Thursday, January 30, 2020

Sample Chapter - Gardener's Guide to the Raised Garden Bed -Garden Soil Types - A Quick Soil Primer

Sample Chapter
Gardener's Guide to the Raised Garden Bed
Garden Soil Types - A Quick Soil Primer
Soil is the top several inches of the earth's crust. Soil is necessary for civilization to exist, as it supports the plant life that sustains forests, plains, agriculture and other habitats. Five basic factors influence the formation of soil, the bedrock, climate, local fauna and flora, topography and the passage of time. The gardener will find three layers of soils underlying their garden, the topsoil, and subsoil and parent material. The parent material is the minerals that originally formed the soil. The subsoil is the intermediate level between topsoil and the parent material and will have some qualities of both. The topsoil is the part that concerns most gardeners.
In the Dirt
On average a soil will contain about twenty-five percent air, forty-five percent mineral matter, twenty-five percent water and about five percent organic matter. These levels can vary according to soil type, location, rainfall and other factors. The average soil will include a number of organisms that live in it. These include earthworms, grubs, fungus, bacteria and plant roots.
Topsoil
Topsoil is the first layer of soil, and is the major concern of the gardener. Topsoil can range from a thin layer over the underlying subsoil, or several inches. Good garden topsoil can contain between two and ten percent organic matter. A good garden soil must have the following qualities:
Good aeration, to allow root penetration and allow oxygen to penetrate the soil
Porous enough to allow drainage, but not so porous as to allow soils to dry quickly
Moisture retentive
Soil Composition
Improving Topsoil
The major effort of the gardener should be to work constantly to improve the topsoil quality and fertility. Fertile, loose topsoil will produce healthy, fast growing plants. Healthy plants will suffer less insect damage, have fewer diseases and produce top quality vegetables with maximum nutrition. Poor management of topsoil can cause them to erode away quickly, exposing the less desirable subsoil.
The gardener will encounter six basic types of soils:
Loam
Clay
Silt
Chalk
Sand
Saline
Note, there are other soil types, but these are the most common.

Loam
Loam is the ideal type of soil for most types of agriculture. This soil will have about equal quantities of sand, silt and clay. It will also boast a high organic content. A good loam has all the qualities listed above, will warm quickly in the spring, be easy to cultivate and is ideal for the greatest number of plant types. The gardener constantly replenishes the organic, humus content of the soil. The gardener can use his fingers to test loam soil. The soil should be dark in color that is smooth to the feel and have a slightly gritty feel. A ball formed by pressing the soil together should crumble easily.
Clay
Clay particles are quite fine and create a tightly packed soil. Clay is high in nutrients and retains water well. It will take clay soils longer to warm in the spring and since these soils have good water retention, they tend to dry out slow. A clay soil will form a ball that does not crumble easily. Damp or wet clay soil is sticky to the touch. It is harder to cultivate, especially when wet as it has a tendency to stick to garden tools. Clay soils will grow good plants, as it is fertile. Improve using mulches, compost or green manure crops to add organic matter. Adding organic matter will also improve drainage.
Silt
Silty soils are silky to the touch and will leave a soil stain on the fingers. These soils heat up slowly in the spring. These soils are quite fertile and have excellent water retention. However, because of this trait, they compact easily and sometimes plants have a hard time extracting nutrients from the dense soil structure. Some plant roots will rot in these soils. If better drainage can be achieved, possibly by using raised beds, silt soils can make an excellent garden site. As with other soils, use compost, mulches and green manures to add organic content.
Sand
Made up of quartz, silica and other minerals, sandy soils feel gritty to the touch. Sandy soils allow water to drain away quickly and escape by evaporation. They tend to be low in fertility. It will not form a ball when rolled between the hands. Plants have difficulty using any nutrients in the soil, as they drain away quickly. These soils do warm up in the spring quickly and are easy to cultivate. Adding compost, using green manures and mulches can increase the quality of a sandy soil.
Peaty Soils
Peaty soils are dark and have a spongy, damp feel when compressed. Its high acidic content leads to slower decomposition of plant matter, leading to lower soil fertility. These soils also heat up quickly in the spring and have excellent water retention. Because they tend to stay wet, the gardener should supply some drainage like tiling it or use raised beds. Using lime or wood ashes can raise the ph level. Add compost or manure to increase soil fertility. These soils make excellent garden soils.
Quick Soil Type Test
Pour a trowel full of soil into a glass jar. Fill with water and shake well. Allow this to settle for several hours. In clay and silt soils, the water will remain cloudy. A layer of soil particles will form on the bottom of the jar. In peaty soils, several particles will float on the surface, some will sink to the bottom and the water will remain cloudy. In sandy soils, the water will be clear and a layer of sand will form at the bottom of the jar. A loam soil will leave the water mostly clear. The bottom should have several layers of soil particles on the bottom of the jar.
Soil PH
The ph scale indicates whether a soil is acid, neutral or alkaline. The ph range scale runs from 0 - 14, with soils below 7 classified as acidic and over 7 as alkaline. Most vegetable crops prefer a range between 5.5 and 7.0. The gardener can use a test kit from a garden supply store to test the ph. Use lime, or wood ashes to correct soil that is too acidic. Use aluminum sulfate to correct alkaline soils. Use care using these materials, as it is easy to overcorrect.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Sample Chapter - Short History of Political Parties - James Madison on Political Parties

