Sunday, May 24, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday's Friday Garden

So, three weeks since my last garden post.  Things have changed:

Potatoes are running rampant the foreground (six of eight have sprouted). Early Girl and two Anaheim peppers in the background.

The rose stick is filling out, and has several new shoots coming up from the bottom.

Royal Candle (not "King's Candle") is filing out.

Onions and garlic (and weeds).

Reverse view on the peppers and potatoes. One of the new Thai Hots is in the front left corner.

Tomatoes and peppers. Three more Thai Hots, and a row of sprouting Poblano Serrano next to the seed starters.

Benny is guarding the lettuce and oregano.

The basil sprout.

Both of the tomato pods have taken off after the rain over the weekend.

Oregano, random onion, tomato, and lettuce.

The blackberry.
 I'm told that the blackberry needs pruning if I want it to be a bush rather than a vine.  I have no clue how to prune it, so a trip to the interweb seems in order.

The mystery melons.
The Mystery Melons are beginning to look suspiciously like sunflowers. Which is OK, but I really wanted melons.  I planted honeydew seeds in front of the sunflowers, and will be looking for cantaloupe the next time I'm at the garden store.

I finished running a new water line to the spigot on the patio, and purchased a new garden hose. (The old one was more leak than hose, and way too long to manage.) Now I can water without having to make trips to the kitchen to fill the watering can. Which also makes filling it when I feed the plants much easier, too!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Time Bomb...

...of a (Now) Minor Sort.

Last last month, I got an email from my cousin, John, asking for my physical mail address.  He said that his brother Robert had found something he thought I'd be interested in.  I replied, and a week ago, I received a warm letter from Robert, along with an interesting enclosure.

The enclosure in his letter is the bottom dog tag.  I've had the other two, since Martha had saved them.

Here is the letter:

The sentence that got partially cut says "tale of the tag".

I can only think of two "easy" explanations. First is, the house belonged to a friend or friends of Dad's, and he gave it to them, or somehow lost it while visiting.  Second, Martha visited after the funeral/accident, and gave or lost it.  I'm guessing that finding out who owned the place after WWII until the end of 1950 might shed a bit of light on the puzzle.

About the title of this post. After Mom passed away, I spend a month of weekends going thru her stuff, sorting what I wanted to keep and what not to keep.  I found a boatload of Dad's things, which just nailed me to the floor.  And the name was given.About ten years later, my cousin sent me an envelope she found addressed to me that was in her mom's (my aunt's) desk.  It was her written recollection of what happened to Gladys, Lane and me after the two of us were born. As I recall, that pretty much cost me my weekend.  I learned to hate time bombs.

But this one not so much.  As I told Robert, I've had 35 years to process all of this since Martha passed on.  That was the start of my mourning not only her, but Gladys and Dad as well, something I had never truly done until then.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday's Friday Garden

So, I got the garden just about finished, absent a tweak or two.

First, the obligatory establishing shots.

 I'm using a watering can to water, since there is no exterior faucet and no hose. I have no hose, since I tossed it because it leaked.  A lot.  So, I'm only watering areas of interest, not each entire bed. My theory is that will cut down the growth of weeds. (A Science Experiment!!)

The kitchen bed, with tomato, onion, oregano, basil (seed pod), and lettuce.

Followed by the Mystery Melon patch and the Blackberry stick.

Front double bed, with tomatoes, another blackberry stick, with two rows of pepper seeds, one of Poblano and one of Serrano.

The rear double bed, with a tomato, a red pepper seed pod, two Anaheim chilies, and two rows of red, white and blue potatoes in the back.

The low bed, with red onions, along with garlic and even more onions (yellow).

The rose stick:

The red tulip-like flowers...

Close-up on the blackberry:

Mystery Melon row 1...

...and Mystery Melon row 2:

Finally, another mini-green house. It contains three of the six-packs that you get plants in at the garden shop, only I've loaded them up with potting soil and Thai Hot pepper seeds.  I'm hoping to get some peppers to start, so I can put them in the middle of the front double bed.

It's obviously a home-brew deal - I had an extra clear plastic lid from one of those bake and take sets, which I'm using as the green house 'glass'.  It happened to fit best on a glass 9 X 13 baking dish I have, so that's the bottom.  I used clear packing tape to affix the lid to the pan. The pots are left over from previous plantings.  If you hang on to those, you can get a bake and take set of two tops and two aluminum pans pans and make your own seed starter thingie for way less than a kit costs.  And a small bag of potting soil is way more than you need for this scale of operation!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


The last two classes I taught pretty much burned me out on teaching.  I should stick to teaching people who already have degrees, rather than people who think they're in 13th grade.

