Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Net Neutrality... it's the lion telling you to fear the jackal.

http://www.theopeninter.net/

I just saw this website which is clearly a Net Neutrality advocate and from what you see on this website there is really nothing not to like. Let's protect Joe User from the big evil Internet corporation. Oh wait, there isn't one big evil Internet corporation... there are dozens of big evil Internet corporations, all of which are in direct competition with one another. Competition is in fact a much better protector of the consumer than anything the government could do for us. Oh yeah the website omits the rather salient point that Net Neutrality puts Internet regulation into the hands of our oh-so-trustworthy government. But then why not? Al Gore invented it; why not let the government control it? Yes, regulation = control. When a government controls information you have a recipe for... well, let's just say it would be a bad idea.

We already have laws in place to protect us from monopolies which is really what all this is pointing to: a situation in which somehow competing companies all act with one accord to screw the little guy and somehow manage to stay in business because the said little guy has no options when it comes to ISP choice (ok I will be Devil's advocate against myself here and acknowledge that this isn't entirely unheard of... i.e. Big Oil, but ISPs are hardly there yet).

I am not defending the big ISPs. Big companies get big in part because of greed and it is in fact a goal of ALL big companies to make money and get bigger. Personally as a Network Administrator I have grown to loathe most of them and the only reason I don't say all of them is that I haven't had to work directly with all of them as of yet. My point is simply to say what I already said in my post title: in my opinion the ISPs are merely jackals but the goverment is the lion (you and I would be the antelope in this scenario). Net Neutrality looks very pretty on paper but it would be to leap from the frying pan into the fire. The free market is just that... free; at least in theory it would be free were it not for the already large intrusion of government regulation. Net Neutrality is merely another way for the government to increase its reach into our lives.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Inconvenient Letter


This is a very enlightening resignation letter from Harold Lewis, an Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara wrtten to the American Physical Society. The article from which the letter came can be seen here.






Dear Curt:

When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?

How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’ĂȘtre of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:

1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate

2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.

3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.

4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.

5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.

6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.

APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?

I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.

Hal

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Company pride

I think I can say this is the first time I have really felt particularly proud of the company I work for. Now that statement may seem to carry a negative connotation but I don't mean it in that way. I've always thought of Layne with at least mild approbation (a job is a job and this is a job I happen to enjoy) but what I mean is today I am REALLY proud to work for Layne Christensen. Proud enough to boast on a blog that I do so. Layne was the drilling company who drilled the rescue hole through which a Chilean Navy rescue capsule will be used to pull out the miners one at a time. The other two rescue efforts weren't estimated to reach the miners until Christmas.

http://investor.laynechristensen.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=516710




Wednesday, September 29, 2010

George... why don't you just take my kids' college money while you're at it?

Somehow he continues to come up with ways to take our money... and he knows we will give it to him. He's like a drug dealer with the assurance of sales because when he comes by with more starwars we open the wallet reflexively at this point. It is pathetic really that I will likely buy the blu-rays and then begin longing for the 3D releases. My only complaint is that Phantom Menace gets released before the 'real' Starwars movies.

STARWARS TRILOGY TO BE RELEASED IN THEATERS IN 3D!!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oh man... great prank!



Of course were I the guy in the back seat, while I would hopefully not scream like a little girl, I would definitely take the pilot off of my Christmas card list... and maybe kick him in the nards after we landed.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The bigger they are...

Well I had my first experience falling over because my feet were attached to my pedals... Actually just one foot was clipped in but it was the important foot. The new bike has pedals with clips and the guy I bought the bike from had a used pair of bike shoes that fit me so I have been using them and I really like using clips as opposed to not. For you non-bikers, The clips help with efficiency when riding as your feet stay in place plus you can actually use the upward motion as well as the downward motion of your feet to increase your speed, HOWEVER when you come to a stop you have to think ahead and remember to swivel your heel to unclip the shoe from the pedal. If you don't, then when your forward motions stops, the sideways motion starts pretty much immediately.

