Deadheading Roses

Avatar_DavidBentleyOn a sunny afternoon with a couple of hours to kill, I decided to deadhead the roses. I learned how to do this at a Master Gardeners demonstration where I discovered how much I didn't know about roses. Before the demonstration, I just cut off the dead rose blossoms and trimmed back bothersome branches. Now, I know the differences between stems and canes as well as leaves, leaflets and bracts. Heck, I even know what a rose hip looks like.

Removing spent blooms, otherwise known as deadheading, makes the rose bush produce more flowers. Normally, spent blooms become the fruit of the plant which is called a rose hip. Through deadheading, the plant conserves energy normally spent producing fruit, thus producing more blooms instead. That's the easy part.

What complicates the matter is that there is a difference of opinion about the best method of deadheading. The old rule of thumb is to cut just above the first outward facing leaf with five leaflets on it. Did you know that the clusters of leaflets make up a single leaf, and that these compound leaves can have two to seven or more leaflets on them? Who knew?

However, new trials have shown that the more foliage a rose plant bears the more blooms it puts out. So the new rule of thumb is to cut just above the first tiny leaflets below the bloom. These are called bracts because they don't actually form a compound leaf. Confused yet?

So which rule is right? Well, that depends. The new one seems to produce more blooms, but smaller flowers. The old one produces fewer blooms, but larger and showier flowers. It would appear, then, that neither one is right for all situations. Yet if you ask any seasoned gardener how to deadhead roses, I bet you'll get a single, definitive answer.

It's just like the rest of life. Tax increase or spending cut? Privatization or nationalization? Black and white or shades of gray? Immovable or willing to compromise? It just depends on the outcome you want: fewer big, showy flowers or more abundant smaller ones.

  • How do you choose which rule of thumb to follow? 
  • Do you consider the outcome you want to achieve? 
  • Are you looking to produce fewer big, showy blooms or more abundant smaller ones? 
  • What is it that motivates your choice?



It's time to stock up at the Annual Book Sale

Avatar_SJILibraryThis Friday and Saturday, stop by the Turnbull Gym at the Friday Harbor High School for the Friends of the Library's annual book sale. This is one of the Friends' biggest fundraisers of the year for the Library. Proceeds from sales help fund adult and youth library programming, as well as other purchases and projects that would not be possible without our Friends' assistance.

Most of the books in this sale are generously donated to the Friends by you and other members of our community. The Friends accepts donations of books and other materials at their store, the Treasure Cove, every Wednesday and Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.. Some of these donations go directly for sale in the store and others go to their paperback rack at the ferry. And still more make it to the annual holiday sale or the summer sale.

A large part of library work is maintaining and evaluating our collections to ensure we are providing materials that meet the needs and interests of the community. Keeping our collections current and relevant is a priority, and we do this within our space considerations. Besides shifting books on the shelves and pulling items out for display, the library regularly weeds its collection to make room for newly purchased materials.

Weeding is the periodic examination of a library's collection of materials in order to determine which items are no longer useful or needed. So when you hear a librarian talk about weeding, she's not maintaining library grounds, she's developing library collections. When items are weeded from the collection, the Friends accept them as donations for their annual book sale. This past year, as usual, we've weeded from all collections of the library. Maybe you'll find a book that's no longer checking out with our patrons, but is an old favorite of yours.

Okay, enough of the library lingo, now back to the book sale. The Friends sale begins at 6 p.m. on Friday for Friends members only. This is your opportunity to see everything first! Memberships may be purchased at the door.

Marjorie Harrison
Library Director

San Juan Island Library




Hey there everyone! Laura Holden here to let you know that I am officially back in the office after some time at home with my new baby boy Theron. I am very excited to be back and look forward to seeing you.

For those of you who I have not yet met, my name is Laura Holden and I have been with San Juan Holistic Healthcare for about six years and while I wear a few different hats in the office, including hormone balancing through saliva testing and bio-identical hormones, my main focus is, as my instructors call it, the "Tool of the Future." It is called Spectra-Vision.

Spectra-Vision, or bionetic testing is a non-cognitive biofeedback that originated in the 1950s in Germany. It allows me to access your body's response and reaction to thousands of frequencies or substances; being bacterial, viral, parasitic, chemical, hormonal, allergenic, molds and fungus, heavy metals and even emotional imbalance. Also, I can see where your body needs energetic support or where your body needs detoxification. Let me explain a bit about the technology...

