Monday, December 31, 2007

Open source media

The Viewer's Strike of 2008 is a pretty great idea. Throw in a transparent mesh network layer built around 802.11 or the public broadcast bands and there'd be no way the legacy system could reimpose its will on the people.

Happy 2008!

Wishing happiness to everyone, especially anyone reading here. May this new year bring us all enthusiasm, good will and well being.

Redneck hobbies

(Warning! not suitable for some non-redneck viewers) I laughed so hard I thought I was going to injure myself.

Going RSS

Been enjoying the Google Reader for compiling all my news, science and tech feeds so I got inspired and ran up the syndication code for my site (links under my profile)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Another assault on (Un)reason

I'm on a roll tonight.

Uncle Al has a sermon about the seven deadly virtues. Ol' Ben Franklin would love this guy.

Enjoying wikipedia

Been following assorted trails from the mathematics portal and found my way into regions of belief and uncertainty. Found a new (to me...) definition which amused:

Ignosticism—the view that a coherent definition of God must be put forward before the question of the existence of God can meaningfully be discussed. If the chosen definition isn't coherent, the ignostic holds the noncognitivist view that the existence of God is meaningless or empirically untestable. It should be noted that A.J. Ayer, Theodore Drange, and other philosophers see both atheism and agnosticism as incompatible with ignosticism on the grounds that atheism and agnosticism accept "God exists" as a meaningful proposition which can be argued for or against. The ignostic would say, "I don't know what you're talking about when you refer to God. Unless we first figure that out, debates over whether god exists are meaningless."


I'm not saying that's my viewpoint, only that I found the definition amusing.

I encourage anyone who has the means to contribute to Wikipedia; in my opinion it may turn out to be one of the great endeavors of the human race.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dave Lindorff: The voice of the world farting

Excuse my crudeness!

The article "Global Warming Will Save America from the Right...Eventually" by Dave lindorff had me laughing so hard I just had to type it.

Every time I try to be open minded and consider all the points-of-view, someone like Lindorff comes along and spoils any chance of my listening objectively to liberals for at least a couple of days. This man is a typical slogan chanter, a sin to be found on both sides of the political aisle for sure. But you've got to wonder if this fella has ever had an independent thought. He's certainly never experienced objective skepticism.

The Will to Doubt, Mr. Lindorff, the will to doubt.

Snowy day

Kept myself busy with an oddment of assorted ephemera and chores today. Snow fell in flurries and blowing showers almost all day.

Mom and dad took down most of the holiday decorations today. Dad has been suffering from a bit of ear and sinus infection the last couple days, probably brought on by the cold and recent increase in candy consumption. His blood pressure has been running high this last week so the doc has him on some new BP medicine which seems to be taking hold now.

Gonna go have a cup of chicken soup now. Hope y'all are enjoying life.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Doubly wireless blogging

Not really sure how this post is going to look when I'm done. I'm using my new wireless keyboard and mouse while routing the video output through my ol' tv set. Text is little and a little blurry. But it is really nice to kick back in a comfy position and be able to control this machine. If I ever get liquid I'll invest in a big screen tv that accepts 1024x760 resolution. Or maybe a projector. That will make writing code a smooth cool breeze.

It's snowing outside at the moment. Flurries been blowing through all day.

Hope you are all happy and well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

A fine, frozen Christmas morning here in Southern Oregon.

Gifts have been exchanged, much sated happiness abounds. I got a wireless keyboard and mouse. Will make computing more delightful. Also lots of clothes, some candy treats and other cool little tools and items. I gave mom one of those little indoor fountains and dad a new craftsman screw-gun, and of course other minor items.

Wishing all of you as fine a day or better.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Energy Victory

Been listening to Robert Zubrin on C-span. Wow! he's not the world's best public speaker, but he's sure got his ducks in a row when it comes to energy independence. Once more I'm ferociously pissed off at my government for not listening to someone like him. His website and book are here. If you can afford to buy, let me borrow it when you're done!

But seriously, listening to him one comes to realize really how easy it would be to solve a plethora of problems while also freeing America from its oil addiction.

Keep up the good work, Mr. Zubrin.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Evening contemplations

Train rumbling by in the night, sound the horn in darkness 'neath moonlit sky

Snow covered ridge so cold, so beautiful

Lights on the freeway moving, always moving

Silhouette trees dreaming in their winter slumber

Feral cat filching a snack in my barn

Christmas gifts that (desperately) need wrapping

Shadows silently reading

Congressional report

You gotta see this one...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Senate kicks global warming in the butt

Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming

Well, at least they (our representatives) aren't totally full of you-know-what

Lakota Seccession

I have mixed feeling about this but I'm so pissed-off at my so-called government right now that I've gotta tell the Lakota people "Rock on, you crazy aborigines!" I totally hope you kick DC's butt. DC isn't even representing those citizen that want to be part of their institution anymore.

Interestingly, this is parallel to one of the "ShadowRun" story lines (the books, not the games) I wonder if the authors knew about the '74 proceedings or if they just came up with this?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More political Cr^P from DC

The illustrious "More-ons" in Washington DC have done it again. Spending literally trillions on every foible, abuse and social corruption and now they've cut the R&D and science budgets (details at ScienceNow, the AAAS website)

If anyone had a doubt about our government belonging to OPEC and/or big oil, just check out the fact that they cut funding to the ITER project which WAS the world's most advanced fusion project and was slated to deliver loads of cheap electricity at some point in the next 50 years. No radioactive byproducts, no CO2 and no oil dependence, we gotta make sure that doesn't happen.

Any hope for MIT's proposed geothermal plants is pretty much toast.

We might not mind these cuts, if a matching amount of the pork had been cut from their budget or if the border fence had been left intact. Arrrrrgg!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Government Spending Transparency

Another FINALLY! moment.
The feds have finally started to comply with recent transparency legislation making it possible for us to see how they're wasting our money. Check it here.

On the Oregon page it is quite clearly visible to see when the feds stopped paying their taxes on the O&C railroad lands which they confiscated and will not return to our stewardship. From 2005 on there has been a precipitous drop in money coming to southern Oregon. They should either return those lands to us or pay what they promised.
Update
Been digging around there a bit and can already see the pattern of obfuscation we have come to expect from our government. The database is difficult to access and search, browsing is all but impossible especially when done by category. Listings are limited to the first 500 of tens of thousands or all of them, no page-by-page display. Typical methods of keeping the public from using it. God forbid they issue an actual database interface so someone could use datamining on the set. How about allowing us to download the data as a spreadsheet, would that kill anyone?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What the heck?!

File this under "why the US congress has a 14% approval rating"

Rain peaceful

Just a light sprinkle going on right now, not enough to even switch the radar from "Clear air" mode.

The ground is wet and the sound of a running chainsaw fills the air. Should check and see if it is a burn day.

Soon will be leaving to weld, cut and machine.

Wishing you all a peaceful and rewarding day.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Global Warming?

Brrr.......

Spent most of yesterday working at Bro's shop on a forced-air heat extractor for our wood stove. Will make it much more efficient. Probably do the same today.

The turkeys are back, gleaning the apples from our numerous trees. Some of them have taken to flying up into the trees to get the apples hanging there. Guess they like to eat in peace. The turkeys are the only spots of color out there now; everything else is covered in frost. Thank god for global warming.

Hope y'all have a fine, comfy day.

Monday, December 10, 2007

cold and fog, frost and cloud

Fielder mountain is covered in frost and fog. A low lying cloud darkens the northern sky, casting Fielder in the image of dark fortress or frost giant realm.

Pruning apples as often and for as long as I can stand it. The air is about 33 in the shade. Out in the sun, the wind is up so I'd say out there it's about 20. Brrrr...

Been suffering through a light flu the last couple days. Low level nausea, sore swollen joints, intermittent fevers. The usual winter funk, actually quite mild compared to some I've had. Still icky feeling. Grateful for the mildness of it, considering the alternative.

Gotta go be useless. Hope y'all are doing well.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pray for Rae

Taking a few minutes after some clean-up in the north barn and I came across the comment from Rae-Ann telling me she had a burst appendix last week. Wow! what a bummer. Everybody send her a bundle of wellness and happy wishes. She said she's out of the hospital and slowly recovering but that is still a very heavy illness to suffer from so I'm sure a little well-wishing is appropriate.

Get well Rae.

Insomnia and mortgage crisis, part 2

Apparently I'm not working hard enough during the day to get a good nights sleep.

Cspan is reviewing some mortgage crisis hearings from Wednesday. I am still astonished by the situation that the mortgage industry is putting itself into. Facing imminent foreclosure catastrophe brought on by their own practices, that industry acts as if it is not composed entirely of human beings. Can you imagine sticking a thumb-tack into your arm and then saying "Ow!" and then sticking yourself again and again until you bleed to death? That's exactly what the mortgage industry is doing to itself.

No one is holding a gun to the head of these people saying "you better foreclose on these loans" or "you've gotta raise those interest rates or I'll blow your brains out!"

