Building Raised Beds for the Garden

Here are the completed raised beds (except for a watering system). Missy likes being photographed – she's a fox. You can see much more of Ann's garden at www.InspiredGardening.com.

Downhill View Greenery and Missy

Ann and I wanted to expand the food production space in Ann's garden. We decided to remove a row of flowers along the west side of our garden and add four raised beds. I'm the Chief Bed Engineer (CBE) and she's the green thumb. Here's a photo history of the bed building.

I used 12' x 12'' x 2'' yellow pine boards – untreated (it's an organic garden). I brushed two coats of linseed oil on the wood to improve its resistance to rot and termites.

The beds are 24" wide. The most difficult part of the process was leveling the bed boards, since the terrain runs from northwest to southeast.

Our cat Blue inspected the beds after completion. Our cat Missy did soil tests.

Here's the construction process.

Bed 1

Bed 2

Bed 3

Uphill View 4 beds

Uphill View Greenery

Intentional Living

Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen hard.
Practive wellness.
Play with abandon.
Laugh.
Choose with no regret.
Continue to learn.
Appreciate your friends.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.

Mary Anne Radmacher

Thanks to Ann

Road Trip to Virginia

Ann and I left Woodstock, GA, at noon on Saturday. The temperature was 95 degrees.

We turned north onto I-77 from I-85 at Charlotte. The temperature was 99 degrees.

We stopped in Cana, VA, at the Willow Glen Farm B&B. The house was amazing, the food excellent, and Bob and Carol were gracious and interesting hosts.

After the great breakfast on Sunday, we drove north on Highway 52 to Fancy Gap and turned right onto the magical Blue Ridge Parkway.

Mabry Mill by www.flickr.com/photos/hitmanjf/

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a wonderful place to drive after spending hours dodging collisions on the interstate highways.

We passed beautiful Mabry Mill, where hometown friend Clift Mitchell fell in the pond about 50 years ago.

We drove east through Floyd County to Cannaday Gap, where we dropped down into Franklin County to Endicott.

We drove east to Ferrum. At Ferrum College, we turned north onto Ferrum Mountain Rd towards Callaway. We continued north to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We turned northeast on the Parkway. Several miles later we turned left onto a barely visible double track. When we stopped to open the gate to drive into a pasture, the temperature was 74 degrees with very gusty winds. We drove through the pasture to Jack and Marie's home.

We had a tasty and healthy lunch with Jack, Marie, Jackson, and Katie. It was great to see them and I wish we had had more time to visit.

We returned to Franklin County and looked at some property with Clift, Linda, and John G.

At 3pm, we left for Atlanta. We stopped at the Floyd Country Store in Floyd. I got a blackberry milkshake and we chatted with Woody and Jackie for a moment.

We headed west on Highway 221. At Hillsville, we took I-77 south. We encountered a traffic stoppage at Statesville. We detoured onto I-40 West and took Highway 321 South to I-85, after losing an hour to the traffic jam.

We arrived home at 11pm. The temperature was 88 degrees. Hot 'Lanta indeed.

Beautiful Images: Two Views of Palouse Falls

Palouse Falls by Stephen Oachs
Palouse Falls by by Stephen Oachs
 
Palouse
Palouse Falls Sunset by Kevin McNeal
 
Stephen Oachs
This amazing waterfall is extremely remote, located in the middle of Eastern Washington State. This time of year the flow is very strong and with a longer exposure I was able to capture the swirl of the water below.
Equipment: Canon 1D Mark III
Stephen W. Oachs is an award-winning photographer, successful entrepreneur and technology veteran, who began his journey in photography the moment he picked up his first SLR camera. Ever since, his lenses have focused on the inspiring majesty of mother earth and the unflinching beauty of the animal kingdom.
Completely self-taught, Stephen’s unique and distinctive style has earned him recognition as one of today’s finest nature photographers. He was recognized in 2007 as wildlife photographer of the year by the National Wildlife Federation and was awarded best nature photographer in 2008 by National Geographic Magazine for his work photographing the endangered snow leopard.
Stephen has received many other awards and his work has graced the pages of on and offline publications worldwide, such as National Geographic, Popular Photography, Outdoor Photographer, National Wildlife Magazine and many others.
Whether trekking through the wilds of Alaska, enduring the raw challenges of nature or experiencing the thrill of life on the edge, Stephen captures rare and breathtaking moments of light and time. His exceptional eye is filtered only by his passion for life, deep affinity with nature and love of adventure.
 
 
Kevin McNeal
This was taken near the Palouse. I had been here several times but never got any luck when it came to weather. I have been wanting to combine the longer exposure with the sunset colors. I finally got some luck here.
Equipment: Canon 5D
Kevin McNeal is a Washington St. photographer focusing on grand colorful landscapes that reflect the most unique places on earth. Capturing moments of magic light and transferring this on print, images behold a combination of perseverance, patience, and dedication to capture the images in ways unseen before. The stories of how these images are rendered come across in the feelings the images convey. Traveling all over North America with his wife by his side, shooting diverse landscapes and finding remote places to bring the message to the public that this Earth is worth saving.

