First day back on campus, and nature deficit

It might be hard to see, but that is a young gator warming up in the sun. There is a lot more on campus than classrooms. I usually park in the most underused parking garage the campus has. I enjoy the stroll across the wooden bridge as well as the sidewalk trek through nature. It takes a little longer to get to my classes clear on the other end of campus, but the views can be stunning. Most other students I see on the same path I take never look at what is absolutely surrounding them. When others use this garage or the lot beside it is often a choice of last resort, meaning the others are filled to capacity, and they are probably going to be late to class anyway. In most cases they either take the walk while talking or texting on their cell phones, never pausing to breathe in clear air and examine the beauty this world has to offer.

As stated, I purposely park in the most underused parking garage, just so I can walk through natural scenery before I go into the classrooms. Sure it’s a longer walk and I can’t always predict whether or not I need an umbrella, but just one good view of nature in motion per semester would be worth the added effort. I get a lot more than one, this is my last semester here as an undergrad and I don’t envision coming back as a graduate student any time soon. I will miss these walks. I’m sure I can still visit the campus and the many other places designed to expose young people to nature in the future, it just won’t feel the same.

I have heard the term nature deficit for quite some time now, but until observing that most of my fellow students walk through natures beauty and not even raise their eyes from whatever device has them captivated worries me. I am a student of computer information systems, so I see a significant use for technology in everyday life. But should we accept that being connected is so important that we fail to even notice all that nature is and can offer us? I hope not. I and my friends grew up playing outside everyday, a lot of children today only venture outside when forced to do so! What happened to us as a nation?

If all of us were so addicted to technology like video games and internet applications, who would be our doctors, policemen, firemen, military, leaders, not to mention providers of electricity and the stuff people are addicted to? I think almost all forms of recreation have a place in people’s lives, they should not however rule your life. Recreation is vital, take the word apart and examine it.

Please take a moment to observe something natural everyday!  Give thanks to GOD for all he has provided. Respect our environment.


Be Strong

Everyday seems to present its own set of new challenges. Today was no different. I didn’t want to get up, the rain hitting the windows reminded me that where I was going would most likely be muggy and mosquito ridden. I got up anyway. I promised my friend of many years to help him with a few projects he needed to complete rather quickly. I could have lied or made an excuse to get out of it, but this was a friend who has been there when others weren’t.

I was right about the mosquitoes and the humidity. It was hot, muddy, and generally uncomfortable. My friend didn’t push or rush me to do the chores in front of us, and after about 8 hours that felt like 20, we were done. When I got home I felt like an old worn out rag that needed a good soak in a fast moving creek. My heart told me over and over throughout the day to “Be strong, be patient. In the end, its the results that matter, not the problems during the fight”. The fight of everyday life isn’t wasted effort, we get stronger for our attempts. We aren’t always successful in our endeavors, but we learn to survive.

At the end of the day (this and every other), what really matters is what we hold dear. Family and friends can’t be replaced with things or money! 

Blessings to all!

Drying Fruit

Fruits and veggies are good for us so when they are on sale we tend to buy them. Sometimes we don’t use them all before they start to lose that fresh picked flavor and sometimes wind up in the compost bin. Bananas, no matter how green in the store or market, seem to go really fast. Two days ago I sliced several bananas and set up the dehydrator. While I was at it, I sliced apples, peaches, nectarines, and an orange. The dehydrating process is mostly unattended so it didn’t take me away from doing other important things. Some folks like to dip the fruits in lemon juice or other solutions to prevent browning in the process, since the browning doesn’t affect the taste or safety of the fruit I usually don’t bother to dip them. Once dehydrated, all the flavors are concentrated and the fruit is preserved to extend the amount of time it is edible. The orange didn’t do as well as the others, but is still quite tasty.

In the future we plan to try canning again. Our previous attempts didn’t go extremely well, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. There are tons of information about the canning processes commonly used, so perhaps it will go better next time around. If you have tips on canning feel free to leave a comment or two.

That’s all for now.


A Fresh Pot of Chili

This photo is of an area in the everglades not overly disturbed by man. YET!

My wife and I made a fresh pot of chili today, along with garlic bread. What does that have to do with sustainability? You might ask. Taking a hint from history, most notably Cracker houses, we didn’t cook in the kitchen. Just as a side note; Cracker houses didn’t even have indoor kitchens, nor did they have indoor laundry facilities. Cooking outside, or as we did today, in the garage (due to weather), reduces the heat created inside the home. Less indoor heat means less work for the A/C. On top of that, we also used solar/wind powered batteries and inverters to assist our cooking activities. It won’t save us a fortune in energy costs, nor can our actions alone  heal the planet. If enough people will start making small sacrifices here and there we can make a difference.

Dinner is good, I’ll probably have seconds.

Peace and Love be with you.


Uncertainty Abounds

I’m strung as tight as a steel guitar right now. I have an interview tomorrow, for a part-time, temporary, low wage job. I’m nervous because I haven’t held a steady job (excluding an unpaid internship) in more than five years. Will it be the end of the world if I don’t get the position?  No! But I still feel like I need to catch a break and get what most employers are asking for, experience. Let’s face it, I’m not young, I’m not brilliant, but hell I’m not irrelevant. I’m trying to go from a background of military service, followed by almost 20 years of construction work, into a whole new sector of the job market, Information Technology. Big jump for me, I hope I looked closely enough before I took this leap. After spending four years in college it seems like a shame to abandon the dream now. A dream without a plan is just a dream, with a plan it becomes a goal, I plan to take as many small steps as necessary until I find the right fit.

Enough of that garbage!

As expected, it is raining, almost like clockwork this time of year. Too bad folks in the drought stricken areas aren’t getting some much needed relief. The fires across much of the country’s grain belt will affect a lot more than just the people losing homes and revenue sources, we will all feel the effect when food and other products reach the market. I don’t have to water the garden tonight, but the heat has killed most the plants anyway.

Until next time:

God Bless and Peace Be With You.

Light Alternatives

Gas prices are on the rise again. They seem to go up so quickly, but boy are they slow coming down.

One thing I’ve noticed lately that has probably been happening for years is our use of lights. A lot of homes and businesses have either window blinds, shades, heavy curtains or some combination of the above. When light is desired in a given space or room, rather than opening up for natural light, we flip a switch. Skylights were once popular, but seem to have fallen out of style. Today’s low energy usage light bulbs use less electricity, but contain mercury, and are supposed to be disposed of in a haz-mat collection site, really who does that? Newer skylight designs use tubes similar to A/C vent tubes to redirect light where you want it and drastically reduce the need of making large holes in roofs, which reduces the possibilities of unwanted roof leaks. It is even possible to have the light enter a tube that doesn’t penetrate the roof at all.

Tomorrow is another day. Peace be with you all.