Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Planning for Summer Color

Today is the last day of February. Most of the Northern Hemisphere is in the grips of a freeze; Europe is looking into the mouth of a storm from the East, The Midwest and Eastern United States is looking for snow and a Nor-Easter. Here in California, we had some rain yesterday and some snow even fell on the Sierra Nevada, up to three feet should even fall there by the week-end. That is a whole lot less than the thirty odd feet that fell in the Winter of 2016-17, but hec we need as much as we can get.
A pack of nine segment plug pot seed trays and two packs of French Marigold Seeds. One Pack of seeds shows bright Lemon Yellow Flowers the othe mixed Orange, Yellow and Red Flowers.
Plug Pots and Marigold Seed Packets

But here in my valley home. I have launched myself into preparing for Summer color. Flowers. Bedding plants. Well folks I have planted some seeds in little seed pots.

Having some of my color vision back following my cataract surgery in January, I am feeling a little starved of color in my life. So over the week-end I asked my wife to take me to our local Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) store. Though the name suggests they are for mostly fruit growers, OSH is just a normal hardware chain store. But they are great for gardening equipment and seeds.

This is the first  time in several years that I have wanted to plant flower seeds. Well with the greying of my vision over recent years what was the use.

I had to buy some  seed trays. I went for the type that you can push out the individual plug of soil with the little plant growing in it. You can then plant this plug of soil in a border or larger pot to make an attractive bedding display.

I filled my little plug pots with some seed compost and then planted a couple of varieties of French Marigolds. A double flowered variety. These will give bright, highly visible flowers for a long period over the Summer and here in California possibly well into the Fall too.

I chose French Marigolds for two reasons, the bright flowers and secondly they have reasonably large seeds, so are very easy for a person with low vision to sow thinly. You can pick up individual seeds and place them in the potting mediium very easily.

I sowed several seeds in each set of plugs, one seed to each plug. Then I brought some of the plug pots inside where it is warm and left some outside in the cooler air.

Hopefully the seeds brought inside will germinate in a week or so those outside in a couple of weeks. The plants from inside might bloom a few weeks earlier than those outside. In a couple of weeks I will sow some more seeds to give a little more continuity.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Guide Dog Handlers Lament: A Poem by William Elliott

This Spring I am taking an English class in Creative Writing; learning how to write poetry.

Guide dog Leif in harness. Leif a black Labrador Retriever looks straight into the camera. His light brown eyes show clear and bright.
Guide Dog Leif

The class is for fun, it does give college credits but those are not my major goal, since I already have a Bachelors Degree in History and Political Science.

This class looks at mostly free form poetry, a form that does not need rhymes. Personally I quite like some rhymes but that is a matter of personal tase.

In my first poem for the class which received quite a good reception I took the example from my own life and created "The Guide Dog Handlers Lament."

Here is a link to my recording of my reading the poem added to some pictures of Leif, my guide dog.

Here is the poem for you to read if you want to read it on your screen. I have also provided a link below for those of you who may want to hear me reading the poem too.

Guide Dog Handler's Lament
An original poem by
William Elliott

I cannot see my dog's eyes
Those eyes that look for me
I cannot see those eyes that look from you to me.
I cannot see those eyes whose gaze sets me free.

I cannot see my dog's eyes
which look you up and down
I cannot see those eyes
you say that love me so.

But I must trust those eyes
to lead me where I must go.

Hope you like it, if you do then give it a thumbs up or share it with your friends .

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Blindside Fresno: Aps Blind People Use

This month 'Blindside Fresno' took a look at aps blind and visually impaired people use on their smart phone and tablets.
The Words Blindside Fresno appear in white text on a black background with an outline image of an eye cross-section looking to the right in white.
Blindside Fresno  Logo

So wait a minute. Shouldn't that be aps for blind people to use. Well no, not really. These are aps blind people actually use, aps for shopping, aps for entertainment, aps that make life easy, and they are not only for blind people.

We blind and visually impaired folk may use our smart phones for blind people stuff,  but you might be surprised how many aps designed for everyday use by the sighted world are accessible and useful to the blind.

Take the example of Facetime. It may be a face to face service that allows you to talk to someone, but how about calling a friend or relative to help you search for a package left in your yard, or asking them to check your make-up before you leave home. These are examples of uses of face time t
alked about in the show.

To see more, follow the link below.