We are Being Sifted?

I’ve been collecting seeds, mostly seeds from the ornamental flowers around the house. Each type of seed has to be handled in the right way to separate the seed from extra foliage, little pieces of leaves, fluff and sand. Petunia seeds are so small, they fall through the mesh of my finest sieve. I like working with Celosia seed. They  will fall through all sieves except the finest.

Sometimes, I have to let a flower stalk ripen and dry before I can collect the seeds. Other times, I must crush the dried seed pods with my thumb. Purple Cone flowers require patients. I must wait until the flowering head is black and dried. Then I put them in a metal container with a tight lid and shake them.  Sometimes, I pour the seeds from one container to another while I blow on them.

Celosia Seed after Sifting

When I’m satisfied with the purified seed, I will take 10 seeds, put them in a small plastic bag with a damp paper towel and watch to see if they will germinate. Sometimes, I must wait a week before I see those little green sprouts. Sometimes nothing happens.

Wheat Sprouting, 10 for 10.

While doing this, it occurred to me that the people of our world are going through a similar process. We are being winnowed, crushed, sifted, and sorted.

We’ve been without regular church services for half a year. When the doors open, how many people will be there? How many will be so small that they fall through the smallest sieve, or how many won’t make it through the largest sieve. How many can’t endure a little breeze and will fly away like chaff. How many can’t stand being crushed?

Finally, I wonder, am I going to be a good seed?

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Mask to Mask Meeting

High School Lion with Mask

When working at a nuclear facility, I frequently had to wear an air particulate respirator. I’m not talking about the N-95 mask that people wear to protect against Covid-19. This was the full-face rubber mask with a filter as big as your fist. We called it ‘sucking rubber’, and it was as unpleasant as it sounds.

I remember wearing one while sitting most of one night shift in winter, outside  on top of a nuclear reactor while the engineers tried to determine if they had a big problem or a little one. (It was little, but we didn’t know it at the time.)

Typical Full Face Respirator

Moisture would condense on the inside of the mask and I would slap the mask so as to make water streaks across the inside of the  mast so that I could see out.

I also remember  when I took the mask off, one of my co-workers burst out laughing. “Do you know what you look like?” “Yes,” I said. “I know.” The mast had left major grooves in my face. Also, the front of my coat looked like a quart of water had been poured done the front—this from my breath’s condensate.

I trained on use of a fireman’s air tank. They had us go up three flights of stairs and back down. I felt like I was breathing through a hose that was one size too small. I have heard that fire fighters in training would play volleyball while wearing air packs. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do that. I’m terrible at volleyball.

If you are wearing a respirator and feel like you are fighting to breathe, you are normal. The primary purpose of the training was to get us accustomed to that feeling.

You need to tell yourself to take deep breaths and to remain calm.

Once, I was wearing an N-95 mask around aluminum powder. When I removed the mask, I could see the grey streaks of aluminum powder around my nose. This happened because of a poorly fitting mask. This is what the experts mean when they say that the N-95 mask is not effective. The mask must be  tight against your face.  I will wear an N-95 mask while shopping or while working-out in the gym, though, I admit that I occasionally take it off so I can get a few unrestricted breaths.

If you are uncomfortable with the N-95 mask, then practice. Wear it even when you don’t need.

A few facts about respirators:

  • The N-95 reduces harmful particulates. It doesn’t reduce the risk to zero. The “95” means 95% effective for 1 micron particles, when worn correctly.
  • The mask comes with a metal nose piece which you are expected to shape to fit your face.
  • The Covid-19 virus is small and can go through the filter—HOWEVER, when it bounces off the fibers, it is damaged, thus greatly reducing the risk.
  • Particulate masks with exhaust valves can protect you from others but does nothing to protect them from you.
  • The mask does nothing if you wear it under your nose, which was the situation of about half the people I encountered in the grocery store.
  • Surgical masks are designed to protect the patient from anything you have.
  • These home-made cotton masks are even less effective.
  • Wearing anything is better than wearing nothing.