Sample Chapter
Short History of Political Parties
James Madison on Political Parties
Like Washington and many other of the Founding Fathers, Madison distrusted political parties during the time the men labored at crafting the document. Unlike Washington, Madison came to embrace political parties as a means of controlling differing political factions.
To understand Madison's view, we must first understand the two fundamental fears of the Founding Fathers. These were consolidation of power and fear of the majority. The Framers designed the Constitution to inhibit any faction from gaining supremacy and that majority rule would be difficult for any faction to achieve. Madison's view evolved to a point that he believed that the key to controlling factions was to create a large number of them, ensuring that none could achieve a majority. Madison defined a faction as:
“a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” 
Many readers will see the modern special interest groups as the embodiment of Madison's definition.
Madison came to believe that the best way to avoid the tyranny of the majority was to expand the political sphere of the United States as much as possible, fragmenting political factions and preventing any one faction from gaining a majority. This would force factions to compromise and encourage consensus government rather than the tyranny of majority rule. The construction of the Constitution thus discourages rapid change of policy. Instead, it encourages gradual change over a long period of time, allowing society to gauge the success of certain policies and allow for change along the way. Madison came to understand that political parties were necessary for the proper functioning of the Constitution.
Madison called the form of government that he had helped creat an "Extended Republic."
Note that he did not call it a democracy.
A democracy is a governmental form in  which the people participate directly.
A republic is a form of government in which people elect representatives to represent their views.
In explanation, Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers:
“The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended. The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens…”
Madison believed that an extended republic diluted the power of factions. He believed that a democratic form of government would lead to tyranny.

Short History of Political Parties

Short History of Political Parties
Short History of Political Parties

Sample Chapter
Sample Chapter
Short History of Political Parties
Description:
The Short History of Political Parties includes the history of the origin of political parties and their evolution in the United States.
Publication date sometime in 2020




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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Sample Chapter - McCormick's Creek State Park - Nature Center/Interpretive Naturalist Services


Nature Center/Interpretive Naturalist Services 
Sample Chapter
McCormick's Creek State Park 
Nature Center/Interpretive Naturalist Services
Located near the center of the park between Hillcrest and Redbud shelters, the Nature Center is open all year. CCC workers completed construction on the building in 1935. The Nature Center opened the next year, in 1936. It includes exhibits on natural history and is the headquarters for the entire naturalist led activities in the park. Behind the Nature Center visitors will find a self-guiding nature trail.
Visitors will find program schedules at the Nature Center or by calling 812-829-4344. Online, obtain one at this link.