In my own defense I had gotten into the habit of unclipping only my right foot and leaning right when I stop and it has been working just fine until this morning when I lost my balance and leaned left instead. It probably looked rather like this:



...Well with the exception that I fell the other way and there was no smoke. I am only glad that it was 5:30 AM and nobody was around to see me (that I know of). So a skinned knee and slightly damaged pride aside it was a good ride.

Friday, August 27, 2010

So I am riding again...

Added a new widget to the right side with my daily cycling mileage. At the end of October some friends are going to be riding a section of the Katie Trail so I'm trying to get ready for that. I bought a mountain bike and I'm going to pretty much train exclusively with that since I won't be taking the Fuji road bike on the trip. The new bike (GT XCR 4000) has full suspension which takes some getting used to when you are only familiar with a road bike and basically zero suspension. So hopefully the widget won't get too far out of date, even though I'm sure I will stop riding during the colder months.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My bat file grows apace...

I keep making this easier and easier for the tech support guys to use. It is mildly gratifying.

Things the bat now does…

- Creates a temp file with all of the new MAC addresses added during that session (this file opens at the end when you are ready to document the new MACs in the Excel spread sheet… this helps save you from having to retype the MACs especially if you were adding them from a hand written note)

- Displays a cool blinking warning if you try to run the ‘app’ (I know, I am stretching there) while another admin is using it. This is because when you run the bat, a temp file is created and the bat checks for the existence of this file before allowing you to proceed. It’s to avoid more than one person editing the MAClist at a time to avoid duplicate entries. The last thing the bat does is delete this file before exiting.

- Error checking. Macs entered must now be no more or less than 12 characters long but before the counting happens, spaces and hyphens are removed. MACs can only use numbers and or letters A-F.


Old features

- Add new Macs one at a time to the existing MAClist text file

- Menu for controlling the DHCP service remotely via the ‘sc’ (service control) DOS command. Start, Stop and Query are available.

- Opens Excel spread sheet at the end so you can document newly added MAC addresses (user name, computer name, MAC and if applicable, expiration date).

If you are a nerd and actually care about this stuff, see below...





@echo off

:: This checks for the existence of the 'inuse' file which is created when someone is using
:: the maclist control app.  If the file exists it sends you to a message saying to try again later.

if exist \\lchqfp01\dhcp$\inuse.txt goto blink else goto prerun


:: This creates a temporary 'in-use' file to help avoid the problem with multiple admins using this
:: utility at the same time and potentially causing overwrites or redundant entries in the Maclist.

:prerun

echo This application is in use by another administrator (%username%).>>\\lchqfp01\dhcp$\inuse.txt


:: Creates a temp directory to hold temp txt file containing all macs entered in this session.  This
:: text file opens at the end so you can copy/paste into the XLS file.

md c:\temp007
del c:\temp007 /Q
echo Please copy these macs to the clipboard.  When you close this text file the Excel Spreadsheet will open and you can paste them in:>>c:\temp007\macs.txt
echo.>>C:\temp007\macs.txt


:: I got the 'convert case' parts from this website --
:: http://www.robvanderwoude.com/battech_convertcase.php which says to use the SETLOCAL
:: ENABLEDELAYEDEXPANSION command. Dunno what it does precisely besides making my code work.

:top

SETLOCAL ENABLEDELAYEDEXPANSION
cls
echo.
echo.
echo MACLIST MANAGEMENT CONSOLE
echo ==========================
echo.


:: Here is where the user enters a MAC address... the 'LoCase' routine will change
:: uppercase to lowercase and remove spaces and hyphens since neither are permitted
:: in the MAC list.  It sets the variable 'mac' as whatever the user inputs, then the
:: variable is put through the subroutine and finally the end result is added to an
:: existing text file called 'maclist.txt'.

