Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tuesday struggles with machines, weeds and bugs

Still dripping wet from the shower, I heave a deep sigh of satisfaction at a day well spent.

Came back from farm #2 about 2 hours ago and there was a glorious rainbow sundog shining in the sky as I drew close to the bottom of the driveway. Dad was putting the final touches on the irrigation system back here at the old farm. So lovely to have water running, dripping, spraying, trickling, soaking, oozing, misting and gurggling again.

We started the day with weed control at farm #2, hoeing the corn and spraying the walk ways. We returned here and I sprayed the fruit trees with boron and trace minerals while dad leveled the pumpkin and late melon fields. Then after a short brake we returned to plant corn only to find that this years batch of seed was a larger size so we needed to re-grind one of our old sets of seed plates to accommodate the larger seeds. After several hours of struggling with that equipment we finally got another planting of corn in. Headed home for dinner then.

Topped the day off with a return trip to farm #2 where I've been forced to fight off another attack of two-striped melon beetles with Sevin. Hate using that stuff but it is either that or completely lose 2500+ melon plants. I pulled an extra little trick and included my own special formula of trace minerals and vitamins in the spray so that should help the plants stay extra healthy. Which will also mean better fruit with more vitamins in them for my customers.

Well, I'm tired and have neither great wisdom nor refined knowledge to impart tonight. Hope life is treating you well.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Heavy dreams

A deep and portentous slumber ruled my night. The only dream I can remember well is being chased by a disgusting bear-like creature through a junk yard and into a darkly cast cityscape where humanoid figures with twisted limbs ran pell-mell beneath flickering lights. I got into a small pickup, trying to get/drive away but of course vehicles never run right in dreams. I Gotta stop watching television.

My world is enveloped in fog this morning. A dome of featureless near-white grayness lowers the sky to just overhead making everything seem quite and close. The temp is 42, comfortably chilly for me.

Happy Memorial day to all my fellow Americans. May your barbecued hot dogs be plump and juicy and your beer cold and foamy.

To the rest of the world I wish tranquility and freedom.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Working Sunday

But not terribly much. Finished breaking out the last of the ground today. Plowing that is. Will use the cultivator tomorrow to re-rip the top 2 fields and knock down the plowing furrows then bring the drag bucket home from farm #2 and smooth everything off (well, dad will probably do that part, it's his favorite)

While he is doing that I'll be spraying the fruit trees to prevent fungus and insect infestations. Will also throw a little trace mineral in there to help the trees be really healthy.

Later in the week we will be planting the top field dad will be finishing tomorrow for a later harvest of melons, cantaloupe and our pumpkin/winter squash set. Really only need one planting of pumpkin and winter squash. I've got some extra special pumpkins for this year, should be really fun, my own breed dad named "Witch Kissed" (trademark Savage Creek Farms 2006) and that reminds me of a dream I had last night. I dreamt I was picking some of my pumpkins, only they were like really huge and shaped sort of like papaya and they had really smooth orange skin. Weird.

Hope life is treating you well.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

How to : planting corn

Having seen a couple people drop by looking for gardening advice on corn (shame on them for not leaving their questions in the comments!) It is time for another addition of "Advice from the Savage Farmer"

Today's Subject: Corn.

We plant our corn in rows of alternating distance: 2 rows at 2 foot spacing and then 5 feet of space followed by another 2 rows at 2 foot spacing etc. This facilitates weed control and harvest. The home grower might want a standard spacing of 3-4 feet between each row. Seed in the row is spaced about 9-10 inches apart. This is a little sparse by some standards, certainly so by seed corn standards, but we find it helps produce a large ear with lots of sugar. Seed should be placed at a depth of about 1 inch depending on soil consistency. Heavy soils such as clays might require a shallower planting while sandy, loamy or pumicey soils might benefit from an extra 1/8-1/4 inch. Soil temperature is also an issue; cooler soil temps might require a decrease in planting depth while high temps which might dry out the soil to the seed depth would necessitate deeper planting. 1 and 1/2 inches should be about the max depth usable although I have had deeper plantings which still managed to make it to the surface (an accident involving my depth gauge caused that...) Soil temps below 60 degrees greatly reduce sprout.

On the subject of weeding: weed early and often. Use of a burner to remove tiny weed sprouts prior to corn emergence is very helpful.

Corn is a voracious nitrogen feeder. Use a full spectrum fertilizer early (16-16-16 or miracle grow is acceptable) and a later feeding of high nitrogen fertilizer such as Urea (if you must be all organic) or sulfate of ammonia (if you're intelligent and practical) just before the corn is knee high will lead to wonderful growth and large, sweet ears.

Good luck and good gardening.

Call me Mr. Plow

Just done with a spot of lunch and about to head back out to do some plowing if the rain doesn't dump on me first. Today has gone well, lots of bush-hog work and ripping of soil done so far. Also some morning clean-up of the work area and front yard.

Hope your day is flowing with the rhythm.

Friday, May 26, 2006

4 osprey day

Four vociferous osprey greeted us when we arrived at the 2nd farm this morning. Wind and rain showers lashed us throughout the day but we persisted and managed to finish all the melon transplanting we will be doing there. What a great feeling to have all that finally behind us. One row of mulch is left for transplanting onions into and the last 2 rows of mulch will be planted to seedless watermelons and summer squash as soon as the weather turns warm again.

Sparky has been a little out of sorts since mom left. He isn't used to being on the go all day long with us fellas and his social doggy mind is a little confused by the absent person.

This cool weather is a tremendous benefit to our transplants. The tomatoes, peppers and melons are all taking a strong setting into the ground now and you can already see fresh green growth. If the hot weather doesn't return too fast, which it looks like most likely will be the case, then they should make a smooth healthy transition into vigorous growth.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy day and hope you can share with all those around you.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More transplanting- eggplant, peppers and melons

Put in 4 new types of eggplant today should be really interesting; from parts of Asia and India. Also planted a big variety of peppers including Habanero, Thai, Serano, Yellow Bells, and Pablano.

The triploid (seedless) watermelon seed arrived today, red and yellow varieties which we will plant tomorrow. I've desperately got to put an order together for more standard watermelon seed from Chesmore seed co. if only I can compel my tired self to do so.

Also planted 8 more rows of sweet corn today, just a bit to sort of stop gap during this cold weather. It's hard to control weeds during rainy weather so we're keeping this field to a minimum while we wait for better germination temps and sun for weed control.

My good bud and classmate Mike Light might be able to stop by this weekend. Hope he doesn't mind squalor as I have been way too busy to clean up for the last 3 weeks or so. It isn't really squalor by other people's standards but I prefer a much tidier place than I have at the moment. He'll have to focus on my sterling personality and ignore my ambiance.

Our neighbors have decided to sell their house. I had heard rumors to this effect but when the sign went up a few days back I was sort of thrown for a loop. Wild! Should be interesting having new people in there. Hope I get some cool folk my own age that I can hang out with. It'll have to be someone wealthy 'cause they are asking 925,000$ whew! a bit steep for me. It is a really nice big 2 story house with basement and 7 acres of land located only 3 miles from an I-5 on-ramp. Housing prices here have been totally insane for the last couple of years but I really wonder if they'll get that much for it. I'll try to get a pic up here for everyone to see.

Wishing you a delightful day and a nifty night.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why won't congress do as we ask?

I was speaking with Anna down at the library and we got onto the subject of illegal immigration. I mentioned the article at TCS daily "Immigration's 15 minutes. Why Now?" and her response was classic "because illegal is illegal and it isn't right now, we've been mad for a long time" She went on to make a statement which I have heard, read and felt again and again. When I mentioned I had written my senators and congressman she said she had too and then in exactly the frustrated tone I have felt she asked "We've told them, well 85% of us or more have told them, again and again what we would like done. Close the borders, send the illegals home either by cutting off their jobs or rounding them up and bussing them out. Why won't they listen to us?!"