All these banks have to do is to act, well, human. Alter their loans to make it possible for people to continue to pay. Why do they need congress to hold their hands and walk them to the potty?

In the words of Brian Regan "I give up on this species...."

Friday, December 07, 2007

No news is no news

Christmas shopping again this morning, had to take some stuff back and get the right things.

Pruning most of the afternoon, both grapes and apples. Been planning on writing up a short "pruning tips" post with a couple of pictures from the orchard but haven't had the energy to do so yet. Got the pics made already, just need to transfer them and come up with appropriate text describing the pruning process as I see it.

The last couple of days when I take a break and come into check the web for news I have been sublimely disappointed. It seems like this is the dullest time of the year for informational material. It's as if the news and science sites I usually peruse are barely even trying, just repeating a lot of stuff going back over the last 6 months with different titles or variations on the same explanations. Even the search engines are becoming balky and uncooperative. When I enter a search I have to wade through a crap-pile of commercial sites and advertising much of which is only remotely connected to what I entered in my search. Oh, for the carefree days of Gopher to return!

Hope everyone out there is feeling fine and acting kind.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Very large smoke plume on Fielder Mountain

A very large plume of smoke, presumably from a large fire, shot up from the slopes of Fielder Mountain above I-5 near the small city of Rogue River, Or. today shortly after 3:00 pm. The smoke appeared to originate from the vicinity of a quarry operation known to use explosives in its mining process. The column of smoke was approximately twice the size of that caused by a burning three bedroom house. The cause of the fire could not be ascertained from this location but the color of the smoke was alternately white to dark, dirty gray with only hints of petroleum black. Most such mining operation use ammonium nitrate/fuel explosives which are also highly combustible in open air. Speculation is running in that direction as to the cause.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Rainy goose day

It is like, totally pouring out there. Has been all morning.

Did some Christmas shopping this morning, taking advantage of a free trip into town as mom was getting a perm today. Got most the stuff I was looking for in gifts and a few more items for some of my art projects.

As we pulled up the driveway we were astonished to see about 50-60 geese parked in the field below the grapes. Probably a lot of good food out there leftover from this year's crops. Was quite a flock, here's a pic:

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Privilege of Labor

Spent a good part of the day working with Dad and Bro, putting in steel gate and fence. Digging post holes, mixing cement, holding tape or level. I always feel lucky when I get a chance to work productively with my family. Especially when we do something as attractive as the work we completed today. Here's a pic of the fence we put up:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another night of autumn insomnia

Going to be helping my brother put in some iron fencing tomorrow so of course since I need to be well rested my insomnia has kicked in.

A few small showers have been blowing through. Only 1 degree above freezing so we can expect the surrounding mountains to be dusted with snow in the morning light. Should be lovely and nicely timed for the upcoming Christmas season.

Wishing you all a fluffy blanket of night and a bright, vigorous morning.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cold work

The clear weather has been keeping me real busy.

Frost and fog turn the world that ghostly pastel this morning.

Wishing you all a comfy day.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Gratitude

I was gonna go with "Happy Thanksgiving" but then I decided to be just a little weird.

Wow! it is frozen up outside. Frost has painted the world in eerie paleness. A flock of geese were hunkered down in the field below our vineyard. We had some white corn and assorted other stuff in that field, now disced down, so they should have something to fill their bellies (or crop or whatever) today too.

I want to thank everyone who visits here for my enjoyment of their enjoyment. One off reciprocal happiness as it were. May all of you be pleasantly stuffed and sleepy today.

Autumn Insomnia

Well, I can't sleep again. 1:42am, uhg....

Had a great day (yesterday) it was cold but clear all day so I got a lot of pruning done. Dad got a bunch of firewood cut up.

There's nothing good on tv late at night I have discovered. Adultswim used to be pretty good but they've lost their touch in laziness. Bring back SpaceGhost Coast-to-Coast and use some better tech to make the interviews more "live" and get better guests.

Oregon PBS is having a hearing about predatory loan practices. I'm so weirded out by that whole thing, an entire sector of our economy is committing suicide. All they need to do is stop foreclosing and give these homeowners a chance to hang onto their houses, but like the proverbial lemmings they just keep heading over that cliff. How about this, you bunch of idiots, take possession of the houses that are loaned against then lease them back to the occupants at a rate they can afford. That way you can show both capital inflow and real property value on your spreadsheets. Give people the chance to buy their houses back at a later date and they'd be sooo happy and your company(ies) could survive this disaster. But no, that'd make too much sense; why don't you just keep boarding up empty houses, putting families on the street and going bankrupt, that'll help everybody.

Well, gonna make another attempt at sleep. Hope y'all are resting well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Deep thinking

There's more going on here then meets the eye. Literally. The human world's mass mind is connected in an unprecedented manner. Loose and free, messages flash across dendrites of glass and copper. Axons of human minds flutter in a quantum superposition of opinions. Histories and circumstances play like tree shadows flashing by on a sunny autumn drive.

Million gallon buckets of data deluge the net in the form of pictures, text, video and a plethora of other formats. Meta-minds layered high in the frontal cortex swim in deep seas of truth and fiction. A lightning flash of insight rumbles away into the distant, thunderous thoughts echoing off hillsides of adamant dogma.

Mixed metaphors splash across the canvas of our ideas like paint spilled by a child.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another FINALLY! moment

I've been saying this for like, six years now. There are plenty of people sitting around America who would love a chance to do something as important as protecting our borders with some of their spare time and the technology to allow them to has been around for well over a decade now. I'm sure my friends and family have reached that "here he goes again" stage when I talk about it.

With a little open source cooperation from the public we could come up with ways to work in teams, accelerate response rates and filter erroneous reports. The stats totally support the fact that the public attention resources are there; 43,000 hits per hour.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Enjoyably busy Sunday

After a hearty homemade breakfast I lazed around for most of the morning. Watched the movie "Fantastic Four" which I had been told by friends and assorted reviewers wasn't very good. My respect for those opinions has been seriously damaged because it was a freakin' great movie. Terribly similar in style to the original comic books, with some great special effects.

Then I installed a dvd burner in the computer that my good friend Del gave me. Everything went smoothly in that operation and I've already backed up many gigabytes of my important files.

Used the afternoon to clean up, prune and study. The weather was unusually fine, in fact we set a record in Medford today, 68 is the new high last record was 67 in 1937. Huh, what do you know they must've had global warming back then too. I'm sure that after the rains we've been having mushrooms will be going nuts. At least for a couple more days until the temperatures start to drop.

Everyone be happy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Rain and other eventualities

It is raining quite hard out there. Will be another day of clean-up and minor repair work. Gotta go get a hair cut (ick!) used to have a girlfriend who would drop by and cut my hair but that is long past. Quite a difference between having a lovely lady brighten up my day and having to endure another visit to the barber shop.

Nothing special to report from the dream realm and everything else I can think of is unworthy of blogging.

Wishing you all a fine day with good traction.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Technorati redux

Technorati Profile

This is the second time I've had to reclaim my blog at Technorati. Come one fellas, your right to the "Tech" part of your name is slipping...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A good tip for fellow bloggers

On a number of occasions, especially when I am offering gardening advice like "How to grow eggplants" or "how to grow tomatoes" my articles have been ripped off by other sites, a blatant violation of my copyrights. What really makes it irritating is that these are always vulture ad sites or some other gimmic pile of crap.

Dailyblogtips has a great idea about how to hurt those "scrapers" which use adsense, a most common advertising medium from Google. I'll be using this technique for sure and so should anyone else who gets ripped-off by such a-holes.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Free-speech-alicious

Here's a neat article and google-map. It lists all the countries where access to the internet has been restricted.

Classic Oregon Storm

Big, fat rain drops are rattling down on the roof of my barn. Been watching this slow moving amoeba of precipitation on the nexrad all morning.

Had a lot of weird, depressing dreams last night. Can't really recall more than a few snippets but definitely left me feeling, blah. Between bouts of cleaning I will spend a few minutes meditating-concentrating and try to expunge these somber reflections.

I'm trying to "beam" or channel some of this rain to our drought stricken fellows in the southeast. Rae, you might want to make a rain circle in your yard for me to tune into so I have a target.

Y'all have a funny, funky day now.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pretty funny-15 Laterals

I don't know if this is, as they say in LA, fur-reals, and I've never been much of a football fan but it is quite humorous. Check it here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Worth noting

Found an article at Slashdot that makes me say "Finally!" Some people have begun using modern tech to improve on the classic MRI. This is something which should be available in any home that wants it. No way an MRI machine is more complex than an Escalade or any other fully modern car so why should they cost so much more? With the removal of the dependency on enormous magnets I really hope this gets pushed directly into commercial production.

Rock Work

Of all the pics I took, only these two looked any good. The wall looks to good to do it the disservice of displaying it in an ugly fashion.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Sun shines through

The fog lifts early this morning, portend of a weather change.

Gold and red cherry leaves glow outside the high northern window of my barn.

The mountain fading green into brown.

