Day 73-SIP-It’s Over

It’ll be different writing a post everyday without the thematic SIP status. Yesterday our town of Frankfort, IL officially opened the businesses in town thus ending the Stay in Place order. As I rode my two wheeled convertible through the town on the bike path I saw Kansas street blocked with concrete barriers we often see in front of US embassies around the world. The Village fathers agreed to donate the street to the resident restaurants, three of them, a place to serve meals. It was cool to see the colorful umbrellas dotting the streetscape. There were actually people there too, even though it was still the middle of the day. Our residents are hungry for food and socialization. The servers wore masks.


A quick check of the verified Covid infections in our county is down again and hopefully diminishing to zero. The bike path was very crowded with bikers, strollers, and walkers. Everyone seems happy, but were still cautiously hugging the edges of the path to maintain distancing. How easily we were trained, and no one dangled a piece of cheese in front of us to get us to behave that way. I guess the prospect of death is more effective than cheese.

The temperature today is a bit chilly compared to the week gone by. It will keep me in the house until the sun warms things up to the seventies at least. I have my eye on a patch of wild strawberries that is invading my yard. I am paying for last summer’s neglect. I proudly bragged to my friends last year that I didn’t pull a single weed and thus the garden reverted to what it does best, it grew. The trouble with letting it go is that what grew best were what I call native perennials, sometimes referred to as weeds. June is rumored the peak growing season in our horticultural zone 5, and it is proving the rumor. I can see things that look ugly growing taller as I walk by them. The amount of work required to neaten things up is exponential as the sun shines longer each day. As long as I am looking at things in this manner the funk will not invade my psyche like it did yesterday. Thank you Lord for getting me through yesterday.

Later this afternoon we will watch the second attempt to launch our astronauts into space. The weather last Wednesday was not correct for a safe launch so it was scrubbed. The prediction at this moment is a fifty percent chance of the rocket firing for the same reason, i.e. conditions are not optimum.

What makes this space launch special is that it is being done by a private company and not the government. When NASA launched, the success rate was very high and we, the population. actually got bored with the missions. Now that SpaceX is doing the deed, we again think it is exciting. Probably because we like fireworks and the idea of watching a billion dollar rocket blow up is thrilling. Space flight development is no different than ordinary flight development during the age of the Wright brothers. The simple difference is that building a kite is much simpler than building a control-fired bullet the size of the Empire State building. Although, at the time Orville and Wilbur Wright took as much care in proceeding as does SpaceX. Another difference is that Orville and Wilbur kept things quiet. I think because they didn’t want to excite authorities to their amusements on the beach and cause them to be sent to the looney bin for endangering the sea life along the Atlantic shores. In today’s scene the lunacy is trusting a for profit company to be in charge. How do we know that each part of the assembly was made to rigid specifications by certified US vendors, and not by a Chinese vendor who cuts corners, uses materials that are less than pure, and certifies to doing things right, and is the lowest bidder?

While all this goes on America burns. I am sure the latest uprising is fueled by politics, but executed by blacks who like to jump at any opportunity to destroy and kill whitey. I watched the video of the Minneapolis policeman with his foot on the neck of a man who was being apprehended. It appeared to me that the guy was down and in hand cuffs he didn’t need to be restrained by a jackboot between his head and shoulders. It was extreme to say the least. What incites the blacks is when their idea of justice is not practiced, They would have wanted the policeman who was responsible for that treatment to be immediately apprehended, tried, found guilty and executed in the street within a few minutes of the event. Anything short of that is cause for riots, looting, burning and killing all across the country. What is even sadder is that we have police who take out their frustrations on victims with brutality. When the victim is black, the brutality factor seems to escalate by several factors of ten. I will never volunteer to be a policeman. The job gets worse and worse. These guys are expected to be psychologists and warriors who can determine in split seconds the difference between someone who is resisting arrest legitimately, or someone who is resisting with the intent to kill you, and escape to kill someone else too.

Minneapolis Riots, May 29, 2020

Though we have been conditioned in a mere seventy-two days to become docile COVID prisoners our attempts for the last one hundred and fifty-five years to treat blacks like humans has failed. Will it ever happen? I don’t know, but I believe we have a better chance of developing a vaccine for COVID-19 before we find a way to live with blacks.

A Sign of Distress

Day 61-SIP-Slow Recovery

After a slow start, I made a day out of it yesterday. The sky was grey and oppressing, it looked cool outside, so many excuses to not go out into the garden. Instead, I sat by my desk and wrote Day 60. I don’t even remember today what it was about, but it happened. This is a similar day. My big excuse today was I am waiting for the Maytag repairman, really. He hasn’t been this lonely guy trying to stay busy while calls for repair never come. I can tell you this, This is the second time I’ve called in four months. The first time was for my relatively new washing machine, nine months old. It just quit working. Thankfully, it cost me nothing because of the warranty. This time it is my dishwasher. The latch to open and close the door is broken. Once it is locked I need to put my foot up against the cabinet and yank with two hands to reopen it and to retrieve my dishes. At least this machine is ten years old.

