March 23rd, 2019

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Saturday Yardening

We went shopping today and I saw some pansies and violas in front of Wal-Mart.  Last year I missed them, and some other stuff got delayed because I didn't stay on top of the spring planting.  This year I'm trying to do better.  Turns out the stuff in the garden section was cheaper and all violas.  So I bought four 6-packs and one single pot.  These include pure white, pure purple, pure yellow, some white-and-purple faces, and the purple-and-yellow ones called Johnny jump-ups.  :D  I look forward to planting these.
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Lake Charleston

We went out to Lake Charleston today so I could hide a couple of the rocks I painted.  (Those are Spring and Take Up Space). Wow, the place has improved!  When I was little, it was boring -- nothing but the lake, a warning sign not to kill yourself playing on the dam (with names of people who died on it), and some crappy gravel-and-mud parking places on the slopes.  But over the last several years, it's been improving. 

Several years ago, they paved the path over the levee so now it's a wide mixed-use path; we saw a roller-blader and a girl with a scooter on it, quite a lot of people really when we used to see only one or two others.  There's a storytelling circle there too.  No more wading through knee-deep grass and chiggers!  A while back they scraped all the greenery off some of the slopes to kill invasives and are now trying to redo it with native plants, so it's starting to come back.  New in the last year or two: more benches and chairs, lots of freshly planted tree saplings of various species, new cut trails, a pavilion with a small playground, and they're currently putting in whole new parking pads of poured concrete that are actually level.  Of particular interest to me is that some of the trails are flat or nearly so, while others are up and down the steep upland-forest hills, which offers something for all levels of ability.  They even cut one over to another park to connect the two.  \o/  I also spotted at least two butterfly gardens in progress.  I really want to go back and explore the new trails before the weather gets too hot, and then go back when flowers will be blooming to investigate the gardens.

Let's see if I can do the 10 things trick:

1) People watching now there are actually plenty of people going there.
2) Wildlife watching on the lake.
3) Fishing.
4) Waterfowl hunting.
5) Picnic in the pavilion.
6) Play in the playground.
7) Study the butterflies in the flower garden.
8) Hiking.
9) Biking, rollerblading, or other wheeled activities.
10) Boating.
11) Photography.
12) Look up any of the organizations sponsoring the improvements.

I forgot my camera this time, but will try to bring it next time so I can photograph things to point out why this is becoming such a cool park.

I wondered where the hell they got the money for all this, because it sure isn't from the state or the feds, the lousy deadbeats.  Well, the butterfly garden sign had 4-5 sponsors on it including a butterfly initiative and Pheasants Forever.  The general improvements had a sign up for some Charleston group.  The pavilion had a sign but I couldn't read that one, so it might be the same or different.  I get the impression that I'm not the only person who's looked at modern politics and said, "Fine, fuck it, I'll do it MYSELF!"  Because what used to be just a lake with a loop trail and crappy parking is now turning into a very Terramagne-esque park.  :D
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Birth Control Pills May Lower Injuries

Women have a higher risk of knee injuries, especially during estrogen spikes.  Women taking birth control pills (which lower and stabilize estrogen) have fewer such injuries.  Athletes may therefore consider this use.  They probably don't want to get pregnant while devoted to sports anyhow.

My suspicion is that estrogen weakens the ligaments, because women's bodies have to be flexible enough to carry and deliver babies.  But if you're not using your body for that, you may not want the heightened risk of injury that comes with it.  Conversely, if you do flexy things like yoga and notice a sudden drop in flexibility after beginning birth control pills, you may wish to consider a different method.
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Ugly Food

A great deal of produce gets thrown out before consumers ever see it -- the "ugly" fruits and vegetables that don't conform to rigid standards.  Some people are pushing to make these available at a discount.

As long as they're cheaper than the ideal ones, I'm all for it.  You typically lose more to scraps from ugly good than ideal food, because you have to cut around seams and such, so without the discount you'd lose money.  But I buy "seconds" at the farmer's market precisely because they're cheaper and I'm just going to chop them up for spaghetti sauce or sloppy joe filling anyhow.