Yesterday dad and I spent much of the day laying stone on a rock wall for his friend Terry Spencer. Yes we also do a little rock work now and then, it's sort of genetic; we're dutch. The wall we are working on looks really choice. My da is a powerful good stone juggler. We're supposed to work there this afternoon again and I'll try to remember my camera.

Hope y'all have a fine and laughing day.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

75%

We are the water that knows.
The water that walks,
the water that talks.
Water remembers and water forgets.
In the sky we hide our heads.
Our reflections reflect themselves in puddles
which we see with eyes of water.
The wind blows in and out
of lungs of water.
The ripples of our thoughts
trickle through the deep parts of the earth
and are lost
in water.

Thought

More political mumbo-jumbo

I'm wondering if Porkbusters is going to have anything to say about this. Looks like Trent Lott is going to get to have bacon for breakfast after all.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Foggy morning

Lovely fog covers my world this morning. The air outside is perfumed like a giant cup of exotic tea. Probably from all the leaves on the ground.

Have come up against a number of consistent barriers in my programming so I'm taking a little time off and putting my energy into getting the rest of the farming tear-down under way. Was gonna say "done" but done is a long way off yet.

My biggest problem in programming right now is that winXP interferes with some of my install package. Keeps preventing me from installing files to the system32 directory so I'll probably switch to registering their location in Program Files instead. Which of course requires a complete rewrite of my install package. Uhg.

Hope you all have a fine day.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hmmmm...

I've been trying to stay away from politics in my writings here because such discussions tend to bring on unreasonable vehemence in a certain sector of our population (which sector cuts across all political categories, by the way.)

However, this was a thought provoking article from the L.A. Times. Layers of deception wrapped in swathes of confusion under a heaping, steaming pile of mystery.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

More than an idea

"A Modern Day Eerie Canal" by Jack Ulrich. Good stuff.

A handful of apple tree

Cold air, puffy clouds blowing by. The branches sway and bob as I pull myself up another notch.

The cloth and metal harvest bucket hanging from my left shoulder is already heavy with apples. But the best are near the top. I find a branch that will (briefly) hold my 250 pounds. That gives me a toe hold to the largest top branch which 19 years of pruning have tenderly developed into the perfect step. Rough lichens increase the friction of my grip, securing me almost like velcro.

Pluck, pluck, plux. The bucket grows heavier. A few apples have to be plucked with my right hand and dropped overhead into the bucket. The few bruises won't have time to darken before they are cut up and dipped in sugar water and cinnamon for the drier.

One last largish apple and I begin the gnarly descent. Not trusting the small branch quite so much on the way down, I quickly shift my feet through the intricate patterns necessary to descend the tree. Waves of energy wripple and surge through the noontime air and sun. With my hand closed tight on the biggest up-branch I set foot at last on the lowest 3-fold bifurcation of the trunk. Lowering my bucket to the earth, I close my eyes and breathe deep the air and sky. The smell of tree, the rough touch of bark and lichen. A shimmering curtain, prayer or meditation take your pick, envelopes the orchard with my love for these moments.

Wishing you all a day like this.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Pix Flood

Cynthia's recent comment reminded me, so I broke out the ol' hp digital camera and download all the pix I've taken.

Here's a small sample from the last 6 weeks or so...





Stressfully Lazy

It's another lazy Friday for me, and it really shouldn't be. Thus is stress produced, a difference between my expectations and reality. Rational consciousness imposes high fees for its use.

Will got out shortly and pick some apples or start cutting in the vineyard to relieve my concerns; albeit a futile gesture.

Spent part of this morning getting my WebBlazer software up and running on this computer. For some weird reason WinXP installs all but one of my components (Attach.dll) in the C:\Windows\System32 directory, so for the time being I have to hand install and register it to make it work. Nice to be able to shred through Wikipedia articles now, but I gotta fix that glitch before going public with this thing. Think I'll put out a demo model and then finish the microsiccade and image display functions for the registered version.

Hope you're all having a great day. A special shout-out to my lady: wherever, whenever, whoever; a smile for you ;-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wirelessly yours

Mom and I spent most of yesterday in Medford getting her car worked on at Lithia. It's still there and we had to rent a car and it's still going to cost over $1000 to finish getting the defroster fixed. Dang it Toyota! don't you have any pride or sense of responsibility in your product? Does the word "integrity" mean anything to car manufacturers? Granted the Camry is a pretty nice car, but come on!

While we were in Medford I grabbed a wireless router at Circuit city (Netgear WGR614 or somethin' like that, 29$ after rebate...) So that I am now blogging to you from high in the vaulted loft of my barn. The 21st century has some pretty dang cool things. In 1979 you couldn't have had your own wireless digital network for any amount of money. Now it costs about 64$ if you buy everything new. I supposed off eBay you could get a complete setup for a lot less. 5 more years and they'll come in your cereal box ;-)

Cloudy day but only the faintest trace of precipitation. Gotta go be useful.
Y'all be happy now.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A good night's sleep

Wow, got over 9 hours of sleep for once. Delightful. Lots of weird dreams though. Dreamt I was leaving Grants Pass via the south exit when suddenly my car and everyone else's just stopped running. Had to walk the 6 miles to home. But then I came across a dude pulling a trailer on Foothill Blvd. and (as is the logic of dreams) his truck was running so I got a ride with him the last 3 miles.

Today will only be slightly a day of rest for me. Lots more clean-up to do before we can have a real day of rest. Plus I want to work on some of the projects I had to post-pone during the harvest season.

Hope you all have a restful and rewarding day.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Last Day !!!

Last Day! Last Day! Last Day! Last Day! Last Day! Last Day! Last Day! Last Day!

Ok, so I'm obviously pretty excited about today being the last day of sales at the produce stand. Still lots of work to do in the end-of-season tear-down but at least the artificial timing constraints imposed by a commercial outlet will be gone. And best of all I won't have to put up with anymore corn-peelers.

Tonight we will have celebratory pizza. Wish I had a girlfriend to invite over to share, that'd make it a perfect evening. But, oh well. I've never been able to summon tears for overturned dairy products.

Gotta go get girded. Y'all have a super day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This is really cool too

Adrian Bower explaining Reprap. Very cool project.

This is freakin' super cool

Scientists Create Quantum Cascade Laser Nanoantenna This could reveal many new valuable answers about how cells function.

Autumn vicissitudes

A thick, creepy fog shrouded the world this morning. Around noon the sun burned through and brought a smooth warmth to the colors of the world.

At lunch I saw a delightful goshawk harassing a murder of crows. At about 2/3rds the size of a crow I could imagine what a feast one of them would make for her.

Tired now. Still much hard work to do before we close. That'll almost certainly be this Saturday. After which some small part of the world will enter into a new phase of things.

Good night and many blessings upon you all.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall in bloom

It was such an amazingly beautiful fall day yesterday that I couldn't bring myself to leave it and sit at the computer. But a chilly, foggy, breezy morning like this makes it easy.

We've got one week of the sales season left. Should be pretty easy to get through especially since the entire week is supposed to be a lot like yesterday. That warm but mellow autumn sun and all those vivid colors on the land create a perfect atmosphere for a finale week.

Wishing y'all a lovely day.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Anybody ever hear of UAT?

Saw this ad for degrees in artificial life design and programming on G4tv last night. I've been working with artificial life since high school (cellular automata and a simulation of planaria worms for instance) as well as genetic algorithms since about 1989 so I was interested.

But I can't find out much about the school : University of Advanced Technology. If anyone knows anything about them give me a shout out.

Wishing you a fine and blustery Halloween season evening.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Reading Wednesday

Uhg! what a slow day in business. Stupid ODOT had the road blocked up all morning, totally killed the chances of anybody stopping.

We had vigorous rain showers and some small winds this afternoon. Enough to shake all the water from the awning in front of the stand. Probably didn't help the customer's mood either. It is a very lovely fall season though; nothing can kill my delight in that.

The extra time was used, if not wisely or productively at least not frivolously. Read a bunch and formulated some things for the new version of my web-blazer.

Hoping you are all productive and happy.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lovely Fall Sunday

Ran to Medford, got supplies. Mellow autumn sunshine all afternoon long- after a dim gray morning of fog.

Foliage color is getting like flashbulb quality brightness in places around the valley. Will have images soon.

Last week of picking corn and we're supposed to have rain starting tomorrow after 11am.

Got a last few chores to do this evening so I don't have to do them in the morning.

Y'all have yourselves a mighty fine night now.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

beneath the sea of fog

It is cold and foggy out there this morning. Supposed to get warm later. We used to go into the mountains to cut firewood and often passed above these thick blankets of fog to look down upon our hidden valleys. Occasionally a hilltop poked out above the fog, looking like some island or wizard's fortress.

Dad is off helping Terry with his landscaping so mom and I will run the stand ourselves today. No biggie, with so little business and so little to harvest we can easily handle a day like this.

Well, gotta go hook up for work. Y'all have a fine day now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A nice autumn day

Had a pleasant day down at the vegetable stand. Finally got a load of good corn in from the final field of the season. Sweet and delicious. That field should have made a week ago but the cold, wet weather held it off.

