Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Coronavirus Prep

I've been keeping an eye on the progression of the coronavirus of the Johns Hopkins map:

It focuses on Mainland China, but you can scroll the list on the left to select another country.

Meanwhile, over on Twitter, @BryanDeanWright is (rightfully) grousing that the CDC is saying "Get prepared" without saying about the 'how'!

So, as a public service, I am posting a link to @TreeHuggingSis' blog post on hurricane prep. While you don't need to board up the house, it's got tons on infor for all of your prep needs.

I did mention to Bryan that the CDC does have prep info on line, at the Zombie Apocalypse page. So here is a link to that:

CDC Zombie Apocalypse Page

Because you never know!

Monday, January 27, 2020


I just got the following from my daughter. Please, prayers for her uncle.
Hi Dad,
In the last two weeks, my Uncle Kevin has been in and out of the hospital. He had a stent put in for a other than heart organ issue and went home. During that time other issues were found and he was in pain and weak. As of the other day, he is currently back in and is facing a diagnoses of pancreatic cancer. As you know, that is what my Grandpa was diagnosed with, and passed from, in 1995.
He is at Hoag Hospital where both Grandma and Grandpa were at before they passed.
As of news today, Kevin is in good spirits and joking, much better than the last few days. More tests to happen this week. Due to his health, chemo and radiation versus surgery are his options.
Please keep Kevin, and all of us in your prayers. We will know more this week to know what's possible but it is pretty scary and devastating.
I especially ask for your prayers and kindness for strength for my Mom. She is the go to sibling. And, as I imagine, very difficult to be again at Hoag where she lost her parents.
I ask for your prayers and strength for me as well.
Thank you all.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

More Garden...

...And A Sad State Of Confusion

The garden this year has been a sort of controlled "Let's see what happend when I do this!" Here are the main contenders:

Somdewhere, there is a picture of two bags of this stuff, gutted open, and planted. I decided that eight openings on the ground was easier.

Interestingly, the lettuce leaves here are darker than the ones that took in the garden bed.

Tomatoes. I had given up on ever growing decent tomatoes; I gather there's something in the soil that races up the vine to see how many fruit it can kill before they are ready to be picked. So, when a  random plant sprouted in the corner of the garden bed, I thought "OK, let's see what happens."

There is a clutch of seven tomatoes hiding in the middle of the bush. Plus six or more green ones of various sizes.  Not to mention the four I have sitting in the kitchen.

They are all roughly the size you see me holding here (pretty close to actual scale!):

One woud think that, in the middle of small garden in a small town in Pennsyltucky (or Pretzelvania, if you prefer), we would be immune from gender self-identification type issues. But, no...

It seems that Basil has decided to identify as a strawberry.

Even more discouraging, one of the Romaine offspring has chosen to identify as a common weed, and go sprout in a crack in the sidewalk.

There's no talking sense to either of them.

I fear that neither will grow to be happy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Friday Garden...

...Drunk Walk.  (Not really, just shots as they come from the camera, taken in no particular order.)

This late in the season, and there are two blueberry buds! 
Flowering bud!

A clutch(?) of ripening 'maters. Reddest one is about baseball size!

Volunteer Romaine! These were from seeds produced buy a plant I purchased at the store.

        About a week and 1/2 ago, I pulled everything, broke up the plants, and re-planted them.  
        The deadlooking ones mostly have green shoots, so the bed will be bangin' next year!

Peppers.  These are the ones that came (for free!) in my order from a nursery in
            New Mexico.  The ones I intentionally purchased did about as well - I have one 
            immature plant in a pot. It will come in when it gets cold, too.

Potted Basil.

Lower pot, Rosemary, which will be re-potted and brought in for the winter.

More strawberries, in a mini-Mexican pot. Plus Oregano!! 

The heavy rains and the weight of the tomatoes toppled the cage, but didn't uproot the plant.

Still rooted!
Horticultural notes:  The peppers sprouted quite well in a mini-hothouse I use. It consistes of water-saturated planting media in a square aluminun cake pan with a plastic lid ('bake and carry'). Pan with lid sits on a warming pad, and water condenses on the plastic lid.  Tapping the lid a couple of times creates 'rain', and the seeds stay hydrated!

Doc Deb and I discussed the interesting growth process pf these peculiar peppers. They sprout, and in about two weeks, hit about 4 inches tall. Then, they 'stall'.  I don't know if they're concentrating on root development (my hunch), but they stay the same height for about a month. Then, blammo, they get about 18 inches tall, and peppers sprout.

More on the peppers soon! (I'm doing a test quiche using them rather than Green Ortegas!)

