The Abbey Garden: Part 8

If you want to feel kind of useless, make a garden. It doesn't seem to matter whether I do anything or not and the boxes just keep growing.

Here is the old box a month since the planting:

And the square foot one:

The "old" box has started growing some ivy. I'm happy to let it do so; I want to raise it and put it somewhere useful.

So far, I think that the differences between the old and new methods are: the old method has bigger plants and the newer method has more corn.

Also, the new method is a gazillion times easier to weed -- one, it has about 0.05% of the weeds the old box has and, two, I can tell what is a weed based only on where it is growing.

The peas are growing more quickly than I expected, so I didn't have a chance to make a good plan for something they can climb. I ran over to the ReStore and got this CD rack to let them climb. I used a bunch of twine to give them different directions to grow in.

I hope it works.

This is part of a series. Go back to the start or continue on to the next part.

By the way, I'm cheating by not buying the book or reading anything but other gardeners' blog posts about Square Foot Gardening, so don't take anything I do as an example of the canon.

Never Wanted a Camper Before...

...but this might have done the trick:

This Post Needs a Title

Here's a quick round-up of signs I've enjoyed over the last two months.

We'll start in Oklahoma, where I was disturbed by the combination of the bench's designation with its patriotic colors:

In Arizona, I briefly considered whether a dead cow would tie down well on my roof-rack. It certainly wouldn't fit in my hatchback.

Over in Reno, one of those claw vending machines is filled with "string dolls." If someone gave me this Romeo doll, I think I'd see it as a threat.

You have a secret crush on someone and you wonder if that person feels the same about you. Romeo will build a bridge of love and connect your hearts together.
And maybe sew buttons in place of your eyes...

A little closer to home, over on Chicago Park Powerhouse Road, I was really stumped by this one. So, is there really a difference between loitering and fishing?

And finally, here's a sign you wouldn't have seen 20 years ago. I know how these folks feel. I used to live in a place that MapQuest gave horrible directions for...

Getting By On Your Own Merits

This appeared in the Netflix "Recently Added" list today:

Kiara the BRAVE!

Didn't See Any Wolverines

Maybe I should change the logo away from books and give it more of a map feel since I've been obsessing over maps lately.

By the way, my laptop died, so I can't upload pictures of my garden or anything else interesting while I'm using this loaner. I hope that changes today.

One thing I can do, though, is take screenshots from the internet. I use RunKeeper on my iPhone. I never run, but it can use GPS to track other things like hiking and kayaking.

Last weekend, we went up to Spaulding -- my favorite of the accessible lakes in the county -- and did a loop. Here's the glory of it on a map:

There's a weird jog at the north end where the phone overheated and lost GPS connection, but otherwise, I think it represents the circuit. That was fun.

I love maps

This is neat.

The county government does do some good things, but they're not so good at getting the word out. The county GIS folks have put together an awesome interactive map of election results. I had contacted them just to see if there was a map of all the precincts so I could make something -- all those CP01s and MB53s weren't telling me anything -- but they had already gone and made a good result map:

You can click on any of the precincts to see how the Supervisor race in District 1 went, for example. Or you can use one of those buttons in the lower right to see how other races went. Like the one for House of Representatives:

I was initially disappointed that the precincts weren't color coded by winner, but I realized that 1) there are too many candidates to color-code at this stage and 2) the primary isn't a winner/loser race but just trying to get down to the top two.

Good job, county government!

Goodbye Ray Bradbury

Odd to think that I've not seen anyone link to that music video with the NSFW name. At any rate, I have nothing to add to the excellent words written by others about his passing. I am happy to have so much Ray Bradbury to re-read. He was a master of place, time and season.

I particularly like Walter Jon Williams' take on Bradbury:

Another reason Bradbury’s stories don’t date is that he built the nostalgia right into them. They’re about a world that’s already gone past. His Mars rockets are twinkly and old-fashioned now, but they were also twinkly and old-fashioned in 1945. He was all about lost worlds, and when you read the stories you see the loss everywhere.

"You see the loss everywhere." That's the nail folks. Got hit right on the head.

I wrote a book tale a while back based on a Bradbury book. Here's a snippet:

The grandmothers all turned to the grandfathers to exclaim how pretty the flames were, while all the grandfathers reminded the grandmothers about how much better fire had been in the Old Country. 'Go on, Eugene,' Grandma would say. 'You don't remember that!' But they fell to talking about the older days and times.

Read the whole thing here.

Bottled Up

A quick little experiment.

When I was in college in Upstate New York, we would save our cans and bottles and take them down to the Price Chopper in big batches. (Price Chopper was a grocery chain that had as a symbol a giant quarter with an axe hacking into it; imagine that: a supermarket openly advocating the smashing in of George Washington's skull. We called it the Price Whacker, usually. Or just the Chopper.) The cans and bottles would pile up until I couldn't open my dorm room closet without a glorious cascade of cans and bottles pouring out with what I thought of as a beautiful cacophony, but my roommate thought of as that damn cheap bastard's hobo symphony.

It was kind of fun, especially the bottles, because you'd go down to the Whacker and a clerk would shove the bottles and cans through a little hole into a container box. The bottles would go through and break (we had a lot more glass back then, folks) with a neat smash. They said that they had to break the bottles so that nobody else tried to get back the deposit. Each one of those bottles and cans was worth 5 cents and they had to be counted because in New York it was a true deposit.

It turns out that here in California, it isn't a true deposit, so they don't have to count the cans and bottles. The "CRV" on the sides of these containers stands for California Redemption Value or California Refund Value. There's not a guarantee that if I paid 10 cents on a bottle when I bought it that I'll get 10 cents back from the recycling agent.

Instead of counting, they weigh.

So I thought it was time for a little experiment. The bottles had been gathering in the garage for a little while and were just about ready for sending back. I counted them. The CRV we pay on each bottle depends on the size of the bottle. So all the 2 liter bottles are 10 cents and all the bottles under 24 ounces are 5 cents. I counted:

44 2-liter bottles: 44 x .1 = $4.40
43 smaller bottles: 43 x .05 = $2.15

That's a total of $6.55. How rich do you think the recycler was going to make me? Find out after the jump.

Moooooo ha ha

Last night was quite a show up here in the Sierra Nevada. Or is it on the Sierra Nevada? At any rate, there was a rare thunderstorm and it was a doozy. The thunder crashed and shook more strongly than the cannon-fire from the annual Pioneer Park reenactments. The lightning split the sky and lit up the house.

And all the while, in my mind I could hear Dr. Frankenstein shouting, "Life! Life! I have created Life!"

And sure enough, I looked out upon the garden and there it was.

The first thing I could see from the kitchen window were these round leaves in the old-fashioned bed. On the other end of the same bed, there is more:

Since I know nothing at all about what the heck I'm doing, I am finding one big advantage to the bed that's laid out for Square Foot Gardening.

The grids made it a lot easier to map out the location of the plantings, so I know what went where in this bed in a way that I am only hesitantly aware of in the other. So, this is corn. On the other end, we have sunflowers. Sunflowers and corn win the race to pop up first.

And I can walk down to my customer this morning, shouting, "Life! Life! I have created Life!" and they won't have a clue what I'm talking about.

This is part of a series. Go back to the start or continue on to the next part.

By the way, I'm cheating by not buying the book or reading anything but other gardeners' blog posts about Square Foot Gardening, so don't take anything I do as an example of the canon.