Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Hoopla

Madam was up and watching the royal wedding proceedings at just after 4am this morning. I stayed in bed for a bit longer but in honor of the occasion I got up and fixed a proper English fry up for breakfast. Fried eggs, sausage, potatoes, toast and beans. Plenty of good Irish breakfast tea as well. Now I am off to sell stuff. Pretty day so I imagine we will be busy in the garden center.

I actually got some good work done in the garden yesterday even though it is still too wet to do much. All of the tomato cages are up and staked, the okra is planted as well as the sweet potatoes. One or two more good days and I will have the bulk of the spring chores done. Still have to get all the cukes and squash plants in as they are getting quite large in the greenhouse. Work the entire weekend so it won't get done until Monday.

Everyone have a great day and congratulations to the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. No one throws a wedding like the Brits. Kate is a fine looking young lady and looked very regal. Since they have been a pair for some 10 years I give this match a good chance of lasting for a long time. Now they just need to skip old Charles and make William king.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Close But OK

We dodged the worst of the weather last night here in Northern Metro Atlanta. We got a good bit of rain and a little wind but nothing like what other parts of Georgia experienced and certainly not what tore through Alabama. The pictures this morning from Tuscaloosa are pretty shocking. I wouldn't be surprised if the death toll hits 200 when all is said and done. The convergence of several different weather patterns really heterodyned into some wild and dangerous weather. Let's hope we've seen the last of that kind of stuff for a while.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Homemade Pasta

I make it pretty regularly, especially when Kelly or Carmen give me some fresh eggs from the chickens in their yard, but a lot of people don't realize how easy and wonderful fresh pasta is. It is really a snap to make and you don't have to have a pasta machine(though I have a nice Italian one). The Flavor of Italy blog has a very good step by step on the process with pictures that is about as clear as I have seen. Just be forewarned that homemade pasta is like many other things, Irish butter, proper tea, homemade bread and on and on....once you have it you are spoiled. Give it a try and there is not even a complicated recipe to remember. For each serving you need 100grams of flour and 1 large egg and the rest is technique.

Enough is Enough

I know I shouldn't be, but I keep getting surprised by how low, mean and evil the GOP can be. Not satisfied with the pain of no medical care, hunger and overall hopelessness you come a story like this.
under a new budget proposal from state sen. bruce casswell, children in the state’s foster care system would be allowed to purchase clothing only in used clothing stores.

...under his plan, foster children would receive gift cards that could only be used at places like the salvation army, goodwill and other second hand clothing stores. - michigan messenger
What is it going to do the the foster child's already challenged self image when you tell him or her that they are not good enough to have a new pair of shoes or a nice new pair of jeans or even a tea shirt. These kids have the world stacked against them and this Retardlican SOB wants to kick them in the teeth. I think I am going to be sick.
H/T Cookie Jill


OK, there is now a one foot deep and 18 inch wide ditch along the whole Northern boundary of the garden. All of the runoff comes from that direction and I am pretty sure this will divert it around the garden and into the empty lot next door. Digging a 75 foot ditch in wet dirt is mighty hard work but it is the only way I am going to get the garden to survive the downpours we have been getting. The forecast is for more supercell thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow so it won't be long before I have a full test of my handiwork. Did I say ditch digging is hard work? I am, as the Brits say, "cream crackered". Back for a day shift tomorrow and off again Thursday but working Friday, Saturday and Sunday and yes I have to open the store Saturday and Sunday. For Saturday that means being there at 545a for the 6am opening but I get a break on Sunday since we don't open until 8am. Anyhow, ditch accomplished, so the rest of the afternoon is sitting in front of this computer trying to get caught up...Google reader just says 1000+ unread messages and has for awhile...Goddess only knows how many there really are.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thwarted Once Again

