The Full Flavor will Blow Your Mind – COFFEE NOW!!

Treat Your Tastebuds to the Bottom of the Cup!!

Energize with the Simple, Amazing Flavor!

696 words 2 min 32 sec reading time

A new blog for all the caffeine crazy people in your world. Please let your friends know or I will personally tell them you knew this AND didn’t tell them:

  1. Jack Daniels is now making whiskey-infused coffee. You have to be 21 to access this website.

2. There is now a line of quality coffee and tea that come in compostable pods and packaging with plant-based inks. While that isn’t news this IS: Brewbudz comes with edible cannabis. And the pods fit in your Keurig! Same here: you have to be 21 to enter this website. Sorry, Skeeter.

brewbudz marijuana infused coffee and tea

3. According to GomerBlog, coffee is now OK to keep at nurses’ stations in hospitals.
Yes, the Joint Commission, the people that approve the rules hospitals have to live by, found that heavy fines levied against hospitals that allowed caffeinated beverages at nurses’ stations finally had the desired effect. All hospitals banned coffee from nurses’ stations.
However, their statisticians found increased sloppiness, more errors on reports and an increase of residents yawning in patients’ faces. After years of fighting the good fight they finally relented, and the deans of medical education are happy to announce that nurses and residents are now working better together.

4. Of course, #3 is satire for those residents versed in the arts.

I worked in the coffee industry in a roasting plant for fifteen years and I can assure you that there are many healthful benefits to drinking coffee.

Coffee is my drug of choice

Rather than take my word for it, I did a diligent search for empirical data to bolster my claim.

The Andressen family of ARCO coffee

I found several source documents, but I will start with the big guns. by Martin Egnash “ How Much Coffee Does  a Soldier Need to Maximize Alertness?” June 15, 2018

I do not see which types of coffee they are recommending, (here is a list, along with 6 fine articles to whet your whistle.) HOWEVER, I did not see the Greek coffee listed. It is a strong black coffee ground exceedingly fine – like flour.) The article also doesn’t list how strong they brewed it, how long it has been standing (old coffee? Yuck!), and so on. Then we get into the algorithm thing needed to calculate all the variables.

Well, I am here to assure you that your United States Army has an app for that. Yes, Sir!


It will take into account your innate sensitivity to the brew, and determines how much, and WHEN to consume caffeine to maximize benefits and keep those pesky jitters at bay.

The app will be available via smartphone that will enable you to “predict current and future alertness and cognitive performance based on a series of psychomotor vigilance task (PVT)tests, your sleep, and caffeine intake data.”

Now doesn’t that just sound like the U.S Army? I know you will ask the most obvious question – how many men and women serve in the military?

On January 23, 2019, there were close to 1.4 million people serving in the U.S Armed Forces. That means that 0.4 percent of the American population is active military personnel.


As of 2014, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) estimates there were 22 million military veterans in the  U.S. population. If you add their figures to the active personnel, 7.3 % of all living Americans have served at some point.

An interesting tidbit: at the height of the Vietnam War over 500,000 personnel served in-country.

A tidbit: more than half of all veterans are over 60 right now.

But we were talking about coffee.

Dr. Jaques Reifman, at the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, said that alertness can be improved by 64%!

He also noted that when you drink coffee plays as much of a role as the amount.

This link will get you to the tool – sort of. The address for the 2B-Alert Web app is but you will need to put in your username and password, pesky regs.

But the tool is still being developed. It doesn’t say what kind of coffee has the most caffeine either.

But I knew you would ask so I put a link HERE for the amount of caffeine, not only in coffee but soda, tea, etc.

Thanks for stopping.


Image of Red Rose by Svetlana Music Unsplash

Maybe I need “Gripe Water”

July 22, 2018

1240 Words

5 min 33 sec read

This post started out as a complaint.

But maybe I need “Gripe Water for Babies”?

I hope to arouse your reactions to the fact that 70% of Republicans think Trump did a great job in Helsinki.

Say what?

Yes, indeed! About 32% of Americans approved Trump’s conduct in the Helsinki meeting with Putin.

And yet–70% of Republicans approved.

That stark difference is alarming.

I set out to understand how so many people of the Republican ilk could think Trump did a good job when in fact he committed treason.
Camper at Camper Trailer Park Cypress Hills Provincial Park Alberta Canada

In the first research article, I saw this picture.

Can anyone provide a year that this photo was taken?

I only see 2 or 3 of these or similar ones on the road now.

It seems most of the trailers are getting bigger and bigger.

Becky and I almost ran into one the other day in Fleet Farm Parking lot. It must of taken 4 parking places it was so long.

When I got off on a tangent. How can people today afford the monster trailers?

First, I stole a picture from Facebook last week.

Reagonmics killed the Middle Class Facebook.
I have railed against Reagan and the fact he destroyed the middle class.

Let’s look at the facts.

I submit three graphs:

The first shows the change in Median Income from 1974 to 2014.

Median Earning for full-time, year-round workers from 1967 to 2017 Pew Research

The second shows that the average paycheck has increased.

Bigger Paychecks, But little Change in Purchasing Power Pew Research
However, the purchasing power has stayed the same.
The middle class is shrinking in almost all metropolitan areas.