Many small birds and at least one flock of wild turkeys have began to make use of the residue in the earlier fields. Our farms produce a huge outflow of life. All sorts of fowl and fauna plus lady bugs by the ton. I always have to laugh when I hear an environmentalist rant against agriculture because of all the life it destroys. Dang stupidest thing I ever heard.

Hope you all have a happy, insightful and open minded evening.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nice boring rainy day

Slow business in the rain today. The Douglas fir tree besides our stand played eerie Halloween creaky music on the metal side of the building.

Got some reading done and a little more work on the ol' WebBlazer speed reading software. That was a fun project and I'd like to get it back on the market again but I feel it is necessary to add a couple more features before I go to the trouble of building an install package.

Not much else to report. Stay dry and be happy.

Anybody want a nice farm?

Not mine though, my brothers. They've run into a bit of financial difficulty and so are getting ready to sell their place.

It's a really nice little farm, about 7 acres with a Huge barn on it. My brother has raised turf and horses there.

Here's a google earth of the location. The largest gray rectangle is the barn.

View Larger Map

That's an older image so you can't see all the trees they've planted around the border. The place is about a mile away from 2 different I-5 exits with easy access to three large communities; Rogue River, Grants Pass and Medford. It's surrounded by pastures and nearby mountains with the Rogue River itself just a stone's-throw away for lots of recreation, fishing, boating, kayaking, etc..

I'm not sure how much he's asking yet (will get back with some more pics and a price) but it's going to be well below market value and equity cap due to circumstances.

Gotta go get to work now, hope y'all have a great day.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Harsh week

Bad weather, slow traffic, low product supply along with a menagerie of outside events pressing in on us made this a difficult week.

Dad and I spent this morning planting Brussels sprouts and other mixed cole crops. Had to cover that with deer-x even though there's a pretty effective fence around the field. Would be just like one to find a way through the barb wire.

Then we spent the rest of the afternoon picking mixed pumpkins, winter squash and gourds. And I do mean mixed, a lot of these things are volunteers from last years pumpkin/gourd/squash patch and some intermingling of bloodlines has occurred. With delightful results. I'll try to find time for some pics.

Getting tired now, gotta go get ready for tomorrow.

Hope you all are well and happy.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tektenamaru

Numerous forces both social and natural are at work producing tremendous stresses on my family and I at the moment. Too complex and varied to enumerate suffice to say an ominous looking cloud hangs overhead both in the figurative sense and the "tomorrow's forecast" sense.

This sort of thing is to be expected going into fall I suppose. It was about a year ago when Cassie had her accident and 2 years ago we lost uncle Tobe. These and many other traumatic experiences seem to proliferate in the history of autumn.

Halloween is a thoroughly appropriate holiday for the season.

Wishing you all wellness and safety.

Monday, September 24, 2007

2nd day of Fall

I usually try to get on here and write something on the equinox but it has just been a very tiring week. So I made my weekend as restful as possible.

Fall is here and you can definitely tell, all the plants have slowed their production noticeably and this morning it is 36 degrees (Fahrenheit) out there. Also there is that autumn feeling in the air. We're already taking pumpkins and corn shocks down to the stand for the early decorators.

Gotta go cut squash and grapes soon. Hope your day is comfy and stress free.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Busier, less money

Been a rough week. Mentioned the road problems already, seems to be a bigger problem than just traffic. People are spending less, maybe a reaction to the high price of school materials this year.

Even though less spending is going on, we have still been busy. Lots of people coming in and just buying 1 thing. Eats through bags and uses up labor but puts little in the pocket. Especially when they just buy corn, which makes me the least amount of money of anything I sell. About 30 cents a pound, hardly worth picking but I have to have it or I lose about one-third of my visitors.

My blister is healing very nicely, thanks.

Watermelon are probably gonna be a bust this year. The loss of early water cost us so much early vigorous growth that now the cool days are cutting down the sugar content. Oh well, at least I don't have to worry about picking them, uhg! my back is happy.

Listening to a someone or ones called Basia, super great upbeat music. Love "The waters of March" and especially "A new day for you" totally uplifting.

Still no visit from the sunshine smile lady. Sometimes such mysteries are lost in the rush of life. I can not regret what is fundamentally uncertain no matter how my imaginings might meander. A happy life to you my freckled phantasm.

And to you my intrepid reader, a fine and felicitous day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Busy Staccato

I'm not sure if that is exactly the right term. There have been multiple traffic stoppages on our stretch of Hwy 99 for the last couple of days. Three different ones today. With the result that business has been coming in shorter, more intense bursts of people arriving. Less steady business and more rushes with long lulls between traffic breaks. During which one just barely has time to lay out a fresh supply of corn and tomatoes and restock the bags.

Dad found this super cool huge puffball mushroom over in field#4 (planting #11 of 12) I got a picture of it, but don't have my camera here right now. Will try to get the pic up tomorrow. I'm certain this type of puffball is edible when harvested young enough but all these are too close to spore to be very tasty. Probably getting a tarry taste. Still looks really cool.

My blister is still bugging me, getting a bit sore as the body attempts to mend and fight infection. And I'm still disappointed that Sunshine hasn't been back by during my shift. If she's around she's probably stopping by in the morning while I'm picking. Ships in the night, indeed! Hopefully she is well.

Wishing you all wellness and strength.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Blister beetle bedamned (icky! pic warning)

Got a blister beetle trapped beneath my sandal-strap a couple days ago. Hadn't heard of those dang things since I was a kid but apparently some are living in my tomato patch (they feed on solanacea ) so no more sockless sandals for me! The blister is a little bigger than a 50 cent piece:



Sure makes walking all the miles I cover in a day a mighty joy.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Too much to report Sunday

So many things happened this week which I wanted to share with you but it all piled up into my brain until it squished down under the combined mental weight into a mushy mound of vague recollections and obscure concepts. A sort of cognitive compost.

I was going to rant a bit about people peeling the corn, mention the fella who brought back his corn because there was a tiny bit of worm damage (we gave him his money back and encouraged him to shop elsewhere...) complain that Sunshine hadn't been back for a visit. Regale the world with tiny tales of daily agricultural trivia.

But it is Sunday and we all need the rest.

Will sip my tea for a while yet, have a little breakfast and then Away! to pick cucumbers and squash.

Wishing you all a crystal clear and relaxing day.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Wow! so Busy

The word-of-mouth propagation curve has hit that exponential explosion. Plus having a steady supply of peaches has drummed up a lot of new business. Have noticed a diminishment of some of my old clientèle, possibly due to traffic congestion and crowding during choice times of day.

Gonna try and find some watermelons to take in tomorrow. Tomatoes are coming in gang busters, grapes are sticky sweet at their peak and the corn harvest is an avalanche of sweetness and flavor. If I have time I'll move my ladder and pick pears and apples but that will probably have to wait until Sunday.

Hope you all have a delicious and delightful day.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Labor Weekend

Not Labor DAY weekend, just Labor weekend.

Whew! has it been busy. Traffic is up loads. Lots and lots of new customers. Which of course means many new people who refuse to read the "Please Do NOT Peel the Corn" sign. Dang! that is so irritating, so I'm making a new, bigger sign that just says "DO NOT PEEL THE CORN!" Mom wouldn't let me add "Or Guy might poke you in the eye"

And to top it all off, Sunshine didn't come in this week. Sunshine is what I call this delightful strawberry blond (since I haven't gotten her name yet...) who has been stopping by for a couple years now. She has a smile just like sunshine breaking through the clouds and a personality to match. Even though it was quite hot this week, no Sunshine made it a bit darker.

Dad is over helping his friend Terry with some landscaping and I'm going out shortly to pick cucumbers and grapes for tomorrow. Yes, we'll be open on Labor Day. It is a very busy day for us. Fortunately school starts the following day so that will be a particularly slow Tuesday with which to recover.

Hope you all have a wholesome and invigorating day.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Another Friday

Well, we had dad's birthday ice cream cake after it got dark and we couldn't pick anymore. I was so tired I forgot all the gates on our deer fence open so they probably had a "field day" out there last night. This late in the season it probably isn't such a big deal.

Grapes are coming in like a tidal wave now and next week we start picking some apples, I hope. Ate our first black diamond watermelon the day before last. Yumm! Sent a moon-and-stars to my sister's family yesterday. Hope it was ripe, the tendril had been broken off so it was harder to judge.

Gotta go pick, y'all have a great day now.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dad

Dad turns 70 today!

But we'll be lucky if we have time for a wedge of the ice cream cake my sister made before we have to go back out and pick more tomatoes.

Wishing you all a lovely day.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lovely overcast Sunday morning

Just a fluffy layer of low lying clouds to moderate the morning sun. How delightful.

Finally got a good night's sleep after one heck of a busy week. All the summer product except melons is in full harvest and word-of-mouth has really piled on a lot of new customers so we've been scrambling all week. So many things have happened that it all sort of blurs together and now I can't remember enough details to comment on it all.

This morning will be a little more rest time then I've gotta go out and water, fertilize and harvest. Grapes and canning tomatoes are coming in thick and heavy now so I'll also be painting up a new, larger sign for them.

