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Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
we want YOU to think...if you dare...


Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Heap of Garden Updates

Remember the"heap" gardening experiment last year?

A rather simple concept it began; piling up garden trash in the same place every year, burying it at the very bottom of the heap, which is covered with a soil layer.  The decomposing organic matter composts in place, enriching the soil with earthworm castings and micro-nutrients.
The growth potential is no less than amazing,  here's what the "heap" looks like now!
The Heap 2012
And yes, it is HUGE, at about 12 feet wide and 20 feet long.  We have Hubbard squash, cantaloupe, cucumbers, and Spaghetti squash all growing on the heap.  Hm..a few pumpkins too.  Imagine that. Flowers everywhere, some like this one.

Squash? Pumpkin? Cantaloupe?....  I know, a flower!

It seems that even with the strange, even weird weather, the garden is proceeding along just fine!
 The garlic is high,  see these scapes? Straightened out, some of them are over five feet high.
          Although garlic scapes  are wonderful to eat in stir-fries or salads,  I'm letting these  super- scapes ripen so I will have a new supply of bulbils  to propagate more of  this specific garlic.  When the florets develop bulbils, and ripen, they will be harvested and dried for a couple of weeks. The small bulbils can be planted this fall,  a couple of weeks after harvesting. 

Very tall Garlic Scapes

Let's look at the spuds!  We have four varieties,  all hilled up nicely, aren't they?  The plants look small, but the hills are huge.  Quite a change from the soggy spring mud isn't it?  Nary a weed in sight, too! Well, almost! Looks like more work sprouting!

Four Varieties of Spuds growing in the Fog
We have four varieties of spuds planted in this patch.  See? It's right  beside the heap.
 "Gold Rush", "Yukon Gold",  "Kennebec" and an old Heritage white potato variety called "Pimpernel". Last year we bought 2 lbs of "Pimpernel" seed potatoes as an experiment and  ended up with a wheelbarrow full of potatoes.  We saved some of the seed to replant,  and this year we have two long rows-- happily growing.

Sweet corn in the foggy morn seems to be doing fine too--the leaves on this corn are unbelievable, over 4" wide!   It, too, is growing happily.  No wonder, it is heavily mulched. Last year this same variety, by the end of the growing season, had  reached close to  8' tall. 
Sweet corn doing just fine! 

Off to the beanery we go, where purple and yellow beans grow.  Not a weed in this heavily mulched intensive-grow style bean bed!  Beans are ready to pick!

These are yellow wax beans;  the Purple ones  are way down  there.....

Let's hop on  over to the tomato patch.  As you can see, it's a jungle!
Tomato Jungle

A compact, prolific Heritage tomato plant   "Sophie's Choice"
  One of our  most interesting experiments this season  is a  Heritage tomato variety named "Sophie's Choice".     It is a prolific tomato,  a very compact plant--and has, at last count, at least a dozen good-sized tomatoes on it.  Curiously, one is already beginning to ripen.   We will be saving seeds from this amazing tomato plant as the tomatoes ripen on the vine.  It seems to be a determinate type, unusually efficient, compact, and happily,--- a  very early variety.    We have to wonder if the ongoing progressive  ripening  as opposed to ripening en masse caused this amazing  tomato variety to fall out of favour with commercial growers.  Their loss, our gain.

Well, that's  about it for the garden update except for the carrots, cabbage, tomatilloes, Swiss chard, lettuce, onions, peas, dill, zucchini,  novel pumpkins -and THE turnip.  
Yes, we only had ONE turnip sprout. It's growing quite happily.   Go figure.  ONE seed out of a hundred.  Maybe Uncle Mac   who has all kinds of weird stuff happening over at the shed  can get Farm Girl to explain that one!

For our resident gardener dedicated to all things beautiful  I have to add one of her favourite garden things, a spotted lily.  Know why?

Spotted Asian Lily
She graciously took the photo of this pink Calla lily for me.    
 We really needed this special picture for our friend Glory Lennon, the brilliant gardening zeitgeist over at Glory's Garden.  I hereby offer,  as promised...a  pink Calla lily, and yes, we grew it, not in the garden, but in a pot, right outside the door!

