Monday, September 21, 2009

Die, Die my darlings

Ortho, the insecticide people, have a great series of radio ads out there touting their fire ant killer product, Orthene.

Go here to have a listen (scroll down). This is the website of the man who voiced the ad. I have tried to embed the audio with no success but I just love to listen to these adverts.

The Amdro bait has worked on only a few of the antbeds I have out back and so I went with the Orthene yesterday. One small beef: the bottle it comes in is huge compared to the amount of product within, What's up with that? I wonder if it has something to do with combustibility in close quarters. Anyhoo, the stuff smells foul and no I didn't stick my nose in there to sniff it either. I stayed well clear of it, holding it out at arms reach as I marched from mound to mound and sprinkled tablespoons of it while calling the beasts to dinner. I almost got every mound before it ran out so I bought another bottle in the afternoon and will continue this morning.
I told you , it's war!

Along farming lines, I mentioned that the vines and cornseeds were also re-emerging in the disced field. We hired another fellow with tractor (FWT) to re-disc it once more and I spent a hour or two out there hoeing it into two 30' rows to plant red potatoes and we'll spread red clover on the remainder as a cover crop.

The collards, cabbage and cauliflower are withering away. Luckily, there were only a few of each so I'll wait another week or two and try again. It may have been too soon in the heat for such small seedlings to be able to hold out all day out there. A few are still ok but not exactly thriving.

The swiss chard and beets were definitely devoured to the last seed and I reseeded those beds last night, after the anthill massacre so wish me well. The shallots are starting to pop up and the tomato experiment seems to be working. I think that plant I buried is establishing new root systems right now because I see no new growth on the stems yet. The few tomatoes that had been fertilized on the vine have not fallen off so I hold out considerable hope that they will survive the trauma.

The kale is hale, the carrots are just showing a wee bit of leg, I have leek seeds that I'll plant today but I don't know if it's too soon or too late for them. The brussel sprouts and broccoli look pretty good, considering they are both cold weather plants. Ooh, the lettuce and mustard tenders are up!!! I did put in rutabagas last week but I see nothing yet there. And the sugar snaps look terrific. I always expect beans to be a success. Call me crazy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Ants Go Marching Two by Two-thousand

I spent an hour shaking Amdro on fire-ant hills all over the Back 2. The hills are everywhere.

I noticed a few hills the afternoon I mowed with the zero-turn, (Ladies, can I tell you how much fun that is!?) By the next morning, there were over 40 hills and I wonder if I aggravated them in to moving. And that is why I was shaking the Amdro.

Anyhoo, so yesterday I went out to water the raised beds and found in the swiss chard and beet beds tiny holes, in straight rows, exactly where I had planted the seeds. Ants. Ants have burrowed down and feasted on the seeds.

So now it's war.

Any suggestions? Do I wait to see if any of the seeds emerge? Do I go ahead and reseed immediately? Do I start them in jiffypots?

Monday, September 14, 2009

In Between the Drops of Rain

I planted the raised beds yesterday. I had been to Home Depot last week and Spencer's Feed n Seed, buying both seedlings and seeds for the winter crop. But due to life in general, I have only just now gotten around to the actual planting of the stuff. And we are in the middle of what promises to be a protracted rain "event". But that never stops me. I just dodge the drops.

So far, in the 6 new beds John built, I have plunked in: two tomatoes (more on that later), 3 cabbages, 3 brussels, 3 cauliflowers, 9 broccoli, 9 collards, one bed shares carrots and beets, 1 yellow squash, sugar snaps, and kale. The 3 packs have room left to add another set of 3 in a few weeks to stagger the cabbage, brussel and cauliflowers. I don't need 6 of each of those ready to harvest the same weeks.

Still to plant are spinach, lettuce and leeks. I tried to build up the back bed for red potatoes, but the rain was rather severe and the whole plot is muck. Oh, yes AND seedlings emerging!!! I was RIGHT!

Emerging Plucked
Those melons are popping back already! along with green beans and something else I don't recognize! But I will be ever so diligent about yanking it all out once I can walk safely on the surface. I tried but the red ants came swarming out and the crocs I was wearing offers no defence at all. I beat a hasty retreat!

