email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Threatening Notice

I received an interesting notice yesterday:

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Your HTTPS settings have changed. All visitors are now able to view your blog over an encrypted connection by visiting https://cavebearslair.blogspot.com. Existing links and bookmarks to your blog will continue to work.

I can't say that I have ever been threatened with violating any European laws before, and I'm not sure I care.  I don't expect to visit there in the remainder of my lifetime, since I never have previously.

But Google has a long reach.  So I willingly state that,  to the best of my knowledge I will not and have not violated any cookie rules and do not plan to. 


Which is easy, because if there are any "cookies" in my blog, Google put them there...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hurray!

The first tomatoes are turning reddish!   It may be a week, but finally the long lack of REAL tomatoes is near an end. 

Which is real good because the corn is just sitting there knee-high, the melons vines are 18" long, the cucumbers are just starting to grow up the trellis, the zucchini haven't set fruit yet, the carrots are coming up only 4" long (but with great flavor),  and my recent radishes have no radish.

At least the flat italian pole beans are producing.  Only a half dozen a day, but it sure beats the frozen or canned ones.  And they sure taste better than the regular ones.  When Dad was still here 4 years ago, he said those were the best beans he had ever eaten.  And he remembers growing regular beans in a garden himself.

It may sound silly, but I go out and look at the ripening tomatoes a couple times a day.  I CAN'T WAIT.  I am SO tired of of supermarket tomatoes (buying the cherry ones because they sure taste better than the larger ones but not by much). 

Those regular ones taste so bland because the stores have learned how to make them red without actually ripening them.  Its an enzyme trick.  And then they refrigerate them.  What little flavoroids (technical term - really) develop in the fake ripening process are killed when they are kept below 54F.  And the producers store them below 54F...

Reddening and ripening tomatoes work together on the plant, but they are actually 2 separate procceses.    Tomatoes turn red in the presence on ethylene gas (which they naturally produce during ripening, but produce-sellers apply to unripe tomatoes to turn them red).  Green tomatoes ship best, so they apply ethylene gas to redden them for sale.

Plant that produce fruits do it so the fruits will be eaten and (hard-to-digest) seeds pooped out  by fruit-eating critters all over the place.  I'm not sure if you wanted to know that, but that's why there ARE fruits.  And to go a step further, that WHY we see colors well.  To recognize fruits with ripe seeds in them.  The PLANTS did that to let us know when to eat them.  Which is WHY ripe fruits have sugar - to reward us fruit-eaters who successfully learn WHEN to eat the fruits (by color) when the (unimportant-to-us) seeds are mature.  And you thought they were "just" tomatoes or cherries, etc...  LOL!

The naturally ripe flavor of a tomato is a whole different thing than reddening.  There are about 400 chemicals involved (internet search), but carotene and lycopene are the 2 major ones.  Most of the rest involve soil minerals and a starch-to-sugar transaction that the tomato plant produces in its actual ripening stage (which is why commercial suppliers can fake the red color but not the ripe flavor). 

Yeah, I know I sound going overboard about my first ripe tomatoes, but I look forward to them all Winter and Spring and half of Summer!  And these are heirloom tomatoes naturally ripened with real flavor.  If you haven't had one of those, you just don't know!

And now you know why...

Astonishingly Stupid Blogs

I am constantly amazed by the horribly bad advice given out by some blogs that seem to purport to know what they are talking about. 

For example, a friend mentioned a wasp sting, so to be careful of my advice, I did an internet search of sites referring specifically to wasp stings.  The top 5 results said to carefully remove the stinger without squeezing the venom gland. 

I'm so pissed reading that, I can barely even type!

Thats BEES!!!  Wasps don't sting the same way.  Bees lose their stingers when they sting and part of their insides come out that continue to pump venom.  And that causes them to die.  Bees sting once.

But wasps don't sting the same way.  They can sting over and over and don't lose an inside part, more like fangs on a snake.  They don't leave the stinger or any part behind.

So the advice was so stupid I nearly screamed in frustration.

Bees and wasps are not very closely related.  The stinging aspect is called "covergent evolution" (where some animals get similar traits indendently).

If I recall correctly, bees evolved from termites (thus the solid body structure) and wasps evolved from ants (thus the segmented body structure).  They both have stingers, but from entirely different origins.

But, OMG, if you were a parent of a child who was stung by a wasp and searched these "first up" sites, you would be desperately searching for the stinger in the child's flesh and you wouldn't find one!  Well of course not, wasp's don't leave stingers behind!!!

