I looked it up on the web: you're supposed to pick corn at twenty days.

I don't think my corn got the memo:

The corn is supposed to be blue. I hope that it's just not done yet and not that the thing is fully deformed. I'll let the other ears go a bit longer to see.

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Room With a View: Incline Village, NV

Just a quick overnight up the hill so we didn't have to drive back from Shakespeare on the beach.

And Not a Drop to Drink

According to the recent episode of BackStory, John Wesley Powell (leader of the US Geological Survey from 1881 to 1894) suggested to Congress that the key organizing principle of the western states should be drainage areas. He recognized the likelihood that water would be too scarce to meet all the development desires and thought this sort of organization would allow communities that share a resource to work toward common political solutions.

If his districts have been used, we'd be in that green blob on the left, instead of California. (You can click it to get a bigger view.)

Personally, I'd propose that our state be called Nevada, because the other one wouldn't exist. Then we wouldn't get asked that question all the dang time. Alternatively, we could call it Lahontan.

What would you call our water-based state?

The Sandman, Vols 1 & 2 (Neil Gaiman, et al)

I like to look down from my second story office at the nine-foot sunflower that has grown in the end of one of the garden boxes. The rest of the garden is screened from my view by the limbs of a pine tree, but that sunflower sits there staring at me all day long. Waiting, for what I do not know.

But whatever it is, I am sure it is no good.

And this is why, when I noticed that neighbor kid sitting on one of the lawn chairs not more than a few feet away from the flower, I had to go down and investigate. I might not be able to remember the kid's name, and, in fact, there is a good chance he is imaginary, but that doesn't mean I don't have a responsibility. I'm an adult.

This is a sentence I repeat to myself throughout the day. It is an important part of my routine: eat breakfast, brush teeth, remind myself I'm an adult; eat lunch, wash dishes, remind myself I'm an adult. You do this, too, right?

At any rate, I trundled out into the back yard to find that the kid was reading. Now, reading is something I like to encourage. I took the opportunity to do so right then.

"You go, boy," I said.


"You go, you with your reading and stuff. Good on you."

He looked back down to his book. I eyed the sunflower. You realize that nine feet is about three feet taller than I am, right? That's pretty tall.

He looked up from his book. "Why are you staring at the sunflower like that?"

"What are you reading?" I responded. No need to let him in on the dangers around him.

"A collection of The Sandman comics."

"Oh, I see. Neil Gaiman. I like his prose work a lot."

"You haven't read the comics?"

"Oh, sure. Felt like I never gave comics a chance when I was a kid. Not sure why: it's not really much of a leap from the fantasy novels I read to the comics. It was hurting my geek cred, so I picked up a couple volumes last week."

"This is really good," he said. "Different from that superhero junk."

"Gaiman can tell a story, that's for sure. Kinda gruesome, though." A bee flew onto the sunflower. I waited for the flower to pounce on it. The kid watched me watching the flower.

"You afraid of that thing?" he asked.

"Oh, no. Of course not. Perish the thought. I mean, sure I was when I was little, but that's understandable. They were like twice my height and there was a huge gang of them down on the corner. I had to pass them on the way to Martin Boulevard Elementary School. There wasn't a sidewalk on the other side of the street, of course, so I sidled past them the best I could, hoping my backpack would protect me."

"You were afraid of a flower."

"It was a long time ago. I think I had seen this episode of Star Trek where this flower spits into Spock's face and he goes all doolally."

The boy just shakes his head. "Maybe you didn't get into comics because they were too scary for you."

"I don't think that's it," I said. Sure, I would sometimes read a Groo, but that wasn't going to help my case, so I didn't mention it. "I think it was just that I was cheap."


"Sure. With a comic book, you paid like a dollar for maybe 25 pages of content? And that wasn't a whole lot of words. Compare that to getting a whole novel for five or six dollars, back in the day. Standard economic sense. I'd finish that thing in an hour. It wasn't worth the money to me."

"But the artwork is worth poring over."

"I guess I don't see artwork so well."

A breeze kicked up and the sunflower bent down toward me. I decided I needed to be back on the porch, so I ran over to it.

"You're still afraid of the sunflower," the kid said. "You're just a scaredy cat."

"I am not a scaredy cat," I said. "I am an adult."

And so I went inside and left him to his fate, the little mocker.

Your Light and Your Heat Have All Been Spent

I took one of my shorter rides today (picture a loop from Outside Inn to Gold Flat and back). The temperature is warm, but not unbearable. The air, though, ugh. It looks clearer than I've seen in a few days, but by the time I got to SPD, I was really gasping. My throat is now raw and I gagged a bit around Gold Flat.

And Commerce Street has never been so hard to get up on the way back. Phew. Good thing I didn't try North Bloomfield today.

The fires continue to hammer the air quality, so stay safe, folks.

This Guy Likes His Burger

I was never all that into Five Guys burgers, but this made me awfully hungry.

I like the burgers down in Roseville at the Counter. And if you're in Baltimore, I recommend the Abbey. (Of course!) What about you, Boo Boo?

Let the Sun Shine In

The first bloom appeared today.

It's a bit blurry because I used the iPhone and this flower is several feet taller than I am.

There is also some business going on with the corn, on one of the stalks anyway.

I wasn't expecting much because the stalks started to get too heavy to stand up and I had to stake a couple. Can't imagine a whole field having to be staked!

But it does look like the peas are nearing the end of their productivity. I did enjoy them.

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High as an Elephant's Eye

A little elephant anyway.

Here we are, halfway through the summer. There really isn't much to report. The peas have been pretty productive, but everything else is moving slowly or not at all. The sunflowers were attacked by some animal, but one or two look like they're about to bloom. I can tell that onions are growing, though not nearly so many as I expected.

The tomatoes and the spinach have decided not to sprout at all, unless the little weed-like sprigs are them. Poor things. I was surprised to find that there are a couple of pepper plants hidden behind the peas in the local-dirt plot. The ones in the square foot plot never showed.

Half the time I feel like I've watered the stuff too much; half the time I think I've watered it too little. The wonderful internet tells me that yellow leaves can mean either thing.

But I have my peas. I will have pumpkins, probably. And one of the corn plants is getting ready to produce. (The others are just wee imitations of corn.) Not bad for someone who has never made a full garden before.

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