Archive for October, 2015

Color

Posted October 27, 2015 By Ruth

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Actually taken a few days ago.  It was the last tree in the yard to change color, and is now shedding its leaves.  If you look close you can see the tree line behind it is mostly bare.

This morning I got up and thought for a minute we’d gotten snow overnight.  After grabbing my glasses I realized it was “just” a heavy frost that hadn’t melted off yet.  Close enough.  Guess winter really is coming!

People….

Posted October 26, 2015 By Ruth

Ok, this particular incident actually happened a couple weeks ago, but it still has me shaking my head, so I’m sharing it so that the rest of you can admire the sort of public that are out there.

This older gentleman is a regular customer.  He’s also the sort of customer who goes to a home improvement store to buy dirt and plants and then gets upset about putting said dirt and plants into his pristine car.  I swear we need to start selling sheets of plastic at the registers for the folks like this, $1 each.  I certainly don’t understand the mentality that the store is responsible for keeping your car clean.  If you’re going to buy stuff that sheds dirt and you don’t want that to shed in your car plan ahead with a tarp or the like and stop trying to blame the cashiers for not having anything to put down to protect your precious car.

Anyway, so I remembered watching him leave, fussing all the way about the fact that the bag of potting soil was dripping water.  I found out later that he even made a point of asking the cashier if the dirt “was ok” if it’s wet?

A couple hours later I answer a phone call.

“I bought a bag of soil earlier today, and it was dripping when I bought it, and it’s still dripping!  Is it ok?!”

*deep breath to hold in the variety of sarcastic answers that occur to me* “Yes sir, it’s normal.  They sit outside where they get rained on and it’s been raining this week.”

“But, all the important stuff in the bag isn’t going to wash away with the water is it??”

It took me several minutes to convince him that his bag of dirt was going to be just fine.  And I’m still not sure he believed me.  I half expected to see him back in the store with it later, returning it……

General update

Posted October 17, 2015 By Ruth

Our firewood for the season was delivered Friday.  There is now a pile of 10 face cord of firewood dumped in front of the carport for stacking.  Guess I know where my free time will be spent for the next little bit!

I spent a large portion of today running the table for the local buffalo farm at the local farmers market.  They paid me in meat, so its hard to complain, but of course today was the day that the weather decided to show us that WINTER IS COMING.  Complete with snow.  I managed to avoid freezing to death, but only thanks to prior planning.  Course, Tuesday its going to be back in the 60’s again.

Our new front steps are taking shape.  The platform is up, as are the stairs themselves.  Still needs guards and railings and some odds and ends, but I’m happy.  We even got the platform level first try!

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Dear Microsoft……

Posted October 14, 2015 By Ruth

Are you TRYING to force people to switch away from your products??

I’m sitting here reading about Linux Mint and how to run the Windows Emulator so I can have my Windows based software on a Linux install…..

Solar panel-tax return-audit update

Posted October 12, 2015 By Ruth

It occurred to me last night that I’d never updated on this.  We got notice a couple weeks ago that “the audit is complete and the file closed”.  Which appears to be legalese for “ok, you passed, this time, don’t screw up again”.

For anyone reading this consider this your warning.  If you install solar panels (or other tax rebated forms of energy production) remember to keep all your files for it in the same place!

Don’t get me wrong, we mostly had saved the paperwork, repeated in multiple spots.  Part of the problem was that what the audit paperwork called a couple things and what the title on the actual forms said wasn’t quite the same, and I ended up having to call into to the auditor to make sure I had the right stuff.

The other problem was that we couldn’t find proof of how much we actually paid.  I know we got receipts, but god be dammed if I could find them!  So that meant tracking down the checks with the bank.  SHOULD have been fairly simple.  But the one bank account that we’d used, we ended up closing a year later.  So we no longer had access to the account online to just go back and pull up the checks.  It necessitated a trip to an actual branch for Husband, which is difficult on his schedule, to actually talk to someone who could check his ID and do a search.  Then we hit computer problems.  Not our computers, the bank computers.  The third and final check was paid out at the end of Sept of that year, and for some reason the bank’s system was refusing to access that month’s info.  It took several weeks, and several trips, and several phone calls, to finally get a copy of that check.

So here’s your warning!  When you pay for the panels, SAVE the RECEIPT with the rest of the paperwork.  And while you’re at it, get a copy of the canceled check(s), and/or your credit card statement showing the charge, and save that WITH the receipts.  Trust me, it’ll come in handy!

