‘Molly of Denali’ joins PBS Kids lineup July 15

Molly of Denali, a new PBS Kids series, premieres Monday, July 15, on NPT with a one-hour special airing at 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. This animated series is the first nationally distributed children’s series to feature a Native American lead character in 10-year-old Molly Mabray, who lives in Qyah, Alaska. Molly’s village is fictional, but the series was developed with significant input from Alaskan Native voices as consultants and producers, as well as voice talent.

Molly of Denali will air weekdays at 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on NPT; the premiere episode re-airs at those times on Friday, July 19. Watch Molly and her friends on NPT3 PBS Kids at 6:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 2:30 a.m. Tuesday – Friday. The Molly of Denali podcast is available at mollyofdenalipodcast.org.

In the series, Molly helps her parents run the Denali Trading Post. Here, she helps tourists, trekkers and scientists who stop by the family’s business ‒ a combination of general store, bunkhouse and transport hub. Molly’s adventures include making deliveries by dog-sled or bush plane. She spends time with elders who teach her about her heritage (one episode explains the traditions and significance of Native names) and about growing up. Of course Molly also hangs out with her own crowd, including friends Trini and Tooey and her dog Suki.

Molly of Denali
is designed to help children ages 4 to 8 develop knowledge and skills for interacting with informational texts, including books, online resources, field guides, historical archives, maps, charts and more.

Children’s programming is available around the clock on NPT3, our 24-hour PBS Kids Channel, available over-the-air at 8.3, on Comcast 242 and Charter 189 (or 192, depending on your viewing area). NPT3 PBS Kids is available for streaming at wnpt.org/npt3.

NPT’s weekday schedule of children’s program beginning July 15, 2019:

6:00 a.m.     Ready Jet Go!

6:30             Nature Cat

7:00             Wild Kratts

7:30             Molly of Denali

8:00             Curious George

8:30             Let’s Go Luna!

9:00             Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

9:30             Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

10:00           Sesame Street

10:30           Pinkalicious & Peterrific

11:00           Dinosaur Train

11:30           Cat in the Hat

noon            Sesame Street

12:30 p.m.   Splash and Bubbles

1:00             Pinkalicious & Peterrific

1:30             Let’s Go Luna!

2:00             Nature Cat

2:30             Wild Kratts

3:00             Molly of Denali

3:30             Odd Squad

4:00             Odd Squad

4:30             Arthur


As of July 20, our weekend schedule of children’s lineup will be:

5:00 a.m.     Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

5:30             Splash and Bubbles

6:00             Sesame Street

6:30             Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

7:00             Pinkalicious & Peterrific

7:30             Molly of Denali

8:00             Let’s Go Luna!

8:30             Nature Cat

‘Volunteer Gardener’ Summer in the Garden: How to Mend a Garden Hose

Volunteer Gardener NPT

By Laura Bigbee-Fott

The summer my son learned to use our big riding lawn mower, we began having to replace hoses on an almost weekly basis. Having mowing help was great, but it was starting to become expensive! We have almost an acre cultivated in cut flowers and every 5,000 square-foot bed is irrigated with city water, so we have hundreds of feet of well-placed garden hoses reaching out in every direction. I finally realized that I needed to learn to repair rather than replace those hoses.

We have all three learned not to mow directly over the irrigation lines, but it still happens (and I’m as guilty as anyone!). Now we keep hardware on hand for quick fixes. It’s actually quite simple and has saved us a lot of money. I’ve also changed brass ends that have come damaged or leaky ‒ and securing connections between faucets and hoses to stop leaks saves money on water bills.

Below are a few important repair tips I learned by trial and error:

Heavy metals
Use ONLY brass and metal fittings made by Gilmore (no, I do not receive any compensation from this company, but their products are first-rate). Don’t use plastic fittings or the repair kits that have perforated wire mesh that you tighten down onto the hose; these always leak in my experience. The heavy metal fittings might be a tad more expensive, but this is definitely a case of getting what you pay for.

In the wash(er)
Before you replace a leaky connection, try using rubber washers and a spool of plumber’s tape before cutting off and replacing the hose end. Sometimes you can salvage an old connection with just these two inexpensive items. The best rubber washers are the reddish-brown ones, not the black small “o” rings that often come with hose repair kits. The former will only run you a couple dollars more and they are worth it. Use a flat head screwdriver to help “seat” them into place inside the nozzle.

