5-minute Chocolate Cake

From the internet, original source unknown…

cake01 cake02 cake03



4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (Microwave Safe)

  1. Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.
  2. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well..
  4. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.  The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed!  Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.  EAT ! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous). 

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?  Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

Extreme Shepherding – the story behind the video

Working for Farmers Weekly has its advantages. If you ever want a bit of gossip or insider information about farming, there’s usually someone around who’ll tell you. I’ve managed, therefore, to find out some more about the Extreme Shepherding video that has taken Youtube (or should that be Ewetube) by storm and got nearly 3m …

Source: Extreme Shepherding – the story behind the video

Extreme shepherding – more details

By on March 27, 2009 


Samsung has been in touch about the sheep video that’s taking the internet by storm.

The 2 minute 45 second spot, set near a 13th century Welsh castle called Caregg Cennen, has now had nearly 4 million hits.

According to the creators, it works online because it is “completely original and unvarnished”.

The internet rewards newness – anything that pushes things to the limits,” says Daniel Evans, a creative director from Viral Factory, the company that made it.

“It’s respected because we were able to create it with just time and energy. It’s not some glossy, unattainable advert.”

It features shepherds and their highly trained dogs herding sheep (wearing jackets with LED lights on) through intricately coordinated stunts.

A total of 400 sheep were used in the unscripted video, 200 black and 200 white, and 43,000 lights.

The vid was released to help market Samsung Electronics’ 2009 LED TVs – it works, they say, by linking smart dogs, smart shepherds, and the company’s smart LED technology.




The crocuses are in bloom. The idea of blooming crocuses has sent me meandering down the Google path looking up one thing and then inspired to follow another. I’ll share a bit of my mindless travels brought to me by the spring air and sounds of lawn mowers.

Crocus (English plural: crocuses or croci) is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family comprising 90 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to Xinjiang Province in western China.

I had always assumed that Crocus were from England, as are so many of our lovely flowers. Where did Crocus come about their name? Google doesn’t say much.

In Classical mythology, Crocus (Greek: ??????) was a mortal youth who, because they were unhappy with his love affair with Smilax, was turned by the gods into a plant bearing his name, the crocus (saffron). Smilax is believed to have been given a similar fate and transformed into bindweed.

In another variation of the myth, Crocus was said to be a companion of Hermes and was accidentally killed by the god in a game of discus. Hermes was so distraught at this that he transformed Crocus’ body into a flower. The myth is similar to that of Apollon and Hyacinthus, and may indeed be a variation thereof.

In his translation of Nonnos’ Dionysiaca, W.H.D. Rouse describes the tale of Crocus as being from the late Classical period and little-known.

Interesting that in the first story a love is involved, it seems that is often the case with mythology.

Crocus. (2014, December 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:27, January 7, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Crocus&oldid=637228891

Crocus (mythology). (2015, January 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:28, January 7, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Crocus_(mythology)&oldid=640907783

Thanks Grandma

I was sorting through files on one of the computers to get ready to upload them to the cloud and I came across this note. It was written in 1998, my grandmother died in 2014 at the age of 103. I never sent it. It would have been so easy to. I post it here so that others might remember to write their grandmother.


I’m always forgetting to write to tell you thank you for the gifts and things you do for me.  You have been so faithful – always sending at least a card for every birthday and Christmas since I was little child. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, it’s just that I’m often in my own world – thinking of everything, worrying about nothing, and forgetting the simple, day-to-day things that are the most important.  Things like saying “Thank you” in a timely manner.

 I want to tell you how much you have meant to me – not just the gifts you have given over the years – but you.  You are my inspiration to appreciate my surroundings and live life completely and to its fullest.  Without you, I would never have developed my love of the outdoors, courage around horses, and ability to learn to do anything with my hands.  The sewing, shooting, drawing, and painting that you taught me has transitioned to driving school bus, training dogs, and tearing appart computers.  Because of the love for the outdoors you have given me, I could never live in town or somewhere that I can’t have my animals close.  I need to see the trees, hear the birds, and smell life often and without interuption.  These are some of the gifts you have given me – I don’t know how I could ever thank you enough.

Please accept these few words that contain a lifetime of gratitude.

Thank you grandma, I love you.

A Thousand Marbles

Found on the internet:


May your Saturday mornings be special.

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the basement shack with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning, turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it.

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whoever he was talking with something about “a thousand marbles.”

I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say. “Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital.”

He continued, “let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.”

And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”

“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.”

“Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now stick with me Tom, I’m getting to the important part.”

“It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail”, he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.”

“So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.”

“I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.”

“Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.”

“It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. 73 Old Man, this is K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!”

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.”

“What brought this on?” she asked with a smile. “Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids.

Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”

--... ...--

A Holding Pattern

Found on the Internet:

A Holding Pattern

Many times God will allow a painful situation or a painful circumstance in our life to “swallow us up.” This season in our spiritual growth is a holding pattern.