Wishing you all a restful and/or productive day.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Good and busy

Had some good days lately. Tomato season is approaching its peak and we'll soon start rolling out cases of canners. Today we begin the grape harvest which should pick up our sales a bit. Gotta get signs made for that.

Would love to stay and detail stories of customer's folly and nature's wonder, but the fields await and the sun is rising.

Have a great day.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Insane in the rain

Wow! from 20% chance of rain to 100% rain.

This is a really unusual summer drizzle. Sure to crack the cherry, pear and big beef tomatoes. Bummer. It is the farmer's lot to practice acceptance. What else can one do in the face of totally overwhelming forces?

From the radar image it looks like the worst of it has passed but lots of little showers for the next few hours.

Yesterday morning a largish 4 point buck came prancing through the sunflower patch besides our selling room. Our customers and Sparky were equally excited. Dad and I were just contemplating 100 pounds of venison jerky. Well, maybe that was what Sparky was thinking of too, but probably just the thrill of the chase.

I'm gonna spend today cleaning up and resting. Glorious, glorious resting.

Wishing you a restful day too.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

One more day

Our last day of the week and I will really enjoy sleeping in tomorrow.

Business has been pretty good. A little slower with it being county fair week in Josephine county. That's par for the course. But we had a lot of watering, weeding and fertilizing to do so nobody had time to enjoy it.

This next week we'll start bringing in some of our green seedless grapes. Scrumptious! And the corn is peak of the season now, big ears and oh-so-sweet. I love it when we have product which I am 100% confident in.

Well, gotta go pick squash. Y'all take it easy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

busy tired

Had to do the dentist/teeth cleaning thing this morning (thanks Kristy!) so the rest of the day I was short an hour. Extra crushy sort of day.

Would love to regale you all with tales of wildlife and the idiocies of our customers but am waaay too tired.

Have a wonderful evening.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

2nd week blues

My Sunday is November.

Got 2 weeks behind us but the work is still piling up. Weed control, fertilizing and of course the convoluted logistics of watering. Bad enough on its own but add outside scheduling conflicts and it makes a Rubik's Cube look like tic-tac-toe.

Had one amazing little delight amidst the consternation. Came back from farm#2 and was refilling the settling pond and noticed some sort of large insect crawling around on the bottom. Bent down to get a closer look and the thing jetted off. Only one critter moves like that in Oregon waters: Crawdads! So that was a fun little discovery. Now I'm a crayfish farmer too.

It's been blessedly cool here this week, hovering just below 90. Perfect tomato growing weather, 58 degree nights and 89 degree days. Great for the corn too.

Gotta go. Y'all have a fine day and a balmy breezy evenin'.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bring it on

In the article "China threatens 'nuclear option' of dollar sales" we see that China is threatening to call in its trillions of dollars in trade deficit.

As someone who has been forced to buy the faulty, defective and poorly constructed chinese products which have displaced so many sturdy, functional and finely wrought American products due to their slave-labor low prices I would just like to say one thing: "Bring it on you commie bastards." There is nothing I would like more than for my country to be forced to STOP TRADING with you due to our inability to pay.

And while we're discussing it, how about you pay for all that technology you've been "borrowing", hmmm?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Busy Saturday

Pretty tired, had a good days run. Sold lots of peaches today. Corn sold good too. We're into the "Incredible" variety now so people are getting pretty enthusiastic. Most customers have been ok, though we have had some complainers due to our "Please Don't Peel the FREAKIN'! Corn" policy.

A bunch of hard work is waiting for me tomorrow. Mostly moving water and doing weed control in the last planting of melons, pumpkins and squash. So much for a day of rest. Glad planting is finally behind us (unless of course we lay in a fall garden starting end-of-August.)

Hope your day is restful and interesting.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tired Friday

Pretty good day today. Busier early, a few good long spells for reading in the afternoon but lots of one dollar sales after that. Lots of work, little money.

It was HOT again today. Only 3 days left until the peak of summer is past.

The corn pollen is really bugging my eyes these days.

Hope you all rest well and dream happy.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Good day

We were delighted to discover that Charley had taken down the saw-horses and surfaced a stretch of driveway-side all across our entrance this morning. I was thinking that maybe I had exaggerated how much that interruption was affecting our business, but was I wrong! Saw a definite and clear upswing in customers today. Really a big improvement, almost back to the traffic flow we had last week. So I am grateful for that.

It is HOT! today. Only 3 more days or so to the half-way point between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox. The summit of summer if you will. Damn! I'd like to take a day and go rafting down the Rogue followed by an evening at the drive-in theater. Ohhhh,, those days are gone ;-)

Wishing you each and all a spirited companionship.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Slow Tuesday

Our landlord at farm#2 black-topped his driveway last weekend and until he gets the saw-horses and other barriers out of the way our customers are having to avoid them to drive in. Net result: a bunch of people are slowing down and then just driving off instead of pulling over. I'd guess I'm losing about 80$ a day because of that.

On top of it, today, ODOT was plugging pot-holes on the road; totally killing traffic. It was a Very slow Tuesday.

Gotta go get cleaned up and do some watering.

Y'all have a great day.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Working Sunday

Spent most of today putting down fertilizer and moving sprinklers. Needed to rest but that option wasn't available. Maybe next Sunday.

Getting up early to pick squash and move irrigation.

Hope you all have a lovely night.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bizee

Rhymes with dizzy. Feels similar too.

Posting will largely be suspended until Sundays due to extreme workload: harvesting, watering, selling etc. etc.

Hope you all are well and calm and happy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Good opening day

Saw lots of my "regular regulars" today and a few newbies. A couple of "yearlings" stopped by too. All very happy that we were open so they could get their good munchies again.

Kinda tired from standing all afternoon. Gonna go have sloppy joes now.

Y'all have a fine evening.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday serenade

Crickets and cars racing the night's silence for each their own goal.

I've drawn a half circle, a sort of protection in the driveway outside my room. Mosquito repellent has more than one purpose. The night seems to throb and roll, warm and still outside the barrier I have risen.

Around the yard a few incense sticks burn, filling the air with a surreal perfume of nature and artifice.

The radio is playing Billy Joel's "Don't Ask Me Why"

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Cornfield Camera

Got some pics 'cause my public demands them. This first one is the cornfield at farm#2 and the second one is the big sprinkler gun running at farm#3, next door.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Wounded in action

It had been a great day. Watering was well under way, the fertilizer had been put down on the next two fields of corn. Dad was busy unhooking the fertilizer spreader from the Massey-Fergusun's three-point. I was cutting gladiolas to take home to mom. It was 4:45. I forgot that I had put a new razor blade in my pocket-knife. My thumb immediately informed me of what I had forgotten. The blade went in about 2/5ths of an inch. I staunched the flow with a paper towel and drove the truck down to get dad. Don't think I'll need stitches but you should-a heard me cussing. I freakin' HATE this sort of carelessness. Think I might need to get a prescription for my AADD, maybe I can get some Provigil which sounds like a pretty interesting substance albeit quite expensive.

So today I'm working with an extremely minor handicap, bandaged thumb syndrome. Still managed to get the base coat of paint on our "Opening Soon" sign.

Soldier on, and may your day be wound-free.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Weed

Technically, that's a plant growing somewhere you don't want it to. Rather an egotistical definition but there you go.

Since these (extremely odd) rains have blown through weed control has become our paramount activity. My least favorite work and one which I must pursue diligently for the next several days. Fortunately I have more machinery these days to help facilitate the procedure.

The higher humidity is accelerating our corn too so we are suddenly faced with harvest starting around the 25th. Luckily we've still got last years signage and of course the metal building which I still think of as new even though it's 3 years old. So we can just open with very little prep work.

Oh yeah, and I pulled off the first big tomato yesterday. So we should have corn, tomatoes, black berries, cabbage, beets, onions and potatoes for our opening. Not a bad line up for an early starting season (we usually open August 1.)

May all your weeds be easy to pull.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Are you part of the Long Tail?

Arnold Kling had a great article a couple years back, about the gradual atrophy of the right-left dichotomy which has dominated our American political system for so long. He was spot on and many of the trends he mentions are becoming quite visible. The 2008 election may well spin in unexpected directions do to this phenomena.

Lovely night of rain

Of course I wish it will last a while into the day, so I can have an excuse for taking the day "off" (I'll still end up working but at least not so hard outside)

It was so wonderful to wake up at 3am to the sound of rain and the site of puddles lacing the driveway. The yard lights from a number of neighbors illuminated just the puddles and silhouetted the fruit trees making for quite a picturesque scene.

This morning the dust is all gone and the air smells heavenly.

Well, gotta get some breakfast and do some work. Y'all have a magnificent day.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pretty Ok Sunday

Spent the morning working at farm#2, spraying weeds again mostly. Moving a little pipe and some other chores, getting just about ready for some corn harvest action, ate our first couple of ears of sweet corn today. I had forgotten how freakin' good that can be. Still a little young but I can tell I'm gonna have some happy customers when it is ready.