Sharp objects
Use a pair of sharp pruners or heavy-duty kitchen shears rather than a utility knife to cut the hose to make repairs. I can tell you from experience that using a utility knife is a great way to cut and injure hands and fingers. Hoses are made to be tough, thus they have many layers. They also tend to roll and move while you’re cutting them ‒ it’s much better to firmly grip the handle of pruners or shears.

In hot water
Boiling water is your friend. I boil a kettle of water, then transfer it to a thermos. I dunk the freshly cut hose end into the water to make the hose more pliable. The fittings must be tight, so if you skip this step, you might not be able to insert the hardware far enough into the hose to keep it from leaking or even blowing off once carrying a full load of water. As the hot end of the hose cools onto the hardware, it will form a seal that should keep the fitting from leaking for a long time to come.

Happy Gardening!

Laura Bigbee-Fott is a Davidson County Master Gardener. She owns Whites Creek Flower Farm and runs a floral event and wedding design business called Everything Blooms.

Mission manual to Summer of Space on NPT

In a summer full of significant anniversaries, we’re particularly excited about the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the first moon landing. To celebrate, we’ve launched #SpaceNPT, part of PBS’ Summer of Space, which includes special programming, a dedicated website (wnpt.org/space), and a free screening event highlighting Chasing the Moon, a six-hour American Experience series chronicling the moon shot.

Join NPT and the Tennessee State Museum on Saturday, July 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a free Space Day featuring space-themed activities and giveaways and a 2 p.m. preview of Chasing the Moon.


Here’s a step-by-step guide to space-themed shows to enjoy this month.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Secrets of the Dead: Galileo’s Moon at 7 p.m.
When a copy of Galileo’s of Sidereus Nuncius (also known as the Starry Messenger) was discovered, scientists and antiquarians were blown away, particularly by the astronomer’s watercolor notations of the phases of the moon. Was it too good to be true?

Space Chase U.S.A. at 8 p.m.
Interviews and archival footage show the space race changed Cocoa Beach, Florida, from a sleepy beach town into an astro-boomtown.

Wednesday, July 3
NOVA: Black Hole Apocalypse at 8 p.m.; Black Hole Universe at 9 p.m.
Earlier this year, the first photo of a black hole was taken, a feat that will expand our knowledge of these mysterious phenomena. In this two-part NOVA program, astrophysicist Janna Levin takes viewers on a mind-bending journey to the frontiers of black hole research.

Monday, July 8
Antiques Roadshow: Out of This World at 7 p.m.
Find out whether space-themed items ranging from a 1737 celestial & terrestrial atlas to autographed NASA photos to Star Trek memorabilia are worth astronomical amounts of money.

Chasing the Moon: American Experience at 8 p.m.
PBS’ signature space program of the summer premieres tonight! Chasing the Moon is a six-hour look at the space race that adds to the familiar story by using archival footage ‒ much of it hitherto unseen ‒ and new interviews. New themes explored in director Robert Stone’s treatment include the role of women, the toll taken on astronaut families and minority involvement in the space program.

Part 1: A Place Beyond the Sky tells the backstory of the space race, born out of the cold war of the 1950s, and how the U.S. struggled to catch up with the Soviet Union.

Tuesday, July 9
Space Men: American Experience at 7 p.m.
An encore presentation of a documentary about Project Excelsior, the Air Force program that led to important discoveries about human’s ability to withstand gravitational forces.

Chasing the Moon: American Experience at 8 p.m.
Part 2: Earthrise covers the 1960s Apollo program, from the tragedy of Apollo 1 in late January 1967 to the triumphant comeback of Apollo 8 in December 1968.

Wednesday, July 10
NOVA: Back to the Moon at 7 p.m.
A new program explores efforts to return to the moon by 2024 ‒ and the lunar minerals providing the impetus for the return.

Chasing the Moon: American Experience at 8 p.m.
Part 3: Magnificent Desolation, the conclusion of the series, ends with Apollo 11 and the first successful landing on the moon. This episode includes various perspectives about what the U.S. space program and the lunar milestone meant for society. The series repeats Tuesdays at 7 p.m., beginning July 16.

Sunday, July 14
POV Shorts: Earthrise at 10 p.m.
The iconic image of beautiful, blue Earth suspended in the black void of space over the ashen surface of the moon is another gift from 1968’s Apollo 8. It wasn’t the first image of the Earth taken from space, but it was the first color image. This 30-minute show re-airs Wednesday, July 17, at 9:30 p.m.

