Sunday, December 31, 2006

Gimme a clone burger please

Reading over at cnet news and I was struck by what a bunch of sissies the blogosphere is apparently made of. According to the article "Cloned meat? Yuck Factor prevails" people around the blogosphere have said they wouldn't eat meat from cloned animals. Leaving aside the fact that due to its expense cloning will only be used to produce breeding animals not animals for slaughter, it still wouldn't bother me to eat directly cloned meat. As a matter of fact I would prefer it.

Humans have been eating cloned fruits and vegetables for at least a couple thousand years. Many varieties of fig, grape, artichoke, the list is too long to bother, have long been cloned as their only form of cultivation. No one even blinks an eye about that; why should it matter with animals?

The only reason that an animal would be cloned is to acquire milk, meat and leathers of the highest quality with the least environmental impact and that's for me. You sissies can go back to sucking on wheat grass sorbet while me and the other carnivores move on to conquering the stars. See ya!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Good weather, no bloggy

Without the rain to keep me in I've been too busy to make any entries.

We've almost got the big greenhouse back up after it was blown down a couple weeks back in the big storm that also knocked out power up and down the pacific northwest. In a couple days I'll be planting the greens and lettuces I've been nurturing in the basement under fluorescent lights. It's about 30 degrees F out there right now so it'll be a bit 'til we go out and do anymore digging on the greenhouse trench.

I've also been busy working on getting dad's slides all scanned in and a bunch of graphics editing to clean up the damage to them. Got Dad a dvd burner for Xmas so installing that is another job waiting to be done. Difficult to find the driving ambition to do those things as winter wears on.

Off to have me a good cup of Yuban coffee now. Hope you all have a wonderful day of freedom and joy.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

A lovely, rainy morning at the farm and home. Fed mom's birds first off this morning, can't have the little critters going hungry.

Had some tea and toast, opened the stockings and unwrapped presents. Mostly got some really nice clothes from mom and dad and a brand new desk for my computer to sit on, excellent! Also a very fine 1 million candle power rechargeable flashlight. Will be so nice to be able to see what is in the orchard at night. Spooky taking a walk in the evening in this part of the world, bears love to come down for the remaining apples.

I won't make a list of the stuff mom and dad got, all stuff they were happy with though. Again, mostly clothing.

Well, I hope everyone else is having a fine Christmas day. God bless you all, stay alert and be happy!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Rain, wonderful rain

Ahhhh.....

It's a comfy 50 degrees F outside today. Showers are blowing through and I feel fine.

A very Merry Christmas season to all my visitors.

Been working on some fun fractals again. Here's my latest favorite:

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cluttered Day

Nice change in the weather here. 45 degrees almost all day let me get some grape and apple tree pruning done. Only a couple hours though, frittered away a lot of the rest of the day on programming, wrapping gifts and reading pointless stuff on the web. This time of year all the tech and science websites are full of dross. Spring, just before graduation and late summer, as the pre-Christmas tech is being rolled out are the best times for reading about new developments. Fall and winter are slim pickin's.

None-the-less, I feel sort of tired. A day full of trivia and bluster can wear a guy out.

Also a little worried about my uncle and his family who live southeast of Denver a ways. Dad spoke with them yesterday and their heating system is all electric. If it gets too cold he can go to his son's house and stay there or he can also just hunker down in his motor-home. My uncle isn't blazing rich but he ain't poor neither. But I really feel sorry for the folks hold up in the Denver airport. A little prayer for them. A great big prayer for all the folk in Darfur and Iraq who have us all trumped for misery.

Hope life and season are treating all the rest of you well.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Even Frostier

The breeze was blowing down out of these frozen hills in advance of the warming storm front that could just barely be seen on the western horizon. One quickly grew chilled and the throat took on a metallic taste from breathing air so dry and cold.

This morning's walk with Mom, Dad and Sparky was perforce quite rapid and no one had to debate coming inside or making another round. A mile was long enough in that bitter wind. On the hill to the south one could clearly see the inversion layer that forms here in the valley. A band of frost cut across the terrain for several miles topped above by an obviously warmer thawed layer. The fog and frost were trapped beneath that warmer layer last night and deposited heavy white docking (or is it flocking? whatever) of hoar-frost on the trees. I tried to photograph that huge band of white but only one region turned out well.

How would you like to be standing in that region with only a cotton shirt and pants on? Yikes! I almost climbed back under my electric blanket at the thought of it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Frosty Trees

Brrrrrrrrr....

It's about 32 degrees here right now, started the day at 27, that's like about -2 to you celsius people. Dad and I went to Medford to finish our Christmas shopping and there was hoar-frost everywhere, looked like it had snowed. Here's the trees on the hill just east of mom and dad's house:

Beautiful but very chilly. The air is dry and has that peculiar metallic cold tange to it. Really looking forward to the rains supposed to arrive Thursday. Gonna get brave and go back out to prune some grapes for as long as I can stand it.

Wishing you all a lovely day.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dark days of winter

Brrrrrrrr.......
It is frozen and oppressively cold here. The fog finally blew off around 1pm after mom and I got back from running errands in Grants Pass. I've got all but 1 of my Christmas gifts boughten. The sun was really nice while it was out but of course didn't last long.

This season has been merry enough on the farm, but for some reason none of us have the energy we had last Christmas. I could make a list of reasons but why bother?

Hope you all are doing well and have a happy winter season (unless you're south of the equator in which case happy summer & etc.)

Friday, December 15, 2006

A dusting of snow on the mountain

Didn't feel so good yesterday afternoon so I took it easy, drank a lot of water and went to bed early. Feeling much better now.

Last night's storm didn't do too much damage although power was out for about 5 hours. Dad shut down the air inflated greenhouse about 9pm, just prior to the power outage. I was already conked out so I missed the excitement but apparently the plastic was really whipping around. This morning didn't reveal terribly much damage although some plastic around the air-lock door frame was torn and one of the vent holes collapsed a bit. Otherwise I think it survived ok. Will reinflate it once we're sure the storm is passed.

Mom and dad went in to see the newest family member today. They were going to go yesterday but we were all feeling so sickly we just hunkered down. I think a lot of it, other than bad diet, was the tremendous surges in air pressure change that were blowing through. My family has always been sensitive to that sort of thing.

Here's the mountain pic:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Laney Josephine

Is the name of my new great-niece. Both she and her mother are resting comfortably in the hospital and great-grandma will be stopping by tomorrow for a visit after which I will have more details.

Wishing you all a magnificent day.

It's a Girl !!!!!!

Glory Halleluah!!

My eldest niece, Charley Jean, had a baby girl this morning. Cigars and Scotch all around!! And a big hooka bowl for you other weirdos that I know....

Charley had to have another cesarian this time but the doctor did a real good job I'm told, even fixed up some scar tissue from her last one. Whew, uhg! that kind of stuff makes me almost faint, I'm getting dizzy.

God bless you all and rejoice at another human life added to the great mystery.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Oh! the Shame

I just found out today that it is official, our libraries, the entire Jackson County Library System all 25 branches will be closing in April.

What a nightmare, what a disaster. The first taste of chaos as the American system comes unraveled.

The Jackson county libraries started out with a Carnegie library in Medford and grew over the decades, feeding the minds and bodies of this community. Now they will be no more.

Some idiots around town say, "Oh, we don't need libraries anymore, we've got the internet." Nevermind that less than 50% of this community have internet access or rather that the only access they had was through the libraries free internet service. This area is subject to frequent multi-day power outages too and on top of that, there are endless examples of material not available on the internet that were just a quick stop away at the reference section. In my own life the Chilton engine manuals come to mind. I've lingered over electrical codes, mineral maps and engine repair guides of every sort there. Now all of that and untold more will be denied our community.

And all for what? So that the federal government can keep more of this state's money for itself. The funds being denied our cities, towns and counties all come from timber fees which are still being paid as well as fees paid in the past of which we received back only a pittance. The county tried to pass a levy to support the libraries but this community's heart was ruled by greed and suspicion. Now instead of the 100 dollars per household that would've kept the libraries alive we will have thousands of dollars worth of ignorance and economic set back.

I've lived up and down the west coast, from San Diego to Seattle and visited libraries in almost every city in between and I can say for certain that this was amongst the finest, most frugally and efficiently run library systems. There will be a lasting and vicious consequence from losing them. We will certainly need the fire department and police levies which were passed as we can definitely expect more fire and crime.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A little global social responsibility

I don't usually make many gestures on this blog, just describe my daily struggles and triumphs and leave the world to go on its merry/scary way. But this article at TCS Daily about the egyptian student who was arrested for blogging struck a note within my cramped and narrow mind so I felt compelled to mention it. This bit really hit a nerve for some reason:
They even insisted he reveal his opinions on the Darfur crisis. Amer would not retract his blogposts, so prosecutors threw him in jail - and laughed at the human rights attorney present, openly mocking the concept of standing up for individual rights.

