Hello Augustibles, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

Yay for Friday. Here in Albuquerque, it’s beginning to feel like fall, with the rains and the smell of green chiles in the air. The State Fair is just around the corner. There’s nothing quite like fall in New Mexico, it’s magical.

But enough about NM. You came here for Experts and puzzlers. Let’s get our Friday Festivities started by saying hi to the Experts. Hi everyone!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re so cute! From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

In our continued quest to get to know the Experts a little better, here’s this week’s question:

Q. Please tell us about one (or more) of your favorite family members. (It can be anyone, past or present.)

Expert Andy, you’re up first as usual:

A. I’ve written various stories in this blog about my dad, mom and grandfather.  But I have neglected to mention my sister much, and that has been an unintentional theme in my life.  

My sister Chrissy is 9 years younger than I less 13 days.  Throughout her life she couldn’t have been more different than I.  Part of that, I’m certain, was growing up in a small town behind me.  She had the burden of several of my same teachers all the way through her education.  When she was about 16 one of them, Mr. Eugene Hopkins, told her “If you are 1/2 as good as your brother was you’ll be just fine in my class.”  I think she was pretty tired of that baloney by then.  Chrissy didn’t care much about school, the cleanliness of her room, making money, going to college or having a plan.  Like I said, she couldn’t have been more different.  I didn’t have much time for her when I was growing up in the same house, for by the time I was 17 and had graduated high school she was 8.  So we never really bonded too much along the way.  Then I went off to college and moved to Arizona when she was just leaving junior high.  I likely was a bit overbearing on her as well by projecting my own “plan of life” onto her and telling her to do everything my way.  I’m sure that didn’t help much at all.  But through the years, and thankfully, we’ve grown closer and closer, largely because of the different parental plights.
She also got married when she was 18 or 19, well before I did.  She was blessed with a beautiful daughter Ashlynn who I just adore and preach much of the same “get good grades” mantra too every chance I get.  Overall, my so-called plans have been dealt some heavy blows especially recently.  Chrissy continues to pursue life by rolling with the perpetual punches day by day.  I’ve come to realize that she’s onto something that I need to embrace and make my own life less stressful and more rewarding.  And part of that has helped me to align with her more and more, and make her and Ashlynn more a part of my life.  For in reality, we have no animosity at all, just differences in how we navigate our gifts of life.  We do get to do more things together now, like go to Carb Day before the Indy 500, the race itself and other fun things that the great state of Indiana has to offer.
If there is a lesson or method in all of the above madness I suppose it is to embrace your family despite your differences and beyond your surface-level disagreements.

A. Members of my family read this, so it would be highly impolitic for me to answer this question in any manner other than this:

All of my family members are great, I love them all equally and with no preferential treatment towards any of them! Hi everyone, love you and talk to you soon!

A. I have been thinking about my cousin Roberta lately. I think about her in the summer. That is when she would come to visit us. She was a teenager in the 60s when the world was alive and uncertain, much like she was. She taught me about the mysteries of the Beatles, about the seismic shifts that were taking place just beyond the mountain village I called home. She has had a difficult life, lots of dark days. But when I think of her, I think of the light of summer.

A. Fortunately for me, I have been blessed with so many wonderful family, friends and teachers throughout my life that it is difficult to pick just one.

I do believe I have written about my amazing English Grandfather Dutton, that hailed from the beautiful walled city built by the Romans, of Chester, England. He was my life guide, as I had lost my father in my life at the tender age of 6 months. My Grandfather imbued within me the highest morals and dedication to goals and unstoppable curiosity (Not that I didn’t stray once in awhile).

Then there was my 7th grade English teacher, Miss Snyder, who brought me out of my shyness, instilled confidence and ignited my passion for writing .

My 10th grade Biology teacher headed me in the direction of my life’s work: Science; primarily Chemistry.

My minister, Reverend Mapes, sparked my passion for working with and aiding people in need by helping me found the Tri -Community Social Service Council. He was an amazing leader –down to earth, approachable and over flowing with love and compassion for all.

One of my first employers, while I was a student at Ohio State University, the owner of the Columbus Water and Testing Company, helped me along the way and ignited my pursuit of a career as a Chemist. He made me be accurate and accountable for my work ethics.

Countless friends whose love and guidance all helped to make me the person I was, am and hopefully will be. One outstanding in my memory is Betty Long. She is responsible for my 50+ volunteer years as a Volunteer Case Work Supervisor with the American Red Cross.

Last but perhaps the best, my children. My children have given me so much knowledge, and taught me understanding, tolerance, compassion and a myriad of other attributes.   There is no way to measure how they have enriched my life.

So here I am today, ready to celebrate my 88th birthday next week. A complex somebody or a simple nobody but surely a “person” evolved because of my association with so many interesting and fabulous life guides.

Bless you One and All!

A. Now I really have not ever spoken of him before, but he was my imaginary little brother for we were born on the same day and same year. I in the morning, he in the afternoon, we weren’t real family but we were brothers and could have been good friends. we talked a lot as we were growing up, telling each other our dreams of what we wanted out of life. I always a man of the earth a grower, a hoer, a mower, a hands on persons fix it or break it I could do both, a thinker outside the box, a marcher of my own tune.