:choice1
echo Capital letters will be converted to lowercase
echo     and spaces and hyphens will be removed
echo.
SET /p mac=[Enter a MAC address]?
CALL :LoCase mac


:: Ensures that the input does not exceed or come short of exactly 12 characters
  set Namecheck=%mac:~0,11%
  if "%NameCheck%"=="%mac%" (
    echo. ERROR: A MAC address cannot be less than 12 chars
    pause
   goto :top
  )
  set Namecheck2=%mac:~0,12%
  if not "%NameCheck2%"=="%mac%" (
    echo. ERROR: A MAC address cannot be more than 12 chars
    pause
   goto :top
  )


:: Ensures that the MAC address only uses hexadecimal notation (letters g-z not allowed)

echo %mac% | findstr /R /C:[g-z]>nul
if errorlevel 1 goto :check
if not errorlevel 1 echo.ERROR: Hexadecimal notation only uses numbers and A-F.
pause
goto:top


::This section does a find command on the maclist text file and if the entered MAC already is on the list
::an error message is given and they are taken back to the add mac section.

:check
find /I "%mac%" \\lchqcdc01\system32$\MAClist.txt
IF NOT errorlevel 1 goto redundant
IF errorlevel 1 goto :ADD

:redundant
cls
echo.
echo This mac is already in the list.  Would you like to:
echo.
echo 1. Add a different MAC
echo 2. Copy maclist and continue
echo 3. Exit this utility now
echo.
echo **Only use option 3 if you have NOT entered any MACs successfully
echo   and you are finished with the utility.
echo.
:choice3
set /P C1=[1,2,3]?
if "%C1%"=="1" goto top
if "%C1%"=="2" goto copy
if "%C1%"=="3" goto exitnow
goto choice3


::Appends the entered MAC address to a file on the network.

:ADD
echo %mac%>>\\lchqcdc01\system32$\MAClist.txt
echo %mac%>>c:\temp007\macs.txt
ENDLOCAL
GOTO:NEXT

:: Subroutine to convert a variable VALUE to all lower case and remove spaces and hyphens.
:: The argument for this subroutine is the variable NAME.
:: Only A-F are included as hexadecimal doesn't use the rest of the alphabet.

:LoCase

SET %~1=!%1:A=a!
SET %~1=!%1:B=b!
SET %~1=!%1:C=c!
SET %~1=!%1:D=d!
SET %~1=!%1:E=e!
SET %~1=!%1:F=f!
SET %~1=!%1: =!
SET %~1=!%1:-=!
GOTO:EOF

:NEXT
cls
echo MAC has been added...
echo.
echo 1. Add another MAC
echo 2. Copy maclist and continue
echo.

:choice2
set /P C1=[1,2]?
if "%C1%"=="1" goto top
if "%C1%"=="2" goto copy
goto choice2


::Copies the newly edited MAClist from the primary to the secondary DHCP server

:copy
echo Copying newly edited MAClist from LCHQCDC01 to LCHQCDC02...
copy \\lchqcdc01\system32$\MAClist.txt \\lchqcdc02\calloutdll$\MAClist.txt /y
pause
color 0E
goto menu


:: This menu allows users to issues service control commands to two DHCP servers.
:: The MACfilter list is not reapplied until the DHCP services have been restarted.

:menu
cls
echo.
echo Please choose from the following menu
echo =========================================
echo.
echo 1. Stop DHCP service on both corporate DCs
echo.
echo 2. Start DHCP service on both corporate DCs
echo.
echo 3. Query DHCP server status on both corporate DCs
echo.
echo 4. Open Excel spreadsheet and Quit
echo.

:choice3
set /P C=[1,2,3,4]?
if "%C%"=="4" goto quit
if "%C%"=="3" goto query
if "%C%"=="2" goto start
if "%C%"=="1" goto stop
goto choice3

:stop
cls
sc \\lchqcdc02 stop DHCPserver
sc \\lchqcdc01 stop DHCPserver
pause
goto menu

:start
cls
sc \\lchqcdc02 start DHCPserver
sc \\lchqcdc01 start DHCPserver
pause
goto menu

:query
cls
sc \\lchqcdc02 query DHCPserver
sc \\lchqcdc01 query DHCPserver
pause
goto menu


:: This last step opens an Excel spreadsheet where we manually document new MAC addresses
:: which have been added to the MAC filter list.