Worth a read and heads up to all you bloggers who have the misfortune of living in such intolerant, backwards and irrational societies. If only the tyrants of belief could see that we are all headed for the same grave and it is how well we treat each other in this life that counts.

Forgot to blog

Been sort of busy even though it is raining. Cleaning up the barns, getting the greenhouse ready to plant. Yesterday I struggled most of the day with getting dad's computer running. Rebuilt the operating system again and finally found all the drivers I needed at ibm.com so everything is working great on that. Dad and I even managed to scan in the first 3 of his slides and get everything ready to do the next 2 or 3 thousand.

Also the software package that Paul and I have been working on is really starting to work great. My half is still a little glitchy, consuming system memory a bit more than I'd like but I can now test and breed around 10,000 fractals before anything goes haywire. Saturday night was the big breakthrough when I implemented a tournament breeding routine which delivers some very accurate approximations of the best fractals compared to the target image. Here's my first really cool image:

The target I was using to find this was the sunflower below:


Not a bad match I must say. Only took about 12 generations to arrive at that. That's 100 individual fractals per generation with the tournament breeding routine in between. What do you know, I can even farm mathematics.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Foggy, foggy, foggy

Had some fun last night with my laser level and the fog. That is really cool looking, I pointed it down the hill and walked to where it was about a foot above my head. It was a bright red cylinder of sparkly brilliance with neat swirly fog patterns.

Today it is gray, damp and slightly oppressive. I would love this if I didn't have work to do. We will be putting posts in the holes we dug yesterday for the new deer fence around most of our fields here at the old farm.

Later dad or I will get on the roof and clean the chimney so mom and dad can finally have a nice, cozy, warm woodfire in the basement stove. Their house holds heat for a long time once the basement gets warm. Very efficient. Will be nice not having the smell of kerosene in the house anymore.

One more trip into town and I'll have all my Christmas shopping done. If I have some cash left over I'm gonna buy myself enough lan cable to reach the barn so I can blog from my laptop.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Condolences for the Kim's

My heart felt sorrow and condolences go out to the family of James Kim who was finally found today. The cold and harsh conditions of the Oregon mountains took his life sometimes in the last few days. He had to be a truly courageous man to set out in desperation of finding help for his family.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A bald eagle flew over

About 2pm today mom and I were taking Sparky for a walk when a stunning white and black bald eagle flew over from northeast to southwest. Darn but I didn't have my camera.

This morning dad and I went Christmas shopping in GP. Mostly at Wal-Mart though we did visit a few other places. We were delighted that several of the gifts we bought today were actually made in America!

Dad spent the afternoon over at farm#2 getting the last of the knock down finished with the one-way disc-plow. I frittered much of the afternoon away on software engineering and a little general clean-up around the place. All in all the software engineering was more productive and mentally rewarding. The fractal evolver package I've been working on with Paul DeLeeuw is coming along stunningly well. I dropped in a picture that a high school friend drew long ago and let the thing run all afternoon. Paul's fractal engine ran great and my evolver gradually assembled the most incredible collection of parameters, each a little more similar to the target image. I'll have a version available for download sometimes next week.

On a somber note, tonight I am praying for someone I don't even know. The Kim family got lost in the Oregon mountains near Merlin this last week but the mother and children were recently found. However Mr. Kim (I haven't even caught his first name yet) is still missing in those mountains. I've spent a night or two in the mountains around Merlin and let me tell you, that is some inhospitable country especially in cold weather. I've never been much of a believing man but my relationship to the infinite aside, I've still got to pray that Mr. Kim is found whole and alive. I don't think he'll be "hale and hearty" after a week in those woods but please, oh powers that be, let him be ok.

And on that note I will wish you all the best; if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cirrus Warning

The world was dark and cold when I got up from a rough night this morning. Bleary eyed and shivering I dashed into the main house for a cup of tea and to put the remains of last night's homemade pizza in the oven to warm. Mom makes some great homemade pizza with her bread machine and it is even better the next morning.

Drove mom into town for groceries on roads that were just starting to thaw. All was not white with frost but there were plenty of ice crystal everywhere anyways. The windshield looked like some crazy white puzzle.

People in Grants Pass were of good cheer. I helped one little retired lady get some dog biscuits down from a shelf she could not reach at Wal-Mart. It would've been the usual modern thing to do to feel imposed upon but I reveled in spiting the cruel universe by being cheerfully helpful and wishing her a very merry Christmas. If it was our good will the islamists had to contend with the battle would be over and everyone a victor.

The sky is putting on a show and warning us of tomorrow nights increasing chance of rain. These are what I think they call cirrus clouds. So beautiful I had to try to capture them in pictures:

Friday, December 01, 2006

Autumn desolation

Got some good work done today, tearing down fence wire and pulling up posts at farm #2.
It was windy and the air had a cold bite that left me feeling a little ill but we persevered and got most of the job done. Just have to mow the old tomato plants, pull up the plastic mulch, roll the drip hose and load the field fencing wire that we rolled up today and that part of the autumn chores will be done. Then if the weather stays dry as it is supposed to we can disk the field down one last time, probably Sunday, and all will be ready for spring.

Here's a pic to help your visualization:



The posts with birdhouses we left up at the request of our landlord Charlie. I agree they look too cool to take down. Not to mention thinking of the little birdies.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The hair pulling of technology

Its like some insane twisted version of dominos.

Mom and I got a scanner for dad so he could scan in his fading collection of family photos, negatives and slides some going back to the old farmstead my grandpa kept in Kansas.

But the scanner required a 233mhz or better computer which the install software from Hewlett-pukerd insisted his computer wasn't, even though it was.

So I went and bought a used IBM 933mhz netvista computer via ebay from a nice place, the blind center of Nevada, cheap at that. It was sold as is, the harddrive wiped and no restore disk. No biggie, I installed an old version of windows98 I had on it.

But it was too new a computer and a bunch of the drivers were missing from the win98 disk. So I spent the day digging for drivers, finally finding that IBM had a driver installation utility available online. (a small blessing, thank you ibm)

But the diagnostic utility required the .net framework installed from microsoft. So I tried to download and installed the .net framework.

Which then would not install without Internet Explorer 6.0 or better installed first. So I am now downloading that and waiting for it to install.

God! F*^&%^^%# &*&&^%%$$ damnit. Dad calls it my refresher course in frustration. We got a good chuckle out of that.

Now I'll go back after IE6 is installed and install .net framework then install the driver utility and then finally get all the drivers and software he needs to make this computer work so that I can finally install the new scanner and he can start saving this rapidly decomposing treasury of family history.

Technology aint all its cooked up to be. No wonder I dropped out of software to run a hoe or tractor. Nobody ever had to debug a hoe and the only thing you have to update on a tractor is the oil and the tires.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rat wisdom

This is from the Nov. 16th edition of the Montezuma Press:
The Whole Farmyard Is At Risk

A rat looked through a crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife opening a package. What food might it contain? He was aghast to discover that it was a rat trap. Retreating to the farmyard, the rat proclaimed the warning; "There is a rat trap in the house, a rat trap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Excuse me, Mr. Rat, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The rat turned to the pig and told him, "There is a rat trap in the house, a rat trap in the house!"

"I am so very sorry, Mr. Rat," sympathized the pig, "but there's nothing I can do about it except pray. Be assured that you are in my prayers."

The rat turned to the cow. The cow said, "Like wow, Mr. Rat. A rat trap. Like that really puts me in grave danger."

So the rat returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's rat trap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house, like the sound of a rat trap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital.

She returned home with a fever. Now everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. His wife's sickness continued so that friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer's wife did not get well. She died, so many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide meat for all of them to eat.

So the next time you hear that someone is facing a problem and think that it does not concern you, remember that when there is a rat trap in the house, the whole farmyard is at risk.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

busy day

But didn't really get anything done.

Went this morning to my jury orientation meeting at 8am in Medford which meant I had to be out of bed before 6am for the first time since we closed the farm. Uhg, quite unpleasant. The orientation was both boring and interesting. It reaffirmed my belief that I live in a damned cool country. Not many other places in the world where the general populace gets to sit in on deciding the rightness or wrongness of legal disputes, Sharia law is right out. America rocks.

Then I went to see Cass for the first time since her accident. Oh, what a heart render. To see that vibrate young lady so greatly reduced and still struggling to recover. The hospital has had a heck of a time keeping her electrolytes balanced and she was feeling queasy from the potassium pills they'd given her. So much for "do no harm" I was singularly unimpressed with an approach which is so unsubtle as to introduce raw potassium salts directly to someone's stomach without so much as a buffer. How about a pretzel and some water to wash that down with you medical morons? Or better yet, formulate the thing in a fashion that isn't so harsh.

Got home and was almost immediately waylaid by my best bud Steve on the phone. Rock on brother! I never pass up a long phone conversation with Steve because we end up laughing till our sides hurt. He promised me he'd check out my blog so if he doesn't I'll be posting his email address here for all my loyal readers to harass him with.

Just kidding Steve.

