Monday, October 11, 2010

Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches

I'd like to tell you about this great service to our community. I stumbled across this while renewing my car registration online, and I came to the page where you pick a worthy cause to make a donation to (or not). After staring at the 15 or so charities staring back at me, seemingly with their hands outstretched, I nearly gave up in frustration: how do you choose among so many completely worthy causes? I want to help save the manatees AND the marine turtle, and well, children need to be saved from abuse and veterans deserve a decent place to live ... *forehead connects with desk* ... perhaps I should pick one that maybe doesn't get the kind of attention the manatees probably get?

Armed with that focus I went through them again, and one caught my eye that I wasn't familiar with - Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches. Sounds like an outreach program. I was right. I settled on that one because it really spoke to me, louder than the other ones did. Troubled youth holds a special place in my heart for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that I'm married to a reformed, former troubled youth, but also from watching Naruto, the ultimate story of a reformed troubled youth.

Youth are our future. Every day at work I hear stories of more and more funding being pulled from the very things that cultivate a solid future: education, the arts, sports. Not to mention the increase of bullying stories, some with very tragic endings. And lest we forget the youth being raised in single-parent homes because the other parent is either off fighting in a war, or never coming home because of that war! These are troubled times, cultivating more troubled youth than ever before. At least places like the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches gives both the kids and their parents some light at the end of this dismal tunnel.

I want the world to know I support this very worthy cause, and I hope after reading this you will consider supporting them too, either here in Florida or in your own community.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Journey to Socotra

After seeing this story on the Today show yesterday, I've decided I'd really like to visit this place, a place "time forgot" about, and where the famed Dragon's Blood tree grows, a tree that can potentially live for 800 years ...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010 - October 15

Since 2007 Blog Action Day has been raising global awareness about issues that affect each and every one of us: the environment and poverty were topics in previous years.

This year Blog Action Day is calling on us bloggers to focus on water. Click here for a list of great ideas on what to post about water.|Start Petition

The best part about this particular call to action is that it falls on my birthday, so that makes it very personal to me. It is no surprise that water grabbed the most votes for this year's topic; the BP oil spill scared a LOT more people than just those immediately affected by it. Many scientists, university professors, and other experts weighed in on just how far-ranging the effects would be, and the unanimous conclusion, at least in terms of physical and economical damage, was all bad.

Bloggers however, are going to take that catastrophe and turn it into a tool to teach and inform and educate the globe, not just about how to help the Gulf coast heal, but how water issues all over the world need our attention, badly.

Please join us! Please help. Because every single human being on this earth deserves a nice cool drink of clean water always!

Even if you don't blog, you can still make your voice heard. Click here to sign the petition and to just learn more about why water is such an important issue all over the planet.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Update on the gardening saga

Tending to my garden reaps joy, rewards, and frustration. The joy comes from simply giving my plants attention: watering them, talking to them (yes, I talk to my plants; I'll do anything that will help them to grow and I'd probably talk to them anyway even if it didn't do any good at all), watching them change a little bit every day because they're growing so fast.
The reward comes from watching the bud turn to bloom, flower turn to fruit. I've never done that before! There is already a pepper starting to grow: joy and reward rolled into one, tiny little baby pepper!
Unfortunately, one of the other blooms that unfolded about the same time as the one that has produced a pepper withered already.

And a couple leaves on both the pepper and the strawberry plants show a couple yellow spots - is that the result of disease? Pests? Vermin? Too much sun, too little water? But the rest of both plants look fine and dandy. So do I pinch off the bad leaves? And if so at what point do I do that - just the leaf? Pinch it off where the stem grows out of the main stem?
So many questions, and no easy answers in sight. But I guess that's part of what it means to garden. Granted, resources certainly exist out there that sprang out of trial-by-fire testing, as well as more traditional means of testing, plain ol' scientific research, and sheer experience to yield answers to those questions. And some questions will always have the same answer: don't put too much nitrogen in your plant food or it will kill your pepper plant (for the record I am not currently using any food at all, not that the plants are suffering the least bit for it).

As if all that weren't enough, this morning I inspected the underside of the pot holding these veggies of mine, only to discover tiny roots coming out of two of the holes! I could NOT believe it! I thought that was at least another month or so away from happening! I suspected the plants might outgrow the container I bought for them, but not this fast! Unless those roots are coming from something growing up out of the ground it was sitting on. I say "was" because I've now propped the pot up on some glass squares I found lying around, not only to aid drainage but also to protect the plants from fire ants and Lord knows what else might be in the native soil/sand.

