Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nevada Turns 150 Years Old

Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864 and this year is celebrates its Sesquicentennial so I thought I’d share a few facts about the Silver state. 

·        Although it is called the Silver state, it is also known as the Sagebrush state and the Battle Born state.

·        The name Nevada came from the Spanish word nieve meaning "snow-capped”. 

·        It is the seventh largest state in the union and the most mountainous. 

·        Over 90% of Nevada is owned by BLM (the Bureau of Land Management). 

·        In 1999 Nevada had 205,726 slot machines, one for every 10 residents.

·        Nevadans usually pronounce the second syllable of their state name using the /æ/ vowel of "bad". Many from outside the Western United States pronounce it with the /ɑː/ vowel of "father" /nəˈvɑːdə/.

·        Samuel Clemens moved to Virginia City and took the penname "Mark Twain" as a reporter working for the "Territorial Enterprise.”

·        Carson City is one of the smallest state capitals in the country.

·        Nevada is the largest gold-producing state in the nation. It is second in the world behind South Africa.

·        Hoover Dam, the largest single public works project in the history of the United States, contains 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete, which is enough to pave a two-lane highway from San Francisco to New York.

·        The state's Highway 50, known as the Loneliest Highway in America, received its name from "Life" magazine in 1986. There are few road stops in the 287 mile stretch between Ely and Fernley.

·        Nevada tribes include the Shoshone, Washo and Paiute.

·        Area 51 is acknowledged with State Route 375 officially christened "The Extraterrestrial Highway" in a ceremony featuring the director and cast of the movie "Independence Day." The highway runs between Alamo and Tonopah. There is a tiny restaurant stop at the Little Ale' Inn at Rachel.

·        The only Nevada lake with an outlet to the sea is man made Lake Mead.

·        Las Vegas has more hotel rooms than any other place on earth.

·        The longest morse code telegram ever sent was the Nevada state constitution. Sent from Carson City to Washington D.C. in 1864. The transmission must have taken several hours.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Cleanup: Do you agree or disagree?

I read an article several weeks ago (sorry I can’t remember from what website, or I’d mention it here), but it isn’t the first time I’ve read this.
In the article I looked at, the writer talked about clearing out their gardening beds in the fall, to remove the dying plants and adding them to a compost bin. By doing so removed the threat of diseases from spreading. They also suggested rototilling it then laying down a layer mulch or a cover crop.  For perennial beds, they suggested cleaning it out and applying mulch.

I guess I’d say I have to disagree, I generally don’t clear out my vegetable beds or my perennial gardens until spring. Perhaps it is a matter of preference or I never encountered the problems they did.

I understand that by depositing dying plants into a compost bin, the gardener is creating additional fuel for his compost for the following year.  But I’m wondering if they haven’t created just more work for themselves by clearing out the beds in the fall then again in the spring. 

Nature, for the most part, provides a natural mulch with leaves and the dying growth from the current year. By leaving the natural layer, it provides the animals with things to nibble on in the winter as well. I don’t mind the spring cleanup because after being inside for the winter, I enjoy the work.

However, I am, by no means am married to either process, so I’m asking you—do you agree or disagree?  Do you prefer to clean out your beds in the spring or the fall?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

GPS - how would we get along without it?

There are very few of us who are unfamiliar with satellite-based navigation system called GPS (Global Positioning Systems). We have them on our phones, in our cars, and our Garmins. Hikers, hunters, snowmobile enthusiasts, mountain bikers, and cross-country skiers enjoy the ability to track their progress or their position when they’re out having fun.

A year ago I purchased a GPS tracker for my husband who does a lot of riding in the “wilderness” of Nevada.  Every ten minutes or so it sends back a signal where I can track his progress. There are several buttons in case of emergency along with customizable ones that inform me of his progress.  It provides a level of comfort that I can always track where he is at as he treks through the mountains behind our home.

Last month, after staying in Alaska to take care of my son who’d been in a serious accident, my hubby drove home.  He turned on his tracker and I was able to follow him all the way to our back door.  You can see the print screen I took of his progress (all except the first day).
Growing up, this kind of technology was unheard of.  In fact, the first GPS satellite wasn't launched in 1978 and the grid of 24 satellites wasn't completed until 1994.  But today, it’s common to punch in your desire for a cup of Starbucks coffee, or a friends address and find its location to within 15 meters.  For some it is used for security.

I often wonder how we ever made it down the road before GPS.  I guess we needed to learn how to read a map!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Weed Cleanup

I’ve covered weeds in a couple of blog posts earlier this year, so I thought I’d follow up with a couple of winter weed tips.

If you’ve kept up with your weeding through the year, this may not be an issue, but weeds do not stop growing—even in winter.  Okay, they probably do, but why give them months of uninterrupted time to get a head start on you? Even though I’ve stated in the past that I only weed once a year, I do give my garden a once over in the fall trying to catch those sneaky ones that have escaped my notice.

