Drunk Driver update

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From the Wednesday March 26 paper.

If you need a refresher, drinking-buddy should help you get up to date.

“A Grand Island man facing multiple charges of driving under the influence failed to appear in Hall County Court Tuesday morning because he was in jail in York County – for failing to appear at a hearing there.”

His lawyer said, “I don’t know where he is…I think another county has him.”

According to the paper, he first failed to appear in Hamilton County, and they arrested him March 17. York County arrested him March 19, in what I believe was kind of an extradition. It seems last week he finished his 14 days in the Hall County Plaza Hotel, then was extradited to Hamilton then York Counties. Due to some multi-county oversights, he had hearings in two counties on the same day. Now that he can’t drive, it seems he is having problems making it to all of his commitments. Somebody get that man a day planner and a taxi!

Freakonomics

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I managed to make it to the library alone yesterday.  I was so hungry for books, I found five for myself in about as many minutes.  I have a huge master list of books to read, and all of them were on it.  I spent some time on the catalog, and it looks like I need to ask them to get some on interlibrary loan. I managed to find five for the kids too.  To my surprise, I didn’t owe anything on Cry, the Beloved Country.  They must have goofed up.  Coincidentally, Smithsonian has a large article about South Africa this month.  I never knew much about it, except when I was in high school, the late 80s, I knew they were going through all kinds of changes. 

Today I finished Freakonomics.  Wow.  Back in the olden days, when I had a paying job, ha ha ha, I worked with a guy who loved to debate.  We went around an around, it was great.  I kinda miss him.  I emailed him at work today to tell him to read this book.  We could have argued for a year on it!  If you have not read it, I found it very thought provoking.

Four to go now.  I think I will go for fiction.  I think I got a fiction book…I kind of go in phases.  I don’t think of myself as a non-fiction reader, but about a third or so of what I read is non-fiction, maybe more.  I looked longingly at some Gabaldon stuff, her shorter stuff, like 4-500 pages, but it was on the two week checkout, and I don’t dare.

I went on Jane’s field trip to the G g grocery store yesterday.  It was a nice tour.  I could never teach pre-school, but Mrs. Z is awesome.  Today Miss C, from the educational service unit, came out for a “play date” with Jane to evaluate her.  Mae was distressed that nobody wanted to play with her on the playdate.  Miss C asked me if Leo was a neighbor’s kid I was watching.  Jane did many of the things that have concerned me, so I guess we shall see.  I expect she is just “weird” as her daddy lovingly calls her, but I want to know for sure.  The tests from the Dr came back negative for lead and iron issues.  I doubt they tested for glyphosate, but the way she mouths everything – including the rocks she picks up in the McDonald’s parking lot – that may be a concern.  I was glad to note that our off brand trains didn’t have lead paint. 

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Last night I found myself leafing through a Pottery Barn catalog.  I couldn’t sleep because my bed partner – who shall remain nameless – was keeping me awake.  He had just tinkled in the bed and was trying to flirt his way out of trouble.  He quit sleeping all night about 10 days ago when he got a cold.  Since Grandpa Daddy needs his beauty sleep, we have  been sleeping in the guest room.  Actually Paul starts out in his big boy crib, and me in mine, but has been waking around midnight for an hour or two, and due to my laziness, he has been sleeping with us, or just me lately.  He has this thing he does that is like he is trying to crawl or swim or something, and he ends up clawing my back.  All night.  Part of this may be because we need a new mattress, and he slides my way.  But I digress.

Back to the catalog.  I am not Pottery Barn “people”.  They would likely be horrified by my attempt at home decor.  I am not sure why they are sending me a catalog, except they may think I could use new furniture or drapes or something.  I probably could, but it ain’t gonna happen any time soon.  So I was awake at midnight paging through the catalog, looking at the books they used for decor in their little pretend rooms.  “My name is Wildflowersp and I am an addict.  I have a certifiable book problem.”  Some book displays were arranged by color, some had their spines to the wall, pages facing out.  Yep, that would be a handy way to store books.  In one scene, they had two stacks of books on the floor.  The stacks were about four feet tall, and in the dining room.  Dramatic?  Yes.  Weird?  Yes.  If I kept my books on the floor of our dining room they would stick to each other from peanut butter or cognac or something – wait, you are supposed to drink cognac in the drawing room I believe.  What is even weirder is the fact that I noticed the same books in several scenarios.  In one shot, the titles were backwards because they had flipped the negative before printing it.  I suppose those Williams Sonoma folks told the Pottery Barn people that I was a live one.  Kitchen stuff is important, but decor?  Neh, not so important.