I finally made it into the garden by 2:30 in the afternoon. The chore was to thin the irises out of the pond. Irises grow with a strange root system. They aren’t called roots they are rhizomes. They don’t grow down into the ground but kind of surf the top. What the books don’t say however, is that the rhizomes send out roots.

When my pond was brand new, I planted a single iris near the edge. In the past twelve years that single plant kept expanding and now cover an area of six feet by four feet. That is way to large a bed for a single species of flower in my small pond. It has to shrink.

June 15, 2008
June 11, 2018

The design of the pond is simple. A kidney shape with an ess-shaped stream flowing from a waterfall. The water falls into an widened area almost like a mini pond and then meanders about twenty feet to the big pond where it widens. What I found out yesterday was that the mouth of the stream had narrowed by fifty-percent. The mass of irises had grown its way across the mouth. Had I not ripped them out, within another few years they would have blocked the stream . Another finding was that below the rhizomes was a two inch thick mass of fibrous roots. I literally used a crow bar to pry them loose from the original gravel bottom.

All of these things have been contributing to the water loss I have when the stream is flowing. The thick roots make the stream bed shallower and thus the water runs higher and over the water retaining liner. It will be interesting to watch what happens this summer when I turn on the fall again. Between the grasses that over ran the small pond at the bottom of the fall, and the irises overgrowing the mouth of the stream I was losing a couple inches of water a day from the pond. That did not make me a happy camper.

I just read an article that the irises are prone to getting a disease called iris rhizome root rot. The leaves become soft, and the rhizome root grows mushy. Iris root rot is a caused by Erwinia carotovora, a bacterial phytopathogen. It usually gets inside the rhizome through an opening created by some kind of injury. That last phrase got me. There is a very high chance that I will further lessen the iris crop when this root rot takes over. By cutting and breaking the rhizomes during thinning I injured them and left the ends open which allows the pathogen an entry point. Only time will tell. Next spring is when I expect to see the unintended effect of my work. The sad part is that I have to reduce the bed further which will take another two to four hours to accomplish. The sadder part is that for every two hours I spend working in the garden it takes me two to four days to recover. Thank God at least I am still recovering.

Day 55-SIP-New Milestone

Yes, I accomplished a new goal. I took ride on my trusty two wheel convertible and lasted for seven miles without awakening my sciatic nerve. I must admit that even though the nerve did not fully awaken it did begin to send signals of uneasiness. For those who don’t know why I’m concerned about my sciatic nerve it is because it runs from the back through the ass and down to my knees. Ever try pedaling a bike when so much of the engine is hurting? Let me advise you, don’t.

We are three days away from the point when we who live in zone five can plant flowers without worrying about a frost. Except that this year I am not going to trust that date at all. The weather in general has been too cold. I can testify to that after experiencing the bike ride. I often tell the story about how my wife Barb and I waited patiently to get started in the garden and planted annuals on May 15. That year we had a killing frost on May 30. If you are a gambler like I am give it a try, and be prepared to cover your plants when the temp is predicted to drop into the thirties.

This year, I am redesigning my yard by transplanting perennials and redistributing them to where annuals used to be. The reason is that I have way too many beds dedicated to annuals, (because I love the colors and huge spreading masses of flowers) and I cannot maintain it anymore. Well, let’s just change that to I don’t want to maintain it anymore. I’m getting too old and lazy. With COVID-19 closing businesses I can’t even count on getting fresh plants from the nursery’s even though I need to get some to fill spaces. The alternative to this is to let the garden go natural, except I abhor out of place native perennials, and I would spend my summer-in-place pulling weeds by the bushel.

Lobelia With Rabbit Barrier

Today, my Lions club announced on Facebook that it is officially cancelling their annual fund raising WURST FEST. This would have been our fortieth anniversary, but in the interest of the community health and safety we are giving it up. The event has been our largest fund raiser of the year and fuels our service projects through the year. Until COVID-19 is dead we will replace this crowd attracting event with a more simple fund raiser.

Also on the Lions front, the club held it’s first meeting since February using ZOOM. It went well and we are pleased. The attendance was about half (27) of what it would have been (48) if it were live. We usually use our Community Center for the meetings but it is closed, and the President’s and Governor’s guidelines are to keep meetings to less than ten, to use social distancing and to wear masks. The last thing we want is to infect each other then go out into the community to infect others and the next thing we know the Lions are responsible for shutting down the entire town. That works against our creed which is to serve.

The country is definitely feeling the effects of the shut down. Our unemployment rate is nearly that of the great depression in the thirties. I was born at the very end of that one, and maybe I’ll be buried at the end of this one. What a history. Yet the time between has been among the greatest experienced by the planet. I wouldn’t want to live in any other timespan. I have seen so much development during my lifetime I don’t think a greater period of positive development will come along for many years to come.

I have always thought it would be cool to be so advanced that countries get to the point where they held virtual wars instead of real hard-fought wars. Think about that, it would be computer against computer, programmer against programmer, and gamers against gamers. No one would die of the injuries inflicted on line, and the winner ends up owning the loser.