McCormick's Creek Interpretive Center
250 McCormick’s Creek Park Road
Spencer, IN 47460
(812) 829-4344

Fulfilling a vision of Richard Lieber that a nature guide be provided at each Indiana State Park, Lucy Pitschler began voluntarily conducting naturalist hikes in 1923. The popularity of her hikes led to the hiring of full time naturalists at the park in 1927 at McCormick’s Creek and Clifty Falls State Park. The first youth programs began at McCormick's Creek in the 1930's. By 1941 the program had expanded to 8 state parks. Spring Mill State Park began offering cave tours in the mid 1930's. The staff offered two tours, a short one, which cost 10 cents, and a long one, that cost $1.00. 35,000 people took these tours in 1937. By 1949 Shades, Brown County, Clifty Falls, Dunes, McCormick's Creek, Pokagon, Spring Mill and Turkey Run State Parks had summer long programs while spring and fall programs took place at Dunes, Pokagon and Turkey Run.
Lucy Pitschler (c1887 - ?)
The author has been able to obtain only sketchy details about Lucy Pitschler. Apparently the daughter of Heinrich Pitschler, Lucy was probably native to Saxony, Germany. She arrived at Ellis Island in New York on October 25, 1910 when she was 23 years old. An artist and photographer, she migrated to Indianapolis. Lucy established the naturalist service at McCormick's Creek State Park. Dubbed the  "little Lady With Tennis Shoes," Lucy began conducting nature walks at McCormick's Creek State Park. The Nature Study Club of Indianapolis sponsored her activities at the park for three weeks. The following year the State of Indiana began paying Miss Pitschler for her services. Many consider her program as the beginning of the naturalist program in Indiana State Parks. The Department of Natural Resources presents the  Lucy Pitschler Award each year for outstanding naturalists in the Indiana State Park system.


McCormick's Creek Indiana State Park



McCormick's Creek Indiana State Park
Description:
Visitors will find Indiana's first State Park, established in 1916, full of history, hiking, picnicking and other fun outdoor activities. Camp at the campground, luxuriate at Canyon Inn or relax in a family cabin. This tourism and history guide to McCormick's Creek State Park includes a wealth of information about the park, nearby Spencer and Owen County, Indiana. The Owen County area is a wonderful place to spend a family vacation.
Publishing Date - 1/30/2020
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McCormick's Creek CD Slideshow
The CD includes these photo slideshows:
Canyon Inn
Nature Center
Park Structures
Picnic Shelters
McCormick's Creek Trail 3
McCormick's Creek Trail 4
McCormick's Creek Trail 5
McCormicks - Quarry Loop - Trail 7 Wabash River
McCormicks Falls
Peeden Site
Tivoli Theatre - Spencer
The CD will also have a PDF and an EPUB version of the book included
Available only directly from the author

Click this link for a Deluxe Gift Set that includes the soft cover book, CD Slide Show, 6 note cards and 4 post cards featuring McCormick's Creek
Other Books in the Series
Indiana State Park Travel Guide Series

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Sample Chapter - Short History of Roads and Highways - Indiana Edition - Mammoth Internal Improvements Act