Why indeed? What political power game are they playing behind the scenes which forces them to ignore the wishes of such an enormous majority? Even the heavily slanted polls of the worst liberal mainstream media outlets show that an overwhelming majority demand a closing of the border and an end to unrestricted illegal immigration.

And what does the media offer us? More instructions on what we are supposed to be thinking about instead. I'm getting so tired of hearing this stridently obvious dichotomy between what all the news channels keep saying we are thinking, feeling and doing and the actual thinking, feeling and doing that is going on out here in the real world. None of us give a (r^p about Katie Couric or the Duke Lacrosse team. Neither do all of us think we're losing the war in Iraq. These are blatant lies and distractions being created by the media and some congresspeople and being fed out to the population on the assumption that this is still the 70s and they can still control popular opinion in this manner. It barely worked in the 70s and today the diversity of information sources prevents any sort of the cohesion needed to make such an approach affective.

Some of the things which I am interested in: What are in those papers the FBI took from Rep. William Jefferson that has Congress so freaked out? And if the Abramoff scandal was sooo important to all those liberal bloggers and media types out there then why isn't the Brett Pfeifer and Jackson case equally important? Why if the Duke Lacrosse team story is so big has the story of Teharri Aziz been all but forgotten? (he ran an SUV into a crowd of students if you don't recall) Why is it that we get reminded every day that we have lost 2400+ soldiers in Iraq over a three year period but no one reminds us we lost 3000+ innocent civilians in 20 minutes on the morning of September 11th? That should be at the top of every newspaper at least once a week.

3 more rows

1 row of watermelon and 2 of assorted melons planted today. Would have gotten more done but dad had to run mom to the airport around noon.

I got quite a bit finished in the grapes. If the deer will lay off their predation there should be a nice crop of red suffolk this year. I've began taking steps to discourage them.

Water finally got in the ditch yesterday! thank goodness. What a change in attitude that makes. Now we can finish prepping fields here at the old farm and begin setting up the irrigation system.

Wishing you a great day.

Mid-week transitions

Mom's heading for Kansas today. Will be gone for about 2 weeks.

We were supposed to plant corn today but the ground is too wet and cold so we'll put it off a day at a time until conditions are right. Things might mellow out today and tomorrow so I think we'll be back on track shortly. The trade off is getting the rest of the peppers, eggplants, melons, summer squash and cukes planted in a timely manner.

Several strange dreams last night parts of which I feel were "exterior forces" and others which reflect some sort of angst. I dreamt that some teenagers found out our neighbors were not home while they try to sell their house and that they built a huge bonfire in their back field. One of the kids threw a burning branch into the back of my blue chevy pickup which was loaded with boxes and it burned everything but the back wheels and the cab (an obvious impossibility). The dream went through a hazy transition and some weeks had passed or something, my pickup was gone but my niece, dad and I were in the yard besides the orchard and some crazy hicks in a truck came driving down the irrigation ditch (also impossible) and tried to drive around the back of the south barn which they crashed into instead. Huge chunks of truck parts went flying through the air as I scrambled to call 911 on my cellphone. One piece was a huge gear sprocket about 4 feet tall that would've weighed in over a thousand pounds. It rolled towards my niece; I had a sense of dread but when it reached her she grabbed it and just pushed it away. She's a good athlete but that was like the third impossibility.

Once more the dream realm serves up strange irrelevancies.

This morning I will be chopping the fresh blackberry growth that has returned in the vineyard. Unfortunately we weren't able to finish using round-up on every row before the grapes came out of dormancy. So I'll be string-trimming the rest several more times this season to keep those dastardly thorn monsters from taking over.

Wishing you a profitable, educational day with three full moments of natural glory to distract and humble you.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Maw of the Storm

We were just finishing up the deer fence around our melon/tomato/pepper field when the showers started. The wind set in and the sky began to turn grey, then dark blue. As we tightened the last wire and then drove the tractor towards the equipment area the down pour hit in earnest. Dad and I quickly covered the motor on the spray rig and ran for the car. What a feeling to just escape the teeth of the storm and then watch it unfold into a vicious cloud burst as we drove for home. Our hair and clothing soaked we made one last dash into the house to be greeted by Sparky.

Last night I had one dream which stood out in my mind. I was in a small storage area/lean-to or wood shed looking at some apple boxes full of the usual personal possessions you might find stored in apple boxes. I suddenly noticed a large green plant growing in the open end of the building. It was a huge specimen of Horsetail, Equisetum which unlike most of its species had huge branching arms. As I got close to it the wind picked up and the thing thrashed at me. I studied it for a few seconds noticing large, strange globules near the tips of its branches. I grabbed on to inspect it further and could feel the tough fibrous quality which equisetum has. I tugged on of the unusual globules and pulled it loose from the plant which continued to thrash in the wind, scouring my skin with its fibrous fronds. I broke open the fleshy sphere and studied the contents which looked much like a broken open seaweed pod. Juicy and translucent with a J shaped groove or hollow inside.

Don't know why that dream stuck with me. Probably because of the utter foreignness of the giant equisetum plant.

Wishing you a pleasant evening and a night full of restful slumber and playful dreams.

Good news the liberals don't like us to know

Real Clear Politics has an article about all the good news happening in the world today and I found it a very refreshing read. I feel very vindicated in my doubt of the ongoing negative campaign by media, liberal activists and narrow-minded lefty academicians.

Could it be that our president isn't such a slouch after all? Could it be that we Americans aren't to blame for all the worlds ills? The lefties and islamists gnash their teeth while holding out their hands to enjoy all the benefits of this truth.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Education and agriculture

An old farmer works extra hard to make sure his son can go to college.

After the first year his boy returns home looking dapper and intelligent.

"So tell me son, what ya been studyin'" asks the farmer.

"Well lately pa we've been studying geometry" the young man replies.

"Well, speak to me in some of that geometry so I can hear how smart y'are becomin'" the farmer says.

"Uhm, ok, how about this: PI R Squared."

"Well, that's real impressive son," the farmer says struggling to keep the disappointment off his face, "now your mother'd love to see you so get on into the house."

As soon as the boy is in the door the old farmer shakes his head and grumbles to his self:
"All that money down the drain, any fool knows PI R round, Cornbread R Square!"

Planting melons

Today we finished our first planting of tomatoes and continued with the cantaloupes and mixed melons, watermelons etc. For the gardening curious we are planting them a little over 2 feet apart in rows 8 feet apart. We like to give our melons plenty of room. We pre-fertilize with triple 16 [300-400 pounds per acre] and lime which are thoroughly mixed in by our row maker. Plastic mulch really helps melons a lot, warmer soils they prefer.

The biggest enemies of melons are the green cucumber beetle (also called the mexican bean beetle in some locales) and the 2 striped melon beetle. Should these show up in your garden spray aggressively with sevin, malathion, or pyrethrins. I used to encourage the use of the organic pesticide rotenone but it turns out that it is more toxic to mammals than malathion or sevin. I would stay away from pyrethrins because they do not affect spidermites and thus their use can encourage spidermite outbreaks. The reason to be particularly hostile to these beetles is that they will not only feed voraciously on your plants but they will also infect your plants with bacterial blight. Do not lie to yourself that somehow mother nature will take care of these pests. I have used every control method both organic and synthetic and I can tell you that unless you have only a few plants and can hand remove these insects in the morning with a vacuum cleaner they will utterly destroy your crop if you don't apply a strong effective insecticide. No organic method exists to control these pests and trying to maintain a balanced predator population will not help if they are flying in from a neighbors yard (that's what happened to me a few years back, disaster!) unless you can buy a kentucky fried chicken tub sized container of ladybugs and another of praying mantis and even then that won't protect your plants from the blight. Better to buy a few dollars worth of sevin and do the job right. I ferverently HATE those beetles.

Ok, enough gardening 101. The day has been lovely and productive. A few showers blew through this morning washing everything clean and leaving a rich spicy scent in the air. Now the breezes have begun picking up and giving me an invigorating feeling. We might have a thunder rumble or two, I feel.

