Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Green thumb

I officially can use the expression "green thumb" about myself because today I literally had a green thumb! I weeded my beets for two hours and that was the result. Ok. ok. It was more yellow than green. But I'm still counting it.

I took Brandon, Wolfie and Saphira with me. Timmy went fishing with Dimitri. Which, if you think about it, means that he was hunting while I was gathering. ha ha.

We had a lot of work to do. The season is just starting to get really busy. McKenzie emphasized that I had to get the beets thinned ASAP, so that was the main goal. I also wanted to plant as many of my pepper and tomato seedlings as possible. I was lucky I went today because they were dry and starting to wilt.

We worked for 3 1/2 hours and I'm really proud of Brandon and Wolfie because they really did work. I only had to yell at them a little. And when I say yell, I mean yell, because the field is so big you can't just talk to each other when you are on other ends. At one point they were spraying each other with the hose. And at another point Brandon sat down for 15 minutes and widdled a piece of wood into a point with his name (crudely) written on it. But other than that, they were working pretty consistently. As I kneeled there in the dirt I kept thinking how awesome it was that we have this project that we have to do for hours every week. It forces us into the out-doors/fresh-air that I crave so much for myself and the kids. I feel so blessed.

The last time we came in the evening the bugs were brutal, so this time I remembered the bug spray. It wasn't bad though this time, for some reason.

We saw a turkey. :) McKenzie says they are building turkey and deer fencing because they eat everything.

Wolfie did a great job of poking holes in the black plastic and mixing in fertilizer. Brandon and Wolfie planted about 100 feet of seedlings (approximately a foot apart each). We turned on the drip tape for the first time. I weeded the beets. At first I was looking closely to see which ones had red stems so I wouldn't pick beets. But I quickly figured out that I'd never get done if I continued at that leisurely pace. So I started pretty much pulling everything like a mad woman. The beets were obvious. So there was no need to analyze what was or wasn't a beet. Just avoid the big patches of red-stemmed- similar looking ones. It was also a great job to do with Saphira because she sat next to me and could pretty much grab anything and it was almost guaranteed to be a weed. And if it was a beet, it probably needed to be thinned anyway. While I weeded them I also thined them about three finger lengths apart. There were long patches with no beets. And then long patches of densely growing beets. Which makes me think that maybe it would have been better if I had planted the seeds by hand. I replanted as many of them that I could in the bare patches. I still had a lot left when the sun was going down so I took them with me and hopefully will be able to plant them at my in-law's houses tomorrow. I don't know how much they will wilt in the car overnight. I don't know how hardy they are.

By the end of the day Wolfie was sick of me saying the word beets so he made me replace them with the word bread when i spoke of them; like "Look at this big bread" or "Boys, go water the bread".

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Questions for the Governor

I went to a town hall type/meet and greet meeting in which Gov. Deval Patrick met with the Cambodian community (at this awesome adult day care center for Cambodians!) It was great. When I walked in I got to chit chat with some young Democrat campaigners. We b******d about Capuano losing and Coakley losing and when our next shot at rectifying that is (2012) and if Capuano will run again (he hasn't announced).

Then Governor Patrick came in the room and all the standard greetings were done. And he said a few words in Khmer, which, of course, everyone loved. Then some Buddhist monks did a Victory chant for him, which was pretty cool (as he seeks reelection this November).

Then he gave a speech about accomplishments in recent years, which I won't go into, but you can read some of them here.

Then he took a number of questions. The first was from a Cambodian teacher at the high school who has worked there, something like, 22 years. He said that Cambodians are the lowest academic achieving immigrant group in Massachusetts (which I believe). He gave some dismal statistics- I think 6% of Lowell High graduates end up graduating from a 4 year college. (Don't quote me on that one). He was saying that the kids do well up to about fourth grade and after that they fall behind. Basically the question was "what are you going to do about this situation?" Gov. Patrick gave a fluffy answer about how he hasn't made any budget cuts to education despite the terrible economy, bla, bla bla. I wasn't sure exactly what that guy wanted to hear for an answer, but, if nothing else, it is good for Gov. Patrick to hear what's going on in his communities.