A note of interest about the blog: as of Nov 22 I've had 4055 page views. I know that isn't very many by some people's standards but it is a bunch to me. Who ever knew a farmer's musings would be so interesting?

Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Just finished, just begun

Below is a picture of our first 288 tray of mixed greens, lettuces, cabbage, basil, radichio, etc. We closed the selling stand on Oct. 31st and for a while I could psyche myself into thinking that we were "done" but so often that is really just the start.

These plants will go into our big air inflated greenhouse in about 2 weeks. They'll be ready for sale by the end of January although we probably won't open at the stand, just sell direct from the greenhouse to a couple dozen of our finest clientele.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

My sense of humor

I don't know why, but this sort of busted me up.

First dusting of snow

Fielder Mountain had its first little bit of snow on it this morning. How delightful. The air has that crispy bite hinting at winter to come. Took some miracle grow into the greenhouse for the tomato cuttings and was equally enthused by the warm air in there.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Holiday spirit or just plain good human

Had to run into Rogue River and buy some poultry seasoning for mom. It is about a 6 minute trip in. Got to Ray's Food Place and found the spice. It was crowded so I picked the second line sort of at random, then noticed that the lady in front of me had a huge basketful of stuff. "Oh well," I thought "I'll just be patient and think happy thoughts" I could've tried finding a shorter line or one with less items but one thing I've discovered is that fate hates a line switcher. So I practiced my patience and tried to exude good holiday cheer.

Ironically I didn't have long to practice, the delightful lady in front of me, looking a little holiday bedraggled herself from unloading groceries and the rain outside turned around and, seeing my one item of spice, said "Oh please go ahead of me." We visited briefly while the checker finished with the person ahead of us and she said something great which reflected my own thoughts "Life is too short to be in a hurry."

What a delightful, sweet person! May this holiday story inspire all of us to try and be at our best as we face the crowds and crisis in this upcoming season.

God bless you all and Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks!

And here is some delightful wild turkey display action from this morning. The flapping sort not the drinking...[click to enlarge]

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sort of wasted rainy day

Ran a bunch of errands in Grants Pass and Rogue River today. Rained most of the day with some serious bluster this morning. Saw sis at the walmart, she was doing ok also running errands for her job at DQ.

Went to the library while in RR, pretty much a bummer contemplating their imminent shutdown due to loss of federal O&C funds. Gotta put on my thinking cap and write a letter to the county commissioners and library funding committee.

Hope your day is going well.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Smart makes stupid

The New Scientist webzine has prediction for 50 years from now from 70 top scientists.

What immediately struck me about this story and list of predictions is that every scientist makes these narrow predictions from their own field of research as if that field exists in a vacua of its own. Furthermore there is a very obvious filter affect going on wherein which ever arena that particular scientist is working on will "revolutionize our understanding" or some other superlative description of the drastic necessity and importance of their work.

50 years is a long time, look back fifty years and the fields of science these people pursue would be almost unrecognizable by today's standards. With rates of change steadily accelerating it seems likely that the same will hold true into the future.

That is of course assuming some virulent social meme or belief system hasn't eradicated all free thought and reduced all of this material into so much forbidden unknowns or unknowables. [People in the West should know inherently whom I am referring to here.]

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wild Turkey Action

Woo-hoo!
Had a rumble in the pumpkin patch between 2 rival gangs, the Turkeys and the Geese. Here's a neat pic of the Turkeys flying their colors and another of one of the Geese making a run for it (click to enlarge):


And if that isn't enough, here's a link to a short bit of video with some serious rumble action.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Coolness

After the last post I was dinkin' around the fractint site and I found Paul's fractal generator which looks very cool and maybe just maybe I can even use it to make my fractal evolver work again, keep your fingers crossed!

No rain, busy, busy

Spent most of the day on the tractor and did some spraying around the perimeter of farm #1 as well as the fence lines and part of the vineyard. Just spraying my special round-up blend to knock down some weeds in the paths and work areas.

Mom has been having trouble with her blood pressure being too high and an elevated heart rate so she went back to the doctor (second visit) today to maybe get a different dose of BP medicine. The doc gave her some samples of a different medicine last week but it seemed to actually be even less helpful than her old medicine plus it seems to have made her a little fluttery or nervous. It is hard to say what has precipitated this, end of the season, her recent diet change or the stress of having a grand-daughter in the hospital but whichever it is she's got me worried.

I've been keeping myself distracted by tinkering with an old computer I put together from 3 defunct machines donated by friends. It worked good for about 6 months but I think the bios has finally crashed. Got a little water on the motherboard last winter and I think something toasted the cmos. Too bad because I was just making some progress with the fractal evolution software I was designing. It took a target image and evolved new fractal populations successively to approximate the target image from the Julia or Mandelbrot set. Only works on older machines because the fractint engine it was based on crashes when using the expensive video card on this machine ( fractint is great fun if you can get it to work for you, more info here ) . Suppose I'll have to either abandon that project or make the commitment to design my own fractal generating engine.

Everything else aside, life is still a grand adventure.

Well, gotta go tackle some end of the day chores. Y'all have a great day now.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wild Turkeys of Savage Creek Farm

We've got a flock of about 14 wild turkeys living here enjoying the windfall apples and leftover melons. They are skittish and my camera is not the best (I paid HP plenty for it but they did a really poor design job) so the image is a bit grainy but let me assure you they are a beautiful and majestic bird. Click to enlarge.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sooni

For anyone who thinks they know everything about the situation in Iraq, here is a really fascinating blog from an Iraqi gentleman living in Baghdad. Read and be enlightened:
Sooni

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ahhh---Chooo!

Caught a cold. Darn. Getting a bit better now, lots of garlic toast and smak raman with parsley. Lots of parsley.

Wishing everyone out there stays out of that cold wind and keeps healthy.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pitch black and chilly

Just took a walk down the driveway and brrrrr! Stars were twinkling with the frigid taste of winter yet to come.

Kinda in that lull or let down after the selling season now. Mind and body without the focus of routine must now adapt to a new daily scene. Choices to make, what a bummer. Quite a change from the bustle of summer.

Lots of time to think but nothing much to think about. Purpose and direction eaten at by doubt.

Wishing you all a happy autumn night, dream long and sleep tight.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Safer food?

TCS Daily has another great article on organic foods and biotech. Quite an amusing catch 22.

Political quantum super-position

In quantum mechanics one quickly runs into a frequent concept which is virtually non-existent to human beings on their daily macroscopic level. This is the idea of superposition, an entity having 2 separate and distinct states which it can occasionally be in both of or a little bit each of simultaneously. Such a foreign idea is even difficult to write about! but it does commonly happen below the nanoscopic level of atoms, electrons, photons, etc.

Interestingly the same thing does occasionally manifest in larger scale complexes of coherent particle collections.

The current "close race" for congress has me thinking of this complex coherent and uncertain behavior. The future of America's political construct is up in the air and somewhat fluid at the moment. A blending or momentary superposition of all it's possible states.

The superposition state at the atomic level is very fragile however and so too shall be this effulgence of democracy. As the votes are coming in the equillibrium of possibilities shift and prepare to collapse towards a single reality. We all wait with baited breath for the outcome. Will it be corrupted by noise? Will it hover in a long state of uncertainty? Will "The Daily Show" once more be the only correct predictor of our indecision? I can feel the sizzle of probabilities eating at my expectations.

Happy Election Day

And some special thoughts for those unfortunates in Northern Oregon and Washington who are getting flooded out. Also for those people forced out by the Southern California fires. If it ain't one thing it's t'other.

I've been meaning to call my best bud Steve who lives near a river at the coast just south of Portland (Lincoln City). His house is on a pretty high ridge but his driveway is like barely above sea level. Best wishes Mr. C.

The rain here isn't getting me down. I've got loads of indoor work to do just getting my work spaces straightened back out again. I am a little bummed that I didn't get to vote this time around though. Simply couldn't invest the time and money into a trip to Medford to get my ballot. Damn you post-office, why didn't you deliver my ballot like you did every body else's? I feel so disenfranchised.

Hope your day is high and dry ;-)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Uhhggg

Woke up fighting off a cold or something. Could be allergies.

More rain in the forecast.

Dad and mom went and saw Cassie at the hospital yesterday. They report she is in good spirits and slowly healing up as to be expected. No good news on her paralysis so far but there is still some reason for hope.

Gotta go have breakfast and gird my self for the day's battles. Hope life gives you sweet kisses.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday sussurations

Man! I've got information overload. Tried watching the news, can't believe what an enormous crock of spin is being brewed by CNN and all the rest of them. Convoluted convocations, or is it invocations? "We just report the news, we don't make it" NOT! The liberals are in their usual fervor of fantasy having worked themselves into an excited state by their imagined imminent take over of congress. Wolf Blitzer, what a shnitzer.