Percentage Changes in Median Household Income Due to Recessions and the First Two Years of Recoveries, 1973-2009 Pew Research

In contrast, American citizens in the lower income brackets and those in the upper-income brackets are increasing.

To rub salt in the wounds the ‘Recovery’ from the Great Recession was no better than the lost income during the Great Recession.”

To illustrate the insert graph of the changes to income.


Percentage Change in Median Household Income 2007-2009 and 2009-2011 Pew Research
In 2007 the median household income was $54,489.

In 2009 it was $52,195. That is a lost of 4.2%.

In 2009 the Great Recession ended.

The median household income was $52,195.

In 2011 was $50,054.

In a short 4-year period, the average American LOST $4,435!

Did you feel the pain?

How do I know this stuff? Why am I so passionate about it?
In this post from May 2018 I wrote:

Republicans are deserting the ‘rule of law’.

Will Republicans vote with their conscience or their wallet?

The future of our democracy is at risk!

In this post on January 1, 2018, I wrote about the West Virginia coal miners and how the world, their country passed them by.

That is happening now!

For most Americans, their wages are stagnating. For the 1% that are wealthy.

The 1% somewhat depends on where you live ‘minimum’ family income of $421, 926 qualifies.

In New York City it is $744,426. In San Francisco, it is $943,782.

Nationwide the threshold is $1.32 million but in Jackson Wyoming, the average income is $16.2 million.

Then there is the other 99%. They earn $50,107. Note this is $53 dollars more than in 2011.

In 7 years the median income for the average American has increased $53.

When Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, introduced the ‘Tax Plan’ he proclaimed that the middle class will receive $1,182 in tax relief!

What did you see?

$1,182 more or $53 more??

I started this post examining the difference between Republicans and Democrats

Regarding Trump’s how Trump’s treasonous voyage to Finland is rate by Republicans:

70% think he did a good job


32% of All Americans think he did a good job.

Why are Republicans reacting so differently?

>He had a private meeting with Putin, the arch-enemy of the United States

>He declared the media is an “enemy of the people”

>He declared  Russia was not responsible for hacking the election of 2016

>He approved Russia interrogate United States citizens, i.e. Ambassador McFaul regarding the Magnitsky Act which imposes severe sanctions on Russian oligarchs

>And so on and on.

I would think as soon as Trump declared our intelligence agencies to be incompetent, Republicans should have been up in arms.

But they had fallen so far in the way they view morality, they are now incapable of making honest decisions for this country.

I have stated many times that the Republican Party is no more. Trump has taken over the party with his alt-right supporters.

That Party is the Trump Party.

>When people do not believe in Fair Trade.
>When people no longer believe immigration is a good thing.
>When people equate the Gospel with evangelical ‘christian’s.
>When a deficit is a good thing.

They are no members of what used to be the Republican Party.

That party endorsed and followed these ideas as their touchstone.

Yes, there is a Republican Party, but it is now the Trump Party.

The ‘real’ Conservatives are leaving the party: George Will columnist, Joe Scarborough former Congressman and TV news show host,  Steve Schmidt, GOP strategist to name a few.

The biggest group that is leaving are the millennial women.

Between 2002 and 2017 millennial women who identify as Democrat grew from 54 to 70 percent.

Millennial women who identify as Republican are now 23% vs 36% in 2002 a drop of 13%!

“Right now 56 percent of women lean towards or affiliate themselves with the Democratic Party compare to only 44 percent of men.

I am referencing a column by Jennifer Rubin.” Four reasons we’ve reached a tipping point on Trump”  Right Turn is the blog by Jennifer Rubin.

She writes a withering evaluation of the current state under Trump.

It is an essential read whether you are a member of the Party of Trump or a Democrat.

Her most scathing observation: “The GOP has become the Caricature the left Always said it was”: The GOP is the party of southern, white, old white men.”

As mentioned above, this article Ms. Rubin states “The Country is now at an inflection point because of four factors”.

Now I understand! I keep equating the 70% of Republicans as the Republican Party that I grew up with.

That is now crystal clear. Going forward that will ease my anxiety.

The problem is that McConnell and Ryan must be the leaders of the Trump Party.

First, Trump didn’t ‘merely’ collude with the Russians and commit obstruction of justice but “giving aid and comfort to our biggest geopolitical foe.”

She argues that impeachment is a political question but the “president’s conduct poses a threat to the nation, removal of the president ? may be essential”.

These are strong words of a columnist who is the conservative voice at The Washington Post.

Her next argument is “there is no excuse for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton to continue to serve this administration.

“They are plainly enabling a president to betray American interests.

Their obligation is to quit and share all they know with the American people.”

Third, the Republican Party can no longer say getting conservation judges on the bench and getting tax cuts to justify following Trump.

“Absolutely nothing justifies a president’s betrayal of American interests and abject violation of his oath”.

“It is not an exaggeration to say a party that continues support of Trump is anti-American.”

“Finally, it is more essential than ever that the GOP lose heavily in November’s elections. Only with a complete repudiation of Trump and Republican rule can necessary corrective action begins in earnest.”

Thanks for stopping by.


Never trust the Russians or the Republicans Facebook Graphic

“Where have all the flowers gone”?


July 19,2018

Have you been following all the news and the news shows?

Trump is increasingly erratic. Saying one thing and then disputing it a few minutes later.

The more pressure Special Counsel Mueller piles on the more people come out of the woodwork bringing more salacious information with them.

If my math is correct the SCORE to date: 5 Trump associates have pleaded guilty, 1 has two trials upcoming, 13 Russians have been implicated in 2016 Election Meddling, 12 Russians have been indicted for meddling, 1 Russian spy is in jail.

tattered flag flying with eagle Google Images

I just want to lay down a few bricks on this path. Total so far: 32 people and over 190 charges.

Trump said he received nothing from Russia. Eric stated that they got all their money from Russia.

Which leads to this point.

All of his life Trump never paid cash for anything.

He billed himself as the ‘King of Debt’.

So how did he get the cash to buy up all the golf courses such as Turnberry in Scotland and pay $81 million to upgrade it?

According to MSNBC a reporter, Tim O’Brien, who has seen Trump’s tax returns says the information in the returns may shed light on Trump’s relationship with Putin.

Fast-paced developments of last week.

A Russian, Maria Butina was arrested on charges of being a Russian Spy and failing to register as a foreign agent.

She was involved with Paul Erickson, 56 years old and a member of the NRA.

She was a hirling of Alexander Torshin a Russian Oligarch, a director of  Russia’s Central Bank and Putin’s close friend.

Maria Butina was heavily involved in the Russian NRA and used NRA ‘language’ to become heavily involved in the American NRA.

She was arrested just after she had packed for a trip with her new, younger male companion.

The NRA just admitted accepting money from 23 Russia-linked donors.

However, they only admitted to $2,500. Which is a laughable sum since she owns

Torshin, a Putin close friend, and a formal Russian politician has also been a ‘life member’ of the NRA since 2012.

As deputy head of the central bank in Russia, he is being investigated for illegally funneling money to help Trump.

He was named last Friday as one of the 12 Russian Conspirators.

Chris Christie the erstwhile head of the Transition Team for Trump said that Jared Kushner ‘deserves’ to be investigated for his involvement in the Russia meetings.

Regarding the Trump Tower meeting, at least two secret meetings were held in the Tower.

This time it as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and George Nader representing the United Arab Emirates looking to curry favor.

The meeting also included, in addition to Trump Jr. and Israeli expert, Joel Zamel a ‘social media manipulator’.

Who arranged this meeting?

The second in the Tower, Erik Prince, an informal Trump advisor.

Oh yes, he is the brother to Betsy DeVos. Does that name seem familiar?

George Nader?

His success at arranging the second Trump Tower meeting catapulted him into Trumpworld and he had further meetings with Trump’s inner circle, including Kushner, Flynn, and Bannon.

This first meeting was on August 3, 2016, after Trump locked up the nomination.

A second meeting was held on December 15, 2016.

The Crown Prince did not notify the Obama administration in advance of this meeting which set off all kinds of “ red blinking lights” as current Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats described in his briefing on Monday.

In January 2018 Mr. Nader returned to the US to travel to Mar-a-Lago. Instead, he was met by a team from the FBI who served him with search warrants and a grand jury subpoena.

Another meeting in the Seychelles Island was arranged by Nader as well.

You may have heard about Erik Prince in another context.

He is a Navy Seal. His company, Blackwater, was a private defense contractor in Iraq and has been under many investigations.

IT MUST BE GETTING HOT! Trump just said that he holds Putin responsible for election interference. Hmmmm.

Fire in wood chips Raquel Raclette 264225 Unsplash!

Rep Eric Swalwell D-California just notified the MSNBC  audience that the House of Representative deleted $330 million from the fund to secure ballot machines for the coming election.

He also called on members of Congress to protect the Mueller Russia investigation.

Former FBI Agent in Charge Frank Montoya Jr. explains what would have happened if any other US official besides the president backed is Russian counterpart the way Trump backed Putin in Helsinki.

Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said the Helinski Finland summit was ‘a tragic day’ for US diplomacy.

I heard that Trump finally realized how badly he had screwed up when he heard the statement by Newt Gingrich on Monday afternoon.

Newt said “Trump’s must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected immediately.”

It is now Wednesday, and Trump may have finally closed up his mouth and read the notes written for him. ‘Putin did meddle’

Now that begs the question. Upon hearing Trumps newest ‘spin’ what does Putin think and do?

Is he going to level his guns on Putin’s Poodle? And ask for his money back?

Are we ever going to get a hint of what Trump and Putin discussed during that two-hour private meeting?

Now for the newest aggravations that drive me up a wall.

Trump said Putin offered for Mueller to bring his investigation to Moscow and question the 12 indicted Russians.

Trump seems willing to let Putin’s Russians question US citizens.

37% of Americans polled approve of Trump’s handling of Russia.

68% of Republicans polled approve of Trump’s handling of Russia.

I wonder how many of those are former military personnel who took an oath to uphold the Constitution?

I wonder how many of those are farmers in the Midwest who have lost their income due to Trump’s Tariffs (now that China is buying soybeans from Russia and Brazil).

This is another puzzlement that I am willing to let be chalked up to Trump’s stupidity. By forcing China to buy soybeans from Russian they are putting cash in Putin’s pockets.

Well, maybe it’s part of THE PLAN.

Remember that Republicans are the ones who believe a college education is detrimental to the United States.

Republicans are pro-life but anti-life for children that have already been born.

Republicans are the ones that are racist against any color of skin other than white.

Is the White House on Fire? CNN
Is the White House on Fire?

What is the value of Nato to the US.?

Admiral Stavridis recounted how the nations of NATO have come to the aid of the United States after 9/11 and in the wars in Afghanistan.

Trump gave an interview to Tucker Carlson.

Again, their stupidity arises to the level of amazement.

The United States would not have to go to the aid of Montenegro because their scenario has Montenegro starting a conflict.

Again, they both flippantly ignored that NATO came to aid of the US.

God Bless America with Flag and Eagle Google Images
Just for a minute, let us talk about Pence.

The sycophant that nuzzles Trump’s backside with his nose could not praise Trump enough about the success of Helsinki.

I have often wondered if Pence is that dumb or if he indeed is joined at the hip to Trump.

I read an article several months ago that Trump got wind of Pence setting up his own campaign with the halls of the White House. Who knows?

I know that every day going forward more cracks will open in the facade of mud that Trump built.

I hope that some strong medicine will be delivered before Trump’s Supreme Court nominee comes up for a vote.
Given the facts:

Trump’s true colors have been exposed. Not only is he a Fascist Dictator in the making but he is a TRAITOR!

Trump and Putin Morphed into a single image. Time Magazine Cover 7/21/18

Trump and Putin Morphed. Time Magazine Cover 7.21.18

His minions can be identified by remarks similar to this:

Christian TV host Rick Williams claims Rachel Maddow will lead a bloody coup during which Trump will be decapitated on the White House lawn.

Follow “The Intolerants”

Just a few minutes ago, 3 senior cybersecurity experts have announced their retirement. Now the Russians will have an open door to our family jewels. link

David Brooks, Conservative columnist wrote the Republican Party “has become more of a white ethnic party, ethnic nationalist party,” adding that if the party becomes “aligned with bigotry in some overt way or in any way, you can’t be a Republican and try to be a decent person and be a part of it.”

Thanks for stopping by.

I really had to clear my mind after this post.

One of the best ways for me is to look at outstanding images, created by exceptional photographers.

It especially applies to images that can only be described as awe-inspiring.



Storm SuperCell Google Images
Storm SuperCell




Sorry if my posts about the man destroying America Annoy you. Google Images

We the people. Google Images
We the people.

A Christian Cross Google Images

Take What You Want God Said to Man and Pay for it MS Publisher Craig
Spanish Proverb

God Bless America with Flag and Eagle Google Images

Thanks for Stopping by.



Clarify your Mind and Detox your Soul

A clarifying moment this morning.

July 15, 2018
I haven’t written regarding Trump for weeks.

I watched In horror as he again made an ass of himself (which he doesn’t recognize); as he trounced our allies (which he doesn’t care about); as he skirted treason (which he doesn’t understand).

The occasion of his perfidy was his petulance with NATO; his lies with PM Teresa Mays; his uncouth behavior with the Queen of England.

I was so glad to read this morning that Prince Charles and Prince William declined to meet with him.


I have read so many articles in the last few days I lost count.

I lost any sense of what each was about.

I had a clarifying moment this morning.

We learned on Friday that Special Counsel Mueller indicted 12 Russians spies with 112 counts of invading the United States of America.

These were not just ordinary spies. These were officers in the G.R.U. or the Main Intelligence Directorate or now known as G.U. Main Directorate under the Russian Military.

As the Travesty of Trump unfolded during the week, I kept wondering what was he trying to do under that just plain sowing of his evil mind and spirit.

After Mueller’s indictments were unveiled on Friday, I still had not put the pieces together.

When Assistant Attorney General Rosenstein announced that he had briefed Trump on Monday before his departure for Europe the light finally shone into my dimly lit brain.

The hammering of the leaders of NATO, the lies told about PM Mayes, the continued threatening of the bailing out of NATO then made sense.


He was showing President Vladimir Putin that he was a good ole boy and will follow Putin’s desires to the letter

The media had not mentioned that Putin and Trump conversed on the phone.

Yes, they have spoken eight times.  This is a list of Trumps calls to Putin and other heads of state.

They have spoken twice this year.

I will bet that Trump knows exactly what Putin wants to do: destabilize NATO, destroy the European Union, and sow more discontent in the United States.

Even after Trump made his manners to the NATO leaders and PM Mayes, he tweeted on Sunday morning the FOE (of the United States) is the European Union.

So much for making peace with his adversaries.

It is a good thing he meets his good friend on Monday.

Putin doesn’t have to do a thing.

Trump has done the ‘wet work’ of breaking up allies (a Russian term for spilling blood).

We only hope that Congress will let Mueller finish his work and understand collusion/no collusion.

The Amercian Eagle always on watch for treason Google Images
The Amercian Eagle always on watch for treason

Roger Stone admits that he was Russia’s American connection.

Another major connection to the Russians, one of even greater standing was and is David Keene, President of the NRA.

David Keene’s connection to Russia?

Alexander Torshin.

This in-depth article by Rolling Stone portrays the decade-long advancement of Russia intruding into the politics of the USA and funneling money to Trump via the NRA.

It is a spellbinding read.

The Russia Bear illustrated by Victor Juharsz for Rolling Stone
The Russia Bear illustrated by Victor Juhasz for Rolling Stone

Thanks for stopping by.


Antique eagle and flag. Facing the correct direction to render its opinion of Trump Google Images
Antique eagle and flag. Facing the correct direction to render its opinion of Trump

My Rose Garden Party part 4

July 7, 2018

This week, we look at the Front Garden

This garden has seen the most changes. It has been almost in constant change mode.

Some changes: from moving a clematis to make room for a honeysuckle; from rose Darlow’s Enigma to Purple Smokebush; from tall cedar to clematis. And almost everything in between.

Some permanent fixtures are the hosta we brought from Becky’s mother’s house in Grand Rapids. It is easy to tell summer is wearing on because the green leaves turn brown due to slugs feasting on them.

I tried the beer bath to annihilate slugs. I tried putting chicken grit to tear open the slugs stomachs.

My most successful eradication is no eradication at all. Let the slugs eat cake. Let them feast and don’t worry about it seems to be the most successful, at least less stressful solution.

Front Garden Images by Craig
Front Garden

Let’s start from the left (west).
The first bush you notice is one we have talked about before. When we moved in 43+ years ago, there was a Snowball Bush (Viburnum). It was smaller than it is now. I have cut it back to the ground frequently and fertilized it on several others.

Snowball Bush, Hydrangea Limelight and Jackmanii Clematis in the background Image by Craig
Snowball Bush, Hydrangea Limelight and Jackmanii Clematis in the background

Now it stretches around the corner and almost encroaches on the Jackmanii Clematis.


Several years after we moved the clematis from the west side of the porch to the present location and fertilizing it every year it grew wide enough so we could add another width of a support.

Now it will grow wider and wider for years to come.

The most recent addition to this garden is the Hydrangea Limelight. We purchased a very nice plant from Bloomer’s Greenhouse in Grand Rapids MN.


I always include good Moo-nure purchased from the Home Depot when we plant. For the next few years, I top-dressed with more Moo-nure.

It is now a superlative plant that will provide many years of pleasure in nature and as cut and dried flowers.

Next to the LimeLight is a Serviceberry Bush.

I had not heard of Serviceberry Shrubs until my wife said we should try some.

She was correct. They grow strong and tall and the berries change into three colors and the birds love them. A winning combination.


Serviceberry Bush – berries change colors as they ripen
Next is a perennial favorite. Yes, I intended the pun. The Variegated Dogwood has a special place in the garden.

It is in the middle of the Front Garden and is the focal point for the background.
It has been a strong vigorous grower until a few years ago.


 Variegated Dogwood

That year a Serviceberry and the Variegated Dogwood got hit with a black blight. All of the branches suffered a black coating that seemed to suck the life out of the bushes.

I suspected the cause was brought in by our newest lilac, The Beauty of Moscow.

It was the unwitting accomplice in bringing the blight to our garden.


                                                                    The Beauty of Moscow

The Beauty will be an awesome lilac and is in a garden on the far side of the yard. It is not even close to the infected bushes, Variegated Dogwood and Serviceberry.

A few weeks after planting the Beauty, I noticed a blackening of the branches and the leaves also curled.

I had never been confronted with a disease of this nature. My usual nasty visitors consisted mainly of rose gall.

I found an effective countermeasure at Menards. It is a systemic fungicide/insecticide made by Spectracide.

It worked. As long as I kept up a daily routine of spraying the affected bushes the blight did not progress. It infected only one of the Serviceberry Bushes.

After that rigorous routine of daily doses, I reduced the application to once a week.

It stopped the blight. Now the damage assessment began. The Beauty of Moscow lilac suffered no longlasting ills.

However, the Serviceberry and the Dogwood had to be pruned to the ground.

Even the next year the blight returned to these two bushes. Again the daily doses that were reduced to the weekly regimen.

It is now the third year after the nasty visitor showed up. Since we moved out of the house before the blossoming of the Serviceberry I could not gauge the extent of the ‘cure’.

The branches came up strong and that encouraged me. Hopefully, the new owners will provide the hands-on work of rescuing these bushes.

I still find it interesting it affected only one Serviceberry bush.

I need to get back to talking about another great bush.

The Green Smokebush or Green Sprite is just that. It grows tall and full with bright green/gold leaves.

This bush is now the centerpiece of the garden. It is slower to grow each spring (I prune it back almost to the ground).


Green Smokebush aka Golden Sprite

This year my wife had to prune the Limelight Hydrangea and the Green Smokebush since I wasn’t able to walk in the garden.

Becky has always been a real asset in growing these gardens. She has undertaken the challenging but necessary task of deadheading the rose bushes.

The opportunity to clip a blossom of our favorite roses, the Snow Pavement came up.

She had been making several trips back to the house each day to haul more stuff to the apartment. She clipped just one blossom. Such a treat.

A melancholy fell on me when I saw that she had brought the single blossom into our apartment.

Rather than endless bushels of rose blossoms to add to our home each summer and early fall, we would now have none.

Maybe next year the landlord will let me plant a Snow Pavement on the property. I will wait and gauge my enthusiasm for the project next spring.

Now it doesn’t seem to grab at my heartstrings the way a normal spring would.

Also, I am struggling to make the change to a smaller desk.

For years I have had the pleasure of a drafting size desktop. Much more space than I needed but enough space to stretch out my elbows.

After much discussion, I listened to the reasons why I should not take the big desk. My bride and her helpers won the day and I greatly appreciate the smaller desk now.

I now have enough room in my ‘office’ (the second bedroom) to have shelves and small bookcases. I would have lost too much mobility if I had brought the ‘monster’.

Alas, my dog would have loved it.


Berkley, asleep at my feet under the big desk
She has always crawled under the desk to be at my feet.

She doesn’t have that luxury anymore. We both can’t be in this desk area at the same time.

She is a Landseer Newfoundland and weighs 135 pounds.

She still takes her place when we leave on an errand but I think she is despondent that she can’t lay at my side for all of the hours I am typing up these posts.

Sorry, Berkley.

A bush that has been the bane of my existence is the Crimson Honeysuckle.


It has seldom flowered.

It is invasive to the other bushes. It tangles with their branches and is really a lot of work to trim.

One of the bushes that suffers the encroachment of the honeysuckle is the Purple Smokebush.


Purple Smokebush

This was a discovery unmatched by any other plant.

We didn’t know what it was. We just happened upon it on a foray into a new (to us) garden center.

The light, fluffy tendrils captivated me. We scooped it up and didn’t look back.

It is an impressive bush. Strong, long branches arch over the whole back corner of the front garden.

It is the perfect spot for the plant. No other plant has done as well in this spot.

One last bush I included in the Front Garden is the William Baffin roses, one on each side of the front steps.

I sure was excited to see how the William Baffin has taken to those places of honor.


Canadian Explorer Rose, William Baffin

Each fall I have to cut the long canes back or the branches just chew our flag to shreds.

Pruning, digging into the rose canes to reach the dead ones and then carrying them back to the fire pit is a day-long project.

The big problem is that we can’t burn the canes until next spring. The wood is too green and generates too much smoke.

Two years ago we took out the sidewalk that ran around the east side of the porch.

That was quite a shock to the William Baffin on the east side of the steps.

It still hasn’t recovered fully. But it will.

The Canadian Explorer series of rose bushes are awesome. This is a great list of the roses and their characteristics.

They withstand the rigors of northern climates.

Each one I have purchased has withstood the test and proved to be not just sturdy and hearty but a blush of bright color in our gardens.

A few words of wisdom before I return with the next post.

When planting bare-root roses, always make the hole much bigger than you think you will need.

Use good topsoil, a dose of sphagnum moss and a healthy portion of Man-nure.
Your roses will delight you much sooner if you do.

Always water the freshly planted roots thoroughly.

I recommend a slow drip to completely water the roots. I lay the hose end right in the hole and let the water trickle for at least an hour.

Mulch. Mulch and mulch some more.

There are many colorful mulches now on the market so you can even decorate your landscape using a mulch of different colors and textures.

Two to three-inch deep mulch will help control weeds that will sap the energy from your roses and help regulate the water you lay down doesn’t get reabsorbed into the air. It needs to stay at your roots.

Always plant new bareroots before the days get long and the sun hot.

That reminds me of another lesson hard-learned.

Do not buy bare-root roses from your local big one-stop store. You may get them to grow at first.

But they will break your heart before long.

Buy from a reputable nursery such as Hortico that will ship your roses at the right time of spring to plant.

Discovering new roses to plant is a great winter’s day treat. Lighting a fire in the fireplace, thumbing through the newest Hortico catalog ( or the catalog of your favorite nursery) is a great pleasure.

Deciphering the language to picture the roses a few years after planting to envision their color, texture, height, and girth is a pastime of many winter days.

Follow the grower’s instructions on how to spread out the bare roots and then fill the hole you dug.

I just read the Hortico recommendation to use an antidesiccant in the fall to prevent the rose canes from drying out.

That sounds like great advice.

A trick I learned when I was planting a few bushes at one time. I laid a plastic tarp on the lawn.

I placed topsoil, manure and sphagnum moss (usually in equal measure) on the tarp. I then used a rake to mix the ingredients together.

This is much easier to get a well-blended soil that trying to mix the ingredients in a wheelbarrow.

Another wise word. One year my sons bought me a wheelbarrow with two wheels. I would never go back to a wobbly single wheel version.

If I was putting the roses in an area where I was concerned whether they would get enough moisture or if I was concerned about the soil compacting over time, I would also add a dose of perlite to the mixture.

It doesn’t mix with the soil and keeps it from packing down.

Friable soil is always the goal so that your hard work in planting will pay great dividends in blossoms and healthy plants.

Next post, we will make a run down the east side of the house.

How Would We Do It Differently?

July 3, 2018

I just read an article in by Bernard Marr, dated July 2, 2018, titled
“How Artificial Intelligence Could Kill Capitalism”.

There are many topics I could cover today but I had to call this one out.

I think Mr. Marr covered many bullet points of the coming The Fourth Industrial Revolution. He doesn’t call it as such but the meaning is clear.

He leads the article with “if you believe the hype” which is a way of backhanded way brushing it aside.

He labels the nay-sayers claim “at best, it will lead to rising unemployment and civil unrest and at worst, the eradication of humanity.”

“Advocates are telling us to look forward to a future of leisure and creativity as robots take care of the drudgery and routine.”

I am not an expert on these topics but I think the second point refers more to The Singularity rather than just AI.

When computers overtake humans as the workforce of the future around 2040–2050, many predict there will be a panacea for humans to enjoy.  I look at Mr.Ray Kurzweil,  Google’s Director of Engineering in my blog post “Choices or Not? The Singularity, Quantum Computing. Mr. Kurzweil is a great intellect and a great read. His website is

Mr. Marr states that the ‘third camp is happy to admit the forces of change which are at work are too complicated to predict.  For the moment, everything is up in the air.’

This, to me, is a great cop-out.

If we don’t stand up and holler, no one will ever get the message.

As it is no political force or entity has undertaken the responsibility for starting a large-scale discussion on the opportunities of AI.

I believe the first camp, the naysayers, will then prevail.

Benjamin Franklin’s quote applies here “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.

Failing to plan, on the scale of America alone will be disastrous.

Failing to plan on a scale of the ‘free’ world (excluding Russia and China for the sake of this discussion) will be a holocaust.

Failing to Plan Ben Franklin Google Images
Failing to Plan Ben Franklin

Since Trump is dismantling the foundations of cooperation and support among ‘free’ nations, the non-American elements will fare better than they would if they were still tied to America’s apron.

They stand a better chance of solving the coming upheaval alone as evidenced by some Scandinavian countries already experimenting with ‘Universal Basic Income’.

Mr. Marr pans basic income because “it’s basic”.

He quotes the author Culum Chace “Artificial Intelligence and the Two Singularities” ‘if all we can do is give people a basic income, we’ve failed, and society probably isn’t saveable.”

A test has to start at the beginning. The beginning is basic. And that’s where Scandinavian countries are starting. (Finland, where the test group is 2,000 unemployed people, the Netherlands, Kenya, Canada).

Also, two US states are taking part in a non-government-sponsored random study sponsored by Y Combinator. This study of 3,000 people is across two states.

The city of Stockton California is the first government-sponsored trial by giving 100 people, $500 per month.

I agree with Mr. Marr that neither the tech industry nor the government are making an effort to address the revolution which is already underway in our country.

He says a concerted and informed effort from governments is necessary and the tech industry is more focused on profits than any motive for getting the change right.

Mr. Chace argues that people “will see these robots driving around taking people’s jobs, and think ‘it won’t be long until they come for mine’ – and then there will be a panic. And panics lead to nasty populist politicians, of the left or right, being elected.”

This has already happened.

‘The Intolerants’ in my blog post are parading as white supremacists and neo-Nazi sympathizers scaring the bejesus out of people.

Most industries have accepted AI and their workforces are already fearful.

Look at the grocery industry.

People recognize that self-checkout lanes are affecting cashiers and how fewer are being employed.

The trucking industry has many tests running and some companies are already using driverless semi-trucks as a way of mitigating the lack of over-the-road truckers to deliver their goods.

Some companies, Uber, Embark, Otto, and Budweiser have embraced the new tech and are running at full steam ahead.

Mr. Chace states that “people aren’t stupid”.

He is right. People are talking. People are putting the puzzle together.

Many are in denial ‘I won’t go to a grocery store that uses self-checkout lanes’.

Some of these people now say “I won’t use self-checkout lanes because it is taking jobs away from people”.

Some people don’t seem to care as evidenced by the increase in the number of self-checkout proliferating in stores.

People are well down the road that Mr. Marr describes.

In America, the energy that would be spent on this issue is now directed to Mr. Trump and his policies.

But the tech revolution is not waiting for them.

They will turn their heads and get whiplash due to the rapid advance of AI technology in almost every aspect of their lives.

Then the ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Gospel of Luke 13:28) will begin in earnest.

The sad thing is at least one year, if not more, will be have been lost, wasted because no one was paying attention to the advance of the ‘machines’.

It may then be too late.

The naysayers will have won. So many jobs lost. So many companies will have accepted the challenges of AI and bent them to apply to their bottom lines.

The first thousands of jobs are already lost. Many more thousands are on the way, just because people thought other things more important.

Greedy, ‘first to the fire’ people have mimicked and even debauched the real purpose of IoT. They have developed all kinds of shiny, new gadgets to capture wild imaginations.

Instead, they could have understood the real benefit of IoT which is IoTh, the Internet of Thinking.

How do we think differently?

How do we apply all the new data?

How do we enable people to think about ways to improve the world?

Can we overcome the advantage the naysayers have gained by being first in line to apply the new, ‘gee whiz’ gadgets of AI?

Can we change the direction of ‘gee whiz’ into a road that will find sustenance for all people physically and intellectually and spiritually?

Somebody has to be the ‘grownup in the room’ so we can be ready for the real biggie, ‘The Singularity’.

The tech revolution aka The Fourth Industrial Revolution Google Images
The tech revolution aka The Fourth Industrial Revolution


Thanks for stopping by.


Red Rose Svetlana Manic 674670 - unsplash!

My Rose Garden Party part 3

July 1, 2018

I have favorite names for my ‘gardens’.

The names are a bit grandiose in relation to the actual ‘gardens’ but it helps me remember which is what and where. I assure you it is entirely on purpose to no purpose except to point an old mind in the right direction.

You have to remember that I am more than 68 years old and my memory is impaired. I am scheduled for a 4-hour session with a neuropsychologist next week.

That sounds a bit scary and it is. But maybe this doctor can find where I lost my memory. I don’t remember where I put it.

In the front of the house are the west side garden, the west front garden, the front center and the east front.

We may only get through two gardens in a post. We’ll have to see how much gabbing I do.

The west side garden is probably the best place to start since it has the fewest plants.

West Side Garden

When we moved in more than 43 years ago there was a large chokecherry bush on a small hill. In order to plant a French White Lilac, we move the chokecherry bush to the west side of the house.

You can learn about Chokecherry Bushes here.

Chokecherry Bush. Photo by: Peter Dziuk
Chokecherry Bush. Photo by: Peter Dziuk

The major drawback to this location is that we can’t see the birds feeding on it.

It does well most of the time.

However, since an invasion of tent caterpillars a few years ago it has struggled. Tent caterpillars are a nuisance in town.

But in rural areas, they are outrageous and dangerous. Cars have slid into a ditch after striking a patch of caterpillars.





Area of Forest Tent Caterpillar aka Army worms forecast for 2018. MN DNR
Area of Forest Tent Caterpillar aka Army worm forecast for 2018.

Closeup of a single Forest Tent Caterpillar Image MN DNR
Closeup of a single Forest Tent Caterpillar


                                Forest Tent Caterpillars aka Army Worms in Minnesota

Find the species of birds and insects that feed on Eastern Tent Caterpillars and Forest Tent Caterpillars.

Just a glimpse of these crawling masses of Army worms is sufficient to bring back the odor of thousands (4 million can reside in one acre of a forest!) of these squished by car tires on rural roads.

They are nasty, ugly and bright green when squished.

People line the trunks of their expensive flowering trees to prevent these worms from climbing into the branches and devouring every last leaf.

Most of the time trees recover in the same season from being de-foliated. But there are times when the march of the Army worms is a contributing cause of trees dying.

I take this time to introduce you to one of my favorite image makers. Her name is Annie Spratt. Her images are found on You can download any image by thousands of professional photographers for FREE!

All the images are covered under Creative Commons License.

Rose images by Annie Spratt

West Side Garden

In the west side garden, in addition to the chokecherry bush, we planted two Jens Munk roses in memory of Becky’s sister Sue. These Canadian Explorer roses have blossoms that may look frail but their canes are not in the least frail or fragile.

They have nipped a grandchild or two so they just stay out of that area of the yard now.

Ms. Munk looks after herself. Her thorns are almost a wicked as the rosa glauca (more on that rose later).

In the background of this garden are Iris. This is a picture of the bulbs we grew.

Blue or purple Iris. A popular flower in Zone 3. Google Images
Blue or purple Iris. A popular flower in Zone 3.

This is a link to many other varieties of Iris.

The next flower is a favorite of Becky’s. Lily of the Valley.

Lily of the Valley. Image from Wikipedia
Lily of the Valley. Image from Wikipedia

A Lily of the Valley short primer is here.

The fragrance of this Lily is intoxicating. This flower can be invasive depending on where you plant them.

One last concern with Lilies of the Valley is pets. These Ladies are poisonous to cats and dogs. If ingested you will see vomiting and diarrhea.

As with all plants it pays to do the research. I once heard weeds described as flowers that are just in the wrong place.

I have hewed to this theory. As undergarments to many of the roses, I planted dead nettle in many of the beds. It is invasive and I planted purple and silvery pink flowers.

Within a few years of planting, they had filled the ground under the roses and choked out many other weeds. Their luminescent foliage was a pleasant sight when not many other flowers were in bloom.

Dead nettle as ground cover

The next flower in this garden is Globe Thistle. I planted two of these and they rewarded us with large and robust plants.

Blue Thistle by Annie Spratt.
Blue Thistle by Annie Spratt.

The Last Plant

This plant wraps around the corner of the house and shares some space with our Jackmani Clematis.


Our Viburnum ‘Snowball Bush’  was about 6 feet wide when we moved in. After fertilizing and cutting back to the ground several times it prospered and grew to about 15 feet wide.

A caveat, in the wet spring early summer the flowers will rust quickly just as white lilacs do.

I never researched in depth until now the difference between the Snowball Bush Viburnum and the Snowball Bush Hydrangea.

I would casually look up the Viburnum and then Hydrangea at different times. I would wonder why our Snowball Bush didn’t have the full shape that Annabelle Hydrangea has.

Next post we will look at Turkestan Burning Bush and a BIG chunk of Bluestone.

Thanks for stopping by.


Rose Image by Annie Spratt Unsplash!
Annie Spratt Unsplash!