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Spring is in the air

Spring Wet Plants

If spring isn't in the air where you are, it is in our garage. I'll explain in a post that's not typical for this blog. If you persist to the end of the post, you'll be rewarded with some of my usual humor, though it is also sprinkled throughout. :-)

For many years I have started seedlings in our garage on a shelf in a window that faces south. Last gardening season I ran across a tool I had heard of, but had never seen. It's called Secrets du potager — Paper Pot Maker, by Esschert Design USA. Here's the picture from amazon.com

Paper Pot Maker

Every year, in true pack rat fashion, I have saved the little plastic pots in which I have bought seedlings for our garden. My usual spring routine is to get out some in the best condition and soak them in bleach water to kill any pathogens that might infect the young seedlings. After allowing them to dry, I fill them with potting soil and plant the seeds in them. Once the seedlings are planted out in the garden later in the spring, I toss the plastic pots in a tub and store them till the next year's planting.

I liked the idea of the paper pots. No more bleach water ritual. It would put to use some of the newspaper that has piled up in our garage. And the paper pots would also make planting easier and less disruptive to the tender roots of the seedlings. In the past some of my seedlings have been rather small and have gotten a bit battered in the planting process. With the paper pots you just put the whole thing into the hole, and the paper will rot in the ground and even provide at least a tiny bit of organic material. (EDITORIAL COMMENT: In regards to that, see the comments to this post — some info I didn't know when I wrote this post.)

Here's a picture of the supplies I used to make our paper pots. In the upper left you can see the first 4 pots I made this year.
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Why Women Live Longer than Men, Take 6

Last month on this date I published Why Women Live Longer than Men, Take 5. That post has links to the four earlier posts with similar pictures, so I won't put them in this post.

Anyway, I hope you will be amazed and amused at the innovativeness of some of the men on planet earth.

We men love to work with various forms of heavy equipment, like this brush chipper.

Brush Chipper

And we know that when working with sparks and welding, we need to be careful, as seen in the next two pictures.

Sparks Flying
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Changing Times in Teaching

This is my 42nd year of teaching, which means I started sometime back in the last century (also back in the last millennium)! I have seen many changes during those years — changes in methodologies, changes in technology, and changes in students. I hasten to add that I have changed a lot as a teacher.

I have tried to adapt and readjust to the times and to my students' needs and interests. Attending conferences related to language teaching has been helpful along the way. In early November I attended the annual conference of the South Carolina chapter of the AATF in Columbia, SC, affiliated with the national AATF. The SC AATF conferences are generally more helpful since everything is related to the teaching of French.

Many years I attend the SCFLTA conference in February. This year's conference was especially good for several reasons. First of all the emphasis was on the use of technology that our students use routinely. We learned some ways to make use of it to draw our students into the material, using all sorts of innovative means. There was one workshop that pointed us to free materials that others have developed and made available. Why not use these freebies?! Who knew you can find all sorts of great things for French class on Pinterest?!

Another reason that SCFLTA conference was special was the awarding of the Lifetime Achievement Award to my colleague Dr. Bruce Byers.

Here's a picture of him receiving his award.
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Swifties of Biblical Proportions

Tom said piously

Anyone who knows me personally or who has read my blog posts for any length of time knows how much I love a good pun. When a pun can be wedded with a point of grammar, it becomes irresistible for me. One such phenomenon is Tom Swifties, of which I have done two previous posts — Tom Swifties, part 1 and Tom Swifties, part 2.

In the first of those posts I gave the background of how Tom Swifties came to be. If you are interested to learn more about that, you can look at that post. The upshot of it is that a "Tom Swiftie" is an adverbial pun game in which the object is to match an adverb with a statement to produce a (hopefully) hilarious pun.

One of my tasks over the Christmas break was to go through some piles on my desk here at home. I was able to eliminate a lot of clutter, but also I found a few treasures that I knew would be good fodder for future blog posts. One of the things I found was a photocopy of an article from a 1982 issue of HIS magazine from Inter-Varsity Press. As best as I can determine, I believe that magazine is no longer being produced.

Anyway, today I will share with you the best of the Swifties from that article, along with a few of my own. :-)

"Abel, would you like me to spot you while you try to bench press that giant rock?" Cain said bashfully.

"They just appeared two by two," whispered Noah arcanely.

"The second dove hasn't returned," said Noah drily.

"So, you're leaving everything behind, just like that?" asked Lot's wife saltily.
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What is wrong with this picture?

Last week I posted some pictures of men who were not practicing good safety in regards to heights. Today I'm going to post just one picture of a man on terra firma, to test your powers of observation.

As we move through later life, we need to keep ourselves occupied with small projects, as exemplified by guy in the picture below. But we must make sure we are working safely. See if you can spot anything he's doing wrong.

Chainsaw Fail

I know, I saw it right away too — no safety glasses or hearing protection! What is he thinking?!

Oh, and I caught something else really important — he’s not wearing gloves!

I might be getting up in years, but I am still sharp as a needle. How about you?


"Newness is no virtue and oldness is no vice." — John Piper


I have a mind like a steel...uh...thingamajig....