I've also noticed tiny, winged bugs flying around, but I have no idea if these are pests or not. However I discovered a couple days ago that planting garlic with your veggie garden is a very natural way to ward off pests, so if I wind up transplanting my garden to a bigger pot you can bet some garlic cloves will be joining them.
As for the amaryllis plant ... a fourth leaf has joined the other three, but still no stem. From what I've read it's possible that the bulb needed to go through this stage in order to produce a stem later on down the road, so I'm not giving up hope yet. Still, it would have been cool to see a bright red bloom towering above some red tomatoes and strawberries, and yellow bell peppers.

As always, dear reader, if you have experience gardening and you'd like to give me some advice, please do! Until next time ...

Friday, April 09, 2010

Social Media Frenzy

Perhaps I don't do it enough, but the sheer number of social media filters out there are downright overwhelming. For example, I can set up to be my one-stop shop for updating multiple sources at once with status updates: Twitter, Facebook, this blog, Tumblr, and nine million other socmed services.
I can do essentially the same thing with FriendFeed, except I can also set up FriendFeed to update FB here with updates from all my other freaking services! Not to mention, I can set up good ol' FB here to receive new posts from my blog and couple other services! Ack!

So what's the best, most efficient way to utilize all these services the best way possible? I'm afraid I've strayed from the loop a bit and I don't read the helpful articles the way I used to. I'm not saying I'm going to start researching them, but thought I'd post this here to see what becomes of it.

On so many levels.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Amaryllis Project: End of Week Two

As you can see the plant is growing quite nicely! Still no bloom yet, and that may be over a month away. But this is what the plant looked like this morning. You can see a third leaf showing in-between the two big leaves. It's only had one feeding two weeks ago. I fed it again when I took these pictures. (Click on the picture below to be taken to more pictures of the plant.)

Yes, I can see the plant is tilting sideways and I need to re-pot it. Not to mention if I don't add some more soil the roots are likely going to choke the plant to death and ruin my work thus far. I'm hoping I'll be able to re-pot it this weekend.

Otherwise, I am so pleased with the progress!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Plant journal: Reviving a neglected amaryllis

So. I have this amaryllis plant. It was given to me as a Christmas present two Christmases ago from my hubby. It came with a live bulb, a gorgeous red ceramic pot, and a disc of compressed soil called a "coco disc". The instructions said to put the disc in a large bowl, add water, fluff it with a fork, wait a few minutes, and then plant the bulb in the soil. So I did. And I waited with great skepticism as I tend to kill plants more than I grow them.

To my utter surprise it not only bloomed ... it was absolutely the most gorgeous thing I ever saw, and seeing it every day made me happy. I proudly displayed it in a central, well-lit location.

And then we moved, and it moved with us. I set it outside on the balcony and forgot about it. For over a year.

Well, the other day I had a stroke of ambition and pulled the bulb out to inspect it. I had to pull a few withered leaves off of it, but other than that the bulb felt heavy and firm, and the roots looked reasonably healthy - more than I could have asked for. So I thought, why not? I went to the store with the intention of buying some new soil, but I just wound up buying some plant food (and cheap gloves and a cheap watering can). I simply repotted the bulb in the same soil it had been sitting in, the original coco disc soil. Mind you, all I planted was a bare bulb. Thursday, March 25 I gave it some plant food.

The following Sunday, March 28, I had this:

It's now one week later.

One week after re-potting the old bulb, which I was pretty sure had died from my neglect, I have this:

Oh yeah, I should mention, this bulb sat outside on our balcony for the past 13 months - including the extended deep freeze we experienced this past January that devastated Florida citrus farmers, among others. Followed by an equally freezing February and not the warmest March on record either. I know some flowering bulbs like cold weather, but I really didn't think they liked it THAT cold!

Stay tuned, to see if this plant produces a bloom!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Friday, March 05, 2010

January: expected. February: understandable. But March??? C'mon Mother Nature, I should not be seeing my breath in SWFL in March!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ok, I realize I'm a bit late to the news but ... RIP Andrew Koenig...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Once upon a time, I, Chuang-tzu, dreamt I was a butterfly, flittering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly... suddenly I awoke... Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I am a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man. - Chuang-Tzu