Recycling Rubber

07 Jul

tires become recycled rubberMost of the rubber that is recycled comes from automobile and truck tires. The EPA says that over 300 million tires are disposed of in America every year. If they end up in a landfill they cause problems because of their bulk and their void space. The empty area inside can trap and hold methane gas that is supposed to be collected and vented out of the landfill. Air or methane inside causes the tires to “bubble” up through the landfill composition. They can also damage the liners placed in some areas of a landfill to prevent ground water contamination.

Tires that are stockpiled or dumped illegally create an eyesore and a breeding ground for mosquitoes and disease carrying vermin. Tire fires can occur easily: burning for months and creating substantial pollution in the air and ground.

Tires account for most of the rubber available for recycling, but not all of it. Shoes, especially sports shoes, often have rubber soles. Rubber is used in construction materials, floor mats for home, industry and automobiles, and inner tubes for bicycles, trailer tires, hand trucks, wagons, etc.

How is Rubber Recycled?

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06 Jul
Calvin S. Metcalf on amazable     A miracle is not a miracle until its source has been recognized and celebrated.  A beautiful sunset loses much of its splendor without a grasp of Who causes it to happen.  The dawning of a new day is a spectacular event for all who see the divine paintbrush at work.  Life is dull and routine if there is no awareness of God’s intervention in its particulars.  Every day is full of mystery and meaning.  The miraculous is as common as the explainable .  The journey of life is one of faith.  It requires us to see beyond the natural to the supernatural.  Most of life is lived in the context of that which we do not fully understand.  We simply trust the process observing much of which we consider is miraculous.
     What then is a miracle?  A miracle is any aspect of life that has God written all over it.  It is not only that which is humanly unexplainable.  It is that which has redemptive consequences for us.  It is outside our ability to achieve.  It is grace in motion as God’s power to perform is recognized.  A miracle is capable of many interpretations.  All of us do not see the same miracles.  They are individualized to minister to our unique circumstances.  We must not minimize each other’s miracles simply because we have a different interpretation to some event.  Surely it would be a form of blasphemy to ridicule that which another person feels is God’s involvement in his or her life.  
     We are blessed indeed when we can behold the hand of God at work in His world.  When the miracles of life leap out at us in unexpected moments, we can surely praise God for His unmistakable presence.  A miracle is not a miracle for us until we have some significant way to celebrate its occurrence.  We do not announce every miracle as though we have a more favored position with God.  A powerful personal miracle is a humbling experience and we savor the event only for God’s glory.   Sometimes it is a moment of grace for private interpretation only.  Then again it may be an occasion for others to join the celebration.  Let us be mindful of life’s miracles and find ways to share God’s power for God’s glory.

Battling the Evil Flea Beetle

04 Jul

The adult flea beetle is a tiny (1/10 inch long) black, brown or bronze beetle that can jump like a flea when you disturb it. You’ll know it’s around when you see the small, round “pinholes” they chew through leaves. They will attack most vegetables, flowers and weeds but are particularly fond of brassicas (cabbage family), potatoes, spinach, radishes and eggplant.

Flea Beetle

Flea Beetle Life Cycle

Flea beetles are found throughout North America. The larvae live in the soil and are thin, white, legless grubs with brown heads that feed on plant roots. Adult Flea Beetles emerge from the soil in spring to feed and lay eggs on the roots of plants. The adults die out by early July. Their eggs hatch in about a week. The larvae feed for 2 to 3 weeks then pupate in the soil. The next generation of adults emerges in 2 to 3 weeks. These voracious pests produce two to four generations per year before the final generation of adults settles down for overwintering.

These beetles are most damaging in early spring when an infestation can kill seedlings. As plants mature they are better able to survive and outgrow the damage, unless the beetles carried a plant virus.

Battling the Enemy

Prevention is often the best defense. The larvae overwinter in soil and can be destroyed with regular hoeing and cultivating. Be sure to remove all debris from previous crops and keep the area weed free. Weeds are an important early season food for flea beetle larvae. Without cover and food, the larva will starve.


Independence Day

03 Jul

Independence DayI was chatting with a friend this morning and he mentioned that he has been trying to convince his co-workers this week that we are not celebrating the 4th of July: we are celebrating INDEPENDENCE DAY. He makes an excellent point.

