The Colonel In His Garden

gargI venture out into the early morning stillness.  The fog lifts with the rising sun.  I pick my way carefully over the lawn, it’s blades still wet.    I am here to prune, to pick, to breathe. The Victorians called it “taking the air,” I think.  It’s August, and the kitchen garden has changed over from Spring to late Summer.

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The fencing around the kitchen garden is weathered to perfection.  It’s taken over ten years to get this point.  Good things can not be rushed.  The gate is secured to the post with brass hinges, and a small hook acts as the latch.  What really keeps it in place though is the swelling of wood on wood.

The kitchen garden – part hobby, part utility, gives one a sense of accomplishment.  One is growing things often from seed, sometimes will a little help from the local nursery.  It’s work, and it’s joy.

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Green Bean Leaf

With a regretful and grateful heart, the green beans are pulled up and tossed onto the mulch pile.   Their yield exceeded expectations, out-growing our ability to harvest them.  The strings that remain have grown too large and would be bitter.

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A gardener’s tools are simple.  Poultry shears and suede-palmed gloves.  Garden gloves are purchased in three-pair bundles at the end of Winter and are thrown out after Autumn clean-up.

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A pair of ten-year old sneakers make the perfect footwear for traversing dewy grass, mud, and whatever else the gardener is liable to step in!  High-tensile glue and duct tape for clamping have extended the life of this footwear well past the manufacturer’s specs.

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The cucumber vine has stopped producing and should join the mulch pile.  But I can’t bring myself to pull it up.  Even with half it’s leaves dried up it still looks beautiful clinging to the fence.

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The zucchini and yellow squash get pruned.  The gardener’s task is to determine which leaves are still feeding the vegetables, and which are suckers.  And the decision is sometimes subjective.

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One bed is given over to flowers.  Zinnias add brilliant color and grow up to five feet.  The blossoms do not give off an odor, but they are a hardy plant and attract bees, humming birds, and butterflies.  Marigolds contribute red and gold colors and emit an odor which repels harmful insects.  One can see the Zinnias crowding out the Marigolds, a third of which have been transplanted about the squash beds.DSCN5791

God paints.

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Symbiosis.

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In the upper beds, Pumpkin plants initiate a welcome encroachment onto the lawn.

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As the zucchini matures, leaves begin to die off as they finish transferring the last of their nutrients and water to the vegetables.   Amid the browning of the late Summer this zucchini leaf, a full 20 inches in diameter is still feeding new specimens.

Summer Squash

Pumpkins intertwine with zucchini and mimics in the upper beds.  Mimics are weeds that resemble squash and tend to grow in or near gardens.  Fully mature squash are two strong for mimics to choked out, so vegetable and weed live side by side in a state of detente.  In the background, the colonel’s wife gathers this week’s harvest.  Everything will find its way into some recipe or another.

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No prizes at the country fair, but an impressive specimen never-the-less.  This pumpkin found itself deposited on the ledge by it’s parent vine and seemed content to remain there.

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It’s easy to forget that zucchini are squash.  This one hid under the the broad leaves of it’s vine for weeks!

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Back in the lower beds.  Front row: green pepper, jalepeno pepper, egg plant.  Each green pepper plant has yielded one to two vegetables per week for the last two months.  The eggplants are particularly generous this year – about one every other week.  The jalepeno plants has been yielding nearly half a dozen peppers each week.

Back row – beefsteak and plum tomatoes begin to ripen.

DSCN5782A labor of love.  No, really!

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DSCN5778To get the most out of one’s tomato plants, you have to be mean to them.

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On the side of the tool shed, the seeds from discarded pumpkins met with some interesting results.

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Squash needs the sun, though.  Huddled up next to the shed, this plant had too much shade to produce anything.  Brilliant blossoms, but not a single female among them.

 

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Just off the back deck, dozens of Black-eyed Susans provide a nice display.

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One of over a dozen pottings Lois lovingly creates in the early Spring.

Herbs

What kitchen garden is complete without a collection of carefully potted herbs?  Basil, parsley, cilantro, and mint all find their way into the cooking pot.

Every gardener will tell you that a good garden begins in the late Autumn or early Winter.

Mulch piles, fence maintenance and copious tool cleaning are vital components.

Here in Pennsylvania we are blessed with the friendship of 3 families that keep horses and have an abundance of “nitrates.”  I am always greeted warmly when I pull up with my trailer, in late October or early November.  It is the very model of the mutually beneficial relationship :-).

Selah.

 

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Immigration – Is There A Sane Solution?

Immigration is a hot button issue to be sure.

Some believe, (myself among them) that perhaps it’s time to align our immigration policy closer to that which other nations employ.