Over 1 million Reddit users waged a virtual war to create this bizarre work of art with 16 million pixels

I think I’ve had too much coffee.

Day 51-SIP-Potpourri

My plan for today was to spend an hour in the garden, wear myself out and then migrate to the desk to write. Nature changed my plan. The temperature this morning is in the low forties, and it is way too cold for me to suffer in the dirt. So, I moved on to writing. As usual I don’t have a theme to talk about so I watched some videos on how to make household disinfectant. It seems to be a popular product these days as all the stores are sold out.

The formula for making it is simple. There are three ingredients isopropyl alcohol, (99%), water, and essential oil. The end result is a solution of 70% alcohol that smells nice.

I watched another video sent by a friend which is an interview with a 30 year veteran emergency room doctor who explains the mechanism of the COVID-19 disease process. Its too complicated to write about so I’ve linked it for you to watch. His bottom line is that he believes we are doing the wrong thing by telling people to wait until they have shortness of breath or trouble breathing to go to the hospital. Evidently, by that time the pneumonia is advanced and harder to treat.

While I read my emails I opened a few interesting tid-bits of fun which I will also share with you.

How to Get To Heaven
A true Story from an Irish Sunday School Teacher. 

I was testing children in my Dublin Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting to heaven. I asked them, ‘ If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?’ NO!’ the children answered. If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the garden, and kept everything tidy, would that get me into heaven?’ Again, the answer was ‘NO!’ If I gave sweets to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into heaven?’ Again, they all answered ‘NO!’ I was just bursting with pride for them. I continued, ‘Then how can I get into heaven?’ A little boy shouted out: ‘YUV GOTTA BE FOOKN’ DEAD.’ It’s a curious race, the Irish.   Brings a tear to the eye, doesn’t it?

Old Guys Rule!

My last item is a story of something that happened to me this week. I read a daily email from a friend Tim Fox. He spends considerable time doing what I do that is waste time in front of the computer reading things about government fails. He sent me his usual package which is a string of videos from five different sites, a commentary, followed by a set of memes which are usually hilarious. He calls this newsletter Conservative News.

Two days ago, I opened one of the videos about a scientist who deals with viruses. I had a few minutes to watch it and then had to leave it for later. Yesterday, I opened it again to watch the remainder, and it was gone, You Tube removed this video from its website a number of times, citing its Community Guidelines. The video featured an interview with a lady PhD scientist who worked on viruses at the NIAID. Her boss was Dr. Tony Fauci. Does that name ring a bell? To make this story shorter, the woman landed in jail, and was gagged from telling her story for five years. I want to learn more. It smacks of a great conspiracy within the bureaucratic bowels of our government.

I wrote to Tim Fox and asked for her name so I could follow up. He sent me her name and a link to Amazon which is selling her book. She is Dr. Judy Mikrovits PhD and her book is Plague of Corruption.

Day 41-Quarantine-Phenomenon

Yesterday the weather turned out to be the exact opposite of the day before. The sun shone, the temperature was warm, and everyone’s disposition was bright. People were out walking again, although practicing social distancing. It strikes me as funny when walking and I spot someone coming toward me but still several houses away one of us will head for the street so we don’t pass each other too closely. Yes, we take the rules seriously.

The warmth brought out the bicycles. I have to admit that bikers don’t give hoot about social distancing when on the bike path. They zoom past you without the usual vocal warning. Sometimes I felt a wave of warmth flush over me as they speed along. Evidently one doesn’t need to be spaced apart when you pass each by with great speed. I’ll have to research whether the virus can jump that quickly from one person to the next.

Last night I came across a movie titled Phenomenon with John Travolta. I’m not a huge fan of Travolta when he plays the villain, but when he plays ordinary people I love him. In this film he was an ordinary guy struggling to make living and to get a date with a girl. He lives in a small California town which never gets named in the film where everyone knows everyone else. He celebrates his fortieth birthday at the local pub with a huge sign proclaiming that the first drink is on him. He leaves the pub for a breath of fresh air and looks up into the night sky to see a phenomenon in the form of a bright ball of light that is rapidly coming toward him, and it blasts him to the ground. He Awakens a new and different man. He become s voracious reader reading as many as four books a day. The reading brings him knowledge which stuns the people of the town, because up to this point George was just an ordinary guy who barely made it through high school. The more he knows the more he wants to know and his reading evolves into experiments in his gardening his shop.

George’s buddy is a ham radio hobbist, and once while visiting him he overhears a message in morse code and deciphers it. He learned Morse code from one of his books. George asks his buddy to key a return answer to the message. A few days later the FBI shows up and take him and his buddy in custody. He intercepted a secret government encrypted message. The Feds were not appreciative that their code was broken, so they assume George must be a spy because only spies can do that kind of stuff. The story has a love theme, wrapped in a science fiction mystery theme. It has a beautiful, happy, but sad ending. I wanted to story to keep going.

What has this movie to do with COVID-19? Well, if I weren’t practicing social distancing at home alone on a Sunday night I would have been out with friends instead of watching a movie by myself. The character of George in this story was one smart feller who just might have been able to develop a vaccine for killing the virus.

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