And their advice tells you to look for one.  AAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!

I can't even tell the site how bad their answer is.  I would have to join it and that would mean weeks of scammy emails until they gave up on me.

The site is http://www.lifescript.com/.  Based on the wasp sting post, DON'T EVER GO THERE FOR ANYTHING...

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump's Convention Speech, Deconstructed

Donald Trump made his most important speech so far, at the Republican National Convention.  I went to Politifacts (and party-neutral organization) for some analysis.  I really don’t care for political speeches myself on either side, but I do find those who do can provide useful information.  Slight changes to identify Politifacts more clearly...

TRUMP CLAIM: We all remember the images of our sailors being forced to their knees by their Iranian captors at gunpoint. This was just prior to the signing of the Iran deal.
POLITIFACTS: It actually came AFTER the signing of the Iran deal, which happened on July 14, 2015. The sailors were captured in Jan. 2016 — right before President Obama's State of the Union address.

MY THOUGHTS:  Trump’s sense of time is poor.  It might be deliberate or it might be “convenient”.  But it is usually wrong.  Trump arranges facts to suit his goals.  In other words, he lies.
Trump Calls for Suspending Immigration From 'Compromised' Countries 0:27

TRUMP CLAIM: My opponent wants to essentially abolish the 2nd amendment.

POLITIFACTS: Clinton has proposed gun regulations, like background checks to purchase firearms. Yet the 2008 Supreme Court decision protecting and individual's right to possess firearms also stated that the right isn't unlimited — and can be subjected to regulations.

MY THOUGHTS:  Clinton supports some restrictions on gun ownership.  You don’t need military weapons to hunt deer.  Crazy people shouldn’t have them.  More people are killed by personally-owned guns than are saved.  You need military weapons only for their intended purpose - to kill people.   My view of the 2nd amendment is that it is pre-standing army and it is obsolete in the modern age.  We do not have or need functional “militias” today.

TRUMP CLAIM: Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America's fifty largest cities. That's the largest increase in 25 years.

POLITIFACT: Trump is correct that there has recently been an uptick in crime, including in some (but not all) of America's largest cities. But overall, violent crime is down significantly since the 1980s and 1990s, according to FBI statistics. And the current violent crime rate is lower today per the most recent data (365 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 people) than when President Obama first took office in 2009 (431 incidents per 100,000 people).

MY THOUGHTS:  Crime rates go up and down mostly in accordance to the population of 18-24 years old males in poverty status.  Drug-usage patterns matter too.

TRUMP CLAIM: The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015.

POLITIFACTS: That statistic is true, but it's also a bit of cherry-picking. In Fiscal Year 2014, there were more than 68,000 apprehensions of immigrant families crossing the border. That number declined to 40,000 in Fiscal Year 2015. In Fiscal Year 2016 (which ends in September), the number stands at 51,000 — so higher than in 2015, but lower than 2014.

MY THOUGHTS:  2015 had an unusually low illegal immigration rate.  Compared to 2014, the 2016 rate is lower.  It it always easy to find one year to compare to another and make things look bad.  A serious and thoughtful person would not do that.  But Trump is not a serious and thoughtful person.  If a random asteroid hit the Earth, he would blame Hillary Clinton and all Democrats for the uptick in asteroid strikes.

TRUMP CLAIM: Nearly four in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58 percent of African-American youth are now not employed. Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when the President took his oath of office less than eight years ago.

POLITIFACT: Yes, 38 percent of African American children are living in poverty, according to Census data. But Trump isn't correct that 58 percent of African American youth are unemployed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the African American unemployment rate for those ages 16-19 is 28.4 percent (versus 16.9 percent for all youth that age). And Trump is misleading on his claim about Latinos living in poverty. In 2009, 12.3 million Latinos were living in poverty (with a rate of 25.3 percent). In 2014, the number jumped to 13 million — but the rate actually DECLINED to 23.6 percent.

MY THOUGHTS:  Another example of misleading with statistics.  But more importantly, there are 2 possibilities.  Either Trump doesn’t understand the numbers, or he does and is deliberately misleading voters with them.  He says he is smart, so he OUGHT to understand the numbers.  Either way, it doesn’t say much about his honesty.  Or his supporters intelligence...

TRUMP CLAIM: President Obama has almost doubled our national debt to more than 19 trillion dollars, and growing.