Calla Lily            photo by  w.l.kukkee 2012

  Kind of short, isn't it?  Here at Incoming Bytes we all know that with all things growing,  both beautiful and good things come in small packages!

Is that Incoming I hear?  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Consumer Alert: Ice Cream Deception


Ice Cream Deception 

I want the REST of my "ice cream" bar NOW. 

 In fact, I want REAL  ICE CREAM TOO.

Where is the Rest of my ice cream bar?

The Chocolate Coated Ice Cream STICK

Excuse me,  Mr. "original brand" Popsicle,  Mr. Revello,, Mr. Cor Dairy 83, or   Mr.  Generic CEO,  whatever your name happens to  be;  Sorry to bother you, Sir,---but  do you really believe consumers do not know when they are being bilked?

Ice cream comes on a stick.  Good, wholesome, natural ice cream.  When the weather is  hot,  ice cream on a stick has been a genuine, traditional and healthy treat for children of all ages and adults alike. 
Everyone loves genuine, real ice cream--and it is a great North American Tradition.

 You are now destroying this tradition by being less than honest.

We have been eating ice cream on a stick for DECADES.  Usually vanilla,  or sometimes chocolate, but most note-worthy and now revealing-- vanilla ice cream DIPPED in chocolate.
 We happen to KNOW what good ice cream is  -or WAS.
We KNOW how big ice cream bars USED to be before being downsized  to 'YOUR"  60ml profiteering less-than-honest size.
We KNOW they were a  LOT bigger than these are today.  In the past, they were undoubtedly  closer to 100ml. 
HOW do WE know, you ask?
 Consumers are NOT stupid. 
Consumers DO pay attention to details.

 Your own production practices have revealed the deception. The chocolate "DIP" line remains FAR UP the  now 'chocolate coated stick" on the 'downsized product'  EXACTLY where it used to be,  but, SIR,    for your information, that's where  ICE CREAM used to be TOO........but that ice cream is strangely "missing".  
 Is the chocolate-coated stick the consumer's compensation for the missing ice cream?
 Where is the rest of my ice cream?

 Downsized, Sir...?  Undoubtedly these mini- bars sold for the same price? Where is the REST of my ice cream?  In your pocket?

Manufactured under License by Unilever Canada

Consumers are all too aware that  everyone in corporate North America is  'downsizing product packaging ' ,   'outsourcing', using CHEAP ingredients,  and manipulating operations   to save money and make more profit,--- but  shame on anyone doing so for using deceptive business practices. 
  Your children, undoubtedly consumers of ice cream themselves --would be ashamed of  this  less-than-sterling business ethic.

As consumers, we will now undoubtedly boycott your "downsized product" -by the way---which actually is not traditional, genuine ice cream. It is merely a  less-than-adequate wannabe pretender.
-------- Oh, YES,  displayed  in tiny print  is  "Choclolatey coated frozen dessert bars"  --carefully and  aptly described, for 'legal requirements' displayed to  protect sorry asses--- but the  implication offered by the PACKAGING  is a look-alike  misrepresentation of TRADITIONAL,  GENUINE  ICE CREAM BARS. 

Frankly, your product is a less than an honest  pretender, Sir! 
Anyone can read the following  "list of ingredients".   A mix of :  water, 'modified milk ingredients', sugar, glucose, maltodextrine, milk ingredients, 'natural flavour', mono and diglycerides, carob bean gum, guar gum, carrageenan,  "Chocolatey Coating" coconut oil, sugar, soy lecithin, artificial flavour, salt,  MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS AND/OR OTHER NUTS.   

A gloriously long list of chemicals does not Ice Cream make!

At Incoming Bytes my loyal readers insist that we be honest.
 In all honesty,  "downsizing of product and demanding the same price" is a COMMON PRACTICE.

 There is no excuse for less than honest business practices,  so let's start here, Mr. CEO..... Send us the rest of OUR  ice cream,  and while you're at it, make it the REAL stuff  !!

Is that Incoming I hear?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gone Fishing

Fishing for TIBS.

