This is the first article summarizing what I learned in the past week. It is important for me to always learn new things. It is important for all of us to continue to learn and share that knowledge with other people so they can stay informed and live better lives.

This week I am just going to wing it. I’ll likely structure these articles a little better in the coming weeks.

First, I got to know a bit more about two of my neighbors. One neighbor grew up close to where I grew up in Bel Air, Maryland, but I didn’t know that. She also shared with me that her father is a recently retired dentist in Bel Air. Another neighbor, a young guy who moved in recently with his fiance, is also from Bel Air and told me that he is a testing specialist. His firm test armor and weapons used by police and military personnel.

I learned that despite a clear statement on the outside package of Thomspon’s Water Seal telling users to use “pump-up” sprayers, not power sprayers, their sealer is too think to use in pump-up sprayers – so unless I can find a specific pump-up sprayer that works with their sealer, I will have to buy another type of sealer in the future. Home Depot stopped selling Thompson’s products, probably because of their inability to provide clear instructions for use. Maybe all of their employees have chemical headaches like I do this morning. Fog brain.

I learned that plantains don’t work well in air fryers. They turn out looking like burnt marshmallows.

I learned that sodium hypochlorite can be used with sodium hydroxide and oxalic acid to clean wood surfaces. The hypochlorite kills and cleans the organic matter. The hydroxide cleans non-organic matter and the oxalate whitens the wood. But, the cleaning process is dangerous because the chemicals can produce harmful gases and the wood, if not cleaned properly, can continue to be eaten away by the chemicals, leading the wood to be brittle and weak.

I learned that I can renew Brazilian walnut stairs by just using a pressure washer with care – and limited chemicals. I’m looking for a good finisher or polish to put on top to preserve that amazing wet look.

I learned about some new tree options for my front yard. I posted a question on Quora about tree options and some tree experts responded with suggestions. So, these are the suggestions:

Amelanchier grandiflora- green leaves, white flowers

  • Cer cis canadensis (redbud)- green to purple leaves, white, purple, or even pink flowers.
  • Cornus (dogwood)- green leaves, white flowers
  • Halesia (silverbell) green leaves, bell shaped white flowers
  • Lagestroemia (crap myrtle) green leaves, many different colors depending on cultivar
  • Malus (apple) green leaves, white flowers. Many cultivars have small fruit that aren’t too messy.
  • Prunus (cherry) green to purple leaves, white to pink to purple flowers in spring. Popular species include cerasifera, padus, sargentii, serrulata.

I might go with a cherry tree because the spring cherries are a nice surprise and the tree is just the right size for my yard. I have to bring down my current tree because it is growing towards the house.

I just discovered a very large lump on Hershey’s chest. I am very concerned about it, in large part because of the size of it. It is apparently very common in labs but it still worries me. Removing it could be challenging, especially if it gets any bigger.

I have an appointment with the vet tomorrow.

More next week.


I grew up in Baltimore and currently live in the Rodgers Forge community just north of Baltimore City.

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