POLITIFACT: He's right. When Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the public debt stood at $10.6 trillion. It is now $19.4 trillion, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

MY THOUGHTS:  In 2009, after the Bush Administration economic collapse $10.6 trillion dollars was a larger percent of the gross national product than $19.4 trillion is now in the recovered economy.  Think of it this way.  If you earned $50,000 and owed $10,000 that would be worse than earning $75,000 and owing $13,000.  Debt has to be compared to income...

TRUMP CLAIM: Where was sanctuary for all the other ... Americans who have been so brutally murdered [by undocumented immigrants], and who have suffered so, so horribly?

POLITIFACTS: Researchers have found that first-generation immigrants (legal or not) commit less crime than native-born Americans or second-generation immigrants.

MY THOUGHTS:  Some groups of US citizens like to assume that immigrants (legal or illegal) commit most of the crimes in the US.  The facts disprove that.  I support LEGAL immigration, controlled by rules.  I do NOT support illegal immigration.  But the argument against all immigrants legal and illegal is not supported by facts.  I am more likely to be a victim of a crime by a legal citizen than by either class of immigrants.

TRUMP CLAIM: [Hillary Clinton] supported NAFTA, and she supported China's entrance into the World Trade Organization — another one of her husband's colossal mistakes and disasters ... She supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

POLITIFACTS: Trump is correct that Clinton backed NAFTA and China's entry into the WTO, which took place while her husband was president. Yet although touting the TPP trade agreement while she served as secretary of state, Clinton has since opposed the measure. Notably, Trump's vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence also has praised NAFTA and TPP.

MY THOUGHTS:  Trump is in an outrageously awkward position here.  Globalization is a fact.  Companies logically move to where they can produce a product at the least cost.  Trump does this routinely.  Trump has pages long suppliers from other countries yet rails against outsourcing.   His objections ring hollow.

Aside from that, Trump objects to Clinton’s one-time support of NAFTA and the TPP.  People change their opinions of such things (and note that Trump’s VP candidate supported them too).

But the truth of the matter is that, in a global economy, international trade agreements are important.  The TPP is designed to constrain China’s influence in the Western Pacific.  China doesn’t like it.
NAFTA has reduced tarrifs between the US Canada and Mexico, reducing costs to consumers.  NAFTA has increased real wages for workers in all 3 countries by modest but real amounts.  Trade of goods and services between the U.S., Canada and Mexico has increased from $337 billion in 1993, before NAFTA went into effect, to $1.182 trillion in 2011.

We don’t notice these price changes in goods daily.  After all, when you go to a store, do you really know why the price of a shirt is $12.99 instead of $13.99?  Of course not.  But NAFTA is one reason why it is the lower price.
 
I won’t say the trade agreement benefit everyone.  A shirt buttoneer may have to learn to attach headlights to cars.  Things change,  I had a dozen jobs in my 35 years of work from mowing army base grass to selling automotive parts to managing office space to managing telecommunications.  No one is ever going to retire what they did when they started.

Jobs are where you find them.  But Trump’s world is a fiction of a return to the past, and following him is a road down anger to nowhere.

The way forward in the world is through experience and gradual progress.  If you are out of work, your next job isn’t going to be the CEO of some US company.  It is going to be learning a new skill a US company values.

Trump’s World is the 1950s.  This isn’t the 1950s.  We aren’t going to be the 1950s again.  Its 2016, the future your parents didn’t imagine.    Get moving or get left behind.  It’s up to you to sit and gripe and start learning something new.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

It's Always SOMETHING!

I'd love to go days without some problem or other.  A garden hose starts leaking one day so I have to splice it.  I go to my regular barber shop another day and all of a sudden, they want appointments.  Etc.

So I walked down into the basement after dinner and there is water on the floor around the heat pump unit.  The insides unit was almost entirely replaced just in April!  Well, I've had this happen before and there are various causes.  A heat pump inside unit takes humidity out of the inside air.  The condensation collects in a tray, which drains through a pipe to a reservoir that holds about a quart (liter).  When it is filled, a float activates a pump that sends it to the laundry tub for drainage. 

So, the collection tray can get loose and spill water, the pipe can come loose and spill water, the float can fail and spill water out an overflow hole in the reservoir, or the discharge tube can get blocked and spill water backed out the reservoir overflow hole.  There may be other things that can cause water spillage, but those are the ones *I* have experienced. 

After the 1st time, where I paid someone a few hundred dollars to reattach a loose pipe, I have solved them all myself.

This time was messy.  I quickly figured out that the reservoir was full of "goop".  I don't want to be gross here, but it seems to have been some combination of algae and bacterial slime.  Think of it as "thin jello" if that is easier.  LOL!  I knew I had to get the top of the reservoir off , but the modern things get, the more perverse the attachments are.  The manufacturers assume you will call them for repairs and so they consider the parts disposable.  THEY will just slap on a new part.  For several hundred dollars...  The parts aren't designed to be taken apart and fixed.

I took it apart and fixed it...

I had to break a few attachments to get the damn top off finally, cement and duct tape hold things together afterwards very well.  But getting the top of the reservoir off was just the 1st step.  It still wasn't a large opening, and I had to get the sludge out.  Aha, my wet/dry shop vac!  Sucked most of it out.  A large bottle brush grabbed most of the rest.  Refilling, bottle-brushing, and vacuuming the reservoir a few more times got it pretty clean.

But there was still "stuff" inside the reservoir pump itself.  I got into the slots where the water enters the pump with an awl and slowly got most of it out.  When I put it all back together and filled the reservoir a few times, it automatically emptied the reservoir each time.   Hurray!

I dried the floor with an old towel so that I can see if there is any more spillage overnight.   I'll add some bleach to the reservoir when I go shopping tomorrow.  Naturally (and somewhat ironically) I JUST used the last of it yesterday cleaning the laundry tub of some orange growth - which must have been coming from the reservoir discharge just before it failed). 

And it JUST occurred to me that I can add a PVC pipe to the overflow hole to lead into a 5 gallon bucket underneath it so I get some warning about a problem next time. 

Not that I will need that, but the effort will certainly assure the overflow problem NEVER happens again.  You know the rule:  Any problem you make efforts to prevent will never occur again (but if you don't, it will)!

I buy 3-month filters for the heat pump.  And because of cat hair and who knows what else, I replace them every 2 months.  I've added a note on the heat pump to add 1/8 cup of bleach to the reservoir each time too.

I hope the next problem gives me a few days before it occurs...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Liming The Yard

I'm an organic gardener, so I try not to use artificial stuff around the yard.  I'm not above using serious herbicides on patches of poison ivy I find in the far corners of the yard (the neighbors bizarrely let the stuff grow wild in the edges of their yards so it keeps creeping into mine.  But generally, I avoid synthetic solutions to yard plant problems. 

One thing I do keep forgetting about is the pH of the soil.  It's not a visable problem...

So I remembered about that and bought pelleted limestone.  In the east half of the US, soils are generally acidic so the pH needs to raised.  So I bought some pelleted lime a week ago.  I got around to spreading it today. 

To make the distribution as even as possible, I set the spreader on a low broadcast rate and go over the lawn in several directions.  Then I want to get it into my flowerbeds.  I bought a hand-held spreader you turn by hand.  It works great with light stuff like fertilizer, but pellets defeat it.  The pellets get into the turning mechanism and stop it from turning.

So I had to spread the limestone pellets by hand.  Fortunately, tossing a handful of the pellets high really spreads them out well, so I think that went as well as possible.

I avoided the drip line (the outer edge of all branches) around the holly trees.  They LIKE acidic soil.  So do azaleas, BTW.

You can apply lime to yards and gardens any time of year.  It lasts many months and the plants appreciate it at any time.  It accumulates over time, in the sense that is slowly leached downward in the soil where some deep-rooted plants benefits from it.  But it is used up too by other natural forces so applying it 2x a year is a good habit. 

I have a ph test kit, so I will be checking the lawn soil each month for a while.  Though specific plants like higher or lower pH, 6.5 pH is best overall.

But I started this post to mention that I spread the limestone pellets and I must have walked 4 miles doing it!  I walk about 13 minutes per mile.  Removing the time I spent refilling the spreader, I walked it an hour

Good for the lawn, and good for me...

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Deck Is Too Hot

When I decided to have the deck I built 25 years ago, I decided to go for the composite material base (over pressure-treated woof posts and joists).  At the same time, I was sufficiently worried about a HUGE oak tree hanging over the house that was starting to drop large branches.  So the tree went (saved a dozen 6' long 4" branches to use to smoking meat on the offset smoker).

But 2 things happened.  First, the removal of the huge oak tree let a lot more afternoon sunlight onto the deck, which I thought a "good thing".  Second, I discovered that the composite deck base heats up a lot more than plain wood does. 