I recently observed that watching minnows at the Cooling Boulder made me want to go fishing, so today  we went.   Fishing, that is.  You can go too, it's "free fishing week" in Ontario, no license even required. 
 Taking time off from working in the garden, doing shop work, cutting grass, and trimming weeds in the summer heat is a good idea anyway.   Off we went, fishing rods and all.

  T.T.T and E.T.S. happily stayed home  because when it's over 70F, it's too hot in the van for children, pets OR  pups.

One of our favorite fishing-spots is on the Kaministiquia (Kam-in-ist-ick qwaw)   river. That's where we're headed. You can call it the Kaministiquia (Kam-in-ist-eh-kwee-ya) too, or
if you're in a real hurry to get fishing, you can just call it the "Kam" for short if you like, we do.  It spells simpler
Remember the Kam,  the river that runs through Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park and features the beautiful  "Niagara of the North" ?  

Up the highway,  off on a side road, and down a trail.  That's how you get to the old fishin' hole.  Fishing on the Kam River, you can see some rapids.  We're fishing a quiet area from a barren rock outcrop of  the Precambrian Shield, the most stable piece of rock on earth.  Here we are fishing on the Kam River.

Fishing the Kaministiquia River  


See the rapids in the distance?

Was that a bite?  Nope.
Ancient Rocks & modern bubbles

 .....Was that another bite?  Nope.  Nary a bite, but we keep trying.
"Patience is good" says the muse.


 --we  studied ancient rocks and modern bubbles,

Canada Geese inspecting the Rapids

-Watched a  gaggle of Canada Geese in a line, (we think they were playing follow the leader, touring the rapids )
 (*There were quite a few more geese in the line, but the photo was taken with zoom lens  across the bay! )

Amazing clouds promising rain

-Warily watched huge clouds that were promising rain,

The Moth Drying On the Rocks after a Harrowing Rescue

-Rescued a drowning moth from all the hungry fish -- using a new,  exciting and innovative " fishing rod  extend-an-arm-to- rescue-a-drowning- bug" technique,

 River Foam with Sky

--Studied artistic river foam patterns mixed with reflections of sky, 

*Solitary  fishing with the Muse

And fished endlessly while the muse chatted with the photographer and  Mother Nature.
Wait!  Was that a bite?

Bottom line, we  did not catch anything except  50 yards of deserted  fishing line with a  still-new sharp and shiny weedless lure  attached. That ought to remind someone to attach their line to the fishing-reel before casting the lure to the deep.   I had to smile about that one. We always bring home any discarded fishing line or other plastic trash discovered because it is a hazard to wildlife.
On this wonderful fishing expedition, "Rock fish",  "Grass fish",  "Snag fish",  and "Rotten Stick fish" were biting with every cast.
Whales, sharks,  800 lb. sturgeon, old boots  and alligators were not biting.  I'm just kidding about the alligators.

No wonder the fish weren't biting; there was not a mosquito to be seen. Not a blackfly in sight either! A perfect day for fishing it was. We even saw some fish that weren't taking our bait. 

A happy couple fishing next to us  had curious luck.  Somehow, they managed to catch a few TIBS. What's that you say?   "Tossed'im backs" of course!
  • a daddy Carp about 7 or 8 lbs  (Carp looks kind of  like a big sucker ) T.I.B. 
  • a Smallmouth bass about 6 inches long  not much bigger than the lure. T.I.B.
  • a  tiny Great Northern pike about 7 inches long, with a lot of teeth.  T.I.B.
  • a minnow-lookalike about 4" long ) T.I.B.
  • weeds, snags, and a lot of laughs!   (S.W.U.)  (Shared with us!) 
  •  What was the muse  using for bait?  Let's see...Solitude? Fresh Air? Happiness? Laughter?  It seems so.  We tried everything.  It's all well-intentioned sportsmanship.  We want the fish  to be happy and grow bigger before we catch'em and wear'em out hauling'em out of the water merely for a TIBS photo op.   Now that's sportsmanship.

Those huge clouds soon turned to rain. Raindrops started to fall. They were so big they made bubbles the size of a silver dollar hitting mirror-smooth water,  undoubtedly scaring the rest of the biters away.
We got wet.  No matter. We're pre-shrunk.  Without a bite, we  called it a day Wouldn't you?

