Sorry for the lag. I’ve been really busy. We got in some time with family from afar this weekend, and I wasn’t even able to get all of the small new weeds out of the garden:

Growing garden - May 2015

Growing garden – May 2015

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I will point out that if you’re a supporting member of WorldCon this year: Sasquan, the Hugo voting packet is now out. I’ve got a fair bit of reading to do, since I’d only read a couple of the contenders. My recommendation? Ignore the controversy, read the works, vote for what’s good and well-written. ALSO, You can now pay your voting fee (which is additionally a Worldcon supporting membership fee for 2017) and vote for where the Worldcon will be held in 2017. I’d be thankful if you did, and voted for DC17 – bring Worldcon to Washington DC. It’ll be a blast and I’d love to see any/all of you there!

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Sadly, Petty Officer 3rd Class Devon J. Doyle, 21, of Alamosa, Colorado, died May 16, in Manama, Bahrain, of a non-combat related incident while on liberty. Our condolences to his family and friends.

More gardening

One solution to the weeds that come up between the garden raised beds – turn the weeds green side down:

Weeds, green side down.

Weeds, green side down.

Yup, it was more gardening this weekend. It’s the important time of year for the yard – taking care that the plants get a good start does more for the garden than any work I do a month or two from now. I also mowed the lawns, and weeded out the garden beds themselves. That plus a number of hours working remotely ate the whole weekend. Oh, and we’re solidly into the 80’s with much higher humidity. Just lovely.

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DoD reported no new casualties in the last week. Ciao!

Mostly yard

Yup. This weekend, it was mostly yard work. Yesterday, while Marcia and LindaRose did a yard sale (which doesn’t involve selling yards at all, oddly), I took the small gas tiller up the street, and tilled garden beds for a neighbor who just had back surgery and wasn’t up to the task, yet. Then I hauled it back down here, and tilled some leaf compost into the one bed that needed more attention than just a shovel could provide.

Thereafter, I headed over to Collins Nursery over at Woodcliff Road and Old Annapolis Road. It’s a small, family-owned and operated nursery – the kind I like doing business with, year after year. This trip, I picked up one more flat of assorted vegetables. Back home, I got them all in the garden beds.

Today, after shopping, I edged and mowed the lawns front and back, then got the watering system setup for the back yard. Here’s the way it looks today:

Herb bed, May 3 2015

Herb bed, May 3 2015

For herbs, I have oregano, basil, chives, and cilantro in the bed shown above. I’ve got thyme in a pot on the porch.

Veggie beds, May 3 2015

Veggie beds, May 3 2015

For veggies this year, I have assorted tomatoes (roma, early girl, better boy, sweet 100’s cherry, and brandywine), zucchini, peppers (jalapeno, serrano, habanero, and bell), broccoli, and cucumber. The next major outdoor project is to get hanging baskets up, and watering set up for those. I might do that on the coming weekend, but I often don’t until early June … There’s also sanding and painting that needs doing. But I’ll wait for the yard to be fully in shape, first.

I also have a woodshop project, but it may lie fallow for months. Such is Spring and Summer.

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DoD has reported no new casualties in the most recent week.


De-broken WP; Yardwork

Well, sometime last week, one of the changes that I made while working with “responsive” WordPress themes and site links broke the site. Not the part you see, but the administrative and posting functionality. Sadly, I’ve been busy enough that I didn’t catch this until last night late. So I just fixed it, and I’m taking a few minutes to catch up.

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Over the weekend, I washed the car, planted flowers front and back, and planted about half of the expected veggies. More on that later, but here’s the Box of Pain (aka – peppers):

Peppers - April 2015

Peppers – April 2015

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week. Ciao!

Yard, Themes

This weekend, I was working in the yard. The garden beds, they are ready for plants:

Garden Bed Prep - 2015

Garden Bed Prep – 2015

That, along with mowing the lawns, twice, and cleaning out all of the front flower beds, took up most of Friday and Saturday. Sunday was rest (or its best friend, immobility).

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Theme update: The theme, it is currently a bit hideous, but now mobile friendly, due to changes in how Google search results will be ranked. Here’s a useful link on the topic from Digital Trends. Expect more work on this over the coming days.

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Tech. Sgt. Anthony E. Salazar, 40, of Hermosa Beach, California, died April 13, at an air base in southwest Asia in a non-combat related incident. Our condolences to his friends and family.

Tiger Lilies

The tiger lilies are in full bloom right now. There’s the sad, short ones around the perimeter, however … those were cropped by deer roaming the neighborhood. Still, tiger lilies:

Tiger Lilies - 2014

Tiger Lilies – 2014

Cool July

We’ve had several days of unseasonably cool weather. I’m not complaining, mind you. But all the same, it’s weird. Temps in the early mornings in the high 50’s, and barely breaking into the low 80’s. Who’d a thunk? But they let me take Lexi on a two mile walk this afternoon without arriving back home as a sweatball holding a dead dog.