Sample Chapter
Short History of Roads and Highways - Indiana Edition

January 16, 1836 - Assembly Passed Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836
The Indiana General Assembly passed what many hoped would be a financial boon for the developing state of Indiana. Instead, the Act led to financial ruin.
The State of the State in 1836
When Indiana became a state in 1816, the state was a vast network of forest, prairie, rivers and streams. White settlement clung to the southern counties along the Ohio River, with a sliver of settlement along the Wabash River in the west. Amerindian tribes still claimed the northern two-thirds of the state. By the 1830's, the situation had not changed much. Indianapolis, the new state capital, was a muddy pioneer settlement along the White River. The southern counties had access to the Ohio River, the only good means of transportation. Since only the Wabash River was navigable, other parts of the state had no access to reliable transportation systems. The only roads were a loose, unorganized network of trails cut through the wilderness. The state had begun construction on the Michigan Road, slated to be a main artery between Lake Michigan and Madison on the Ohio River, but construction would not finish until the 1840's. The Buffalo Trace provided a rough highway from Vincennes to Clarksville. By 1830, Indiana had a population of about 600,000 people. Tax revenues for the state totaled around $50,000.
Tax Revenue
Indiana had two sources of tax revenue in 1830, property taxes and poll taxes, each providing about half the state's revenue. Indiana and other states admitted to the Union after 1803 were prohibited from taxing land purchased from the federal government for a period of five years. Thus, by the mid 1830's, vast areas of land that it could not previously tax were entering the tax base. In addition, land sales remained high in the state during the period, so more lands would continually enter the revenue stream.  Indiana expected to double its tax revenue in just a few years. Moreover, anything the assembly could do to increase land values would increase tax revenue. This was especially true if the state switched to a different tax system. The state used a per acre tax system, placing a greater tax burden on agricultural land. The state switched to an ad valorem system in 1835, which permitted the state to tax both land and personal property at a rate based on its assessed value. This system reduced the burden on farmers and increased it on merchants, homeowners and manufacturers.
The Geographic Quandary
The rising star of transportation in the early 1830's were canals. New York had great success with the Erie Canal and there were other examples. Railroads had not yet become mainstream. Thus, most states had canal construction projects. The problem with canals is that they are geographic specific in the benefits they bestowed and widespread in the taxing requirements to produce the revenue to finance them. The assembly struggled for years over this problem. How to tax everyone in the state for a canal that would only benefit one geographic region was the unanswerable question. The answer seemed to be, build them all at once and jump-start an economic boom everywhere in the state. This is what the Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836 sought to do.
Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836
Signed into law by Governor Noah Noble, the act was meant to be his crowning achievement. The law authorized the Indiana Central Canal, the Whitewater Canal, the Wabash and Erie Canal, the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad, paving the Buffalo Trace and Michigan Road. The bill provided for a Board of Internal Improvement, which was authorized to borrow up to ten million dollars, based on the good faith and credit of the State. Jubilant celebrations took place all over the state with the passage of the bill. Governor Noble was cautious because the Assembly had passed the spending portion of his program, but had not followed his tax increase recommendations.
Too Much at Once
The aims of the law, while noble, were much too ambitious. Construction of canals is an expensive business. Construction of the Whitewater Canal was impaired by a flood that washed out much of the completed work. Many of the sites slated for canal construction were in reality not suitable sites. Then the Panic of 1837 set in.
Panic of 1837
This complex event created an economic depression that lasted from about 1837 until 1842. The multiple causes were questionable lending practices in the Western United States, restrictive lending policies enacted by Great Britain and falling agricultural prices. The period before 1837 had been a period of intense economic growth. During this time the prices of cotton and other commodities rose. Land prices also increased. The Bank of England noticed a decline in cash on hand in 1836. They raised interest rates in an attempt to attract more cash. When the Bank of England raised its interest, it forced banks in the United States and other nations to raise their rates. This, along with other events, caused land and cotton prices to fall. The chain of events this set off triggered a depression that caused profits, prices, and wages to fall and increased the unemployment rates. It was not until 1843 that the economies of the major countries rebounded.
Tax Revenues Fall, Then Disaster
The conditions induced by the Panic created an economic depression. Land values fell, as did tax revenues. Instead of having more revenue to work with, the State found itself with less. By 1841, tax revenues were $72,000 while interest payments on the debt reached $500,000. The State was bankrupt. The State had not completed any of the slated projects. It was left to Madison's James F.D. Lanier to use his financial wizardry to convince creditors to take over the projects for a fifty percent reduction in the debt. Creditors were only able to complete two of these projects. Lanier also aided the state with two loans totaling one million dollars. The State managed to repay it by 1870.
Thus, what many consider the biggest legislative debacle of all time ended.

Short History of Roads and Highways - Indiana Edition


Description:
Publishing Date - Sometime in 2020

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Other Books in the Series
Short History of Libraries, Printing and Language - Indiana Edition
Short History of Fire Fighting - Indiana Edition
Indiana's Counties









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