April 2010 Archives

A couple of weeks ago I was saying that I was expecting an explosion of new growth in the bamboo patch, and I couldn't understand why it hadn't happened. Well, it's here! All it took was a week of hot sunny weather, and bamboo growth season has begun.

Georg and I walked around the bamboo patch this evening and found dozens of sprouts. When they're really small, it's easy to snap them off with your hand or foot. Though I wonder how small is too small. If I break off a sprout that's only an inch tall, will it continue to grow and just be stubby on the end? Guess we'll find out in the next few days.

The weather is turning and today was less insanely hot -- it was in the low 80s by the time I got home around 5:45. And we had a busy evening: besides the bamboo sprouts, Georg loaded the last of that old stack of lumber into the truck, finished mowing the lawn, and dug out bamboo roots to clear 4 spots in the bamboo patch. So I could set up 4 big containers in which I planted melons and squashes! Woo hoo! Moon and Stars watermelon, honeydew melon, mini pumpkins, and Sweet Dumpling squash. It's a winter squash somewhat similar to Kabocha that I got from Fedco. I've wanted to grow melons and winter squash for years, and could never find a place for them. I think this will work great. They'll have plenty of room to spread out, and maybe they'll even help to keep the bamboo down by shading the ground.

In other news, we bought a new TV. It arrived yesterday & we set it up last night. It's not a monster huge set -- vertically the screen is about the same size as the old CRT -- and it uses 1/3 the power. Less than an incandescent light bulb. Woo hoo!

just a thought

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So all those people a few months ago, crowing about how because it snowed, therefore there is no such thing as global warming. Now that we're having a week of high temperatures 20° above normal, those people are all buying electric cars and writing letters of apology to Al Gore. Right? Right?

I didn't think so.

play ball

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This afternoon we went to the first baseball game of the year! The season doesn't start for another 2 weeks; this was an exhibition game between the Durham Bulls and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, for whom the Bulls are the AAA team. That made it a really fun game especially since a bunch of the Bulls were called up to the Rays over the winter, so there were fan favorite players on both teams.

We were expecting the Bulls to lose, and our expectations were met. Though we were pleased that the Bulls put up a respectable opposition, and came close to tying it up a couple of times. The final score was 9-6, Most of the damage was done in the disastrous second inning, when the Rays scored 6. The Bulls just weren't able to recover from that.

It was nice to see a major league team, and their mascot came too! The Rays' mascot, "Raymond," is a Dr. Seussish character with a big moustache. He and Wool E. Bull both participated in the game where the mascot races a small child around the bases. This time the child was particularly young and Raymond did a cute running-in-place move to let the kid get ahead. Unfortunately we were on the first base side, and Raymond stayed on the third base side near the Rays' dugout. So I never got close enough to take a photo.

future OCDSometimes crowd-watching is just as much fun as the game itself. Today we had a couple of characters sitting near us. A woman who sounded like she'd never seen baseball before spent the game asking her male companion all kinds of questions, which was cool that she was showing an interest in the game. Less cool was when she got up and asked a man sitting nearby to stop waving his arms because she couldn't see home plate! Her companion kept asking her not to, but she insisted.

Also amusing was a little girl who got up in the seventh inning and started cleaning her seat with handi wipes. She spent two whole innings methodically rubbing down the entire chair -- arm rests, behind the back, everything -- using about a half dozen handi wipes. Finally she seemed satisfied with the chair's cleanliness ... and then moved to another chair where she sat for the rest of the game. I still cannot figure that one out.

We sat in the sun and even though we used sunscreen, both of us ended up with a touch of burn. We have some nice "after sun lotion" from Burt's Bees which I've been applying liberally. And, this evening we reached a decision on a new TV purchase. I was in no hurry to upgrade to HD, but our old TV has been sporadically emitting a high-pitched tone that ranges from "annoying" to "painful and headache inducing." It's been getting louder and more frequent of late, so it looks like time to replace the TV. We're looking to get something smaller and energy efficient rather than a ginornimous set.

We stopped into Best Buy before the game to see what the different kinds of HD look like -- we'd really never looked into this before, because we weren't planning to replace the CRT and I didn't want to know what I was missing -- and I learned a couple of things. First, the salespeople who ignore me when I'm looking for computer cables descend en masse when I'm part of a couple browsing TVs. Second, the best way to get rid of salespeople is to ask them technical questions they can't answer. Every time they try to make a sales pitch, ask another technical question. It drives them off fast.

