Friday, May 28, 2021


I see evidence that I am not as sharp as I used to be.

I went to the park to run and while I was stretching I noticed I was wearing "garden shoes" rather than running shoes. Battered shoes with blown-out sides and the soles separating from the tops.

It matched my knees and gut. I must not run very hard because the old body is still holding together. The shoes made it 3.5 more miles without issues.


Cheerful, blue flower. Tentatively keyed out as Linum perenne

I have no idea what this is. Non-woody herb. Growing in damp soil associated with nettles, and jewelweed. 15" tall. Showy pollen producing structures at each leaf-bud.

Old bull, young bull

Kubota and I are having old bull-young bull issues.

It all seems pointless from this end. My name is on the deed and his is not. If somebody must move out it will not be me.


I received an email from a friend in southwest Missouri. She had lost all of her apples and pears to frost, again.

This selection in the USDA gene bank is listed as very resistant to fireblight and the taste is characterized as tart.

There are at least three species of crabapples native to the eastern United States, Malus coronaria, Malus ioensis and Malus angustifolia. All three of them tend to be much later blooming than Malus domestica, the common apple with M. angustifolia being the most reliably late bloomer.

These crabs come with many negative traits. The ones I have personally tasted were spitters...and then spit again to get rid of the remnants of the taste. Astringent and bitter and soapy tasting. The fruit were small and hard. The foliage was riddled with Cedar Apple Rust.

But research suggests that some of these crabs are only sour and not nasty. Sour can be fixed with sugar.

These crabs have some positive traits beyond their late blooming. They tend to be resistant to fireblight. Many of them are resistant to collar rot.

Neils Hansen a breeder in South Dakota used M. ioensis and coronaria in some of this breeding. Because of Mendelian genetics those crosses with M. domestica probably don't have super-late blooming but a sibling cross and plant-out would likely produce some seedlings with that trait.

House insurance

Mrs ERJ called the company that carries our house insurance to report the new roof and hopefully get lower rates.

The person on the other end of the phone was sympathetic but our rates went up due to assorted reasons. One of those reasons is that insurance companies base coverage on replacement costs and construction materials are getting pricey and you (might) need to pay a premium to get a crew to show up.

I think I have some readers who are in the insurance business. Any comments will be appreciated.

Garden report

We got a half inch of rain a few days ago. It soaked in quickly.

Something to do when bored, eliminates hunger pangs, reduces anxiety, helps focus, always there when needed and makes every task easier. But if you cannot take your wife to war then tobacco is the next best choice.

I got my tomatoes and a couple of short rows of tobacco planted yesterday. My timing was good. It looks like we picked up another half-inch of rain last night.

Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking "Tobacco. That kills people. Why would you grow THAT?"

Tobacco can also be used as an insecticide. Historically, tobacco has been used for money. It is ornamental. Once I have a strain it produces seeds prolifically and I can keep it going by re-grows and keeping in the freezer. If things get dicey then it would be hard to get seeds.

"Why not grow cannabis?" you might ask.

Well, a few different reasons.

Smokable cannabis kills give-a-golly while tobacco seems to soften both boredom and terror and helps people focus.

Smoking cannabis influences people much, much longer than the effects of nicotine.

Cannabis makes people hungry while tobacco dulls hunger pangs.

Growing cannabis is likely to attract attention from the wrong kinds of people even where it is legal while tobacco will not get a second glance.

Quality of cannabis is highly dependent on the absence of viable male plants in the area, something that a small-holder cannot control. Tobacco does not care.

Tobacco makes a fair insecticide which could be important if ectoparasites like lice become an issue.


  1. It is regulated State by State but there are similarities. The new roof did help on premium but the companies are running scared over the effect of inflation. They are charging rates now with the expectation of what they will pay next month and next year. Back in the '70s there was a well used endorsement called "Inflation Guard". It has fallen by the wayside. I intend to reinstitute its inclusion as a standard in my agency. In the 70s it was possible to have enough insurance when the policy started but not have enough when the claim happened ten months later. And no, I have not been in business since the 70s. You learn a lot a a kid at the dinner table.

  2. Yep, nicotine based chemicals are used for termite barrier that is sprayed before a slab on grade is poured and also sprayed around the inside of a crawl space foundation.

    Tomatoes, pickling cukes and a couple of pepper plants coming up. Taters doing very well in the tire tower. Just made a raised garden with cement blocks and filled it with garden soil after laying down a weed barrier.

    The next day, I noticed something had been digging around in my new garden space, scattering soil all over the place. I suspected it was the raccoon I caught on my game cam trying to get to my bird feeders a few nights ago.

    Got out the old Havahart live trap, baited it with some Jetpuff mini marshmallows and voila! Trapped raccoon waiting for transport to USFS land about 20 miles or so from my house. Naturally, I'll use heavy gloves when handling the trap and releasing the critter, plus carry my pistol just in case the darn thing takes exception to my choice of his new abode.

    Young bull/old bull. Our Dad always told us boys "I brought you into this world, I can take you out." Back in the day, my two younger brothers thought they'd try the ol' man out. It was like two pups against a cornered Grizzly. They didn't fare too well.