I've got to go get my ballot from the County office tomorrow, all the way to Medford because they couldn't do their job right. How many other people with my opinions mysteriously had their ballots "vanish"? One out of a hundred would make a sizeable shift in results. Just how desperate are the democrats to get back into power anyways? We've heard noted liberals like Mrs. Lear saying they'd "take to the streets" if they don't win, insinuating violent unrest. I wish they'd just get stoned, stay home and forget about it instead. One thing I know for certain is that the liberal agenda under a state of war will be a disaster. Appeasement simply will not work with an enemy who is dedicated to our destruction. But what the heck, it's no big deal having everyone's daughter wear a burka.

Sorry about that momentary rant, too much salt in my breakfast pizza probably. May your day be light as a breeze.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Another lovely rainy day

Spent most of the day cleaning up and following through on a few plans, experiments and art projects. Got some tomato cuttings I made last month transplanted and just about ready to go out into the big greenhouse. Also unscrambling about 8 unfinished electronics projects. At this stage I'll mostly be glad to just get all my table surfaces completely cleaned off and all my tools and materials back where they belong.

Hope your day is productive and dry.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Nice Rainy Day

Didn't know it was a burn day until way too late to take advantage of it. Darn, would've dove-tailed in with the clean-up I was doing most of the day real well.

After a long, intense summer with almost no rain it was easy to forget how inconvenient these showers can be. My mind is still adapting to not being open for sales too so it is sort of a weird twilight of moments now as I have dropped all the routines which were necessary for business.

We pretty much got all the "water soluble" stuff done except for getting plastic on the small greenhouse. Dad and I just didn't have the unbending intent to manifest that before the rains. Probably because it doesn't really matter all that much.

I didn't get my voting ballot in the mail so now I have to figure out where to go and what to do in order to vote. Damned post-office probably had some malcontent trying to sway the election results from behind the row of PO boxes.

Hope you all have a comfortable and satisfying day.

Awesome bit of thought

Frederick Turner has a delightful article about atheism over at TCS Daily.
I especially enjoyed this part, as I have much respect for personal responsibility:

Valuable also is the moral lesson of atheism. Virtuous atheists actually have a stronger claim to real goodness than virtuous Christians, Jews, or Muslims, because there can be no taint of cupboard love in their obedience to the moral law. They do not believe in a reward for goodness, and thus must love goodness for its own sake. The challenge to religious people is that they ought to do the good as if there were no afterlife, no heaven, no reward. God does not get a reward for all the good things he does, and if we are supposed to become as much the image of God as we can, as we are told in the scriptures, then we should seek out that life of love and service that is its own reward.

Not that I'm an atheist or anything, but it is good for one to face up to things which make you think.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Day after last

Closed for the season that is.

Just watching the place and doing a few chores. Mom is running errands in GP. Dad is at the stand dumping all the pumpkins and other trash leftover from the sales season. I can just picture people flinching at the image of all that produce just being thrown out. It makes good soil ammendment so nothing is really lost, I would tell them.

No news on Cass so far today.

Well, back to work. Have a great day.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

A lovely last day at the stand. Many well wishers dropping by for their last bag of tomatoes or winter squash. A few jerks in the middle of the day, wlaking off with a fistful of candy which was intended for the kids but oh well, they make it easy to flip them the bird and close early without much sense of guilt.

Cass is progressing as well as can be expected although it will be a while until we know for sure whether she'll walk again or not. She gets her cast put on tomorrow and the physical therapists have had some positive feedback about her muscles responding but the small puncture in her lung is still giving her trouble with congestion. She is young and hopefully resilient.

Wishing you all a fun and frightful Halloween.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween business

Despite the stress of recent events, business has remained pretty good. There's no picking to do now so just selling pumpkins, apples and winter squash is pretty easy. Many people are coming in with very pleasant holiday spirits, although we've seen none of the tiny goblins or ghouls yet. Maybe I'll be lucky tomorrow. Lots of kids with their parents picking out pumpkins today, that was fun.

Wishing you all the finest and frightest of Halloweens.

another update

Cass got through surgery ok. She's being fitted for her cast tomorrow. She's had a little trouble with her breathing because she had a small puncture in one lung but it sounds like the docs have that handled too along with some minor trauma to her kidneys. So far so good on all accounts we've been told.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Accident Update

Cassie went in for surgery this afternoon and I've had no new news since but just prior she had some feeling return to her feet. She could identify which of her toes were being pulled on which is a good sign. You can imagine the tremendous moment of relief that produced although nothing is nearly done with yet.

Tragedy in the family

Last night my seventeen year old niece, Cassandra, was traveling with three other teens when their car slid off the road (no details yet as to cause, ice, fog, alcohol or whatever...) Apparently one of the other teens named Ladonna had an argument with her mom who then kicked all the kids out. In the middle of the night no less.

The doctors believe Cassandra may have broken her back as she has no sensation in her legs. They were waiting for several small stainless steel screws to be flown in from Portland before they could perform surgery (can you believe that? They didn't have a couple of tiny chrome screws in stock. What a yoink.) so the exact extent of damage is currently unknown.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Problem with democracy?

I'm not the first one of us to think it either so don't get all high and mighty with me.
The answer is "stupid people can vote too"

This image is totally for real, I found it on a dollar in the store today. Someone who can't even spell "Oprah" thinks we should "vote" for her, whatever that means. Maybe we can get her passed as a ballot initiative? Now don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-Oprah or anything, but come on!

Friday, October 27, 2006

T minus four days and counting

I doubt the astronauts feel exactly as I do, but I am still pretty excited about the upcoming Halloween. Sort of like that feeling I had as a kid when I knew there were only 4 days of school left.

We're out of corn finally and the frost has killed just about everything else. All we have left to sell is pumpkins, corn shawcks, 16 cases of nearly ripe tomatoes and a mountain of winter squash. Should just last us out until All Hallow's Eve. We're talking about contacting one of the local "gleaners" groups to come pick up the huge pile of winter squash still in the field. And there's a local church that will come get a bunch of the leftover pumpkins for a carving contest.

Hoping you all have fun and safe spooking.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bloggin' state of mind

Finally! 9.5 hours of sleep and a cup of coffee was all it took.

This Sunday will not be all about rest as there are still a few jobs to be done. With only a week left in the season we've got some roof action and other water-proofing jobs to do as well as a tiny bit more of harvest to finish up. So surprised to still be finding squash and cukes in the garden. Dad and I have been talking about getting some lettuce plants in the big greenhouse but that is too much labor for this Sunday.

The world here is turning to so many varied colors. I've got some wonderful pics of the butternut tree by our driveway. A vivid flame of green and yellow as it finishes the turn to autumn. I'll try to get that up here shortly along with some punkin pics I've been promising. Maybe I can even get the black cat to pose for us.

I've always loved this time of year, especially the Halloween celebration itself. What a whacky, wild holiday. Gruesome and macabre though it might be I've always felt it to be a celebration of life in the face of the oncoming darkness. A chance to defy terror and walk in those places humans usually fear to tread. Of course that's easier if you have a jack-o-lantern to protect you.

Mhmmmm, twice baked pizza for breakfast. Hope your day is just as crunchy, chewy and delicious. But don't burn your tongue!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Technology Vs. Tyranny

This article at TCS Daily got me thinking about the advances in technology which are making phones, cameras and other communication technology so small, light and cheap. As far as material and hardware goes a cameraphone is actually a relatively cheap piece of electronics. The battery being probably the most expensive single component. Most of the rest of the tech resides on between 2 and a half dozen chips and relatively simple circuit boards, albeit constructed using robotics due to the size.

If cheap, difficult to find (perhaps using ultrawide band transmission) cellphone or mesh network phones were introduced into the cultural train wreck that is North Korea Kim Jung Il might find his source of power suddenly evaporating. Heck you could afford to fly over and drop them on little parachutes.

End of the season homestretch

Work at the produce stand has been going on for so long and at such an intensity for the last little while that I am finding my social skills overtaxed. Some of my interactions with friends and customers have become stilted by the long season of routine and overuse. As a result my timing is off with people and so I'm probably not communicating as well or as smoothly as I was a few weeks back. Can you "pull" a social muscle?

But we finally got the fence up and that is a super nice improvement. Closing today was just a matter of locking the front gate and loading up the perishables to put in the fridge. I'll have a pic of the fence up shortly along with the current pumpkin display. Should look cool. Halloweeny even.

Hope life is treating you all as well occasionally tricking you.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

My evil genius level

Thanks Rae Ann, that was fun.
I am 84% Evil Genius.
Evil to the Bone!
I am pure evil. I lie awake at night devising schemes of world domination, and I will not rest until all living souls bend to my will.

Hypocrisy at 30,000 feet

This little article at TCS Daily goes to show that corruption and hypocrisy flows in the veins of many organizations, not just business and government.

Freaky Halloween vibes

As I was out cutting pumpkins in the fading twilight I felt a cold thrill race up my spine. The chill evening air combined with the faint and flickering shadows of semi-darkness. Surrounded all around with dying, fading, gray tendrils and bright orange/red blobs of amorphous jack-o-lantern spirit my imagination filmed the scene with moving vines and grainy, gray, spiny tendrils that throbbed and shifted with every hissing whisper of the autumn breeze.