We can’t move to the left or the right. All we can do is sit, like Jonah sat in the belly of that great fish, so God can have our undivided attention and speak to us.

God put Jonah in a holding pattern because He needed to speak to his heart. Jonah was all alone. There were no friends to call, no colleagues to drop by, no books to read, no food to eat, no interference’s, and no interruptions.

He had plenty of time to sit, think, meditate, and pray. When we’re deep down in the midst of a difficult situation, God can talk to us. When He has our undivided attention, He can show us things about ourselves that we might not otherwise have seen.

A Few Of God’s Holding Patterns:

  1. When you are sick in your physical body and you have prayed, but God has not healed you yet, you are in a holding pattern
  2. When you are having problems with your children and you have put them on the altar, but God has not delivered them yet, you are in a holding pattern.
  3. When you have been praying for the salvation of a loved one and they have not been saved yet, you are in a holding pattern.
  4. When you are in a broken relationship and you have given it over to God, but it has not been restored yet, you are in a holding pattern.
  5. When the doors slam shut before you can knock on them, you are in a holding pattern.

When we are deep in the belly of a difficult situation, there are no interruptions. God has our undivided attention. All we can do is sit, think, meditate, and pray. We cannot run from God because there are no mountains that are high enough, valleys that are low enough, rivers that are wide enough, rooms that are dark enough, or places that are hidden enough from Him. We must remember to praise Him while we’re waiting and remember three things:

  1. The pattern has a purpose.
  2. The pattern has a plan.
  3. The pattern has a process.

So stop struggling and start listening, praying and trusting. He’ll keep you right where you are until you can clearly hear Him say, “I love you.”

Prayer: Father, forgive my unbelief. I know you love me and will turn anything around to benefit me. You have planned nothing for me but victories and I am ready to receive them regardless of how difficult the path. Amen

The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor. The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything.

From the Internet

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. See, I’ve got a mom. I’ve got friends. My mom’s got friends. They all send me stuff through the email. Some of this stuff is really good/cute/meaningful. I’ll put them in under this category as it moves me, giving consideration for things like copyrights and royalties. Enjoy. Today we have photos of what cats can do that dogs can’t. From the Internet.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Water Use & Irrigation

I am watching each day more and more posts about California and how people are tearing up their landscaping and farmers are plowing crops under and wondering, why do they no change the style of irrigation they are using. And why are not the news services reporting these often easy and water saving changes? And why do the high water use areas not incorporate some of the methods used in the Middle East and other arid areas. I realize they are more expensive, but it beats draining the aquifers dry (think sink holes) and taking water from neighboring states through expensive and environmentally questionable pipelines.

Below is an interesting bit from a UK based site. 1 kilogram (kg or kilo) = 2.2 lbs, 1 litre (l, liter) = 0.26 gallons (gal)

Water facts and figures

Water use

Did you know that the world uses:

  • 70 percent freshwater for irrigation
  • 22 percent freshwater for industry
  • 8 percent freshwater for domestic use

Did you know that by 2025, water withdrawals are predicted to increase by:

  • 50 percent in developing countries
  • 18 percent in developed countries

Did you know that by 2025:

  • 1800 million people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity
  • two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions caused by water scarcity

Did you know that:

  • the world’s six billion people are using 54 percent of all accessible freshwater contained in rivers, lakes and underground aquifers
  • the volume of freshwater resources is around 35 million km3, or about 2.5 percent of the total volume which is 1.4 billion km3
  • about 24 million km3 or 70 percent of freshwater resources is in the form of ice and permanent snow cover in mountainous regions, the Antarctic and Arctic regions

Drinking water and sanitation

Did you know that:

  • the UN suggests that we need 20-50 litres of safe freshwater a day for drinking, cooking and cleaning
  • more than one in six people worldwide – 894 million – don’t have access to 20-50 litres of safe freshwater a day
  • the daily drinking water requirement per person is 2-4 litres, but it takes 2000 to 5000 litres of water to produce one person’s daily food
  • 2.5 billion people, including almost one billion children, live without basic sanitation.
  • every 20 seconds, a child dies as a result of poor sanitation. That’s 1.5 million preventable deaths each year
  • globally, diarrhoea is the leading cause of illness and death, and 88 per cent of diarrhoeal deaths are due to a lack of access to sanitation facilities, together with inadequate availability of water for hygiene and unsafe drinking water.