This holiday is not about BBQs and boat rides. It’s not about fireworks displays. It’s not about getting a day off work and a long weekend. It is about a time when our nation stood up on its hind legs and said, “We’ve had enough, England. We’re tired of over taxation. We’re tired of big government telling us what we can and cannot do, think and believe. We’re tired of Aristocrats looking down their noses at us and treating us as mindless rabble. We’re tired of being exploited and lied to.”

And we did something about it.  A nation of farmers and shopkeepers took up arms and went toe-to-toe with the British military … and beat them.  But not without significant loss of life and damage to property. In so doing, we earned the right to think for ourselves, to govern ourselves.

THAT is what the celebration held on July 4th is all about, and we would do well to remember Independence Day so we do not once again become dependent, which leads to subjugation.

By all means: fire up the grill, invite friends and family, and touch off some fireworks.  But as you celebrate, remember that the celebration is not about burgers on the grill or booming starfires in the sky – it’s about freedom.


Editorial Quick Tags

01 Jul

tag flag pinWhile you are writing, it is generally best not to break your stride by stopping to puzzle out or fix some inconsistency or fill in a blank spot or detail.  Keep writing so you stay in the groove, but toss in a tag so you can easily find the trouble spot later.  When doing a read-through of a completed manuscript, you may want to tag problems rather than stopping to fix them so you can stay in the story.  Editors sometimes use tags, along with pages of notes on those tags, to flag areas that need rewriting or revision.

Editorial tags need to be unique so they can be easily searched for when it is time to deal with them. Common tags are TK or TC, which mean “to come” and are used to mark gaps in the text where something else is needed.  These are letter combinations that do not occur in words, so they should not provide false hits in your search.

I tend to like <<NOTE>> because it is visually catchy as well as easily searched for.  I can amend NOTE with a quick comment on what needs fixing and still be able to find them by searching for “<<NOTE”.  Others might be <<EXPLAIN>>, <<SHORTEN>>, <<NEED PHOTO>> or <<UNCLEAR>>. You might think you’d have to start keeping a list of tags you’ve used, but you don’t because you can just search for “<<” and pull them all up.

When doing blog posts or magazine articles, I use this same trick to mark photo placements: <<<MyPhoto140625.jpg 300 Left>>> which gives me the title, width in pixels and the alignment. I learned this from a magazine that accepted text and photos through e-mail but needed to format and assemble the articles for print in their own system.

Tags have a variety of uses in both the writing and initial editing phase of your manuscript..  I hope this helps you out as you write.



29 Jun
Calvin S. Metcalf on amazable      A preschooler had just finished her first week ever of Vacation Bible School.  Apparently it had been a good experience.  When asked, she told her mother “Vacation Bible School was amazable.”  Now adults may smile at the use of such a word, but to a child caught up in the excitement of learning about God it was a beautiful way to express it.  She probably said more than she understood.  Nonetheless, she found a way to describe a profound happening in her young life.  How long has it been since you had an “amazable” event in your life?  How long has it been since you needed to invent a word to describe something that ordinary words do not cover?
     From time to time it is good to have an “amazable” experience.  It is imperative that we have some blessed events come our way lest we become morbidly pessimistic.  Life is filled with too many complicated issues.  There is often mystery without meaning, problems without solutions, and heartache without comfort.  Tragedy, sorrow, and death can take their toll upon us.  As we move closer and closer to our final destiny we need some “amazable” things to cheer us on our way.  It is not easy being human.  Without some unexplainable joy overtaking us on the journey we could easily give up in hopeless despair.
     Sometimes we may miss that which is “amazable.”  We turn a corner and there is God as big as life.  If we fail to celebrate and share such an encounter it may have little or no effect upon us.  The small light that shines into the darkness of our despair is better than no light at all.  The more we focus upon it the brighter it glows to dispel the black that may surround us. 
     Friends who come our way in times of need may not overwhelm us, yet they are “amazable” in the way they can help heal our hurts.  Sin may overtake us and guilt may unmercifully whip us, but grace is God’s “amazable” reaction.  He forgives the repentant and encourages the wayward to sin no more. 
     Love is an “amazable” ingredient of life.  The capacity to care and to be cared for are often unexplainable, undeserved, and “amazable.”  Being alive is “amazable” when we consider the fragile nature of our existence.  Let us, therefore, never get too old to look through childish eyes and discover that which is “amazable.”