The scan itself takes about nine minutes. We then proceed to the second phase to E.A.V. testing. (Electro Acupuncture by Voll). By using the principle of E.A.V. testing, we are able to measure electrical conductivity and receive an immediate functional overview of your body's system. The next step is testing a therapy or homeopathic remedy to determine which options are most complimentary to returning your body to an energetic balance.

The advantage of this technology is that it is not a "One size fits All" treatment. Let us use migraine headaches as an example. One person's migraine headaches could stem from a hormonal imbalance, where another person could be suffering from a chemical toxicity issue, while yet another person could have an allergy that is triggering the migraine headache. Everyone's blueprint is different and at our office, we aim to look at each person as an individual, not a symptom.

With this treatment I have also had profound success in greatly reducing, even completely eliminating allergies, whether they be seasonal, environmental or foods.

Toxicity that cannot be eliminated is a major cause of disease. Through bionetic testing and creating homeopathic remedies specific to your body's needs, we can begin to get your body back to a balanced state.

For those of you who have chronic issues that have not been resolved or if you are interested in improving your overall health, this could be the answer you have been looking for.

If you are interested in learning more about the Spectra-Vision testing or have any other questions about our office services, please call us at 378-5660. I would be happy to answer any questions you have.

Yours in health
Laura Earnhart Holden, C.A.




Avatar_SusanVernon Over the Fourth of July weekend, I drove to the Land Bank's Westside Preserve near Lime Kiln Point State Park. Standing on a southwest-facing slope looking out upon Haro Strait rays of sunlight skipped across the calm blue-green sea in a shimmer of sparkling light. Summer had finally arrived and the white-crowned sparrows singing nearby proclaimed it so.



Avatar_SusanVernon It was the end of June and I still had butterflies on my mind. Even after a spring in the field doing Island Marble surveys and, in the process, encountering several other butterflies including azures, anglewings, elfins, ringlets, and admirals, I still felt I might have lost the opportunity to see a long-time favorite due to the rapid arrival of the summer solstice. Time does hurtle by.


Your Nerve System and You

Your nerve system is your body's master communication system. Your brain - your body's central processing unit - receives information from every other system. Information on sight, sound, touch, taste and smell is constantly bombarding your brain. Information on muscle activity, placement of your arms and legs, fingers and toes, and the positioning of your joints reaches the brain nanosecond by nanosecond. Feedback is constantly being supplied on how many new red blood cells are being manufactured, how much acid has been secreted into the stomach to help digest your breakfast, and how much insulin, epinephrine and other hormones is need for healthy functioning.

Your brain processes information faster than the world's fastest computer, and you get to have one for free! Remarkably, man-made computers are exactly like the human brain. How information is received, how it is processed, and how instructions are sent back out again - these activities are quite identical in both the artificial machine and the living organ.

How is all the information transferred back and forth? Messages coming to the brain from the body and messages going from the brain to the body are transmitted via the spinal cord, the tail-like direct extension of the brain itself. The spinal cord - delicate nervous tissue - is encased in the bony structures of the spinal canal, housed within the spinal column.

Of course, all systems in the body are related. Interestingly, problems with spinal mechanics may interfere with normal activities taking place in the spinal cord. If spinal muscles are irritated and spinal ligaments are tight, pain signals from these structures will affect normal signals flowing through the local spinal nerve. Ramped-up pain signals impact levels of other signals, enhancing some and depressing others. The ultimate result is that of "wires being crossed". Systems then begin to break down and the person's health may be affected.

So, mechanical problems in the spine can lead to many other physical ailments. Tight neck muscles, headaches, painful lower backs, even arm or leg pains suggest altered spinal mechanics. How may these health issues be addressed?

Chiropractic health care is specifically designed to diagnose and treat spine-related complaints. Treatment is gentle and directed toward restoring mobility, reducing pain and irritation of spinal muscles and ligaments. As these painful conditions resolve, more normal functioning within the nerve system is made possible. The result is greater health and improved well-being across the range of your body's systems.

Of course, spinal adjustments alone do not always completely address your pain. Sometimes there are other factors involved in keeping your spine healthy. As we have stated before there are six interferences that can cause spinal imbalance and ill-health. They are:

  1. structural imbalance 
  2. electromagnetic interference 
  3. nutritional imbalance 
  4. allergies and sensitivities 
  5. emotional issues (past or present) 
  6. toxicity

For more information on these interferences and how they affect your health, go to our website at or come in to our office and pick up a free CD on the six interferences to health. Both of these have an enormous amount of information. As always, if you have any questions, you can also call us at 378-5660.