:quit
"c:\temp007\macs.txt"
"\\lchqfp01\DHCP$\MAC-HOST-USER list.xlsx"

:exitnow
del \\lchqfp01\dhcp$\inuse.txt /Q
exit

:blink
cls
echo.
echo.
color 47
echo                    ------------------------------
echo                    i ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ i
echo                    i +                        + i  
echo                    i +        WARNING!!!      + i
echo                    i +                        + i
echo                    i +  The DHCP control app  + i
echo                    i +  is in use by another  + i
echo                    i +     administrator.     + i
echo                    i +                        + i
echo                    i +    Please try again    + i
echo                    i +         later.         + i
echo                    i +                        + i
echo                    i ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ i
echo                    ------------------------------
echo.
\\lchqfp01\dhcp$\sleep -m 800
cls
color 07
echo.
echo.
echo                    ------------------------------
echo                    i ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ i
echo                    i +                        + i  
echo                    i +                        + i
echo                    i +                        + i
echo                    i +  The DHCP control app  + i
echo                    i +  is in use by another  + i
echo                    i +     administrator.     + i
echo                    i +                        + i
echo                    i +    Please try again    + i
echo                    i +         later.         + i
echo                    i +                        + i
echo                    i ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ i
echo                    ------------------------------
echo.
\\lchqfp01\dhcp$\sleep -m 800
cls
goto blink


Saturday, August 14, 2010

What have I done!!!!????

hy·brid (hbrd)
n.
1. Genetics - The offspring of genetically dissimilar parents or stock, especially the offspring produced by breeding plants or animals of different varieties, species, or races.
2.
a. Something of mixed origin or composition, such as a word whose elements are derived from different languages.
b. Something having two kinds of components that produce the same or similar results, such as a vehicle powered by both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine as sources of power for the drive train.





Some hybrids exist...





Some do not...







Let me tell you a brief tale...


I called my dad yesterday to tell him Happy Birthday (yes his Birthday is on Friday the 13th as is my own every few years). I am not a supersticious person but on occassion I do have the odd unlucky Friday the 13th. This could be said to be one of those although technically only the bad news came to me on that day.

Well I say 'bad news' but really it was only an odd little thing Dad mentioned to me. I was catching him up on life at my house... kids, wife, work, whatnot... and we come to my garden which he was interested in as he has been a gardener for a few decades. I tell him of the plentious cucumber crop and how the tomatoes look to be quite numerous if they mature before the growing season ends. The corn I said was dissapointing because we harvested a bit too late and it was sort of chewy and not as sweet as it would have been had I been more on the ball (and better educated on the subject). Then I come to the melons...

The watermelons are doing quite well AS are the canteloupe I say to him... then there is a slight pause and he asks me a question.

"How close are your canteloupe to your cucumbers?" Odd question I though to myself. I mean why would it matter? I know that they both attract cucumber beetles... in fact any vegetable that produces yellow flowers will attract the little buggers and those both in fact do produce similar yellow flowers... I ask "is it because of cucumber beetles? Because I've not had that big of a problem with them."

"No, no its just something I heard once from a fellow gardener."

"What is that?" I ask.

"Well," he goes on, "my friend told me once that if your cucumbers and canteloupe are close to each other then cross-pollination can occur and produce cucumber flavored canteloupe."

ABSURD! Who ever heard of such crazy talk? Well I mean aside from my Dad... and the fellow that told this to him. But then why would somebody make such a thing up? It still sounded just very strange to me. Today I decided to investigate because I had mentioned to DeAnna that the canteloupe WERE sort of growing elongated rather than round like the watermelons... also they were a darker green than I imagined they would be.

What I discovered was... well, please do not scroll down if you have a weak stomach. These images may be disturbing... ... ...









BEHOLD!!! ... ... ... ...








THE.... ... ...









CUCUMBELOUPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!











Oh to all my friends and family... I'll be distributing lots of canteloupe this year I think because we look like we're gonna have a bumper crop and well, I just don't think we'll be able to eat it all.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The absolute furthest extent of my 'coding' skillz...

