Random 5 for July 4 – Happy 4th, gardens, charities, masks, masquerading

Holiday! – Happy 4th for anyone living in the US. Today is a day of barbecue, celebrations and all things red, white and blue!

A sad garden — Without a garden this year, I’m using window boxes and pots to grow herbs, tomatoes and flowers. The results are mixed. The pots are black and heating up even with twice a day watering. The window boxes were an odd size so I couldn’t get a plastic liner. I don’t like to put soil next to wood. Without air insulation between an inner container and the window box, the soil is frying and maybe the wood is sucking out the moisture. Lots of lessons here. I’m not sure what but I’ll do something different next year. I’m already dreaming of a small (very small) pond. Just enough to keep frogs happy and a very few fish. Maybe I’ll buy my tomatoes.

This is my window box from mid-June 2016. My current boxes are not near as nice.

Charity tactics – I’m not a fan of getting “gifts” asking for a donation from charities. Calendars are one thing but coins are another. I wish they would spend that money on better things. Sometimes there is a nickel in the envelope. This week I got an envelope with a half dollar coin. Inflation? I never respond to those kinds of pleas.

Who are you? – People you have seen only with the mask look different without them. Yesterday I saw a guy that looked so familiar but I couldn’t place him. I walked out of the grocery store in back of him. When he got to his car I realized it was gorilla man. I’ve written about him a few times. I always saw him early in the morning at Starbucks in a gorilla mask. He looks very different without one. Maybe it was because he wasn’t joking around. His fancy sports car, however, looks the same!

That makes me wonder – Did the mask give people license to be someone they weren’t similar to hiding behind social media rants? Gorilla man was always joking and laughing. Grocery shopping isn’t as much fun as picking up a coffee but there are people to joke with. I thought about how many times I interacted with a mask on. As little as possible. I had such a hard time hearing that I tried to avoid conservations since I was sure to answer a question that wasn’t asked. Gotta get them hearing aids!

So how was your week?

 

53 thoughts on “Random 5 for July 4 – Happy 4th, gardens, charities, masks, masquerading

  1. Ahhh, the pond. The pond is in your blood, Kate. Even a very small one. I do wonder about the coins in the envelopes and whether this works? We have those in Canada, too. You make an excellent point about the mask. It is as if people are hiding behind a mask. Possibly living life incognito. Pros and cons to this.I used to wear a mask all day at work – actually and metaphorically – ahhhh – maybe a future post – if I am in the mood. Thanks for listening Kate. I often read your posts in batches – if I am unable to stay immediately current I like to keep up as much as I can 🙂

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  2. My mom and I gave a donation to a place called “Smile Train” many years ago. It was a charity which enabled children born with cleft palates to come to the U.S. and have operations, rather than be disfigured their entire lives. After the donation, we were bombarded with these “gifts” … one, I remember distinctly, was a cheap and flimsy blanket and it had stains on it. And they mail out solicitations once a week. We sent an e-mail and said not to send anything else to us and instead of sending out a weekly request for donations, the money could be put to good use by sponsoring more children. They continued for years to send things anyway, despite writing “no longer at this address” on the envelopes. I get some coin solicitations, mostly from veterans groups or from an Indian reservation.

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    • I am familiar with Smile Train as our former neighbor was active with it, traveling to other countries to help out. I think some charities hire marketing firms to do their fund raising so there is little control. I tend to donate to animal charities (if not me who will?) and there are some that work totally on volunteers. We have a local neonatal kitten rescue. They only rescue kittens, sometimes with the mom. No one draws a salary. Kittens are most at risk because a regular rescue group cannot handle the round the clock feedings they need. Many of the preemies need incubators and medications for medical issues. I know exactly where my money goes and if I’d prefer they have a list of things they need. I also check Charity Navigator when determining if I want to donate to a charity. I know fund raising is important for charities but there must be a better way.

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      • My friend Carol, who I’ve mentioned before, is a volunteer for a couple of kitten rescue charities, one of them strictly for ferals. Her contribution, since she doesn’t foster them or volunteer for feeding preemies is to donate items to be raffled off. She creates gift baskets with themes. I’ve gotten my Christmas and all-occasion cards from Guiding Eyes for the Blind for years. I don’t think I’ll be walking in the Mutt Strut to raise money for their no-kill shower as it will not be virtual and I’m not quite “ready” for group activity yet.

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  3. I had to introduce myself to a friend the other day. I hadn’t seen her in a while and I knew she didn’t recognize me behind my mask. My hair is now gray and quite a bit longer. I kind of like hiding behind my mask, but I want to pick and choose who I’m hiding from. I do hope you’ll get around to having a small pond. I miss your old one. 🙂

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  4. I have flowers on my balcony. They are all doing fine except for one that can’t handle the heat and all afternoon sun. Teddy and Jack like sitting out there and having a nibble of the catnip. Next year I want to put a couple of window boxes out there on either side of the hummingbird feeder. I think it would be more inviting.
    The fourth was relatively quiet so Teddy stayed on the ottoman instead of in the closet. Jack likes to sit and watch the colorful flares. Not too much bothers him.
    I am glad the masks are going away but it does mean make-up is needed. That’s a bummer.