Finally, an N-95 mask is more comfortable than sucking rubber. 

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How Grandma Watered Her Lawn

This was my grandmother in 1964. She was two years younger than I am right now. She would put on knee high boots and water her lawn with a 4 inch diameter canvas hose. I remember taking the photo and thinking how great it would be, but my camera and my technical failed me. Only recently have I developed the skill to recover the photo and convert it to this drawing.

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Growing My Own Seeds

Last spring, when it was planting time, I found myself confined to my house. Growing a garden was “non essential” and some stores were closed and larger stores had closed their gardening sections. Plus, I was looking at a beautiful green lawn rather than freshly turned soil. I promised myself that I would never be in this situation again.

Now, when possible, I grow and collect my own seeds.

I made sure I was buying only ‘heirloom’ seeds and plants (as opposed to hybrid seeds and plants). With heirloom plants, it is easy to perpetuate your plants from year to year. Seeds from hybrid plants will revert to an unknown parentage and there is no way to know what that might be.

With peas, just collect those over ripe, dried up pods that you missed during your first few pickings.

Tomato seeds are easy to collect but must be fermented for a week before drying. Check on YouTube to see how this is done.

Carrots seed comes from a mature carrot on the second year.

When digging potatoes, I set the small bite size tubers to one side. They are the seed for next year.

When I dead head my ornamental flowers, I’ll allow a small portion to fully mature. These are for next year.

Petunia seeds are so small, you almost can’t see them.

Before planting any of my seeds, I’ll do a germination test.

Finally,  I’ve already ordered and received many of my seeds for next spring.

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Why the Coloring Book Drawings?

So, someone is wondering why I create theses simple coloring book drawing from a photograph—why not just go to the photo? There are three reasons:

  • Sometimes the photo is so poor, so confusing or lacking in aesthetic quality that it should be discarded. However, I might see that it has potential.  I use the line drawing is a way to correct the flaws in the photo.
  • When it is 3 AM and I’m tired but incapable of sleep, making the drawing is easy, relaxing and satisfying.
  • It is good practice and helps me develop my skills.
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We have a beautiful view out our back window. This is what it looked like for a year in 46 seconds.

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Video: Another Day in the Life of a Daylily

I made a more detailed view of a Daylily’s existence, shown at 600 time normal speed.


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Video: A Day in the Life of a Daylily

A Daylily bloom only lasts for one day. This is what the day is like in 34 seconds.

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Coloring Book Pages

2020 07 15 S (5) m6 msn Nicole, RileyWhile visiting our family, Ben Higgins kept wanting me to print pictures so he could color them. He was partial to drawings from How to Train Your Dragon, but I started making my own, based on photos I had taken. It was fun. I got hooked on the idea of reducing a photo to the essential elements.

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Hoe, hoe, hoe

This was the way I spent my summers more than 50 years ago. (It doesn’t seem that long ago.) Thinning, weeding and watering sugar beets. I posed my cousin Lyn, to the left, pulling up a big weed. I had my brother Allen, in the middle, hacking at a weed with a large weed hanging off his hoe. I had my cousin Craig, doing nothing. I was taking the photo. I tell people that as a photographer, I was outstanding in my field. No body laughs.

1964 06, 12 Beet Field EH102C m3 sn

My Grandfather, Oliver, seldom spent time in the field with us kids, but he wasn’t above it. At 74 years of age, I think he could out work any two of us kids together. No– taking into consideration the hours he worked, he could out work any five of us kids.
He taught us that if two people were at opposite ends of the field and happened to start on the same row, that when they met, they could just hop over to the next row and keep going. It sounds obvious to us now, but it wasn’t obvious to us then.

1967 05 (31) m2 sn Allen (16) & Oliver (74) hoeing sugar beets

These photos were taken as black and white. I’ve added the color.

A spud cellar is to the left. The barn is center and an irrigation canal we between us and the barn.

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