@echo off
:top
cls
echo.
echo.
echo MACLIST MANAGEMENT CONSOLE
echo ==========================
echo.
:choice1
set /p mac=[Enter a 12 character hexadecimal MAC with NO capital letters]?
echo %mac%>>\\lchqcdc01\system32$\MAClist.txt
cls
echo MAC has been added...
echo.
echo 1. Add another MAC
echo 2. Copy maclist and continue
echo.
:choice2
set /P C1=[1,2]?
if "%C1%"=="1" goto top
if "%C1%"=="2" goto copy
goto choice2
:copy
echo Copying newly edited MAClist from LCHQCDC01 to LCHQCDC02...
copy \\lchqcdc01\system32$\MAClist.txt \\lchqcdc02\calloutdll$\MAClist.txt /y
pause
color 0E
goto menu
:menu
cls
echo.
echo Please choose from the following menu
echo =========================================
echo.
echo 1. Stop DHCP service on both corporate DCs
echo.
echo 2. Start DHCP service on both corporate DCs
echo.
echo 3. Query DHCP server status on both corporate DCs
echo.
echo 4. Open Excel spreadsheet and Quit
echo.

:choice3
set /P C=[1,2,3,4]?
if "%C%"=="4" goto quit
if "%C%"=="3" goto query
if "%C%"=="2" goto start
if "%C%"=="1" goto stop
goto choice3

:stop
cls
sc \\lchqcdc02 stop DHCPserver
sc \\lchqcdc01 stop DHCPserver
pause
goto menu

:start
cls
sc \\lchqcdc02 start DHCPserver
sc \\lchqcdc01 start DHCPserver
pause
goto menu

:query
cls
sc \\lchqcdc02 query DHCPserver
sc \\lchqcdc01 query DHCPserver
pause
goto menu

:quit
"G:\Common\Technical Documentation\Network Administration\DHCP\MAC-HOST-USER list.xlsx"
exit
:end


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hey, nice melons!

Just got back from my week in Bloomington Indiana (no not a vacation) and I've come home to find some actual fruit! The vines of both watermelons and canteloupe have pretty much taken over the trellises as I had hoped they would and I'm sure they will eventually completely engulf the structures.

Here is a newly forming watermelon.

Here are the two largest watermelons so far (one about 2" and the other about 3").

The first...


... and the second.


This is one of several just beginning canteloupes (none are larger than this at the present).


Nothing much else is new. The corn ears are still growing and the cucumbers are sort of old news now. We picked about 6 mature cucumbers so far and there are another half dozen starting to grow. Next year I am going to give the cucumbers a real trellis and more room. The tomatoes are also way too close together and WAY to close to the cucumbers.


We have a lot of cucumber beetles but I don't think it is an infestation just yet. Each time I go out there I kill five or six. Next year I am going to till the soil with nematodes to help eliminate some of the garden pests.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quick garden post

I wanted to show you the 'first fruits' or fruit... err vegetable as it were. This is about as large as I've been told to let the cucumbers grow. If they get any bigger than about 6-7" they start getting bitter. There are at least 100 flowers in the cucumber 'bush' so at some point I imagine we will be harvesting several at a time, at which point I might try my hand at making dill pickles since I'm not much of a cucumber fan myself. DeAnna and René by the way devoured this one and said it was absolutely delicious!


The melons vines are all making good progress up the trellis and soon I am thinking they will be in competition with the ridiculous cucumber colony.

Here is a view from deep inside the cucumber complex.


This thing was staring at me so I took its picture... I think I can see my reflection.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nice coffee machine...

This week I am in a class at Fishnet Security downtown to learn about the F5 network load balancer we just had installed at the office and this is the coffee machine they have. I think I am going to make it!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Every day something new...

I didn't expect to see so many cool things when I went out to view the garden today... it inspired me to pull out the 'nice' camera (Fujifilm Finepix S1000) in lieu of the blackberry and I played around a bit with the super macro feature which this one does pretty well.

A canteloupe blossom


A baby cucumber


baby green beans


First ear of corn starting


This is the top of a cucumber plant... just playing with macro settings.


This looks similar to a ladybird beetle which is a very beneficial garden insect as I understand... but it looks too elongated so I'm not sure exactly what it is.



I suppose I should be grateful to the bumblebees for helping my corn grow but I confess they make me a bit nervous.


There are quite a few out there today.


