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Kudzu


With the advent of spring my thoughts turn toward this year's garden. It will be nice to have everything greened up again, including the kudzu especially - since it won't go away, it might as well be green! (In the winter, kudzu is a really ugly grayish brown that covers huge areas.)

I was reminded of kudzu last week when my wife Becka and I visited the Upcountry History Museum. There is one room that hosts traveling displays for about three months each. The current display had some cloth woven from kudzu fiber. At the end of this post are several links about kudzu for anyone who'd like to learn more and who would even like to try some kudzu recipes! I can hardly think of anything I might enjoy less at the moment!

The picture to the right shows how pretty the grape-scented kudzu blossoms can be. Below is something I've had in my files for quite some time about our beloved kudzu.

Kudzu (CUD-tsoo) n. an Asian vine (Pueraria lobata) of the legume family that is used for forage and erosion control and is often a serious weed in the southeastern United States.

Here are several pictures of kudzu covering almost everything in its path...

Gardening Tips from Down South
How to Grow Kudzu

All you beginning gardeners out there might want to consider growing kudzu as a fine way to launch out into the great adventure of gardening in the South. Kudzu, for those of you not already familiar with it, is a hardy perennial that can be grown quite well by the beginner who observes these few simple rules:

Choosing a Plot
Kudzu can be grown almost anywhere, so site selection is not the problem it is with some other finicky plants like strawberries. Although kudzu will grow quite well on cement, for best results you should select an area having at least some dirt. To avoid possible lawsuits, it is advisable to plant well away from your neighbor's house, unless, of course, you don't get along well with your neighbor anyway.

Preparing the Soil
Go out and stomp on the soil for a while just to get its attention and to prepare it for kudzu.

Deciding When to Plant
Kudzu should always be planted at night. If kudzu is planted during daylight hours, angry neighbors might see you and begin throwing rocks at you.

Selecting the Proper Fertilizer
The best fertilizer I have discovered for kudzu is 40-weight non-detergent motor oil. Kudzu actually doesn't need anything to help it grow, but the motor oil helps to prevent scraping the underside of the tender leaves when the kudzu starts its rapid growth. It also cuts down on the friction and lessens the danger of fire when the kudzu really starts to move. Change oil once every thousand feet or every two weeks whichever comes first.

Mulching the Plants
Contrary to what the Extension Service may say, kudzu can profit from a good mulch. I have found that a heavy mulch for the young plants produces a hardier crop. For best results, as soon as the young shoots begin to appear, cover kudzu with concrete blocks. Although this causes a temporary setback, your kudzu will accept this mulch as a challenge and will reward you with redoubled determination in the long run.

Organic or Chemical Gardening
Kudzu is ideal for either the organic gardener or for those who prefer to use chemicals to ward off garden pests. Kudzu is oblivious to both chemicals and pests. Therefore, you can grow organically and let the pests get out of the way of the kudzu as best they can, or you can spray any commercial poison directly on your crop. Your decision depends on how much you enjoy killing bugs. The kudzu will not mind either way.

Crop Rotation
Many gardeners are understandably concerned that growing the same crop year after year will deplete the soil. If you desire to change from kudzu to some other plant next year, now is the time to begin preparations. Right now, before the growing season has reached its peak, you should list your house and lot with a reputable real estate agent and begin making plans to move elsewhere. Your chances of selling will be better now than they will be later in the year, when it may be difficult for a prospective buyer to realize that underneath those lush green vines stands an adorable three-bedroom house.

History
Kudzu was introduced beginning in 1935 to the early 1950s to prevent erosion. It was also brought to the South in an attempt to provide improved fodder for cattle. It worked ALL TOO WELL. Cattle do love kudzu but not nearly as much as kudzu loves the South. The South provides nearly ideal climate and growing conditions for this rapid growing and hardy perennial (calling kudzu "hardy" is like calling nuclear weapons "explosive"). In 1953 kudzu was recognized as a pest weed by the United States Department of Agriculture and was removed from its list of permissible cover plants.