Gallery of Upcycling Ideas

28 Jun

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

The first recorded use of the term upcycling was by Reiner Pilz of Pilz GmbH in an article by Thornton Kay of Salvo in 1994.[1]

We talked about the impending EU Demolition Waste Streams directive. “Recycling,” he said, “I call it downcycling. They smash bricks, they smash everything. What we need is upcycling- where old products are given more value, not less.”

Since then, “upcycling” has become one of those trendy phrases you see all over the internet. Upcycling differs from recycling in that the product in question is not broken down into component materials. Upcycling differs from reusing in that while it reuses a product in (basically) in its original form, this is done in a way that adds value to the piece beyond what it had originally. Using the air cleaner housing of an old car as a container for plants may be clever, but it is not increasing the value of the air cleaner housing, unless you do something unique to it. 

upcycling a pianoOne item commonly seen recently is the Baby Grand Bookshelf. You may question whether the bookcase has more monetary value than a Baby Grand piano, but points out that moving a piano can cost hundreds of dollars. Offering a now unwanted Baby Grand for little or no cost to a friend or relative who wants one may prove mutually beneficial, even after said friends pays for the move. However if said piano has a cracked soundboard offering it, even for free, will be a dud deal because the cost of moving it and restoring it will be higher than the cost of a new one. In that case, turning it into something other than a piano may be the perfect way to salvage a large part of a beautiful piece of casegoods, save the the cost of having it moved out, and keep it out of the landfill or junk yard.

Read the rest


Seeking the History of the Screened Porch

26 Jun

Anyone who has experienced one has to admit that a screened porch is a wonderful addition to any house. A screened porch offers the breezes, scents, sounds, and sights of being outdoors – but without the bugs and the blazing sun. In rural areas – before air conditioning became rampant – many people used a screened porch as a bunk room on particularly sweltering summer nights.

Screened Porch 2


Victorian home with a sleeping porch on the second floor. Usually built off a bedroom, the sleeping porch was screened in on three sides for maximum air circulation.

But like so many brilliant architectural adaptations, the screened porch has been shoved aside by more modern innovations and changes in lifestyle. Conversion to a year-round sunroom or blown out into a larger deck or patio that offers a full open-air atmosphere, the screened porch is fast becoming a nostalgic memory.

Have you ever wondered who first thought of enclosing a porch with window screening? Let’s have a seat in the Wayback Whensday machine and see what we can find out.


Taking Time For Reading

26 Jun
reading dog

Credit: Armstrong Library

Good writers are avid readers.

I don’t have any statistics from scientific studies to throw at you, but based on what I know about the talented writers I’ve encountered, I stand by that statement. For most of us, a penchant for writing was the fruit which grew from our love of reading when we were young. We admired our favorite author’s ability to take us to other places, times, and situations, and we wanted to do this too. So we began crafting stories of our own.

Whether we did so consciously or not, we emulated our literary mentors. As we read their work, we began to dissect their stories, to see how they created the illusions. Like studying a magic act, we wanted to discover the slight-of-word that made it all believable.

Most of us still enjoy reading. Unfortunately, many now do not spend much time reading great novels. We’re spending so much time reading as research, or for education, or as part of our marketing efforts that the great masters lay on a shelf gathering dust. The library is thinking of closing our account because our card has not been used in such a long time. This is a shame.   Read the rest of this entry »


A Right Fine Settn Porch

24 Jun

senset from the porchThere are few things I find more enjoyable than the simple pleasure of sitting on a proper porch with my beloved and a glass of cold lemonade on a warm summer evening. This evening is one such.

Temperatures during the day had gotten up into the mid 80s, but as the sun slides down behind English Mountain across the valley from us the temperature eases. The sky splashed with pink, rose, mauve and vermilion slowly deepens into amethyst, violet and plum. A few bright stars burn through the gauzy haze of high, thin clouds which provide a canvass for the setting sun to paint upon.

To the south the multiple ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains slowly disappear into the dusk. A Chuck Wills Widow sits in the top of a tree across the hard-road, a hundred feet or so downhill from us, and serenades us with his gentle melody. Crickets chip, cicadas thrum, tree frogs trill.

A flying beetle thumps determinedly against the glass of the porch light. It looks like a June bug, but it’s the wrong time for June bugs, unless he’s a confused June bug. I switch the light off to save him from endangering his well being (and annoying us) and so we can get a clearer view now that the sky is dark.   Read the rest of this entry »

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