Gardening notes for myself

– Aaron

These are just some notes for myself, for next year’s garden. I’m just writing them here, so I can find them later, and I suppose they could be helpful to someone else – but only if they have some of the same habits, plants, and climate as me.

  • You don’t have to plant every single seed in the seed packet. Yes, some might not make it another year. But guess what: You only paid like $3 for that seed packet. Let it go man, let it go.
  • When your onions fall over, give ’em a week, and dig them up. They’re done.
  • Water is very important. Try and give your plants some.
  • Plant LOTS of quinoa seeds if you want more than two plants, and you could probably start them indoors.
  • Peppers need buddies.
  • Spinach and lettuce really don’t like the heat.
  • Start your seedlings earlier!
  • Keep trimming those herbs (basil and mint, I’m lookin’ at you especially).
  • Thin your carrots, unless you want gnarly disgusting carrot root-balls.
  • Grow your corn in multiple rows.
  • Climbing beans will climb corn, but you need to plant them in the proper sequence for that to happen (hint: core before beans).
  • Turnip greens can get enormous before the bulb is ready to harvest.
  • Give your plants more room!
  • Blueberries can be blue before they are sweet. Taste, evaluate, wait, repeat.
  • Don’t let the raspberries get purple.
  • Grapes need lots of water. Especially if the spring isn’t as wet as it could be.
  • Strawberries need plenty of nutrients, and not as much water as you have been giving them.
  • Nasturtiums like more sun than you have given them!
  • Good idea planting the various Cucurbiteae around the edges of your beds so the vines can trail off onto the ground. That works. Next time, give them more space between one another in the bed, so the leaves don’t overshadow each other so much.
  • Soaking your beans overnight before planting them seems to have worked nicely.
  • The (east facing) front porch (with southern cover from the chestnut tree) isn’t a great place for a lot of plants. Make sure they don’t need full sun when you put them there.
  • Turn your compost every day, whether it needs it or not.
  • Plant those potatoes deeper.

How Voting Works (update)

— Aaron

“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.” -George Jean Nathan

I think this should be amended to “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who have no choice but to elect one of the bad candidates who are running”

An update of this post.

Sandwiches DO taste better when someone else makes them! (Repost)


I’ve always thought this was true, and now I have science to back it up:

When you make your own sandwich, you anticipate its taste as you’re working on it. And when you think of a particular food for a while, you become less hungry for it later. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, for example, found that imagining eating M&Ms makes you eat fewer of them. It’s a kind of specific satiation, just as most people find room for dessert when they couldn’t have another bite of their steak. The sandwich that another person prepares is not “preconsumed” in the same way.

A reposted article by Daniel Kahneman

Thirsting for God in Daily Work (repost)


We must drink. Or die.

Yet, dare I confess? Too often, miserably too often, I don’t want to drink from His cup.

I thirst for God’s goodnesses. I pant for his blessings. But to drink from his cup? I crave days laced with comfort. Fulfilling marriage with little self-sacrifice. Thoughtful children with meager investment.

Successful work with quick shortcuts. That cup of salvation seems too heavy to lift to dry lips.

And I wonder: is it true too of the body of the Christ? “Many are eager to be happy with him; few wish to suffer anything for him,” writes Thomas á Kempis. “Many will follow him as far as the breaking of bread, but few will remain to drink from his passion. Many love Christ as long as they encounter no hardship…”

But is that love?

Anxious to molt free of the tightening burden of annoying coworkers, aging parents, demanding children, the responsibilities relentlessly mounting, we plead, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” I make normal everyday problems into a Garden of Gethsemane. I writhe at the thought of daily dying. I pray, “Give us our daily bread, my expected luxuries, but no, I’ll pass on the cup.”

If I pray for no hardship, do I really love?

Aren’t I the one who daily collects God’s blessings like manna? Words from his Word, nourishment cupped in a bowl, lilt of birds lighting, sunlight pooling on floor, splash of sunset at day’s end. Redemption. Mercy. Abundant life. I gather his gifts.

There are times, not frequent enough, when I rouse to it all and ask with the Psalmist, “How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?” (Ps. 116:12).

But the answer the Psalmist offers is the one that I too often choke on, can’t quite get down. “I will lift up the cup of salvation” (Ps. 116:13). Is that why the cup is heavy, too painful to lift? Because in salvation, there is a dying to our wants. And an embracing of his.

So I let him spoon the words in deliberately. So I don’t die. (And yet do.) I sit for hours, waiting for an appointment. A computer rebels before a deadline. A project unravels. He asks me to accept, lift, sip deeply, “How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup.” Perhaps, in small, unremarkable ways, I too can enter into the communion joy of dying to self? A child wails and clings, and I’m late and the oatmeal burns. Again to open dry lips: “Give thanks for his torrent of good. Lift up the cup. Drink it all down.” Perhaps, in this high calling to humble living, it is possible to remember daily his far greater sacrifice, his innumerable unmerited kindnesses, and choose to give thanks for whatever he gives in the moment—all of it.

Yes, to drink of his passion. In choosing to drink down the moments simply as they come, without chaffing, is this the wholesale gratitude he entreats of us?

Amid the busyness, how do you remember to surrender and drink deeply of the cup of salvation?

I found this here, on Q, a blog I follow.

Are Any of us Really Independent (repost)

— Aaron

This is yet another re-post from Donald Miller. He’s got a way of making me think, lately.

How many of your theological positions did you arrive at through independent observation and objective thinking?

Not long ago, a psychology class played a trick on their professor. Every time he walked to the left side of the room, the class would tune out, look away or just look down at their notes. When he walked to the right side of the room the class would look at him, pay attention and nod their heads to affirm his ideas. By the end of the class, the professor was literally standing so far to the right of the class he was teaching from the doorway.

No kidding.

So it makes me wonder how much of the things we believe are “us” are really just a subconscious reaction to validation. Do we engage our theological positions because we’ve come upon them objectively, or did we find ourselves in a community that embraced those positions and rewarded us with affirmation when we came to the conclusions of the community?

I’m willing to bet the concept of Total Depravity is much more total than we understand. I bet we are so depraved that we can’t even understand why we do what we do, and that much of our religious motivations are simply attempts to have a religious community validate our personalities.

What about you? Are your views about God objective? Or are they arrived at through a communal experience of affirmation and validation? And how confident are you that you are an objective person?

That’s from here:

Perception (repost)

— Aaron

This was originally posted here, and I thought it was just so good, I’d post it here, so I could come back to it.

. . . Something To Think About. . .

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly..

45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

The questions raised:

*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*Do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.

How many other things are we missing?