a post about the garden so I put that off. It has kind of been life as usual for the past few days. Nothing extraordinary to share and no great thoughts that I needed to write about.

I got totally sucked into Facebook one day too. There's this trading card game that is very addictive. Don't get me started on it. I'll bore you with how the system works. I wish it were as easy to make real money as it is to make virtual money in that game.... I have grounded myself from it more or less. For the uninitiated, Facebook is a great way to catch back up with people that you have lost track of over the years, but it is an EVEN BETTER way to waste TONS of time. I have also found that you tend to get the most bang for your buck if you graduated high school somewhere from 1997 forward. The idea of internet social networking still hasn't caught on with us older folk quite as much yet.

Thus, between busyness, indifference to what is going on around me, and Facebook my blogging has suffered. I vow to do better!

Friday, June 06, 2008

This One's For Wade

Kesler's barn in Rowan CountyWade from Lifesong Carolina commented on this barn from an earlier photo that I had taken, so I took one that he could see a little better. Hope you enjoy it, Wade!

Fruit!

A new tomato growing on the vineYes! That IS a tomato you see. This one is one of the larger ones that was on when I was working in the garden this afternoon. It is about dime-sized. The next set of blooms is coming on so it is time to put more calcium tropicote down to prevent bloom end rot.

Jonathan's Vegetable GardenToday I put out some more soaker hose (an additional 75 feet) tied the tomatoes and suckered them. (Suckering means taking off the branches that grow in the crotch of two other branches. It also means taking off the branches that grow at the base of the plant. I have been told that this causes the tomatoes to grow larger. We'll see. I've tried it both ways before and really couldn't tell a difference.)

Anyway, it turns out that I need about 225 more feet of soaker hose. I also need to run some hose from the well house over to the garden so that we can get started with the watering regimen. With this ungodly heat that we have had this week (in the upper 90s) the ground moisture gets depleted pretty quickly.

Poison IvyThe poison ivy situation is getting worse too. What was a fairly small patch (probably about 6 feet square) exploded over the past week to over twice the original size.

It looks like I need to quit putting it off and find some of that Roundup® for killing the heavier-duty weeds. I have never seen so much poison ivy as I have this year. I wonder if they sell that stuff by the 5-gallon bucket?

Anyway, the weeds are starting to grow in the garden. I tried to pull some up today. It was like they were anchored in concrete. I guess I'll just have to hack them off with a hoe as long as I can. I also noticed some mites or something on my tomato plants today too. Guess it is time to spray again. It looks like I still have plenty of work to do! Now if I could only find the thermostat and turn it down about 10 degrees!

Back In Action!

UPDATED...

Sara Dickson Jonathan Eller and Justin Dickson aka The StillWaters Jazz Band
The StillWaters Jazz Band will be performing tomorrow, June 7, 2008 at a fund raiser for the JC Carson High School Bible Teaching Association. The fund raiser begins at 11:30 AM and goes until 6:00 PM at St. Mark's Lutheran Church on Main Street in China Grove. There is going to be food and entertainment. Guess which part we are.

The fund raiser is to raise the necessary money to employ a Bible teacher at JC Carson High School. All of the funds for the teacher, including salary, curriculum, and benefits, have to be raised by the community. This money is then funneled through the state back to the Bible teacher.

Anywho... the SJB will be playing from around 2:30 to 3:30. It's a short gig for us, so we'll probably pull out all the stops!

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Come on out and support this worthy cause!

D-Day Anniversary

UPDATED:

Soldiers in an amphibious landing craft approach Omaha Beach June 6, 1944Today is the anniversary of D-Day (the beginning of the Battle of Normandy.) It is always strange for me to see pictures like this one because when you think about it you realize what those guys are heading into and that many of them very likely never made it home. It is very sobering.

According to the website where I got this picture the casualties on both sides of this battle were staggering. It reported the following figures:

United States: 29,000 dead, 106,000 wounded or missing
United Kingdom: 11,000 dead, 54,000 wounded or missing
Canada: 5,000 dead, 13,000 wounded or missing
France: 12,000 dead or missing civilians
Germany: 23,019 dead, 67,060 wounded, 198,616 missing or captured

That is a total of just over 80,000 people killed in one battle. In fact, many of the missing were most likely dead. Like I said, the numbers are staggering. These numbers are the totals between June 6 and June 30, 1944 - 25 days.

