There are several tomatoes coloring in the greenhouse, and I am READY for them. The cherry plants are still producing fruit randomly; every week I go out and bring a handful in for the girls. I’m going to have to go out and consolidate a bunch of stuff this weekend and finally put the panel in the back wall to keep things warm overnight. Winter is coming…
Here in the office I finally took the time to go through some drawers and bins and boxes full of old computer gear and set aside a bunch of crap to get rid of: ancient CD-RW drives I scavenged from old towers, a pair of AirPort Base Stations that date back 15 years, miles of old Cat-5 network cabling, first-gen iPod FireWire wall warts, old manuals…there’s certainly more to get rid of, but I’ve found that if I’m going to keep old machinery it’s critical to have the gear to support it. So I’ll still hang on to the AirPort Express that will talk to the G3 Powerbooks that will still run OS9 so that I can access design files from 1997…
One of the things I dug out of the archives is a Sony Watchman MD-10, something that came out of the unclaimed personal property of a repo when I was in college. I took it back with me junior year and it allowed us all to stay current on Seinfeld episodes when we were on break during late night classes. For its time it was an amazing little device, and I wish it had DC input, because as I recall it ate AA batteries pretty fast. It’s useless these days with the advent of digital broadcasting; I could theoretically hook a digital antenna up to an RF modulator and broadcast local analog signal to it, but it’s really not worth the trouble. Interestingly, Gizmodo just did an article on this very model a few months ago; I share the author’s hesitation to get rid of his.
The greenhouse is winding down from its peak this summer. I went out this morning and chopped most of the plants that are still producing way back and yanked four plants that have stopped producing out of their tubs. Most of the cherry plants are still producing fruit and some of it is reddening, but there’s a lot of green fruit out there that might not make it through the fall. My plan is to pull the plants out of the bins and hang them upside-down from the roof to send all the nutrients downward to the fruit before it gets too cold. There are two green heirlooms in the same situation; I’m hoping I can get those to ripen as well. Sadly it also means I’ve got to put the door back in place.
I donated to the Biden/Harris campaign last week, voluntarily opening the floodgates of spam campaign mail, and after hitting DONATE I realized I wanted to get a yard sign. Heading over to the store I saw that a 24″x18″ sign is $25, which is entirely too much money to spend on too small a sign. I had some 4×3′ plywood left over from the Chic Shack and I have an overhead projector, so I decided to make my own. It was easy to find a PDF of the campaign logo, and after I printed it on a transparency I busted out the projector and set it up in the living room facing the wall.
Once I had the stencil drawn, I cut it out on the production table and transfered it to the wood. I’d whitewashed the wood on Saturday so it was ready for paint. At Lowe’s I got two pint-sized samples of red and blue paint so I covered the red section and shot the blue through the stencil with the sprayer. When that had dried I masked off the red section with painter’s tape and brushed it on.
From there it was an easy matter of cutting some leftover wood down for yard spikes and pounding them into the lawn with a deadblow hammer. I have to go back out and straighten the west side sign a little bit, but overall I’m happy with the results. It’s right outside the office window so I get to see the neighborhood walk past every day.
Until Thursday evening, I’d had about 200 files from the March scanning project still waiting to be color-corrected and processed. I ran out of steam toward the end of the project, after I’d been sitting and staring at them for several weeks on end. After the girls went to bed last night I worked my way through the last batch. I wish I’d done all of this before my Dad passed, as I think he’d be blown away by how modern technology and a professional eye can save an underexposed or poorly processed negative—of which there are many in this collection.
The greenhouse bounty is winding down now that we’re getting into September; the cherry plants are sending out their last bunches of fruit, and the heirlooms are almost done producing. There are maybe 10 large tomatoes still ripening out there, and then the plants can come out and the greenhouse cleaned up. I’m happy to say we’ve enjoyed every tomato that’s come out of there, and I can’t wait to build a better version with more variety next year.