No interesting dreams to report last night. No new collective recollection. Perhaps the ebb and flow of "manna" has trended down a bit or maybe I'm still too tired from work.

Wishing you a perfect moment of unreflected clarity and two more of giggles.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mellow rainy Sunday

As much as I love this weather, it is always easy to fall into melancholy while it is raining. A rare allergy attack didn't help much either. Gotta lay off those candy orange slices. Antihistamines make me edgy, grumpy, and tired.

I spent the day with little productive labor. Mostly just straightening up the barn and reading. Dad went to work on his landscaping job and Bro borrowed the truck so I didn't have a lot of options anyways. Mom is getting ready for a 2 week visit back to Kansas with her family so I also spent a little time today scanning and editing photos for her to take with her.

One nice thing about doing some clean-up is all the cool weird stuff you unearth during the process. I've got a rather sizeable collection of potential BEAM robot parts (see sidebar-> ) which I seldom look at once the season begins. I also filed all my remaining plant-tissue culture materials and chemicals today. If I get another rainy day or two in June I might actually get around to sterilizing some agar and cloning some plants. Wishful thinking is mostly harmless and always fun.

The ol' pinched nerve is acting up again thanks to all the stoop labor from the last couple of days. You can get used to just about anything but pain still sucks.

Wishing you a delightful end to the weekend and an invigorating beginning to the week.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Cool maps

The Canadian cartographers association has a webblog with lots of cool map links.

More good melon transplanting weather

Thank you oh forces of earth and sky. This weather is making for some great works.

Finished the 4th row of tomatoes and planted 1.5 rows of the ol' Standard cantaloupe. This is a cantaloupe my brother got from an agricultural extension worker from the Hanby farm 4 years ago. We kept the seed from that first melon and have been hand selecting the best melon from each crop since to maintain top of the line quality. So glad to finally have some melons in the ground.

Tomorrow I will finish connecting the last 11 rows of drip tape and hopefully plant some watermelon and summer squash. Peppers and eggplants should be going in Monday.

I've been so tired this week that no dreams have survived the morning haze. But I have been noticing a strange clustering of dream memories all week. Single scenes, panoramas or locale snapshots which I can suddenly remember having dreamt about repeatedly. A short list: a white mobile home planted near a hilltop amongst sparse tall trees and heavy underbrush lush with flowering plants like sweetpeas, the road outside a Coca-Cola bottling plant, a county fair or carnival with many long rows of booths, a particularly curvey stretch of road on Abegg Rd., my high school's parking lot at night, a huge barn with concrete floor which my grandpa used to own. There are too many others which now fade under the scrutiny of my thoughts and your attention for me to list them. I'll try to jot them down if they continue surfacing.

I was listening to a great song earlier but I didn't catch the performers name. The song title was "My Sapphire Love" and it was a wonderful jazz tune with a female singer.

I hope your day is smooth and sweet.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The fascinating world of transplanting

While punching holes in the soil for my little tomato plants I was fascinated by the plastic mulch we work with.

We used to punch holes in the plastic or slit it with a knife but both of these methods lead to an unnecessary number of plant deaths when the plastic contacted the stem of the plants. The plastic would either shrink back or flap over and touch the stem and then get so hot in the sun that it would kill. Nowadays we take a small propane tank and burner on the end of a long hose and melt our holes into the plastic.

This leads to some interesting phenomena. The water and soil under the plastic affect the manner in which it melts or burns, leaving these crazy weird looking patterns half melted, half burned and some untouched on the edges. The patterns sometimes look like reptile skin or clouds or weird striations. I've made fractals for years using my computer, the image beneath my blog title is one such. Now I find them occurring in many arrangements around me.

Another for instance: when the poly-mulch first comes off its roll there is considerable static discharge. Splays of dust will be sucked up onto the sides of the mulch and the tug of war between gravity, air currents and static charge will create hundreds of instances of circular patterns which look very much like the Mandelbrot set or the so-called "magnetic Mandelbrots" which are derived from the equations determining the behavior of magnetic fields. I've noticed the dust being sucked onto the plastic before but this new green poly we are using has a much better contrast and the fascinating self-similar patterns of some fractal dimension are vividly visible.

Anyhow, that's my interesting observation of the day. I'm sure the rain has ruined all such patterns and unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me last time I noticed them. If the chance arises when we make some more poly-mulch rows I'll try to snap a pic for y'all.

Cool weather=happy transplants

The first 370 tomato plants are in the ground! Due to lack of irrigation at the old farm (thanks loads Oregon Watcher Watch, Sierra Club, Patagonia outfitters, ODFW, may you all rot in hell!) we've planted them at farm #2 and they are happily absorbing drip irrigation. The brisk wind is a little hard on them right now but intermittent showers are keeping their spirits up. We anticipate about 4 more plantings of tomatoes if all goes well.

The sky is a rumpled panorama of grey, ghostly blue and white. Showers blow through about every 20 minutes but dad and I pressed on with our planting despite the gusts of grit and cold bluster. We have automated quite a bit of the process so I get to laugh at farmers who are still trapped using illegal aliens to do their work.

After lunch I'll be hooking up another 9 rows of drip tape while dad finishes prep on the next field for corn planting.

Right now I'm going out to water my 7200+ melon plants and mourn the loss of lettuce to evil deer.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and vigorous day of freedom on this good green Earth.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Planting tomatoes

Someone found my blog through google looking for "how far apart to plant tomatoes"
I doubt they'll be back soon but just in case.

We plant our tomatoes about 2 feet apart in rows about 6 feet apart. Good strong trellis or wire/stake cages are a must. Sprawling tomatoes do very poorly in comparison. The home gardener will want more room between plants in the row and need less room between rows. I would suggest 3 foot between plants and 5 between rows for the small farm or garden. A soil test kit will give you a fairly accurate Ph reading, adjust close to neutral with lime. Gypsum can also help to raise calcium content if your soil is a little alkaline. Calcium is a must for tomatoes along with a steady supply of moisture. Not too wet and never completely dry, soil moisture fluctuations will definitely increase the incident of blossom-end rot as will excess nitrogen. Tomato plants like a little bit of extra magnesium, I will put a short tablespoon full in with each gallon of miracle grow (or other water soluble fertilizer) about every other time I foliar feed (that means feeding through the leaves)

Good luck and happy gardening!

Some sunset silhouettes

Since I didn't get any pics of the poly-mulch laying, I tried to capture a little of tonight's beautiful sunset. Not my best pic ever but maybe someone out there will like it.

News sux

I was just flippin' through the "big" news channels and you know what? They suck. Everything is sensationalism and confabulated stories that at any other time we wouldn't give a darn about.

Pres. Bush is at the border, making a show of stopping illegal aliens: About time but the media has to send 10 reps each who has to have an indepth and personal interview with Geo and ask him virtually the same stupid set of questions which they are sure are going to "blow the lid off this case" whatever they think that is. Of course while they "had him on the ropes" (in their own minds) they had to ask him assorted asinine questions about the war in Iraq. BFD.

The Lacrosse rape scandal: how many other violent crimes have occurred across America and the world since that story emerged? But hours a day are given to one incident that is so shady, seamy, tawdry; I can't think of any other adjectives to denote low and disgusting. But I'm sure the media will fill us in on all the vile details if we accidentally turn to CNN, FOX, CNBC, MSNBC or the next one to bubble to the top of the cauldron.

Glenn Beck on CNN was interviewing some propagandist for Libya who was trying to sell us all on how much they have changed. I did get a momentary giggle from that thanks to the movie "South Park, Bigger, Longer and Uncut." That one scene where Saddam Insane is in hell having a homosexual affair with Satan and he does a dance number exclaiming "I Can Change!" popped into my head when I saw Momar Khadaffyduck hugging Hugo Chavez. Momar's attire was pure retro San Francisco with a modern silk turban on top.

