Category Archives: VA

In a VA Country Garden – –

Jack misses by a day – or as his economics professor would say ‘reverts to the mean’ – –

I have always disliked gardening. I used to think it was a hellish Calvinist punishment for past or future sins. That was probably mainly because I lived in west Fife for the first sixty years of my life where the ground is solid clay and only good for weeds. But when Wendy and I married we moved to east Fife where the soil is completely different, fertile and easily worked. So in our very small back yard we successfully grew vegetables for the first time. It was still hard work but at least with results!

When we moved here last year we found we’d inherited a vegetable garden that only appeared to have some rhubarb and raspberries in it. But we did notice that the previous owners had carefully planted lots of different flowers around the place very thoughtfully and they matured at different times through the year.

That should have hinted at something – –

With the uncertainty of the Covid 19 situation and the resultant notion of trying to be a bit more self-sufficient, we set up tanks around the house to capture rainwater and then turned our attention to the vegetable garden.

When we started preparing the ground we discovered a layer of black garden cloth everywhere so we pulled it all up and threw it away. Only later did we discover why it was there. Our yard has a number of big mature black walnut trees and they send out fine tendrils from their roots that are death to a number of vegetables. Despite that we were able to grow onions, peas, asparagus and a few other things. We also have a fresh crop of rhubarb and raspberries. Our tomatoes are either in grow-bags or as far away from the walnut trees as possible.

The other big job was converting our wee shed into a chicken coop for Thelma and Louise and that was another heavy bit of work.

So we are slowly learning what works and what doesn’t – next time the peas need to be staked better, the potatoes need to be in isolated raised beds and more of the tomatoes need to be in grow-bags.

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Filed under animal rescue, between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch

As Others See Us

Jack hits the ground running – – –

I’ve often pondered on what we mean by ‘normal’ – normal behavior, normal lifestyle, normal ideas.

upside-down-united-kingdom-map-full

When Wendy was teaching Cultural Geography in a classroom instead of on-line she would occasionally have me in to guest lecture on Scottish culture. I would always read the textbook beforehand and was struck by something. The book was always written from a Western point of view and I got to wondering how a textbook written from an African or Oriental angle would compare.

My view of the world comes from a European perspective, whereas Wendy’s is American and although we obviously share a similar worldview, we’ve both had to make adjustments over the years.

A friend recently posted Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on Facebook and it reminded me of something I read by C S Lewis – maybe in Mere Christianity. He said, and I defer to his scholarship, that everyone in the world, regardless of religion, had the same sense of right and wrong, good and bad.

If we think of something like Maslow’s pyramid with the shared sense of good and bad at the base and a completely formed worldview at the top, then somewhere between the two is where the difference sets in.

Perhaps the answer to this conundrum is to start lower down the pyramid where the shared perspectives are more evident. That way maybe an African student can avoid seeing a European country as an ex-colonizer and a US student can question whether their form of freedom and democracy is the only kind.

There’s a very rich and varied mélange of ‘normals’ out there and I’ve been very lucky in my life to sample many more than the average person. My message? Read widely, travel widely and reach out.

The map at the top is of the British Isles viewed from the North instead of from the South – a good exercise in seeing your world from a different angle!

Interestingly – there are two countries, a Principality and a Province making up the United Kingdom – how many do you see shown?

 

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Filed under between books, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch