Welcome to 'Attic of the Heart'!

Welcome from north-central Connecticut! In this blog I will share whatever is in my heart, on my mind, or something interesting I've found to share. Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lawn care, drought, and chemicals...

(The above pic is our lawn 2 years ago, about the same time.  It's not nearly that lush right now because of our dry spring)

The lawn care people were just here. They come every spring, spreading fertilizer and pre-emerge.  It's not my idea.  It's my landlady's.
If it were up to me, I would be carefully researching my options, and doing whatever I could organically.  I'm even open to a fine layer of composted manure applied at the right time.
I was thinking...I miss seeing white clover in my yard.  Not that it was ever here, but I do remember it in yards where I lived previously. Most people like to get rid of it, because it isn't grass, but I remember how sweet it smelled on a summer day.  And the buzzing of busy bees.
Which brings me to this thought:  Just think how many lawns across America are cloverless, dandilionless, plus all the other little flowering things?  And we wonder where the bees are?  Why they are dying, or why we have to bring them in to orchards, etc.
Not saying this is the complete cause, but I'm sure it does factor in, since the last 50 years or so of chemical lawn care.  It's a huge industry, at least here it is.  With applications up to 4 times a year, that can really add up. And I won't even get into industrial applications on farms, golf courses, etc...
I was thinking about tilling up some lawn for a garden, but now?  I don't think so.  No telling how much residual chemical lies in my lawn.  Do a search on Roundup, you might be surprised.
I just know that each year when the chemical lawn man shows up, I am frustrated by my lack of say in this decision.  I can't wait to have my own lawn.  And I just hope it hasn't been subjected to years of chemicals.
I just had another depressing thought:  But what about my neighbors?? What about runoff? Is it possible that the rain can bring the chemicals from across the road and down our front lawn? (we are downhill) Is it affecting my water supply? What about the marsh out back?

All these are things we should consider  for both ourselves, and our neighbors, when we make a decision to treat our lawns.  We are to consider our neighbors...and make responsible decisions.
Speaking of lawns, I was reading recently about how much water it takes to maintain these beautiful lawns.  This is of special concern to me, and others who are drought stricken at this time.  I am already watching my water consumption due to a very dry winter and spring, and it's only April.  I know my well can run dry during a real dry spell if I do laundry and water my flowers on the same day.
I wrote about this before, how I save and use my kitchen wash water on my plants, by saving the water I wash my veggies in.  Amazing and terrible how much good clean water we pour down the drain. We take so much for granted here in America - our good clean plentiful running water.  Our indoor flush toilets - flushing after every visit, instead of every 2 or 3rd.  Running the faucet full tilt while brushing our teeth.  I've adopted these conservative measures myself, and my next plan is for rain barrels, so I don't have to use my good clean well water.
I sometimes get a bit upset when I see the neighbors down the road with their beautiful weedless lawns maintained by underground sprinklers that run EVERY DAY, and wonder, does this affect my well?  How do we know?  How can we know if we are on the same vein underground?  Maybe not, but it irks me that they run water like it's always going to be there, and I worry about my well running dry and whether I should water the few flowers that I have.
It's dry everywhere here, and we should all have a concern about this.  We should all be doing our part.  Just read about Texas and their drought.  How the towns haven't been doing enough to conserve water, and how worried they are about running out.  Actually running out of water.
I even read that a number of people are getting wells drilled that are already on town water, and how the towns may have to limit the number of permits for these wells.  Can you imagine being denied a permit to drill a well??
All because we didn't have enough foresight, or perhaps it's more than that, maybe it's a lack of discipline.  We just don't want to have to be the ones to give up anything or change our lifestyle...

And this was going to be a very short post.  Sigh. :0)
Let me just end this by saying that my mindset has been slowly changing over the last couple of years.  Between reading survivalblog.com, Mother Earth News, the weather channel, CNN, and a few other magazines and websites, I feel I am becoming more educated (and woke up!) on things I didn't use to worry about.
Top that off with our 7 day power outage last October, which REALLY woke us up and made us think, I am glad that I am thinking differently.  And it's not just me.  I overhear conversations in restaurants and stores discussing these things.  Lets just say that when 800,000 people are without power for several days at a time, people start to think about things they've never before considered.