Another question was about the economy- this was the best one of the afternoon. The man stated how Cambodians have been a back bone in manufacturing in Massachusetts (it's very true). The man requested that contract bids for Lowell jobs go to Lowell companies. Patricks answer was "yes and maybe" and then he explained that his hands are tied as far as Federal contracts go. He talked about how the bidding process has been reformed and how you used to have to "know somebody" to get a job, but now it's more fair. He also talked about how our state continues to be a big bio-medical manufacturer (coincidentally- my husband just got a job doing that) and also the state is really making strides in "green" manufacturing.

I will be emailing the governor my thoughts on the subject because I thought it was an excellent suggestion and not one that should be blown off (the way it seemed like it was). I'll tell him that I understand that in times of budget woes, the cost of the bids are a critical consideration. I'll also say that obviously, there aren't always Lowell companies qualified to do all jobs. However, I think an ideal bidding process would give weight to companies who promise to hire a certain number of workers from the community. This would be for contracts for distressed areas like Lowell, Lawrence, Springfield, etc. So, please do consider that, Governor.

The next question was, quite possibly, the most interesting question ever asked at a Town Hall meeting. A man said that there are two temples residing in the same building- one upstairs and one downstairs- and the monks have been warring for ten years. And it has gone-or may go- to court. So, "can Gov. Patrick help solve this so they can live in peace?" ... Monks fighting??? Who has ever heard of such a thing? It's the very antithesis of Buddhism! I guess that's the fallen nature of man. We, Christians, don't exactly have a clean history when it comes to inter-church fighting. Deval Patrick said, in a very roundabout way that there was nothing he could do. I thought that was a sucky answer and I would make a great politician because I would have said that I have such-and-such staff member who has experience in mediating contracts between the government and the unions and he's very good and experienced and I'll call him right away and have him sit down with the Monks. I mean, even if the guy just sits with them for one hour and lets them air their grievances, at least it would look like the governor tried.

Then a girl asked him a good question and a moronic question. The good part was the observation that the parks have a lot of litter and the kids all go there and how it should be cleaned up. Deval Patrick said some affirming things and then said how the economy makes it difficult to allocate extra funds right now, but encouraged groups of volunteers to take on the projects. And I thought that was a great answer because -especially in this economy- you can't just throw money at every problem. If I were the governor I would have gotten even more specific. I would have said something like "I challenge you to gather 30 people to clean the park that concerns you most. Nothing can stop your generation when you put your mind to it. This is an opportunity to show your little brothers and sisters that you care. That the earth, your community, their safety, is important to you". Next question. lol.

The second part of her question was something along the lines of "Cambodian kids don't know much about the genocide that their parents went through" and "there's a disconnect between the generations" bla bla bla. "what are you going to do about it?" R U kidding me, girl? What the hell is the governor supposed to do about that?! First of all, I personally, know of dozens of genocide educational programs in Lowell. There are books. There are museum exhibits. There are photograph exhibits. There was a musical. There is the Ankor Wat Dance troop. The subject is covered extensively at the high school... There is, honestly, not much more the state could do to try to "bridge that communication gap" between generations. And if your family is having a problem- take care of it. That is not the government's job. sheesh. Gov. Patrick gave a wishy washy answer on that too, which she totally deserved.

I was surprised that the subject of immigration never came up considering this is a group of immigrants and the subject is a hot button one across the country right now. If I had the opportunity- and I think I will include this in my email to him- I would say that- as Governor there is nothing he can do about this situation- but should he ever seek a federal office, I implore him to please, please, look into the law that stripped immigration judges of the ability to take into consideration special circumstances when deporting permanent residents who commit crimes. Since they were stripped of that power they have been unable to take into consideration the non-violent nature of some crimes, large amounts of time that may have passed since the crime, the immigrant's community contributions since the crime, and the family hardship caused by a deportation. This situation is an atrocity and needs to be addressed. It affects the Cambodian community in particular because young men who have spent their entire lives in America are being sent back to a country they know little about, leaving families in wreckage behind. It's also important to note that this law, the Criminal Alien Deportation Improvements Act of 1995 (Search 104th congress) was passed immediately following the Oklahoma City Bombing in a backlash against immigrants that turned out to be for nothing, since the terrorist was home grown. The root of this bill was reactionary, not carefully thought out.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

How to read a mammogram

Have you ever wanted to know how to read a mammogram? Well, I never did. lol. But this week I did a temp job, recording hundreds of mammogram results for a Doctor while she read them... and now I (sort of) know how to read them. It's fascinating and fun! It's like playing "Where's Waldo" and after reading this, you too, can know how to read a mammogram! (sort of).