Aside: John noticed deer prints on the bed! And from the size of the hoof, it looks like a big one. I wonder how close to the house it will venture.

As I mentioned, I have planted tomatoes again and it may be a little too late to get anything other than green tomatoes, but what the heck. I have the space and why not experiment? So, I had purchased one plant at HD but have been growing another one that Leslie gave me over the summer (a drought resistant hybrid) and it had gotten leggy and filled with flowers but so far, no tomatoes. So here's what I did:

The beds John built are 12' long, some 3' wide, others 4' wide. I had planted the single squash in one end of a 3' bed and the tomato on the other end. I thought about something I had read in the past about taking a leggy tomato and burying it horizontally, allowing the stem to protrude closer to the top. Well this particular plant has 4 shoots, so I made them stick up from the soil at various intervals and I will wait to see if this plant thrives. If it only stagnates, I'll dig it up altogether but so far, it looks pretty happy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hey Hey

And so it ends, and thus begins anew.

A few weeks ago, we harvested the remaining okra pods and jalapenos from the back garden and put to work tearing it down to rest before we start up with the winter veg.

To begin, I cut off the top seed pods from the okra I left on too long. I was concerned that if they were allowed to fall and get cultivated under, I'd have okra everywhere like I have those blasted melons now. I got rid of the rest of those as well. That was fun.

After that it was a simple matter of whacking away at all the remaining cornstalks and okra towers and endless weeds that won the war over the summer. (note to self: Be Ruthless When It Comes to Weeds in the Future.)
You can easily see how hard I went to work at it below.

Oh wait. That's John. I'm behind the camera.

That's John too.

John again. So the truth comes out. John did the work. I took the pictures.

And hauled the debris away, along with the veggies.

And then the man with the tractor came and dug it all under. No, we still have not made the executive decision on what tractor brand and model to buy so in the meantime, we rent the technology and that is working out fine.

John made these raised beds closer to the house last week with Steve's help and the tractor dumped beautiful dirt inside. Now all I have to do is get out there in this endless rain we've been having and plant!
I have, all lined up and ready for planting: collards, snap peas, broccoli, brussels, spinach, carrots, beets and swiss chard. Half and half seeds and seedlings so I'm not behind in any way.
The potatoes will go in part of the back plot and we'll plant a clover cover crop on the rest

Close your eyes... Do you see the lambs gamboling behind the beds and the chickens off to the right? Yeah... me too.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Jinn in the Bottle

I read someone at the American Thinker , Lee Cary, likened the outpouring of resistance to the Healthcare debate at the town halls across the land as letting the genie out of the bottle. A genie that usually sits back in the bottle quietly.

Obama and Democrat Congressional leaders uncorked the bottle and the peoples' Genie is out. He's not happy, this Genie. In normal times, he sits there quietly inside the bottle. Sometimes watching. Mostly not. He finds politics boring, if not disgusting.

That got me thinking, (and people, genies DON'T just sit back waiting quietly. Look it up).....I don't think the people are the genie.

I think Barack Obama is the jinn, to use the more appropriate word. (not a REAL jinn, c'mon folks....jinns are stuff of tales)

A Jinn is a supernatural being. Its origins are Arabic and we in the West were raised by Walt Disney-like interpretations of the creature. (or I Dream of Jeannie with the beautiful ditzy blonde in love with her benefactor and basically benign and comical.)

Uncork one from a bottle and you will be granted 3 wishes (or sometimes only one.. they aren't unionized as a rule) as a reward for freeing it. And you better be clever too because once the wish has been uttered, you get it and all that comes with it. I remember as a kid thinking, "if I ever found that bottle and got three wishes, the first one would be for an unlimited number of wishes.", thinking smugly how very smart I was.

But a jinn has free will. It can grant anything it likes, including mayhem and destruction. It is wrathful and punitive. Who wouldn't be, cramped up in a bottle for YEARS, having been tricked there in the first place by a wily human?