Last night was full moon. The opening of the gate and what would've been in some ancient calendars the very upcoming holiday, All Hallow's Eve: the first full moon after the equinox marked a special time once upon this planet. Fifteen days for spirits to roam the world of the living? And if you survive the darkening of the moon, well I suppose some of those little purple and white chewy candies we used to get when I was a kid would be really cool.

I suppose nowadays kids mostly get those individually wrapped mini candy bars but in the early seventies you'd come home with a bag of the most gawd awful combination of candy that a dentist ever dreamt of.

If I don't make it back (before then! jeepers!) ,

Haaapy Halloween!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Responsibility

Cultural Relativism and those who preach it have gotten themselves a new A**hole after this article from Lee Harris at TCS Daily. Good writing, exactly what I would've liked to say to some people who don't have brains enough to recognise where to point their finger.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Momentary update

Bizy!
GPID let the water out a week early, those bastards! If I have time and energy I'll write a diatribe later, or is it a monologue? whatever.
Punkin season has commenced and melons are almost done for the year. Dad and Bro are working on some side projects so we're a little short handed but everything is coalescing smoothly despite that. 2 weeks of corn production or less left. Oh, the dread and anticipation! Will really suck to lose that business but will be so nice to have the extra smidgen of time and energy.

Hope the world is sending you bundles of happiness and bouquets of wonder.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Last day of summer

I noticed an immediate sensation in my eyes, mind and belly coming home. Today was the last day of summer and though I knew the equinox was coming I didn't realize that it was tomorrow until I checked at Stardate. But my body certainly felt the creaking turn of seasons as I drove home in my dusty green truck.

I'll be eating the last watermelon of summer this evening, striving to relish it with all the earnest regret for all those summer things I failed to appreciate enough this last season. Fireworks on the fourth of July, slightly burnt hot dogs from the barbecue grill, crickets singing in the balmy summer evening breeze. Hot, hot days with sweat stinging my eyes and a cold river crying out for a swim. Thunderstorms and the smell of fresh mowed lawn.

Wishing you a fine and feral evening to grasp at one last summer's pleasure.

Rain on the pumpkins

Some showers blew through last night and settled all the dust.

The last field of cantaloupe and honeydew reached their peak a couple of days ago. Everything I sampled last evening was lacking in sugar and flavor so melons are just about done for the year. These rains will wipe out most of the summer squash by bringing on serious infestations of powdery mildew. For a short while the cukes will do better and then they too will succumb. That just leaves corn, tomatoes, apples, pumpkins and baking squash as our final set of crops. Corn and tomatoes will run out around the middle of October and the world will hear a great sigh go up from southern Oregon.

Have a good day at work and play.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hot Damn!

I just found Rudy Rucker's blog! If you like Sci-Fi at all and you haven't read any Rudy Rucker, do yourself a favor and get some today. Who needs hallucinogens when you've got Rudy? His writings are some of the most bizarre, twisted, wonderful bits of charming craziness I have ever come across. Plus his science is really good. Some of the stuff he describes like Imopolex sound down right doable. Especially tweaked in a delightful manner is his "Bopper" series.

Theories and thought

Lubos recently had an analysis of certain theories regarding the collapse of the twin towers which I found very interesting. Now Jonah Goldberg weighs in with some very revealing thinking about the nature of reasonable discourse and belief.

Plight of the pharmacist

Lady goes into the drugstore, walks up to the pharmacist and says

"I need to get some cyanide"

"What?!" says the pharmacist "I can't sell you cyanide, I'd lose my license. All sorts of bad things could happen. What do you need cyanide for anyways?"

The lady pulls a picture from her purse and shows it to the pharmacist. It is of her husband and the pharmacist's wife in a motel together.

The pharmacist looks up and says

"Well, why didn't you tell me you had a prescription?"

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Reserving judgement

Some recent communiques with friends has gotten me thinking about the subject of reserving judgement. I'll use some recent events to illustrate my thinking.

The FDA has approved a viral spray to control bacteria on meat. CNN and several other sources have been in a tizzy over this with an assortment of biased statements and some sound bites from carefully selected on the street interviews. Of course they don't show anyone of understanding who thinks its a good idea, just people who display the correct amount of revulsion. At the same time there has been an outbreak of e.coli on certain packaged spinach products. This is getting only a cursory mention from the same news feed that spends 3-4 minutes on the viral spray.

"Aha!" the suspicious mind says "it's a conspiracy to promote this new viral spray product" regardless of the fact that the spray is intended for use on meat and the e.coli on the spinach certainly came from animal sources such as animal manure used to fertilize the spinach fields (suddenly I'm very glad I use green plant-based manures and synthetic fertilizers on our farm)

It is reprehensible to me that these consumers and media types so quickly passed judgement on the viral spray. I mean, come on, how ignorant can you be? There are thousands of viruses which cannot infect humans. Almost any plant matter you might consume will certainly contain at least a few of these. How is that any different than the spray approved by the FDA which only kills bacteria, not people?

While a bunch of vegetarians are puking out their guts from their "organic" spinach I'll be gladly munching on my virally protected hot dog, thank you very much.

And as Lubos likes to say, "that's the memo"

The plight of the farmer

A lawyer was going fishing one day and he needed some worms. So he turned into a farmer's place and asked the old fella if he could help him out.

The farmer told him to come back in a couple of hours and he'd have some worms for him.

The lawyer returned a couple of hours later and found the farmer out back of his barn with a shovel and a can of worms, still digging.

The lawyer asked the farmer how much he owed him.

"Well, at first I looked in back of the chicken pen and I could only find a few there. Then I looked in the lawn and there were only a few there too. I dug near that old apple tree and found a few and down past last years turnip patch there was a couple more. Finally found a good couple dozen hear near the cowshed."

By this time the lawyer was thinking "Oh man, I'm gonna have to pay him an arm and a leg just for a couple of worms"

"I tell you what, I was goin' fishin' myself later" the farmer said after taking off his hat and mopping his forehead "If you split 'em with me I'll call it even."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

So Slooooow Thursday

The new bridge is being moved into place sometimes this week and so the nearby freeway access has been cut off for a few days. Our business is suffering by about 40% until that clears up. A nasty bit of loss and no idea when the DOT will finally get the whole thing done. Personally I think the delays are to heighten tension for the film crew from Discovery Channel. This is the largest bridge ever moved into place like this so one of the DC's shows was supposed to be here for it, I think the one called "Big Movers" or something.

The pumpkins are finally turning orange! I'm totally jazzed with the upcoming fall season we have some of the best pumpkins and winter/baking squash ever. Many pumpkins are larger than 5 gallon buckets and probably in excess of 50 pounds. Also some of the freaky new varieties I've been breeding are looking super cool.

Hope life is giving you plenty to laugh at.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 ruminations

I wanted to take the time to write something sublime and profound today but found myself inundated with the flotsam and jetsam of the media's attempt to do the same. Much like politicians it seems as if the media might be trying to take advantage of this memorial. But let me not be unfair to them all. They are human too and many of them see themselves just as I do, a stalwart American. Sure they are selling lots of ad time, but they are also commemorating those we lost and those who were lucky. I'm sure many of them, both politician and journalist, are still as full of rage and hurt albeit turned to a simmer by time.

I did find one article which summed up a particular feeling I had almost forgotten, you can read it here and with that I will wish my fellow Americans strength, courage and clear vision to pursue the freedom for which our nation stands.

God bless you all.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday work, Sunday leisure

Slept in until 6:31 today. A helicopter woke me with it's percussive announcement. "Thwopping" its way to a crescendo as I blearily eyed it from the door of my barn.

Dad went to retrieve the tractor from Bro's house. I did the dishes for mom so her back wouldn't hurt her today, helped her unload the groceries when she got home.

Went to give dad a ride to his truck at Bro's next. Checked out the bridge moving operation on my way by. People scrambling like a shoveled up ant-hill. Sign says the bridge will be closed from Sept. 12-16 which means 4-5 days of very slow business for us. Right at the peak of harvest and no way the DOT will ever make it up to me. Once more progress grinds the little Guy beneath its wheel.

Enough self-pity. It might not be such a bad slow-down and I'm sure I'll take advantage of the moderation.

When I got back I picked a case of mixed cukes (lemons, picklers and slicers) and another of summer squash. Not a lot of zucchini but the yellow crookneck was super.
Had lunch and took a nap to help fight off an incipient head cold. The several antihistamines I had taken weren't doing much but making me drowsy but I'm feeling much better now.

After my nap I climbed to picking apples. Harvest bucket slung across one shoulder, perched upon a precarious orchard latter I stretched out my arm and fetched down a golden bounty of yellow delicious apples. The late summer sun shown into my eyes, dazzling me with a rich orangish light, probably altered by the small amount smoke remaining in the air due to recent wildfires. I found a subtle peace permeating my mind as I worked in silence. 3 over-large cases (30+ pounds each) rapidly accumulated at the bottom of my latter. In a bit I'll go out and attempt the same with Italian prunes. Probably won't go as fast but should be at least as pleasant.