People have been known to leave home on vacation down here only to return a week later to find cars and other LARGE objects buried under lush greenery. Kudzu climbs telephone poles and crosses wires. Its eradication is a major expense to utility companies. The city of Atlanta has used bulldozers to dig up the tubers in vacant lots. It's resistant to most "safe" chemicals although the herbicide 2, 4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) has some effect if used frequently enough. It's sometimes call "yard-a-night" down here because that's how fast it seems to grow. The only question seems to be whether the "yard" referred to is that of "3 feet" or that of "front and back." Rumor has it that some of the roads in the more rural areas don't get enough traffic and will be covered by kudzu after a long holiday weekend.

Kudzu is a very pretty vine in early spring and summer. Its broad leaves and flowers are quite attractive until you start to realize that the dead stick, that it's sunning itself on, used to be a huge pine tree. In the winter, the first hard frost turns kudzu into tons of ugly brown leaves and thick vines. It becomes a real eyesore and possibly a potential fire hazard, although who's ever heard of an actual kudzu fire? (see the comments to this post - they have happened!) The plant re-grows new vines from the ground up every year, so you can see its growth rate must be phenomenal.

I understand that the Japanese make a highly regarded form of tofu from kudzu tubers. It is supposed to be prized for its nutty flavor (soy tofu is rather bland). The Japanese cannot produce enough to meet their own demand and think we're nutty for trying to eliminate it. I haven't been able to confirm this use for kudzu, but, if true, they may well be right. We've got plenty of hungry people and LOTS of kudzu!

The existence of kudzu in a neighborhood has been known to adversely affect property values. The threat of planting kudzu in someone's yard is generally considered an extreme case of "fightin' words," potentially followed by "justifiable homicide." Regardless, you can still obtain kudzu seeds from several major seed companies who list it as a "hardy ornamental perennial." If understatement were a crime, they'd be on death row!

Learn more about kudzu on these sites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudzu

This page may not be accessible through some internet filters since it's on someone's personal page....
http://home.att.net/~ejlinton/kudzu.html

Here in South Carolina we're seeing signs of spring - crocuses, hyacinths, and daffodils are beginning to bloom. We're only a few weeks away from the annual Bible Conference on campus, followed by the annual Living Gallery. Some of you had wished you could attend in the past. I hope that many will be able to attend this year.

quotation...

"Missions should not be a spectator sport."- Dr. Tim Keesee

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

What do you do when you see an endangered animal that eats only endangered plants?

Our Little Valentine


We received some pictures yesterday that were screaming out to be shared. Here's one of them...

Emergency Valentine Info


Here's a little information for you men out there who might be panicking right now, or who perhaps should be panicking...

For any of you guys out there who have already bought something you shouldn't have or who haven't yet had the opportunity to purchase something for your Valentine, here's a list - a baker's dozen - of things you should definitely not give her:

1. A box of chocolates, clumsily rearranged in an attempt to hide the fact you ate all the caramel ones.

2. Any clothing item with the words "push-up" or "slim-down" on the label.

3. Any food item with the words "diet", "light", or "high fiber" on the label.

4. A skillet (especially cast iron) - voice of experience here (details unavailable at a later date)

5. Flowers from a hospital gift shop - or worse, from a mortuary.

6. Poetry, no matter how heartfelt, that starts out "There was once a girl from Nantucket..."

7. Anything you have ever given another woman, including your mother.

8. Any household appliance, power tool, or other item from the harder side of Sears.

9. A vacuum cleaner, no matter how nice.

10. A gift certificate.

11. Cash.

12. Anything you could have bought at the gas station mini-mart, even if you didn't.

13. An apologetic look and the words "That was today?"

It might be fun to read people's "worst ever Valentine's present." Comment away!

quotation...

"Sometimes what people call Christian liberty is just Christian stupidity." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Some things are loved because they are valuable; others are valuable because they are loved.

Lighten up!


Today I'm posting a few of the myriad "LBJ's" - light bulb jokes - in existence. This whole thing came to mind as we replaced our lighting fixture in our dining room last week. I'll start off with one that is unfortunately not a joke!

