Our Garden

Our Garden

For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), planting a garden is something we’ve been encouraged to do.  Some will go so far as to say we are commanded to do it.

We live in some very troubled times when any day we could awake to find our economic system in total shambles.  All it would take is a flip of a switch, an earthquake, or a crazed criminal.  I’ve seen things upset on a micro scale enough to understand that it would not take much to upset the balance on a macro (world-wide) scale.

Perhaps it never will, but knowing how to plant and tend a garden is valuable in many ways.

Economic

It has an economic value.  I was in Wegman’s the other day and horseradish root was $5.99 a pound.  It grows like a weed here.  I bet I’ll get $30 worth of the stuff this fall.  Tomatoes are about $3 a pound, and I easily picked 3 pounds yesterday in addition to a few dollars worth of peppers.

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The Garden

Knowledge

Knowing what will and will not grow where you live is important.  I know I can’t plant a lemon tree here, but I can plant rhubarb.

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Tomatillo

I also know tomatillos grow well here too, as well as tomatoes and other night-shade plants.  Let’s not forget cabbage and other  plants like it.

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Tomatoes
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Chilies
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Green Cabbage
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Red Cabbage

Preparedness

Now that we’ve had a successful garden, I know if things fall apart there are lots of things I can grow.  After they are grown, I know Elizabethe and I can preserve many of them for the winter time when things don’t grow as well.  Canning, drying, curing, pickling are all means of preserving food from the garden.

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Onions

 

I’ve heard some people argue that after you do all that work, and spend all that money, you might be better off buying it from the grocery store.  That might be true for some items, but planting the right items for your area will always pay off.

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 We do live in troubled times.  I see that California is in a very sever drought.  Israel is at war with Hamas.  Our government is in a rapid free-fall.

The big question is… Is this all linked to iniquity?

Anyone would be a fool to say it isn’t.  I’ve quoted this before and here it is again.  This is from the Family Proclamation to the World:

Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

The warning specifically mentions disintegration of the family.  I believe that includes all of the following, but not limited to…

  • divorce
  • incest
  • gay marriage
  • adultery and fornication
  • child, spousal and elderly abuse
  • rape
  • sexual perversions
  • pornography
  • states that give family services power over the constitutional rights (California being one of them)
  • the depiction of any of the above in entertainment as entertainment
  • etc.

All one has to do is look at the news, or watch any TV show.  Even cooking shows have thrown some sort of anti-family content in to their programming, and if you don’t get it there, you’ll get it during the commercials.

If the Book of Mormon is a type and shadow of things to come, then I think we’re getting close to the end of the Book of Helaman and the start of 3rd Nephi.

 

Jalapeño

Jalapeño

Yes, those somewhat hot musky flavored jalapeño peppers are ripe in my garden.  I picked quite a bunch of them today and made 3 pints of salsa and a pint of pickled peppers. (How many did Peter Piper pick?)

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Jalapeño

I also picked a bunch of yellow banana peppers.  I did one pint of them for pepperoncini, and saved the rest for Elizabethe to turn in to pickled rings for sandwiches.

One of the habanero peppers was ripe.  Not sure what I’ll do with just one, but the other should be ripe in the next couple of days.  I like how Aron Sanchez described them on Chopped.  He referred to them as a bite of sunshine.

Everything used in my salsa came from the garden – onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, basil.  Well, except for the salt and citric acid, all of the produce came from the garden.

Speaking of salsa, a trick I learned was to use about 1/4 tsp. per pint to up the acidity.  Don’t use vinegar.  It ruins the taste.  Lime juice works too, but you have to add so much that it makes too much liquid.  I just chop everything up, toss it with the spices, salt and citric acid, and pack it in the jars.  Once in the clean, sterile jars, you can hot water bath it to seal the jars.  (Without the citric acid, it is not acidic enough to water-bath.)

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My morning was spent meeting with the Ad Council of Rochester and the MPWCC board.  Our rebranding process is moving along.  Our process today involved prioritizing many of the customer touch-points.

No Meeting Day

No Meeting Day

Today was a no meeting day for us photography service missionaries. Our usual Tuesday conference call was cancelled.  That’s okay for me.  After being gone all last week, I had a lot of catching up to do.

After going to the temple this morning, one of my catch-up items was grocery shopping.  I headed to Wegman’s to get the usual perishables.  While I was there I bought one of their pizza rounds to make a quick pizza for dinner since Elizabethe and I work at the temple tonight.  When it came time to make the pizza I discovered the round was bigger than our biggest pan.  It was huge.

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Before the Oven
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Cooked

The basil and tomatoes were from our garden.  The rest, store bought ingredients.  All the same, it was great.

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Do you know of anyone who wants to open a tourist-driven business?