When We Were Apollo at 10:30 p.m.
An exploration of the Apollo program through the experiences of engineers, technicians builders and contractors.

Tuesday, July 16
Chasing the Moon: Part 1 at 7 p.m.

NOVA: Apollo’s Daring Mission at 9 p.m.
After the devastating Apollo 1 fire, the U.S. space program scrambled to get back on track to beat President Kennedy’s end-of-decade challenge to reach the moon. Apollo 8 provided crucial momentum.

Wednesday, July 17
A Year in Space at 7 p.m.
Astronaut Scott Kelly’s year-long mission aboard the International Space Station. Encore Tuesday, July 23, at 9 p.m.

8 Days: To the Moon and Back at 8 p.m.
This new documentary was co-produced by BBC Studios and combines authentic Apollo 11 mission audio, archival footage from NASA and news organizations and new dramatizations. Stunning CGI video takes viewers along for the journey from the Earth to the moon. Earthrise follows at 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 23
Chasing the Moon: Part 2 at 7 p.m.

A Year in Space at 9 p.m.

Wednesday, July 24
Ancient Skies at 7 p.m.
Gods and Monsters. This new series explores what happened when mythology and astronomy collided to expand our understanding of the universe.

NOVA: The Planets at 8 and 9 p.m.
A new NOVA miniseries traverses our Solar System; the journey begins with back-to-back episodes tonight. Inner Worlds focuses on the four planets nearest to the sun (Mercury, Venus, Mars and Earth); next, Mars is all about the red planet.

Tuesday, July 30
Chasing the Moon: Part 3 at 7 p.m.

Beyond A Year in Space at 9 p.m.
Find out what returning to Earth after a year on the International Space Station felt like to Scott Kelly.

Wednesday, July 31
Ancient Skies at 7 p.m.
Finding the Center. Flat Earth theories give way in light of Galileo’s telescope and other developments. Ancient Skies concludes Aug. 7.

NOVA: The Planets at 8 p.m.
Our Solar System’s largest planet is featured in Jupiter. The remaining three episodes of The Planets air Wednesdays through Aug. 14.

The Farthest Voyager in Space at 9 p.m.
An encore broadcast of the thought-provoking look at the ambitious Voyager missions, first launched in the 1970s, and the astronomical amount of information they have yielded.

NPT’s ‘Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction’ premieres June 20

The opioid crisis has dominated news reports in recent years, from stories on communities and families ravaged by addiction to states suing pharmaceutical companies for their role in the spread of the drugs. You might think opioid misuse is a problem of youth, but in Tennessee, adults ages 55 to 64 have the highest death rate from opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That age group is also seeing a spike in other substance abuse ‒ including alcohol ‒ as reported in a recent national survey. Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction, the 15th documentary in Nashville Public Television’s NPT Reports: Aging Matters series, explores how older adults and their families deal with the medical, social and economic challenges of this public health crisis.

Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction premieres Thursday, June 20, at 8 p.m. on NPT.

The documentary includes input from people now in recovery, physicians, caregivers, and patients seeking alternative pain management. Representatives from Family & Children’s Services, JourneyPure, Meharry Medical College, National Council on Aging, Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center appear in the documentary.

By 1990, pain was being assessed in a way that shifted medical culture. “It was added as a vital sign,” says Dr. Allison Bollinger, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Nashville’s Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital, in Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction. “The doctors started to be judged on their ability to manage pain, which put pressure on physicians to prescribe those medications that could then relieve pain,” adds Dr. Lyle Cooper, assistant professor of Family and Community Medicine at Meharry Medical College.

This shift in how doctors and patients thought about pain management ‒ coupled with questionable science and aggressive sales strategies ‒ were part of a perfect storm that has led to what we now call the opioid crisis. The market and use of opioids grew as people seeking to alleviate pain turned to drugs touted as being non-addictive. For older adults, opioid use is further complicated by changes in metabolism and other factors that affect how drugs are processed. There may also a greater likelihood of interaction with other drugs, prescription or otherwise.

The June 20 broadcast of Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction will be followed at 8:30 p.m. by a discussion focusing on aspects of addiction as a family disease. Participating in the program are Grace Sutherland Smith, executive director, Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee; Kate Daniels, author and professor of English, Vanderbilt University; and author Trish Healy Luna (Timbi Talks About Addiction).

Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction are below; the documentary will also be available for online viewing at wnpt.org/agingmatters/.

  • Monday, June 24, at 8 a.m. on NPT2
  • Tuesday, June 25, at 1 p.m. on NPT2
  • Monday, July 1, at 12 a.m. on NPT2
  • Monday, July 29, at 11:30 p.m. on NPT


Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction was produced by LaTonya Turner, whose previous Aging Matters documentaries include Hospitals & Health Risks, Loneliness & Isolation, and Caregiving, winner of a Midsouth Regional Emmy Award. Turner also produced NPT’s Emmy Award-winning documentary, The Early Black Press: Tennessee Voices United.

The NPT Reports: Aging Matters series is hosted by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Kathy Mattea. Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction is made possible by the generous support of the West End Home Foundation, the Jeanette Travis Foundation, The HCA Foundation and Cigna-HealthSpring. Additional support was provided by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and Jackson National Life Insurance Company.

Tuesday Nights with Christopher Kimball of ‘Milk Street Television’

Today (June 5) is Christopher Kimball’s birthday. Here’s a slice of an interview we did earlier this year when the host of the eponymous Milk Street Television stopped by NPT earlier this year. KImball was in Nashville to promote Tuesday Nights at Milk Street, a 786-page cookbook featuring hearty peasant dishes. (Yes, he was wearing a bowtie.)

What with Tuesday nights?
It was a column in the magazine, “Tuesday Nights.” The question was how to get dinner on the table in 45 minutes or less. It forces our kitchen to understand the fundamental point of a recipe. If you’re going to have 25 ingredients, anybody can be brilliant. But if you’ve got eight ingredients, you’ve really got to work harder to understand what makes the recipe good. That’s how most of us cook anyway.

What’s coming up in Season 3?
Oaxaca, Mexico; Beirut (kabobs, tabouleh, hadra [lentils and rice with fried onions on top], which is sort of a comfort food in the Middle East. Paris, which covers baking and gnocchi from a French chef. Spain, Greece. Italy, where we found out the right way to do polenta and the right way to do pesto, which is very different than what I thought.

Is that a recurring thing, the “right” way to do something?
Well, for recipes that American cooks are familiar with, it’s just to go back and find out how people really cook it somewhere else. I found that interesting because how many stories have been done on pesto? Thousands and there should be nothing new to learn at this point. But if you go to Genoa, they … make a really dry mixture, then they’ll add a little bit of olive oil. When they use it on pasta, they’ll add starchy cooking water to thin out the pesto. So, it’s not overwhelming and you’re really getting the taste of the basil.

Any tips for the new or hesitant cook?
Everybody will give you the same answer, and that is salt. Most home cooks who are not cooking a lot under-salt their food. We need salt ‒ it’s not a bad thing.

That last 30 seconds before you serve the food is crucial. Good cooks have secret things they put in at the end, a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice is nice. A little bit of fresh garlic or ginger added at the end just punches up flavor. One of the best ingredients to keep around, which you can get now in supermarket, is pomegranate molasses, which is just pomegranate juice boiled down like cane juice or maple sap. It has a sweet-sour taste: add a teaspoon or two in a stew at the end. Taste, adjust and serve.

Look for the new season of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Television  in the fall; in the meantime, Season 2 episodes continue on NPT and NPT2. (Please check our full schedule at https://www.wnpt.org/schedule).

NPT’s 2019 Appraisal Day is Saturday, June 15, at The Factory in Franklin

Nashville Public Television hosts its 2019 Antiques & Fine Art Appraisal Day, Saturday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Factory at Franklin (230 Franklin Rd., Franklin, Tenn., 37064). During Appraisal Day, attendees meet with regional appraisers and receive a verbal evaluation of their items.

Admission for Appraisal Day 2019 is $75 for up to three items, $150 for up to six items and is available at wnpt.org/appraisal-day for either the morning (9 to 11 a.m.) or afternoon (1 to 4 p.m.) session. Admission will also be available at the door. Attendees may bring items on their own or team up with friends to bring three or six items. All proceeds from Appraisal Day directly support NPT’s engaging and educational programming for the entire Middle Tennessee community.

