Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Garden of Weeden

By Doris Margaret Willman

After contracting polio in 1953, I faced the challenge of leg braces and crutches. By 1981, I became a wheelchair user with post-polio syndrome. By this time, my three daughters were quite self-sufficient and I had some blessed leisure time.
Coming from a family of avid gardeners, I thought, why not me too? My knowledge of gardening was quite limited, except for minor chores back home in the family garden before I acquired a disability. I obtained a copy of The Complete Vegetable Garden by John Seymore. And a very compassionate husband, fortunately for me, was handy with carpentry tools.
At first we erected four planters, measuring eight feet long and two feet wide with a depth of approximately 14 inches. These planters were supported by legs and cross braces to make an overall height of about 28 inches.
The planters were placed parallel to each other, with ample room to manoeuvre the wheelchair between each one. Each planter was filled with purchased garden soil and peat moss. A lightweight garden hose took care of the watering needs. My first crops consisted of radishes, onions, carrots, beets, Swiss chard and tomatoes.
There is an advantage to container planting: Because of the wide row system, radishes, carrots and the like can be spaced as little as two inches apart.
A good-sized crop can be harvested from a confined space. Close planting also creates shading, eliminating most weeds while retaining moisture in the soil. Most crops require tilling the soil only to a depth of eight inches. This can readily be done with small hand tools. Cucumbers, a vine crop, can be trained up five-foot poles and still be within easy reach of a gardener using a wheelchair. The height of the planters enables the wheelchair user to garden with a minimum of exertion. You are also in a position to make eye contact with any garden pests — get a jump on the flea beetle before he lands on your prized tomatoes!
My planters were so successful that my husband then built my “Garden of Weeden.” This garden is 45 feet long by 30 feet wide. With the exception of a small tool shed and gateway, two-foot-wide planters extend around the full perimeter. The central area comprises three planters measuring 10 feet by four feet, lawn space bordered with flowers, and a few small shrubs thrown in.
A wooden walkway provides sufficient space to service all planting areas. A watering hose is mounted at each end of the garden.
Unless you are a fanatic gardener like myself, a garden this size is an option rather than a necessity. Much success and pleasure can be derived from smaller ones.
I can truly say my “Garden of Weeden” has been my utopia — a place where I can get lost in the magic of nature. Stress evaporates once I wheel through that gate and am in complete control of my surroundings. I spend so much time in my garden, I expect my wheelchair tires will one day take root.
Like the saying goes, we have to “stop and smell the roses.” My philosophy is, “Let’s grow ’em!”

Friday, June 26, 2015

I Love You Doris Willman

This is written for my very special friend, Doris, who just passed away yesterday, June 25. She was an important part of my blogging during two criminal trials.

Please read it


Thank you

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Roof of All Evil

When I was around seven-years-old, I went squirrel hunting with my father. We were out in the woods somewhere in New Jersey when, suddenly, I spotted one of the critters up in a tree.
"Look, Dad!" I loudly and proudly proclaimed, pointing up into the tree at the innocent little guy minding his own business. Up went the gun...
Down came the squirrel, crashing to the ground with a light thump, about twenty feet or so below. I ran over to it to see the prize. It jerked and choked and gasped for air. I looked into his eyes and watched them glaze over as he took his final breath. It was a horrible experience -- to watch death unfold. There's just something weird about looking into the eyes of something or someone as they die.
I turned to my father, visibly shaken, and said that I never want to go hunting with him again. I never did, and soon afterward, he stopped, too.
To this very day, I have never owned a gun and I have no desire to ever possess one. But that doesn't make me an anti-gun person. I've enjoyed target shooting in the past, although it's been many years. I totally abhor shooting animals for game, but I'm not opposed to hunting for food. After all, I am a meat eater and I seem to look the other way when it comes to how chickens, for example, are treated by food giants like ConAgra and their many subsidiaries. I am trying to be more conscientious when it comes to the humane treatment of animals. Humane. How could you possibly show compassion or benevolence toward a creature whose sole purpose from birth on is to become food? That's a question to chew on, but I won't dwell on it right now since this is partially about guns, Charleston, and the Second Amendment stating that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
I'm not here to argue the rights and wrongs of gun control, but I do agree with the president (and anyone else who thinks) that we need to have a vigorous and rigorous debate regarding how easy they are to purchase. I'm not stupid enough to feel the necessity to take guns away because some people want it that way. Guns will always be around and there's no denying it. I think a minimum/mandatory sentence imposed on someone caught with an illegal firearm is something to consider, like 25 years. No parole. That may help to get them off the street, but it wouldn't have stopped Dylann Roof from mercilessly slaughtering nine people inside of a House of God. He bought his legally. It was a simple thing to do. Too simple in some states.
(There's some question about Roof's gun purchase. Federal law prohibits people like Roof from obtaining firearms because, in February, he was arrested and later charged with felony possession of Suboxone, a narcotic prescription drug. He was released, and the case is pending. Because of this, Roof shouldn't have been able to buy from a gun store. Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks and this pending charge would have turned up as a red flag. According to his uncle, Roof got his pistol as a birthday present from his father, Reuters reported. No background checks are necessary in private transactions in South Carolina and the seller is not obligated to ask about felonies or felony indictments, although it is illegal to give guns as gifts to those people. If Roof's father knew about the indictment, he could spend 10 years behind bars.)
Unfortunately, there's no way to stop the crazies of the world from doing what they set out to do, and Roof is a perfect example of that and more. While I'm against the death penalty, this guy deserves to be snuffed out, with no grave or marker of any kind to identify him. He is evil through and through and he is proof positive that racism is pure evil, even in its simplest form. Nothing good ever comes out of evil. Ever.
What Roof did should open a debate about guns and rightly so; however, I'm hearing some disturbing things about this terrorist attack on humanity. Anyone who thinks this wasn't terrorism should think about the terror in the eyes of Roof's victims as he fired away. That was terror in its rawest form.
So what does a National Rifle Association executive in Texas have to say about it? Houston-based attorney Charles Cotton suggested that the murdered pastor of the church bears some of the blame for his opposition to permitting concealed handguns inside his house of worship. On TexasCHLForum.com, he insanely, absurdly wrote about the pastor of the church and South Carolina state senator Clementa Pinckney:
"[Pinckney] voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue."
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee stated:
"It sounds crass, but frankly the best way to stop a bad person with a gun is to have a good person with a weapon that is equal or superior to the one that he’s using.”
Does this mean we should ALL carry guns (me included) or face the consequences of evil people? Well, kiss my grits!
What I find abhorrently wrong with those two statements is that Roof entered a House of God with a gun. I'm sorry, but I think a church is a sanctuary; a place to go for solace and peaceful introspection -- something Root should have been doing. A church is a place to study. It should be the last place on earth to worry about violence. While a lot of Americans think it's an inherent right to mix God and guns, I think it's ridiculous. One does not need to believe in guns, nor God, to understand how opposite the two are, like night and day. One brings life into the world and the other takes it away. Unless, of course, you shoot targets in church or take out squirrels from the rafters.