The cats alerted me to the heating problem.  They ran out on the new deck when the oak tree was removed and ran back into the house.  I put my hand on the deck and took it right off fast!  It's HOT!  My kitchen temperature probe said it reached 115F!  That was not something I expected OR was warned about. 

Temporarily, I have put outdoor carpet runners (by name and literally) in some paths that get the cats safely to the stairs out to the yard and to shaded spots on the deck. I am looking into awnings (openable/closable like Sunsetter and possibly permanent ones) that will keep the deck cool. 

The heat on the deck isn't constant.  It is shaded about noon to 5 pm.  But a couple hours before Noon and after 5pm, it get seriously hot.  Even I have to put a towel on the top rails so that I can stand there leaning on them.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Maddening Games

One of the games I play on the computer is Civilization 2.  You have to build a spaceship from a start of a few primitive Settlers against 3-6 AI bots.  Well, you can play against other people, but that takes a lot of computer work). 

The game is designed to defeat you.  You build various units and city parts, the AI builds them cheaper.  The better you do, the more the AIs cheat.  But I love a challenge.

I've been struggling with it for years.  I thought I knew all the formulas for building a fast spaceship.  Last week, the computer found faster ones.  I launched one to land at Alpha Centuari (the goal) in 2000 and the AI built one afterwards to land in 1999. 

So I went back some turns and managed to build one that would land in 1992.  The computer made one that would land in 1991.  Built one to land in 1985, they computer built one to land in 1983. 

It's crazy.

I even build one to land in 1965!  The computer built one to land in 1964!  And that was after I used spies and aircraft to destroy all the spaceship parts of the AI civilization every late turn!!!

But I'm persistent.   I finally went back and revised my construction to land one in 1960.  And won...

Overall, it took 5 all-nighters, 5 bottles of wine, and a carton of cigs.  So who won?  Well, the company that sold me the game, of course (they aren't to blame for the wine and cigs).  I was so angry after all that cheating and time that I took the disk out of the drive and broke it.  Only to find it was all loaded onto the hard drive anyway.

I bet ya I'll do better next time, LOL!...


Politics

I understand that many people think Hillary Clinton is "slippery".  And many people think that Donald Trump is "crazy". 

Skill matters in international and domestic politics. 

Slippery is better than Crazy every time.  So if you can't vote FOR someome, vote against someone.  I'm voting against "crazy"...

Just a short thought...

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Yardwork

Well, I may have had some problems after the yardwork yesterday, but I did get some good work done that I will enjoy seeing later.

I have 3 edged areas in the middle of the backyard.  One is for wildflowers (nearest my garden, so I am hoping to attract a lot of native pollinators).  The 2nd was originally intended for a lovely but invasive plant with the idea that I could mow around it, but it spread seeds around so I am killing it (it will take some time).  The 3rd is my favorite so far.

That is the area where I planted tulips and hyacinths in cages to protect them from voles and squirrels.  The tulips all came up nicely, but no hyacinths.  Well, they were planted late.  I worried that the hyacinths all rotted (or oddly, grew stems larger than the wire cage mesh and were cut off).  The 200 hundred daffodils were planted freely as they are ignored by pests. 

So this Summer, I gave thought to other plants to grow there.  A single-season flowerbed is sort of wasteful of space.  Spring flowering bulbs want to stay a bit dry Summer and Fall (or they rot) so you can't surround them with plants that need regular watering. 

So I thought about lilies.  They are tough, they have tuberous roots that collect and hold what little water they need, and I had lots of them rescued from an area that was dug out 2 years ago.  Really, they survived plopped in small 6" pots and ignored except for natural rainfall.  So they were good to add among the tulips for Summer color. 

Well, it is probably too late for blooming this year, but I managed to plant 30 of them around the outer edges of the circle the past week.  And then, knowing they wouldn't bloom this year, I considered what I had that could survive no special watering this year and might provide some color.

I should mention that my regular flowerbeds need serious work.  I didn't give them the attention they needed last year and couldn't do it this Spring (my bad knee).  And I had planted 3 dozen marigolds, 2 dozen zinnias, and 2 dozen salvia indoors under lights in March, expecting to use them in the regular older flowerbeds.

Well, marigolds are pretty adjusted to dry soil, so I started planting them around the lilies today.  And then added most of the salvias and zinnias when I ran out of marigolds.  If they live on natural rainfall and bloom "HURRAY"!  If not, there wasn't anywhere else to put them.