Water, agriculture and food security

Did you know that:

  • it takes 1000-3000 litres of water to produce one kilo of rice
  • it takes 13000 to 15000 litres of water to produce one kilo of grain-fed beef
  • 277 million hectares, about 20 percent of all cropland is under irrigation
  • rainfed agriculture is practiced on 80 percent of the arable land
  • irrigation multiplies yields of most crops by 2 to 5 times
  • irrigated agriculture currently contributes to 40 percent of the world’s food production and the remaining 60 percent comes from rainfed systems
  • over the period to 2050 world’s water will have to support the agricultural systems that will feed and create livelihoods for an additional 2.7 billion people
  • rapidly growing demand for meat and milk in urban areas of developing countries will place substantial new demands on agricultural water resources, especially for feed production.

Water pollution, environmental degradation and disasters

Did you know that:

  • every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water courses
  • in developing countries, 70 percent of industrial wastes are dumped into waters where they pollute the usable water supply
  • since 1900 we’ve lost half of the world’s wetlands
  • between 1991 and 2000 over 665,000 people died in 2,557 natural disasters of which 90 percent were water-related events.

Water footprints

Did you know that we need:

  • 13 litres of water of a tomato
  • 25 litres of water for a potato
  • 35 litres of water of a cup of tea
  • 70 litres of water for an apple
  • 75 litres of water for a glass of beer
  • 120 litres of water for a glass of wine
  • 140 litres of water for a cup of coffee
  • 170 litres of water of a glass of orange juice
  • 184 litres of water for a bag of potato crisps
  • 200 litres of water for a glass of milk
  • 2400 litres of water for a hamburger
  • 16000 litres of water is needed to produce one kilogram of beef


  1. Aquastat
  2. FAO
  3. Joint Monitoring Programme on Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP)
  4. United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)
  5. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  6. UN Water
  7. Water footprint
  8. World Health Organization (WHO)
  9. Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)

 Types of Irrigation

Irrigation water can come from groundwater (extracted from springs or by using wells), from surface water (withdrawn from rivers, lakes or reservoirs) or from non-conventional sources like treated wastewater, desalinated water or drainage water.


Water Sources


Water Conservation



Facts & Statistics

  • Approximately 5 to 10 percent of American homes have water leaks that drip away 90 gallons a day or more! Many of these leaks reside in old fixtures, such as leaky toilets and faucets. In fact, water lost by these leaky residences could be reduced by more than 30,000 gallons if new, efficient fixtures were installed. If the 5 percent of American homes that leak the most corrected those leaks—it could save more than 177 billion gallons of water annually!
  • Using WaterSense labeled faucets or faucet accessories could reduce a household’s faucet water use by more than 500 gallons annually—that’s enough water to do 14 loads of laundry.
  • WaterSense labeled faucets and faucet accessories can reduce excessive flow volumes by more than 30 percent without sacrificing performance.
  • If one in every 10 homes in the United States were to install WaterSense labeled faucets or faucet accessories in their bathrooms, it could save 6 billion gallons of water, and more than $50 million in the energy costs to supply, heat, and treat that water.
  • If all inefficient toilets in U.S. homes were converted to WaterSense labeled models, we could save more than 640 billion gallons of water per year—the equivalent to 15 days of flow over Niagara Falls.
  • If homeowners with irrigation systems use a certified irrigation professional to perform regular maintenance, they can reduce irrigation water use by 15 percent* or nearly 8,800 gallons of water annually. That’s the equal to the amount of water used to take 500 showers.


*the people in California have been asked to reduce their water use by 20%. Here is more than half of it in one simple step. By following the other steps in this one article alone would result in water conservation in excess of their 20% requirement. The only shortfall is when the next drought comes and they are asked to reduce again when they already use less than their local average.

Irrigation. (2015, May 29). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:44, June 4, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Irrigation&oldid=664517593












Hummingbirds & Fuchsias

The new place is pretty keen. We don’t own it, but the people who do are really special. The house itself is special as well. It has a whole plethora of birds. We had a few birds at the other place, but here are many birds – domestic as well as wild – that I can hear throughout the day. A small bird house I brought from the other house had an occupant the day I hung it. It took him longer to find someone to share it with, but he was determined to claim it as his own.

Recently I saw some humming birds. So I have an idea. Rather than hang a humming bird feeder and train them to become dependent on the man-made nectar, I decided that I would plant/hang some fuchsias. This way they would come to something natural and when they were done blooming move on to something else. Perhaps I will figure out something different by then. We have wild fuchsias here as well as buying them. They are red and pink bushes. I think I will find some of those to plant as well.


Red and pink wild fuchsia. Photo not mine.

Good-bye Empire neighborhood

Although we still have no home to go to (and have found it really hard to pack) I’ll not see this sight out my window anymore April 6th.

Still hardships just getting out of here, things too large to move by ourselves. We made it easier for ourselves in some ways. We are only taking what is ours. Everything that was my housemate’s is staying. Period. I have no place to live and limited storage space to use. I’m only taking what I can honestly call mine and throwing away what I shouldn’t keep.

Good-bye Empire neighborhood. After all this I’m not sure I want to see you again.


Live feed (until April 6)