Here are the lyrics: (read 'em!)
Well Ali Baba had them forty thieves
Scheherezad-ie had a thousand tales
But master you in luck 'cause up your sleeves
You got a brand of magic never fails
You got some power in your corner now
Some heavy ammunition in your camp
You got some punch, pizzazz, yahoo and how
See all you gotta do is rub that lamp
And I'll say

Mister Aladdin, sir
What will your pleasure be?
Let me take your order
Jot it down
You ain't never had a friend like me
No no no

Life is your restaurant
And I'm your maitre d'
C'mon whisper what it is you want
You ain't never had a friend like me

Yes sir, we pride ourselves on service
You're the boss
The king, the shah
Say what you wish
It's yours! True dish
How about a little more Baklava?

Have some of column "A"
Try all of column "B"
I'm in the mood to help you dude
You ain't never had a friend like me

Can your friends do this?
Do your friends do that?
Do your friends pull this out their little hat?
Can your friends go, poof?
Well, looky here
Can your friends go, Abracadabra, let 'er rip
And then make the sucker disappear?

So doncha sit there slack jawed, buggy eyed
I'm here to answer all your midday prayers
You got me bona fide, certified
You got a genie for your charge d'affaires
I got a powerful urge to help you out
So what-cha wish? I really wanna know
You got a list that's three miles long, no doubt
Well, all you gotta do is rub like so - and oh

Mister Aladdin, sir, have a wish or two or three
I'm on the job, you big nabob
You ain't never had a friend, never had a friend
You ain't never had a friend, never had a friend
You ain't never had a friend like me
You ain't never had a friend like me, hah!

Can your friends do this, indeed.

So last year, with absolutely no evidence or track record of accomplishments (at least, none he'll release) to support the claims of ability, along comes this exotic man who promises to right the wrongs of the Administration. He's young, hip and to quote the current VP, "clean bright and articulate." He's such a blank slate, the voters could project anything they wanted out of a President and he, THIS ONE, would the THE ONE to deliver.

Finally. All that Hope and ALL that CHANGE. And it would be so easy. Just let him work out the blueprints and the details and sit back and enjoy the turn-around of fortune. Finally, all those rich oppressors making life miserable for the plebs would be getting a little of it back at 'em!

That was part of the story too, remember. Aladdin gets it all, the gold and jewels and the King's daughter AND gets revenge on his oppressors.

But stories with genies are often long and complicated. And often end up unhappy. The Fisherman who released him has told the reward was to choose the manner of his own death. Yes he figured out a way to trick that jinn back into the bottle but he released him once again. (go figure that!)

The trouble with jinns is you cannot know how your wish is going to result in it's final effect. How it will ultimately affect you, those you love and those you don't. Much like winning the lottery.

You think, wow my life is going to be so much easier now that I don't have to worry about making ends meet. But the reality usually ends up quite the opposite. (and you find so many new relatives suddenly exist)

I believe we are seeing this now.

How many times have we seen this play out: If you give a kid a car, he/she loves it! Drives it everywhere, carts friends around in it, (they rarely ask any of the riders to help with gas, you know) and the parent has to nag about oil changes, brake tag renewals, etc. And the parent pays for the insurance. And the car gets abused, the kid gets in a wreck. The parent is left to sort out the legal headaches and the kid learns NOTHING. But if a parent makes the kid work, save money and then buy a car, the chances are a lot higher that the kid will take better care of it.

This is true about home-ownership. Renters do NOT, as a rule, maintain the endless up-keep on a house/apt/ you name it, like the owner expects it should be. And that includes the yardwork. They have no vested interest in it and if it gets rundown, they can always move out and forfeit the deposit which rarely begins to cover the repairs. But the owner is left to sort it out, get the repairmen in, fix what's broken before he can rent it out again.

I'm the first to admit I don't like the PRESIDENT Jimmy Carter but I'll give the man his due when it comes to Habitat for Humanity. The organization "gives" people decent homes BUT NOT UNTIL AFTER those same people work on building houses for others! They call it "sweat equity" for a reason. Those people aren't merely handed a house because they cannot afford one. They are purchased through labour and the owners take care of the houses they earned for that very reason. They might never be able to monetarily afford to buy a house but they sure can MAKE one. And with the money they saved, they can support the "system" by paying property taxes and that in turn supports their local community. TO me this is so simple and elementary. These people have vested interest in making their community THRIVE. Not merely SURVIVE.