All I can say is I am glad the American people had the will to win World War II. To me this really puts the losses that we have suffered in the Global War on Terror since 9/11/01 into perspective. While we have paid dearly in the War on Terror we have not sacrificed the way America did during World War II. Thank God such a sacrifice has not been required to this point, because I am not certain that our nation would be willing to pay such a price for freedom now. (Perhaps they would be more willing to if Hollywood and the media were as supportive of the mission now as they were then.)

When Saving Private Ryan came out, there were reports that veterans who saw the movie and were at Omaha beach said that the movie was just like the real thing - except for the smell. Watching the movie I couldn't believe that anyone survived. It is hard for the mind to comprehend.

I am so grateful for the men and women who down through America's history have been willing to lay their lives down to purchase freedom. Some purchased it for themselves, some purchased it for others, and some purchased it for generations yet to come. Thank you so much.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cool...

Night Launch Of The Space Shuttle

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

How I Spent My Vacation...

Welcome sign for Turkey, NCI went to Turkey!
(Turkey, North Carolina that is...)


Dusty Dellinger as the sun rises close to Morehead CityI got up early to go fishing!
(Yep, that's sunrise, not sunset. The fellow silhouetted against the sunrise is my brother-in-law, Dusty. We were leaving from Dudley's Marina in Cedar Point, NC.)

A landing net full of fishI caught some fish!
(The take included black sea bass, oyster toad fish, one flounder, and one cod. We also caught a few lizard fish.)

Josh Dellinger with a very bold bird... is it an egret?I made a new friend!
(That's my nephew, Josh on the left with a very bold snowy egret... I think. I'll call him Bob. He was much closer until my nephew started trying to chase him.)

Banners welcoming home Marines from Camp Lejeune from IraqI witnessed the return of some heroes!
(While we were out on the water fishing we saw the naval task force bringing these Marines back home from their deployment in Iraq. Wish I could have been there to see the guys getting back on base. Thanks for serving!)

Garden Update

Things are still going well in the garden. Everything that I have planted has come up (and a few things that I didn't plant!) and everything seems to be growing well. I had noticed some insect damage last week, but was able to spray on Monday. Hopefully that will take care of things for the time being.

We got some much needed rain yesterday afternoon. I have heard reports that it was as much as ¾ of an inch of rain. Still, with the weather as hot as it is turning, it is going to be necessary to irrigate. I began putting out soaker hoses earlier this week. I have to fix a couple damaged hoses, and it looks like we may need to buy or find a couple more to get everything covered.

My tomato plants have started blooming. It always seems to take forever to get that first ripe tomato, though! My grandfather was always very aggressive about getting the first tomato. He would pull the first one that showed any color at all! As late as I got them put out this year I doubt that I'll be winning the prize for the first tomato, but with 24 plants I expect that we'll still have plenty.

There's another problem that I have to address very soon: there is an abundance of poison ivy all around the garden - most problematically right where I plan for the cantaloupe to run. Poison ivy is notoriously hard to kill. Hopefully I can get it knocked down before it really becomes a problem.

I'll try to post a new picture by the end of the week.

Remember Tiananmen Square!

Lone protester resisting Chinese tanks in the Tiananmen Square MassacreToday is the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. For those who do not remember the events surrounding this draconian power play by China's communist party, you can read more about it in this article at The Free Dictionary.

The massacre followed an amazing peaceful demonstration that had lasted about 51 days between April 15 and June 4, 1989. I remember watching it unfold day by day on the news and hoping that the Chinese people were about to peacefully earn their freedom and democracy. However, that was not to be the case.

On June 4, 1989 the Chinese government managed to roll into Tiananmen Square with its tanks (in spite of non-violent attempts to prevent them from doing so) and began killing its own unarmed citizens, effectively ending the protest. Student leaders were rounded up, and based on the treatment given to Chinese Christian leaders that fall into the hands of the government, were most likely tortured and/or murdered by the government.

Chinese sources downplay the lives lost in the massacre saying that there were only 200-300 people killed. (Only?! Compare this to the Kent State shootings in the 60s and the outcry that erupted over that.) However, Chinese Red Cross reported numbers of 2,000-3,000 killed.

I remind you of these events for a number of reasons. First of all, I want to to realize that if the Chinese government is willing to do this to its own people then it will do even worse to its enemies.

Secondly, I want to point out that freedom of speech cannot survive in a land without the freedom to bear arms. The students had no recourse other than to run away and toe the line after the government appeared with its big stick. As George Washington said, "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth."

Finally, I want to encourage you to remember Tiananmen Square when some politician starts talking about how the American people should be unarmed (or that their right to possess arms should be diminished.) First they will use fear to get you to give up your right to self defense, then they will use fear to rule you with a rod of iron.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin