Get Rid of Ragweed and Grow Your Garden!

This is a guest post by Ben Stallings (brother of ‘Becca), adapted from this post at Blue Boat Home.

There are two troublesome things I have in abundance in early summer on our urban farm in eastern Kansas: overgrown weeds and ideas for what to do differently next year!  As is often the case, adding two problems equals a solution.

If you have an organic garden, you probably have a compost pile, and that means you need equal parts green matter and brown matter.  Dead leaves are easy to stockpile from the previous autumn, or you can buy straw by the bale, but green matter (fresh leaves, veggies, and fruit) doesn’t keep.  If you need a quick burst of fertility for your nitrogen-hungry summer crops, you need a lot of green matter that will break down quickly and completely.  You may not have seriously considered weeds as a source of food for your garden–a handful of weeds scattered around the garden is a nuisance–but a wheelbarrow-load growing all in one place is a resource! I start to eye the roadsides and alleyways for lush groves of unwanted plants.

I never paid much attention to giant ragweed (Ambrosia triffida) before I met my wife because I’m not allergic to its pollen, but Jessie is, and it makes her miserable throughout most of August and September.  I try to do whatever I can to minimize this, which means leaving the house closed up even on nice days.  But maybe I can do more than that . . . maybe I can get rid of the ragweed before it blooms! Read more…

I drew the Earthling symbol for nothingness.

If you found this site by searching the Web for the phrase, “I drew the Earthling symbol for nothingness,” please post a comment explaining what you are seeking.  I am fascinated.  This phrase turns up at least once a week, sometimes several times a day, in the list of search terms that have brought people to The Earthling’s Handbook.

It makes me wish I knew the Earthling symbol for nothingness so I could draw it for you.  I mean, I’d like to be helpful, and of course I’ve tried searching the Web for this phrase myself out of curiosity, but I find that many of my pages are among the top hits, and none of the others look helpful.

I’m sorry to tell you that Earthlings use many different sets of symbols and have no agreement on a universal symbology.  But most Earthlings now recognize the concept of zero, which means basically the same thing as nothingness.  It is easy to draw and is even available on most Earth keyboards:



Does that help at all?

One of the interesting things about editing The Earthling’s Handbook is seeing what people want to know about Earthlings.  “What do Earthlings eat?” is a question I can answer.  I hope to be a helpful resource to alien zookeepers.  But I am mystified by all these searchers who have drawn the Earthling symbol for nothingness and now want to find–what?

Three Weeks of Vegetarian Dinners for Late Spring

Hearth & Soul HopFood on Fridays

I’ve previously posted four September/October weeks and four January/February weeks of my family’s pesco-vegetarian menu, including a few seafood meals among the vegetarian ones.  In these three weeks in May and June, we did not include any seafood in the meals we made at home, so this meal plan is vegetarian.  However, we ate in restaurants a little more often than usual during these three weeks, and I’ll admit that we did eat seafood in some of them and even a little chicken.  To make up for the missing dinners, I’ve included our lunch menus for the weekend days.  Weekday lunches are mostly leftovers and frozen meals for the adults and mostly PBJ sandwiches for the seven-year-old who still prefers them to any other lunchbox main course!  Why only three weeks this time?  Well, I write our menu on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of scrap paper, and this time only three weeks fit on a sheet instead of four! Read more…

How We Survive Without Air Conditioning

Today’s Works-for-Me Wednesday lead article is about staying cool in the summertime.  The author lives in Texas, where it is a lot hotter right now than it is here in Pennsylvania–but we do get hot weather here, we’ve had several 90-degree days already this year, and we know a lot of people here who think air conditioning is absolutely essential to their survival of summer.  I grew up in Oklahoma, where every summer is oven-hot for weeks at a stretch, yet my parents never used their central AC more than a few days a year.  Air conditioning uses a lot of energy and therefore costs a lot of money, and in my opinion it’s just not that great–it feels and smells weird, and it’s often too cold!

I think there are three main techniques to living comfortably without air conditioning: Make long-term choices that set you up for success, make hot-day choices that improve comfort, and have the right attitude.  Here are some details in each category: Read more…