Hoping your day is full of rich, vibrant light.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Temporal displacement

Sheeesh!
I lost a day yesterday. That last entry should've read Wednesday. Whoa! who knows what happened with me. Even on a slow day I'm tired and confused.

Dad and I just got through picking cukes, squash, tomatoes and cantaloupe. Will pick more tomatoes and melons in the morning, it just got too dark. Thank god for the procession of the seasons.

Wishing you a delightful time finding things you like.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Slow, strange Tuesday

Dad had a little trouble with keeping down his blood pressure this morning. Started getting a little light headed when he was setting the rack this morning so he went back home and his bp was 180/105 which is whicked high. Took an extra half of bp pill and laid down for a while. His bp finally came down around 1pm after another nap. Turns out he'd been eating quite a bit of salt the last couple days as we were living off quick and easy foods while we crunched down under the work load.

So that was an odd and worrisome start to the day. Business was dreadful slow today, which was kinda ok with me. I read quite a bit of David Brin's "Sundiver" while waiting between customers. If you like sci-fi but haven't read any Brin, do yourself a super favor. His "uplift" series is a most brain-delicious piece of mind candy. Hmmm... mindcandy, that reminds me of a couple of links I need to add. Anyone ever try Zonerings? That is a very cool bit of mathematical graphics software.


Anyhow, only 17 days left until the equinox or so. Gotta start laying out a few designs of purpose to prepare for the Halloween season before that rolls around. Too late to do anymore designer pumpkins but still have lots of other chores to get out of the way.

Sending you peaceful nights of vibrant slumber and vigorous days of tranquil activity.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Lazy Sunday

Taking it pretty easy today. Gotta go move a sprinkler in about 20 minutes but not much else pressing. Will work on some equipment this evening and pick cukes, squash, etc. when it cools off. Mostly just letting myself drift between tasks and recover my physical balance.

20 days until the equinox. Will be nice having a night longer than the day. It is much easier to get enough rest after the end of September. The equinox is important to farmers, witches and warlocks. Everyone else can pretty much afford to ignore it.

Pumpkins have begun to ripen so we'll have plenty of those for the first day of October. Hope Bro' gets the fence done before then or storing them will be a problem. Only a few of my pumpkin forms took. Many fell off or broke while I was trying to remove the mold. Will make some handles and modify the molds in other ways next year, assuming I'm still doing this next year.

Hoping your day has been easy and kind.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Unusually slow holiday Saturday

We were down about 25 percent from last year. Usually this is one of our busiest days. I think mom is right, we are finally seeing the impact of the elevated gas prices. All the traffic past our stand has slowed down.

Still it was a very busy day. Quite a few more 1 or 2 dollar corn purchases, which often take as much time and energy as a 5 dollar purchase of several items. Thus more work with less pay. So I am tired and sore from all that lifting and bending. Already took a naproxen and a melatonin so some deep, painless sleep should be upon me within the next hour or two. I rarely take naproxen because of the slight increase in heart attack risk but today it seemed worth the risk.

Oh yeah, saw a lovely white and black osprey flashing in the sun as I first drove into the field this morning.

Wishing you all a sweet and mellow summer evening.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Labor-day weekend Friday

Whew! What a busy day.
Picked half again as much as our usual load of corn today. Sold it all before 4pm, had to call dad and have him come pick about 12 dozen more to finish the day. Had about 2 dozen left over.

Picked in the second watermelon field this morning. Was a little bit bothersome with the bright golden/green morning sun in my eyes but I'm pretty sure everything I picked was fully ripe.

Some people just don't get it. Had a fella come in and look at our corn price "Three for a dollar!" he exclaimed "you can get it 5 for a dollar at Albertsons."

I didn't even bother trying to explain. We hand pick our corn 3 or 4 times a day and that idiot thinks he can get the same at Albertsons? 2 week old super-sweet santiam surplus corn is what he's buying. Frankly, I neither want nor need his business. I'm barely able to stay ahead of the demand for this corn as it is.

Hoping your Labor day weekend is restfull and sweet.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cool and slow Wednesday

For some reason cool days tend to be slower. That and the upcoming school season have impacted spending at the stand. But this weekend has always been busy, so many late summer barbecues. Plus we have a new field of watermelon just starting to come on for this weekend so it should be good. Personally I really enjoyed a cool slow day.

Happy 69th birthday to my Dad!~) We had beef stragenoff (spelling?) for dinner. And a little later my brother and his wife will be by to help us enjoy the ice cream cake my sister sent home with mom from Dairy Queen. Yum-yum, German chocolate! Being a total waste of a youngest son, I once again was too busy to get dad something for his birthday. It's ok, he was too busy on mine, so we've got an understanding ;-)

I hope your day is full of happy thoughts and affirming decisions.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday before Monday

Worked until 1pm and then took a good chunk of the afternoon off to avoid the heat with a long, deep nap. 101 under the apple trees today. Fortunately we had water in the ditch most of the day, just ran out this evening.

Visited with a long time friend this afternoon. So good to reconnect with classmates and old associates. I think one of the most reassuring things is to visit with someone who has traveled different paths but still shares the same fundamental view of what is happening in our times. Sort of a "so it isn't just me" kind of thing.

Well I would love to sit here and ramble a gambol of thought and motion, perhaps reflect a dream or scheme or meme with my friendly readership but I'm afraid tomorrow morning comes too soon and the tomatoes wait for no man.

Wishing you all deep, soothing breaths of happiness and silent echoes of peaceful contemplations.

A new link to an old friend

Dunnermeister has an entertaining blog for anyone in the Redmond, Wa. area or of a conservative bent. This level headed fella is worthy of sharing a beer and a few rounds of ideas while shooting some clay pigeons. Dig his blog.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Some pics

Been promising these for a while. Brief pictorial of pretty much most of our operation. Everything but the old farm on the hill which I will present in another day or two. The first two are farm #2, the third one is the new field at Pete's next door to farm#2 and the last two are the outside and inside of our selling room. Not much to look at from the outside but it's the product that counts. We'll be putting up the tarp to cover the front of the selling room as soon as we can and my brother is supposed to be working on the new fence, hopefully to be done before the last field of melons is in or at least the pumpkins.





Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tough week so far

Got up sick and dizzy Monday morning. Thought it would pass like my usual morning discomfort but it only got worse so I had to cut work, sticking mom and dad with the running of the stand for one day. I think it was heat exhaustion from the long Sunday of pick work and blazing sun. Guilt, nausea and dizziness waged war for my attention until the aspirin and motion sickness pills kicked in and I dozed fitfully until about one o'clock, waking up feeling much, much better. Returned to work after 2pm, still a bit dizzy but able to work. Glad to send mom home and get her off her feet. Now, no pity called for here! Except maybe for mom and her sore feet. I'm ok and that "poor Guy" routine won't fly with me.

The week has been pretty busy since, despite being a county fair week in Josephine county. Historically one of our slowest weeks. I think the big corn sign, and the super tasty corn have conspired to set a fire to the grapevine, if you'll forgive the mixed metaphor. Lots of word of mouth business. And an unusually cordial lot too. Very few corn peelers or cheapskates. One bitch did stick mom for 70 cents on a corn purchase today. Mom was busy with another customer and the miscreant threw 2 dollars on the counter and said "Here's two dollars for my eight ears of corn" and then dashed out the door. The lady at the front of the line was like "What! what is she doing! Eight ears isn't two dollars!" we sell our corn 3 ears for a dollar or 35 cents on singles. So the cheap bitch stole 70 cents. Disgruntlement. Mom wasn't about to chase the bitch down, not with her bad hip. We'll keep our eyes open for that P.O.S. again. It sucks that for the hundreds of delightful human beings who have come in I can only reflect a story from that one evil turd. Like they say, good news is no news. It is delightful that the other customer immediately joined us in our sense of outrage. 97% of our customers really are wonderful people. (sorry about the profanity)

Wishing you a shimmering summer day of cold popsicles and a mellow summer night of watermelon dreams.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

January is my Sunday

That's the mantra I have to repeat to get through days like today.

There was an accident involving one of our irrigation valve risers so we took the opportunity to dig it out and place it in a new spot. Even with the tractor and post-hole digger to do most of the work it was still a full day of picking and shoveling hard ground. We finally got the last bit of pipe glued up and the trench filled about 4 o'clock. The psychological aspect is always as bad or worse than the physical labor; I hate having to clean-up someone else's mess. There's a biblical quote about the ox being in the mire which I don't exactly recall but which applies to days like today. I would've rather been resting. Tomorrow will suck a bit more because of this. But since January is my Sunday I don't have to feel any theological guilt.

A lovely brown-winged hawk flew above the ridge line south of farm #2 as I turned on the water at Pete's (that is technically farm #3 but since it is right next door we just lump it in with farm #2) earlier a bald eagle had been cruising along the Rogue to the north of us.

