Thursday, June 18, 2009

There's a Book for Everybody

My son is exclaiming and sharing all that he is learning in his new all time favorite book ever, The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead, by Max Brooks. Since getting the book on Tuesday, he has learned about Marshall Law, learned the gun terms caliber, magnum, and knows exactly what to do in case of a zombie attack--as you might guess, you should already have a plan...

Yesterday, my daughter came down the stairs, tears streaming down her face, quivery lower lip and sobbed, "Jack is dead!" Poor, poor Jack, Laura's dog, dies in By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My daughter cried for him as we talked about how guilty Laura had felt for not petting him more. We agreed that maybe she should go and pet our 23 year old cat. That would maybe help her feel OK.

I am hunting down vermiculite on line as they don't have big enough bags of the stuff in any nursery or gardening center around here. Why do I need a big bag of vermiculite? Because I am making a raised bed for vegetables and using the approach outlined by Mel Bartholomew in his book, All New Square Foot Gardening. With this approach, I make a soil blend and one third of it is vermiculite. One third is peat and another third is a mix of different types of compost. Because of the third compost, the garden is wonderfully fertilized and is truly organic. Hurray! I'm reading the book and tracking down my supplies.

My husband is reading about baseball or bicycle repair or VW bugs, or something that has a thing as its subject. You can't escape that if you're an industrial designer.

One time my husband and I were in an old post office and when we got out of there, my husband asked me if I had seen the very elaborate system they had for opening the windows that were high up. I guess there were bars and pulleys and cords and I hadn't noticed any of that. Not only had I not noticed the means for opening the windows, I was only vaguely aware that there had even been windows. I don't go around reverse engineering the world as my husband does and I rarely raise my eyes more than 20 degrees above the horizon--if that.

My husband was a bit surprised by that--how can you not notice if there are windows or not? I don't know. How can you not notice a tone of voice or a facial expression and how that contributes to communication? Hmmmmm?

All this to say, there is a book out there for everybody.

Happy reading!


Sue said...

We found huge bags of vermiculite at a home brewing place in Roselle last year. We tried the square foot gardening - without good results. We may have had too much of something (I'm guessing the peat?) or not enough sun where we are. I also think we bought the wrong kind of vermiculite (I forgot how it was categorized... coarse, medium, fine maybe?) We were going to try again this year, but have a new problem, so we haven't gotten very far. I have a lettuce plant in a pot, though.

Laura said...

Sue, that's disappointing. Can you e-mail me where you got the vermiculite? I'd rather get it locally than have it shipped across the country so I can have my organic garden--ironic...

How's your lettuce pot doing?

Christina said...

You might reconsider using peat. It's a non-renewable resource with a big carbon footprint. 80% or so of the peat bogs in Great Britain are gone. The peat in soil amendments in the USA now comes from Canada, I believe. The IMCG -- Internat'l Mire Conservation Group -- has a very informative website here: There's also a page on their site called 'Peat Alternatives.'

For my garden boxes I used a blend of peatless (is that a word?!) organic planting mix along with some of my own compost.

And since this post is about books, a couple favorite edible gardening books of mine are Gaia's Garden (Toby Hemenway) and Lasagna Gardening (Patricia Lanza). She also recommends peat in the soil mix but I like all the rest of her advice!

Whatever you decide, homegrown fruit and veggies are the best.

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