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Showing posts from February, 2018

The Square Foot Evangelist

This article was written about me for a June 2014 edition of a now-defunct local newspaper. While some of of the information is obviously dated (has it really been four years!?!) I thought I would re-post it this week as I start another season of Square Foot Gardening Talks and Demonstrations with my appearance Thursday at H.W. Little Hardware in Wadesboro.  At the call of “Adventure!,” Laika, a two-year-old white and black terrier mix bounds enthusiastically from the adjoining room where she had been stretched out on the sofa. It’s Saturday morning in the Wynfield Creek home of Square Foot Gardening guru John Marek, and I’m here to talk with him about his latest community development project, Square Foot Gardening-Lake Norman, but it’s apparent that this isn’t going to be the typical “views and snooze” interview. “You’re wearing hiking boots… good,” he says as he motions me through the garage door and toward his vintage Jeep Wrangler, Laika wagging happily along beside. “Last brand-

The War on Valentines Day

We tend to think of political correctness in schools as a relatively new concept, but the truth is that many of its elements had already seeped into our educational system by the mid-1960's, sometimes with unintentionally hilarious results. When I attended Immaculate Conception elementary, starting in 1967, a particular (and peculiar) rule about Valentine's Day had already been in place for a couple of years, at least: In a nutshell, anything you did for one person had to be done for your whole class. My mother was a world-class baker, and just about every year she made special Valentine's cupcakes for me to share. (Which by the way, I understand is no longer permitted.) They were white cake with either pink or red icing and a small piece of mellocreme candy in the shape of a cherub or heart on top. In that case, the rule was understandable; it wouldn't be right to bring in cupcakes for just a select few classmates. Where things got a little dicier was with regard to

The Magical Mysterious Farmer's Almanac

My father, Bennie, was a voracious reader. Every night after coming home from work and completing his outdoor chores he would sit down with both the local papers, the Port Clinton News Herald and the Sandusky Register and read them pretty much cover to cover. Dad also had a taste for tabloids like National Enquirer, Weekly World News and Star. About as close as he came to an actual book was the Old Farmer's Almanac. From as early as I can remember, the distinctive yellow booklet was a fixture in our household. Sometimes it just sat in the pile of other "reference" books on the kitchen counter, but sometimes dad would hang it from a nail in the mudroom where he sharpened his pencils and put on his boots before heading to work every morning. By the time I was 8 or 9, and with entertainment options in rural north-central Ohio somewhat sparse, I decided to have a look for myself. At that point in my life, I knew the Almanac primarily from the semi-mystical pronouncements da