We have this great building in the Village of Palmyra.  This building has a residential apartment.  (Could easily bring $600-700/month rent.)   It also has a retail store.  (Another $700-800 rent.)

They say the three important things about retail stores are location, location, location.  And, here’s why this building has a great location.  (By the way, I don’t own this building, but if I had the money to invest, I would have bought it by now.)

Location – it is located right behind the Grandin Building.  This means bus and car traffic in and out of the Grandin see this building.  Thus, anything that would appeal to a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would work well at this location.  (Oh, there’s already an LDS book store sharing the same parking lot.)

Location – it is in the heart of the village, and easy access to Route 31.  Route 31 gets a LOT of traffic.

Location – it is close to other anchor businesses:  a candy store, LDS book store, pharmacy, pizza shop, and a couple of doctor’s offices.

My personal face-to-face poll of local residence tells me a bakery would do wonderful here.  Something like a Panera Bread, or a Kneader’s, etc., would draw in customers from all around the area.

Contact me and I’ll put you in touch with the owner’s real estate agent.

Much More Rain

Much More Rain

We got much more rain today.  Again, with the leak in the roof we had to place pots and pans in the kitchen to catch the water.  We had quite the puddle on the floor when we got up this morning.

The rain came down most of the day.  At some times, it was pretty heavy and steady.  All day long you could hear the drips hitting the pots on the floor of the kitchen.

The frustrating part is it is hard to find a good roofing contractor here in Western New York.  You ask if they are insured, and you never hear from them again.  (Which is a good indication they are not insured.)  In some parts of the country, most anyone can slap a roof on a house and it will be fine.  Here, because of the threat of ice damming, roofing has to be done correctly so the water doesn’t back up and damage the roof.

My morning was spent working on some print restorations for a client.  We had 9 prints that needed to be photographed and then digitally retouched for reprinting.  These were very old prints from the late 1800s.  They were in pretty good shape with the exception of some mold spots.

Much Rain

Much Rain

We got much rain last night and we also have a leak in the roof.  We’ve been getting a steady drip in the kitchen.  Last year, I thought it was fix, but the leak is back.  The first thing I had to do to day is put towels down to dry up all the water on the kitchen floor.

Last night, a man from Georgia arrived with his two sons and nephew.  They spent the night and went to church today.  The invited Elizabethe and I to join them for lunch.  After lunch, they were off to see the sites and head to Harmony, Pennsylvania.

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The Boys and Mike

Mike was here 3 years ago with his oldest son and the YM from their stake.

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Our priesthood instructor got stranded in Washington, D.C., with the storms.  He called me late last night saying he wouldn’t be here. Through the wonder of the Internet, he was able to copy his lesson to the “cloud”, and on to his wife’s iPad.  She brought her iPad and his projector and I was able to present his lesson using her iPad.  How cool is that!

Sisters Noble and Featherstone came to dinner tonight.  We fed them the soup and salad we made yesterday, plus some lasagna I made.  I filled the lasagna with lots of veggies from the garden.  I’m really a big fan of using flour tortillas instead of pasta for lasagna.  It is fast, and easy, and it takes less time to cook!

Walworth Festival

Walworth Festival

I spent some time at the Chamber of Commerce booth at the Walworth Festival today.  It definitely was the wrong audience for our booth, but you live and learn.  The festival was put on by the Lions Club and was largely aimed at families with small (grade school and younger) children.

Garden Harvest

I picked a bunch of bok choi from the garden today.  What in the world do you do with a bunch of bok choi?

I made a cole slaw from some of it.  It consisted of thinly sliced bok choi and dressed with the following:

  • 1/8 c De jean mustard
  • 1/8 c sugar
  • 1/8 c rice vinegar
  • 1/8 c sesame seed oil

It was pretty good.

I also made a mushroom, bok choi, beef soup.  Again, it was pretty good too.  It was basically bok choi (chopped), mushrooms (sliced) and cubes of chuck steak cooked in beef broth.

The banana peppers are also coming ripe so I picked a bunch of them.  They will become pepperoncini.   You have to let them dry a bit before canning them or else they turn to mush.  Drying peppers in this humidity takes a LONG time.

 

Workshop 2014 Last Day

Workshop 2014 Last Day

Workshop 2014 Last Day is today.  We spent time working on painting our composite.  Of course, we didn’t complete it in the 3 hours of class today, but we got a start.

After class I administered the Certified Professional Photographer exam.  Two students were scheduled, but one was a n0-show.  The CPP exam is a 100 question exam that tests the candidates technical knowledge about photography.  It’s not an easy exam, and it is coupled with a 15 image review.  Once the candidate passes both, they are awarded their certification.

