Millions of Pumpkins

(Swanton, OH) It seemed as though there was a sea of persimmon in this pumpkin field I passed last week, and if you squinted your eyes you could only see the color orange. I was surprised that so many pumpkins remained unpicked by the 22nd of October, but I suppose many folks wait until the last few days to get their Halloween gourds.

After all, it's not as if you need to make an appointment or wait in a long line to pass through a barcode scanner to get a pumpkin. There are plenty of roadside stands outside of farms like this who will be happy to let you pick your own pumpkin for a couple of dollars.


Yellow Maple

(Toledo, OH) The effect of the sun illuminating the maple tree in my backyard was almost phosphorescent in the afternoon sun today. I took a break from dissertation writing to stretch my legs and breathe in some warm October air, and the leaves of this tree were positively radiant with color.

No offense to those who make a living trying to convince people to buy a life insurance policy, but I would hate to be cooped up in an office on a day like today. With temperatures in the 60s and at least a few minutes of sunshine, I could almost forget that my self-imposed dissertation deadline is almost upon me.


Online Nursing Degrees at Western Governors University

In a post on my main blog, I mentioned that I have taught at a number of institutions that have accreditation as an online university. In my experience it is the people who produce the curriculum that make the real differences that exist between schools, and Western Governors University is an institution that recognizes the importance of attracting and retaining quality faculty.

WGU is a private accredited university with a non-profit status. By making college more affordable, Western Governors University has been successful in building its undergraduate and graduate population to over 10,000 students in the recent past. The university offers offers bachelor's and master's degrees in a number of in-demand fields, including an online nursing degree.

WGU offers students an affordable online education option, and a look at the support services the university offers has convinced me that Western Governors University understands the unique environment that is necessary to develop for online education. I strongly recommend that prospective online nursing students visit the WGU website to learn more.


Fiery Maple

(Toledo, OH) While out walking the other day I paused to appreciate the brilliant red hues of some maple trees in a local park. What I found particularly interesting was a series of maples lined up along a path on which I walked, as the fiery red hues created the impression of a string of torches blazing away in the cool fall afternoon.

The colors seemed almost surreal, like a set of truck accessories with fluorescent flame details one might find on a tricked-out Chevrolet S-10 parked at a West Virginia flea market or something, only with a fire-and-brimstone preacher on the back passing out Bibles and boxes of Hot Tamales.

That kind of sureeality.


Community Garden

(Toledo, OH) While visiting Glenwood Lutheran Church the other night for a concert, I passed one of Toledo's burgeoning community gardens. This particular garden is located at Monroe Street and Glenwood, and it features the efforts of many local volunteers.

The Toledo GROWS website noted that this garden is a collaboration between Glenwood Lutheran, Firm Foundations, and the Boys & Girls Club of Toledo. I enjoyed wandering around and examining the various flowers, fruits, and vegetables the volunteers produced. This garden will also be expanding soon, as a dilapidated vacant home adjacent to the property is slated for demolition.

What once was a corner better known for stainless steel drums, abandoned cars, and rubbish is now green enclave in the heart of the city. Excellent land use, that.


Mum Garden

(Utica, MI) This eye-catching display of mums caught my eye recently, and I secretly lusted after this garden as I sat in a warm October sun. Certainly the classical urn accentuated the arrangement, and the intricate design of the paving stones did not hurt, but the person who planned the placement of these mums deserves praise.

There is an interesting blend of bold and muted colors, and I enjoyed how the crimson mums almost scream out in comparison with the pale pink flowers next to them.

On Clueless Guys, Quality Jewelry, and Expert Advice

I have long been a fan of simplicity when it comes to gold or silver items. I personally do not wear a significant amount of jewelry, and the few pieces I wear carry some sort of personal history, such as my wedding ring or my watch.

For example, I found the Victorianesque detail to work well in highlighting the gemstone in this black onyx bracelet offered by online retailer Bella True. Of course, if I blindly went out and purchased a pair of diamond rings without consulting my wife, I suspect my noble intentions might wind up actually disappointing the person I wanted to surprise.

Bella True offers thoughtful advice in a website section labeled "Tips for Guys". I find that this is a no-pressure company that seems more interested in matching consumers with products they can afford than with the pushy sales tactics some companies use. In particular I found the company's anniversary gifts suggestions to be of value. I can never remember the traditional gift for the significant anniversaries, and they wisely updated the list to get rid of some of the odd traditional "gifts," like paper and leather.

Of course, there is a certain simplicity in paper, but I prefer to spend my anniversary in a place other than the dog house.


Fall Mums

(Toledo, OH)My dogs committed canine terrorism on the mums we planted this year, so I had to walk around the neighborhood to find some flowers worthy of photographic effort. I liked the contrast between this fuchsia hue and the yellow flowers somewhat hidden behind these mums.

Of course, on a 70-degree afternoon with sun shining, how could anything be less than prefect?