It has been quiet around here because I am working. Seems I close one night and open the next morning over and over. Leaves me absolutely no time for anything but sleep. Finally got two days off in a row and I got up early and started trying to get caught up in the garden. Tilled, hilled the potatoes, and all the other little things that the garden has been too wet to allow. Madam helped me get most of the pepper plants in  and we were going great guns...we might have even gotten the sweet potatoes planted. However the clouds opened up and we got another frog strangler. I just checked and there is a small river running through the garden. The huge deluge cut through one row of peppers and several are washed away. There is water standing 2 - 3 inches deep everywhere. So frustrating and now I won't be able to do anything tomorrow since it will still be soaked. Ever since my neighbor cleared his back wooded area which is slightly uphill from me I can't control the run off. and it floods me every time. We no longer get gentle soaking rains just downpours which do nothing but race downhill and wash away my hard work. It looks like I am going to have to solve the run off problem before I can expect to garden. I am off again Thursday and maybe it will just dry enough to get the sweet potatoes and okra in and replace all the washed out peppers. The Goddess is making it very hard for me to get a garden in this year and I have been good....really I have.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The Goddess is playing games with me again. There are two deer(I think they are two does but they are young and could be otherwise) that know that I go out nearly every morning at first light to fill the bird feeders and check the garden. There is a maybe one hundred foot section of natural area between the back yard and the garden. Lately, each morning these two deer are somewhere on the path through the natural area and between me and the garden. When they see me they make a few bounds to the garden and if I move closer they then bound over the fence into the open forest of my back neighbor's 'estate'. Each morning they have also nibbled the tops out of a few tomato plants. Each day that  I can, I replace the chewed plants but the next morning a few more are nibbled. It seems as if the two deer are seeing how many times I can respond to the predation and each morning are waiting to see my reaction. Goddess only knows what will happen when I get the eggplant and peppers in the garden. I am already dreaming of new ways to protect them but when the Goddess is playing games.....
Oh! and I have a nice new head cold....bah!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

S&P Rating is Worthless

It continues to amaze me that the latest from the S&P stating that the US Government's rating is "negative" though still AAA is being taken with such seriousness by the media and others. If I am not mistaken the S&P and other rating agencies were the main cause of the financial meltdown. Their rating of all the hocus pocus credit instruments as AAA which allowed the criminals on Wall Street to run their high crimes undeterred should have put them out of business and a lot of them should have done some prison time. Anyone with any sense would know that any "opinion" by the S&P is bullshit.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cage Fight

Spent most of the day making more tomato cages. I bought a 150ft roll of concrete reinforcing wire and cut it into 8 square bits and then form the cage by joining the ends. As usual I didn't emerge unscathed as the cut wire is sharp point after sharp point. I'm slightly bloodied but have half the cages made. I usually get about 30 or so cages out of a roll so there are few more to do.

The damn deer have nipped off a couple of more tomatoes. I am spreading all the tomato cages around the garden to trip them up and the already planted tomatoes are surround with a wall of cages. Very frustrating but at least I have more plants ready in the greenhouse. The torrential rains have left the garden too wet to work in for now but I am off again Thursday so I should get some more planting done. I am having real worries that all my tender pepper plants, okra and eggplant are going to ravaged by the whitetail and I am devising ways to foil the critters.

I am trying to refrain from any political comment until the stupid subsides a bit. I am just at the shaking my head stage now and just can't work up the spit to consider anything going on worth wasting my limited time on. The politics in this country have gone from bad to Alice in Wonderland as in Mad Hatter strange and it isn't for a somewhat sane person to even consider.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Early Sunday

Getting ready to head out this early Sunday morning. Turned quite cool last night as the temperature is a chilly 45 right now. Should be a busy day as it is supposed to warm to 72F and be sunny. This kind of weather brings the crowds to the DIY store...especially the garden center.

I'm about halfway through Joe Bageant's last book Rainbow Pie. Thought you might like to
read the introduction to the book. 
Good read so far and it is bringing back some memories of my own Blue Ridge youth.

Have a nice Sunday.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Missed Us

We dodged the bullet on the thunderstorms yesterday. We got a LOT of rain but no damaging winds. The garden is very wet with water standing in the few rows I have already. Working the weekend Fri, Sat, and Sun so not much else going on around here as a result.

You sure wouldn't know there is a recession going on judging from the amount of building material I sold today and I will probably sell tomorrow. Crowds of people spending big dollars on stuff and the garden center was a zoo.

Off to bed as I have to open tomorrow so less than 12 hours between shifts. Dinner was a vodka martini and a handful of peanuts. Maybe I'll have some time for a good breakfast before I head off tomorrow...I just have to get up a bit early to get it done.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chernobyl Again

Updated below:

The American media aren't really telling the whole story here. The initial reports of iodine isotopes being dumped into the ocean were no big deal(the half life of most of them are just a week or so). Now that we know the actual fuel rods are burning we are actually getting isotopes with very much longer half lives such as Strontium-90 which is somewhere in the 1,000 year range if memory serves. This is not good news as these isotopes will be with us for a very long time and within that time infiltrate everything we eat or drink. You can't find any general agreement on the effects of ionizing radiation on the human body but everybody agrees that the less we are exposed the better. I, for one, don't like my eggs to glow in the dark or my morning coffee to be self heating. This is going from bad to worse on a daily basis and it appears the tectonic activity smacking our friends the Japanese around aren't letting up much. I really don't see much upside here.