Appraisers expected to attend Appraisal Day 2019: John Case, Case Antiques Inc., Auctions & Appraisals (Knoxville); Mike Cotter, Back in Time Rare Books/Back in Time Appraisals (Jacksonville, Fla.); Berenice Denton, Berenice Denton Estate Sales and Appraisals (Nashville); Sarah Campbell Drury, Case Antiques Inc., Auctions & Appraisals (Nashville); Julie Walton Garland, Walton’s Antique & Estate Jewelry (Franklin); Sam Holden, Pickle Road Appraisers (Brentwood); Brenda Murray, At Your Service Appraisals (Murfreesboro); Selma Paul, Certified Appraiser & Estate Services (Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., Nashville); Felix Perry, Corduroy House Antiques (Nashville); S.D. Robin Sinclair, Ph.D., Sinclair Appraisals & Consulting (Nashville); Joe Spann, Gruhn Guitars (Nashville); Mike Walton, Walton’s Antique & Estate Jewelry (Franklin); Warwick Stone, The Rock Collector (Nashville, Las Vegas); and J.T. Thompson, Lotz House Civil War Museum (Franklin).

Joe Spann of Gruhn Guitars inspects an instrument at NPT’s Antiques & Fine Art Appraisal Day at The Factory at Franklin (2018).

Highlights from the 2018 event included a 1937 first edition, first printing copy of Dr. Seuss’ And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street with original dust jacket signed by the author. Other pop culture finds included several 1960s psychedelic posters valued at $6,000 for the set, and a 1970s menu from the original Hard Rock Café in London. Jewelry is always a hot ticket at Appraisal Day; among last year’s pieces was a late-1960s gold woman’s wristwatch whose value had increased 20-fold over the decades.

Accepted items include: Asian items; books; Civil War items; clocks; coins and currency; collectables; documents; English china; European antiques; fine art; fine jewelry; folk art; furniture*; glass; antique firearms; jewelry; knick-knacks; letters and papers; maps; medals; militaria; model trains; musical instruments; paintings; pop culture; porcelain; posters; pottery; prints; radios; records; sculpture; silver; Southern decorative arts; sporting goods; textiles (quilts, samplers, etc.); toys; trading cards; Victrolas; vintage costume jewelry and watches. Firearms must be unloaded and disarmed. For large items, photographs are acceptable.

Please no arrowheads, burial material, Pre-Columbian items, ammunition or items that cannot be easily transported by one person.

*For furniture, clear and in-focus photographs of large items are acceptable and should include an image showing the item’s size or scale and one offering an overall view of the item. Additional photographs should show close-ups of details such as signatures or maker’s marks, the inside of a drawer, and/or any damaged areas, etc.

‘Call the Midwife’ Recap: Season 8 Episode 8 – Season Finale


The eighth season of Call the Midwife just wrapped so this is the final Vanderbilt University School of Nursing guest blog post of the season. SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers.

By Hannah Diaz, MSN, CNM
Vanderbilt Nurse-Midwives & Primary Care for Women at Melrose

With this poignant episode, Season 8 wraps up many emotional storylines and even a few happy romances. The delicate topic of abortion was also again at the forefront. After the shocking revelationl last week that Valerie’s Gran, Elsie (Ann Mitchell), is responsible for the multiple botched illegal procedures throughout the season; Val (Jennifer Kirby) and Trixie (Helen George) are shown dealing with the legal proceedings and aftermath.

Jennifer Kirby’s performance was particularly remarkable, demonstrating pure inner turmoil over doing what she knew was right and preparing to testify against her beloved Gran. The trial highlights the tragic death of Jeannie in Episode 4 and even brings back model Kath from the season opener to share her story. Kath’s appearance spares Val from having to speak out against her Gran, and Elsie is sentenced to six years in prison for her actions.

This social history covered in 1964 Poplar is eerily similar to events happening in the U.S. right now. Abortion became legal in the U.K. following the Abortion Act of 1967, a mere three years after the events portrayed in this season of Call the Midwife. In the past few months, news headlines related to state legislature on abortion bans and public outrage from both sides of the political landscape have left me reeling. As a midwife, I have sat with tearful patients who must make these painful decisions on abortion in extremely difficult and complicated situations. I’ve never witnessed a patient who wasn’t deeply affected by their choice. Pregnancy is life altering and not everyone is able to deal with those alterations; in many cases, it wouldn’t be safe if they did. Through the realistic depictions in this season, the consequences of an abortion ban are clear – it comes at a high cost to women and their lives.

