Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sweet Potatoes

I planted my sweet potatoes last spring for the fun of it. I didn't really think I would get any for our table but the vine is pretty. I needed a cheap filler for the front bed and I had a couple of sweet potatoes that wanted to sprout. They were an unknown variety from the Commissary but they grew like crazy in the front bed.
Our first frost was predicted for last week - It never happened. I knew I needed to start the fall cleanup before the frost so I started pulling out all the potato vines. I ended up filling our dumpster with them. I only planted two little starts. Two. That's it.
They really really liked the front bed. Really. As I made my way to the heart of the vine I found a wonderful surprise. I actually had sweet potatoes! I was able to dig up a basket full from just one plant.
I love my little surprise harvest! I think I may actually try to grow sweet potatoes next year in the garden.

My flower bed looked really ugly after I pulled out the vine.

I still have a lot of work to do in order to get this flower bed ready for winter. I am collecting seeds for next year and trying to mark were the perennials are planted. I have a terrible memory and I know come spring I will be trying to figure out what is a weed and what is a flower.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pantry Update

I am finally done canning for this year. I did a lot more than I usually do but I still did not get to put up tomatoes. I decided to post a few pictures of my hall pantry. It is normally a mess so I wanted to take a few pictures before everything gets moved around and mixed up!
David keeps teasing me and telling people I am preparing for the "Zombie Apocalypse." I don't really believe in Zombies, but I do feel good knowing that I can feed my family during hard times.

My Pickle Shelf - Pickled Peppers, Dill Relish, Sweet Relish, and Bread and Butter Pickles.

Jelly, Jam, and Butters!
Apricots, Peaches, and a few jars of dried Strawberries and dried Carrots. I can not wait to try the carrots in soup this winter!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Dallas has found a new hobby. He is geocaching. He compared it to a pirate treasure hunt! Last night we found our first Cache. It was an easy one but he had so much fun following the GPS and giving us driving directions. It was a very educational experience.

Dallas had to have Daddy get the box out of the tree.

Dallas had a hard time getting the box open.

Going through all the 'treasure'.
He chose to keep an army man and he put in a small name tape from his Dad's uniform.
He is already searching the site for his next trip. I am sure it will be really really soon!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Technical Research

Technical research is usually used at work to help solve problems, make decisions, or answer questions (Smith, 2010). Technical research uses many of the same techniques that are used during high school or college but the focus of the research is not to just write a paper. The document written will have effects far greater than the grade book.

Secondary vs. Primary Research

All technical research begins with what you already know. After considering this information the researcher needs to consider the audience, purpose and scope of the paper. Then the author needs to gather and evaluate the new information and form their own conclusions. All research is either Secondary or Primary.

Secondary Research is indirect reports of information. A reporter in Texas writing about an earthquake in California would be using secondary research. Secondary research also gives a starting point for new research. "Larmar Reinsch argues that poor preparation promotes reinventing the wheel rather than building on prior knowledge gained through business and technical communication research." (Kim, 2000) Some places to start looking for secondary research are :
  • work archives
  • work correspondence and emails
  • library catalogs
  • periodicals
  • general reference materials
Primary Research usually starts with secondary research. The information gathered in the beginning of a project can lead to unanswered questions and to find those answers, primary research is required. Some examples of primary research are :
  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Observations
  • Experimentation
After gathering all the information, an author can have a difficult time deciding what research to use and what research is just some one's ramblings. There are several factors to consider when evaluating these sources.
  • Who wrote the paper?
  • What was the author's objective?
  • Was the author knowledgeable?
  • Did the author accurately use the research provided?
  • Was the research or paper relevant?
  • When was the paper written?
If any of the answers cause alarm or suspicion then the paper or site is probably not a reliable source. Another quick way to evaluate a website is the last three letters of the web address. If the last three letters are com the site is a commercial website and they are biased to the information they provide. These sites are usually trying to sell a product or idea to their audience and can omit or twist their research to better accomplish this task. If the site ends with gov, mil, org, or edu, then the research should be evaluated further and might be an appropriate research site.

Documentation and Plagiarism

After gathering all the information needed, the author then needs to write out their conclusions and give credit to other researchers who influenced their work. "Documentation is a system of giving credit to another person (writer or speaker) for his or her work. It is using a citation system to not whose ideas or words the writer is using and where he or she found them. Responsible writers document ideas and materials they borrow or use."(Smith, 2010) When using a quote, paraphrase, or summery, internal citations direct the reader to the appropriate bibliography. The citations allow others to follow your road map to continue and evaluate your research. This also helps an author avoid plagiarism.

Plagiarism in school can result in a failing grade or suspension from the University. Plagiarism in work can have far worse consequences. Not citing references at work can result in loss of job, lawsuits, and a ruined reputation. All of this can be avoided by properly citing others work within a paper and including a bibliography at the end. It is as simple as that.

Technical research has become part of most jobs in the American workforce. Everyone is required to help develop work techniques or to pass on information to coworkers and customers. Proper research could help someone get a promotion and sloppy research can lead to the exact opposite.


Kim, S.C. (2000). Research methods course work for students specializing in business and technical communication. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 14(2), 223-241. Retrieved from

Smith-Worthington, S., & Jefferson, S. (2011). Technical writing for success (3rd ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Upcoming Post

One of my assignments in my current class is to create a blog and make a post about technical writing. Instead of polluting the Internet with another blog, I received permission to use my current blog. Feel free to ignore the next post from me - Or read it and leave me great comments to help influence my professor!

I promise I will post again soon!