Friday, Jul. 25, 2003 – 4:48 p.m.
Well, I guess I got behind again. :::sigh::: Oh well.
I have been busy lately. About a year and half ago, someone commissioned a bed from me. Well, she didn’t go to pennsic so that gave me a reprieve and then in January she gave me money to purchase the wood. OK, we need to do this. However, one of the aspects about this project that made it more difficult is that the wood is maple rather than the pine that I have used in the past. I wanted to do a trial run and learn how to work with the wood on something that I was NOT getting paid to make for someone else. So I made a bed for myself (I had had the wood for a long time anyway). That worked. I got it done about a month ago and had a good idea of the some of the pitfalls to avoid on working on the commission bed.
So, the bed is coming along and I AM going to get it done by next weekend. However, it has been consuming almost all my evenings… ok, at least the evenings that I could work in the woodshop. Most of the initial work needed to be done where I had the big tools like planers, joiners, tablesaws and bandsaws, not to mention the ability to have a large indoor work area (Considering all the rain we have had, that has been significant). This weekend will be consumed with working on the bed. I am at the point of doing the attachment of the brackets and the like and doing sanding/staining/finishing. Fortunately this are things that I CAN do standing in the driveway (assuming the weather is nice… and it looks like it will be.)
Back to the ROSES
During this time, I have not completely ignored my roses. Oh, the beds need a fair bit of weeding (tomorrow early moring activity) and I have not sprayed in a while. The japanese beetles have been having a field day… I ran out of the Bayer Advanced Rose and Flower spray that seems to work so well and I went back to picking them off and dropping them in soapy water. I got a whole jar full the last time I dead-headed. I actually went around and picked beetles through the whole garden, then started deadheading, found that there were More beetles so I deadheaded AND picked beetles. When I got done, I found that there were STILL beetles on the bushes so I made a third round. [sigh] Deadheading is another task for the weekend…
Consulting Rosarian School
One of the things I am aspiring to is becoming a Consulting Rosarian. The ARS (American Rose Society) has a program where they will “certify” you as a Consulting Rosarian. You agree to be willing to answer questions that the general public has about roses, including selecting, growing, and showing them. You become an “expert” on roses. To get this accolade, you have to take a test on lots of different aspects of roses (things like recognizing different diseases and bugs, what nutrients are important, and how to build good soil). The test is open book and is held after a day of classes where they go over the different things that are on the test. However there are additional criteria that you have to pass before you can even sit the test: You have to have been growing roses for at least 5 years; been a member of the ARS for 3 years (this is where I fail… I have only been in for 2 years), and get three letters of recommendation from existing CRs. Considering almost all the other officers in the Raleigh group are CRs, that should not be a problem.
So last Saturday was the CR School for the Carolina district. It was held in Lake Wylie, SC which is just south of Charlotte and started at 8:30 am. Considering it was a good 3 hours away, I had to get up really early. I made it in plenty of time and the day was good. Lots of good info though there was one thing that was almost comical… as the last session before the test was handed out, the person running the school delivered a slideshow about diseases and bugs. The slideshow was from the ARS… the problem was they didn’t sent the script so we spent the session trying to figure out what was in each slide. Some of the pictures were not the best either so it ended up more of a group discussion about “what could this problem be…” rather than definitive “this is an example of…”. Given that a number of folk were retired and their eyes were not that good, we have a grand old time of “find the disease/pest on this slide…” At one point, the instructor was saying “this is an example of…” and several of the folk looking at it were says “Looks like a fine healthy rose bush to me.”
One of the big thing that is stressed in these classes is the proper use of chemicals. There was a two hour session about pesticides, their uses, how toxic are they, and how to correctly protect yourself. I have been doing a pretty good job of protecting myself but discovered several flaws in my protection program. One of the things they said was “if you can smell it, your respirator is not properly fit or your filters are too old.” Ooops! I have never replaced the filters in my respirator so I suspect that is my problem (more on that later) but since i have a beard, it can be difficult to get a good seal. The lady giving the talk suggested that I use a size large mask and crank it down tight. I also have not been using the right kind of plastic gloves. I have been using the same kind of disposable gloves I use for painting and the like and those might not work. They can tear easily and it is possible that they might not be resistant to some of the chemicals or the solvents that the chemicals are dissolved in. Yikes! On the other hand, I do wear long sleeves and a hat when I spray, I mix all the chemicals outside with my protective clothing in place, and I always take off my clothes and put them in the washer and go take a shower before I do ANYTHING (eat, pet the cats, etc). One thing that was pointed out that I had not thought of: the scrotum has some of the thinnest skin on the human body so one should wash thoroughly before using the toilet after spraying. This also means that I should pee BEFORE going to spray the roses so I don’t have to stop in the middle.
Respirators and the lack there of…
So, before I spray again, I need to replace the filters on my respirator. The only problem is … they don’t seem to make my model of respirator anymore. I know I got the thing at Lowes or Home Depot but neither of them have this brand of respirator anymore. Now the only brand they sell is AOSafety. that’s fine but the AOSafety filters don’t fit my mask! I went the 4 different stores (stopping on my way back from Charlotte last week) and none had my respirator. A search of the web led me to the conclusion that the company that made my respirator got bought out by another company and the product line was dropped. It is possible that 3M makes filter that would fit but all I have to go on is that they appear to be the same shape.
So that got me thinking… the mask I have is a size Medium and the lady recommended I get a size large… so maybe I should just bit the bullet and get a new mask. So off I went to Lowes to get a Large mask…. all they had were Mediums. Same for Home Depot. [rolling of eyes] Back to the Web! I checked a number of places and many had not choice for size when ordering a mask. I finally came across a site (probably the AOSafety site) that said that the medium fits “about 95% of people” so that’s what is widely available. Oh! and respirators are non-returnable if openned. How are you going to find out if you get a good fit if you can’t try it on!!! AAARRRGGGHHH! SO… here is my plan: I am going to go by a Medium with fresh filters. I am going to see if it works. If it doesn’t get me a good enough fit, I will look into ordering a large mask (just the mask, not the filters) and will see if I can interest someone in the local group (either rose or SCA) to buy the mask part from me cheap. Then all they would have to do is go by replacement filters at Lowes!
Well, I think I have rambled enough…. I did get new bottle of stuff for the japanese beetles.. and used much of the bottle in one session going around to the different bushes and spraying the blooms and buds. the good news is the active ingredient is systemic so it will go into the plant and last for about 2 weeks. [grin] Maybe I will find that I actually have some good blooms out there now. It is also getting toward the end of the beetle season as well.