Yours in Health,
Mark W. Earnhart, D.C.



Basic Supplementation

We have talked in the past about the problems with getting good nutrients in you body. Some of these issues include: high fructose corn syrup, gluten, pesticides in vegetables, hydrogenated oils, loss of vitamins in our vegetables due to planting over and over again in depleted soils and the list could go on. This article is about what are the basic nutrient supplementation we recommend in our office if you are basically healthy and have no symptoms yet.

These are the FOUR basic things people should take every day:

1) A good multiple vitamin that contains vitamins and minerals to support the basic cell function in the body. This needs to be natural and not synthetic.

2) Adrenal support - research is clear - over 80% of Americans suffer from chronic stress which leads to adrenal stress. Adrenal fatigue causes an increase in cortisol ( which helps keep us a little chubby), a decrease in DHEA (DHEA helps keep us young), an increase in insulin resistance which leads to diabetes and other sugar handling disorders, a breakdown in muscle and general loss of energy.

3) Omega - 3 oils. Yes, fish oil. Our diet is over saturated with pro-inflammatory oils such as corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil to name a few. Inflammation is the number one cause of all chronic diseases so we recommend you reduce you intake of hydrogenated oils and increase Omega-3 oils including fish, flax and olive oils. Omega-3 oils are anti-inflammatory and have been shown to also improve heart function and brain function as well. In England it is almost considered malpractice if a doctor does not recommend Omega-3 oils to heart patients.

4) Vitamin D - most of have heard about vitamin D recently. It has been in the news as research has found out how important it is to all the functions in our body. Especially in the northwest where the sun is in such limited supply (And especially this year).

There are of course other things most of us should take as well but this is a basic start to good health.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 378-5660 or go to our website at

Yours in Health,
Mark W. Earnhart, D.C.




0Avatar_SusanVernon Until a week or so ago, it had not been a good spring for butterflies. Unseasonably cold temperatures and above average rainfall are not a good combination for the ethereal insects that require ample sunshine to survive and to thrive in our rainshadow world.


A Good Day for a Sandwich

"...enjoy every sandwich." - Warren Zevon

It's my friend, Steve's 50th birthday today. Being 51, I have some prior experience with turning fifty and I can't say I was graceful about it. I spent the day whimpering under a blanket with many pints of pistachio ice cream.

I crawled out briefly for dinner, but couldn't sustain so much exposure to light or sound I tried to reflect on my good fortune at being able to enjoy five decades in great health with hardly any problems that weren't of my own design, but I couldn't quite haul myself up and over the edge of the abyss.

I could not quite get past the feeling that I had enjoyed plenty of time to accomplish something (five decades, in fact) but that I had just gotten sidetracked. If I'd started studying Italian thirty years ago, I'd be fluent and running an olive empire in Liguria by now.

I could have been a ballroom dancer or a hot air balloonist or an octopods expert. I could have established my own quack religion, become a wealthy tele-evangelist, developed a wicked barbiturate habit along with an inappropriate fondness for my young backup singers, crashed my empire and suffered public scorn and humiliation. I could have bought low and sold high.

I longed to stop wondering if I'd ever become a successful person and just already BE a successful person. Instead, I turned out like myself. I should have seen that coming.

Even though a fiftieth birthday is just a flash in a lifetime of days, just another scenic lookout on a long journey, I seemed to have less capacity for hope at fifty than I did at forty. Forty seemed like I was just maturing into something fabulous - like a peach when it ripens to its full fragrant, shapely peachiness. Fifty was more like a peach that has fallen to the bottom of the crate - soft and a spotted brown in places with no shelf-life left to it. Deflated and mushy.

I'm glad to report that it was worthwhile to stay on the Blue Bus just to see what happens on the day AFTER turning 50. I got some perspective - maybe for no other reason than self-preservation (those brown spots aren't going anywhere) or I started to appreciate that while I may be one of small percentage of people for whom 50 is actually midlife, the actuarial tables are not in my favor. I have less time to squander on dissatisfaction or unhappiness, and fewer people who have the patience to hear about it.

This is what I said to myself after I got to the other side of flipping the decade:

There never was anything wrong with you or your life. Life is just very unruly and refuses to lie down quietly or behave predictably. It's just one dragon after another.