The local channel had a brief retrospective on Mt. St. Helens. That was actually sort of news as I had forgotten it was this same time of year. I was in 5th grade in Mr. Stoddard's science class when it happened. Dad was working with my uncle in Colorado at the time and when he washed the ash off his car it was so abrasive that his car was like 2 shades lighter green when he was done.

So much for the national news.

Our ditch is still dry. Last night the deer broke into the pen where I keep my plants and ate about 400$ worth of head lettuce and about 100$ worth of cabbage. Thank you so much department if fish and wildlife; why can't I just shoot the bastards? It is supposed to cool off but today was still a scorcher. Record setting even. Possible thunderstorms tonight which I dread and await with much anticipation. I love thunder and lightning but hate the other evil thing which might fall from the sky during a storm (I'm too superstitious to even type the hated word in, it rhymes with snail and smashes things.)

So much for my local news. Good night and god bless.

Drip, drip, drip

Got an early start today; delightful! The sunlight had a rich yellow cast as it lit the world around us with that special morning vibrancy.

While dad was watering some flowers and running the spray rig around our next field of corn (he had to stop because of an unusual morning breeze) I was hooking up the drip tape in our recently pulled rows of mulch. As I type this they are dripping, dripping, slowly wetting those rows with cold Rogue River water. By tonight hopefully the mounds will be moist enough to plant with tomatoes and the first of the melons.

I'll be going out shortly to put miracle grow on my little transplants. Should help them with the upcoming shock of being moved and planted.

Wishing you a day of hope, joy and freedom.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Summer is coming: Popsicle Jokes

That was a lot funnier when you had to wait while you ate the popsicle.

The Reason I Like Triple Esspresso Milkshakes

From Mike Light's delightful comic "The Band"

18 tons of coal

Or in this case 18 rows of turqoise green polyethylene mulch 300 feet long. That's what we finished doing today, thank goodness. It was a blazing furnace under the noon day sun. My skin seemed to sizzle with the heat even under the SPF50 I had on. The dust and grit of the pumice soil worked its way into my eyes, nose and throat. An osprey that lives on the ridge above Charlie's place flapped past seeming to also find the heat a bit oppresive. He was heading for the river, which is where I also would have gone if I'd had the time. Sorry I forgot my digital camera or I would've had pics of the process and maybe one of the osprey too.

It's about 96 degrees out there right now at 4:28 and I'm glad I no longer need to be out there, although I will soon have to go out and check on my plants to see if they need water. Uhg. I am so much looking forward to a week of 70s, I really hope it manifests especially so I can transplant all these little melons safely.

Irrigation and row making

First thing today we'll move the 3 inch irrigation pipe into the next field to be planted to corn. Dad finished prepping it yesterday while I was burning more orchard waste. Once it's watered we'll be ready to plant that come Monday or so. That'll be field 3 of about 9.

After the water is set we'll move on to pulling green plastic mulch and drip tape into mounded rows with the row maker my brother built a few years back. It's a little fidgety to get it adjusted just right but once you get it set that thing is the greatest. In a couple of hours we'll have 15 new rows ready to plant to melons, tomatoes, peppers and many others. And the timing should be perfect as we have some cooler, showery weather coming this week. That'll really help the transplants to survive.

Wishing you a day of tranquility, rewarding struggles and freedom.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hey University of Oregon!

Had a U of O visitor last night around 9:56. Sure wish they'd left me a message from my ol' stomping grounds. That's really weird 'cause I dreamt about Otto K. last night one of my partners in not-very-much-crime when I was mooching living there.

If that was you Otto I hope life is treating you well with many a dark night from which to shine your grin like the Cheshire cat.

Donkey raffle

A city boy, named Kenny, moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.

The next day the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry son, but I have some bad news. The donkey died."

Kenny replied, "Well, then, just give me my money back."

The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already."

Kenny said, "Ok, then, just unload the donkey."

The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with him?"

"I'm going to raffle him off!"

"You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"

"Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead."

A month later the farmer met up with Kenny and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?"

"I raffled him off like I said I would. I sold 500 tickets at two
dollars a piece and made a profit of $998.00."

"Didn't anyone complain?"

"Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back."

Kenny grew up and eventually became the Chairman of Enron.

Mixed feelings about the President

Nathan Smith's article "Living the Creed" at TCS Daily had some interesting things to say that I had to force myself to pay attention to. Overcoming the momentum of my personal feelings about the issue of border security and illegal immigration wasn't easy but one or two of the points he made were so valid that they can't just be ignored, even if he says nothing about the overarching issues of cultural change, social expense and possibilities of terrorism which go along with these issues.

I've really got mixed feelings about this article. There is such an overwhelming roar of left-wing rhetoric against the President these days that a well reasoned voice of explanation almost invokes a sense of cognitive dissonance, a moment of confusion. Especially when that voice invokes what used to be some of the highest ideals of liberals and democrats everywhere. It's really freaky.

All humans are created equal, one of those facts our enemy in the middle east would like us to forget.

2nd Corn field planting today

Will be running the ol' Massey 165 out again to put in about 5 more rows of corn. Going to keep this field a little smaller because of possible rains this weekend. Will plant a bit larger field a day earlier next week to compensate. That way we won't have such a large field to control weeds on from this week (always harder to do after a rain.)

Gotta feed the barn cats and get to work. Hope your day is lively, fun and free.

Monday, May 15, 2006

UNC: howdy

A big "Howdy-who!" to the University of North Carolina. Thanks for stopping by.

Oh and Abi from India (I'm assuming that's you) thanks for the re-visit. Tell me about your countryside there, if you would?

It's Global Warming all over again

It is 95 degrees in the middle of May !? Oh my goodness, must be global warming coming to get me.

This time last year it was still raining. I couldn't plant my corn until the 23rd of May and we had a light frost just a few nights after that.

Seasonal fluctuations are just that. Even the cycles of glaciation and retreat are unpredictable and driven by forces too complex for human reason to unravel.

Today it is unusually hot for this time of year, but the weather man says that a week from yesterday we have a chance of rain. That is pretty much the same conclusion which can be extended about any period of time into the future: a chance of things being one way or the other. Otherwise we'd call it the past.

Oh, and back to the corn: this year's first planting is just about to pop out of the ground. Should be up and growing full force by Wednesday. Woo-Hoo!

Lunch break!

Got the walk ways and field roads sprayed with round-up at the 2nd farm. That rebuilt spray rig kicks hiney.

After lunch I helped dad put the drag bucket on the truck and he's hauling it back to the 2nd farm to drag the row crop field. It was just too rough and cloddy to put poly-mulch on so he disked it with the one-way and now will drag it smooth. It looked soft and powder now so it should be a nice seed bed when we're finally done laying drip-tape and mulch on it.

I gotta go back out and torch some mounds of grape prunings and blackberry canes. Yep, it's a burn day in Jackson county so you know what that means: fire, Fire, FIRE! FIRE! Yeehaa! call Beavis we got some FIRE!

Woops, let out the pyro-Guy a bit too much there.

Have a safe, fun, wonderful day with liberty and justice for all.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Low posting warning

A couple of serious days of work ahead so I might not be posting for a short while. I'm such an addict to this medium that I'll try to get in at least once a day but I have my doubts about that even.

Have a good'n

Post dinner relaxation

Went to the illustrious city of Rogue River and got Chinese take-out from Sally's Place for mom on this, her day. There was a pleasant little blond lady running the place, she was delightful. However once again they forgot the noodles for the chow-mein. Fortunately we keep a supply on hand for just such an emergency ( at 3.09 a gallon and 92 degrees I wasn't about to go back.)

Here's the fortune I got in my cookie, I think it is particularly apropos:

I'm hoping that all of you have had, are having, and will continue to have a wonderful Mother's day.

Acemetrical: Brilliant!

Ace Emery, another clear thinking person carefully crafting words of wisdom. I especially liked his entry on the US invading Mexico, not during the Mexican-American war, but in the early 21st century. That would be cool.