As we were digging people kept pulling up looking for corn. One fella rolled down his window and shouted "Out of Corn?" and I shouted back "we're closed on Sundays" he looked doubtful, or at least stupid so I continued "we always have been" he drove off. I was to busy to tell if he was in a huff.

The scariest thing happened yesterday. Right at the end of the day we kept running out of corn. Normally business dies after 4pm on a Saturday. I'd send dad out for a couple dozen and as soon as he got back with them a few more people would show up, causing me to send him out again (usually I pick the corn but I was watching the till this time) one fella from Montana came in and said "You've got a reputation all the way to Montana, my friend there told me you had the best corn in the world" now that liked to scare the hell out of me. I don't need no reputation to have to live up to, I'm just trying to grow the best food I can.

I hope life is giving you rainbow dreams and marshmallow wishes.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Decent Tuesday

Tuesday is usually a slow day but the new big corn sign seems to be pulling in some extra customers plus dad and Randi filled a couple of large orders for beans to make the day turn out quite ok. Lots of our "regular regulars" came in today. People I haven't seen for a whole year. It is amazing how many souls I lose awareness of completely in the intervening months. Many of them are delightful people who definitely brighten up my life. I hope my produce is worthy of their good will.

The first round of cantaloupe have been a bit of a disappointment because we got too much water on them during the beginning of their ripening cycle which reduced the sugar content quite a lot. We're working to remedy that, I'll be cutting off their water completely tomorrow which should drive the last 50% of the field into a sellable state. Fortunately the corn is doing really great to offset that.

Sorry I haven't had time for photos yet, will do my best in the next couple of days to get some visual evidence up here.

Wishing you a day of sparkling refreshment.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Late Saturday

Late for me anyways. Was a pretty good day today. First Saturday of the season and we didn't do terrible. Wasn't a record setter but still in the top 5. Didn't have time to finish the big 4 by 8 plywood CORN sign but should get it done before Monday. Actually I had it finished but I hadn't looked at the back side of it which was quite ugly with glue and remnants from its previous use which requires me to paint it before putting it on public display. Uhg, I'm tired in case you couldn't guess.

Stupid idiot speed freak neighbors were out burning something in their backyard. 9:45 at night in the middle of summer with fire warnings posted all over the county and wildfire bomber planes flying overhead during the day and those damn dumb idiots are out playing weenie roast in a yard that is surrounded by tinder dry fields and forests. I'd call the cops on them but it might get me shot. Little consolation should they cauterize my neighborhood. I suppose I really should start carrying a sidearm so I wouldn't be quite so concerned with the immediate consequences of my choices. Only then I'd be even more concerned...

The corn is coming in great. Sweet, tender and flavorful. Already getting some positive feedback and we aren't even into the "Incredible" variety yet. Our next couple of fields have some really big stalks in them. Will try to get some pics up soon. Tomorrow being Sunday I should have some time.

Wishing you a lovely night and a wonderful day.

Mime on a cell phone

It was first "Friday art night" in the lovely town of Grants Pass last night. The mimes were out in force, not talking on their cell phones. The silence was deafening.

Work on the farm has shifted gears dramatically as we change over to selling mode. Many things have been dropped on the sidelines to be cleaned up later.

Yesterday I saw a bald eagle chasing a hawk up the Rogue River. Odd.

Hope life is treating you well.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

An interesting historical analogy

TCS Daily has "Profiles in Surrogacy" which I found to be an interesting and insightful bit of historical comparison about the current conflict in the world. It really is true about those who are doomed to repeat history. Can we ever learn?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

My desktop

Here's a screen cap of my desktop. Just thought you might be interested. The background image is of our big greenhouse.

Friday, July 28, 2006

First cantaloupe of the season

My early Old Standard variety melon has yielded up a couple of gems. The aroma filled the cab of my pickup on the way home and just about drove me nuts. I've been keeping the seed from the first melons to ripen in this variety for 3 years now and already we are seeing a markedly earlier harvest. Of course fruit size has gone down a little but the taste is as delicious as the original Old Standard which we still raise as well. So we will be able to open with at least a few ripe melons for the first time ever. Here's a pic:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Designer jeans from designer genes

TCS Daily has a great article about the environmental advantages of genetic engineering. Less pesticides, less ferilizer run-off and sweet blue jeans to boot. Suck on that you anti-GMO activist morons.

100

Still too damn hot for me. 20 minutes out in this stuff and I wanna puke. My greatest excitement right now is that temps might drop for the next 4-5 days, dipping down around 85 on Sunday. Oh, Heaven! please let it be so. I could get so much work done and not feel sick at the end of the day.

1 week from opening. We were going to open on Monday but the heat has slowed down our ability to get things done so much we've had to postpone until Thursday. That'll allow the first field of corn to reach full maturity and since it is small and will sell out fast a few extra days wait will allow the next field to catch up. Eggplant are looking really beautiful and we might even have the first few cantaloupe ripe by next week.

Unfortunately we are also having considerable trouble in our tomatoes. Blossom-end-rot has set in terribly. Normally we have little or no BER. The two contributing factors are lack of calcium and/or interrupted water cycles. We thought we had both these covered but this new field where we planted tomatoes was so calcium deficient that even our usual supplements weren't enough. That and a lack of communication with our landlord led to several weekends where our drip system wasn't running at all, he had shut off the automatic watering cycle to mow his lawn and didn't tell us this was going to be happening. Drip tapes must be run daily especially in loose sandy soils like this new tomato field. So we've lost about 30% of our tomato harvest in that field.

Wishing you all that delightful hair-raising tingley rush of seeing something truly beautiful and unexpected.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Another hot one

97 degrees right now and soon I will have to go back out to work whether I want to or not. Got to go put "risers" on our 3 inch pipe at farm #2. The corn is getting so tall we now have to add lengths of pipe to get the sprinklers over them. This also necessitates the driving of steel posts to keep the sprinklers from falling over. Lots of hard work in the muggy heat.

About 1 week out from opening for sales right now. Today I found a nearly ripe watermelon. It was delicious. The tendril was dry, the bottom was yellow and red juice dripped from the cut stem but I could tell from the "thump" that it was still a little under. Glad I picked it though since my niece was here and she really enjoys melons. Also we've been eating corn for 2 days now. A little young but deeelicious!

Uhg, my lower back is really sore. Muscles cramping and sharp stabbing pains pulsing every once in a while when I sit wrong. It'll get worse before it gets better as my muscles adapt to the increasing work load. Soon boxes of corn, squash and melons will be added to the load. Trying to get a line on some muscle relaxants from a friend. I'm very careful about what I take, but occasionally a little pharmaceutical goes a long ways.

Hope life is treating you well.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Heat strain, part 1

I call it heat strain (that might actually be a medical term, I don't know...) instead of heat stroke because it was just a strain. I only got a little sick feeling. 3 hours of mowing up and down tall, humid corn rows under the blazing sun in near 100 degrees will do that to a guy.

Had me like an hour long nap and some noodle salad and now I feel much better. Oh, and a bunch of gatorade.

Good news on the irrigation front. Both this morning and yesterday we found running water in the ditch. We've been able to run several sprinkler settings and the drip system as well as run a little flood irrigation in the watermelon. They love that. I'd like to thank whoever it is living in the 5000-6000 block of Rogue River Hwy. that was kind enough or on vacation or whatever. Hopefully no one had to die for me to get water. That would be a little too ironic. We still run out around 1pm but I'll take anything I can get and thank whatever forces are responsible.

Wishing you a patch of cool grass to wiggle your toes in.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

95 at 9:30

And it is humid too. I can just imagine the corn stretching like a cat after a long nap over at farm #2. Dad and I were out seeing to some irrigation in the late melon field and I was struck by how much they were loving this too. Especially the watermelon. In the dusky twilight their leaves looked like greedy grasping hands reaching to cover all the ground they could. Hoorah for greedy watermelon.

We'll be up several times this night moving the water through its last set in the pumpkins and melons. Hopefully by morning we'll be able to get some water into the grapes too. It reached 106 here today and should be almost the same tomorrow so the irrigation ditch will certainly be dry by noon tomorrow. The people upstream get Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I get the remaining three. How's that for egalitarianism in the 21st century? The rich people with big lawns get 4 days and the small farmer who is just trying to feed people gets three. The first 12 years we worked here we had a full ditch all season plus a month earlier in the year and two weeks later into fall. Now that politician and environmentalists have stuck their noses into the mix the district has been forced to cut back pumping which has made the fearful lawn waterers upstream even more glutinous for water.

Well, to spite it all I'll wish you a happy night and joyful morning.

Friday, July 21, 2006

weatherman not doing so well

Amazing! it is down to 84 degrees here now. Was supposed to be 103 and I believed it, but this cloud cover blew in and cooled things right off. I'm going out to pull some weeds and enjoy the vicissitudes.

Monsoonal moisture

Glah! was it hot, sticky and muggy in that corn field today as we put down fertilizer. My eyes fixed forward on the rows to either side as we rocketed, bumped, jiggered and rolled down the walkway. Steering a garden tractor over rocky, bumpy ground at maximum speed while trying to avoid hitting the corn to either side can be quite a lesson in concentration.

The clouds were building quickly overhead as the sweat burned my eyes. I didn't have time to check the weather until we were done moving irrigation pipe. Then, as we went down for a dip in the river, I noticed it was starting to sprinkle. Wow! clouds everywhere and surprisingly no thunder. Perfect corn growing weather.

The river was cold! Without the sun to take the edge off I quickly got chilled even once I had swam for a while and gotten used to it. Goose bumps burn lots of calories, I hope. The cool of the wild Rogue seems to still be clinging to my skin, either that or it's just the sudden drop in temp. It was 92 when we went back out from break and now it is 89 and still falling.

Hope your day is fine and sweet.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

9th circuits court cancels first amendment

Apparently we no longer have an equal right to free speech anymore. As a historically oppressed minority (dutch menonnite) I must speak out against 9th circuit courts attempt to oppress my minority under the entitlement of "white Christian" although I am white(ish) and menonnites are Christian that does not in any way remove the historical racial discrimination my family faced upon coming to this country. We were forced to abandon our language and many of our customs by the same government which would now reduce our rights even further. Judge Reinhardt has done us all a disservice by generalizing and marginalizing groups of people which he has an utter ignorance of and vicious indifference to.
Hysciene: Gag Order

Waters of rejuvenation

Wow! I just did something I haven't done in a decade and it feels like it took a decade off my age.

I jumped into the very cold, very wild, Rogue River. A few minutes of swimming and a few minutes of back floating was all I could take as my lungs constricted from the icy snow melt. After running the mower up and down rows of corn for several hours, getting sticky sweaty and covered in little specs of grass clippings, corn pollen and weed seeds the silky feeling of wild, cold liquid joy was spectacular.

The farm news update: sweet corn is less than 2 weeks away. We've been picking zucchini and yellow crookneck squash for a couple of days already. There are still a couple of good heads of lettuce from our earlier attempt left and the tomatoes have began turning white here and there, I should bring a couple home to ripen in a sack. A few of our early cantaloupe are getting that grayish cast indicating they are coming along quickly. Also cucumbers and beans are flowering which means about a week until our first mess of green beans and a bit longer until cukes.

Hoping your day is productive, safe and joyful.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hot and gettin' hotter

It is the humidity which really gets me especially in the corn fields. Our ditch is dry right now because the people upstream get to water on these days and they can't understand that a lawn can't use 14 inches of water no matter how hot it gets. I understand that they have a right to the water, but I can't help but experience a little bitterness (literally, many of my vegetables become bitter when not watered frequently) about the wasteful manner in which they use it. Sprinklers can be seen sitting in the same location for several days in a row or people like the Byers can have leaky, inefficient irrigation systems which spill much water across the grounds around their property. There are a number of wealthy land owners who are exemplified by the people at 6440 who have 40 sprinklers in their lawn.

Ok, whoops, super irony time. Dad just stuck his head in the door and said the ditch has water back in it, 40 sprinkler dude must have shut his off. Gotta go!

Have a super awesome day while I water my melons (even if you're Q...)

Mowing and going

The first 3 fields of corn are totally silked up now. Pollen falling everywhere and a delightful aroma that just can't be described. I spent several hours beneath the blazing sun mowing the walk ways and enjoying the vicissitudes of labor. I'm not sure what vicissitudes means exactly, never looked it up. Hold on...
vicissitudes: n
One of the sudden or unexpected changes or shifts often encountered in one's life, activities, or surroundings.

Yeah that'll do. Had to keep changing gears and swapping action on the mower.

This morning when we were spraying in the 2nd to the last corn field I was being delighted by the optical dance of dewdrop rainbows. What ephemeral colors can be experienced through such infinitesimal apertures. So bizarre that the same stuff makes up 3/4ths of our bodies and covers most of our planets and yet is fairly rare in its liquid state in this solar system.

Wishing you a fun and interesting day.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunny Sunday

Got out of the fields about 2:30 today. Was 92 then, reached 97 about 4pm, thank goodness we were done. Sunday is a half day this time of year. There's still sprinklers running at farm #2, imagine those rainbows going round and around for hours under the blazing sky. Will drive back over and shut those off in a couple of hours. There is (miraculously ...) still a little water in the ditch up here on the hillside farm. I'm letting it gravity feed into our drip irrigation system; five rows of squash, cukes and tomatoes.

Our pumpkin field is the most exciting thing at the moment, probably the fastest growing field of pumpkins we've ever had. And huge too. The Witch-Kissed pumpkins (trademark and copyright Savage Creek Farms 2006) have made it back for a second year, looks like they'll breed true. They have an upright habit, not vining like most pumpkins and they become huge plants before finally falling over from the weight of their own fruit. This year a few of them have vined out though so we'll see what they crossed with last year and maybe have an even better variety. So long as they are all warty, ugly and cool looking like they were last year I don't much care how they grow. Maybe the rind will mellow out too, not be all rock hard for easier carving. That is a big part of the fun of my farming, getting to discover new things.

Wishing you a day of fun and excitement.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Feeling 'umbled

Here's an aerial pic of our 2nd farming location. I put the letters SCF (for Savage Creek Farms, the name of our little operation by-the-way) in the middle of our top field so you could find the place. There is a slightly dark long oblong next door which is actually our third location, although it is so adjacent we just lump them together. This pic was taken early June which is why everything is brown and tan instead of dark green like it is now. Our selling room is the tiny white square above and to the right of the SCF logo. The blue stripe across the lower middle is the wild Rogue River.


The reason I'm feeling humbled is that the place seems so big when I have to walk across it from corner to corner in the heat of the day but looks so tiny in these images.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Nature and nurture

Dad and I were busy putting down spray in the corn when suddenly above the river appeared two wheeling bald eagles. They were a ways off but there can be no mistaking that flash of white tail and dark wing.

Hot day in the fields again today. Mid 90s when we finally abandoned the press of earth and sky to retreat to barn and home at around 3 oclock. I made the mistake of taking a nap and woke groggy and sandy eyed. Should've driven down to the river and jumped in!

Just done with dinner of sloppy joe's (or is it sloppy joes? possessive or plural?) and will head out shortly to plant the last late planting of cukes. Our first two plantings were the only things to fail this year. Less than half sprouted, no idea why. Probably the heat from the plastic mulch we planted them in, maybe. Heat or fertilizer or bugs or crows or just plain cussedness. It's all out there waiting to defeat the unwary farmer.

Good news. The zinnias are sprouting wonderfully. Looks like they'll at least make before season's end.

Wishing you liberty, purpose and prosperity.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sun and Spray

Slow, painstaking work today. More irrigation which is straight forward and active, and weed control which has taken on a grinding quality.

The sun was hot and the corn grows very well beneath it. There is a color I call "corn dust blue" which is a few shades off green and blue. It can only be seen on corn leaves when viewed at the correct angle. Straight on the leaves look green. But when the hairs on them line up just right they take on a bluish cast. This is an indication of vibrant, healthy growth. The world is full of such little messages, if we take the time to pay attention.

Now I must go rest and perhaps dream of us and other times and other places. Wish the whole world wellness.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Thai-peanut-chow-mein-stir-fry

Mhmmmmmm! Just got through making a batch of Thai-peanut-chow-mein-stir-fry to share with mom and dad. None of my own vegetables yet, unfortunately but still very tasty. I adapted the recipe from a delightful Thai place in Eugene, Or that had a kick butt peanut sauce, first place I ever tried it. I make mine a bit spicier.

Good day of work today. Just weed control and watering, sort of on a nearly routine now. My niece Randi was here this morning and dad had her tying wires in the tomatoes. Glad that got done. I repaired some irrigation pipe and did a little weed eating with the string trimmer. Icky, itchy work.

Darn beetles have moved into my cantaloupe. I thought I had them all controlled but now that the bees are pollenating there isn't much I can do about them. And boy are there loads of bumble bees and honey bees working those flowers. Bodes well for a good harvest if the beetles don't do too much damage.

2 weeks until we start harvesting corn. My neighbors (bless them) have five fig trees the fruit from which we will be selling for them. I love figs. We will probably also have one of the nieces pick blackberries for sale. What a huge blackberry crop we'll have this year! Many tons along the east fence if we could somehow pick them all. Probably due to the huge amount of late rain.

Happy sprinkler rainbows for you!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Lubos does it again

And here is a great article by Lubos Motl all about the culture war going on between soft and hard science (also journalism)

An eye opening article about the IAEA

Hyscience has a quick knee jerk test for ya. About Iranian interference in the International Atomic Enforcement Administration.

Farming Splendor

Here are four images from farm #2. This first one is of our early corn field.

Here's our first tomato field. The green strip down the middle is weeds, the tomatoes are boxed by the large railroad ties which we use to anchor the wires that contain them.

These last two are overviews of the whole field. Strange, I'm sure I took a pic of the melons, wonder where I put them? Oh well, maybe next post.