If you were only psychic, you could have predicted all the consequences of any action you have ever taken. Your life, then, could have unfolded according to the chosen script. This happens to no one - not even people who believe themselves to be psychic.

Alas, your inability to read the future has resulted in fifty years of imperfect choices, which have resulted in some monster regrets. This is counter-intuitive, because...

Everything we love and treasure right now is the result of a series of proximate causes that winds backward through our lives - some of it was great and some of it wasn't, but we landed where we are whether we think the causes were positive or negative. Disastrous love affairs produce beloved children; failures morph into unexpected opportunities; old dreams die and new dreams find a place to root.

We get another do-over at fifty if we're willing to live lightly, I think. It's a crossroads where you can decide if you're too disappointed or just too apathetic to reinvent yourself, or if you have enough of a sense of humor left to say, "This is absurd, but, what the hell..."

I wrote all this down and thought, "Well, I wonder what Steve thinks about this on his 50th birthday."So, I sent it to him, and this is what he wrote back:

"At 37, Tom Lehrer noted that "when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years." So by the time we hit fifty, shouldn't it be all the more likely that we would feel that overwhelming urge to look backwards? Like Lot's wife turning to glance over her shoulder at Sodom and Gomorrah, what fifty-year-old can resist the impulse to look back and survey the flaming ruins of his or her own past?

Check that - it seems to me to be compulsive rather than impulsive. It's almost as though there's no choice. During the final weeks of the run-up to my birthday, an evil voice in my head kept viciously spitting out the term "half-century." It really is an undeniable checkpoint. And as Ingrid points out, the math is soberingly clear.

By fifty, there doesn't seem to be much time left in which to pull the ideal life (never mind how vague that notion may be) out of the magic hat. So if there's not much ahead to look at, where can we look but back?

My "long and winding road" story sounds much like Ingrid's. I'd had no real problem with previous decade "flips." They actually provided me with ample reasons to look toward the future.

Maybe I simply didn't want to reflect on my perceived lack of accomplishments, but at thirty, I didn't mourn the passing of my foolish twenties. For me, the thirties held the promise of a resilient physical and intellectual vigor seasoned with experience.

When my thirties didn't quite pan out, the forties were still promising. They were obviously (to echo the fruit metaphor) about ripening into a creative maturity. I was never the eternal optimist, but there always seemed to be plenty of time left. I was going to be the classic late bloomer.

But by forty-nine, the ticking of the clock had gotten louder and louder. I'd had no solid career to speak of, much less a current job. My twenty-fifth high school reunion (I didn't go) had long since come and gone. Graduate school, which had seemed interminable, was now a fading memory.

And two weeks before my birthday, I was in a department store fitting room trying on some pants and caught a shocking glimpse of the back of my head in the double mirrors. It was like witnessing the rapid deforestation of the Brazilian jungles. If you have thinning hair, avoid rooms with double mirrors - fitting rooms, traditional barber shops and the like. As my friend James said the other night, "There's no reason to look back there."

But you know, something happened when my birthday finally arrived. I woke up and somehow the day just felt good. At noon I had lunch with my wife and kids at our favorite hamburger joint. My 13-year-old outplayed me at pool, which I actually found quite gratifying. My daughter was all hugs and kisses.

They gave me an iPhone, a wonderful surprise which I'll still be learning to use on my 60th birthday, I'm sure. I even had one of those perfect crosstown driving trips, where every light is green and all the drivers are courteous. That night I had Mexican food and margaritas with my wife and a few close friends, and it was a truly great time.

It was just a day filled with good, simple things. I wasn't looking forward or backward, and everything was all right. The Buddhist in me was proud that I somehow spent most of the day being aware and in the moment.

Not only was the past, past - but hey, to hell with the future as well. Like Jesus said: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Had He been more of an optimist, He might have said "good" instead of "evil." That's how I'd like to think of it, anyway.

I'd also like to second Ingrid's observation about unexpected rich results of a "series of proximate causes." In one of my favorite poems, Bad People, Robert Bly points out that "Bad handwriting sometimes leads to new ideas." The good things in our lives can come about both because of and in spite of our failures and mistakes.

We aspire, and we screw up. Over and over. But on any given day - even a fiftieth birthday - the place where you happen to find yourself might just be a good one."

Smart guy, that Steve.

It's a good day for a birthday. It's a good day to enjoy a sandwich.

© 2011 Ingrid Gabriel