Remove the invasive weeds and unwanted plants.  But be careful.  Fall is when weeds go to seed. If you disturb the soil too much, what seeds have fallen on the ground have the opportunity to germinate. Also, make sure you don’t put weeds or invasive plants, especially the seed heads, in your compost pile as they will populate your garden next year.  Then mulch—it’s still the best weed preventer there is.

If you have a bed that has generally “gone to the weeds”, then smother any new plants by covering it with a sheet of black plastic and secure it with rocks or bricks. Next spring you’ll have a garden free of weeds.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Regret Nothing

I must admit that from time to time I have considered getting a tattoo—albeit a very small one—like a rose the size of a dime on my shoulder.  But the thought of the permanent ink going awry has stopped me in my tracks every time.  While looking up a word on I ran across a list of misspelled tattoos. Unlike Melanie Griffith’s band aid cover up of her relationship with Antonio Banderas, some of the mistakes are too big for band aids and now the words are permanently etched into their skin.

So I’m taking a poll. What would you do if you got a tattoo only to realize it was misspelled?

Monday, October 13, 2014

What to do with Potted Chrysanthemums

One of the things I look forward to in fall is the blooming of Chrysanthemums. I covered them in my Plant of the Month post last Monday. They are abundant in size, shape, and color and bloom well into fall giving your dying garden a splash of color.  They come in two basic varieties:  Florist Mums and Hardy Mums. Florist Mums, grown in zone 7 or higher, are generally the ones you find in the stores in the spring, whereas Hardy Mums can grow in zones 4 through 9. 

Chrysanthemums are easy to grow, but should be planted in the early spring after all danger of frost is gone. The roots need at least six weeks without extreme heat or cold before they become established perennials. So what do you do with the plants you get in the fall to decorate your home, decks, and patios? 

Potted mums aren’t necessarily grown to be perennials, but then again, I have stuck them in the ground only to have them come up again in the spring.  And sometimes, they didn’t.

After they’ve outlived their usefulness as the bright spot next to your door, I suggest go ahead and plant them in your garden.  Plant them in the ground as soon as possible, even if they look done in. Even though they may look dead, doesn’t mean they are—they could just be dormant. By not planting them, the plants will definitely die, at least this way you have a chance of them popping up in your garden next spring.

So what do you do?  Clip off all the foliage to a couple inches of the top of the pot.  Find a spot that gets lots of sun and has rich, well-drained soil. You could even plant them in a sheltered area like next to the house for added protection from the frost.  Plant them at the same depth as they were in the pot.  Water and mulch them well.

Who knows, maybe you’ll see them reappear next spring.

Your turn:  Have you tried planting the mums you buy this time of year?  What results did you have?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Why I pay the price to go to writers conferences:

               Every year I try to take in at least one writer’s conference or retreat. I put money aside, so I can get on a plane and rub shoulders with other authors, editors, and agents. Why? Because it’s all about marketing. It’s all about meeting other writers, learning from the challenges they are facing, making connections that will help a writer, interested in pursuing a publishing career, later on.
               But it’s also about the friendships established and molded over the years. At my very first conference, I met three very special writers: Debra Clopton, Linda Goodnight, and Janet Tronstad. We spent an afternoon touring San Francisco, but even more, their passion for writing made me determined to move ahead with my desire to be an author.
               Several years later, I attended a Susan May Warren My Book Therapy retreat. The friendships we molded on that long weekend together are still with me today. We created a group called The Ponderers and we do weekly blogs at Several in the group have moved on to publishing careers and we rejoice with each success. I was able to meet with another group, shown here, that I have made casual and professional connections with over the years.
               Some may believe writing is a lonely profession, but if my experience to day is any indication, it takes a whole team of writers behind you to help you along and going to a conference makes the difference.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Plant of the Month - Chrysanthemums

A fall garden is not complete without Chrysanthemums.  No other flower gives off so much color as do mums. They form round mounds of yellow, orange, red and many other colors.  Their blooms come in daisy like varieties while other have round globes. Their shapes are as endless as their color, and they are generally easy to grow in the ground or in containers. 

Light:  Partial Sun/Full Sun

Zones:  5 - 9

Plant Type:  Perennial

Plant Height:  1 – 3 feet

Plant Width:  1 – 3 feet

Flower Color:  Yellow, Orange, Red, Maroon, etc. 

Bloom Time:  Late summer – early fall

Special Features:  Great for cut flowers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Faith Happenings

It used to be you write a good book, you could get published. Times are changing as are the demands for authors to promote their work with an online presence.  One could also say it’s hard as a Christian to find faith-based resources at their fingertips, in one location. But the literary agency with whom I’m associated has created a website for both Christians and artisans.

FaithHappenings located at showcases events specific to a region, from concerts to fundraisers.  It’s for authors, speakers and musicians to advertise their work. Anyone can find a wide assortment of faith-filled books, music, audiobooks and videos. By selection, one can receive daily emails with devotionals suited to their life’s needs—male or female, college student or parent.  The opportunities are endless and the journey has only begun. And, it’s free!  It is your Complete, Tailored, Faith Resource.

So if you’re tired of scouring the web for faith opportunities and resources, I invite you to go to, sign up in your local area, and then look around.