Happier Mother's day

Took a moment off from working on the spray rig and got caught up commenting at Lubos'. That young man is a troll magnet.

Hope you mom's are having a great day.

Interesting dream last night: I was at an art auction in some huge hotel/castle/mall. There were bizarre displays of art in every hallway. The auction started and the first thing up was a chess set and table. The chess set was made from titanium, very cool looking metallic blues and gold. The table was mahogany. I was admiring it when this rotund fellow at the next table (the auction was being held in a open air cafe within the large central area of the mall/castle) leaned over and said to me "Titanium is so last year. We're waiting until they bring out the plastic."

"Plastic!" I exclaimed

"Yes" he replied "Plastic is all the rage"

Then I tried finding my way to the swimming pool but had to climb out through an arrow slit in the castle wall and down a rusty metal cable to get to it.

I gotta stop watching that history channel before I go to bed.

Wishing you a joyful day of freedom and laughter.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

In case I'm too busy tomorrow working the corn field or rebuilding the irrigation system in preparation for this week's imminent arrival (finally!) of water from the Grants Pass irrigation district, just wanted to wish all you moms out there a super duper happy Mother's day. For all the bandages applied, cool-aid mixed, cool hand on a warm forehead, soothing voice, and just all around delight of the human world, thanks for being there and don't ever think that somewhere deep down inside we don't all appreciate it. (woops, double negative, you know what I mean...)

The most Medford

If you haven't gotten enough Medford lately, go to the Medfordist. It's the most Medford you can get.

Will they ever learn?

The latest uproar being aimed at the Bush administration is once more over them doing their job. Not only their job, but a job Americans overwhelmingly approve of (if 51% is a majority, 68% is overwhelming) I'm typing about, of course, the NSA phone number database "scandal" which democrats are once more "deeply concerned" through "righteously outraged" over. But it seems to me, the dems haven't been doing their job or their homework very well. This story is not new at all, in fact as Dafydd at Big Lizards points out it is about 5 months old first being published in the New York Times. I find it an interesting parallel that the Danish mohammed cartoons had also been circulating for 5 months before anyone decided to try to use them for political gain. Is this some sort of gestation period for manipulators? A spin-doctor window of timing?

What is bizarre to me is that an entire industry and large group of political affiliations are so ignorant of the times we live in that they actually believe and act on a daily basis as if no one will recognize or point out the obvious blunder of their attempts at controlling opinion. I've had acquaintances who I never even knew were into blogs and the web as information sources start to point out things to me during our conversations that I hadn't even heard yet. Surely the big news organizations and our democratic senators and representatives are capable of being more savvy than this?

So far in all my reading and watching television I haven't seen a thing that either worries me or strikes me as illegal. I can readily go out and buy all sorts of databases containing a myriad of information about potential customers and their transaction habits. What the NSA has done in mining our phone records for terrorist patterns is not only sensible, in the least, it is also a bit overdue. That the democrats will try to polarize and terrify the American public with Orwellian boogy-men prior to an election is not only to be expected it is another example of how desperate they are. So desperate that they would rather endanger this country than get behind it in our efforts to defeat an enemy which wants all of us dead.

Lazy Saturday afternoon

Done watering, done mowing, a little bit more work on the spray rig to do. First I'll go out and water the plants. So glad we got them out of the greenhouse yesterday. It is much nicer watering them in the open air, cool breeze and bright sun. The plants are suffering a little because of the loss of humidity to which they were accustomed but they are recovering nicely.

Currently reading "Out of Control", "How to talk to a liberal", and "We have blog" all quite interesting. I'm also running through a reprise of David Brin's uplift series, book 3 "Infintities Shore"

I really enjoyed doing a little javascript work a couple days ago when I rebuilt my random paragraph generator. I'm trying to think of some more fun ideas like the rant-o-matic robot or maybe something involving a little sound and animation. If you have any suggestions please feel free to include them in a comment.

Not That Anyone Else Cares....

Not That Anyone Else Cares.... Well some of us do Jeff. I'll be adding this fella to my sidebar links shortly. Seems like a right-on thinker to me.

Mowing day

Since dad will be working on his landscaping job today I'll be doing lots of single operator stuff. First I've got to work on the row sprayer, get it all refurbished for this year. Then I'll go to Charlie's to put water on the next corn field and mow the roads and parking area.

No dreams to report.

Wishing you smooth sailing.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Some struggles, some juggles

Well we only got 1 row pulled today. The soil had just gotten too compacted since we plowed it. We made the mistake of putting down water because the pumice soil at Charlie's field dries out quickly and we basically made ourselves some concrete blocks. So we'll have to go back Monday with the rippers and break up each row before pulling the mulch and drip-tape over it. Dad and I got a little distressed while working on calibrating the row puller but after that first row was finally pulled we threw our hands in the air and said "no way, stress is pointless and we'll just get this done when we get it done." Last year it rained until the end of the month and we didn't get anything planted until the 23rd so we aren't anywhere near that far behind yet.

We did make good progress on the fence though, well over half done with that. Still have to construct a gate but that shouldn't be too difficult with my brother the most excellent welder to lend a hand. He's building a wonderful gate for some lady's driveway right now, I don't think my field gate will need that fancy scroll-work though.

I think it's about time for another dreaming experiment. If anyone wants to provide an image for me to dream about please do so in the comments and I will check them tomorrow sometime to see if I did so. Once more, please nothing vulgar, violent or gross, I will not only not dream about it but I will also delete the comment.

A strand of gossamer magic decorated with dewdrop rainbows to set you free.

Beautiful morning

A triangle of thickish clouds hang on the eastern horizon above the ridge behind the farm. Three crows hang desultory in the almond tree. An occasional squack or caw is their only comment on the morning. It is cool but I wish those clouds had done me the favor of bringing a dust settler. Just a little shower to freshen the air.

This morning we will empty the big greenhouse in preparation for the warm weather that is around the corner and in order to begin planting in a few days. Unfortunately we'll also have to spend some of this valuable time doing clean-up as the assorted field roads and parking areas are getting quite shaggy looking.

Last night's dreams were vivid, intense and rich. The first one involved me as an investigator going into a large fabric boutique/ garment warehouse checking for stolen merchandise. The two ladies at the desk were like "no! no! you can't go in there!" as I strolled past the store front and into the cavernous building beyond which was hung from floor to ceiling with huge bundles of brightly colored cloth. I pointed at my badge and said "This lets me go anywhere" and then walked over to their computer. Suddenly a white cat wearing bright sparkles of spiral diamond shaped patterns walked out of the computer and curled around my legs. The building shimmered and the dark shadows which pervaded the place became even more voluminous, seeming to devour the very shape of the warehouse, turning it into a deep midnight forest.

The second dream of interest involved me living in a tiny aluminum windstream trailer and a couple of rude young men who kept stopping by to visit. They were always digging amidst my cupboards and closets looking for items of interest, my stash of the peculiar and unreal. In the midst of this dream I had the overwhelming impression of 2 words: Irrelevant Immutables. And so I decided I would make a blog by that name, perhaps to place my more esoteric dreams and oddities of thought.

Well, gotta go have breakfast and get to work. Hope your day is fun and fulfilling and free.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Unintended consequences, interconnectedness and 2 sides to every story

A friend wrote me about an earlier posting ( Corn Planting day, Part 2 ) and commented that he and his wife were noticeably benefited by the new Medicare prescription program and that the savings would allow him to buy more of my good produce this summer. As is my unavoidable nature I dwelled upon this for several days allowing my mind to cascade through numerous related and unrelated subjects. One of the things which caught my eye during that duration was the recent tax cut which gives 70 billion dollars back to Americans. Normally I might think this is a good thing, but the mainstream media made sure to polarize the issue by pointing out that about 60 billion of that would go to the richest people in the U.S.