Flying

More than once, after a few hours packed like sardines in a metal can breathing the same stale air a hundred times over, it’s occurred to me that the crabby oldsters who insisted that humanity was not meant to fly may have had more of a point than most of us suspect.

John Micheal Greer, A Guide for the Perplexed

Who’s looking out for our country?

United we stand, divided we fall….

Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal describes a critical flaw in the polarized, media-driven two party system in the United States. Excerpts below.

Link: The Case for Getting off Base – WSJ.com.

Both conservative media and liberal media are alike in that they have to keep the ratings up, or the numbers up, or the hits. If they lose audience, they can lose everything from clout to ad revenue. Because they have to keep the numbers up, they have to keep it hot, which actually has some effect on the national conversation. The mainstream media is only too happy to headline it when a radio talker says Sonia Sotomayor is a dope. The radio talker may be doing it to play to his base, but the mainstream media does it to show that Republicans are mean, thick and angry.

On left and right, on cable and radio, political hosts see gain in hyping the story, agitating and exciting their listeners. All of this creates a circular, self-enclosed world in which it gets hotter and hotter and tighter and tighter. (I remember when the liberals of the Democratic Party were like this, in the '80s. They talked only to themselves, and reinforced each other's views. It took them years to recover.)

Must the Obama administration micromanage General Motors, institute a new health-care system, and institute a new energy regime? Must they mow down the opposition, shutting them out of the development of important bills? Well, the base likes this.

Can the radio host or the freelance policy maker calm down, become less polar and more thoughtful (yawn)? That would leave his base turning the dial and maybe going elsewhere. Can the big left-wing and right-wing Web sites commit apostasy, rethink issues? In general, bases don't like that.

Everyone is looking to the base, the sliver, their piece of the pie, their slice of the demo. You wonder sometimes as you watch: Who's looking out for the country?

Fast Growth

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

Edward Abbey

Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies. His best-known works include the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by radical environmental groups, and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire. Writer Larry McMurtry referred to Abbey as the "Thoreau of the American West".

Desert Solitaire is regarded as one of the finest nature narratives in American literature, and has been compared to Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac and Thoreau's Walden. In it, Abbey vividly describes the physical landscapes of Southern Utah and delights in his isolation as a backcountry park ranger, recounting adventures in the nearby canyon country and mountains. He also attacks what he terms the "industrial tourism" and resulting development in the national parks ("national parking lots"), rails against the Glen Canyon Dam, and comments on various other subjects.

Abbey's abrasiveness, opposition to anthropocentrism, and outspoken writings made him the object of much controversy. Conventional environmentalists from mainstream groups disliked his more radical "Keep America Beautiful…Burn a Billboard" style. Based on his writings and statements—and in a few cases, his actions—many believe that Abbey did advocate ecotage or sabotage on behalf of ecology. The controversy intensified with the publication of Abbey's most famous work of fiction, The Monkey Wrench Gang. The novel centers on a small group of eco-warriors who travel the American West attempting to put the brakes on uncontrolled human expansion by committing acts of sabotage against industrial development projects. Abbey claimed the novel was written merely to "entertain and amuse," and was intended as symbolic satire. Others saw it as a how-to guide to non-violent ecotage, as the main characters attack things, such as road-building equipment, and not people. The novel inspired environmentalists frustrated with mainstream environmentalist groups and what they saw as unacceptable compromises. Earth First! was formed as a result in 1980, advocating eco-sabotage or "monkeywrenching."  (From Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Abbey)

    

Do TARP-Supported Bank Executives Deserve Bonuses?

Eric deCarbonnel at Market Skeptics writes:

1) America's most powerful, too-big-to-fail banks are turning in their TARP money.

2) They are repaying TARP funds to escape:

a) Legal limits on bonuses for their top 25 employees.
b) Rules prohibiting golden parachute payments for executives when they leave.

3) Stress test were flawed and banks still need this money.

4) Banks are returning TARP funds equal to less than a tenth of the taxpayer assistance they have received.

Bank executives deserve huge bonuses for the skill with which they have fleeced taxpayers.

Watch out for this “Internet Marketing” Scam

I have been burned by a simple "internet marketing" scam that is very frustrating and irritating.

Here's how it works:

You click on a link to a sales page that has the most amazing list of DVDs to teach you how to make $100,000 a month selling stuff on the internet.

Just so you won't perceive this sales pitch as a ripoff, you will be given this package of stuff FREE!

But… you must pay for shipping with a credit card, which is a small charge. In the fine print in the agreement, it will state that you will be subscribed to a monthly newsletter for $29.95 a month (or more).

So you receive the newsletter (some of them are well written) and see a charge on your credit card.

With some of these "marketers", you will find it very difficult to cancel the subscription. Note: The more hype you see in the sales page, the more likely it is to be a scam.

The honest marketers are hoping you will like the newsletter and continue to subscribe. The others are con artists who hope you won't notice the credit card debits. They will avoid providing a way to the subscription to be cancelled. And they will teach you how to get rich doing the same scam, using content from their newsletter!

I hope you don't fall for this scam. Free lunches aren't free.