The watermelon vines are finally starting to get long enough to train up the trellis


The canteloupe had a headstart and are all clearly moving up.

More posts to come as more exciting things continue happening in my garden.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tassels, flowers and mushrooms...

Some of the plants are now flowering which I believe just preceeds fruit bearing. I probably still have another 4-5 weeks and maybe longer before anything is ready to harvest (I should probably start reading the gardening book's harvesting section now).

Corn tassels are starting on two of the stalks.

These little yellow flowers are on the cucumber plants... notice the yellowing leaf to the right? I think this is due to me planting way too many cucumbers too close together in my ignorance at how freakin huge they would get and the lower leaves are starved for sunlight. Next year I will know better... the cucumber plants so far do not seem to be affecting the bell peppers as they do get plenty of midday sun... but those lower leaves of the cucumbers are in shade all the time now.

One of the green bean plants is now beginning to flower as well. Most of the others are about two weeks behind as this is the only green bean plant to survive the transplanting and the rest were replanted as seeds direct into the garden.

I guess now I know why it is called mushroom compost... the shrooms really like it.

I just threw this pic in to show that I finally completed both melon trellises and that the melon plants are all doing well (but still have a very long way to go obviously). The melon harvest will be the last I'm thinking... maybe even mid to late September so I am hoping for a warm early Fall.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quick garden update

Well I finished the watermelon trellis today (picture doesn't show the wire grid but its there now) and I put the frame up for the canteloupe trellis though it still need the wire grid. Below you see my solution to wind storms... we had most of the corn blown over at a 45 degree angle and in a few cases even lower. I was able to very gently straighten the stalks back up without breaking any. The nylon string is attached with nails and is pulled extremely taut (it's 35lb string) so it should hold the corn in place for the rest of the season.


Now, has anyone ever grown cucumbers?? Is this normal?? These plants are going wild... my thin little green wire trellis is bowing under the weight and they've moved on to the nearby tomato cages for more support. Also they are starting to produce small yellow flowers toward the bottom of the plants.


Tomatoes are all doing well and getting stronger and taller.


Below you can see the new canteloupe trellis as well as the canteloupe vines starting to spread a bit. Once they are 12"-15" I will start training them upwards to use the wire grid.


Well that's my Saturday... tomorrow if I get the wire up on the canteloupe trellis then I will call the garden officially completed as far as construction goes. Now I can only hope that my untreated lumber will last at the very least a couple or three seasons. It is by far the cheapest route for building these kinds of structures and since it is untreated and unpainted/stained the food should be of a higher quality. Maybe I will set up an organic veggie stand in my neighborhood.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Garden Post - Phase 3?

Well I put a good day's work in and for the most part beat the rain as we started early. I almost finished the watermelon trellis and got the beds mulched with cedar (heard it was good for keeping out some types of harmful bugs and doesn't keep any beneficial insects away, plus it should make the waterings last a bit longer by keeping the moisture in.)

Here are my helpers... they actually did a good job using the screw gun as well as hammering nails. I started the screws/nails most of the time but they were really getting the hang of it after the third frame went up.


I've probably explained this before but the trellis is for the melon vines to grow up. When the vines produce fruit and the melons get to about one pound then we are supposed to make little netting 'hammocks' big enough for the full grown 10 pound watermelons and tie them onto the wire mesh. This way the melons don't ripen on the ground and it avoids fungus growth as well as lopsided friut.



The individual frames were actually quite sturdy but I put the cross beams on as an after thought just in case.

The metal mesh is heavy gauge so I have no fear it will hold several 8-10 pound melons as long as they are somewhat evenly distributed... that of course presumes my plants will produce well.



The tomatoes are finally starting to develop thicker stalks and I am thinking they should do ok as long as the growing season is long enough... as I said before, I got them in the ground a bit later than I wanted.

The ridiculous cucumbers are skyrocketing! (that little green wire trellis is almost 4' tall.)


Now I'm going to take a break for the evening and for tomorrow as well (planning on enjoying some fireworks.) Monday I have the day off so I think I will tackle the canteloupe trellis then which will be the same design but with only two frames instead of three.