Besides, in hindsight,  I wasn't skunked,  I'm up one lure. Well, not quite, it made up for the one lost in a fight with a sunken log though.
No matter.  Who wanted fish anyway?  .....er....we did....er...that was the idea.... 
So.....we had fish for dinner.  The supermarket kind.
   The great outdoors. Fishing the Kaministiquia River. 'Ya gotta love it no matter how you say it. 
  No wonder we like camping better.  I'm headed over to JustCampingOut  to see what Jim Bessey, our professional camping guru-- has to say about it.
I wonder if he, Lin, Nick,  and Layla the camping pup had fish for dinner, --or was it bacon'n beans sizzling on the old campfire by the trusty old Shasta? Let's go find out. 

Is that incoming I hear?

*all photo credits copyright 2012  W.L. Kukkee

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Cooling Boulder

The cooling boulder is a blessing. Just a rock, but we'll get to that.

It's a bit dull out there, and even rained a bit.  Should we cheer?  It seems so, although I tend to like sunny days better.  No matter.  Sometimes cooler is better. Moderation in all things comes to mind. The extremes are too much like yesterday.
 A couple of days ago it was 88F-- in the shade yet.
Out in the direct sun that makes it a scorcher.  Perhaps 95F.  That brings to mind a few million Americans- and friends-- currently suffering without electricity and air conditioning in temperatures closer to 100F, maybe even 105F--that would be American heat --with higher humidity to boot.
 It seems to me that kind of heat is more than enough to glue brand-new boots to the sidewalk while frying eggs. We thank God it doesn't get that hot here daily. Can it? Without forests? Of course!

In NW Ontario yesterday-- out in the blazing  sun-- it was too easy to just give up and head right back into the delicious cool of  air-conditioning.  Too warm to work out in the garden patch without dehydrating in a wink. That kind of heat makes it a little too easy to dive nose-first into the beanery or collapse in the  cabbage patch.

When it's this hot, Tilly the Tall and Ebony the Short  (T.T.T & E.T.S.)-- smart pups they are, --head for the cool air in the basement, flop out,  flattening magically on the floor--  like  flat, furry puddles. Just as it does to us, the heat exhausts them.
We do have an  alternative solution awaiting us in the great outdoors. The cooling boulder.

The Cooling Boulder,   Whitewood Creek     Photo by w.l.kukkee

Our daily excursions down the trails to the Whitewood Creek, our brook trout stream, usually results in a detour, a dog-paddling, serious water-snuffling expedition, and might be equated to a visit to an automatic dog-wash complete with pleasantly-cool water happily sans soap,  -depending upon the point of view taken.  If the mosquitoes and blackflies don't convince us otherwise, we might dally at the cooling boulder for quite a while watching the pups enjoying the cool water.

Have you ever seen a dog lay down in water trying to grow fins?  That's T.T.T.  to the letter.  A true water dog, she almost smiles as she  lays down in the fast water with purpose,  facing upstream into the current.  She's long-legged, but there's a deep spot to dog-paddle in place.
 E.T.S. isn't quite as enthusiastic. The short one is more inclined to stay in the shallow water, washing her feet,  elegantly cooling her low-slung carriage and tasting water as  royalty might daintily sip tea.

We cool our feet. We watch minnows too.  It's one of the finer things in life that happens at the cooling boulder.  Helps the muse --and is amusing too. Creates photo ops.   We sure do have a cool cooling boulder. It might be just a rock, but don't you wish you had one?

Watching the minnows gives me an idea.  I'm going fishing next,  how about you? What's life for anyway?   At Incoming Bytes we think everyone should go fishing next Let's go!

Is that Incoming I hear?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Challenges of Bonsai: Tree loss



  Bonsai loss:  Cause unknown

   As a very long-term DIY'er,  I have always thought it supremely  annoying to see projects fail, whether they are stalled, delayed fall apart, or go backwards faster than I  can build or repair them.  Broken walls, cracked mortar. loose bricks, fading paint, rusting metal.   Ordinary stuff to be expected. In real life it is annoying to say the least.
      A failed hobby is the same, it irritates to discover a new idea doesn't work,  a high-potential  creation cracks in the kiln,  or an exciting new  technique results in an object of unbelievable uselessness.  A pragmatic approach has to be taken at times with 'works of the mind, and even more so with works of the  hands'.  Sometimes failure is funny. Sometimes not.