In response to current events, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently released a position statement strongly opposing the political efforts to limit women’s access to abortion care. “Across the country, legislation is advancing restrictions that would impose professional, civil, and even criminal penalties on physicians for providing safe, high-quality abortion care to their patients… Any of these restrictions would make safe and timely abortion care increasingly unavailable, which increases women’s health risks.” ACOG’s full statement is available here.

One of my favorite characters, Sister Monica Joan, is a constant fount of humor and wisdom. Back in Episode 4, we hear her say “In extremis, necessity finds a way. It has always been thus, it will always be thus.” Criminalizing abortion doesn’t mean women won’t have abortions, it will mean that they won’t have abortions safely or legally. Politics aside, we should take the lessons from history that are so emotionally laid out in this show and learn from them.


Hannah Diaz, MSN, CNM, is a member of the Vanderbilt Nurse-Midwives & Primary Care for Women at Melrose, the clinical practice of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

‘Volunteer Gardener’ Spring in the Garden: Turning Lawns into Gardens

Volunteer Gardener NPT

By Laura Bigbee-Fott

Are you tired of mowing? Would you rather grow food and flowers than Bermuda grass? Well, you’re not alone! There are lots of folks out there doing just that. In fact, on my farm I have turned previously bulldozed, hard pan clay into lovely, friable, healthy soil.

This time around I’ll cover several ways to turn your lawn into garden beds.

You can rent or buy a rear-tine tiller and till up your soil, but there are two problems with this method. The first is that if you have Bermuda grass in your lawn, every little piece of grass chewed up by the tiller will now form a new grass plant. Bermuda grass is actually an exotic invasive and is the bane of nearly every home gardener’s existence! The second problem is that many healthy soil organisms are killed and their tiny ecosystems destroyed.

Lasagna gardening
Patricia Lanza coined this phrase in her terrific book by the same name. This technique is all about creating layers of everything plants need to grow and thrive right on top of your lawn. First, place cardboard over the grass, then create layers as you would when making a lasagna (hence the name). Layer compost, straw, bone meal, and other soil amendments; then plant directly into the mix. Over time, nature will combine all the elements you’ve laid down to create wonderful garden soil. Purchasing all the amendments can be a little expensive, but if you’re only starting with a small area, this is an extremely fast and ecologically sound way of creating a garden bed.

Building raised wooden beds
Some people like the tidiness of raised beds, which are lovely and orderly and quite easy to weed eat. However, they can be expensive in terms of lumber as well as the soil needed to fill them. If you go this route, make sure you inoculate any purchased soil with compost as well as native soil to entice all the local soil biology to take up residence in your beds. These beds will also need more water and will tend to be drier than planting directly into the ground.

This is the process I use on my farm. It has been used widely in Europe for many years. The term refers to the practice of using heavy tarps to block the sun from reaching the grass underneath. This eventually kills the grass but leaves the soil structure intact. It also requires quite a bit more planning because once the grass is killed, you generally follow up with at least one, if not several rounds of cover cropping to build up the soil and further smother any weed seeds that try to germinate. Each successive cover crop is also tarped to raise the level of organic matter in the soil and feed the microbiology present in it. Once the soil is loose and friable, I plant it out and deeply mulch it with a combination of leaves, straw, spoiled hay, and grass clippings. See “after” photo at right.

Whatever method you choose, have fun ‒ and happy gardening!

Laura Bigbee-Fott is a Davidson County Master Gardener. She owns Whites Creek Flower Farm and runs a floral event and wedding design business called Everything Blooms.

‘Call the Midwife’ Recap: Season 8 Episode 7

By Michelle Collins, Ph.D, CNM, FACNM, FAAN
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Call the Midwife is back for its eighth season and so are the faculty of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing with a weekly guest blog. Watch the show Sundays at 7 p.m. through May 19, then read our blog each Monday morning for historical and contemporary context about the previous night’s episode. SPOILER ALERT: Some posts may contain spoilers.

I loved the advice Mother Mildred (played by Miriam Margolyes) gave to Sister Frances (Ella Bruccoleri) as she headed out on her first “solo” birth. “Don’t forget your most essential instruments: courage and humility. If you leaven one with the other, you cannot fail.” Sage advice from such a wise mentor.