The radiologist I worked with was just amazing. She was so patient with my questions. We really clicked. She was one of many doctors working on a study that Hologic is doing as they attempt to get FDA approval for their new alternative imaging to the mammogram. This one is called a Tomogram or "Tomo" for short. I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the two images if my life depended on it. She seemed to prefer the mammogram but, like she said, "if we can diagnose with the same, or better, accuracy, then who am I to say I prefer this one because it's more aesthetically pleasing to me". Also the Tomo is less radiation. It seems to cause more call backs for calcifications though.

Here is what you are looking for:

A Mass. It is, well, just like it sounds. A clump of cells. These warrant a call back. If they project a star-like-look, "tethering" to the tissue around it- they are really really bad. Cancer is a parasite to all the cells around it. It can even suck in a nipple, turning it inverted.

If you have a star-like area but no clearly defined mass in the middle you call these back too. They are categorized as architectural distortion.

Focal asymmetry is a density seen on only one view (or sometimes in only one breast). Mammograms come in two different views: lateral and vertical. (by smooshing the breast once in each direction). Actually the vertical one is a little bit more at an angle to get more axillary tissue in (since that's where the lymph nodes cluster). When you find a spot in one view you have to find the same spot in the other view. The trick is- since they are from different points of view they are at different positions! One shows location and the other depth. It's fun to look at the two pictures and try to pinpoint exactly in the breast where the mass is. To check to see if the two spots you've decided on are the same thing you have to measure their distance to the nipple, as that will coincide.

Calcifications. AKA Calcs. -calcified cellular debris. These are the bright white spots on the mammogram. If they are round, clearly defined, maybe popcorn in shape- those are benign and don't warrent a call back. If they look like a cracker has been crumbled over the page (as my radiologist put it) then they are probably linear calcs AKA intraductal calcs. These are usually malignant (comes from the Latin word for bad). Those are what you are looking for. A cluster of four or more is what you're looking for. Usually they are very very tiny and easy to miss. You have to look carefully for them. They indicate DCIS -Ductal carcinoma in situ which is the earliest form of breast cancer, yet to spread to other parts of the breast.

If the calcifications look like "train tracks" -and these are usually pretty clearly in the veins, they aren't anything to worry about. But it does indicate that the patient has diabetes (or is very elderly). High blood sugar is just murderous to blood vessels. If they are floating in precipitate- wide in one view, stacked in the other- it is benign. I'm not exactly sure what Susan (my Radiologist) meant by that, but I'm going to take a guess and say that since it's floating in precipitate it just kind of moves around to wherever the mammogram pushes it. It's not actually ON something.

While looking at the mammogram you may also see little pods of fat which are dark and oval-like.

There are also lymph nodes. These are generally kidney shaped (see picture), but can also be round. The round ones can have a fatty hylum (middle). As long as the cortex (outer edge) is thin, then it's OK. Cancer can metastasize to the lymph node, which is bad news, so that's always something to watch for.

Cysts are round, like golf balls. Usually pretty clear. If there are several circles that are questionably a mass but they have smooth clean edges, no distortions/asymmetry, no calcs, nothing suspicious, it is, in all likelihood cycts, but it is still a good idea to call the patient back for follow up.

Sclerosing adenosis in a lobule looks like an octagon. It is a benign mass. Nothing to worry about.

You may see a nevus (beauty mark on the skin). Sometimes the mammogram technician will mark it with a metal ring. Susan said she prefers not to have them because she can tell what a nevus is and she is concerned that the ring might block something. Also sometimes they mark/point to a scar. This, she says is more helpful. After breast reduction surgery they will have a scar around the areola and that is helpful to note because it can explain away some tethering or architectural distortion.

Veins. These are kind of obvious looking.

Oil Cyst: black with white rim. Perfect circle. Caused by trauma to the breast. Filled with fat. Susan and I had an interesting conversation in we discussed how an oil cyst in just one breast could indicate injury via seat belt during a car accident. And how, if you were the driver it would be on one side and if you were the passenger it would be the other. But it would be the reverse if you were in England, so it's not very useful information as an amateur Sherlock Homes clue.