—–

Now that workshop is over, I want to comment on some stuff I heard on the radio while driving to and from my class.

First, there seems to be this overwhelming attitude in the media and entertainment that sex and love have nothing to do with each other.  Yes, sex isn’t love, and love isn’t sex, but they ARE emotionally and spiritually connected.  I’m sooooo tired of the entertainment world leading their audience to believe that it is okay for two people who just met to have sex. Save sex for marriage and you’ll live a much happier life.

I was reminded of this when listening to a song from the 60s.  The lyrics talked about kissing.  That was it.  Kissing.  The same station then played a song about some guy who just met a girl, she’s naked, and he wants to know if she’ll “text him” tomorrow.  Huh?  How socially irresponsible and sick is that?   Yet, it seems to be a way of life in the entertainment world.

Second,  I’m tired contradicting standards presented by the media and entertainment.  On one hand, they lead you to believe one is at liberty to change their gender, while on the other hand people can’t help it because they were “born that way.”   Then, when someone decides to alter (disfigure) their body, all of a sudden they should be called “he” and not “she”, or “she” and not “he”.   You see this in news reports even.  All of a sudden a female soldier decides she wants to be “male”, and the media immediately starts calling her, “him”.  I’m sorry, her DNA still says she is a she.

Although I don’t care much about how they decide to live their lives, but there are social ramifications.  Name a civilization that has been sexually deviant for centuries and is leader in the world today?  You can’t.

On the other hand, repeatedly in the Bible we see examples of what happens when people ignore God’s commandments.  When many people in a society ignore the commandments, the consequences affect society as a whole.

I miss the day when people remained chaste before they got married.  People cohabitating was called, “Living in sin.”    Sex was reserved for a man and a woman who were married.  Anything outside of that was considered to be wrong.

How did society become so depraved?

Workshop 2014 Day 4

Workshop 2014 Day 4

Workshop 2014 Day 4 progresses.  We’re kind of bringing it all together on our composite image.

I did a search for flying monkeys and I did not find a single image I could use.  I thought it would be fun to add flying monkeys to my composition, but ended up with dragons instead.  Don’t ask my why I wanted flying monkeys.  This has nothing to do with the Wizard of Oz.

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Work-in-Progress Final Composition

We had an awards banquet after class and they handed out our certificates of completion as well as our educational merits.

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Richard Sturdevant and Me

 

You can see Tom Mack in the background “photo bombing” the picture.  (Special thanks to Jim Cravacs for taking the picture with my camera.)

We still have tomorrow morning in class.  I guess they get better attendance at the banquet if they do it Thursday after class instead of Friday after class.

I’ve been thinking about some of the composite images I want to create on my own.  I’ve been toying with Book of Mormon scenes that you don’t see very often.  Everyone’s done Mormon and Moroni on the hill at the last battle.  They’ve done Samuel on the wall, and many more.  I want to do some images you don’t often see.

Workshop 2014 Day 3

Workshop 2014 Day 3

Workshop 2014 Day 3 was a demanding day of image manipulation.   We’re still working on the same image, but today we started building the background.

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My Background

Of course, it looks kind of funky now, but other elements will be added, colors changed, etc.

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Other Elements Added.

It is a slow process, but it also requires an attention to perspective and angles.  You can’t have something below that it appears you are looking up at it.  Light must come from the same angle for all elements.

This class will change the way I take photos when on vacation or traveling.  I’ll have to carry a list of items needed for compositions and be watching for them.

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While driving in today, I passed this field on Route 21 in Manchester.  I had to stop and take a picture…

 

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Hay Rolls

Normally I don’t like the button-push filters, but in the case of this image, it actually works.  Yes, anyone can push a button, but not everyone can compose, expose and shoot an image well.

Workshop 2014 Day 2

Workshop 2014 Day 2

This is workshop 2014 day 2, and it is an informative and interesting class.  Basically, we’re creating a collage using little bits and pieces of various images.  We warp them, bend them, rotate them, shade them, and manipulate them to fit our theme and image.  When we are all done, this will become the basis for our painting.

This sort of work falls in to the fair use category of the copyright laws… well, providing our use of the snippets are modified enough that we just aren’t simply copying someone’s image.  Believe me, we put a lot of work in to every little piece.

PPSNYS Workshop is a 5 day school offered every year by PPSNYS.  It is for professional photographers to better their skills.  Some of the other classes being offered are based on portrait retouching, and another one on outdoor photography.  This aren’t “camera club” type sessions, these are serious photographers who make a living doing this stuff.

Workshop 2014 Day 2
Work-in-Progress

We took the instructor-supplied photo from yesterday, and we’ve been adding elements to it.  This picture, when complete, will be added to a larger picture comprised of other elements I’ve built.