The garden, it fares poorly. I gave it virtually no attention in the days leading up to Marcia’s surgery, nor in the weeks that followed that event. Bugs have killed my zucchini plants, the tomato plants are small-ish with yellowing leaves and low production, and my herbs have all bolted. But I was paying attention to the important tasks in life, so that’s okay.

I’m otherwise tired. I had a couple of rounds of system work today: an hour early, and a couple of hours following the shopping run. In the coming week, I’ve got to spend a fair bit of time working with RHEL7, in advance of a Rapid Track training course the week following, with an RHCE certification exam at the end of that.

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Another week, another span of time during which DoD announced no casualties. It’s not like there isn’t plenty of unpleasantness in the Middle East and in the Ukraine … but I sincerely hope we stay the hell out of those conflicts.

Improbably So

A relatively lazy day for me today: just shopping, laundry, and coffee roasting. Yard stuff consumed the Saturday. Hot and muggy, still tonight, but storms are coming, and cooler weather is (unusually) due by mid-week (yay!) The garden is starting to produce some tomatoes and more peppers to join the zucchini and cucumbers. Maybe first salsa next week!

Marcia’s doing great. Up and down the stairs like a champ … a hobbling champ, but much progress every day. She may be done with the cane by the end of this week, too, which is stellar.

In my tiny elective time, for work I’m starting to bone up on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, which was released a couple of weeks ago. There are some big changes at the system level in RHEL7, worth learning more about before I go into a rapid track course and certification exams at the end of the month. For myself, I’m getting into Harvard’s Statistics 101, via iTunes U. Statistics seem like they should be intuitively “easy”, which is usually, well, wrong. So learning more fundamentals will do me good.

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For a second consecutive week, no casualties have been announced by DoD.

Summer Arrives in Force

Yeah, we’re making mid-90’s and up this time of year (both temp and humidity), although that storm gave us a couple of nice days in the mid-80’s, Friday and Saturday.

Marcia news: She’s mostly tapered off her pain meds, with a plan to be fully off by week’s end (or earlier), and driving, too! She got fed up with the walker by Friday, and put it to the side. Now she’s using the cane everywhere, which is much better for her in several ways. Her gait is better, and she leans less on the cane than she did on the walker. More mobility, the faster the recovery will go. Yay!

The week in pictures:

From the garden

From the garden – first of the summer.

So, those were yummy. But then there was the Fourth of July, and the day after that …

Lexi disagrees with bangs

Lexi disagrees with bangs

The noise was still going on the day following the Fourth, so she walked into one of my cabinets and looked like she’d prefer it if I closed the door. Then today (Sunday), the heat came back … in more ways than one:

Spicy grilled chicken

Spicy grilled chicken

We had spicy grilled chicken. The prep was in a habañero/pineapple marinade, then I grilled all of the chicken. I dressed mine with lots of happy, happy jalapeño.


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No new casualties were announced by DoD in the last week. So that’s good.

Five Down, Seven To Go

Months, that is. The year, it flies by too quickly. We’re approaching the heat and humidity of the year, sadly. The upside of the unpleasant months is fresh veggies out of the garden. Soon, soon:

Garden - Late May 2014

Garden – Late May 2014

Things are going well … I cleaned house yesterday. No, really. With a car wash mitt and a few buckets of soapy water, I cleaned everything I could reach on the front of the house. Doing it that way was a pain in the ass, and frankly exhausting, but the method did a much more consistent job of cleaning than using a pressure washer to draw pictures in the dirt and oxidized paint. Originally I was just after the trim and gutters (off-white and white) to spruce things up. But it became quickly clear that everything needed attention. I’m very happy with the results. After I finished that up, I weeded out the garden beds.

Today, shopping, laundry, restructuring the garage entrance to the shed, and mowing. Of the four tasks, only the third is mildly interesting. The shed floor is about 14″ up from the level of the garage, and when we moved in, it was configured as one 14″ step. I move assorted wheeled equipment in and out of there, and it made sense to me early on to construct a short, steep ramp there. It was bolted to the ledger, and I used tapcon screws to attach the ramp to the concrete floor. Sturdy. In addition, at the shed back door, leading to the back yard, there is a concrete step.)

The problem with the ramp is that it is (errr, was) adjacent to Marcia’s driver-side door, which means the ramp has been rarely, but painfully in the way for her. A few years ago, I built a portable ramp, and started moving some gear in and out through the back as well. Eventually (this year), I figured that I could use that ramp when needed on the garage side as well. So today I deconstructed the 11 year old ramp, and re-used the materials to make a single step there, splitting the 14″ difference. That step will support the portable ramp as necessary, and Marcia now has more/better maneuvering room when entering and exiting her car.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Pfc. Jacob H. Wykstra, 21, of Thornton, Colorado, who died on May 28, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained as a result of an aircraft accident.