  • If breast is pointing left it's a right breast and vice versa.
  • You can tell if a woman is wearing deodorant
  • The fat that surrounds the breast tissue indicates how fat the woman is (though some are blessed with fattier breasts despite small stature). You can also tell if a woman has gained or lost weight over the years by comparing mammograms.
  • Some radiologists rate the obvious ones a "0" or "100" percent chance of malignant tumor. Others say "1" or "99". Susan was the former. She made fun of herself by saying she has some hubris to call it definitive. And now hubris is my favorite word. It's like the educated way of saying ballz.
  • The radiologist can zoom in and out of the image at different depths. If something appears suspicious in one depth but disappears in the others than it is (usually) OK. Also, you can tell if an image- say a nevus- is on the surface because it will show up on the shallow depths.
  • Susan joked that Radiologists tend to be OCD.
  • After reviewing the mammogram or Tomo, the radiologist gives it a score of 0-5 called a BIRADS (Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System). 0=incomplete, 1= normal 2= benign 3= probably benign 4=possibly malignant 5= malignant
  • It's pretty much pointless to do a mammogram on a breastfeeding woman because the image will be fuzzy/gray.
  • Each breast has clearly defined breast tissue surrounded by a layer of fat. It was fascinating to observe that some of the largest breasts actually had very little breast tissue. Sometimes a breastfeeding woman will have supply issues. There can be many reasons for it, but I was thinking that a mammogram could be a very useful tool in eliminating or confirming breast tissue as the cause of low milk supply
Personal story: At my 6 week checkup post second baby my OB-GYN discovered a lump. Since I was breastfeeding they skipped the mammogram and went right to ultrasound to try to eliminate the possibility of a cyst, but there was no fluid in it, so they had to biopsy it. (Thankfully) I didn't see the needle til I worked this Hologic job and OMG- it is huge. I kid you not, it's nearly the thickness of a pencil. There aren't many nerves in the breast though, so they really only have to numb the skin. It wasn't that bad. Lot's of bruising after though. After the biopsy they didn't get back to me so eventually I called them and they were like "yeah, it's nothing. You don't have to come back". And I'm like "oooookaaaaaaay"- I felt like there were a lot of unanswered questions. Like what is "nothing"? A cyst? A benign tumor? I didn't pursue it though because I had a million other things going on in my life. It was pretty unprofessional though. I won't drop names because maybe they were just having a bad day or something.

Later I was able to participate in a breast cancer study: "Descriptive Biomarkers for Assessing Breast Cancer Risk". If you've ever had a biopsy and are currently breastfeeding you can participate too. It's for a good cause and they pay you a little too. :) contact
slenington AT nre DOT umass DOT edu

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Planning for the future

My bff and I, (two young women who I consider to be very successful) both, every once in a while, make a time-line for ourself with goals and the breakdown to achieve said goals. She's gotten her bachelors, as a single mom, and I got my RN degree, among other achievements.

Last night on American Idol, one of the contestants, Mike, was saying that he had made the goal, a year ago, of making the top three in American Idol. He's in the top four right now, and I'm fairly certain he'll come in second place. Wow. I thought that was a powerful testament to the power of goal planning and positive thinking. So, I'm inspired to set some new goals for myself. Like, get back to 140 lbs, live comfortably/not behind on the bills (which is totally doable since hubby just got a job!!!), maybe get my masters degree and have another baby.

I remember looking back at past goal charts. Some of them never happened, like buying an apartment building. But it doesn't mean the goal wasn't a worthy one, it just wasn't the right one for the right time in my life. There were more important experiences I needed in this University of Life. God knew that and he put those experiences in my life, ahead of my cute little goal time-lines.

Edited to add: Several hours after writing this Mike was cut from American Idol, at #4. Lesson there? Even the best planning can't guarantee the future.

On an unrelated note: check out this kid.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Free Range Kids

This is a great article.
Also this.

This is one of my biggest soap box issues. My kids are free-range! Locking up kids in the house is not normal. I tell my husband and mom "I used to walk to kindergarten without an adult," and they both reply "East Lansing, back then, isn't the same as the (small) city you live in now". Really, people? Really? It was neighboring the Michigan State University Campus. There were just as many pedophiles back then as there are now. There were just as many busy streets. People are remembering with rose colored glasses. Also, remember mom?, when I was eight and you stuck me on a plane by myself to travel across the country to Arizona- with a layover/plane change in Dallas and Chicago! It's also relevant to bring up to them that my husband used to wander the jungles of Cambodia as a young child. It's filled with predators like tigers and poisonous snakes. When he lived in the Philippines, around the age of 6 or 7, he remembers walking way up into the mountains and playing with the tribal children, communicating through sign language.

