Growing Alstroemeria Seeds – Flowers?

Does it take a green thumb to grow Alstoemeria? Not to get the plants – The real question is, when do you get the flowers?

These are great flowers! found all over South America, I took this photo in 1980 in the Chilean Desert North of Santiago, near the town of La Serena. This one grows near sea level and  in a climate that is very dry as you can see from the cactus spines it was entwined about. I have found other varieties of Alstromeria at altitudes nearing 10,000 ft. (3,000 meters) in the Chilean Andes, two days ride into the mountains. I have a photo of a specimen from high above the Colorado River in an extremely remote area which has an alpine climate, so these flowers can grow just about anyplace world wide. .

Need Seeds? Try Outside Pride Alstomeria seeds

I have so far had great success with my alstroemeria seeds. I put my first packet of 200 seeds into the lower part of my refrigerator in a plastic bag mixed into damp potting soil. I then left them for actually over three weeks, took them out of the refrig. and put about 1/2 of the soil with seed into a flat and the other half into small pots and kept them inside for a month or two and they sprouted and came up inside. Then when the weather got above 40 – 50 degrees at night I put them out in as many habitats as I could find around our garden, so I have some in fertile soil, some in gravelly soil. some in clay and some in a loam and all except for the couple that I put into a south facing really dry area seem to be doing ok and I have them up about 12 inches now. So that means in the next month or so I will probably get some flowering. So, unless there is a mycorrhiza problem of them needing something found only in S. American soils, I feel I will be successful.

Having lived in Peru, Chile and Ecuador for a number of years, these plants have a wide variety of strains that can be all the way from sea level dry semi-desert to 10,000 ft. in the Chilean Andes where there are snows and extreme cold and heat, so probably the most common problem for a lot of people is that they treat them too softly, and as a consequence get weak stems and plants that died. I have another 200 seeds which I am putting into the soil in the fridge next week and will see if I can germinate them as well and put out in July-August for later season plants. Then I’ll leave all of them in the ground over the winter and see if any make it through the Hood River, OR winter under the snow and come up next year, or produce seed that comes up. It’s a game! Experiment and try different things to see what you get.

Here it is February and I have a bunch of alstomeriainside that grew all last summer, But alas, no flowers. Hoping they bloom this next year.  If they grow them in London near Buckingham Palace for decoration, why not Hood River Oregon?

More later as the flowers appear this year!

All the best!

Constitutional Crisis: Where is the Outrage Congress? Time to Pick Up the Ball on an Obstructionist Wall!

I don’t like to blog a lot on politics, but it is time for Americans to write to our Congressional Leaders and get them to stand up to a Presidential Constitutional Bully!

Our one-note Charlie President in saying repeatedly, “Build Me a Wall!”

Congress has allowed “The Wall” to get in the way of their duty as a body to discuss and develop solutions to one of the simplest of governmental problems, approving a long term budget to run crucial portions of our country.  They have a job to do and they are avoiding it because the President is being allowed to act as their dictator.

How have we gotten to the point where “The Wall” is Congress’s Ball,” and nobody at all is screaming about running the Government?

1. Congress has forgotten how to discuss and pass even the simplest of resolutions without adding their “Pork Barrels.” Thus somehow, extending a budget, has become a vector to push the President’s pet project, the wall.

2. Our President has forgotten his role, which is, to make things work. He will not advocate for the jobs and salaries of over 800,000 of his employees. It is the President  who is responsible for making the government run smoothly, and he is not.

800,000 human beings are being held hostage and the secure running of our airplanes, agriculture, businesses, taxes, disease control, etc….. is at stake!

In the Business World, a run-amok CEO can be overruled and even fired by the Board of Directors. The CEO must make the business operate in a smooth manner.

In the same way, with our country’s CEO, or President, if he is run-amok, then the full Board, in this case, Congress, can rein him in.  

