Good news, bad news

The good news is twofold. First, my penultimate deliverable for the Software Engineering class is in the hopper – two sections (about 11 pages) of an SDMP document. One more week of reading and writing puts that class to bed.

Second, it looks like my effort to finally purchase materials and get the cold frame built (see yesterday’s post) is going to pay off: we’re likely to see frosts Monday and Tuesday nights. With luck what I built protects what I’m growing.

Third (yes, third, this is a bonus good thing, for some definition of good), I’ve got a week-long VSphere 5 boot camp training that I’m attending this upcoming week. It’s nearby, I won’t be away from home much early or later than normal working hours, and I’m going to learn a crapload about VMware to supplement what I already know from the environments I’ve worked with previously. The downside is that all of this piles into my brain while I’m trying to finish a very challenging UMUC class. Such is life – the next convenient training is months away.

*     *     *

Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. Jamie D. Jarboe, 27, of Frankfort, Indiana, died March 21 in Topeka, Kan., from wounds suffered on April 10, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.
  • Spc. Dennis P. Weichel Jr., 29, of Providence, Rhode Island, died March 22 in Laghman province, Afghanistan, from injuries suffered in a noncombat related incident.

Another Spring, Another Garden

The snow peas are coming in fine …

Snow peas coming up

Snow peas coming up

… although that might be a bit of a misnomer. It was nearly 80 yesterday. Fortunately the humidity didn’t match. We could still get a late cold snap, and even snow. But I really want to get more things started. Potatoes should do okay regardless:

Where the potatoes are

Where the potatoes are

That looks boring now, but soon, soon. As the potatoes come up, I’ll sweep the earth in from the sides and mound over the potatoes, which should increase yield. And there at the bottom left, you can see my snow/frost preventer.

Finally, a cold frame

Finally, a cold frame

In years past, I’ve started from seed in trays similar to those above. Sitting out in the weather, all it took was one frosty night to kill all my seedlings dead. I’d have to remember to bring them in at night, and put them out in the morning. Now I don’t have to do that. And since I don’t … I probably won’t need to. It’d be even cooler if I could put a temperature sensing system connected to a motor to crank that frame up and down at the appropriate times. But I can certainly go outside and pull the prop as necessary. The frame is hinged to the bed on the side away from the camera. The top is 3′ x 4′ x 1/8″ plexiglass, screwed to the top of the frame, and one center bar.

I got all that done, and tools brought in, and pictures taken just as the rain started to come down. Apparently we’re due for an inch or two this weekend. I hope the potatoes like that.

 

I’ll rest when I’m dead

I took off from work a couple of hours early on Friday.

At that time, I was still feeling a bit off my feed – this whatever it is that isn’t a cold anymore has been kicking my ass. So I “took it easy” this weekend: I slept in past eight both days! Thanks, Lexi!!!

After that, though, no rest for the wicked. I put in about 12 hours writing for both classes yesterday. Today: Shopping, washed the car, cleaned the dining room, weeded out the raised beds, and seeded/prepared for snow peas. Then I reviewed the writing I did yesterday, and submitted the assignment I could. The other one doesn’t have a class link for submission yet, argh! Now THAT’S frustrating.

Oh, yeah, and the bug’s still got me, more’s the pity. Still plugging away with the antibiotics, fluids, and other OTC meds.

*     *     *

Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

Maj. Robert J. Marchanti II, 48, of Baltimore, Maryland, died Feb. 25, from  wounds received during an attack at the Interior Ministry, Kabul, Afghanistan.

On Feb. 25, the armed forces medical examiner at the Dover Port Mortuary in Dover, Del., positively identified the remains of Staff Sgt. Ahmed K. Altaie, of Ann Arbor, Michigan. On Dec. 11, 2006, a casualty review board declared Altaie “missing – captured” after his disappearance in Baghdad, Iraq on Oct. 23, 2006.

Cpl. Conner T. Lowry, 24, of Chicago, Illinois, died March 1 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Jordan L. Bear, 25, of Denver, Colorado, died Mar. 1, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from small arms fire during an attack on his base.

Pfc. Payton A. Jones, 19, of Marble Falls, Texas, died Mar. 1, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from small arms fire during an attack on his base.

Garden beds turned and dressed for winter.

Garden beds turned and dressed for winter.

Mostly chores and a bit of school work defined this weekend. I turned over the garden this weekend, and mowed the lawns. With a warm-ish week, the lawns both grew quite a bit. Washed the car, cleaned and organized in the house today. Tired and a bit sore, and debating whether to clean out the front beds, or wait for the first frost. I’m leaning towards the latter right now.

