Cut branches of forsythia, pussy willow, crabapple, quince, honeysuckle and other early spring-flowering plants to force into bloom indoors. Place the branches in warm water and put in cool location.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world in different ways. Wales does it through love spoons, while Denmark share white roses or snowdrops. On the eve on Valentine's Day, women in England used to place five bay leaves on their pillows -- one at each corner and one in the center -- to bring dreams of their future husbands. In South Africa it is customary for women to wear their hearts on their sleeves on February 14th; women pin the names of their love interest on their shirtsleeves.
The easiest way to prevent salt damage to plants and trees is to use coarse sand to provide traction and make sidewalks and driveways less slick.
Begin to prune fruit trees. Remove dead, damaged or weak limbs and thin branches for good light distribution. Proper light is essential for high quality fruit development.
John Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, brought out a line of sturdy, interlocking logs known as “Lincoln Logs” in 1916.
Test leftover seed germination by placing 10 seeds between moist paper towels, or cover with a thin layer of soil. Keep seeds warm and moist. If less than six germinate, buy fresh seeds.
Omphalphobia—the fear of belly buttons.
Cheddar cheese is a great source for calcium, phosphorus, and casein protein, all of which help strengthen tooth enamel and neutralize the acidity caused by eating and drinking.
February is known as the Chocolate Lovers Month, Creative Romance Month, Grapefruit Month, Hot Breakfast Month, Potato Lovers Month, Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month and Snack Food Month.
Groundhog Day—specifically February 2—traces its roots back to an ancient celebration of the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. According to legend, a sunny sky on that day signifies a stormy and cold second half of winter while a cloudy sky indicates the arrival of warm weather.
by Bill Eisler
H2B visa worker caps and the lack of H2B visa reform is leaving a massive shortfall of needed labor
for thousands of American businesses. Many small business employers are suffering as a result of
having to scale back the business that they have worked years to build. Some have closed entirely.
The purpose of this post is bring awareness of the current H2B Visa situation that will ultimately affect
all local communities and to encourage you to pressure your representatives to find a solution to this
labor problem immediately.
The H-2B visa nonimmigrant program permits employers to legally hire foreign workers. They
temporarily enter the United States and perform nonagricultural services or labor on a one-time,
seasonal, peak-load or intermittent basis.
Thousands of LEGAL H2B visa workers are employed by landscaping, construction, fisheries, and
hospitality businesses across the country to meet their work requirements. In some cases, H2B
workers can make up over 50% of an employers seasonal/peak workforce. Many of these employers
have been fortunate enough to have the same H2B workers return each season which means these
workers are already trained and ready to go. An employer I know, has had H2B workers return for 16
All H2B visa workers are required to pass rigorous government screening and must be properly
documented before they can enter the U.S. to perform work.
It is important to note that these workers are required to pay State and Federal income tax as well as
Social Security which they will most likely never draw benefits from.
Why don’t employers hire American workers to do this work? They have tried but the reality is that
seasonal work does not appeal to most American workers and the work required is less than
desirable. This is especially true in an economy with very low unemployment. The argument that H2B
workers are taking good jobs away from qualified and willing American workers is absolutely not valid.
As it stands today, the total number of H2B visas granted annually by the U.S. government is 66,000--two application periods with 33,000 available visas each. The most recent application window opened at midnight 1/1/2019. There were nationwide applications requesting over 97,000 visas meaning that only 34% of the need for workers will be met. Unfortunately, this onslaught of applications overloaded the Department of Labor (DOL) iCert system and it crashed without a single application being processed.
Due to strong pressure by industry groups, the H2B issue has gotten some attention. Currently buried in the debated budget legislation is a proposal to double the annual H2B visa cap taking it from
66,000 to 132,000, which is promising but still falls way short of the demand for H2B workers.
Furthermore, because this matter is (again) buried among all the other budgetary issues that have the federal government partially shut down, there is no indication if or when it will get approved. In the
meantime, thousands of businesses are scrambling to plan for an anticipated labor shortfall in 2019.
Even if the increase in H2B visas is approved in late February it could be too late for many
This is a call to action as businesses across America need your help to convince our elected
representatives to put this issue on a fast track to be addressed. The federal government immediately needs to increase the H2B visa cap regardless of the budget debate. Or, an even simpler solution, is to reinstate the “H2B returning worker exemption” which means any H2B worker who worked for an employer the previous year/season could return and not count against the current cap of 66,000.
Please do your part and help these businesses by sharing this post, spreading the word and
contacting your elected representatives.
New Year food traditions from around the world that are thought to bring good luck:
Poland: pickled herring as the first bite of the New Year.
Denmark: boiled cod on New Year’s Eve.
Cuba: 12 grapes at midnight. The 12 grapes signify the last 12 months.
Japan: buckwheat soba noodles which are associated with a long life.
Korea: kimchee (a spicy cabbage dish)
To reduce strain when you’re shoveling, push the snow away from you rather than lifting it. If you must lift, keep the shovel blade close to you, bend your knees, and avoid a twisting or tossing motion.
DO NOT refrigerate cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and pumpkin.
Send for seed and nursery catalogs. Sketch garden plans on paper, including what to grow, spacing, arrangement and number of plants needed. Order early for best selection.
For the purpose of teaching geography, John Spilsbury, a teacher in England, created the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767.
Keep road and sidewalk salt away from plants. The toxic effect that salt has on plants has been known since ancient times when it was used for biological warfare to destroy the growing conditions of an enemy’s fields and plants.
When driving in winter’s harsh weather, keep an emergency kit in the car. Include a blanket or extra clothes, candle with matches, snacks, beverages, flares, a small shovel, flashlight, scraper, tow rope, cat litter or sand for traction and long jumper cables.
Elephants have highly developed brains, which are the largest of all land mammals. Their brain is 3-4 times larger than that of humans, although smaller as a proportion of bodyweight.
Repot houseplants as needed.
Try these natural remedies when the winter blues strike: a walk, a bite of chocolate, some time in the sun and St. John’s Wort, an herb that seems to ease depression in many people.
Current and former staff members have contributed to our newsletter over the years. Now the articles are available to view here on our blog