A Presidential Bully-Boy who has held 800,000 persons hostage for over a month for his triviatal wall is out of control of his country and himself! His proposed tactic of a 2 week reopening of the government in order to pressure Congress into giving him a wall should be the final straw for our Congress.

Are we going to see Congress deal with a man who would be a dictator to them?

Where is the outrage, Congress? You must stand up for your Constitutional Rights and Duties! Put forward a long term bill to reopen the government and get our country back to full functioning. Let the Pre4sident veto it and then just Override any veto!

Quit even mentioning “The Wall”!  Let it Die on the Table!

If you don’t act, “The Bullying will only get worse.”



Federal Payment Warrants! A Solution and Stimulus to Get Government Moving!

There is an easy solution to the government crisis caused by the continual Political Squabbling between the President and Congress. It is called Government Payment Warrants, explained below.

Because of rediculous political gridlock, funding for the Federal Government has been stopped for  thousands of persons in a number of very important departments.  A large number of these persons are classified as essential. Thus they cannot be put on leave of absence and thus, as our TSA and other workers,  are working full time, but receiving nothing other than lip service about the fact that as minimum pay workers they just have to suck it up on paying their bills. This crisis has gone on for over three weeks, and they have no pay coming in forall those weeks of work. They are obligated to work or they will be fired, yet they are also obligated to pay their bills or they will get kicked out of homes, have cars reposessed and not be able to financially make ends meet.

Other departments such as the Forest Service, National Parks, and Agriculture Department are not considered essential and therefore their workers are furloughed until some funding is approved for them to go back to work. With these Departments, loans to farmers are stalled, National Parks are left open with no one to clean up after thousands of visitors,  The IRS is essentially shut down, Indian reservations have lost Federal Funding, Food Stamps are not being given out. So who is being affected? The most vulnerable persons in our society!

Read about it here! This isn’t Fake!

There is a way to put all these American Bacfk to Work!

Since the US Government has an Obligation  to pay these workers, why are they not receiving US Government warrants to help them pay for their rents, food, and other obligations? The Government can issue the warrants with very minor changes to their check writing procedures and then the squabbling politicians can go on jabbering and the people who really make our country run and work for all of us as public servants can keep the nation running while Nero and Company continue to Fiddle.

This system will stimulate the US economy because banks can honor the Warrants knowing that they will collect interest on the money from the government when funds are finally approved. This is also a stimulus for Congressional Fiddlers to get off their fat chairs and override any POTUS Fiddle veto because they don’t want the government to be run into any more debt and get their human constituents upset with bad government (public voices? Are you out there?).

Wikipedia explains Modern Government Warrants as follows:

 Wiki Link to Warrants of Payment

Modern warrants, Ref: Wikipedia Look Like This:

Need More information?
Just put : What isn’t affected government shutdown? Into your browser and read all the information.
Get on with it America for your little people on both sides of the political aisle!


Open Letter to the President: The Generation That Failed to Act?

Dear Mr. President,                                                                26 December 2018

Sir, on this day nearing the end of the holiest month of the year for followers of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Wicca, Pagan, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, to name a few of the world’s great religions,  I would like you to take the time to briefly consider your own as well as the entire world’s children and possible great-grandchildren, as you read my letter on the subject of climate change.  I hope you will listen and then have the courage to speak out forcibly to correct our country’s current misdirection in this global concern. Are we going to be the generation “That Failed to Act?”

Climate change is the largest threat to humanity worldwide, and its shadow is looming on our future. No wall or army will stop the predicted consequences for humanity and our nation if you fail to act. As a leader of the world, you need to stand up and begin to lead the world in this most problematic of situations. We still have the possibility of alleviating some of the predicted dire consequences if we act now.  The past two years of natural disasters in our country are only the beginning of what we are going to see if we fail to act now.