As a gardener, it bothers me to see persistent weeds, poor plant specimens,  soil turning rock hard, bone dry,  and unproductive except for stones of all descriptions.
 New vegetables being ransacked by animal invaders is irritating at best.  It happens. Animals do animal stuff.  We get it.
Tilly the Tall and Ebony the Short (T.T.T & E.T.S.) used to run about in the garden at times, the paths are dog-tag-you're-it-catch-me-now  race tracks,after all,  isn't it? ...... Okay, they're good pups, they easily learned how not to play pup-tag on newly-transplanted tomato plants or delicate, picture-perfect, new flower-beds.
Bad weather--we have lots of that too,  and we cross our fingers and hope. It rained nicely this afternoon, got soaked,  sun's out now. Fine.   

 None of the above, however,  has been as confusing and disheartening as seeing bonsai, years of work --disappear in front of our eyes, some dying quickly, some struggling valiantly,  dropping needles and leaves--and others gone totally dead within 3 or 4 days. Bonsai is a wonderful hobby that takes time, dedication and eventually, learned skills. Failure taxes the mind when the cost is paid in living things. Trees. Miniature, beautiful trees.

An "event" of some kind caused major needle drop, drying, and in some cases, seemingly instant death for many trees --and widely--in our geographical location. Conifer trees were primarily affected;  White Spruce, Black Spruce, Juniper, and some Cedars. Few deciduous trees were affected.  Needle drop in some instances was almost immediate; in other cases the needles browned and gradually dropped off.  Some trees showed only partial damage almost immediately .

Some bonsai showed only partial damage immediately

Trees adjacent to one another were often not affected. Very strange, to say the least. Inexplicable patterns of damage. 
After the initial needle drop, a few trees spouted orphan, small clumps of green needles out at the tips of the branches.  A sign of hope. Some of the natural trees in our wood lot grew quite a few new bunches of needles. The trees look strange with green needles growing out at the very tips.Some of the tip growth was accelerated at an unbelievable rate.

Not so with the  bonsai. The majority of the new green  needle tips showed up quickly, but wilted and dried up even faster. The trees gave up the ghost. We waited.

Strangely,   -adjacent trees-- even  in the same pot-- were not affected 

 We  avoided  facing the issue, disturbing them or 'donating' them to the compost pile for a few weeks, probably more out of wishful thinking rather than logic. Some of the "less affected"   trees almost looked like they would survive, but no. Lush green turned to dull green. Dull green turned to faded, pale gray- green or brown. Like the natural trees, on some trees the needles turned bone dry and dropped off,-- in some cases only three or four days.

Natural White Spruce : Now deceased   More than 60 years old verified  by trunk ring count

 A couple of days ago we bit the bullet and faced reality, tore them out of their pots and wheeled them away. It was not, so say the least,  a happy day at Whitewood Forge.

Down for the Count ?

In total, more than 60 individual trees were removed, including a couple of venerable specimens that were an estimated 70-80 years old--perhaps older,  --beautiful, natural bonsai that were collected 20 years ago and carefully nurtured.
Among the notable casualties was Grumpy, a long-term special pseudo-trunk grafting project, the subject of one of my previous posts. It took 5 years alone for the trunks to unify. So what-- Grumpy's  needles turned brown and fell off right along with the others. I sadly removed his failed prosthesis for a future grafting project.  

The future

A number of our cherished trees are still valiantly struggling and also may or may not survive. We are hopeful and persistent and damned stubborn too, --like they are, those tough little spirits from the forest.
Completely Natural White Spruce estimated 80 years old : Severely stressed. Under watch

Total losses?  The ultimate toll is unknown do date. With over 60 scrapped at this date, an estimated 85 trees or more, fully one-half of our collection--may eventually succumb.  Individual trees, members of group plantings, mini-forests. --We'll see. 