Sorry for the gallows humor...I couldn't help myself.

Mr. Bates has brought to my attention that the half life of SR90 is only 28 years or so. I must have been thinking of another isotope like Plutonium or Cesium or whatever. There are many that have half lives of thousands of years. Still, whatever radioisotopes are spewing from the Japanese reactors are not just old short lived iodine.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Just as I got home tonight the skies opened up and the rain came down in buckets. My plans for a day in the garden are dashed since it will be too wet to do anything. I can get some seed started in the greenhouse but no work in the garden for me. We are even under a tornado watch....go to bed, crack the window and sleep to the sound of falling rain as a consolation.

Bad Start To The Season

Besides the fact that this "part time" job is working me 40 plus hours a week and putting a serious dent in my gardening time the wildlife has it in for me as well. Out of the 80 or so tomato plants I stuck in the ground on Monday the deer have eaten the tops out of about 10%. What's more they didn't bother the Better Boy or Rutgers plants which can be replaced easily(though expensively) at the local garden store but the Italian Heirloom I grew from saved seed which must be regrown with the resulting loss of a month. They went right down the row of heirloom plants and neatly nipped off the tops which effectively is the same as killing the plant outright. On my day off tomorrow I will have to replant and start over. I have to work the afternoon and close today which mean I won't get home until about 11p.
Due to the lack of gardening time some of my tomato plants got a little too leggy in the greenhouse so I am trying an experiment. I have cut the tops off all the plants that were too tall and planted the cut off tops in trays. I am hoping they will quickly root and I can get them into the's an old trick my grandfather used to use when he would "sucker' his tomatoes(breaking off the extra branches that form on indeterminate varieties (like Rutgers, Cherokee purple, etc.) and just stick the "sucker" in the dirt and grow a whole new tomato plant. We'll see.
Tomorrow will be a busy day as I hope to get a huge amount done in the garden. Several varieties of beans, some of the peppers, the rest of the tomatoes. I also need to get the seeds for cukes and different squash started in trays tomorrow and I still need to get carrots, beets, more leeks and stuff moved to the garden. I also have okra plants to get moved but they can wait a week or so since they only really get going when it gets good and hot and they will wait patiently in the trays for awhile...besides okra was the first thing the deer attacked last year so no sense rushing it.
It's almost time to get dressed for work and I still have a few gardening chores to do like mist the tomato cuttings and such. Later folks.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Dark Side Or The Light Side

Am I the only one torn between hoping that the GOP forces the government to shutdown so that we can see what price they pay politically or hoping that a shutdown is avoided thereby preventing the economic turmoil  and the even more disastrous screwing of the majority of Americans?

I sure would like to see the GOP pay for their just irks me they are continuing to be such asses with no consequence. The change in the political wind in Wisconsin was refreshing, no?

Just Take It All

The absurdity of Mr. Ryan's "Prosperity Gambit" makes it unworthy of comment. If anyone with half a mind just reads it they will understand that it is just a way for the wealthy to get the rest of what should belong to us of the great unwashed lower class. Lower the taxes of the wealthiest and let the poor just suck it up. It's nothing but political and economic sadism.

My question for all those 55 and under is, how do you want your tax refund? I'm apparently safe(for now) at 62 but all you folks 55 and under have been paying taxes into Medicare for a long time....many of you tens of thousands of dollars. If the Rethugs succeed in screwing you out of Medicare don't you think you should be refunded all the money you have paid in as a separate tax out of your paychecks? Would you like a lump sum, a credit on your income taxes for a few years or maybe an annuity that will pay you a few grand a year for some years? Something to think about.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Almost Frost

The Goddess had some fun with me yesterday. The forecast was for a potential frost last night(figures the day after I put out tomatoes) and I rushed home from work and spent several hours covering each of the 80 or so tomato plants in a nice teepee of wheat straw in hopes of preventing any damage. It got close but we missed a frost by a few degrees and it appears that, other than a little wind damage, the plants made it through the night. I've got the morning off as I get to close tonight but it is grocery day so the morning will be consumed with shopping. I also have to drive out to Tractor Supply for birdseed. So it is Tractor Supply, Kroger, and Trader Joe's this morning and then rush home to uncover tomatoes and then off to work at 130p.