I know that a large number of Americans have chosen to not listen to the scientific community and seem to have your ear. As amateurs, they are cherry-picking science for unknown reasons in an attempt to undermine your taking any concrete action towards alleviating impending consequences of climate change. These persons apparently have a lot of influence within the Political community, which is resulting in inaction on your part as well as that of Congress. Thus, when we should be out front leading,  have removed ourselves from the stage in solving a worldwide problem. Not solving the problems will bring about greater consquences to our agriculture, health care, national wealth, and very possibly imperil our great-grandchildren’s survival on this planet.

Climatologists who are doing solid science by taking the best climate data have found the main culprit as well as some solutions for climate change. They say that we can still have an effect if we act now! It is a proven fact that climate change is caused by humans spewing trillions of tons of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere annually. We see the effects of the changes in our daily weather and in the extremes of weather that are beginning to occur on our planet and in our nation, costing us billions and eventually trillions of dollars to try to fix after the fact. The scientific explanations verifying this climate change are significant, meaning they are correct over 95% of the time and independently verifiable by others willing to do the research, not just rumor-monger. All their work is being done openly in the gigantic world-wide scientific theatre.

Climate studies have found 7 ways to best remove excessive CO2 emissions, but these solutions need government support to begin immediate implementation. They also have given excellent suggestions for ways to bring the business community on board with profit motivated solutions for removing Carbon Dioxide and utilizing it. I suggest you immediately appoint a task force of the best economists and climatologists to help bring into reality all seven of the best solutions which are outlined in the new January 2019 Scientific American article, “The Last Resort”.

Mr. President, it is time for the USA to act boldly. You must begin to be a leader in the world community. If our nation remains in the current climate change denial and analysis paralysis mode, we threaten the living conditions and economy of our own country as well as all other countries in the world. Climatic change is occurring. Our generation, yes, I am over 70, needs to be remembered as a generation that took on a massive challenge to make our world less hostile and insecure for the sake of our children and great-grandchildren. Read More

Book Review: Hour Game, by David Baldacci

Hour Game (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #2)Hour Game by David Baldacci

My rating: 3 1/2 of 5 stars

Once again, David Baldacci has hit the nail pretty much on the head with a tale of mystery, murder, action, and intrigue. As an avid reader of this genre, I found the book to be well written but straying from the original thesis of our murderer who sets a clock to a specific hour of the day in a copycat murder mystery. Sean King and his sidekick, Michelle Maxwell are the center of attention throughout this book as they charge from one murder to the next in hopes of finding a clue that will bring to light a maniac who is terrorizing a small town in the backwoods of Virginia. As a reader, I am generally inspired by author Baldacci’s tightly woven plots that lead us through a sequence of events that eventually lead to a blow-out ending. In this particular novel, I felt that the author got us built up to that point of beginning to lay out the clues leading to the denouement and final climax, and then got sidetracked. It’s almost as if two separate shorter novels have been cobbled together to make the six hundred page tome that was published. A pity as the murder mystery disappeared into a series of random killings that when finally explained at the end was not an overall well thought-out plot. I enjoyed the read, but there was too much mental downtime and fluff without enough thinking meat to really keep me coming back. Better luck on the next Baldacci book I pick. You will still enjoy the overall story.

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Book Review: Leopard at the Door, by Jennifer McVeigh

Leopard at the DoorLeopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is probably the best I have read for elucidating the role and experiences of women at the end of the colonial period in Kenya. It shows the independent spirit of the women who ‘went out’ to Africa and how that independence could run contrary to the colonial views of how women should behave and act, not just Kenya, but in all the colonies when it came to mixing with the ‘natives’. I understand her passion for the African continent, having lived and worked there myself in my own contrarian roles. McVeigh has taken the role of telling the life of Rachael who returns to Kenya to live with her father and stepmother ion their bush farm. The book is sensitive to Rachael’s having grown up with Kikuyu friends as a child and having run and played with them for years while growing up on the farm. Now, seeing them in a different light through the eyes of a grown woman, she is drawn to them due to her childhood memories, while being chastised for doing so by her stepmother and the other women who are set in their colonial mannerisms of keeping black Africans in their place. Racheal’s life of colonial tranquility and clandestine love affair with former servant, Michael, reveals within her a mixture of contrasting emotions that cannot be resolved without tragic consequences. The aura of fear, abject terror and horror at the atrocities to which Rachael is exposed, both through rumors and actual experience begin to tear her apart in her effort to continue her love affair with Michael. The reality of her being sent to an insane asylum for living out a pathway in life that contradicts a tightly normed colonial mentality is something that our twenty-first century brains have a hard time grasping. At the same time, thoughtful readers will understand that this rigid adherence to and backlash to protect a dying lifestyle is something we are experiencing in our own country even today. Absolutely top notch writing and a book I would certainly pick as one of my very best reads of the year!

