Saturday, April 17, 2010

Plastic garbage patches all over the oceans.

I'm sure you've all heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Well, there's another one in the Atlantic Ocean. These might not be the only two, either.

The problem is that plastics were designed to last forever but then used to make products designed to be thrown away. Much of the plastic trash we generate on land flows into our oceans through storm drains and watersheds. It falls from garbage and container trucks, spills out of trashcans, or is tossed carelessly.

At sea, floating plastics are swept up into slowly moving currents. These currents are called gyres. Most of the research on plastic trash circulating in oceanic gyres has focused on the North Pacific, but there are 5 major oceanic gyres worldwide, with several smaller gyres in Alaska and Antarctica. Marine researchers don’t yet know the extent to which plastic pollution exists in the world’s oceans.

We've GOT to stop using plastics!

This is my contribution to National Environmental Education Week.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trying on smiles ... two months old.

Yesterday was another adventure in babysitting here. Some things worked and some things didn't.

The Graco Bumper Jumper that I thought I'd pressed down HARD on fell apart when I put Astrid in it. I THINK I've fixed that problem this morning and just about did a hand-stand in it to test it. Of course she got scared and I got embarrassed.

After that, I had to build up my trust in her mind. She feels most secure if you hold her head and her behind. I think that's why she likes Em's human swing. Her head is cradled in one of his hands while her butt is cradled in the other.

Dave and No. 1 brought a swing over with her, but she didn't like to be tied into the restraints of it and placed a little too high she felt insecure and placed a little too low she could fall out of it, so it took a while to find a comfortable level for her to take in the surroundings.


I'll order some rechargeable batteries and a charger that accommodates C cells, as the swing was left here for future use, but currently requires manual labor. My foot couldn't do it and my back started to complain leaning over, so the batteries and charger will provide musical entertainment for her and osteopathic aid for me.

Outside of those two fails, we had a good day, I think. It was a BUSY day (at least for me). She liked to fall asleep after eating in the burping position on my chest, but any attempt to remove her from my chest awakened her.

We did have some fun socializing on the floor, though. Getting social was new since I last sat for her. She's now responding to social interactions with parroting sounds and smiles.

You're funny, Mormor!

THAT was just SILLY!

What do you think about THIS smile?

Em got home from work and provided the human swing while I ate supper. When his arms tired of swinging she uttered a complaint and he swung her again. This process was repeated until I finished my food and No. 1 and Dave came to the door.

Not sure Em's going to continue with the Race Track job. The employees had to buy their own shirts this year (which he thought petty) and it just doesn't seem the fun it once was.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wet paper towel garden seed germination update.

Today I noticed the first sprout in the wet paper towel germination experiment. It was a Better Boy Hybrid. I put the sprout in a pot with starter soil, setting it on the master bathroom windowsill with the Tommy Toe Heirloom and two super-small pieces of sweet potato.


Some of the paper towel pieces had dried out, so I sprayed a little water onto those and put them back atop the Uverse box (which provides heat for them). So, that was 6 days until germination using the wet paper towel method for that particular seed. The other Better Boy seeds in that packet have also sprouted slightly, but the one I took out had a sprout 1.5" long.


Not gonna have as large a garden this year. We're a small family, so if we only have two tomato plants and two sweet potato plants we'll have enough. We still have sweet potatoes in the freezer from last year. More would be NICE, but I want to trim things this year and maybe introduce a little decorative landscaping that requires little maintenance in the back yard.

In other news, Em went back to work today. He had an eye appointment this morning before work and everything seems fine after the second cataract surgery. He's to come back for a final check in 3 weeks. So far, it doesn't look like he'll need glasses unless he really wants to read in our dimly lit bathroom.

I'm looking forward to caring for Astrid this weekend while Dave and No. 1 attend the Renaissance Fair with friends. I bought a Graco bumper jumper and No. 1 will bring over a swing and buggy just in case I need more ammunition in a fuss-bucket situation. Em will be at work, so there won't be a human swing for her.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

National Environmental Education Week.

Next week is National Environmental Education Week.

Seems like every time I turn around there's a week/month dedicated to something or other, but here's one I actually care about. I wouldn't have known about it had I not seen the challenge at Farmer's Daughter, so many thanks to the woman who teaches Environmental Science but is currently on maternity leave. Now that I'm a first-time grandmother, I have more than one thing in common with her.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Gardening in just one hour/week.

These folks are WAY more experienced than I. I think No. 2 could do it, though.

h/t Simple, Green, Frugal Co-Op

Friday, April 02, 2010

Seed Germination Problems.

I started tomato and pepper seeds this year at the beginning of March. I could have started them earlier, but had other things to do. Here it is four weeks later and the only thing I have to show for it all is ONE Tommy Toes start.

This year, I used a combination of seed starter (which I'll never use again - It resembles rabbit feed insofar as it's pellet-like ... to absorb moisture, I assume) and sphagnum. The seed starter was too heavy and large, not to mention that it held enough moisture to mold on occasion.

Lacking a greenhouse, basement, or any other setup, I did pretty much what I did last year with that Burpee seed-starting number (most of which fell apart over the summer). I planted the seeds in biodegradable pots (mostly peat because I found a great deal on them), watered them, and covered them with little plastic sandwich bags for humidity. On warm days, I put them outside, bringing them inside in the evening as the evenings turned cool. There was a lot of back/forth involved, including taking off the sandwich bags if it looked like there was too much moisture, etc. My kitchen table was always a mess with various stages of pots.

Today, I took three of the peat pots apart to see what was happening within.

The answer was, basically, NOTHING. There was NO sign of sprouting, and not even any sign of a seed!

Since we're going to be busy with other things the next few days, I decided to spend some time today starting new seeds using the hippy method that some learned during the 60s to more quickly sprout marijuana seeds. <--I don't, personally, know anything about that, but my next-door neighbor mentioned it one day.

Basically, seeds are put between two damp pieces of soft paper (like paper towel), put in a plastic baggie and put somewhere warm, but not necessarily sunny.


Takes a lot less room and zero work while the seeds germinate. AFTER germination, they can be transferred to the pots and set in increasingly bright light.

Fortunately, peppers and tomatoes are the ONLY two garden items I germinate first. Everything else grows quite well seeding outdoors. I wouldn't even be surprised if some tomatoes and peppers will volunteer from last year's crop.

How's your garden doing?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

TED: Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity.

Funny how grandmotherhood "reactivates" interest in some things.