Monday, August 5, 2019


Nadia, aka Nadia the Obese, and more lovingly, Nadie-boo, passed away sometime last Sunday (June 28) afternoon/evening/night. I left the house at about three, and she was gone when I got back at eleven.

She had developed some large masses under the skin around her hip and base of her tail. She also developed a runny nose and eyes, The final insult was congested lungs, and patches of skin peeling off. The latter was not ordinary dermatitis, but peeling of skin a couple of layers thick.

I was feeding her and watering her using a syringe. She took the water and chicken broth, and her kidneys seemed to be working fine.

Nadie was a Tortoise shell cat (as if you couldn't tell from her picture). Torties are known for being moody, if not psychotic. She was also a 'hidey' cat, meaning that she would dive for the nearest safe space if something scared her.

On the other hand, she did get the Shibas under enough control to suit her.

Above is a picture of the very first time Nadia deigned to be on the bed with Suzu. (Like me, Baxter is staring in disbelief.) She eventually tolerated Dakota as well. There were a couple of discussions about territory, though. The fierst time, I was awakened by loud cat vocalizations. I was awakened the second time by a heavy paw in the middle of my back as Dakota made his departure from the bed.

There was some blood spatter on the bedspread the first time, and some bloody paw-prints after the second. Both time I checked noses and faces and paws of all involved, but found no sign of damage.

When it was my bedtime, I would have to encourage her to move over with a shove. I figured out that it was easier to use the bed covers to roll her over to the other side. Once I got in and got comfy, she would come back to my side foe some attention. Her method of notifying me was to put her paw on my arm, and flex her claws. which resulted in a whole bunch of skin punctures.

Out of curiosity, a year or so ago, I did the 'weight me, then weigh me holding her' thing to get her weight.  Guesses. anyone? (Answer below the fold.)

I got Nadia as a companion for Baxter, after Shin-wa got run over (and killed. By me. Worst Saturday ever.) She was a normal size cat when I met her. She and Baxter lived in the garage, because the Mistress of Pain was highly allergic to cats. When I went out to the garage, I would see her peeking out from behind some shelves. After a couple of months of that I decided to pull her out and see how she was.

She was obese. And she stayed that way up until the last couple of months.

During the winter here in Pa, it was not unusual for me to see her burrowed under the covers during the day, so she could keep warm. I'd get home and go upstairs to find a large lump in the bed, with her face just peeking out.

I hope she's with all of her friends who preceeded her, and that she's content.

Saturday, July 20, 2019


Well. I took a week off to go out to Montana and see my daughter and the rest of the family. I hired a gentleman to come in twice a day to check on the cats, and walk Thumper. This would be the first time that I would be away for a relatively long period of time (ten days), and Thump would have to adjust to a new alpha human.

Steve, the guy I hired, is retired, and (I believe) does pet sitting to get out of his wife's way. He was a godsend. He did a bunch of extra stuff, like some cleaning up of poo in the house that I hadn't gotten to before I left, and got Thump some new toys to play with. In his written summary, he said:
"Thunper would let me sit on the sofa with him. (He) would let me scratch his back and rub his head with the walking harness on. ... He is learning to trust."
Funny thing was, when I got home and Steve came over to collect his check, Thump pretty much ignored him. I think he was letting us know who he thought the boss was!

A couple of days ago, Thumper and I went for one of our usual walks. As we were coming back in the alley behind the three townhomes, we ran in to our neighbor who lives on the other end unit. He and I started talking about some maintenance issues, while Thumper just stood there. At one point, my neighbor idly bent over and scratched Tumper on his back.

Thumper. Did. Not. React.

We have crossed the Rubicon. I don't know if this extends to the little kids who want to pet him or not, but it signals a major breakthru!   He has become much more comfortable with people than he has ever been since I met him.

He's becoming a real dog.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Friday Garden, Before And After

About a month and a half ago, I started to resurrect the garden from a year's worth of neglect. The oldest part of the oldest bed finally gave out - it has rotted at the joints. I'm salvaging what I can, and re-arranging things a bit.

Remains of the oldest bed. Top half is all the can be re-used as-is.

The new potato bed, with potato sprouts
I'm experimenting with a new potato growing technique. I was told by one of the guys at the auction to keep burying the sprouts as they come up, which causes them to grow more potatoes. I've doubled the height of this bed, and will add one more layer. This makes use of another bed that started to rot.

10 Gallon Potato Bag
I'm also experimenting with the bag o' taters! Same principle, just in a canvas bag. The bag has a door flap that you can use to 'pick' potatoes without pulling up the parent plant.

Romaine lettuce and onions
I pulled up the oregano, replaced it with red and green romaine, and tidied up the onions.

Below, the two blackberry sticks:

Progress below the fold!