Q: How many Congress critters does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 400 (314 members of the United States House of Representatives and 86 members of the United States Senate)

Late in 2007 Congress voted for an energy bill to force Americans to change the relatively inexpensive incandescent light bulbs they’re currently using and replace them with expensive new, "energy-efficient" light bulbs, and President Bush did not veto the bill! (I guess he's joined the rest of those belonging to the Global Warming Cult.) This brings to mind the 1992 energy bill, in which Congress banned the 3.5 gallon toilet, mandating that Americans no longer use more than 1.6 gallons per flush. Those new toilets have proven not to be enough to, er, get the job done. Since it sometimes takes two and three flushes per visit, Americans are using the same amount of water, if not more, than they did before Congress stuck its collective nose into our bathrooms.

And I've read that "those who know what's best for the rest of us" are also considering banning top-loading washers and disposable diapers, among other things. The "Progressives" won't be happy until we're virtuously beating cloth diapers on rocks by a steam in pitch darkness!

(Mini-rant ended...)

I guess we'll cope with this news by making "light" of it, so to speak....

Q: How many college students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: I dunno, I forgot my calculator at home.

Q: How many philosophers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Define "light bulb"

Q: How many evolutionists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one, but the bulb change will take billions of years.

Q: How many deconstructionists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: On the contrary, the NILE is the longest river in Africa.

Q: How many folk singers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two. One to change the bulb, and one to write a song about how good the old light bulb was.

Q: How many gorillas does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Just one, but it takes a lot of light bulbs.

Q: How many dyslexics does it change to take a light bulb?
A: Eno

Q: How many stockbrokers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Oh, no! The bulb's out! Let's sell our GE stock NOW!

Q: How many pre-med students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Five: One to change the bulb and four to pull the ladder out from under him.

Q: How many jugglers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One, but it takes at least three lightbulbs.

Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: How many can you afford?

Q: How many mystery writers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two, one to screw it almost all the way in and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

Q: How many editors of Poor Richard's Almanac does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Many hands make light work.

Q: How many magicians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: That depends on what you want to change it into.

Q: How many programmers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. It's a hardware problem.
A: One, but if he changes it, the whole building will probably fall down.
A: Two. One always leaves in the middle of the project.
A: Five. Two to write the specification program, one to screw it in, and two to explain why the project was late.

Q: How many database programmers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three: one to write the light bulb removal program, one to write the light bulb insertion program, and one to act as a light bulb administrator to make sure nobody else tries to change the light bulb at the same time.

Q: How many political pollsters/activitists/candidates/recordings does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Way too many, but they have to do it while you're eating dinner.

Q: How many presidential candidates does it take to change a light bulb?
A: It won't ever get done. They only promise change.

Q: How many Amish does it take to change a light bulb?
A: What's a light bulb?

Q: How many dogs does it take to change a light bulb? (I know, I know - dogs can't change light bulbs, but hey, "lighten up" and enjoy!)
A: It depends on the breed (see below)....

Golden Retriever: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a stupid burned-out light bulb?

Border Collie: Just one. And I'll replace any wiring that's not up to code.

Dachshund: I can't reach the dumb lamp!

Toy Poodle: I'll just whisper sweet nothings in the Border Collie's ear and he'll change it for me. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.

Rottweiler: Go Ahead! Make me!

Shi-tzu: Puh-leeze, dah-ling. Let the servants take care of such things....

Lab: Oh, me, me!!! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze let *me* change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Can I?

Malamute: Let the Border Collie do it. You can feed me while he's busy.

Cocker Spaniel: Why change it? I can still wet on the carpet in the dark.

Doberman Pinscher: While it's dark, I'm going to sleep on the couch.

Mastiff: Mastiffs are NOT afraid of the dark.

Hound Dog: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Chihuahua: Yo quiero Taco Bulb.

Pointer: I see it, there it is, right there....

Greyhound: It isn't moving. Who cares?

Australian Shepherd: Put all the light bulbs in a little circle....