Wasted the afternoon in a delightful splendor of laziness, just catching up on some math reading I've been meaning to do. Really starting to enjoy my WebBlazer program which lets me chew through wikipedia entries quite quickly. Have started learning what I need to do to make it into a Firefox extension. Already have it coded to work as an Internet Explorer browser helper but want to get it working with at least one other browser and that'd have to be Firefox which I think works pretty great.

Well, gotta get to bed early for tomorrow mornings awakening struggle. I wish I could wake up early and energized like I used to do.

Y'all have a great night and lovely morning.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

But no subsidies for the Savage Farmer

Here is a great article about how the US government is throwing away millions of dollars subsidizing suburban lawns and farms owned by millionaires. The department of agriculture provides me with loads of informational resources and things like soil testing (for a fee) all of which I am grateful for. But our government unfairly provides subsidies to large farms while leaving people like me out in the cold. Nothing is offered or available. I just have to struggle on my own against the lower prices artificially created when a thousand-acre broccoli farmer in California (for instance) gets a big fat check.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sunburned knees

Had a good start to the day spraying weeds around the watermelon patch. Everything is still pretty soaked from the big downpour Wednesday but we've been doing a little advance watering just in case it turns real hot again.

Spent the whole afternoon mowing the walk-ways in the first cornfield with the riding mower. My sunblock ran out about 2:30 and I was there until after 5. So now I'm nursing the subject in question. Ouch, thank goodness for Solarcaine.

Very tired. Long, hot, dirty day of work with little or no time to pursue my sidelines, leaves me spent and weary. The sunset was beautiful, high whispy clouds drenched in the colors of full summer.

Wishing you all peace, strength and mischief.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Storm/corn update

Hooray! The corn has suffered only a tiny amount of damage, less than 10% I'd guess. So we are feeling rather a bit UP about that. We've still lost some grapes and tomatoes but we can recover from that.

Loads of summer squash starting to come in and the beets have reached a delightful size. Think I know what I'll be having with dinner.

Gotta go wash off herbicide. Hope y'all have a super-duper day.

Whicked Freakin' Storm

I was typing in the first few words of a post yesterday when suddenly the lights went out. I had just warned mom and dad that a large thunderstorm was visible in the nexrad image, heading our way fast.

5 minutes later all hell broke loose. Huge drops of rain started splattering down. Withing seconds the ground was evenly wet and it really started to pelt. Dad dashed down to the greenhouse and pulled the sprinkler we had left in there so it wouldn't punch a whole in the deflating greenhouse. Air supported means no support without electricity. He got out as the wind started to heave and whip the greenhouse. He only made it into the north barn before lightning started to split and roar overhead.

Whirlpools of rain and huge walls of slate gray fury spun and crashed across the landscape. Drunken storm giants on a rampage!

Almost an inch of rain fell here in about 20 minutes.

The giants thundered off towards the northwest, no doubt taking time to linger on the edge of Grants Pass for one last drink.

This morning, the aftermath. Several of the neighboring tree tops have been smashed to the ground, thankfully none on our property. But dad and I will have to shift redwood branches just to get out the driveway.

Our grape plants have several huge "footprints" across them. I'm anticipating that we will have lost about a third of our corn.

Uhg, gotta go. Y'all have a wonderful day.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Blazing sun Baffled by Birthday hat

Looks sort of like a newspaper heading, doesn't it?

Water suddenly came swooshing back into our ditch. It had vanished sometime late last night. So I dropped my plan to rest in the afternoon and dashed out to move sprinklers. It was HOT! but the hat Bro gave me for my birthday and the sprinkler plume kept me reasonably alive.

Don't think I'll have any trouble getting a nap now, a little dizzy from the heat but plenty of fluids and an air conditioner will see me right as rain.

Take care.

Sunday in the Crunch

We've reached that stage in every year during which all the work piles up together. Planting, fertilizing, soil prep, weed control, watering are all due and harvest is imminent. Of course once harvest starts several of that list will be over with: soil prep and planting.

And it is also getting quite hot these days which means a split shift, morning and evening with a rest episode during the hottest part of the day. With so much on my mind it has been hard to sleep but that's ok, I use the time to read and work on programs if I can't sleep.

Gotta go get some lunch, y'all have a great day.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Hot Friday

Man! the sun was just Blazing out there. But at least there was a pretty nice breeze and the humidity wasn't too high. Dad jumped into the pond shortly after we got back from planting beans, pumpkins, winter squash and the yearly flower patch. Only one planting of corn, cukes, squash and watermelon left. After next week, glorious! done with at least one job.

I would've gone swimming too but I had some reading to do plus I'm still working on some gnarly programming design problems. Pulled out my old WebBlazer project and started dusting it off. I think people might like it, it's sort of like reading on speed. It allows one to stream the content of web pages through a single focused window in a different fashion than usual, much faster albeit a considerably different experience. I find that my reading and retention rate go up about 50% when I use it. It is really awesome when used with wikipedia which didn't exist when last I was working on it. Hopefully I'll have a version back up for people to try by fall.

Well, gotta go soon to brave the heat and rising humidity of evening. Hope you all have a delightful night.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Independence

Happy Birthday America !!

Yesterday dad and I were setting up the big gun sprinklers at farm#2 when Gary the neighbor stopped to chat with me. He said "What are you guys doing working on the 4th, don't you know it's Independence Day?"

"I don't know" I replied "I feel pretty independent. No body is telling me to be out here working and if they did I'd probably punch 'em in the nose."

Yesterday afternoon we went to my niece Charlie's annual fourth of July barbecue/luau.

What Fun! Great food, great company and all the independence you can stand. My great niece Kaycee was a riot. She kept the great grandparents fully entertained the entire evening and brought everyone else sodas between her escapades. Lainey Joe (great niece#2) is still quite small but showing her first signs of play and wonderment. At least wonderment to me. It is a delight to see her with her grandparents (although thinking of my sister as a grandma makes me suddenly a little more weary...) who clearly love her and her sister so much.

Afterwards we went to the Glendale fireworks show at the high school. Simply super. I love just about any form of pyrotechnics and between all the youngsters setting them off around the track, a few illicit ones brought from mexico no doubt and the huge display that the mill and local firemen put on it was a visual smorgasborg. Kaycee was an absolute riot, she loves fireworks too and did the classic kid thing: running in circles and spinning until you fall down.

Wishing us all another fine year of independence and fireworks.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hot Day, cool spray

Spent the noon and afternoon hours working beneath the full on blazing sun. Removing weeds from corn fields is hot, difficult work. The only thing keeping me from getting sicky was the delightful, rainbow filled plumes of irrigation drift which blew my way from the big sprinkler. Probably catch something unpleasant from the river water anyways but at least I didn't cook in the infernal solar gaze. Even with SPF50 on my arms still got a little red.

Only 2 more rows of tomatoes to stake and one last planting of corn. Flowers, pumpkins, winter squash and a few other miscellany and about next week planting season will be over.

Of course, the 65 day corn has fully silked ears already which have even begun to lean away from the stock, a sure sign they are going to sprint to ripeness. Either that or they are going to be really huge ears which is unlikely with an early corn but would give me a couple extra days until the pressure of harvest kicks in. Wishful thinking sometimes give us the courage to dog it out...

Hope you all have a courageous day.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Some politics

This was sort of a mind-blower. After El Presidente Bush pardoned Scooter Libby today I found a link to Clinton's pardons, just to compare. Whoa! He sure pardoned a lot of pot-heads and rum runners. Ol' Slick Willy, those were the days. When no one inhaled and the muslims still loved us.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Let's see if this works

Been working on my "Shores of other worlds" software in my rare and precious few minutes of spare time (usually eating into my sleep time unfortunately...)

Along the way I needed to test some sine wave subroutines and I wrote another simpler program which with a little modification and some extra controls made an interesting little package. Reminds me of some of the whacky sound makers I designed on the ol' TRS-80 model 3.

Anyhow, if you'd like to play with it, you can download a copy here: http://www.4shared.com/dir/3131504/1813f8fc/sharing.html or HERE I put it in both .exe and .zip formats so as to make it as easy as possible for someone to download. If you don't have the right files to run this, leave a message and I'll hook you up with fresh copies. Most people with win98 and darn near anyone with winXP should be able to run this. I think young kids will find it especially amusing.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Wonderful world of welding

Spent most of the morning moving water and all the rest of the day welding cross braces onto tomato stakes. Should have all 700+ tomatoes staked by Monday or so. Will try to get a pic of the finished field up around then.

Welding is fun and interesting. I am fascinated by the patterns that form in the arc plasma and in the liquid puddle of metal beneath the welding arc. The sound and physical sensations give me the impression of struggle with an angry beast to produce a desired result. The wind would come up behind my back as I was running a bead. As I braced my body against it and covered the shield gas from being blown away with my wind-shadow I got a gripping feeling of fighting some tremendous force, willing it into an intended motion and manifesting something ... specific.

I'm not terribly fascinated by the sensation of a hot blob of slag finding its way through the top of my shoe and between my toes. Yee-ouch!!

