October 20, 2010

I found in western states, where the speed limit was 75 or more, very few people exceeded that, and I felt safer among them.  We drove because I wanted my son to have my classic Mercedes for his family and clients to enjoy.  We returned by train, and we were amazed at how smoothly the train started each time, so I asked how much the diesel-electric engine weighed.  They weigh 180 tons!!  I have always approached rail crossings timidly, but now I am super sure no 180 ton engine pulling a loaded train is thundering down the tracks towards where I am crossing its path!

I hired my now lawyer son as a co-driver back 40 years ago so he would have some experience and be hirable as a driver, a position I thrived in.  He did well, but I asked him to fly to Denver so I could teach him how to treat the classic car I was entrusting to him.  I believe in forming good habits, especially if doing something boring, like driving long distances, or gardening, in an off gardening year like this.

I consider a habit something that you repeat every time you do a job – look in both mirrors before turning into another lane, turn on the proper turn signal, look again, ease into the lane for instance is a good habit to develop.  I believe if that becomes a habit, if you neglect any part of the action, you will realize you did it wrong, and correct it.  Watering house plants should be habitually done, as should weeding garden plots, and treating family members better than I treat Judy.  But habits take developing, and improving.  Judy agrees, and I continue to try.

Going to a doctor regularly or in emergency is a really good habit, young or old, and my favorite for 45 years has been Dr. Willyard, who has a younger partner-Doctor, a beautiful, friendly, fun  receptionist, an excellent staff of nurses, and knows the best area specialists to send me to for further treatment, and I am still alive!

Fall is here, and we have pretty good fall tree leaf color, for the weather this year, and leaves are falling.  Leaves are a problem, or a blessing, depending on what you learn about them, and what you and your neighbors choose to do about them.  My choice is to chop them up with a mulching mower, blow and rake them into piles, and layer them in mulch piles to use as mulch and fertilizer. 

They are pretty weed seed free, we are going to till our vegetable garden in the fall anyway, chopped up and tilled in – they decompose quickly.  Sawdust decomposes much, much quicker than pieces of wood, also, but chopped leaves are quickest and best.

When you till your garden areas is an excellent time to test your soil for nutrient content, and advice on what to add to help it do what you want of it.  We have an excellent soils lab in Fort Wayne, A & L Great Lakes Lab – its address is 3505 Conestoga, near U.P.S.  Call them at 483-4759 for information or directions, but I recommend digging about six inches deep (depth of garden and lawn roots), and taking a sample, about  1/2 cup, putting it in a pint jar, along with about 6 to 10 other samples of your area to be tested.  Write on it what you want to grow in that area.  My tiller makes garden samplings easier.  

They will test it, mail you the results, telling you the pH, the amount of organic matter, the concentration of the principle plant nutrients present, and their recommendations on correcting any problems discovered.  In Allen County, I believe, they notified the Extension Office of the results by location, to help the horticultural and agricultural experts guide land owners in that area with problems.  Some agricultural and garden supply stores may send and pay for your sample to help you buy proper fertilizer.  I try to re-check it every three or four years, and the food we harvest is wonderful and plentiful, if it is warm and it rains properly.  .  .  .  Good gardening

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