Tiring

It was a good week. I pulled out another five gallons of mostly tomatoes on Tuesday, and made a pot of red sauce with most of them. Others I took to work and assorted other Friends of Tomatoes. Then there was Saturday…

Saturday started off with Marcia having decided that since she had terrible luck fishing at Centennial  Lake, nearby, we should BOTH go, early on a Saturday. Early, in my case, meant waking up not before seven – it was a long week. So, out of the house before eight, and at the water’s edge casting by about 0830. This, however, pissed Marcia off righteously:

A small bass on my second cast

A small bass on my second cast

Yeah. Marcia still has caught nothing but weeds at Centennial, but now at least we know there’s fish there.

Once back home, a bit before noon, I got out into the back yard and pulled in TWO bloody five gallon buckets of mostly tomatoes. Here’s what the haul looked like after I’d washed it up:

Ten gallons of veggies

Ten gallons of veggies

The pyramid of larger tomatoes on the left has already been rendered into another full pot of red sauce, including sage, rosemary, and thyme (also from the garden). The only other ingredients in the pot of sauce are a couple of diced yellow onions and a head of garlic, minced, some olive oil, and about a teaspoon of salt. The whole house smells of delicious right now.

Last night was work: about five hours of supporting onsite network upgrades that got me home about 0245 this morning. But the work was, in the end, successful. So we’ve got that going for us.

Today: shopping, replacing a broken faucet, working on that red sauce, and still to come: a haircut.

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

Summer’s Back

After a couple of unusually cool weeks to start out July, we’re into Summer normal for the DC ‘burbs: 90’s for heat and humidity. Yesterday, silly me, I did yardwork anyway. That broke me, but I did get in another 5 gallon bucket of (mostly) tomatoes:

5 gallons of tomatoes, etc.

5 gallons of tomatoes, etc.

I think that’s going to end up being a red sauce. Time will tell.

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

Midsummer fun

Five Gallons of Veggies

Five Gallons of Veggies

That’s the big fun: I pulled a five gallon bucket of veggies out of the garden today. But … that’s the only fun. Busy bloody weekend is over, thankfully. Fixed a leaking fridge water feed, which now looks like this:

New fridge water feed

New fridge water feed

A ball valve and a copper feed pipe is much better than a vampire tap, a needle valve, and a plastic feed line. I got the leak stopped and water back on in the house by about 8:30 Friday evening. The water to the fridge was restored by Saturday mid-morning.

Thereafter, yard work on both days. I’m exhausted and ready to get back to work so that I can relax and recharge.

In other, most excellent news, it seems that Bloom County is returning to life. Huzzah!

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

More Rain

Well, not today, exactly. Nor yesterday, as such. But we had a pretty good storm roll through on Saturday. Sunday … (yes, yes, the day I forgot to post on, again. Sigh.) Sunday, I was talking to my folks, and realized that since we returned home from California in the waning days of May, some 31 days past, we’ve had 11.7 inches of rain. Our weather has been positively tropical. I’m looking for mahogany and teak trees to start growing before my very eyes!

We got a few more tomatoes out of the garden, about twenty HUGE FREAKING cucumbers, and what looks like the last of the zucchini. Weirdly, all of the zucchini plants look like they’re dying … and dying differently than prior years. Hmmm. I do expect to be making some salsa by the Fourth, however.

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No new casualties have been announced by DoD in the last eight days. Ciao!

Heat

Summer officially arrives next weekend. But so far as I can tell, it arrived this last week. 90+ degree temps, high humidity, big thunderstorms. Today, in fact, we had a storm line pass through that gave us a bunch of lightning and thunder, and 1.4″ of rain in 45 minutes. Note: Lexi really hates thunder. She spent the entire storm (and last night’s late storm) huddled against me, trembling.

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The garden is doing okay with this heat, though. I saw one tomato starting to turn color – that’s a good sign. Once I spot that, I’m usually about two weeks away from eating lots of yummy salsa, etc. Tonight, we had freshly killed broccoli from the garden, and tomorrow night, I’m expecting to pull out a bunch of zucchini.

