Digging for the Soul
When I was between five and six I visited my grandfather in Clarksville, Indiana on the shores of
the Ohio River. It was a beautiful place in my eyes, although in looking at the few photos of the house and surrounding acreage it wasn’t really a Garden of Eden. Still, I know that that place is where I discovered
Grandpa Resch had a green house—or what was left of one—attached to the house. There was also an earthy-smelling limestone basement that could be entered by going down a few steps inside the greenhouse. I have memories of red clay pottery shards, leggy geraniums, wooden flats with annuals and paper vases for funeral arrangements all strewn about the greenhouse. I also recall pieces of broken glass that had fallen from overhead. No, it was not a well-tended greenhouse, but it was my place to play and discover. During those brief visits before my grandpa’s death, I learned what it meant to dig into the soil.
I believe many of us are born with soil in our veins. It’s a gift we must accept, nourish and share. Now that doesn’t mean one can not acquire gardening knowledge through diligent effort over time. In fact, I know many gardeners who have more practical knowledge at their fingertips than I do. I’m referring more to a feeling some gardeners have by merely plunging their hands into rich loamy soil. It’s nearly indescribable. For me, it’s like being transported out of time—sure, a pretty weird description, but really very apt. When I’m in the midst of tending flowers, planting shrubs, amending the soil, I am lost to everything around me.
Gardening is a stress-reliever. Before I retired, I liked nothing more than after teaching school on a warm May day to kneel in my hosta garden and fuss about the miniatures, adding a bit of mulch, spreading some Osmocote, or just admiring the various ones I’ve planted. That has not changed though I retired seven years ago and I’m certain as I dig in the garden I find my soul and replenish it. Though my knees twinge a bit after time among the plants, my heart is so very much lighter I really do not pay much attention to the little aches (I’ve also wised up and now wear knee pads).
What is important to all of us who thrive on the beauty of nature is to realize we will benefit if we really do stop and smell the roses and annuals and perennials and everything else we have in our gardens. My mother believed this and the last spring of her life, at the age of 93, she slowly planted annuals in containers at my brother’s. I am part of that long family line who have been nourished—body and soul—by the earth. From my great-great grandfather who farmed in southern Indiana to my father whose small backyard in Chicago was filled with rose bushes of every color, I have been connected through the earth. I have written in other columns about Jacob and his love for nature. He is the next generation who has been called to tend the earth and I am pleased.
So whether you believe you were born to garden or have discovered it along life’s path, stop the next time you’re out back, pick up a handful of your richest soil, and sniff. I think the tingle that runs through me when I do this is better than my first cup of coffee in the morning. See if you don’t agree!
Grilled Tri-Tip Beef
1. Sprinkle meat with rub and massage lightly alll over. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour or as long as overnight. Remove from refrigerator an hour before cooking.
2. Prepare charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to high. Place roast on grill and sear one side well, 6 to 8 minutes, checking for flare-ups. Turn the roast and sear the other for about the same time. Then lower gas to medium-high or move the meat to a cooler part of the charcoal grill.
3. Turn meat again and cook another 8 to 10 minutes. Flip and cook again. A 2-pound roast will require about 20 to 25 minutes total cooking time. The roast is ready when an instant-read thermometer reaches 130 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
4. Rest roast on a cutting board 10 to 20 minutes. Slice against the grain. The roast is shaped like a boomerang, so either cut it in half at the center of the angle, or slice against the grain on one side, turn the roast and slice against the grain on the other side.
Making a Move
There may come a time in your life when you have to make a move. You may move closer to family members, to an assisted living facility or just downsize to a smaller location. Change is never easy. Besides all the changes and issues that come with moving, one more thing to consider is the change in your driving area and the challenges it will bring.
If you have lived a number of years in the same location, you know the problem areas where you drive. A vehicle parked along the curb that blocks view, that low hanging tree that covers a stop sign, or the times of day to avoid school zones. When you move you will need to learn all the problems areas in the new location.
Anytime there are more vehicles on the roadway there is an increased risk in crashes. Regular events can cause extra congestion that can increase your risk of a crash. In particular areas that are new to you.
Some things to think about that affect traffic flow in your new area:
Are you in or close to a school zone? If it’s a high school, expect teenage drivers. If you are near an elementary or middle school, you may see a lot of pedestrians, bicycles or school buses.