So I planted most of them among the lilies and will hope for "something" from them.  And even then, they were the lesser of all the seedlings.  I used the best in 7 deck planters last week.  So no loss and some possible gain.  I bet in a month, I will have some good flowers to show.  I don't grow wimpy flowers.

That 3rd 20' diameter edged circle is the one closest to the deck, so I will see it better than the other 2 most of the time.  And the main birdfeeder is in the center of it, so that draws my attention there as well.  And to not disturb the plants, I have a small path to the feeder from the side and stones to set my ladder on for refilling it. 

This Fall, I will take some leftover largish flat rocks I bought for edging the old flowerbeds and make a path to the birdfeeder.  I intend for the area to be filled enough with future plantings to need places to step.

And cramps or not, I have more annuals to plant, so I will be out there again tomorrow...


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Physical Gripes

As always, I approach any complaints of mine by first recognizing that I am generally fortunate and others have worse complaints.  But mine are mine and they are the only ones *I* have ever experienced.  And so many ailments are impossible to compare; a person with a constant itch, a person with occasional migraines, and a person with sciatica can never really compare how they feel.

Me, I get muscle cramps in my legs, my hands and my upper rib side.  Not at the same time fortunately, but always by surprise and every few days or nights.

I understand the hand cramps, where all of a sudden my whole left hand will claw up.  It happens about 2 hours after I've been doing yardwork.  I'm technically right-handed, but I suspect I was a natural lefty as a child and was taught not to be.  That used to be common.  Regardless, I tend to do many things left-handed.  Like pulling weeds and sometimes in tool use.

I try not to overdo it.  But sometimes I'm fine working for hours and no problems; sometimes an hour work causes left-hand cramps.  And the cramps always start as I'm preparing dinner.  I like to prepare fresh food (lots of raw vegetable work), so there is a lot of knife-work involved.  And that's when the cramps start.

I'm considering the possibility that I actually don't get enough salt...  That may seem strange given modern eating habits, but I eat mostly fresh food  and don't add much salt to my food.  It's not especially deliberate, but I think I may start drinking more Gatorade (an electrolyte drink for anyone not familiar with it).

Then there are the ribside cramps.  I originally thought "heart problem", but they occur on both sides randomly.  Usually after I twist around too much.  So its not a heart threat.  Oddly, it used to occur mostly while I was kneeling on the floor cleaning the cat litter boxes.  I have to pound on my afflicted side and do "wall push-ups" to stretch the rib muscles.

And I got a surprise the past few months.  Because I twisted my right knee in April and kneeling became painful (a whole different problem) I started lifting the litter boxes onto my workbench

[Bizarre but true timing.  I just had a leg cramp and had to walk around for 15 minutes and stretched the right leg each step.  I took a small amount of salt and large glass of water.  It helped.]

and cleaning them up there.  It is actually MUCH easier that way and I will continue to do it that way even if/when my knee heals.  Lets me sweep away loose litter from around them too.

Usually, the leg cramps happen while I am laying in bed.  No reason I know; I'm just laying there motionless and it starts.  Always the right quadricep.  It feels like the muscle is going to tear loose from the bone.   

I suppose it was because I was weeding and planting in some crowded space so I had to squat awkwardly, so it happened while I was still awake.  But usually, I'll just be laying there in bed and it happens.  

Speaking of the right knee, it has been 3 months since I originally injured it.  I wish I had a good cause to blame but it is only stupid.  All my life, I have tended to sit with one ankle up on the opposite knee (both ways).  And I fidget!  So I shake my on-the-knee foot.  I have probably loosened my knee joints that way (though some thought says that OUGHT to strengthen the muscles there).

I can walk almost normally again, but I still can't put my right ankle on my left knee because it seems to twist the knee.  It has happened before but healed after a couple weeks.  I hope it is not permanent.  To kneel while doing yardwork, I have to wear knee pads.  You know those knee pads that carpet installers wear?  I use them.

I'm used to injuring myself and healing fast.  Or at least "eventually".  Years ago, I threw a rock at a groundhog and strained my rotator cuff.  Couldn't raise my arm above the shoulder for 2 months, but it healed just fine after that.

I think I had better start being more careful.  And some preventative exercises might be in order.  I have a bicycle, maybe I better start using it.  Or at least walking a mile a few days a week.

I sure don't want to be using a walker in 10 years.  Or taking medications either...