This summer I have a plan for the kids to go out every single day to play. I'll make them a hearty breakfast. They can plan their schedule a week in advance. They'll have a cell phone with them, helmets, if on bikes, and if they want, I'll pack them a lunch. There is so much they can do around here:
  • swim the city pool
  • friend's houses
  • free kid's shows in downtown on Wednesdays
  • free lunches at the schools
  • local museums that sometimes do kid activities
  • six parks within biking distance including one sprinkler park
  • the library that has a kids summer reading program
  • plus a day camp I was thinking of signing them up for
  • dozens of eateries and even an ice-cream parlor
  • take the bus to the mall
Speaking of walking at the mall - has anyone seen the commercial for some phone network, in which the mom tracks her teenage kids at the mall with the cell phone (while she is there shopping)? Is that not, the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen? We are lucky, as a generation to be able to hand our kids a cell phone and say "call me if there's a problem". I am grateful to that. But with that ability we should be more lax as a society not less.

The biggest deterrent to free-range kids is not safety concerns or a predators. It's child protective services. We're literally turning into a Nazi gestapo society. It's very scary to me. I totally agree with the article that the only way to fight this is for neighbors to see lots of kids playing by themselves and get comfortable with it. I've actually had success with this in the past. When I let my kids play outside the neighbor kids slowly come out of the woodwork. You wouldn't believe how many of them there are. They're all hiding in there playing video games, getting obese.

When I was 11 I started babysitting! But now, people question you if you leave an 11 year old without adult supervision. It's absolutely absurd.

Also, no free range kids means no spontaneous ball games. So now we have these ridiculously expensive and time consuming leagues and classes in which moms become chauffeurs and dads become obsessive (sometimes rude) fans and kids get less actual ball time and it becomes all about winning and athletic achievement less about a fun game with the neighborhood kids. Has our society improved? I think the answer is obvious.

One of the comments after the article was spot on:

It seems to me that there is one key difference between neglect and letting one’s child have independence:

Does the child know where their parent/guardian is?

If they do not – mum ‘just went out’, ‘told us to go away, she was going for a drink’, dad ‘went somewhere’. You have a case for neglect. A parent has made themselves unavailable leaving children, in the least frightened and at worst, in danger.

If they can say ‘Mum and Dad are at home at 132 Acacia Drive’ or ‘I’m staying with Aunty Sara today, she’s at her house over there and said we could go out’ – no case for neglect. The parent or guardian has made their own risk assessment, and the child knows where they are and that they can go to them any time.

Obviously, one must allow for kids potentially forgetting stuff or making things up, but if you walk with a child back to their house, and there are their parents and all is in good order, there is clearly no grounds for concern.

Allowing children out of your supervision is not the same as making yourself unavailable to them.

Two digressions:

1. I'd like to slip in at the end here my theory on why society is becoming this. Because the number of kids we have has decreased dramatically, less eggs in the basket, so to speak. This is especially true on the coasts, where helicopter parenting is completely out of control. In my opinion, we've fallen away from the Lords design, of an average of seven kids per family. This is one of the repercussions of that. With obesity being an offshoot of that repercussion.

2. As you can see, I've compiled an impressive list of options for my kids to go to this summer, without me having to chauffeur them. This is one of the reasons that I am a big proponent of urban life and a protester of suburban sprawl. Relevant to that is the book Suburban Nation: The rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream In this book is the great observation that the suburban teenager's maturity is stunted by their need to rely completely on their guardian to chauffeur them around.


Monday, May 03, 2010

Day 2 at the Farm

May 1st. It's a beautiful Saturday morning so we gathered up the troops and I packed up every conceivable thing I could think of; including a folding table to eat lunch on ( a wasted effort however, because there was already one there). I relished the chance to sport the hippy farmer look. I wore work boots, a long skirt and a tank plus two french braids framing my face. My brother in law, Bun; niece, Jennifer and nephew, Calvin came along.

I was surprised that our neighboring farmers weren't there since the weather was perfect and everyone had so much planting to do. Our farm maintenance man, Don, had made raised beds for us with his tractor. To the untrained eye, they might look like rows of dirt; but to the farmers who made a single bed by hand last week, it was a work of art to rival Mona Lisa.