Garden - 14 June 2015

Garden – 14 June 2015

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The surprise for me this Hugo season is The Goblin Emperor, a fantasy novel by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette). While I tend towards the harder, SciFi end of the speculative fiction genre spectrum, this Hugo-nominated work grabbed my attention and held it all the way through. I’m looking forward to the next installment in this series. If I were king-maker for the Best Novel Hugo, I think I’d have a tough time picking between this and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword. There’s still time to become a supporting member of Sasquan, and vote in this year’s Hugo balloting. Don’t fret about the ruckus. Just get the packet, read the works, vote for what you like. Given what’s in the Hugo packet, it’s $40 US well spent, any way you look at it. And if you’re a fan, you should support, read, and vote. You can ALSO pay the separate voting fee to become a supporting member (see the Site Selection tab on the Sasquan site) for the 2017 WorldCon, and vote for DC17. Just sayin’ …

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Krissie K. Davis, 54, of Talladega, Alabama, a member of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at Anniston, Alabama, and deployed to DLA Disposition Services Bagram as part of the civilian expeditionary workforce. She was killed on June 8, during an indirect fire attack on Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan.

 

Garden goodies

The garden is still just getting rolling. The tomato plants are all 2′ high or so, and the pepper plants have all been suffering through the last week of rain and cooler temps. The cucumbers and squash are trying to produce fruit. But while Marcia’s cousin Barb was visiting us over the last week, we did get to enjoy some broccoli out of the garden:

Broccoli from the garden

Broccoli from the garden

There’s not much else to report – I had a busy week dropping back into the groove at work, and spent a few hours today working on lawns and gardens. Oh, yeah, I stripped out all of the cilantro from the herb bed. It was volunteer from last year, and producing far to early to be useful for me in salsa, etc. So I cleared that section of the bed and replanted from harvested seed. It’ll be coming up again as the tomatoes come into full production, I think.

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

Vacation Over

So… the big deal is that we were in California for purposes of vacation and only vacation – 15 days worth. We visited family in the SF Bay Area, in San Diego, and near Sacramento. We visited friends in Saratoga (SF South Bay) and Dillon Beach (North coastal Marin). What a wonderful, wonderful trip. Oh, oh – AND I got to make it to Maker Faire Bay Area 10th Anniversary. That was fun and awesome, too. I could give you the full rundown on the trip, but it’s a lot like inviting you over and showing you slides, so I won’t. But it was a pleasant trip, and great to see everyone on one fell swoop. Here’s one glimpse of beauty – fog rolling east in the early morning, over the Berkeley hills:

Fog over the Berkeley hills

Fog over the Berkeley hills

We got home in time for two things:

One – The seventeenth anniversary of our wedding. That was yesterday. Seventeen years and I’m still giddy in love. Joy.

Two – A desire to have applied a fast-acting popular herbicide to my entire yard before departure. Yeah, I’ve been doing yardwork for three straight days. Mowing, weeding, pruning, weeding, etc. Both flower beds and garden beds. All my relaxation up in a puff of 90 degree days and high humidity, doing yardwork. Any weight I gained on travel is long gone.

The veggie garden is doing nicely, though:

Bilbrey Veggie Garden - 31 May 2015

Veggie Garden – 31 May 2015

That garden picture from “two weeks ago”? Yeah, that was a three-week old picture. I don’t like talking about travel until it’s done. I don’t do foursquare, either.

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On the subject of Science Fiction, I’ve managed now to get my Site Selection Voting Fee paid, and I’ve got my envelope set to mail in – Go DC17! See http://dc17.org/ and http://sasquan.org/site-selection/ for details. Paying and voting also gives you a supporting membership in the 2017 WorldCon, which, should it be in DC (Go DC17!), you could convert to an attending membership with the addition of more funds, and join in all the fun. It’d be a blast, and if it comes to DC (Go DC17!), I’ll be there, too! The least of attractions, surely, but I’d enjoy meeting any of y’all there.

Further, I’ve gotten the Hugo Nomination packet, and am working my way through the nominees. It’ll take me a while to read and vote. If I could trivially do so, I’d try to manage a blind reading and rating (no names attached), then vote the way my heart desires. But some things can’t be unseen, sadly. I’ll do my best to vote the work and not the personalities and politics. That’s what the Hugos are for.

Other factors can’t be ignored, either. For example, ESR is up for the Campbell this year (Note – the Campbell Award is NOT a Hugo). As Eric notes in his post Me for a Campbell Award? Huh? : “I’d probably say something encouraging about it being a solid, craftsmanlike first effort that delivers what its opening promises and suggests the author might be able to deliver quality work in the future.” I can but agree with that. Eric Raymond is one of my role models in a number of ways. But I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction over the last few decades, and much as I approve of Eric breaking into this field of endeavor, he’s not leader of this pack. OTOH, he’s not going to succumb to the politically popular “No Award” either, at least from me. On the gripping hand, I’m glad I read his story, and I’m looking forward to his future efforts.

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No new casualties have been announced by DoD in the last five days. Ciao!

Whoa…

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.