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Reminder! Free Kindle Giveaway Dec. 7 – 11, 2018, for Civil War History – “Rough Enough.”


That’s Richard Headley Clow in the header picture. At 17 years of age he enlisted in the Union Army to fight at Petersburg and the final battles of the Civil War.  Stationed at Fort Hayes outside of Petersburg,  Richard Clow was in the first troops to enter Petersburg when it finally fell.  The fortitself is long gone, but a few ramparts remain under the blackberries.


Named After General Alexander Hays, nicknamed “Fighting Ellick” was killed on May 5, 1864 in the Wilderness  so the fort was named after his demise.


Built with a central pit and sites for 2 cannon, the fort was a part of the long North-South line that kept the Confederate troops from receiving any support by sea. Thus when the railway was finally cut, they were doomed and had to retreat from Petersburg towards Appomattox.


At the front of the fort would have been a pit to prevent troops from crossing without being exposed to cannon and musket fire.


If you were a Confederate approaching Fort Hays it would have looked much like this! Note that cannon muzzle between the sandbags.


If you were with the Union Troops, your view would have been much like this. With a clear swath of killing ground in front of the fort. Remeber that most of the trees were long gone al around Petersburg by the beginning of 1865 due to cutting for firewood, blasting to clear ground and constant cannonades.


“Rough Enough” traces Richard Clow’s life journey to the battlefield, letters to his sisters from Petersburg and then following the war traces his journey west to Montana in 1867 to build forts and fight in the Indian War against the Sioux and Cheyenne at Fort Shaw, Camp Cook, and Fort Buford.  His emplyment by the frontier sutler, Charles Larpenter, and life with that family are covered in some aspects of his diary which continues onto Deadwood, South Dakota and the gold rush in 1876-77 where he struck it rich.

Rough Enough - Front Cover
A uniques personal history of the last months of the Civil War and the life of a young man as he then continues his military career and then moves on to the Deadwood Gold Rush.

Hope you enjoy the book!  Happy Holidays!

Read about a Black African Hero! – Ghosts of Ukuthula – Last Day of 2018 giveaway

My 2018 holiday giveaway period for my historical fiction novel, The Ghosts of Uhuthula, is almost over. At 12 midnight tonight, November 27, 2018, the coach will turn back into the pumpkin!  Get it here – Free!

If you are into:

  • Recent History of Southern Africa.
  • The Black African Liberation Movement that brought down Apartheid. 
  • Historical Fiction that brings to life a period most people are ignorant of.
  • An African Hero for African Peoples.
  • The life of Nelson Mandela and Liberation Theology.
  • The manipulation of African Politics by outside governments.

Then this is the book you will want to read.  You can also get it here!

Happy Holidays!


Rick’s Happy Holiday Free Book Give-Away Time!

2018 Holiday Giving Time!
It’s that time of the year! Rick’s Kindle Giveaway Time!! Keep these dates when you and your friends will be able to receive free books of your choice. Forward this to as many of your followers as possible so they can share in the Holiday Joy!