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    • I have to figure out which ones do best in hot heat. Most of my deck gets full sun from 9 to 4. Surprisingly (at least for me) the geraniums aren’t flourishing. Not sure the wood box is good for them either. We had a lot of fireworks and they went on until well after midnight. W are in a more rural area. Before there were more strictly enforced regs about late night fireworks. I was really surprised.

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  5. Ditto about the Charity Tactics. It grinds my gears that they think they can guilt me into giving them money because of some unsolicited gift. It’s stupid marketing– not all that charitable.

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  6. A pond! Great idea – even a small one – you loved your pond in the other house so why not have one again….smaller will be easier to maintain too. I used to have rather extensive garden (flower) areas in the yard but it got to be too much to take care of……….I now have pots of flowers on front porch and back deck and a garden of perennials which require NOTHING from me. That’s about all the gardening I can handle these days! Hope your 4th was great!

    Hugs, Pam

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    • At the old house the big flower beds slowly dwindled down to shrubs. At least at this house I can’t overdo it. My front porch pots are doing very well although it may be more sunny than they like. This is a year of trial and error.

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  7. Happy 4th of July to you! Yes, things are definitely different with masks off than they were with them on. Gardening in a new place always takes a couple of years to settle into – different spaces, having to figure out the sunny and shady spots, etc. You will get there!

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  8. Happy Independence Day, Kate.

    Your observations about Gorilla Man are interesting. Maybe wearing a funny mask did bring out something different in him. A couple I met today were talking about being invited to a pig roast at a friend’s cabin. Every year he has a different theme and asks people to dress up accordingly. This year it was a toga party. Everyone dressed up except this couple. They’re not into costumes. I wonder what the togas brought out in the party crowd. Costumes are a bother, but they can be fun. I can’t decide whether I like them or not.

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    • I used to have a nun costume so it was easy. It wore out so now if someone would have a costume party I’d have to spend significant time coming up with something. Maybe my time for that has passed but I do think that people are freer behind a mask.

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  9. My new raised bed garden is looking good. I’ve tried a lot of planters through the years with no luck at all. I hope yours don’t fry the plants! Mine never seemed to go well.

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    • I have a second story deck so I was hoping a few planters on the deck would give me flowers and color. If I plant them in the ground, I won’t see them from the deck or my family room windows. I’m thinking flowering shrubs may be a better solution with just a pot or two of colorful flowers on the deck. I won’t use the current window boxes again but may try something else. Not sure what to do about tomatoes. They are a real love of mine.

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  10. I swear that my name and address is on every charity list (especially ones that are animal related). While I’ve never received actual coins in the mail, I have received calendars, greeting cards, stationery, note pads, address labels, pens, gardening gloves (2x) and even socks with a butterfly pattern. Like you, I really wish they would not waste important money on these items. If I wish to donate, I honestly will. No bribery needed!

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  11. I don’t like getting the coins sent to me either. I feel guilty and usually send a small donation of $5 with a note to stop sending them, but they keep sending them. Happy 4th!

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  12. Gorilla Man! I love how you’re providing continuity here. It was only a few weeks back when I recall he lost his mask. The staff at the grocery stores here are starting to be mask-less, and it’s indeed strange conversing with them like we used to. It’s like we’re all having a reunion several times a week.

    I can’t stand those coins in the charity solicitations either. Organizations that use guilt to get my attention usually aren’t successful – Marty

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  13. Can you improvise with your plastic liner buy using say a roll of bubble wrap or a bin liner? You could always put a few holes in it for drainage.
    My sister grew tomatoes in hanging baskets….. they were tiny, but lovely!

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    • Not as hard as I thought. Spring was always filled with anxiety. Pool needed cleaning and complete water change and garden had to be turned over. As I got older both were harder. The pool bottom was slick and last year I fell twice. Using a pitchfork to turn the soil in the garden could wrench my back. It’s hard to find people willing to do small chores like this. I miss the porch and enjoying the pond but I’m finding that walking near the stream gives me a lot of satisfaction. I saw a toad in the yard and was very happy. Miss my frogs.

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    • Or some water feature. Our neighbor at the last hood had a circle of stones with a fountain in the center. Somehow it pumped the water back up. It was a Chinese thingie. Very soothing. I has to be something I can enjoy from my second floor deck.

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  14. I sympathize with you on the gardening in a box issue. All mine are now lined with a thin layer of pea gravel to promote drainage and I put a coffee filter over the holes so the potting soil doesn’t drain out. It makes a difference. Because the squirrels are plentiful (and destructive), I only plant my tomatoes in pots located very close to the back door. Just discovered the cherry tomato has several tiny green tomatoes on it with lots of flowers beginning to set. Oh joy…can’t wait to make a salad with those babies. Have a safe and happy 4th. 🇺🇸

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    • I planted a sungold cherry tomato (yellow to orange) which is one of my favs. It grows very tall and I’m not sure if I should have searched for a variety better suited to pots. I use a piece of landscape fabric to put over drainage holes. I think part of the problem was that the holes were on the bottom which was flat against the top of the deck rail so I’m not sure it if got good drainage. I have since put shims underneath the ends so the water can run out more freely.

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