A friend recently complimented me on how I had used books to decorate my home.    So I started putting a little thought into how I piled my books all over the place.  I have a horizontal pile in the living room of attractive children’s classics, like “A Child’s Garden of Verse” and Richard Scary’s “Cars and Trucks and Things That Go” ok, I am kidding on the second one (although it is a classic).  I put some of my books horizontally in my office bookshelves too (I can actually get more books in that way).  My library is loosely organized according to Mr. Dewey Decimal, so there are limits to what I can do.  But I purchased a pretty book at a garage sale, to put on top of a stack of books.  I have no idea what it is about, and have no intention of ever reading it.

Have you ever been to a house that is bookless?  With the exception of the laundry room and the mud room (neither rooms are designed for lingering) I believe you could find a book in every room of our house.  As my dad once said, “If you go into the bathroom and forget what you wanted to do, there are three different books to help you remember.”

Part of the reason I was checking out Pottery Barn’s book collection is that I am out of books.  Well, I have hundreds of books, but nothing I am interested in reading right now.  I owe the library $$ (maybe a buck) but it is so hard for me to get anything for myself checked out.  My kids are well behaved, but not so well behaved I could browse.  Maybe I should look at one of those paperback exchanges.  I could probably unload some books that way too.

Too many mollies

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Subject too many mollies

Question Santa brought us a 5 gal. tank w/filter but no heater. We have two mollies. They don’t look much alike, but they had 4 babies. I now use water from the grocery, since a progression of fish died shortly after the tank was set up, and our tap water is not fit for human use. We have lillypads growing in tank. Just tonight I noticed white cloudy stuff all over in the gravel. I cleaned the tank about 10 days ago, I replace most of the water each time I clean it, but I added water a couple nights ago. I see the filter is not working well, need to replace that tomorrow.
Question #1 How do I keep these guys from reproducing?
Question #2 What is the cloudy stuff? Before reading up on mollies tonight, I thought it was eggs.
Question #3 Could I get a catfish or something to eat the babies before I feel bad about having to get rid of them?
Question #4 What would you put in a tank this size to keep a four-year-old kid happy?

Answer

Mollies will reproduce no matter what you do. It’s what they are known for. I sure wish I could help you with that one!

The cloudy stuff on the gravel is probably excess waste and/or food that became infected with fungus or bacteria. Vacuum the gravel and make a 25% water change to get it out. Cut back on food a bit too. Overfeeding is very common. We all do it from time to time. We just have to mend our ways and clean up after ourselves once we realize it. It is easier on the fish to replace no more than 25% of the water and do it once a week. Changing more water than 25% can shock them. All tanks really need a weekly water change to keep water chemistry and water quality consistent.

I can’t really recommend a fish to eat the babies because your tank is actually already overstocked. Mollies should be in a 20 gallon or larger because of their potential adult size (3 to 4 inches) and their need to move around and get exercise. The parents will eat their own young anyway. Just feed them less food when babies arrive and nature will take it’s course.

A community tank can have up to one inch of fish per gallon. You have to calculate based on the future adult size of each of your fish. This rule applies only to fish that get no larger than about 3 inches or so as adults. Imagine a 12-inch fish in a 12-gallon tank…yikes! It just isn’t wise to apply the inch-per-gallon rule to larger and messier fish. You can go a little more than one-inch per gallon (as long as it’s less than 2″ per gallon) but be sure to maintain the tank weekly and don’t overfeed. If you think you won’t be able to do changes weekly, stock the tank very lightly with fish.