Which of course immediately makes a poor fella like me a little angry. But then, as is my unavoidable nature, I reflected on what my friend had said. Now I realize those rich folks will mostly waste that money on frivolous things like boats, electric dog polishers, gasoline powered turtleneck sweaters & etc. but they've got to spend their money somewhere. After all money is meaningless until you spend it. And if that means I can sell more electric dog polishers then so much the better for me.

Just the kinda thing that makes a guy think.

Gas boycott letter update

I've had a number of people visiting looking for info on the gasoline boycott. I was so surprised by this because frankly I figured people just didn't have the cohesive power to follow through. Nonetheless, perhaps I'm wrong so I'm putting the original letter (Thanks much, Alice.) up where everyone can get it and if they choose, forward it to friends and family. Go here to see the original gas boycott letter.

A good days work

Got about 1/3 of the fencing done today. Getting the stage set, the corners posts cross-tied and all the wrinkles worked out of our methods took up a good chunk of the morning. Finally got the 8 foot posts driven and ran home for lunch. After baking in the greenhouse at 110 degrees for 20 minutes while I watered the little plants I had to take a short break and then dad and I returned to put up our first piece of field wire. That went ok once we had the tightening mechanism reconfigured for this size of field fencing. We've got the south 340 feet up and the west 165 feet and will finish the other 2 sides in the morning along with stretching the top 3 "jump prevention" wires.

We should be pulling rows no later than Saturday. Normally we'd be doing them tomorrow but mom and dad will attend my niece's softball game in the afternoon. Should be a blast as they are up for a position in the state championship; not sure which placement they are playing for, some uncle I am.

Saw a gorgeous hawk fly overhead after lunch. Couldn't tell if she was one of our red-tails, didn't seem to be. She had distinct white bands near the end of her wings and quite a piercing call. It was hard to gauge her size, I don't think she was as large as a red-tail but she was much larger than the usual gos-hawks that haunt our orchard and the local woods. Flying in wind swept circles her cries filled me with a sense of intensity and concentration.

I always have to laugh when I hear environmentalists bemoan how agriculture is destroying wildlife. They should have to contend with all the critters who constantly draw sustenance from my efforts (some of them are even human; damn hippies get out of my corn field!) It is especially delightful to see the quail, pheasant, wild turkeys and dozens of other bird species that find my domain to be a safe and bountiful place to live. I've one particular gos-hawk which flies past the back door to my barn every once in a rare while that really puts a thrill and stunning moment of silence into me.

And I hope you have such a moment of silence to thrill you as well.

Driving posts

A fencing I will go. Actually I'll probably drive the truck while dad drives the posts unless I can talk him into trading off every 5.

I was messing around and found some of my old javascript from like 8 years ago so I added my random paragraph generator to this page. It's under my profile in the right sidebar in case you hadn't noticed. That was fun, I'll be bringing you some more code gems from the past and future as I have time.

No politics to discuss this morning. Only one dream: I was working as a teacher in some sort of art school. It was like one huge long unit storage company that had been converted into a school and I strolled from block to block looking at all the different forms of art. The woodshop especially stuck in my mind for some reason. There was a dark haired teacher there in long robes (sort of like from Harry Potter) who was asking me about watching the school in the afternoon, like during extra-curricular hours.

What a strange dream. My brother was a teacher and my family has a history of teachers but I've never before imagined myself as one.

Wishing you a happy day with lots of birdsong and wind whispers.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Corn Planting Day, Part 3

Alllriighty Then! We've got our first full field of corn planted. 5.5 rows of 65 day Seneca Pronto SE, 8.5 rows of 75 day Bodacious SE, and 7 rows of 95 day Incredible SE. Actually I can't really recall how long Incredible takes, but it deserves the name. People can't believe how good it is until they try it. Then I've got them hooked, I swear the stuff is almost as bad as heroin. People just freakin' love it.

So later today or early tomorrow we will be putting down fertilizer and then pulling green polyethylene mulch and drip tape over mounded soil for our cantaloupe, mixed melons, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash and eggplant over at Charlie's. Gotta put together the filter system too, I better not forget to gather parts, tools and stuff tonight. 7500+ plants in the big greenhouse just waiting to get out and grow.

Speaking of that I better mosey on out there and water them. It was 105 in there earlier but the sky has been a little hazy with an occasional cloud so maybe it won't be too bad. Yeah!

Wishing you all a lovely, safe, wonder-filled day of freedom and joy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

CNN, George Bush, Illegal Immigrants and high gas prices

I've been really weirded out the last couple days by CNN. They keep saying that President Bush's low approval ratings are purely a reflection on the war in Iraq. That Glenn Beck fellow mentioned it several times today and I think it was Wolf that said so a few days ago. I have heard it from CNN repeatedly and from a number of other liberal sources like that hardball Chris Matthews.

But when I search the blogrolls and talk with my friends and family, our low opinion of Bush has nothing to do with the war in Iraq. Everyone is frustrated first about his stance on illegal immigrants and open borders (most especially the open border which is an open invitation to terrorism.) Do a search of the blogs for "illegal immigrants" and you'll find 20 blogs against illegal immigrants for every one pro (I counted yesterday.) Secondly people have an indirect anger with Bush about gas prices. Personally I think this is a little unfounded psychology at work because of his ties with big oil, but then again large groups often have a pretty good peg on things.

The point is almost everyone is indifferent or even positive on his roll in the Iraq war. In this part of the world I would have to say the vast majority of people are actually approving of much of the war effort, not that it couldn't have gone better. The same goes for the international wire tapping issue. No one here buys into the democrat's allegation that the NSA has been tapping domestic phones; it only makes sense to tap phone calls to islamic countries during this time of crisis, so what is the liberal's beef with that?

What do CNN and the liberals hope to get out of this distortion of the truth? Are they really dumb enough to think that they can tell us what is on our minds and that we'll then believe them?

It is fascinating to witness this divergence between what they would like us to believe ( with their effort to reinforce such ) and what everyone has their concerns set on. I think this sort of slanted journalism is becoming very visible to a world equipped with the mass consciousness of blogs, the web, etc. and is actually starting to discredit some of the broadcast news media and cable channels that are so accustomed to applying their opinion swaying muscles.

India is cool

A big wink, wink to the city of Madras in Tamil Nadu, India. Thanks for stopping by.

Woo-hoo! Take that!

Corn seed in the ground, happiness is the tractor sound.
Warm sun on well tilled soil, soon the weeds will make me toil.
Sprinkler pipe that I must move, listen to Rock to hitch my groove.

Plants will sprout beneath the sun, leaky pipe will make me run.
The hoe I swing. Weeds I chop. So we can have a happy crop.
My enemy want me to drop, they'd best give up 'cause I won't stop.

The swinging blade - The shiny steel
of my plows turning keel. Folds the earth where they would walk,
stills their tongue so they can't talk.

Feed my folk, their bellies full.
So strong mind, and arm, and spirit rule.

Corn planting day, Part 2

We've just about got the seeder calibrated and then mom and dad had to go for an appointment to get their Medicare supplemental insurance program. This is another ridiculous twist by our governance. Mom and dad are going to be paying a couple bucks more per month than they do now for their medication on the off chance that if they need something more expensive the insurance industry and the feds will cover it.

Man, am I a whiney gub'ment basher or what? But so much of this just seems terribly illogical to me, all so some pharma-con companies can squeeze even more blood from the turnips. I think they are just envious of the petroleum companies.

It is another gorgeous day in southern Oregon. It was quite cool last night so the air and sun haven't started to bear down yet, no skin sizzle and no eyeball congestion. I'll be going out shortly to water the greenhouse and tend to some more work in the grapes. We're a little over a week out from having irrigation in the ditch at last. Since our watering days are Thursday-Saturday it will be a while longer until we can finally get the drip systems hooked up in the rows I showed you here. We'll be planting the tomatos sooner than that so we'll have to hand water with a tank pulled by the tractor until then.