You'd think that after all the years of success, Habitat would have taught Congress a thing or two about ownership. Allowing banks and lending institutes to offer "interest only" loans to people who could not qualify for a conventional loan (or for that matter offer it this to ANYONE, I don't care how rich a person is, this is criminal behavior) was unconscionable!!! I understand the reasoning behind it but it smacks of something of a Ponzi Scheme to me (and last I heard, those things were dynamite, in that you don't touch it.) Buy a house for interest only and turn around a sell it to someone for higher than you paid and you make money. This works for a while. And it artificially raises the value of houses. But eventually there comes a time when the last person holding the title can't find someone who will pay that higher price. AND when that person, the owner, can't pay his "mortgage" either, he's in a world of trouble! He didn't buy it with no equity to OWN it. Who in their right minds would pay for something that expensive and stack the deck against themselves?

Now one or two of these sad sacks is one thing, but multiple that by the thousands and you begin to understand how we are in this crisis. I don't believe all the people who have foreclosed on their homes are the poor. I believe there is a fairly good mixture of affluence in there as well. People who thought they'd jump on this bandwagon for a fast ride and couldn't jump off fast enough.

And I believe those congressmen who changed the banking regulations OUGHT TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE, every bit as much as the lending institutes should be. And the people running FMAC and FNMA. THEY caused this to happen. THEY created the chaos and they want us to let them fix it! They won't even own up to their roles in this debacle. (BTW all the "administrators" of FMAC and FNMA certainly were well-paid and didn't have to return their salaries or stand up to a congressional oversight committee hearing either. Where's the hue and cry for accountability, hmmmm?)

So although it might appear that I have gone offtrack, here's where it comes full-circle.

The people in the genie stories are down-on-their-luck and along comes a benefactor who gives them what they think they want and don't have to earn it or pay for it. (It has to come from somewhere, surely.) And the people usually think there are no strings attached or consequences to the wish. Just grant it and all will be well in their world. They don't know who or what this granter of wishes is or consider the ramifications of their wish or alternative methods of achieving for themselves, just instant gratification. Fork it over, and be quick about it!

Obama the jinn has appeared, having been released by the voters, and his supporters think now it's their time to reap the rewards but time will tell if this jinn is a good one or an evil one. I don't know which he is. But history and fables have me convinced that we can't be complacent and just believe in something from nothing. There is ALWAYS a price that must be paid.

People, you have to EARN what you OWN. That makes the reward valuable.

Nothing from nothing leaves nothing
You gotta have something if you wanna be with me
Nothing from nothing leaves nothing
You gotta have something if you wanna be with me

I'm not tryin' to be your hero
'Cause that zero, is too cold for me
I'm not tryin' to be your highness
'Cause than minus is too low for me.

Nothing from nothing leaves nothing
And I'm not stuffin', believe you me
Don't you remember I told ya, I'm a soldier
In the war on poverty, yeah

Friday, September 4, 2009

I Spoke with the System this Morning,

Here's how it went down:

