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Memorial Weekend and Georgia Red Clay

For most people Memorial Day Weekend is a fun time with friends & family. Often involving a beach or some other vacation spot. After this past weekend, I am sun-burned and sore all over… But it’s not because of any fun!

This past week we received our fruit & nut trees from Burgess. (I didn’t expect them to be shipped until fall.) They arrived on Monday and needed to be put in the ground as soon as possible – they’re “bare-root” trees & shrubs. With my husband away for work from 7am to at least 7pm, that meant the work was all on me!

So, I dropped all the work that I had planned for the week and went to the store to get top soil & humus to mix into our solid red clay soil. Late afternoon, after it cooled off (relatively speaking – this IS Georgia!), I gathered all the tools & materials & went to the first spot to start a hole. Stabbed the shovel into the ground. It only went about an inch deep. I stood on it and bounced. It only went maybe another half inch! UGH!!!

Sun-baked Red Clay

Sun-baked Red Clay

What am I gonna do if I can’t even dig a hole?!?!?!? We hadn’t had rain in WEEKS, but we did have record or near record highs, so the red clay was hard-baked!!  I waited on Danny, hoping in vain that he’d come home early enough to dig the holes for me. No such luck.

The next morning, I went to Home Depot & purchased a mini-tiller that I’d researched and had my eye on: the Honda FG110. It’s not supposed to be able to break “virgin” ground, and I hadn’t been able to find the digging tines attachment for it anywhere, but I was desperate and running out of time.

Late that afternoon/early evening, after it cooled off (relatively speaking, of course), I put it to the test. It actually did the job! It bounces when it hits really hard-packed clay, but with patience, it dug in & turned the clay to dust! And it’s small enough that the hole it digs is just the right size! Unfortunately, I only had time to plant 3 trees before it was too dark to see what I was doing any more.

Danny comes home (as I’m putting everything away) & says, “Why don’t you just put them in pots for now? That gives them time to put on some leaves before we plant them in the fall, so I can see them when I’m mowing the field.”

Fortunately, I have enough big pots (from potted fruit trees we’d planted last spring), but I don’t have enough potting soil. So the next morning I go out looking for potting soil that does NOT have fertilizer in it. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find just plain old potting soil without some kind of plant food in it! (Directions say not to fertilize for the first year because it can damage young roots.) UGH! I got home just in time to put everything away & get to the school for my afternoon volunteer work and bring my darling daughter home.

The rest of the afternoon was spent mixing soil by hand and putting 6 more trees in pots! YAY! I was done!

Planted Mulberry

Planted Mulberry

The next day? The order of fruit & nut trees from Four Seasons came in! At least Danny would be home tomorrow… He could help with the work! Unfortunately, I was out of big pots. So instead of buying more pots, Danny dug the holes while I bought more top soil & humus. (Thank You to the retired Army Vet who helped put the heavy bags in the back of my truck!) The rest of the day was spent digging holes, mixing dirt, and planting the trees. IN THE GROUND. That’s when I got sun burned, because we started in the morning and didn’t finish until late afternoon.

Just for the record, the ground was so hard that even Danny couldn’t dig the holes with a shovel!!! And it had rained overnight 2 nights before!!

Since it was Memorial Day weekend, that meant we had another day to get some work done. So Monday was spent cleaning (scrubbing!!) the vinyl siding and washing windows! I pulled my hair back to keep from getting so hot, put sun block on my arms and put a wide brimmed hat on my head to protect head, neck & ears from the sun. Unfortunately, even the hat hurt my sun burned ears. :(

We’re gonna re-side with hardy plank & next time,  I’m hiring someone else to do the work!

Alternatives to Socialized Medicine

Ok, so the Socialist in DC have at least acknowledged that the Health Care reform movement is about Health Insurance and not necessarily Health Care. So let’s stop arguing about the fact that nobody has any problem getting the health care they need.

Yes, there are needed improvements in health care – nothing and nobody are perfect. Fortunately we live in the greatest country on earth (not for long, if certain people have their way) that is creative, industrious, and ingenious, and they’re working on that. Medical breakthroughs really are occurring every day!

Yes, the health insurance industry needs improvement. But, the last I checked, health insurance wasn’t an inalienable right. And socialized medicine is NOT the answer. It has proven a mistake everywhere it has been practiced.

Here are some suggested steps to take (many already being sought by the GOP – the supposed party of “no” – but being thwarted by the Socialist Party otherwise known as Democrats):

First, hold people accountable for their own health. It’s a fact that those who take better care of themselves have fewer health problems, thus have lower health care costs. While some things cannot be averted (accidents, genetic diseases, and some cancers), it’s up to each person to determine the best course of care and payment options for themselves. There are other alternatives to socialization.

Second, reward healthy behaviors, but do NOT punish unhealthy behavior. For instance, smoking is an addiction, so instead of punishing smokers, reward those who quit and/or don’t smoke. Research work-place wellness programs that have proven effective for ideas.

Third, the insurance industry itself is rife with fraud & abuse. That’s one of the reasons it costs so much!

Fourth, tort reform can go a LONG way to reduce costs across the board!

Fifth, how about reforming the insurance industry such that individual/family plans are viable options. That’s the biggest problem with health insurance. Currently, people are slaves to their jobs just for the health benefits packages. How about insurance companies offering group plans for individuals that are independent of employers/companies, but also affordable?

Lastly, how about a “Thanks, but no thanks” option? Many don’t want nor need insurance (so let’s stop raving about the number of people without it). Many in the medical industry are already moving toward a fee-only type of service. This is because in most cases, simple preventive medical care (annual check ups & such) are still much less expensive than insurance premiums!

I’ll say it again: Health Insurance is not an inalienable right! It is not the government’s (tax payers’) job to provide it!