So, what happened?

The fact is, the cause of this unfortunate event is unknown.
 Conifers in northern Canada do not suffer from severe cold. Minus 40F  (-40C)   is routine. 
Hot, dry summers are routine.  Using 'unusual weather' as a 'cause',  the  'generally accepted explanation is illogical and sublime.
 White,  Red and Jackpines seem to be unscathed.  In the natural population of  White Spruce, black spruce, cedar and others, some individual trees were unaffected while adjacent trees died within a few days. Why? 
Other possibilities include  recent and timely solar flares, discharged air contaminants from industry,  or the most unthinkable,  elective destruction by spraying. The hole in the ozone layer shifted over our geological location.  What?  The pattern of damage can not be explained.
 Interestingly, the tree species typically planted by forestry companies do not appear to have been affected. Why?  Readers at Incoming Bytes are encouraged to think for themselves.

Bottom Line:  So what?

Fortunately, we still have a number of trees, and we shall  continue to develop new healthy ones. That's how Mother Nature works. Meantime,  Grumpy will get a replacement graft, perhaps even one of a different species-- and shall thrive. Our collection will do the same.

Grumpy the White Spruce peacefully snoozing in happier days; just prior to Repotting
Our dedication to and our  love of the hobby of bonsai  is not diminished; in fact it has grown ever more important. We intend to persist, to learn, to get smarter, and continue doing what we enjoy. Alternative strategies may be involved; for example, we will likely diversify our collection to prevent such  massive losses involving one species.

Meantime,  R.I.P.  Grumpy. You were a White Spruce bonsai with heart.

Is that incoming I hear?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Discussing Sensitive Topics with Your Teen

 Raymond Alexander Kukkee


How to Talk to Teens and 'Tweens About Difficult and Personal Issues

Panic is rising It has the worrisome potential of an ultimate disaster. The essential parent's nightmare has arrived in your household...... Perhaps you sense the child you love is headed for trouble and a frank discussion about premarital sex and risky behaviour is overdue. The prospect of holding any sensitive discussion may be daunting, embarrassing, and very uncomfortable for you.

Relax. You are not alone. Most parents have run into a similar situation at one point or another, and frustrated parents, at times, are tempted to pass the buck, avoid the issue entirely, or throw up their hands in despair unnecessarily.
While it is true a discussion may not change the direction a teen is headed in life, it also does not preclude the fact that a teen must inevitably learn, --by their own experience, many of the lessons necessary in life.
  In the extreme, a discussion can fail miserably or even backfire in spite of your best effort. Much depends upon how you, as a mature adult and parent, approach sensitive issues such as premarital
 sex, intimacy, and risky behaviour.

If a serious effort to guide your teen through sensitive, uncomfortable issues is made using patience, experience and wisdom, teens will inevitably become more mature even though it may not become immediately apparent to you. 
Understanding the underlying issues and reasons for teen behaviour may be ultimately more valuable than details of a perceived problem.

With love, care and nurturing values applied, mutual respect between parents and teens will develop naturally, and the relationship with your teens will change and mature as they gain the life experience that is so important to their personal development.

In planning any discussion about premarital sex, intimacy or risky behaviour with a teen, success is not always guaranteed. Talking to teens can be arduous at times; personalities, personal choices and actions can be difficult to face upon discovery, and even harder to accept. Often it takes far more than just average levels of understanding, patience, people-handling skills, or logic to talk to our teens, but as parents, it seems natural that we should try.

Here are some tips to help ease the difficulty of talking to 'tweens and teens about those embarrassing, sensitive, and difficult topics.