My questions weren't even that hard, I didn't think. Just things like, "this one says it's Energy Star compliant, is that Energy Star 4.0?" Or "do you have a spec sheet which says how much power this model draws when in use?" The first salesman kind of offended me actually, because when I asked about Energy Star, well first of all he gave me a blank look. Then when I told him there was a new stricter standard that was going to take effect on May 1, and would this particular tv meet the new standard, he laughed and said "don't worry, they're not going to take it away!" Thanks for that, but I want to know about Energy Star because I want a more energy efficient home. Asshole. Then when I asked if he could find out the power consumption, he didn't even offer to look at the spec sheet, just said no and fled. It's pretty obvious that we can find out more searching online ourselves. My reading indicates that the least efficient TVs (plasma screens) can use 6 times more power than the most efficient (LEDs), so it's not a trivial concern.

summer already?

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It was in the 80s today! I had some work to do, and a meeting in the middle of the day, but I managed to get some yardwork in too:

  • planted asparagus crowns,
  • weeded in a couple of spots,
  • used a fork to turn over the soil in a new flower bed,
  • put the seedlings outside for a couple of hours,
  • repotted the tomato seedlings in bigger pots,
  • dug out two stumps.

seedlingsThis was the first day I put the seedlings out. I should have started hardening them off days ago, but at least I finally started! I'll give them another hour or two each day, until they can stay out all day. And then plant them!

Those stumps are the bane of my existence. I've been digging out stumps for ages, and thought I was finally done. But then I looked closely at two "dead" ones, which I thought I could get away with leaving in the ground. And saw new live growth on both of them! Time to bring out the digging bar again. A digging bar is a 5 1/2 foot long iron pole with a chisel blade on the end. To dig out the stump you drive the digging bar into the ground in a circle around the stump, using it to chop through roots and pry the stump out of the ground. It's really heavy, and I'm really out of shape, so I have to take lots of breaks. Georg got home while I was still working on the bigger stump and finished it off. That bastard had a huge tap root. It was almost as big as the aboveground trunk!

The best part is, while working on the stumps I found poison ivy in the bed! The leaves are just starting to open. I'll have to pull it early in the morning when it's cool enough to wear long sleeves.

Then I have a couple of bags of soil conditioner to work into the soil, and then I'll finally be ready to plant up that bed. Finally! I'm going to plant candytuft in the very front, then rudbeckia, then sundrops, then a whole bunch of zinnias going up the slope.

summer already?

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It was in the 80s today! I had some work to do, and a meeting in the middle of the day, but I managed to get some yardwork in too:

  • planted asparagus crowns,
  • weeded in a couple of spots,
  • used a fork to turn over the soil in a new flower bed,
  • put the seedlings outside for a couple of hours,
  • replanted the tomato seedlings,
  • dug out two stumps.

seedlingsThis was the first day I put the seedlings out. I should have started hardening them off days ago, but at least I finally started! I'll give them another hour or two each day, until they can stay out all day. And then plant them!

Those stumps are the bane of my existence. I've been digging out stumps for ages, and thought I was finally done. But then I looked closely at two "dead" ones, which I thought I could get away with leaving in the ground. And saw new live growth on both of them! Time to bring out the digging bar again. A digging bar is a 5 1/2 foot long iron pole with a chisel blade on the end. To dig out the stump you drive the digging bar into the ground in a circle around the stump, using it to chop through roots and pry the stump out of the ground. It's really heavy, and I'm really out of shape, so I have to take lots of breaks. Georg got home while I was still working on the bigger stump and helped finish it off. That bastard had a huge tap root. It was almost as big as the aboveground trunk!

The best part is, while working on the stumps I found poison ivy in the bed! The leaves are just starting to open. I'll have to pull it early in the morning when it's cool enough to wear long sleeves.

Then I have a couple of bags of soil conditioner to work into the soil, and then I'll finally be ready to plant up that bed. Finally! I'm going to plant candytuft in the very front, then rudbeckia, then sundrops, then a whole bunch of zinnias going up the slope.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2010 is the previous archive.

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