Old English Sheep Dog: Light bulb? Light bulb? That thing I just ate was a light bulb?

special request update...

Thanks to the 200+ people who took our campus son Tim's online survey over the weekend. When I told him that there were 4,963 unique visitors to my blog during the month of January 2008, he was excited that he might get as many as 1,000 take the survey. That would give him a far better sampling for his research. I hope many more of you will take the time to answer the 10 questions on his anonymous survey and submit your answers by clicking the button at the bottom of that page. The link is http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=jNTcwcdc_2bUDcECUc3cxt4A_3d_3d

quotation...

"You are the light of the world if you are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Some gardeners turn their lights on in the evening so they can watch their phlox by night.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


With Valentine's Day one week away, I thought I'd post some fun things about the relationships between men and women.

A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard full of mules and and donkeys, the husband broke the silence by asking a bit sarcastically, "Relatives of yours?"

"Yep," the wife replied, "in-laws."

divider

A journalist had done a story on gender roles in Iraq several years before the war, and she noted then that women customarily walked about 10 feet behind their husbands.

She returned to Iraq recently and observed that the men now walked several yards behind their wives.

She approached one of the women for an explanation.

"This is marvelous," said the journalist. "What enabled women here to achieve this reversal of roles?"

The Iraqi woman replied, "Land mines."

divider

A husband, proving to his wife that women talk more than men, showed her a study which indicated that men use on the average only 15,000 words a day, whereas women use 30,000 words a day.

She thought about this for a while and then told her husband, "Women use twice as many words as men because they have to repeat everything they say," to which he replied, "What?"

divider

A man was walking along a California beach and stumbled across an old lamp. He picked it up and rubbed it, and out popped a genie. The genie said, "OK, you released me from the lamp, blah, blah, blah. This is the fourth time this has happened this month, and I'm getting a little sick of all these wishes, so you can forget about three -- you only get one wish!" The man sat and thought about it for a while and said, "I've always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I'm scared to fly and I get very seasick. Could you build me a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over there to visit?"

The genie laughed and said, "That's impossible! Think of the logistics of that! How would the supports ever reach the bottom of the Pacific? Think of how much concrete ... of how much steel! No, I'm sorry, you'll have to think of another wish."

The man said OK and tried to think of a really good wish. Finally he said, "My wife always says that I don't care and that I'm insensitive. So I wish that I could understand women ... know how they feel and what they're thinking when they give us the silent treatment ... know why they're crying ... know what they really want when they say 'nothing' ... know how to make them truly happy...."

The genie said, "You want that bridge with two lanes or four?"

divider

New Seat Belt Law in the USA

This regulation becomes effective July 1, 2008, in all states and will soon to be law in all Canadian Provinces.

The national Highway Safety Council has done extensive testing on a newly designed seat belt. Results show that accidents can be reduced by as much as 45% when the belt is properly installed.

Correct installation is illustrated below....

Please pass on to family and friends.
THIS MAY HELP SAVE A LIFE!

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One of my projects over the Christmas break was painting our dining room. The time I had after the holidays was insufficient, and the project has gone into the beginning of this semester. After this past Saturday's hanging of the window treatment my wife had made and getting the new ceiling light in place, all that is left now is painting the baseboards. Phew! Anyway, here's a picture of the almost completed room....

Here's a close-up of Becka's window treatment....

special request...

One of our campus sons (Tim) from the mid-eighties here at BJU has kept in touch with us through the years since he graduated. (It's kind of scary that Tim's son could be our campus son in not very many years! Yikes - our first campus grandson!) Well, anyway, yesterday Tim asked me in an e-mail if I would put a link on my blog to a survey he's doing as part of the research for a book he is writing.

If you would be so kind as to take this anonymous survey, I would really appreciate your helping "our son" in this way. There are only ten questions and it will take you very little time to finish it. You can get to the survey by clicking here.

quotation...

"Lord, give me firmness without hardness, steadfastness without dogmatism, love without weakness." - Jim Elliot

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Misers aren't much fun to live with, but they do make great ancestors!