Some better options for your 5 gallon INSTEAD OF the mollies would be;

A male betta with a couple of little cory cats

Or A pair of dwarf gouramis and a couple of cory cats

Or 3 neon tetras and a couple of cory cats

Or 3 white clouds and a couple of cory cats

Cory cats are schooling fish so get two or more. Instead of cory cats you could have Otocinlus catfish. They eat algae. Or, get some ghost glass shrimp. Bottom feeders are very important in small tanks because of the high possibility of overfeeding.

At Your Service;
Chris Robbins
http://www.kasamba.com/fish-expert-chris

AllExperts is a FREE service, but if we’ve helped, you can pay it forward … by rating this answer! This way, you help future questioners by guiding them to the best volunteers on this site. BTW, once you rate this answer, you can send it to yourself in an email.

Fishing again

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I learned a lot on the internet last night.  Mollies, what I have, give live birth.  Hence the cloud things are not eggs, but are probably not a good sign.  I asked my questions, including the cloud one, to experts.com.  Haven’t heard from the guy yet, am waiting on pins and needles. 

Jane took two fish to Show and Tell, we gave them to Mae’s classmate.  The mama said the clouds were probably something that would become a disease, like popeye or ich.  Great.  I am waiting to hear from my expert about what to use since Shad, or what ever I called him last night, the fish guy from PJ store, has lost my trust in this matter. 

Live bearers actually get pretty close to each other to copulate, kinda spoon style I guess you could say  My lilypads are a good thing, especially for the babies to hide in and feed on.  Mamas are famous for eating their children.  I believe it was Wikipedia that said they just consider them food.  They will give birth about every 35-45 days. 

I also learned that I don’t obsess about my fish nearly as much as some people obsess about their fish.  Most of the people were wanting their fish to breed for God’s sake!  What on Earth do they do with them?  It is not like they are big enough to eat.  I have my fingers crossed that the clouds are a result of me accidentally overfeeding the fish.  I don’t really want to mess with fish diseases.

It’s bed time.

Teach a fish to breed, and you will never go hungry

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This weekend I learned that the father of my nanny (a young lady who watches my kids on Tuesday afternoons) delivers our newspaper!  I told her to ask him if he remembers the time he had to get out and climb into the ditch to put the paper in our box.  Post on that later.

The lady I pay to help me shovel out my house about once a month has a master’s degree. (not in cleaning)

I also learned that the guy in the pet store knows as much about fish sex as I do.  (side note: the only fish/pet store in our town closed and joined with a “country” store my SIL calls Pettycoat Junction, to open a branch store, then the branch didn’t make money, so they are back to the one Pettycoat Junction, but I am not sure the fish/pet store is still involved.  They have not relocated anywhere, leaving me to wonder if anyone really knows about fish at the Junction, or they just clean tanks and order what looks fun)  He suggested that maybe they wouldn’t reproduce again.  I refrained from suggesting the same for him.  Mom thought I should surreptitiously return the babies to the store when nobody was watching.  I wonder what the penalty for that would be…it wouldn’t be stealing, more like donating.  Stan the fish man mentioned letting them swim in the toilet, but I can’t bring myself to do that either.  Yet.  Maybe they won’t reproduce…I have always been big into denial. 

So I called an expert, my friend Traci.  She told me that I needed to see if I could exchange an adult fish for one that is enough different so they wouldn’t reproduce, or learn to “sex” them, that means tell the sexes apart, and get the same sex. So I am talking to Traci and I see what looks like clouds all over the bottom of my tank.  Little cottony things that weren’t there last night…caviar anyone? 

Tuesday Game  Plan

1.  Research fish species and identification on the internet; become more knowledgeble than Stan the fish man

2.  Take a fish to school, for Mae’s classmate, Jane has show and tell, maybe we could kill two stones with one fish

3.  Find out about a fish exchange at the store, and procure a non-compatible community fish (see, I have already learned)

4.  Clean the tank out tomorrow and scrub it well, then get on my knees and pray.

5.  Quit obsessing about my fish.

I wonder if a catfish thing would eat the eggs…then I wouldn’t have to get rid of a fish.  Back to part 5 of my plan.