The kids worked with us for the first hour and then played. I was overjoyed watching them. I don't think I've ever seen them play so hard: running non-stop, back and forth through the rows and pouring cool water on their heads with the watering can. Thank God that Bun brought sun screen or they would have burned. I never think of that because I don't burn and my husband is dark skinned so I know it's unusual for them to burn. But the first scorching day of the spring on baby skin was turning Saphira's face pink.

Timmy used the rototiller to finish one half done bed and make a clean finish to the two ends of the field. We smoothed out the 200 foot bed and fertilized it. The way the tractor made our beds there is, like, a lump in the middle of each path. I hate to see the land go to waste so we're going to turn most of them into mini-beds, good enough for small crops, like our row of carrots. Timmy planted carrots and he had started to double back on the row with the extra seeds when I saw him from across the field. "STOP!!!!!!" I yelled. "Do you know how much work it is to thin carrot seedlings??"- one of the many things I've learned from farm class.

I have to say, before this year I was very naive about farming. Well, I knew I had a lot to learn and that's what drew me to this program which provided me with classes and a mentor, but let's just say I didn't know what I didn't know. Yes, it can be as simple as seed + water + sun + soil = plant, but that is just the beginning. That is like 1+1 = 2 in the world of agriculture. I'm used to being the class brainiac- especially in nursing school. I was usually the first one done with the tests and I did well, despite never reading the texts or studying more than just the night before. In farm class I was lucky if I could follow the conversation. Half of the vocabulary was a foreign language to me. Neptunes? Drip tape? Night shades? Mouldboard? disc and sickle mowers? nematode? tilth? hard pan? Sub soiling? Cucurbitaceae?* huh?? wha??? I loved the challenge though, the new world of knowledge opening up to me.

We also planted honey dew melons. These are a part of my little experiments this year. I had saved a bunch of seeds last summer to plant. Later I found out about "hybrids" and "heirlooms". Apparently much of the produce we eat comes from hybrid seeds that produce quality fruit but the seeds inside those fruit are sterile. I'm curious a) if that's true. (ha ha. I've got to see it to believe it. I'm such a dork). and b) how many of the seeds I collected this is true for. What is the percentage of our food supply that is altered like this?

We watered the seeds with the watering can, walking back and forth from the faucet to the field which took a ridiculous amount of time. We only have one bed planted too! (Three, two-hundred foot rows) There's a dozen more to go! We've spent so much time on it and there's so much to go. It just goes to show you how big a quarter acre really is. There's no way we could farm without drip tape. I look forward to setting that up soon. Did you know that 75% of water sprayed on crops, as opposed to dripped on the soil, is wasted to evaporation? That's a considerable strain on resources. Both money and water.

We took a break to eat stir fry beef and broccoli on rice. and ice cold water. Unfortunately for me, Bun brought two boxes of doughnuts. I say "unfortunately" because I have no will power and by the end of the day I had eaten four of them. Hopefully it was still a caloric break-even though, with all the hard work I put in at the farm. At one point sweat was dripping off my forehead and stinging my eyes. I love that feeling. It's refreshing to work hard like that.

I also planted a border of flowers and the front of every bed. Hopefully it will be real pretty. Maybe my neighboring farmers will be envious. no. that's mean.

Once home, we were all so desperate for a shower we hopped in 2 or 3 at a time. We were exhausted, and quite astounded to find that we'd only been there three hours. One thing that's hard about being a farmer is that coming home from the farm is like coming home from the beach. Everyone's tired. There's a load of laundry and a sink of dishes to bring in from the car and wash. There's garbage and sand. Cleaning up is a job in and of itself. All in all, it was a good day though.

  • *Neptunes: Fish emulsion, used as a powerful fertilizer
  • Drip Tape: A thin tubing run across your beds that drips water on your plants
  • Night shades: the nickname for the solanaceae family. potatoes, peppers, egg plants, tomatoes etc.
  • Mouldboard: A plow
  • Disc and sickle mowers: handle large, rough areas that need to be mowed
  • Nematode: A parasitic worm that can cause severe crop loss
  • Tilth: soil that has the proper ratio of sand, clay and organic matter to grow healthy crops
  • Hard pan: A layer of compacted, cement-like soil right under the top layer. Also called plow pan
  • Sub-soiling: Deep tillage to break up hard pan
  • Cucurbitaceae: the family of plants that includes gourds, pumpkins, melons, squash


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