I hope your work and play fills you with happiness all day.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Keep Internet Liberty

The Internet Freedom Coalition is working to help prevent government restriction of the internet. Let's all take a moment to help keep this vibrant medium a free and open place for the exchange of ideas, information, and hope.

Domino, butterfly effects and relativity

Well, relatives anyhow.

So my brother's truck broke down last week. The head gasket blew, what anyone would call an "act of god" since there is no way to prevent or predict such an occurrence. He maintains his equipment well, changes oil frequently drives reasonably etc. but variations in manufacturing, wear-and-tear and weather conditions lead to such events at random intervals.

Here's what I don't get. No one is going to bail my brother out. No government agency is going to pay for repairs, labor, a new truck or anything. And yet how is his case any different than those who decided every day to keep living in a city built 30 feet below sea level in the path of recurring hurricanes? They were warned again and again for decades that what did happen would happen. My brother had no such warning but he'll get no help and no free support.

My brother works very hard, he is a sincere, honest person. He has been struggling to get his own welding business going (he's an excellent welder) but the state licensing board, bonding agencies and insurance companies have been throwing out roadblocks every step of the way. The same sort of people who will be paying to rebuild New Orleans are not only not helping my brother, they are actually actively participating in slowing his progress. What in the H&l! ?

These regulations, constraints, and irrational methods of operation are a product of 40 years of democratic ideological dominance which barely if ever reflected reality followed by a restrictive republican control that leverages influence to large financial concerns while currying favor from large voting blocks.

Our government has gone insane.

Once more with the hubris

I was so excited to get corn in, I should've known the universe would take a dim view of my zealotry.

So one thing after another and by the end of the day, still no corn in the ground. And with tomorrow's appointment and the niece's softball game in the afternoon it will be Wednesday before we can make another attempt. Say Lah Vee, eh?

It is interesting how the domino/butterfly affect works. My nephew-in-law left a piece of steel laying in my brother's lawn which caused him to fracture 2 spindles on the riding mower he was borrowing. He was livid, no doubt. So then dad brought the mower home to work on it instead of dropping it off at the other field. Each event after that consumed an additional 20-30 minutes apiece until we were so late getting into town that by the time we got home (from getting fertilizer and some funnels for the seeder; to complex to explain...) it was too late to seed.

So I've been mowing in the vineyard for the last several hours. Which is cool because the vineyard is the only dream from last night I can recall. I've been having these odd dreams on and off about having neighbors with additional property to lease me long term for quite some months now but only last night did the entire series stay with me upon dreaming of finding an heirloom vineyard buried beneath blackberries in that field. Weird, I hardly ever dream of farming. Last night I dreamt of cleaning out the large old canes and getting them ready to produce a big crop, which is more or less what we are doing in one corner of our own vineyard. No idea why my mind cast the whole thing that way.

Life, happiness and freedom to you.

Corn Planting day

Hooray, hooray, it's corn planting day. Rills of puffy cloudy lace the sky and sunrise gives them colors for my eye. The gentle breeze stirs the trees and flower petals drift down to decorate the ground. Oh be happy human world for sweet corn begins today.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Just got through reading Douglas Rushkoff's book "Coercion, why we listen to what They say" and found it pretty heady stuff. Definitely gave my eye a slant towards all that garbage advertising on television. Of course as I recently told a friend, I've virtually given up television for blogging. This is way more fun!

I think what I found most interesting about Mr. Rushkoff's book is when he points out how forms of coercion have spread from their advertising routes and permeated many people's daily behavior. That was really fascinating and totally witnessable. I know some of my customers are occasionally baffled when I just offer product and don't include a "hard sale" line of thought. As if they've become so saturated by advertising influence that they are at a loss when it is absent. I've got good corn, tasty watermelon, what more do I need to say? It doesn't matter to me if they trust me or not, they either take some home and come back believers or they don't.

Environmentalists are evil

Here is a picture of our irrigation ditch. As you can see it is more ditch than it is irrigation right now. The Grants Pass Irrigation District used to fill it with water in mid April to the delight of farmers and wildlife. Now, thanks to misguided environmentalists fronting for large land developers and power hungry political organizations like Oregon Water Watch the deer go thirsty and my fields are dry.

For 80+ year the Savage Rapids Dam has provided inexpensive water to over 7000 homes and farms in the Rogue Valley. In that time we have had numerous record setting salmon runs above the dam. But in the mid 90s GPID and SRD came under attack by an assortment of organizations all being liberally supported by land developers and special interests groups none of whom even live in Oregon. Their cause: save the fish.

GPID has been forced by a liberal federal judge out of L.A. to begin preparations to remove the dam to protect fish passage. Although upgrading fish passages (which are already far and above adequate) would cost less than 14 million dollars, GPID will be forced to find and spend 27 million to remove the dam and replace the current gravity powered pumps with electric pumps (read: oil or nuclear powered) it's either that or lose their rights to the additional 60 cubic feet per second that it takes to service most out-lying farms such as mine. Water which would otherwise just be flowing out to the ocean.

All of this for a fish which is no longer even on the endangered species list.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Some pics of the fields

The first pic is of our primary corn field. The second is a subset of the same field where the mixed melons and cantaloupe will go. Those sprinklers make me happy.

Come on in the weather is fine

Gotta run over and shut off the irrigation in just a couple of minutes but thought I'd take a second to post how nice it is here today.

The sky is hazed over with a thin frill of clouds and there is an intermittent breeze taking off the edge of what heat remains. The greenhouse is about 102 and I just got through watering it so all 7000+ plants are very happy. Today is an easy day because dad is doing some landscaping with/for his friend Terry. All I'm doing after I get the water shut off is working on calibrating the corn planter for Monday. Will be putting in 3 plantings of sweet corn that day: 65,75 and 89 day respectively. After this planting it will all be the 89 day Incredible that we have going in about 14 rows 300 feet long each week except for the planting intended for Labor Day weekend which will be about 18 rows.

Hope your day is fine and sweet.

Charlie Daniels on Illegal Immigration

Charlie Daniels sums it up.
Tip of the hat to Del.

Friday, May 05, 2006

It's a Kennedy family tradition

First: He might be totally innocent so let's all give Pat Kennedy a momentary benefit of the doubt.

That being said, it is an outrage that he was treated any differently than you or I would be under such circumstances. In case you hadn't heard he was involved in a automobile accident and then released without any form of test of his sobriety. No other person in America (not even an illegal immigrant) would have gotten such a lenient treatment. We see the insidious hand of favoritism once again.

Investigation of the police official(s) who demanded his release without breathalizer or blood test is underway. And I'm sure journalists are scouring Washington D.C. to see if they can find his bar tab from that evening.

My only hope involving this whole incident, above and beyond an end to special treatment is that someone will put together an audio/video blurb of Pat and Teddy featuring the Hank Williams Jr. song "It's a Family Tradition"

Water, water, everywhere

I suppose you could drink it but it's straight out of the wild Rogue River unfiltered and I'd hate to think of what you might catch. However it is superlatively fine for preparing corn fields and irrigating melon patches.

The sprinklers are running even as I type. The rich, loamy pumice soil at Charlie's field turns a lovely dark color when wet. It looks like a milk chocolate cake. The river is a milky jade like green, loaded with minerals. The spray from the sprinklers is very cold from recent snow melt high in the mountains and has a delightful smell on fresh turned earth which is beyond my ability to describe. Rainbows abound, no matter where you stand one of the sixteen sprinklers is showing off prismatic color at all times as they turn. (sorry about that plurality mixing.)

Time and happiness to you.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Happy tomato home

It's so nice to finally have some fields ready to plant. This year we're using green plastic mulch for a change, check it:

This is the same field which was just plowed in the early morning picture shown here.

That's 1500 feet of row space- 5 rows 300 feet long. Enough for about 800 tomato plants. We'll have another couple of sets over at Charlie's field along with about 20 more mixed melon rows, all that same length.