As midwives, our hands are our most valuable asset. More than any single tool of modern technology could, our hands facilitate us being able to diagnose, comfort, treat, and accept life into them. Yet an individual midwife could be the best diagnostician, the most capable “baby catcher,” but without courage and humility he/she would be a very incapable midwife. Courage is what we draw upon to stand beside women in whatever phase of life they need us. Courage is required to challenge the status quo in advocacy for our clients.

With every baby we catch, humility reminds us that it is not the midwife who causes the healthy birth. Instead, it is the strength of the women we care for, in combination with the innate knowledge that birth is normal, that brings about the healthy birth. Midwives recognize this, which is why we prefer to say that we catch rather than deliver babies. To use “deliver” shifts the credit of the work in birth from the real hero – the momma.

This episode highlighted several key issues. We saw a young husband who, during the course of his wife’s pregnancy, slid back into risky sexual behavior. Why would a man who seemingly has it all (a beautiful, devoted wife; a child on the way) slide into such a destructive pattern of sex addiction? The answer is multifaceted. The prospect of change, in this case that of becoming a parent, can cause a regression of behavior in a recovered/recovering addict. Whatever the addiction, because it brings comfort, the addict may fall back into destructive patterns in times of stress. It’s a timely topic, as the number of those with a sex addiction is currently nearly equal to that of those with cardiovascular disease.1 Thankfully, sex addiction is much more openly discussed now than it was in 1960s London.

The other topic I wanted to mention regarding this week’s Call the Midwife episode concerns the young woman whose birth Sister Frances attended. On a routine postpartum visit, Sister Frances found a party in full bloom in the woman’s flat, arranged by the husband. The new mother was huddled in her room, frazzled by the prospect of having to return to normalcy and act as though she hadn’t just gone through such a powerfully exhausting experience as childbirth.

Midwives like to tell patients that it takes nine months for a woman’s body to get to the point that it is ready for birth – and another nine months to get back to a semblance of a “new” normal. So many women find themselves in the position of having no time to recover after childbirth; out of necessity they must return to work, or to full-time care of their children, sometimes within just days of giving birth.

We spend a great deal of time and effort showering women with gifts during pregnancy. Wouldn’t it be something if we routinely gave new mommas really valuable gifts after babies were born; gifts like time to take a nap, freshly washed laundry, a cleaned house – or even better, adequate follow-up medical care once baby arrives, and appropriate paid leave from work. Now those would be valuable gifts!

  1. Protect Patients First. AARP website. http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/politics/advocacy/2017/06/patients-first-national-fact-sheet-june-12-2017-aarp.pdfPublished June 12, 2017. Accessed May 5, 2019 via https://www.recoveryranch.com/resources/sex-addiction-and-intimacy-disorders/sex-addiction-america-common/


Michelle Collins Ph.D., CNM, FACNM, FAAN is a Professor of Nursing and Director of the Nurse-Midwifery Program, at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

NPT’s ‘Crossroads’ receives 2019 Metro Historical Commission Preservation Award

Tennessee Crossroads, NPT’s long-running magazine show highlighting the state’s places and people, received the Commissioners’ Award during Nashville’s Metropolitan Historical Commission’s 2019 Preservation Awards. The 44th annual event was held on Thursday, May 9, 2019, at the Nashville Public Library downtown, where awards were presented to winning properties in the categories of Residential, Infill, Monuments and Memorials, Educational and Institutional, and Commercial architecture. The Commissioners’ Award recognizes a group, program, or project that enhances Nashville’s history and historic resources and is designed to honor projects that do not fit within the traditional preservation award categories.

The Preservation Awards recognize outstanding efforts to preserve Nashville’s historic architecture. Along with celebrating exceptional preservation projects, the MHC recognized the contributions of Ann Toplovich and Judy and Steve Turner with Achievement Awards.

On the air since 1987, Tennessee Crossroads travels the highways and byways of Tennessee, highlighting the personalities, crafts, places, foods and events that make Tennessee special and its character unique. Joe Elmore has been the host of this Emmy-award winning series since its beginnings.

The Metropolitan Historical Commission’s Preservation Awards program began even earlier than Tennessee Crossroads, in 1973 as an Architectural Awards program. Over the decades more than 400 awards have gone to a broad range of historic structures – dwellings, churches, commercial and industrial buildings, schools, even to bridges and new developments. Nominated by the public, these projects are honored for their sensitivity to the original architecture and the surrounding environment, creativity in adaptation for contemporary use, architectural merit and/or historic interest, long-term maintenance, adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and pioneering spirit.