Little Brother was always telling jokes, tales that cracking people up, making people smile, laugh or cry with his crazy antics’, a marcher of his own tune, far beyond the box. Little brother, I told him,  “Your wit is outstanding in the rain, You are funny, crazy and full of myth.   You want to be a funny guy go to the place where funny guys go. So he went to Georgia, why I don’t know.

Eventually he got noticed, when you make enough people pee their pants from laughing you get noticed and then they pay you to act like an idiot / court jester. I had told Little Brother one time  about this dream I had about this silly lost outer space alien who lived in an apartment in some big city, but nothing ever come of it I guess.

Time and time and time comes and goes, we learn, we laugh, we live, we die

Some day in the future we will look back on this time and say

“We sure did a lousy, reprehensible and shameful job of caring for each other”

We have many good credits and acts of faith that we have been done on our collective souls

There has been done much goodwill for the benefit of humanity

Organization, societies, agencies, groups, clubs and individuals have performed vast blessings upon the less fortunate

But alas there have been many holes in our cast net and large numbers of humble/poor/deprived , sad/disheartened/depressed, lost/lonely, mad/crazy/confused

The mentally ill no net can catch

Becoming the homeless, the street walkers, the druggies, the alcoholics,  the thieves, the victims, the prey and the predator

Murdered in their sleep, murderers not old enough to shave,

PTSD rages across our land, we sent young people to fight a greedy oil man’s war and lost a whole generation that died there or here at their own hand suicide, or suicide by cop either way their dead

And enough guns to cover the planet ten feet deep add that to the mix, Yea

We build vast temples of gold to our gods of finance, transportation, sports, movie and war

Glory be heaped upon those who reap from the public’s trough, thanks for nothing Washington

We have built fine facilities to lock up the crazy’s, many good hospitals grace our land to house and hold our outcast

We name them and shame them, crazy, nutts, psychopaths, loonies, the MENTALLY ILL names they can wear with such pride

Just give them a bigger dose, new chemicals that will calm and stupefy them, well that didn’t work, throw them out and get another

In the past we use to just chain them to their bed until they got better which was never

If you and most of us do, have or know a person with a mental illness tread lightly, speak softly, love mostly

WE must make a serious effort to understand, compassionately treat and change our method and thinking about what we can do to help

Little Brother Robin Williams you made me laugh

Little Brother Robin Williams now you made me cry

Good by little brother

Wow, wonderful! Everyone, I loved your answers this week. From the diplomatic, to the heartfelt, I enjoyed reading all of them! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

Each one of you Experts is special, and near to my heart. Thank you again for being here, I appreciate it.

If anyone wants to take a moment to wish Dottie a Happy Birthday, I’d be happy to pass those wishes on to her.

That will wrap up this week’s Panel of Experts. The Experts will return next Friday. They hope to see you back here.

Up next, the answer to the current puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if this plant was real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Let’s see how you answered:

mr_subjunctive from the Plants Are the Strangest People blog wrote, “Pretty sure the plant is fake.”

Martha from the Plowing Through Life blog wrote, “I’m grateful for modern times. Indoor plumbing, hot water tanks, heating (sure gets cold up here!), modern medicine, and on and on. I wouldn’t mind stepping into a time travel machine and visiting certain periods in the past. But I’d never choose to live there!

Oh, and the plant looks fake to me.”

–Thanks, Martha, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on modern life!

Claude from the Random Rants and Prickly Plants blog wrote, “Theres some leaf scarring. Im gonna say real. Just to be contrary.”

Joseph Brenner from Texas wrote, “Not just a fake. Ugly fake.(B>{D}”

Liz from Jemez wrote, “Fake”

Dan from the Cast Iron Dan blog wrote, “My guess is real…”

That’s four votes fake, two votes real.

What’s the correct answer? Let’s take a wider view to find out:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Fake! And ugly! I can give the manufacturer a teeny bit of credit for trying to get the markings right, or to at least make it looked flawed like a real plant would. But only a teeny bit of credit because it’s still pretty ugly. Fake plants are always uglier than real ones!

I can see how it would be tricky to tell the difference sometimes though.

I’m going to declare everyone a winner. Good job! To show my appreciation for you playing, I’d like you each to have the following prizes: A mid-August evening, your own personal waterfall, a crown made of wildflowers, 14 1/2 extra credit points, one game show appearance, 43 more glory days, a paperweight, yellow, a grip of sea urchins, zero selfies, four hugs, a new living room couch, the title of “Best Plant Puzzler Winner Ever” for the weekend, a spare elbow, 12 lentils, two gallons of exterior paint, Trujillo Canyon, one coupon good for two vouchers, a bouquet of Echeverias, cheese enchiladas, one major jackpot, five gold stars, 11 bonus points, a stylish wristwatch, three new dance moves, milk, two seeds of change, 12 1/3 cotton balls, an A+, wind beneath your wings, six blue ribbons, one bottle of wine, extra love, two shooting stars, and seven morning glories. Congratulations, and thanks so much for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Is this plant real or fake (the one in the foreground)?

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) next Thursday, August 21st, to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s panel of Experts. The prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.