  3. Heh. I recall as a young bull, verbally challenging my father.

    I was bigger, stronger, faster and well aware of my inexperience. Pops had experience. And I will never forget him telling me- - - son, you may get some licks in, BUT I WILL KNOCK YOU THE F*CK OUT, whenever you want to try it.

    Words mean things. I love you, Pops.

    p.s. I never went there.

  4. I'm not surprised to hear about home insurance going up in price. I had a big jump a couple years ago; I asked and was told that rebuilding in my area had been consistently LOTS higher than expected the last couple years.
    We are moving and I was surprised that the quote fr the new house was less than half the quote for the old one; its only 10% smaller and is more remote.

    With tobacco, there is debate and a reasonable case can be made that the worst effects of cigarettes come from the processing and chemicals used to make it uniform and quick to handle.
    But smoking anything is not a good idea due to particulates in the lungs; many people get enough particulate exposure from other tasks that additional exposure from cigarettes, weed, etc is a problem for them.

  5. January 1992, my 18th birthday, Dad says "let's go have a talk in the barn" where we'd covered every "man to man" topic leaning on a gate over looking the barnyard.

    Short version delivered in an emotionless and dead serious tone:

    "Happy birthday. I'm proud of you. You're a grown man now. I'll give you a three months free after graduation. Come Sept 1st you have three options if you want to maintain a bedroom with your stuff here. 1.) Join the military 2.) Enroll in college full time 3.) Write a check to your mother for $250 every month. If you don't like those options, you can live wherever else you choose."

    1. So which option did you choose?
      Inquiring minds want to know.

  6. I know that in NC you can't grow tobacco without an "allotment" from the state. I think it has something to do with the legal settlement years ago, but I have never been around tobacco farming, so I don't know or understand the nicities.

  7. Joe, I think the mystery herb is 'Tufted Loosestrife'. 84% confidence according to PlantNet - this is a neat app my brother-in-law introduced me to. Snap a picture, submit it to PlantNet, get an answer. Can identify by flower, leaf, bark, fruit, or habit. Would be interested in your experience having it identify things you know, to see how accurate it is.

    1. Bingo! Thank-you, sir.

  8. Yes, building costs have been going up slowly, but since January, the cost of lumber skyrocketed, adding an average $30-36,000 to the costs to rebuild. Companies are worried that people will not have enough coverage to cover the 100% coverage to rebuilding cost ratio that satisfy the requirements of your policy, and that may trigger a co-insurance penalty if the costs to rebuild are greater than your coverage. Periodic reviews with your agent are a good thing, especially if it hasn't been done in awhile. As an agent of 40 years, I love proactive clients who call with questions and regularly review their coverage needs. The steel roof should give you a decent discount. (Some companies also have discounts for central station alarms and whole-house passive generators).

  9. When I lived in Kentucky, it was legal to grow tobacco, but you could not sell it unless your property had an allotment called a "tobacco base". Regarding insurance, I am fighting with Allstate right now about $17,000 worth of hail damage that they want to settle for $5000. What good are good rates if the company won't pay when you need it? I've been told that USAA is one of best for paying fairly.

    1. Check your local Farm Bureau agent. If KY is like NC, they have an insurance arm. I've always been well-treated by ours. Price is decent, and the service excellent. Never had to argue about a claim.

  10. Saw the title and as sometimes happens with me, the brain took a hard 90 degree turn. My winter coat in winter, spring and fall it's the jean jacket what do these things have in common? Enough pocket space to hold phone, checkbook, keys and usually a battery bank in case the phone dies. The last major grocery trip near the end of April saw me wearing the jacket. I had to make a run the other day. The temperature was near 90. Needless to say I didn't wear the jacket, let alone the flipping coat. The problem is my normal going to the store pants have rather small pockets, meaning the checkbook and phone kind of stick out just asking to be lost. I ended up strapping on my smaller of two fanny packs. I looked like a cross between a tourist and a jackass. While I care less about fashion than I used to, there has to be a more elegant way of dealing with this that doesn't end with me getting cargo pants with huge pockets and yes I understand the irony of referring to either cargo pants or fanny pack with the word elegant.

  11. SHop your insurance to other companies. THen allow your current agent to bid.

    Do NOT be afraid to go out of towen for quotes.
    I have found over 255 variance on the same coverage from reutable insurers.

  12. Ah yes, de agony of de feet.

    I too have a pair of cheap assed shoes for yard work. One day I went to mow the lawn (gas powered push mower) and decided to wear those shoes and not bother lacing up my work boots. About 1/3 through the job, my butt was really starting to drag, and I realized it was because of my shoes that I was having to work so much harder. Went and switched out to my boots--

    Boots are 1/2 size over so I can use inserts like these (just chose these for illustration)--

    The combination adds a little springy boost to each step--not a big thing, but the cumulative effect and lack of fatigue at the end of the day is profound.

  13. Re: Old bull vs young bull. I have long contended that these battles are essential. The young must work up sufficient verve that they leave the comfort of free everything seeking "freedom". The old have the much harder job of motivating kids to take a low wage ( and low esteem and fun) job. Whilst also moving in with enough friends to be able to pay the bill's.

    It was at this point that my father said" Comes a time in a man's life when he has the right to learn from his own mistakes."

    I hope it works better for you than it did for my dad.


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