Anyway, I started at the Manheim Auto Auction in (where else?) Manheim, PA.  I'm a driver in the PSI (Post Sales Inspection) area.  When a dealer buys a car, we can, if they want, do a pretty thorough inspection to let them know the condition of what they bought.


This is a shot looking north, across the test track.  The mechanics run cars (right-to-left) here at max acceleration.

This shot is to the northwest, again across the test track. The painted lines in the foreground are where cars are queued up for inspection.  Part of my job is to take inspected cars up the hill, and pick up ones to be tested and get them in a queue.

This is taken north again, looking down to the mechanic's queue from where we pick up the cars to be inspected, and park the ones that are done

As you may have noticed, we're in the middle of farm country.  If there was any doubt about that, it was washed away last week by the odor of porcine or bovine metabolic end-product that was applied to the fields upwind in preparation for planting.

 So pretty much get the car, drive the car, park the car, lather, rinse, repeat.  I put a pedometer app on my phone - Friday, I did 17k+ steps (a bit over two miles).  ;-P  I like it.  Everyone is friendly, helpful and supportive.  In two days, I've driven a boatload of BMWs and Mercedes, and even a couple of Jags.  And a couple of clunkers that required me to almost redline the engine so I could get the clutch out without killing  the engine.

In other car news, I have a new one!

It's a 2009 Toyota Camry.  Four banger, automatic, comfy, nice sound system, sunroof, good mileage, and critically, sufficient head and leg room.

I got it from a local dealer (Red Lion Chevrolet), with whom I am not happy.  They do not keep their word (the major ding was fixed, but not the smaller one), their "inspection" missed that the A/C needs charging, but mostly it was the feeling I had after talking with the sales manager that I needed a shower with a wire brush after I got home.  Sleazy.

When I last had the Blazer inspected there, the mechanic told me the brakes were just about to go bad, and that someone had put in cheap pads.  I mentioned that I'd had the work done there, to his surprise.  They were quite serviceable until the the trans died four months later and I got the Toyota.

Not going back, and taking my business to the nice guys across the street from the end of the alley.

And that's it from here!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gardening - 2015

In the last week or so, what with the weather being at least tolerable, if not downright enjoyable, I have begin to garden.  I've added a manure/humus mix to the beds, and done a fair amount of planting.  I even have some before and after pictures.

 This is the overview shot.  The kitchen bed is populated with tomatoes, onion, basil and lettuce (Red, and Red Romaine).  The raised bed and the low bed have not been tended to in this shot.

This is looking at the other raised bed and the rose.  I've already pruned it, but haven't touched the bed.

These are seed pods.  Theory is, you just stick them in the dirt, water them, and you have Magic Beans!.  No, wait... I got regular and cherry tomatoes, red peppers, and basil.  The upper right one is upside down so you can see what the pod looks like.

 Here is the lettuce patch.

 Tomatoes, onion and lettuce.

This is the "Mystery Melon" part of the garden.  Last year, I planted watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.  At the end of the season, I have a few that weren't ripe, so I smashed them up and buried them in their beds.  Now, I have about two dozen unknown sprouts all over the place.  I decided to organize them as best I could, and have turned the border beds between the patio and lawn into the aforementioned Mystery Melon Patch.

 The blackberry is starting to green  up.

 And flowers are blooming!

 The Kings Candle is starting.

 As is the rose stick.

I've done more since these pictures were taken, but that is another post!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Reading List Addition

I usually add sites to my "Reading List" without a comment. Same with removing them. The list is fluid, changing with sites I find, and my outlook on the world.

However, I want point out my addition of One America New Network, a cable channel based in San Diego, California. It aims to be the "next Fox", in a complimentary way. They are striving to be a real news channel, claiming 21 out of 24 hours are devoted to news.  And the talk shows are supposed to be talk, not yelling, and have viewpoints from all over the political spectrum,  I'ce skimmed their website, and it looks pretty good.  The channel is available on ATT and Verizon fiber TV services.  I'm going to poke around a bit and see if they stream anywhere on line.

Go, check them out!

(h/t Weasel Zippers, also a good source for news)