Well, gotta go out and drive those stake in now, y'all have a great day.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, brother

I don't know if my brother will see this or not, but it's about as likely as him checking his email today, so I'm wishing him happy birthday here too. I'll by him three bucks worth of something he likes instead of a card next time I see him.

Dad and I spent this afternoon repairing a busted irrigation riser instead of finding Bro' a nice gift. Spent most of the last of my pocket cash on that too.

But a delightful little shower just arrived a few minutes ago to lift my spirits. I know just like dad says, it'll bring up more weeds and make other troubles. But I can't help it, I love rain.

Wishing you all a fine "Brother's Birthday"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Good Wednesday

Got a pretty good start today. Got the corn planted at farm#3, Shawn Smith's place. Threw a handful of mixed sunflower seeds into the seeder which will surprise everyone later, spotting the field with bright golden, yellow and red color.

Then ran into town to pick up a few treats for mom's birthday. Got her a nice little wind chime, unfortunately couldn't find one made in America. She said she didn't want a cake so dad came up with an idea from her childhood: we got donuts and ice cream instead. She was delighted.

Spent the rest of the afternoon welding up new support stakes for the tomato rows. The old wooden stakes we've been using for years have broken down too far. These new units will do a much better job and make it so much easier to tie the wires up. Our method of "controlled sprawl" really works good. Convenient for picking, good support and easy on the plants. Also lends itself to the use of many tools which reduces the need for labor.

Got back to the old farm a little before 5 and took mom and dad out for dinner at Karen's Kitchen, 9001 Rogue River Hwy. Great burgers there, especially crunchy fries which I love.

Tired now, going to bed early tonight so I can beat the birds out in the morning.

Have a super day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Near the peak

Almost to reach the tipping point in our work load. Only three more corn plantings left and about a month out from first corn harvest. Will be switching to the big guns for watering in the corn fields which halves the number of times we move pipe.

Would've had corn planted today, right after fertilizing the second and third plantings but our truck got a flat so we had to change plans to accommodate that. Will plant the third from the last field of corn tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow is mom's birthday so dad and I are going to leave for work early and when we've done with moving pipe etc. bring home a cake and some of the lovely gladiolas which are just now starting to flower at farm#2. I'm thinking of getting her a new wind chime as several of her old ones have broken down a bit. We all love wind chimes here.

Bro just stopped by and we've been shooting the breeze. So nice to get to visit but it doesn't happen terribly often anymore. He dropped off a neat copper and glass hummingbird feeder for mom's birthday gift and gave me a really nice, big straw hat for mine. Take that! ozone hole. His birthday is the day after tomorrow. Three cancers in the same family, what're the odds? 1:1.

Sending you a day of subtle passions and intense mellowness.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Robotic Workers Unite !!

I've been saying it for years: automation is the way to grow in agriculture.
Now Vision Robotics in California is picking up the refrain.
They are preparing robotic systems in order to replace human migrant workers.
Finally!
More details here: Wired Magazine
and here: Vision Robotics

Fortunately my own farming systems won't compete in the same work space.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cool Sunday

What a delight the weather has been today. Hovering around 75 at the hottest with an occasional brisk breeze to keep the sun scald away.

Just (finally!) got the white corn planted. Will put in 2 more plantings before the planting season runs out. That's the story with everything now, like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, the first week of July looms in the distance. Still time to do some cukes, maybe a few more cantaloupes, pumpkins for sure and some winter squash if time allows.

Then it'll be hoe-hoe-hoe until the first week of August and opening. Man! Am I ever looking forward to that first meal of fresh sweet corn.

Hope your day has been pleasant.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Everyday Glory

The setting sun cast a lambent and buttery light across the wooded hills above our farm. It had been a tough day and my body was tired but as I moved the small sprinkler in the interlaken grape row my mind was invigorated by a rush of all the complex and vivid little things which appeared before my wandering eyes.

Grape vines twisting their tendrils in grasping reach of air. Red blackberry thorns like the blood they so often draw. Flickering grey and green cottonwood leaves. Shrubby. verdant. dark and pungent evergreens and junipers. Swifts in flight and jays in silent contemplation. Broken bits of three year old plastic irrigation pipe I still haven't gotten around to disposing of.

Made some good progress working on my sound sculpture today. Almost have the various surf down perfect, really sounds quite a bit like standing on an ocean beach. Working today on some chirps and cheaps and a few buzzes to make up the "small animals" section. Still have to elaborate some control mechanisms although I may just make a demo version that plays in its own esoteric walk.

Joy to you all.

Disconsolate Birthday

Had to look that word up to make sure I was using it right: Disconsolate

Work's been a frustrating struggle all morning. Probably not going to get my birthday wish and to thoroughly spoil today's mood my cousin Galen called with news from Kansas that his mom, my mom's sister, Aunt Pauline, passed away this morning. I can do nothing but remember my aunt and pray for her family's comfort.

41 years I've been on this planet and this mess we call life is more confusing than it was when I was 5. If there's a message in this series of events the author is being quite inscrutable.

I wonder where my lady is today. Alone in her universe as I am in mine, is she beset by similar quandaries? Or does the mirror image of our lives move her gracefully towards a fine day of unruffled pursuits? I hope it is the latter.

Wishing you all comfort and success in this momentary struggle.

The toes of summer

I was so busy that the solstice just slipped by quietly. I usually spend more than a moments effort reflecting on that agriculturally significant date.

It is a cool and lovely morning here in the pacific northwest. One of the wild turkeys was out grazing beneath the bird feeders. Lots of water in the ditch and with the cool weather it might even stay there until tomorrow morning.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Reflection deflection

A strange and striking fact was just mentioned to me by my mother.

I will be turning 41 the day after tomorrow.

That is just so hard to believe. Except for the rapid rise in daily aches and pains I still feel like I'm in my twenties.

But it aint true.

Today water is in the ditch, although not as much as should be. A quick drive up Rogue River Hwy. showed a bunch of the upstream A-holes still running sprinklers and soaker hoses all over the place. Mostly they'll shut them off right around 9 or 10, before the ditch-walker can come along and give them grief. A few will continue to steal water, as if they own the world.

Off to work, jiggity-jag. You have a great day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Recovery

Got a minor case of heat stroke yesterday while putting down fertilizer and planting corn. The blazing sun reached out to touch me. But after an early bedtime and a night dreaming of water falls I am feeling much better.

The momma turkey was out with her half grown chicks today. They were mournfully inspecting the mostly dry irrigation ditch. There were still a few puddles so I'm not worried about them yet. Tomorrow is the first day of our watering cycle so all should be well.

Working on getting tomatoes staked this week. They're almost too big already. Some of the fruit is the size of golf balls. Most people don't know that the tomato is actually a berry.

Gotta go plant the next cycle of summer squash.

Happiness.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Proud Granpa

Got these pics from my sister yesterday. May not be important enough to write about for John C. Dvorak but me and my family wanna crow like the morning rooster. You can spot Randi near the middle of the bottom pic walking to get her diploma. You can also see some of Ashland's lovely terrain.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cherry pickin' Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there.

Dad and I started the picking cherries before the birds came along and wiped them out. We got about a 5 gallon bucket 3/4 full of them. Bro stopped by and gave dad an air mattress for floating on the pond. I, being a poor man myself, got him 40 ounces of Budweiser delight. He was kind and shared a glass with me over dinner.

I never had the good fortune to become a father but since the choice was largely out of my hands I feel little in the way of regrets. I recognize the missed opportunity mostly in the abstract. My many friends who are fathers report mixed feelings on the matter but mostly universally say that it is a remarkable experience.

Tomorrow we start back at work in Bro's welding shop to get the second fertilizer spreader finished. Seems a bit odd to be making a piece of complex equipment for farming if this is going to be our last year of big scale farming but the welding experience is worth something if nothing else. Plus it will be a really nice piece of machinery to own.

Wishing you all a strong, supportive and nurturing night.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lovely day for a graduation

It was cloudy when we arrived in the steep city of Ashland which kept the bright morning sun cool and moderate. Band members and gown clad seniors where milling towards the stadium where it was all happening.

Mom, dad and I took a school bus/shuttle from the parking area on Mountain Ave. and arrived at the stadium in a timely fashion. A quick ring-a-ding on the cellphone and we'd found Sis high in the stands.

What a view! Ashland and the Mountain Arena in particular have a stunning view. Rolling hills of brown grass studded with bright green juniper and pine, high distant mountains, thickly wooded nearby mountains and a stark cliff rock outcropping across the valley. Too complex to describe elegantly but elegant in its own right. Like a total idiot I had forgotten my camera.

SOU has a lot of students. After Cassie's high school graduation my mind was incorrectly tuned to the scale of things. But the commencement went smoothly with several memorable speakers. An odd note, at both Randie and Cassie's ceremonies one of the speakers emphasized the importance of taking risks. Of pursuing our goals despite our fears and uncertainties. I never ignore when the universe feels it needs to repeat itself.