1. Advise the teen in advance that you sincerely want to have a mature and non-judgmental discussion, whether it is about intimacy, relationships, premarital sex, sexually transmitted diseases, oral sex, or pregnancy. Stress that you recognize how important it is to address potential personal problems before they occur. Discuss the benefits of establishing responsible, mature solutions together.
2. Identify with your teen. You may actually be more embarrassed discussing sensitive issues than they are, so do admit it honestly. Assure them it is natural to be embarrassed and sensitive about personal issues, so encourage your teen to understand how you feel too, and in doing so, enforce the principle that regardless of how people feel, responsible and productive adult discussion can take place .
3. Set time aside carefully and specifically for your discussions. Rushing an important discussion such as virginity, birth control or the initiation of premarital sex implies that you attribute little importance to your teen's potential and very personal problem. In fact, it may turn out to be the biggest personal problem your teen has ever encountered, so prepare well for that possibility by allowing adequate time to fully discuss the problem. Turn off the television, the computer, and the cell phone.
4. Be patient. When you initiate the discussions, express patience and show that you are really listening to what is happening in their lives, what may have happened already, and what they have to say about it. Assure them what they believe about intimacy and sex before marriage is really important to you, too. Refrain from becoming angry if you instantly disagree with what they tell you.
5. Respect the teen's requirement for privacy. Do hold sensitive discussions in private. Privacy is a huge issue when sensitive issues are discussed with teens. If there is no privacy allowed for your discussion, the teen may quickly come to believe you do not respect their personal feelings. As a general rule, arrange it so friends, peers, or other family members will not be in the room at the time of the discussion unless the teen specifically requests they be in attendance. Private discussions not only encourage openness, but they eliminate distraction. Privacy is paramount, regardless of subject.
6. Be aware of the fact that a teen may only want confirmation from you of what they already  believe. It does happen. If they are asking questions, consider that to be a good sign of a sense of responsibility. By the way, if they request that a friend of theirs be present for your conversation, it may be that they want their friend to also receive the same beneficial message.
7. In some instances, both parents may feel it is mandatory and necessary to be involved in the same discussion simultaneously. In fact, it may be far preferable to ensure one-on-one discussions rather than have two parents seen to be "ganging up" on a single teen in a discussion. Be sensitive to that possibility and avoid that scenario.

      First experiences, loss of virginity, sexual feelings, and any resulting feelings of depression, guilt and inadequacy may be overly-sensitive issues that are better addressed by one parent or the other. Embarrassing issues such as a teen's period, premarital sex, pregnancy, and discussions on extremely sensitive issues such as oral sex on first dates may be totally out of the question if, as an example, the male parent stubbornly insists on participating in every discussion. Similarly, if the teen, regardless of gender, is more comfortable talking to the other parent, do respect that decision.