How about athletic fields? Both those related to schools or private facilities. Avoid driving during large events and heavily attended practice sessions.
Are railroad tracks on your normal route? Again, finding out schedules can help. If nothing else to at least save the frustration of waiting on a train.
How about areas prone to flooding? Sadly some roads will flood with even a small amount of rain.
Are there factories near your new location?
Consider learning the times of shift changes.
Knowing the problem areas will help you make good choices on the time of day you drive. If possible, go one step further and enlist the aid of a family member or friend to learn more about your new location. Choose someone with impeccable driving habits. Then go for a drive, both as a passenger and as the driver. Find the locations you will frequent most often. Grocery store, Doctor, coffee shop, any place you would travel to on a routine basis.
Once you learn the ropes in the new location continue to drive. Practice your safe driving habits each and every time you get behind the wheel.
I find television to be very educating.
Every time somebody turns on the set,
I go in the other room and read a book.
My mother received a brown Luffa vase that measures 7 1/4 inches in about 1935 or 1936 for a birthday present. I have been offered $50 for it by a collector. — Rob, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
The Luffa pattern was introduced by Roseville Pottery in 1934. It featured small yellow or white flowers and large green leaves on a wavy ridged background. Background colors are dominant green with brown accents or dominant brown with variegated green accents. According to “Warman’s Roseville Pottery: Identification and Price Guide” by Denise Rago, your vase is valued in the $150-$250 range.
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I have an old cabinet purchased from a London museum by an Indian chief who became a millionaire in Connecticut during the 1920s. The man died during the 1930s. Anything you can tell me about this cabinet would be appreciated. — V.A., Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Your question is impossible to answer. Who was the chief? Where was the museum? Is there any documentation? Without these facts, it is simply another piece of old furniture. If you suspect your cabinet is valuable, hire the services of a good professional appraiser. There are several excellent ones in Albuquerque who can help you.
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Several decades ago I worked for a highway crew in Nebraska, and occasionally while working in remote areas I would find an old electrical insulator. Although I didn’t mean to become a collector, I did. I have about four dozen older insulators and would like to find out if they have much value. — Carl, Hastings, Nebraska
The National Insulator Association was founded in 1973 and has members scattered throughout the country. This might be a good place to begin your search. Contact is Donald R. Briel, P.O. Box 188, Providence, UT 04332-0188. Check out the website at www.nia.org.
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I have a Girl Scout camera that was given to me during the 1940s. It is in excellent condition, and I assume still works. What is it worth? — Cynthia, Shreveport, Louisiana
A: Your camera is probably in a black case and was manufactured by the Herbert George Company. It would retail in the $50-$75 range.
Write to Larry Cox in care of KFWS, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or send e-mail to email@example.com. Due to the large volume of mail he receives, Mr. Cox cannot personally answer all reader questions, nor does he do appraisals. Do not send any materials requiring return mail.
© 2016 King Features Synd., Inc.
Reducing a Repeat of Bladder Stones
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: My 5-year-old shih-tzu cross, “Louie,” just had surgery to remove bladder stones. They were 90 percent calcium oxalate and 10 percent calcium phosphate. My vet has prescribed a strict diet of (expensive) food purchased only through their office.
I am feeding Louie the special food from the vet, but I’m not certain this is the right choice. I found some online sites that recommend a homemade diet of chicken, rice and peas. What would you recommend to prevent a recurrence of these stones? — Bev R., Melville, Saskatchewan, Canada
DEAR BEV: Ouch! I’m sorry that Louie is going through this. It’s great that you’re doing all you can to prevent a recurrence, including knowing the type of stones he has.
Louie’s bladder stones were determined to be calcium oxalate, which can form when a dog’s urine is acidic. There are two other common types of bladder stones that dogs can suffer from: struvite, formed in alkaline urine; and urate, seen often in dogs with liver disease.
The issue with oxalate-type stones is that they generally must be surgically removed. That’s different from struvite stones, which might be dissolved through medication and diet. However, both types may be PREVENTED through a special diet. For more information, go to www.monicasegal.com/wordpress/ and search for “bladder stones.” Her blog can give greater details about types of stones and appropriate diets.
Going into diet specifics would take up more room that I have in this column. I can say that you need to make sure Louie drinks plenty of water. From there, keep researching, and coordinate with your vet.
Send your questions or pet care tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2016 King Features Synd., Inc.