What am I doing? I’m doing a worldwide giveaway!>))

    1. The day when most books sell is Saturday! Check it all out! Sooooooo……
    2. I decided to rotate my Kindle Kindle Direct Publishing books through the offers they allow authors to give during a 90 day period. This means I will give enjoyment to others by offering my books FREE! For a limited period.
    3. With only a few weekends between now and when holiday celebrations begin: Christmas Eve Christmas Customs, Hanukkah Hanukkah Customs, and Kwanzaa Kwanzaa Customs , to name only a few of the celebrations this time of year. It’s a great time for people everywhere to relax and celebrate with a good book.
  • I will be giving away my South African Liberation Novel: The Ghosts of Ukuthula for 5 days: November 23, 2018 through November 27, 2018 between the hours of 12AM PST and 12PM PST (that’s GMT minus 8 hours for those of you on the other side of the planet. Check it out!


Best Front Cover without border





B. For all of you true to life history buffs, I will be giving away my Civil War History Book: Rough Enough, for 5 days: December 7, 2018 through December 11, 2018, again between 12AM and 12PM on each date (GMT minus 8 hours) Check it out!

Rough Enough Cover jpg 185

C. And Last but by no means least! For all of you traveling to Florida or the Caribbean I will be giving away my Seashells of the Caribbean book for 5 days: December 14, 2018 through December 18, 2018, also between 12AM and 12PM on each of those dates (GMT minus 8 hours) Check it out! 

Book Cover Front 22Feb14-1

Enjoy all your reading this year. And Guess What? After a two year haitus, I finally found that I still have words coming out the tips of my fingers! So there WILL be a new book out in 2019. Hip – Hip Hurray!

Enjoy Thanksgiving and have some very Merry Holidays! All the best for 2019!

My books are also available in Paperback on Amazon at reduced Prices -Not free!



“Fear” by Bob Woodward a Book Review

Fear: Trump in the White HouseFear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bob Woodward has done an amazing job of filling in the blanks of the news stories we have all heard in the past 18 months. As a book of new revelations, it falls short of its hype and all the reactions that have come out regarding it being a pack of revealing truths or just a bunch of lies. Well researched, the book is a monument to further understanding the characteristics of a President who apparently bathes himself in the aura of yes-men and stomps on those who dare to cross him or seem to want to control his erratic impulses with concrete researched arguments for numerous causes. The characteristics of President Trump that stand out and seem to govern both what he can accomplish and why his major accomplishment list is so low, despite having complete political party control of Congress. These traits include hyper-attention to worthless minutia, high distractibility, a flash-point temper when confronted with opposition, and a penchant for micromanagement, all of which contribute to his inability to focus and make major grand scale decisions that can then be worked on by his more specialized and experienced cadre of secretaries and generals. Time and again as the books cycles through the topics of nuclear disarmament of Korea and Iran, our troop involvement in Afganistan, solving key points on immigration, building a sustainable economy, or dealing with international diplomacy through current treaties and accords, the reader will see how the discussions go off topic, spark Presidential outbursts of anger and acrimony against experts in military, economic, legal and diplomatic fields, leading to humiliation and the resignations of key persons dedicated to “making it work” for America. Any reader who has raised teenagers will empathize with the men and women who stick it out and try to bring order out of the constant chaos created by a President who would rather shout diatribes against the latest commentator blips coming out of FOX or CNN News. Those readers who are upholders of ‘Due Process’ will be aghast at the trivial manner in which our President tweets messages to cast off and take on high level appointed employees of our government. Here is the profile a man who will use his kowtowing aides for his own purposes until he deems them worthless and then capriciously cast them off with no more than a shrug of his shoulders, the way a snake slides out of an old skin and slithers on its one-track mind way. Does the book engender its title, “FEAR”? Yes. If you are a loyal American citizen you will wonder at the men and women in high places, including the hundreds of Congressional leaders who make up a third of our governmental process, who have smiled and kowtowed while viewing the Presidency’s new clothes, but remain sitting on their thumbs for eighteen months while nothing gets done and our country lives in an era of trying to erase the past and never focusing on a clear mission for our future. I didn’t enjoy the book, but I am extremely glad I read it.

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