Thursday, February 20, 2020

Little bits

Belladonna has been sick for four days. She missed work. She missed school. The upside is that much of her school-work is available on-line.

I have been getting lessons on axons, ganglia and neurotransmitters.  And no, GI Joe is not an axon figure.

Boy Scouts
I regret that they are going bankrupt but it is probably simply recognition of a reality.

Bankruptcy is better called "reorganization". It frees up viable resources and buries the non-viable.

Scouting has many great things going for it but there is nothing to stop other organizations from copying those things. Merit badges, for instance. Camping. Oath, motto...

Scouting's failure is nothing more and nothing less than thinking that "My group of humans is not vulnerable to sin." Due diligence was not followed. "Hey, old Fred couldn't be doing that. I know him. It is just not possible."

Heads will be bent in sorrow. A few tears will be shed. The parts that are worth salvaging will be salvaged and people will move on. And we will keep making that mistake over, and over, and over again. "...not my party..." or "...not my church..." or "...not my family..."

Callousing box
This is a pretty simple set-up. If used for rooting, the cuttings should be placed in the dark (like black plastic bag) as blue light inhibits rooting in many species.
A callousing box is a heated box used by horticulturists to knit grafts together or to push cuttings into throwing roots.

Commonly grafted species like apples and pears callous easily, consequently they are easy to graft. Callous is undifferentiated tissue that covers and heals wounds in a plant.

"Difficult to graft" species are often difficult to graft because they are fussier about the temperature and will not produce enough callous at cooler temperatures.
Just a little bit warmer.  The setup is simple. It is a translucent storage tub purchased from Walmart. It is on top of a 1" piece of foam insulation. I have a dark Tee shirt in the bottom and a heat lamp shining through the top. I modulate the temperature with the newspaper. The temperature in the basement is 53F.

Most species callous most profusely at temperatures between 80F and 85F. Mother Nature does not produce those temperatures on command. One way to get difficult species to knit together is to create a warm space for a callousing box.

With regard to rooting, many plants that root from cuttings must first produce a ball of callous. After enough callous is produced, some of the cells get a clue and strike out as roots.

Callous is the equivalent of Stem-cells for plants.

I intend to graft some pears to some unrooted quince cuttings. The quince will be the roots. Then I will simultaneously heal the grafts and, hopefully, convince the quince to throw roots.

I am an on-again, mostly off-again runner.

Covid-19 convinced me to start running, again.

We will see how long that lasts.

"Everybody" says to run every-other day. I am slowly accepting that as a +55 year old in my particular body I might need to run one day and have a two "off" days for my recovery period.

An alternative might be to keep the one-day recovery and alternate short and long runs.

I hesitate to even call it running. I am going SOOOO slow.

Mrs ERJ mailed the last of the cards I was on the hook for. A surprising number of people showed up for Dad's funeral back in December. I was given a list of names and a stack of cards. I flew through them but somehow could not finish that last card.

In retrospect, it was because I would have to admit that Dad was no longer in this mortal realm.

Yesterday, Mrs ERJ gave me a nudge. "Cousin Tish needs her card."

After finishing it, Mrs ERJ told me where she had hidden my keys.  No, just kidding.


It is interesting that Woodland Caribou used to inhabit Michigan's Upper Peninsula. They ate lichens. After being expatriated, they were replaced by Whitetail deer. The deer are an asymptomatic host for a brain-worm that is nearly always fatal for moose and caribou.

I gotta bad case of it, right now.

I had breakfast with a small businessman. He called a supplier yesterday to place an order. The supplier informed him that he was supposed to ration parts. Headquarters had been informed that China had set up roadblocks and have testing truck drivers for fever for the last week. If they did, they parked the truck on the street and the driver was popped into quarantine.

Gangs showed up at night and stole the trucks from beside the roads. The police were too busy enforcing quarantine to deal with hijackings.

Rabbits are enjoying the branches I pruned out of the apple trees. They prefer the bark.


  1. For a procrastinator, you sure are busy... Good luck with the grafting!

  2. It all depends on where GI Joe lives as to whether or not he's an axon figure.

  3. Woodland Caribou ate lichens that grew on old growth. Logging, etc has wiped out a lot of all 3.

    1. Several attempts have been made to repatriate Woodland Caribou on the north shore of Lake Superior.

      The best success has been seen on islands where wolves are much less likely to predate the herd, especially at calving.

      Unfortunately, islands are easy to over populate and the small populations are vulnerable to inbreeding-depression.

  4. If running is that hard on you, have you considered speed walking? I always found it was in some ways better exercise, and a lot easier on the joints. Especially with some hand weights.

    1. Right now my biggest issue is stretching. It just seems so...sissy.

      I think I will get much of my mojo back but I have to be persistent and patient. Writing my running "miles" on the kitchen calendar is a good motivator.

  5. Kung Flu is gonna really mess up stuff short term. In the long run it will stimulate our manufacturing base.

  6. My neighbor was a hard core competitive runner that transitioned to bike riding when his body said no more. Being ultra competitive he eventually crashed his bike and had to give that up as well. He now stacks rocks into stonewalls as a landscaper, makes a decent living and stays fit. You should probably just go right straight to landscaping and save the bike expense.

  7. Don't hit the exercise or hard work too hard at your age because when you get to my age it will hurt to open a can of beer. I made that mistake and over did it too much to get things done, now I don't get much of nothing done and hurt all of the time. I regret not being a little more moderate so I would still be able to work and enjoy myself.--ken

    1. Frowning with concentration and deep thought: So, if I am reading this right, you are recommending whiskey bottles with screw tops?

      On a serious note, do you care to share what decade you are in? I see a big drop-off in my coffee drinking buddies between the age of 75 and 80.

  8. The grandson who lives with us is in Cub Scouts. First of this week we got an e-mail from Boy Scouts of America and then the next day one from Boy Scouts of America Mid Iowa Council. Both emphasized that the regional councils are separate legal entities and that camps and other activities will go on.

    The legal separation will be disputed in bankruptcy court. We will see what the future holds for Boy Scouts.



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