Honey Do List

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1.  Fix snake hole

2.  Install swingset

3.  Burn stick pile by shop

4.  Seed grass

5.  Fix screen door

6.  Install gate between house and shop

7.  Tighten legs on kids’ table

8.  Take all pets to vet for shots

9.  Birdhouse maintenance

10.  Attach railing on playhouse loft…build ladder?

 

What a mess!

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My house is such a mess right now.  I stick to the kitchen floor when I walk across it.   The kids are tracking in the first dirt of the season.  Leo doesn’t understand to close the screen door after himself, so the cats are tracking themselves in.  I run the dishwasher two times a day, and still can’t keep up.  The Dr said I can feed Paul real food now.  Great.  More dishes to wash.  (he’s such a big boy!)

Mt. Laundry is perched on my couch, and I am giving the kids skiing lessons on the bunny slope.  Mae is starting to catch on, we use the coffee table for a mogel.  I did manage to sort off the socks and undies today, as well as fold some sheets.  Paul has been needy all afternoon and evening.  He wants to be held, so here I am with him face down across my lap.  He cries when I put him down.  His new hobby is spitting up homemade cottage cheese on my floor.  Did I mention my floor is sticky?

The kids wanted to have a sleep over tonight.  I got out their sleeping bags and put them in the boys’ room.  Leo is using Janine’s old Barbie bag in his crib.  If anyone wonders what he might like for his birthday… Jane eventually got mad and went to her room and Mae is parked in front of Paul’s crib.  I guess that is fine, since it doesn’t look like he’ll be sleeping in it anyway.  I was an evil mom today and didn’t let the kids nap so Sayed and I could have our Thursday night date while the kids went to bed early.  How about that ending?  Grandpa Daddy said, “now I’m LOST!”

I overheard someone promising to buy their kid a fish at preschool today.  I jumped all over that and offered to bring one.  Now I only have three babies to get rid of.  Then I need to have the fish spayed or neutered.  Wonder which is cheaper, or more feasible.  Wonder which one is the daddy?  I still am not clear as to what happened.  The parents are spending an inordinate amount of time under the filter, where I think all of the nasty business takes place… but they don’t look a thing alike!  How can this be?  I guess I should have taken more genetics or maybe fishery classes in college, but who knew that it would come in handy?

Speaking of wildlife, Mae found where the snakes are coming into our house, or rather the crawl space.  She wanted to know if she could pick one up, I said, sure why not?  She didn’t get up the nerve.  She also wanted to kill one.  I suggested that she not do that, since outdoor snakes are good, but indoor snakes are bad.  My stepdad has graciously offered to help fix the problem next week.  I hope he doesn’t need any help, from what I saw, our whole basement could be a snake condo.

I spent the afternoon picking up sticks and branches from our 2006 ice storm.  You see it broke off the branches, but they got stuck in the trees, and now blow down from time to time.  I looked at each stick carefully to make sure it wasn’t a wiggly stick.  Eeew.

Off to bed, I hope.

Are you happy with the name your parents gave you? Why or why not?

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I always thought my first name was a cheerleader name, and I am not a cheerleader type of person.  My name and I have come to terms with each other and now get along fine.  I love how it goes with my middle name.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

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I just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kinsolver. I laughed, I rolled my eyes, and I thought about what she said, a lot. It took me a long time to read it, because she gave me so much to think about. If you are unfamiliar with the book, the author and her family lived for a year on locally grown foods, with the exceptions of olive oil, pasta and coffee. They did the mammoth’s share of the growing, but they bought from farmer’s markets as well. They tried to buy only foods grown within 120 miles of their home, and with the exception of wheat, I believe they did.

One of her main points is…eat what is fresh when it is fresh. So, they did not eat lettuce or cucumbers in February. Makes sense, they don’t taste as good out of season anyway. But it is more than just eating what is in season, for example, the town just down the road from my home is famous for their watermelons. Do our local stores carry them, or do they carry Texas watermelons? I don’t know, I usually try to buy melons from the stands, but I am going to ask our locally owned grocery store to clearly label locally grown produce. I know they sell local squash as well. Actually one of the store managers used to work for my husband, I might give him a copy to read…or at least suggest it.