Other than dodging the frost last night there is some more great news... my ovens finally got fixed yesterday. I've been without them for over a month and so no fresh bread or anything else baked. Now I just have to find the time to bake some bread. BTW the experience with A&E Factory Service was less than brilliant. The first tech just looked at the oven and ordered the wrong part after nearly two weeks of waiting for him. Another week waiting for the part to arrive and then another week week waiting for the proper part and another week to get it installed. Granted my Bosch ovens are common but jeebus what a trial. I'll definitely look for another repair service next time rather than using the one recommended by Bosch.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Dodged The Bullet

We got quite a bit of rain last night but I think we missed the worst of the storms. Still too dark for me to check on all the tomatoes put in the ground yesterday but they all had little bamboo stakes so they should be ok. My schedule was changed and I was called in early this AM so I am off to sell stuff.
The tomato plants had gotten so tall in the greenhouse that I was forced to used a post hole digger to dig the holes for them. They are all nice and deep and that should actually help drought resistance once they form roots along the long buried stems. Still have a few more to plant but the majority are in the we just keep the fingers crossed and hope it doesn't frost again this spring.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Rampant Vegan Sex

The post title is not quite accurate but I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of weird traffic it might generate. It is that time in Atlanta again when virtually everything is blooming and the pollen is drifting in clouds with everything coasted in fine yellow dust. It is a riot of plant reproduction outside. This is the prettiest time in Altanta with all the dogwoods, azaleas and such in full color.
It was a gorgeous weekend but I had to work but I have today off and it is going to be full time in the garden. My tomatoes are way too"leggy" and they need to go into the garden today...some of them are over a foot and a half tall and I am going to have to plant them sideways in a very deep hole. I think the garden is dry enough to finish tilling a space for them so that is the primary goal for least get most of them in. The second batch of tomatoes I planted in early March are still ok but the February ones have gone wild. Yes, it is still too cool for them to put on much growth but I will lose them all if I don't do something. Rain is expected tonight and tomorrow and I have to work Tue., Wed. and Thurs. so today has to be it. If I am lucky I will also get time to get the second crop of peas sown...we'll see. I managed to get the lawn mowed after work last night so that is out of the way and it was looking pretty shabby. I didn't reseed last fall so there is really not much actual grass out there just clover and nutshedge, dandelions and the is green however.
Well, the sun is up and I am off to the garden. Big breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast so I am fueled for the morning at least.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Fried Rice

Long day today and not much energy to cook and the over is STILL on the frits....maybe next week. It was left overs tonight...All I had leftover was a couple of cups of rice so I went to my go to meal of fried rice. A little pancetta(homemade) onions, celery and carrots and you have dinner. I love fried rice and it is what I call my default meal. I always try and have some leftover rice in the fridge and with a few vegetables and maybe something like chicken or a pork chop leftover you can have a good meal. I always scramble an egg into it at the last. Nice, quick and simple and not to mention hot.

Do you have  a 'go to' recipe/meal that you can whip up in  few minutes? I have several but fried rice is going to be right at the top of the list.

No Time

I had two days off. Yesterday was rain and I had to do the taxes. Today was nice but chilly and I managed to get a little gardening done but not nearly enough since everything is so wet from the days and days of rain. The garden is going to be late this year. Damn tomato plants have gone crazy in the greenhouse and have shot up to a foot and a half over these cloudy days...going to have to dig a two foot hole to plant them in. Didn't get the second planting of peas in but I did get the leeks in the ground. I have two days off next week and the weather is looking positive...lets hope I have enough spit to get all the work done.

At least I am getting a tax refund....since I was unemployed most of last year I paid estimated taxes since I expected to have to take some distributions from my  IRA. Thank goodness the little bit I had in a Roth got me by and I overpaid. I owe the state a bit but the Feds owe me a couple of grand and that's a good thing.

It's going to be insane at work's the "Black Friday" weekend and there are some really good deals to be had. Lots of stuff half price especially in the garden center. I'm going to work my butt off tomorrow.