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Flipping Off Western Civilization

Flipping The Bird To Western Civilization @manningthewall.com

Flipping The Bird To Western Civilization

Not Cool.

This picture raises more questions than it answers.  Are these immigrants or native born Americans?  Tourists?  Members of the same family?

Without further information, all we are left with are presumptions.  But presumptions informed by experience.  This appears to be a family – a father and two daughters.  I feel sorry for the young lady in the middle.  She is clearly going along to get along and she’s too young to appreciate the ramifications.

The young lady in the blue shirt wears a face dipped in bitterness – reasons for which we can only guess.

What saddens me most – even more than the overt racism on display – is the obtuse position taken by all of them, particularly the man in the red hat.  A beneficiary of Western Civilization, he has taken it upon himself to curse the very culture which provides the protection he enjoys.

What is his next move when he finds himself surrounded by a majority population who hates Western Civilization as much at he does?

Posted in Current Events and Politics, Defining Western Civilization, Hearth and Altar | 3 Comments

The Solution To Healthcare.

Healthcare @manningthewall.com

Healthcare: Time to get serious.

The Commissars of the Federal Government are not serious about providing healthcare. They are on the other hand, serious about controlling the health insurance industry. The difference is important and should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention.

Government is about control. Healthcare, accounting for 1/7th of the United State’s economy represents a lot of control. If anyone is helped along the way, it’s usually an accident.

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Voluntarily Giving Up Power – America’s Second Declaration of Independence

Voluntarily giving up power is such a rarity, we name cities after those who do.  Such men make independence and liberty possible.

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (519 – 43o BC) was a Roman Senator who wanted to retire from public life.  But the Roman people wouldn’t let him.  So he came up with a plan.  He ran for Consul, the highest office in the Roman Republic.  This was a one-year, term-limited position.  Cincinnatus was elected easily, and served out his year.  At the end of his term, he retires to his estate, and manages his farm in the Patrician tradition.

Cincinnatus would have otherwise been a mere footnote in history.  However, the Aequians, a tribe to the northwest of Rome, declared war on the Republic in 457 BC.

Cincinnatus

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Happy Fathers Day!

Division of Labor.

I enjoy car trips with my wife. To be candid, she’s good company.  Now, do I wish she would take the wheel once in a while? Of course, I do.  But for the last 30 years, the pay-off has been huge.

We get to the hotel. I unload the car, piling the contents onto the luggage cart. The family helps as much as they can but mostly get in the way.  I push the cart into the lobby.  One of the kids, usually the boy, wants to come with me to park the car.   The wife steps forward to restrain him.  I raise my hand, palm out.  Let him come with me.

The Christensen Men @manningthewall.com

The Christensen Men.  Why must they grow up?

We exit the hotel, leaving the girls to check in.  When we come back to the lobby, usually she has the key-cards in hand.   I take them both, look at the room number and hand her back one of the cards.  Let’s go.

I’m slightly irritated.  It’s been a long drive.  The kids behave pretty well through the hallways and in the lobby.  The boy does have a rambunctious second or two.  She catches the eye of the offending party, ‘not now.’ Continue reading

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ROTC – Taking Their Turn On The Wall…

Cadet Summer Training, the annual capstone event for the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) is the largest training event on the U.S. Army’s calendar.  This year, over 5,000  Millennials will descend on Fort Knox, straining the logistical limits of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, an  organization who’s complexity rivals that of a Fortune 100 company.

A Tradition Of Leadership.

The ROTC officially began with the National Defense Act of 1916.  Civilian universities featured military education programs since the early 19th century.  The National Defense standardized the various programs. Continue reading

Posted in Current Events and Politics, Defining Western Civilization, Liberty | 1 Comment

Useful Ramblings

For the past few weeks, I’ve been knee-deep doing my part as a very-functional cog in the machinery of what is billed as the “largest annual training event in the U.S. Army.”  To no one’s surprise, Fort Knox is right where I left it last year.  ROTC Cadet Summer Training doesn’t leave much time to come up for air, but you make time for one’s priorities.

No, my twitter account has not been hacked, but some “Nigerian prince” has been using my profile photo. My thanks to those who alerted me.  I in turn have alerted Twitter, and hopefully that will be enough. Continue reading

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The Zombie Apocalypse And The Walking Dead. What Would It Take To Start Over?

Between Darwin and God, bet on God.

The Zombie Apocalypse – during my 2nd Afghanistan tour, my son introduced his mother to AMC’s The Walking Dead.  Upon my return, I too received an introduction to the program.

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Is Jeanine Pirro Right? Does Paul Ryan Have To Go?

Nothing is so fractious as the right side of the political spectrum in victory.  So, what do you think?  Is Jeanine Pirro right?  Does Paul Ryan have to go and step down as Speaker of the House?   Continue reading

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