Fossil fuels figured a lot into her thinking as well. I will paraphrase, since I can’t find the exact reference, Isn’t it kind of silly to use fuel to haul food across the country, when the same thing is available locally?

Kingsolver was hugely into organic, or close to it, and avoiding feedlot finished livestock. I cannot fault her for her thinking, but I have been around production agriculture my whole life, and I understand why people choose not to raise organic crops. Livestock is even more difficult to certify organic than field crops. The production phase I am most familiar with is the beginning, so I don’t know much about what goes on at a feedlot. Most of the beef we get was raised in a home feedlot, not a confined animal feeding operation. Kingsolver did concede that organic is not always the best choice, since it might be trucked in from across the country.

As a society, we should not be proud of our factory egg production or the fact that supermarkets only carry one species of turkey, and that one has been bred to have such a large breast that they couldn’t reproduce if they wanted to. Kingsolver claims that fresh eggs and grass finished organic meat have a different composition than factory eggs and corn fed meat… higher omega 3, (which aids in fending off depression) as well as other vitamins and minerals. Our fresh eggs have specks of blood in them from time to time, they aren’t perfect, and I don’t have the technology to tell which ones are prettier inside. They have also been fertilized, so they have a little dot in them as well. I suspect many consumers want perfect eggs.  I sell eggs to three people on a regular basis, they are all farm girls who understand these things.

She had a hugely funny chapter about turkey sex, and subsequent brooding. She had all kinds of problems. If she had asked me, I could have told her some simple solutions, from experience. She writes that most of the breeding and brooding instinct has been bred out of turkeys. She makes it sound that if she wasn’t raising turkeys the world would be down to only the one breed. I would submit that first time mamas of any species are incredibly naive. I would also submit that turkeys didn’t evolve (in the micro sense of the word) in such small quarters as the average poultry house, further confusing the hens. When our chicken hens get broody, they often forget which nest they were sitting on, so we make a little gate to keep them in the right nest, then let them out a couple of times a day.

Some random thoughts about the book.

She is not a fan of corn except as sweet corn and perhaps popcorn. She is speaking mainly of high fructose corn syrup as well as corn-fed beef. As it currently is, the mighty consumer has spoken, and is asking for grain finished meat.

Kingsolver went without bananas, citrus, sugar (they used honey), rice (for the most part) and fish for a whole year. 

She blew me away when she talked of heaving overgrown zucchini over the fence instead of feeding them to her poultry flock. Our chickens eat pretty good on what gets ahead of me in the garden.

I also learned why I don’t like milk. Humans are the only mammal that breastfeeds after age 2 or so. By breast, she actually means udder. Many humans can’t digest milk products as they get older, our bodies change and mature. I don’t get sick, but I won’t feel guilty turning milk down from now on. I eat plenty of cheese (which doesn’t have lactose in it) so my bones should be fine.

She certainly has a better growing season working for her there in Appalachia, although with some work we could grow more here than we do. As you progress west across Nebraska, the variety of foods suited to the climate would be slim indeed, and by the time you got to Wyoming, well…It is important to know how food is grown, and it is even better to be self sufficient, or at least know how to preserve your own food. You never know what kind of event (like Hurricane Katrina) could have us living off our wits for a long time.

I am going to spend more time at our farmer’s markets this summer. I am sure the more we buy from farmer’s markets the more they will grow, and that is a good thing. Have you eaten a grocery store tomato in July? I will also try to spend more time in our garden. That would be good for the kids too. I love to garden, but the heat and humidity here just gets to me. Maybe I will try to garden more in the morning. It is kind of tough with a baby, keeping him out of the heat and bugs.  I am sure Leo will be busy in the garden as well.

I am sure she is right that we as a country should be prepared to live off what we can produce, and not rely on foreign countries for our food supply.  I believe trade is necessary, but dependance is not wise.  Who knows what is up the road for us as a society between wars and climate change?  I don’t have a cache, but if we could not leave the house for two months to purchase food, we could eat a healthy diet with the exception of milk and cheese.  Towards the end it might get a little boring, but it might be boring anyway…

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