8. Remember you were a teenager once too. Early dating has become earlier dating in the ever-increasing speed of society, for better or for worse. Sex, rightly or wrongly, has come to the fore in many relationships prior to marriage. It does not hurt to tell your teenager how you felt about the same issue when you were the same age without dwelling upon the past. Stress that individual experiences are normal, and a fact of life. Compare feelings.
9. Build trust and confidence by being sincere. Teens can spot a lie instantly and will often "clam up" if they feel they are being deceived, patronized, needled, or subjected to unnecessary embarrassment. Modern teens are often amazingly candid and mature. Remember, if they discover you have lied to them, in future discussions they may also lie, telling you only what they think you wish to hear.
10. Accept the fact that teenagers are more than likely better informed about the "birds and bees " than you were 30 years ago. The internet and open communication has changed society substantially, continues to do so endlessly, and in public opinion, not always for the better. Sex is prevalent in all aspects of modern society, like it or not. Times change. Be aware of what your teen has been exposed to in sex education at school, in their personal lives, and culturally. Use proper terminology for the human anatomy because they already know it. Be aware of societal attitudes, practices and pressures common or prevalent in the city and location you reside.
11. Always answer teen questions honestly, to the best of your ability. If you do not know the answer, assure them you will find out for them, and then DO follow up on your promise. Doing so encourages the teen to confide in you and ask for further advice. Remember that asking advice, and knowing when to ask for the advice of another person, is a sign of maturity. If your opinions and answers are forthright, honest, and believable, they will be heeded and treasured.
12. Encourage your teen to think independently rather than be negatively influenced by bad peer behaviour or reckless actions. In encouraging teens to think independently, it is helpful to recognize that to become mature individuals, teens do need to learn to make decisions, but also learn to live with the consequences. Although young adults may not always make the correct choices about personal and intimate activities, they will respect your encouraging them to make their own responsible decisions at times, as difficult as it may seem. As a positive outcome, teens may even make far superior choices only because you have displayed trust in their judgment. It may seem strange, but trust does gain trust. Contrary to popular opinion, a decision to allow teens more responsibility does not mean one should give teens carte blanche to do virtually anything they wish. It does not change the fact that you are the parent with an obligation to provide guidance and teach them to be responsible for their own behaviour.
13. Assure your teen that you DO respect their frank, personal opinion on sensitive issues and that you are genuinely interested in hearing what they think about it. If you think their opinion is wrong, explain why without demeaning their ideas or pointing accusing fingers.
14. If reasonable to do so,  be willing to accept your teen's judgment upon occasion. Sometimes teens are right too. At times, issues are already far beyond control, and angry personal judgments that merely elevate discussions to higher levels of disagreement, anger and distrust are more effective withheld entirely.
15. When talking, avoid losing control and lashing out angrily if you do not agree. Take a break purposefully, and if you have anger management issues, assure the teen you will be happy to discuss the matter on a later occasion when you have had a chance to think about it further. Storming out of a discussion in anger will not solve anything, but rather teaches teens to avoid facing sensitive issues head on.
       Facts may be hard to accept at times, but sex always has been part of human nature. As an example, if your 16 year-old daughter confides in you that she is already sexually active, the wisest thing you can do as a parent is to not over-react. Instead, ask what she knows about sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy. Find out as much as possible why she is participating in that risky behaviour, and what she is doing to protect herself. Ultimately, DO help her to responsibly arrange birth control and practice safe sex without making her feel like a criminal. Better protected than not.
16. Do encourage sexual abstinence and general moral values, but do so without preaching or being loud, threatening or heavy-handed. If you do feel overly strongly about this common societal concern, in your discussions, instead, carefully explain to your teen why you feel that way . Is it contrary to your faith, your culture, personal beliefs, or is your uncontrolled fervor a result of your own guilt or negative experience? It is always helpful to understand why people think and act as they do.
17. If your teen is running with a crowd that is already sexually active, ask if their peer group is pressuring them to "be the same". As a matter of good parenting, always listen very carefully to what your teens may say about their friend's activities. If your teen calmly states her friends are sexually active, she has just given you a clear signal of social pressure that requires her to do the same. Encourage your teen to think for themselves, learn about sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods, and ensure that safe sex is being practiced at all times.
18. Be informed. Express interest when your teen wants to tell you what their friends have relayed to them about sex, and again, listen carefully to all of the details offered . Ensure your teen has modern, accurate information rather than third-hand street information about premarital intimacy, birth control, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases. Peer pressure is substantial in teen surroundings and can spread sexual health misinformation, defying all logic and reason. Serious consequences can easily develop if information is incorrect, misunderstood or dealt with inappropriately.
19. Although it is extremely difficult at times, avoid expressing anger needlessly or arbitrarily. Thoughtful discussion and reason will go a lot farther with any intelligent teen than scolding, anger and pointedly attempting to diminish their personal sense of self-worth. Angry teens may in turn arbitrarily choose to "bait" you by saying outrageous things, for instance, that " oral activities are not sex!" so listen carefully, and watch their body language. Be assured they are watching yours. Your responses should remain positive, calm, measured, insightful and thoughtful, regardless of their comments or efforts to rile you.
20. Above all, assure your teen that you trust them because you love and care for them. Avoid jumping to conclusions too quickly. Just because all of their friends are having premarital sex and practicing risky behaviour does not mean your teen is making the same mistake. Give each teen credit where credit is due.

By following some of these tips, you can have frank, honest discussions with your 'tweens or teens about premarital sex, intimacy, sexually transmitted diseases, loss of virginity, or virtually any other very sensitive and uncomfortable personal issue. 

Ultimately, with care, the personal relationship you enjoy with your teen will grow and mature with respect, love, healthy understanding, and composure.

Remember when you wanted to ask your parents "that"?

Is that incoming I hear?

        *Note:  This article was originally  Published by Raymond Alexander Kukkee  at Associated Content  now part of the Yahoo Contributor Network