Hazel has been battling various side effects of the medication she’s been prescribed for side effects of medication she was prescribed since we’ve had her. To recap: she was given all manner of vaccinations as a puppy, some of which she developed allergies to, and they started breaking down the blood vessels in her ears. We were prescribed different medication to help with this condition only to find it lowered her immune system, causing her to break out with warts across her body. We got the ear thing under control, finally, and her dermatologist decided we were going to take her off that medication and switch to a different one. It’s been a month or so since the switch, and her ears are still clear and the warts are finally disappearing. Meanwhile, the Easy Lead we bought a couple of weeks ago, while not her favorite object in the world, makes walking her about a million times more enjoyable. We’re doing about three miles daily, a long walk in the morning and a family walk in the evening, and it seems to be great for everyone’s mental health.
After fucking around with multiple different approaches to installing OX El Capitan on my 14-year-old Mac Pro, I decided to give up on janky scripts and poorly written directions and just clone the copy of Leopard I had running on it before to test that the SSD was viable, which did work. Now I’m going to have to buy a copy of 10.7 Lion from Apple (it is not available as a download anymore for reasons I can’t fathom, and among the hundreds of archived backup and install discs I’ve got in my collection, I don’t have this installer) and put a clean copy of the last officially compatible OS on the drive.
There’s a wealth of information out there about Mac Pros out there, which is super handy for keeping the original 2006 version I own (and the 2010 version I use at work) running smoothly. It’s hard to believe my work tower is that old, but it still cranks along happily, earning its keep. I see people complaining about the high cost of pro Apple gear, but if I amortize the purchase price over the time I’ve used it, it’s an incredible bargain.
Tomatoes are officially in season here in the greenhouse and the girls haven’t been able to keep up with the harvest. We have a bunch of Cherokee Purples ripening on several different plants, and they’re all about due to be picked. I pulled several beautiful Chef’s Choice on Saturday with a bowl full of cherries. At the same time there are several basil plants getting fuller with the heat.
Everything in the greenhouse has gone nuts in the last week. Where there were only a few tentative blooms on a few plants, now every plant has three or four branches filled with yellow flowers, and half of those already have fruit beginning. Even the difficult varieties are producing: the Cherokee Purples have five or six fruit apiece. They’ve suddenly gotten taller as well, and I’ve been pretty ruthless in cutting back the secondary growth unless it’s already got something growing. As a result the plants look thin and spindly compared to giant leafy bushes, which I’ve been accustomed to growing in years past. This time I’m pruning everything back except that which will produce, hoping they’ll mature and ripen faster.
I think the only stuff that hasn’t bloomed yet is the strange tub in the back, with seedlings that always seemed slower than the rest. Those plants have shot up in the last week but they’re 1/4 the size of the others. I think they’ll wind up being producers late in the season.
There are flower buds on several of the plants; everything looks pretty healthy except for one tub in the very back, which has three very lazy plants that are only several inches tall.
The tomatoes in the greenhouse have skyrocketed in the last couple of days; with the sun and the heat they’re much happier and reaching their stride. I’m testing the use of some tomato fertilizer in two tubs and straight urea in one to see what results I get; nothing is dead yet (I put it in on Sunday) so I’m going to set up a rolling schedule to amend the soil. I put some basil seed in six of the tubs to see if it would grow, and there are seedlings starting in five of them. And strangely, one of the gladiolus bulbs overwintered in the greenhouse and is now sending a new shoot skyward.
It’s officially air conditioner season. Yesterday I hauled all of the individual window units out to a table on the driveway and pulled the covers off so that the girls could shoot some Clorox inside and scrub out the dirt and mold. They dried in the sunshine and after dinner Finley helped me put them back together so I could haul them upstairs and put them in place. I’m getting tired of humping them up and down the stairs in my late 40’s, and now that the front porch has been reclaimed and looks so good I’m going to feel shitty about storing them out there in the winter. My overall goal is to have ductless AC units put in sometime in the next couple of years. I’m thinking ductless—the kind where each room has a wall-mounted unit connected to a large outdoor condenser—vs. ducted—where there’s a big air handler in the attic running hoses to a ceiling-mounted duct in each room, because I’d like to keep the attic open and I figure it might be cheaper. But that may be flawed logic; one handler in the attic, which will never be finished in our ownership of this house, and is mostly inaccessible now that the stairs have been chopped down, may be cheaper than four individual units in each bedroom. More research is required.