Well, gotta run.  Laundry is calling.
Thanks for listening.  Think about these things.  Read up on them.  Make wise decisions.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Well, my computer was down for a week, in the shop. They say it had viruses. When I asked how many, she said, we lost count. Oh. My. Goodness! I've had the Cox Security Suite installed for 5 years, they use McAfee. I though I was secure.
I knew the week before it wouldn't boot up to windows that the computer was acting kind of sketchy. That little voice in the back of my mind was saying, 'you should really do a backup of your photos, get those organized and delete what you can.' And did I listen?
Procrastination is my middle name.
Well, I got lucky. My personal stuff is intact, but I have limited functionality. My audio doesn't work, only one drive works, and it's misnamed. When the computer shop repaired my computer, they used an older version of my windows XP Media. I have 2005. They used 2002. They say it's the same workings. I say, I've used this computer since Jan 2007 daily, and I know what it's supposed to look like. It looks slightly dated, and the drivers are all messed up.
AND, I never did update to Vista, although I've had the disk for years. Now, I can't, because it's an update to vers. 2005, not 2002. Sigh.
I've learned alot in the last couple of weeks. How to save my .pst files for Outlook, that I should have a backup plan and use it DILIGENTLY. That I have, are you ready? about 60 GB of photos and videos alone. Not including my documents, which thankfully are a fraction of that.
Do you know how long it takes to upload all those photos? DAYS. Actually DAYS AND NIGHTS. Seriously. I've been uploading for 4 days and nights steadily.
And did I mention music files? I've just been getting into buying I Tunes and Amazon MP3's for my I-Pod Nano (which I still love, btw!) I can't remember how much I have been it's not as serious as the photos. I uploaded all my music to Amazon Cloud and SugarSync, so I should be ok.
Speaking of SugarSync, that is who I decided to go with for online storage/backup. It's costing me, but I am hoping to downgrade my package after I get this mess straightened out. I did run into some trouble with the last 10 files, they don't seem to want to upload. Spent time chatting online with tech yesterday, need to upload the log to them for analyzing.
In the meantime, after searching online for others opinions on this stuff, I decided it wouldn't hurt to go with Carbonite, another online storage/backup site, as a backup to my backup. They offer a free trial period, unlimited upload. Yee haw! (seeing as how I uploaded about 85 GB to Sugarsync) So that is what I'm doing now.
AND, the repair shop said that AVAST is a great free antivirus software, so they put a copy on my computer before I brought it home. So far, it's blocked a couple of malwares.
I think I've done well over the years, as that was the first time I've ever had a computer in the shop, and when I really sat down to think how long I've been online, well, it's been since about 1997. I've been operating computers since the 1980's. Wow. I didn't realize it's been that long!
I've owned 3 computers, each one basically becoming severely outdated. This one is 6 years old. I remember when I ordered it from Dell, I could have a TV Tuner come installed in it, and I thought, that's crazy! So I didn't. Now I get it. Sigh. :0)
Well, I hope this helps someone out there to stop procrastinating and get things in order on their computer. I had a close call - nearly losing all my beloved family photos for the last 6 years (last backup was 3 years ago), our trips, my pets, my flowers (What was I thinking? A bazillion flower pics!) scanned slides of my childhood... everything.
And did I mention I save emails? Yes, I have several folders and sort family and friend emails into them and keep them - at least the meaningful ones. I am quite sentimental. I need to do something about that. :0)
So, what did we learn today?
1) Backup your computer! Regularly!
2) Sort those photos, make prints, CD's, etc.
3) Keep a copy of your music online, on CD's, etc.
4) Check your virus software - I think you can do a free virus scan with other reputable software now and then just to be sure.
5) Don't procrastinate. You might not be as lucky as I am next time.

I don't know how much longer this is going to take. I've been at this since last Friday, a week ago. I still have several thousand files to upload to Carbonite. It could take another couple of days, I think I managed 6GB overnight last night. Make sure you turn off your screensaver, your hibernation mode and sleep mode - and just shut off your screen.
My plan is to finish this, then reinstall my correct operating system, and then install my Vista upgrade. I'm going to finally do it and get it over with. I think it's patched and fixed as much as it's going to get now, and I hear Windows 8 is coming out soon. Sure is hard (and expensive) to keep up with technology. Hmmm, do I really need it? That's a post for another day. :0)