It's still a few weeks until the Grants Pass Irrigation district gets us water so there'll be a brief period where this field will have water hauled to it. The ultra good water news is that Charlie got the pump running over at his field so Hoorah! for Charlie. Now we can finish prepping the corn field, maybe get it planted by Monday.

Glorious day to you!

Another glorious morning

Bright blue sky, cool breeze and singing birds. What more could you ask for?

Today we'll finally start pulling some plastic mulched mounds for planting some early crops. Might have a little trouble with the deer punching holes in the plastic but since we finished renovating the vineyard there is little cover for them to hide in and they have diminished quite a bit. And we'll be putting up a little more fencing soon so that really should put the lid on them. I'll use Deer-X to keep them off the young plants until then.

Wishing you a fine and frolicsome day (or night if you're on the other side of the world)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Nano-safety hype getting on my nerves

Greenpeace is making another stab in the dark at saving us all from ourselves. Check out the nano-details over at Nano Guy.

Rip snort'n

Having a great day so far. Moved a bunch of plants to the cool part of the big greenhouse in prep for tomorrow's 90+ degrees. Going out now to put fertilizer down for the early tomato, lettuce, and summer squash rows. Super-phosphate and calcium nitrate in the first couple rows then lime and triple 16 in the last 3.

Yes, I use chemicals. The biggest 2 chemicals I use are carbon dioxide and dihydrogen monoxide. Both of which can be very deadly. That's CO2 and water without which life on this planet would be impossible, in case some organic fruit-nut wombat is having apoplexy at the thought of me poisoning the planet with my "deadly chemicals". You can drown in either one of them if they are deep enough.

I hardly ever need to use synthetic pesticides, which is what most people should actually be worried about although biological and organic pesticides can often be more dangerous than the synthetics (rotenone and nicotine both from plant sources are quite nasty, look it up...) I really don't understand the fear over part-per-billion trace residues anyways. As if having 800 nuclear devices detonated on the surface of the earth didn't dramatically drive up the tritium and other radio-isotope count everywhere. What's a few dozen molecules of mostly broken down Sevin gonna do compared to that?

Oh, enough gloomy text. It's a lovely day with wonderful butterflies and hummingbird working the bushes in the front yard and I have productive work to do. One could not ask for more.

Wishing you a happy day of freedom and wonder.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A fine and lovely day.

Despite numerous stresses, set-backs, and people who actually think they have an obligation to coerce my mind. Good luck with that!

Beneath the open blue sky and the blazing sun there is little that man has to say which will reflect across the mind of a being solely engaged upon the fine and fibrous light of effort. Onions are starting to flower and dad's fig trees are happy with their roots wet in their new homes of thick clay and vibrant mineral. Here the land and wind sing of time beyond measure and powers which only the body in its entirety can apprehend. Feel the creaking of the earth, the slow squeeking of plant flesh pushing towards heat and sun and sky. A hawk flies by chased by the male of a nesting pair of purple martins. She's gone so fast I only recognize her by the bars on her wings. The frost which decorated metal, plastic, and stone this morning is less then a memory although coolness can still be found in small patches of shadow. The onions will be allowed to flower and seed so that next year I might plant a huge field of sweet and fragrant bulbs. The figs I pray survive.

Good luck and may all your efforts bring peace, freedom and happiness to those around you.

Hot, hot, hot

In the greenhouse. 104 not as bad as it was but still way hot when you have to stay in there watering plants for like 15 minutes. Exactly like being in a sauna/steam room. All the little plants are so happy. It gets sort of intoxicating in there it's so warm and humid with lots of good oxygen.

Gotta go out now and spray round-up along the driveway and around the vineyard and maybe try to get some water down by dad's new fig trees.

Hope life is treating you well and the wind whispers happy secrets to you.

Corner posts

Got the last 2 sets of corner posts set for the big cantaloupe/watermelon field over at farm #2. Will get fencing up in the next couple of days and plant corn as soon as we get the water turned on in that field. Hopefully soon.

Pretty hard bit of frost last night so I'm glad we weren't all gung-ho planting stuff early. Usually we can't safely plant until May 15. Unfortunately lots of trees were in flower but I haven't seen any sign of obliteration yet so we might have just squeaked by.

Dreams. Had one worth a giggle: I was being chased through the wine cellar of a monastery by zombies who came up through a floor-drain like spaghetti played backwards. They were trying to catch me because a monk gave me a magic rosary bead on a rosary necklace. The bead looked like a sort of moldy acorn. All that and I'm not even catholic.

Hope your day is full of freedom, truth and happiness.

Monday, May 01, 2006

3,080 dollars stolen from every American home

I promise I'll get back to the fascinating world of farming soon, but since today was commie illegal alien day I found 1 more great stat:
The net cost to the federal government in 2002 for public services provided to illegal aliens was $10.4 billion or $2,736 per household according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies. Estimates for 2005 put the amount at $11.7 billion or $3,080 per household.

That's from Human Events Online much more details and an even higher price tag there.

What they're really protesting for

TCS Daily has a fine article on the true motivation behind today's marches and protests. The best quote from the article is:

Any general strike poses a danger to constitutional government by offering a path to political power that short-circuits the normal rules of the political game that everyone else has been playing by. That is why, whenever a government permits itself to be influenced by the tactics of the general strike, it is unwittingly preparing for its own dissolution -- it is de-legitimatising itself by legitimatising the streets. The moment people believe that the traditional rules of the political game get them nowhere, and that the most effective means of procuring what they want is by taking to the streets, then everyone, sooner or later, will end up taking to the streets, and no one will see any point in playing by the old traditional rules of the political game.

In many ways, the key to the stability of those nations founded on Anglo-Saxon political institutions has been their refusal to permit political decisions to be decided in the streets, and their stern insistence that change could come about only through the ballot box and not by manning the barricades. Unfortunately, many Americans today, on both the right and left, have come to look upon masses of people filling the streets with their protests and demands as a healthy exercise in democracy. In fact, once those who control the streets learn that they can force governments to change their policies, or even to bring down governments altogether, then power automatically goes to whatever group can be most effective in organizing the streets to their own ends, at which point constitutional government simply ceases to exist, and the rule of the survival of the fittest comes into force.

That was written by Lee Harris at TCS Daily. Read all the rest Here.

CNN: the meat grinder of truth

Since I like the sensation of having my toenails sanded off, I stopped by the CNN website after lunch. Once more they impress me with their ability to obfuscate and spin on behalf of their Overlord masters. Today's rallies are no longer for illegal immigrants, CNN has used its journalistic omnipotence to give them all full amnesty. All articles simply refer to "immigrant rallies", "immigrant protests", and "immigrant rights." With a few clicks of the keyboard CNN has over-ruled every objection rendering those who oppose the fashionable minority of the day as unreasonable racists.

Of course the corporate suits who salivate over the prospects of even more slave labor from mexico are the ones behind this editing of reality. Further depressing the labor market will fit the fancy of the Federal Reserve while diluting the already fractured American voting blocks will titillate and delight the Republicratic Democan politicians who feed on every vein of industry and artery of reason which once made this country great. Auctioning of our interests and security to China and Dubai will continue until we reach the highest bidder.

May 1 and all is well

No one has starved to death in America and no lawns have suddenly exploded in growth thus smoothering children waiting for the school bus. Strawberry prices haven't suddenly skyrocketed and everyone has found an alternative baby sitter. Pallets are still being made and turf still being laid. Hmmm? Where are all the illegal immigrants? Maybe they finally went home.

Had some wonderfully strange dreams last night. Like my brain made up it's own variation on one of the star-wars movies; Leah, Padme, Obe-Wan and super-force weapons used to prevent the collision of a moon with a planet. How trippy. I still haven't seen the third movie. The dream was so vivid it unleashed some memories of earlier dreams I had last year about stargazing and seeing UFOs in the sky. I had totally forgotten that dream.

Much hard work today: moving earth, drilling post-holes, preparing mounds for transplanting. So I can't dally with this blog for long.

Hope your day is free and clear.