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INTERESTING STUFF – 27 October 2018


My friend, Tony Sarmiento, grows his own garlic in his backyard and is considered a guru of garlic. Recently, reporter Adrian Higgins of the Washington Post took notice:

”Tony Sarmiento, who gardens in the Woodside neighborhood of Silver Spring, is a guy versed in the theory and practice of garlic cultivation.

“From simple raised beds between the neighboring garage and his own vine-clad garden shed, he cultivates approximately 120 bulbs a year, setting the cloves in loamy soil in simple grids a hand span apart.”

Here's Tony in his garden, photographed by Higgins.

Tony Sarmiento Garlic Guru

If you're interested in growing your own garlic, the Post story has some useful information.


I grew up eating peanut butter sandwiches with mayonnaise. Whatever else might be included – banana, cucumber, jelly, etc. - there was peanut butter on one slice of bread and mayo on the other.

To this day, that is the only way I enjoy peanut butter sandwiches but when it has come up in conversation that I use mayonnaise, people recoil. Not only are they disgusted, they've never heard of it. Now I learn from Atlas Obscura:

”During the Great Depression, people valued high-calorie combinations of protein and fat. Meat and dairy were costly, and consuming enough energy could prove challenging. Enter peanut butter and mayonnaise on white bread.

“The combination became a staple in Southern households in the United States and, in some regions, it was as ubiquitous as peanut butter and jelly.

“For the next 30 years or so, the PB&M was a favorite in many American kitchens, perhaps because adding mayonnaise to the era’s rustic, coarse nut butter may have been key for spreadability. Newspapers from the 1940s in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Troy, New York, both advised adding mayonnaise to 'moisten' or 'thin' peanut butter before adding bacon or shredded American cheese.”

So you see? I'm vindicated at last. You can read more here.


The largest insect migration in the world ends each year in Michoacán, Mexico. Millions of monarch butterflies travel from the United States and Canada to pass the cold months in the towering trees of this beautiful forest. On their incredible journey, the butterflies travel around 2,800 miles.

Take a look:


According to the Oregon Public Broadcasting website, the coastal town of Cannon Beach is overrun with bunny rabbits. It seems that many years ago, someone released pet bunnies into the town and nature took its course.

”Pets don’t usually do well in the wild. They can’t easily find food and aren’t well prepared for predators. But for some reason, these rabbits survived to do what their species does best: Reproduce, again and again and again.”

And now Cannon Beach is split between those who love their fluffy neighbors and those who want them gone. As one resident, Melodie Chenevert, explains, she and her husband

”'...took to buying 10 pound bags of organic carrots at Costco. We’d cut them up,' she said. 'And every morning Gary would put the flag up and pretty soon there were 10 or 12 bunnies sitting in the driveway staring at him.'”

Cannon Beach Bunnies

That image is taken from the banner of the Facebook page Mrs. Chenevert started for the bunnies.

You can read more about the controversy here.


Take a look at this huge and astonishing cave house in the Ozarks near Parthenon, Arkansas. (The most fabulous shot is at the every end.)

The Cave House was for sale earlier this year. Another source says rooms can be rented overnight, hotel-style. There is more information and some additional photos at Travel and Liesure magazine.


A company called Orisystems (derived from origami, the art of paper folding) has designed a one-room apartment that hides several other rooms – more or less.

Here is the company's sales video:

As the sales copy explains:

”Guided by the principal that interior space, particularly in high-density urban innovation centers around the world, has become too expensive to be static and unresponsive, Ori’s breakthrough innovation, technology and design create dynamic environments that act and feel as though they are substantially larger.”

What do you think?

You can learn more at the Orisystems website and The New York Times.


Have you ever heard of the “Achoo Affect”? I never had. Here's how it's explained:

”Have you ever stepped out on a sunny day only to be struck by a bout of sneezes? If yes, you likely suffer from a rare genetic condition that has been baffling scientists for millennia. Photic sneeze reflex — also known as autosomal compelling helio-ophthalmic outburst, or ACHOO—affects 10% of the world’s population.

“Scientists from Aristotle to Francis Bacon have had their own conjectures about the syndrome, but modern science has proved all these theories wrong. As scientists today continue to try to solve the ACHOO effect, the answer might not be as simple as you think.”

Here is more about it:


It had never occurred to me to ask and now I discover that the reason it was invented isn't what I - or you, probably - would think.


Halloween is nearly upon us and you undoubtedly already know that the holiday goes back centuries. I sort of recalled that but I was fuzzy on details. National Geographic got me back up to speed.

* * *

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog.


I've never tried mayo, but we English like butter with our peanut butter. Yum!

I first heard about peanut butter and mayo sandwiches a few weeks ago in some article I came across. I suppose I shouldn't knock it till I've tried it, but my first reaction was "ick." Just can't imagine those ingredients together.

I have always thought bunnies are adorable ... until, a few years ago, one started coming into my backyard and eating the grass I pay to keep nice. My fault for not fixing the gap in the fence. He, she, or they are still very cute, if only they wouldn't eat my grass.

The cave house is beautiful, architecturally. But I must have lots of windows and natural daylight.

Yes, peanut butter and butter here. I love too much mayo, but not on my Peanut Butter.

Ahh, thanks. That article explains why I grew up eating peanut butter with mayo (in Drayton Plains, Michigan) and I loved them - still do. When I was a young teenager a friend's mother added bacon to those pocket sandwiches she gave us in the morning - then sent us off to wander all day.
We also ate baked beans from a can on white bread with mayo.
In summer we also ate just picked tomato on sandwiches with mayo on white bread.
Oh yummy memories that can't be duplicated!

So glad to find another PB&M lover. But a critical element is crunchy iceberg lettuce.
After 45 years in Massachusetts, I tend to forget that my roots are Southern.

The video on Halloween taught me a lot! Thank you! And, Boo!

I grew up on PB & mayo sandwiches, though my Mom preferred to use Miracle Whip brand because it had more vinegar-y taste. So, when a friend recently recommended trying a PB & pickle sandwich, I liked it at once. I also have photic sneeze reflex, a few seconds after stepping into sunlight--kerchoo! When I was a kid, I called it my "Sun-Sneeze".

Thanks for leading off today's blog with Adrian Higgins's wonderful column about growing garlic. Even more than tomatoes, garlic you've grown yourself or bought from a farmers market tastes so, so much better. Most garlic from grocery stores is imported, older, and probably treated with chemicals. For more info about garlic, go online and search for the following: farmer and writer Stanley Crawford, who's in a 5-year legal battle with Christopher Ranch and Harmoni Spice Company, the largest importer of garlic into the U.S.; the food blog "Eat Like No One Else" that reviewed this year's Netflix "Rotten" documentary film, "Garlic Breath;" and the Garlic Seed Foundation. Happy growing and eating!

Mom always mixed mayo and peanut butter, and when you added sliced bananas it was heavenly. And the mayo was often home-made which made it taste even better. A sandwich of those ingredients was the standard lunch I took to school in the 1940s. There was no school lunch program in those days! And later, in the 1950s, the craze was for salads made from a banana split down the middle and slathered with a mix of the peanut butter and mayo. Have never out-grown the taste for that combination. The peanut butter/may combination is also delicious on sliced apples, sliced carrots, celery, and a sandwich with sliced onion. (I know, I know -- you gasp at 'onion', but peanut butter changes the whole taste of the onion somehow! It's magic!). In fact, peanut butter and may combo is good with just about everything!

Your post reminded me I love peanut butter and mayo and haven't had it in a while. I need to buy a jar of real mayonnaise, not those awful substitutes that crowd the shelves.

As for bunnies--I'm for 'em. I have a friend who has two. I know that is not exactly an infestation, but still. . .

Norma, the A.M., and I both like peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches.

I grew up in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Since Sunday dinner was mid-day, Sunday supper was usually a BLT with Miracle Whip or peanut butter-banana-lettuce with Miracle Whip. As an adult I learned to prefer mayo. I ate such a supper just the other night, as the memory of those childhood sandwiches still beckons.

I had no idea that peanut butter and mayo required defending, but I am here at the gates with you, Ronnie.

It's the white bread part that turns me off. It just seems like that needs a sturdier bread.

Very interesting Interesting Stuff as usual. I love most interior design stories, but I have to say I found the cave house to be creepy and claustrophobic. My homes must have windows. Lots of windows.

The story of the rear-view mirror perhaps tells us how and why “back-seat drivers” became so reviled. Personally, I like having someone in the passenger seat telling me it’s safe to change lanes.

I’ve always gone against tradition in my dislike for peanut butter with jelly. But mayonnaise? Not my thing, thanks. I’ll stick with plain peanut butter. On the other hand, I love a bacon sandwich with lots of mayo.

I have friends who lived in earth houses, which are built into the side of a hill. The effect is a bit cave-like. They are very good for the environment, as the house is naturally cool during the summer. They aren't as dark as you might imagine, because there is a wall of windows on the entry side, leading into the living space. I was also intrigued by the apartment that reconfigured. Once, years ago, when exploring by Jeep, we encountered a house contained in a highway billboard! I wish I had had a camera with me. The owner was surprised when we approached from the (rear) wooded side, but recovered and invited us inside. It was surprisingly spacious, and something about the cave house reminded me of it.

The article on garlic is just in time for the garlic-planting day in our community garden next Saturday!

And, the bunny article is just in time for our book club discussion of "Watership Down"!


Like others commenting here, I grew up with peanut better and mayo sandwiches. Sometimes they were just mayo sandwiches, and sometimes mayo with sugar - that sounds awful to me now, but I recall it as something we very much enjoyed as kids. And the summer mayo and tomato slice sandwiches, especially when they were made with fresh just picked, still warm from the garden tomatoes -- exquisite!

I always appreciate anything about monarchs and the migration. I have converted my yard to native plants over the last few years, and I had visits from more monarchs this year than I ever have in the past. I raised a few again from eggs found on the milkweed plants. It seems such a short time that they are here, but gives me something to look forward to and dream about all winter.

And thanks for sharing that garlic article. It was very interesting and has inspired me to finally put my own in the ground next year. Now I think I have all the information I need to do that much more successfully than I might have before.

Peanut butter and mayo ! yes ! I still indulge every now and then...but also, back in the '40's- '50's...peanut butter and marshmallow fluff.. .. SO yummy back in my "grammar school" days in New England.
Couldn't do all that sugar these days... lol

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