*     *     *

Our condolence to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Pvt. Danny Chen, 19, of New York, died Oct. 3 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.
  • Lance Cpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt, 24, of San Antonio, Texas, died Oct. 6 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Spc. Ricardo Cerros Jr., 24, of Salinas, California, died Oct. 8 in Logar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

Putting the garden to bed…

Summer session (school)  wiped out my garden. That is, I didn’t have enough time to tend it, and it went a bit wild. Today, I mostly put the garden to bed. There’s some basil still in, and the peppers need final harvest, but all of the cruft is cleared out, and I’ll have to turn the soil soon. That and a quick threshing of the hay (the back “lawn” was well over 12″ tall) just about finished up my day. I spent a while playing Witcher 2, a fun RPG. A new release this week brought a very useful new tutorial stage, which helped me tune up the skills needed to enjoy the game instead of just thrashing my way through it.

Tomorrow: shopping, coffee roasting, and schoolwork.

OMG, Tomatoes!

Tomatoes much?

Tomatoes much?

Yeah, forty or more pounds of tomatoes out of the garden today. And that was after a morning and early afternoon spent working with Marcia restructuring her sewing and fabric rooms. Tired now: I made gallon of salsa, and started another lobster pot of red sauce. Last weeks was down enough to transfer to another pot. I’ll be freezing that batch tomorrow, and cooking down the new batch, too.

But I’ve *got* to do some schoolwork tomorrow, too. I wanted to mow, as well, but I’m running out of hours and days … less than 18 months if all goes to plan, then school is done. Whew. Whoops! Time to walk the little dog for her last outing of the day. Ciao!

 

Seven Down, Five To Go

July is wound down, days are getting a bit shorter, and while the heat is with us for another month or so, I can already see the end of the year. Time seems to go a bit faster with each passing year, eh? But summer isn’t over yet: the tomatoes, as you saw below, are in full production.

I took most of that stack and made a red sauce yesterday: 20# of tomatoes, a couple of onions, a bunch of garlic, half a cup of olive oil, two small cans of tomato paste, five bay leaves, and a bottle of 2007 Turning Leaf Merlot. That simmered all afternoon, making the house smell wonderful.

Today, I used up the rest of the potatoes, making up another two week’s worth of lunches (with mild Italian sausage and spinach). Late this afternoon, I browned up 3# of turkey, and added some chopped peppers from the garden, some more sautéed onion, a couple of large cans of dark red kidney beans, some chili powder and dried cumin. To that I added about a third of the sauce that I made yesterday, for a big pot of killer chili. Between the wine and the fresh tomatoes, the sauce is a bit sweet, but that mostly cooks out over time.

In between all the cooking, I made a big dent in the third SQL project for my database class. I’ve got until next Sunday evening to get that completed.

*    *    *

Dammit! I skipped a beat there. For just a second, I thought there were no new casualties reported since last weekend! Too good to be true, and my eyes picked out the one report … Our condolences to the families and units of these fallen warriors:

2nd Lt. Jered W. Ewy, 33, of Edmond, Oklahoma, died July 29 at Paktia, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Spc. Augustus J. Vicari, 22, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, died July 29 at Paktia, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Sundry

Events of the last couple of days were … relatively uneventful. That is, my ‘oscopy was much more unpleasant to prepare for than it was to sleep through. The doc reported snipping out something small, and biopsy results pend until Tuesday, but either way, it ain’t the big C. Depending on the type, I get another screening in three years, or in five. I’ll be happier with five, thanks. And Marcia’s molar extraction in the afternoon was as simple as could be hoped for: no jackhammering, and minimal pain already today.

*    *    *

The summer garden

The summer garden

The summer garden is doing fine. It’s hot and humid these days – they say the heat index yesterday was in the 115 degree range. I do know that the thermometer which is in the shade after noon, peaked over 102 by mid-afternoon. This morning, it was up over 90 by 9 AM. But anything that isn’t heat tolerant in full sun ain’t doing so good. The cucumbers are almost done, the zucchini is long gone. The beans are nearly toast between the sun and the Japanese beetles (but they’re still producing). Tomatoes and peppers are coming into their own…

Second crop basil

Second crop basil

The new batch of basil is well started, as you can see. And what’s coming out of the garden now makes me very happy, even though it’s a month later than I’d hoped for…

Fresh from the garden

Fresh from the garden