Wishing you all a risky, adventurous day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

Tired, tired, tired

Going to my niece Randi's college graduation tomorrow morning. Hoorah! She's got here bachelor's in science for physical therapy (I think! what a terrible uncle I am)

Very hot busy day, going to bed soon.

Peace and joy to all.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ahhhh... water

The ditch is the most full it's been all year. Don't know what the irrigation district did, but it's about time.

That A-hole at 6751 is still running his sprinklers but so long as we get plenty of water I'll be able to resist the temptation to chuck a burning bottle of gasoline against his front porch.

Numerous sprinklers and drip systems are running and I swear I can feel the plants becoming happier.

Mom's new kittens are being quite rambunctious.

Wishing you all a very fine, wet day.

Muddy water morning

It's a little after 6 and mom is still sleeping. I'd like to think it was the prayers, but I have a suspicion she took a whole one of her sleeping pills. Either way, good for her.

Mom and dad went to Glendale Sunday and picked up a couple of kittens from my niece, they're rough housing it up in mom's sowing room. That'll give her something to do when she wakes up.

The water is finally starting to trickle back into the ditch. Dad zipped up the road and saw that there were still about 8 houses watering their gravel and weeds. Unfortunately I can't just take my shot-gun and go knocking on their doors to talk to them about it. Hopefully GPID will send someone down to have a word with them. Some of them will shut down before they go to work this morning but no matter how you slice it they are stealing from us.

Well, gotta go get to work. Y'all have a fine morning.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

not such a good day

Worst news first to make the rest seem less important. Mom got a call from her older sister in Kansas today. Their oldest sister, Pauline, has apparently suffered a brain embolism or stroke and is unresponsive. Tough time for mom tonight; everybody pray that she gets some good sleep despite this, ok?

Lesser worst news, the ditch is still dry after four days of the pigs upstream gulping it all down for their lawns and driveways (you read it right) and on top of that news has come out in the paper that we will be assessed additional billing by the Grants Pass Irrigation District to make up for a short fall due to bad bookkeeping. The amount goes up per acreage, looks like we'll be nailed to the tune of about 350$. Still a month and a half out from cash flow and the universe is tightening the screws.

Sorry to my usual readership for the angst; You folks all have a lovely and serene evening/night/morning or whatever.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Silicon Score

Water running on the corn field smells sweet like malt or molasses. Overhead an osprey wheels and kites, her piercing cry drifts down on a mist laden breeze.

I find it a fascinating coincident that long before the digital age mankind was exploiting silicon for its many useful properties. Today's wonderful find in the realms of magic and manifestations was a delightful little reflection on mankind's dexterity with silicon.




I find about one of these every year or so, getting a nice little collection put together. Not of any archaeological value since they come from tilled fields, but quite a thrill for me every time none-the-less. In the same manner I've put together a good pile of jasper, agate, chalcedony, carnelian, fossilized and agatised fossilized wood plus many other unique example of quarts and silicon.

Beneath the blazing sun and bright blue sky, the earth refulgent gives me tiny gifts for my perseverance.

Have a fine and shiny day.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Class of 2007

We were proud and delighted to attend my niece Cassaundra's graduation last night. The ceremony was (no doubt blessedly to the seniors) short due to some steady showers of rain. Afterwards we went to her mom's parents house for cake and visiting. Cass was radiantly happy at her final escape. "I can't hardly believe I've finally graduated!" she said at one point in the evening. I certainly remember that sensation. She's one tough little gal; rock on Cassie!

Here's the best two pics (all the rest turned out a bit blurry no doubt due to the rain) Cass is the one sitting down ;- |


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Late Spring rains

It's raining, it's pouring.
The old man is out dragging a box-scraper across the corn field.

Well, actually I'm pretty sure he's sitting in the car staying dry and warm between showers.

I was out gathering stakes and cross-pieces for putting up the tomato wires when this thorough and heavy down-pour chased me in.

Wow! It is really a soaker.

Lovely gray and blue and white drifting wings of clouds and blowing squalls. You can see the storm giants treading along the bottom of my watermelon field, looking for things to hit and blow away. They're actually invisible but you can see the rain being pushed before them as they stride across the hills and fields.

Goin' out to clean-up in barn shortly, if I can.

Have fun, the rain will.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Shifting gears

Moved our corn planting up a day in order to accommodate last weeks smaller planting and also in preparation for the upcoming Labor Day field plantings. We try to position one of the succession plantings on either side of Labor Day so we have two fields to pick from if we need to. Big business on Labor Day weekend.

Dad spent a good chunk of the day cultivating the first planting of corn, sort of against my wishes. I would've preferred to give the mini-sprayer we built another chance to do the job, which so far was looking like it worked fine. But the evidence of his senses wasn't enough for dad and so he went puttering into the field with the tractor and sweeps. Cultivated corn tends to lodge and have poor root systems but I couldn't dissuade him from his paranoia towards imminent weed problems so we'll see how that turns out.

Farming isn't always smooth soil surfing, sometimes it can get a little rocky.

A wonderful dust-settler blew in this afternoon. Shot down some of my plans but gave me a nice pause to work on one of my small software project, a sound sculpture I am tentatively calling "Shores of Another Planet" it's a live render of sounds, not just a static loop like an mp3. Pretty tricky, challenging and fun. When I get it working right I'll post a link to a demo for y'all.

Hope everyone has a fun, safe night and day.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Grapes in flower

The grapes fill the air with a sweet, musky perfume that brings me a sense of peace and contentment.

Saturday mornings we spray pre-emergent weeds on last Tuesday's planting of corn. The very first planting of 65 day sugar-enhanced corn has gotten taller than my ankle so we should be good for a mid-July harvest in that field.

I did some soil surfing on the terracer this afternoon while dad was working the settling pond. Not as fun as the full out cultivator run but still cool.

Mom wasn't feeling so hot today so dad and I vetoed Saturday night pizza and went with microwave tv dinners instead. Not the same as the old aluminum tray dinners of the mid-70s by a long shot but still some pretty good chow. I love the 21st century.

Have a great evening.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Difficult Thursday

Started early and rocky after only 5.5 hours of sleep. Then pushed about 65 pounds of sprayer up and down about 4.5 miles of corn row until after 12:30. Weeds should die wonderfully.

After lunch retrieved the big sprayer for some cosmetic repair work and refitting. Should work a lot better now. Needed it at the old farm for weed control around the roads and etc.

Took a two hours break during the hottest part of the day, between 3 and 5. Got to about 94 degrees here today. Scorching, the blazing sun has arrived. A few weeks early at that but the tomatoes seem to be loving it. Supposed to cool down mondayish which will be a good time to get the last of our pepper and cabbage plants in. Tomorrow if all goes well beans and squash will get planted.

This evening I mowed a huge patch of weeds and cover from the northern most, lowest patch of terrain here at the old farm. Chased a couple of yearling deer out of there while I was at it. Lots of people think deer are special animals, but to me they are just a gianormous long-legged rat, desperately in need of eradication. There was alot of traffic on the driveway after I got them out of that region so there's some hope that with the cover gone and them chased several fields over from where they had been that maybe at least for tonight they might stop crashing through my fence. We've got a plan to augment the fence with several hundred feet of polyester fiber mesh called "Deer-X" which should keep them once again constrained.

Very tired. Wish you all the best, peace, happiness and pleasant dreams. Good night.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Water Wednesday

Set sprinklers at farm#4 this morning. That's next door to farm#3 which is across the fence from farm#2 which sort of makes it all the same place but let's try to keep things straight here.

Then mom and dad ran errands in town while I moved sprinklers at the old farm(#1) I also replaced the filter on the tomato drip system and ran a few more of my minor experiments. Ran some silicon solar cells through my ball-mill thus reducing them to a fine flake. Will be tinkering with that as part of a coating for some intricate ceramics I will be working on this winter, I hope.

After lunch dad and I put the finishing touches on the sprayer which I have dubbed "Scorpion" due to its appearance during an early stage of its development. Sort of looks like a land-speed record baby carriage now, but who cares as long as it kills weeds.

Lots of damned mexican bean beetles (also called the cucumber beetle) flying around the melon patch this evening. Will have to do something about that as soon as the ground dries out enough to drive on.

Going to bed soon, early to rise and all that. Hope you all have a refreshing and restful night.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Corn Seed Tuesday

Spent the morning planting corn at farm#2, also put some driptape on the gladiolas there too.

Came home around noon to help my delightful niece, Randi, with her homework for a web-design class she's taking at SOSU. Javascript was giving her a little trouble and did me too for about 5 minutes. It's been about 3 years since I did any sort of serious javascript design and I had to discuss the methods and techniques with her until my brain got on the right track. Then I could show her what need to be done for her current, almost the last, assignment. The funny part was that when I fixed the code she was working on, it still didn't work. I was baffled until I took a moment to stare at the code she had written. There was an "l" where and "I" was supposed to be. Man! those three pixels difference can kill ya!

This afternoon dad and I nearly finished our new "scorpion" sprayer for killing weeds between the rows of corn. This will reduce our need for pesticides and improve the quality of the corn.

Dinner time! Have a great evening.