Dec ' 08       Jan '09

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Part 6: Post Mortem

Just when you thought I was done talking about that dang victory garden....

Veggies are done.   We had the first frost on October 20th.   Most of the plants survived until the second or third frost.   Then as Grandma Schmickel would say, "Das is kaput."

 By the end of September, I had stopped weeding where the veggies were finished, so the garden took on a spooky, forlorn look, like Charles Addams' Victory Garden.

The victory garden's defeat.

There was one last job to be done in the garden - to prepare it for next spring.    Those veggies have sucked a lot of nutrients from the soil. If you want to do it again next year, in the same spot, with good results, then you have to put something back.   

First thing we do is clear everything out.   If you have a sixteen-year-old kid, they can be very handy for jobs like this. We removed all the tie poles and twine and pulled up the weed cloth used for paths between rows of plants.    This was the first year I put the cloth down, and it saved hours of weeding time.   I would definitely recommend it and will do it again next year.  

I spread out leaves the kids raked up in October.   Instead of bagging fallen leaves, we put them on the garden.  Then I roto-till the whole garden, getting the leaves and dead plants all mixed in the soil.  

Last, I throw a dusting of lime over the entire garden. The point of the lime is to raise the pH in the soil, which gets drained by the plants over the summer.   My trusty "Crockett's Victory Garden" book recommends raising the pH level to about 6.8.

Crockett also recommends adding 2 to 3 inches of fresh manure. But - and there's always a but with manure - beware of the source!   About fifteen years ago, Dad got a truckload from his neighbor, who owned cows.   These cows grazed on some horrible weed whose stems were full of fine, sharp, little thorns.   The following spring, thanks to cow poo, these nasty weeds with their evil thorn-covered stems spang up all over the garden.   And we still get them to this day. Thanks, Crockett.   See you in Hell!

I would recommend growing vegetables to anyone, and don't buy into that shortsighted "$64 Tomato" crap. Gardening as a hobby provides exercise, peace of mind, and excellent food.     Gardening, like any hobby, has start-up costs.   With a garden, the basics would be a hoe, shovel, tie poles, twine, and seeds.   Done.

Now get to it!  

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Ye Olde Tale of
Arin

Arin Scalfo is in 8th grade. He loves to animate. This is his tale, as told by him, Arin.

I love animation anywhere and anytime. What I love about theatrical films is that a lot of time and money are spent on them, making them great and worth watching.

What I dislike it when people use cut-out animation in TV shows - the characters move weird and bounce a lot, I notice very few body outline differences you usually see during traditional animation. Also, less farting, less burping... they use it too much in kid's movies, they need to have a good story and good action that will keep the audience (children) into watching it instead of having a character burp and the kids always crack up.

When I was little, I had an interest in animation and cartoons, I used to draw creatures and characters for cartoons, I still do now.

I was first inspired to make my own animation from an interview on TV of an animator with post-it notes showing the viewers how to animate a ball bouncing. I had a ton of post-it notes and decided I wanted to try it out, it lead on from there.

I knew how to do it from messing around with paper, I would draw a little character in one position, and then I would draw him in another position with movement
lines, after I traced it over the first drawing, I animated a guy jumping by flipping the page back and forth so it gave the effect of him changing positions.

Arin's foray into stop motion, "Not Just Bolts and Gears".

I like stop-motion best, because I enjoy playing with anything and I do not have to re-draw it again and again, I also like being able to create my clay characters and it is more satisfying to see special effects and camera pans in stop-motion cartoons because you wonder how they got those shots, its a real mystery.

As of now, I am parodying and coming up with ideas, spelling and saying the names wrong will allow me to parody them with no copyright. I call the show "Arin's Mind" because it is just what goes on in my mind, but for future cartoons, I have pages and pages of ideas for shows and characters.

"Spectwodes"

I would also like to get into game design but it's out of the question. Designing video games takes tons of digits and codes.

"Arin's Mind" opening titles.

I prefer computer animation for now, but later on I want to move into hand-drawn traditional animation. I like Stop Motion and would like to create my own characters using clay. I want to be able to use every bit of animation possible and use every option I have into making funny skits and shows.

"Aneemays Dunt Mayk Senz"

I use Toon Boom 4 Studio. Its a great program with a lot to useful tools and options to make a great and well rounded cartoon for web or for anything else. I learned most of the techniques out of the Toon Boom Studio 4 Manual, it gave me plenty of information about anything I needed to know. I just looked in the index and filled my brain with knowledge. It was very easy and concentrated at first, there are a lot of things you can do, but its very complicated with all the pegs and frames and all the re-positioning.

Me and my friend Andrew share a lot of things together, and we both got a game called Soul Caliber 4 where you could create your own character to fight with, it is mideval based.
I created my character in the game to look like me, Andrew made his character look like a huge brute with helmet and armor. I changed them a bit and turned our characters in the game into animated characters for my movie "Ye Olde Tale". Me and my home-schooling friends hang out a lot and I wondered what we would be doing in the past in mideval times. Andrew would be an evil dictator and would try to overthrow the kingdom of Vineland (Arin's actual home town -ed.) and capture princess Alexandrea. Me and my friends would be teaming up to save the Kingdom and the princess.

Arin's announcement about "Ye Olde Tale".

The movie will be about 30 minutes, and of course, 6 months of animating will only turn out to be 40 minutes or less. I will work hard on it, and I will make it enjoyable to watch.

My friends are in most of my films as voices, they love them, and if they don't I usually beat them...JUST KIDDING. My parents love them and allow me the time to do the work I that I love. I have many resources for fans and I can count on them to tell me what a good job I did and it makes me fluffy inside.

See more of Arin's work on his YouTube channel.


All videos in this article are the property of Arin Scalfo.