System: Welcome Chris ******. ( edited that for privacy)
System: Connecting to server. Please wait...
System: Connection with server established.
You: Technical Support Topic: High Speed Internet (DSL)
System: lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie) (Not Her Real Name) has joined this session!
System: Connected with lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie) (Not Her Real Name)
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): Thank you for choosing AT&T Internet Services. My name is Yvanka McKenzie.(Not Her Real Name) How can I make you a very satisfied customer today? (Really?)
You: I cannot receive or send the problem on my end or Bellsouth
You: I can access the internet, no problem
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): I'm very sorry for the inconvenience it caused you. I'll do what I can to help you out.
You: But I cannot access email either through Outlook Express or through Webmail
You: The password is correct as well
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): Are you getting any error messages?
You: yes, the password is denied
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): Have you tried logging in to the AT&T homepage?(Doesn't read the first few sentences)
You: yes, I cannot get mail there either (Repeating myself)
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): Are you getting the same error message?
You: "There was a problem logging onto your mail server. Your Password was rejected. Account: 'teacat2', Server: '', Protocol: POP3, Server Response: '-ERR [SYS/TEMP] Server not ready. Please try again after sometime', Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Server Error: 0x800CCC90, Error Number: 0x800CCC92"
You: does this help?
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): Yes. (Concise. Efficient.)
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): Also, I need to make sure what is the error message that you're getting if you will be logging into the AT&T homepage.
You: hang on and let me give it a go
You: "Sorry!
The error, LaunchHttpError-500, occurred when trying to connect to AT&T Mail. "
You: look at this message I just found:
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): What is it?
You: well of course, it won't allow me to copy and paste. I'll write it out verbatim
You: (Here's where it gets interesting) "Can't Talk Now, System's down. Sorry for the holdup. Looks like a temporary glitch in our network has part of Yahoo's mail down, so you're briefly without service"
You: "Rest assured the alarms are blaring in the basement and our team is"
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): Please stay with me as I check if there is an outage regarding with the mail.
You: What kind of a professional message it this?!
You: ...working frantically to get you up and running ASAP. Again the snag is on our end-so there's no need for you to do a thing. Yahoo!Mail Team
You: I swear, I am not making this up!
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): I get your concern.
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): Right now it seems that the mail part is down and yet we do not have any estimated time of restoration. (if this is system-wide, why did we just go through that information dance back there?)
You: ok! No worries then, As long as I don't need to mess with MY settings, I'll just hang out and enjoy the peace and quiet
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): I'm very sorry for the inconvenience.
You: no trouble at all...... thank you for your halp this morning
You: help
lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): Rest assure you that our technicians will do their best to fix the problem as quickly as possible.
You: yes, I know..... they're in the basement now....

(No response for approximately 2 minutes)

lo040t(Yvanka McKenzie)(Not Her Real Name): Thank you for using AT&T Yahoo! Chat Support. You will now be disconnected from this session. The chat window will remain open until you close it. For quick answers, make the new AT&T Yahoo! Help site your first stop. Visit where you'll find pages of product information to assist you. Again, thank you for choosing AT&T Yahoo! Chat Support. (She hit a Shortcut key and that final blurb pops up.)

Concise. Efficient. No sense of humor

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This is Barack Obama's "Green Jobs Czar"

I'd like a shot a answering her question. Basically, that question was 'How was the Bush Administration able to "push" bills through with less than a majority vote in Congress and Obama can't do it with a Democrat majority?

The esteemed man at the podium, highly-educated and verbose, said it's because Republicans are a******. And he said that he "can be one at times" as well. (I suppose that makes name-calling okay. Clearly the crowd loved this answer.)

Well, let me give it a shot. It's very possible that the Democrats who voted FOR any Republican-sponsored bills thought that the bills were worthy of their support and that their constituents wanted it. It's also a FACT that President Bush and the Republican Party had the Democrats help to actually write those bills, unlike the current Administration, who won't let anyone he doesn't like play his reindeer games. Oh they can sit in the room, but they can't add anything to the discussion. That's Pelosi.

It is also possible that Republicans DON'T think any current bill they choose to vote AGAINST is worthy of support (nor their constituents as well) and since the Democrats DO have a SUPER majority now in the Houses, there is simply NO reason Obama cannot get any bill he desperately wants passed to pass, EXCEPT that he has Democrats that know the bills are bad. Really, who's the a****** again?

Pelosi and Reid, you two can have any bill you can strong-arm YOUR side to vote on but YOU know and WE know that you want to share the blame when it fails, which it will. No Gov't sponsored entitlement program has ever succeeded.

SO to summarize: Even Democrats know there are some things the President wants and people oppose and since Presidents come and go but the people vote forever, who do YOU think is going to sway the vote?

Lastly, don't forget he said some of "them" are gonna have to get "a little uppity" because Obama isn't an a******. Ah classy.