As for us, we made EXTRA copies of everything, including all the checks, and tucked those copies in with everything else.  Cause if I’m reading the tax paperwork right, the Fed’s have another 4years in which to decide to audit us too…..

Long Pie Pumpkin, thoughts and review

Posted October 11, 2015 By Ruth

According to the internets, the Long Pie Pumpkin was brought to the USA sometime in the 1800’s, where it was dubbed the Nantucket Pumpkin.  Sometime after it was dubbed the Long Island Pie Pumpkin, which was in turn shortened to Long Pie Pumpkin.  Apparently they were quite popular in Maine for a while.  Anyone with grandparents from the area who gardened who might be able to confirm that?  I’m curious.  Supposedly lore states that they were “stacked up like firewood” for storage.  I can believe that.  I paraphrase, there are several pages out there with the history written out if you hit google and do a search for the Long Pie Pumpkin.

Like many heirloom varieties they faded in popularity as the general public was taught to expect pumpkins to be round and “normal” looking.  However they have qualities that make them potentially ideal for growing in colder climates and shorter seasons, on top of being a tasty pie pumpkin with almost no “stringy-ness”, as well as storing well.

They’re listed as having an approx 95-105 day growth period.  Actual reality is that the time spent on the vine can be quite a bit shorter than that implies.  These pumpkins can be picked as soon as the “ground spot” turns orange (from yellow).   Pick that green fruit, store in a cool place for long term storage, or in a warmer place for faster ripening, and they’ll continue to ripen just fine off the vine.

And my own experience backs that up.  I planted out my seedlings in Mid-May.  Admittedly we were having an abnormally warm spring and summer, but I could have picked the first “ripe enough” pumpkins before the end of July.  Two months to produce fruit that could be picked and stored for future use.  Now I left mine on the vine to ripen since we were having a decent summer.  I pulled 6 little (orange) pumpkins off the vines that died early, but left the 4 big ones to finish up.  Picked them back at the end of August/beginning of Sept.  Here’s a photo of 3 of them:

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The biggest of those three was 13.5 inches long and weighed in at 5.5 pounds.  Not a bad size for a pie pumpkin!

The little pumpkins had a fairly soft skin and were easy to cut up for cooking and pureeing.

The big ones?  OMG.  I ended up resorting to a clever and soft headed 3lb mallet to get through the rind.  THAT worked quite well.  Every other knife I tried?  Barely scored the skin, no matter how sharp it was.  So if you grow these, be warned, vine ripened fruit have one hell of a rind!

That biggest pumpkin got processed first, so I kept track.  I removed 1.5lbs of seeds/guts and stem ends before putting them into the oven to bake.  When I pulled it back out of the oven I had 2 3/4lbs of puree.  Not a bad harvest!  However that’s where I hit my next problem.

I’ve not processed a lot of whole pumpkins, but I’ve done a few.  Cut them in half, gut them, place them face down on a baking sheet with a pan of water in the bottom of the oven, and bake at 400degrees till you can pierce the skin with a fork.  Right?

That hard rind struck again.  Instead of softening, like every other pumpkin I’ve done, it hardened even further while the flesh softened and fell off.  I over baked that first pumpkin by at least 20 minutes because I didn’t realize what was happening.  Not a big deal, the puree tastes fine, but consider this your heads up!  Now, I haven’t processed the other larger pumpkins, so I can’t swear that it wasn’t something I did wrong, but still….

Very tasty flesh.  Not sure how to compare it to other pie pumpkins as I don’t have a ton of experience with others, but definitely tasty!  I will absolutely grow them again, and will highly recommend them to other folks looking for a pumpkin to grow in a cold/short season summer!

What do you have in your hand?

Posted October 3, 2015 By Ruth

What’s right next to you within easy grabbing reach?

What do you have to hand if a gunman burst through your workplace door right now?

Obviously, for those of us in the firearm community, we hope, and plan, and practice, to have our guns on hand.  But in many situations that’s just not possible.

In most colleges a gun is just not an option, but I remember what my college backpack looked like.  What my classroom desk looked like.

Pick. Up. That. Textbook. And Throw IT!  Throw your pen.  Don’t throw your phone, you’re going to need it to call 911 after you and your classmates pigpile the shooter.  Notebooks, calculators, ebook readers, ultra-light laptops, they should all be headed for the shooter as soon as your brain processes the gun.

Might you get shot during this attempt to stop the shooter?  Sure.  But we have ample proof by now that huddling in the back of the classroom and hoping you’re not his target isn’t any safer.  And if he’s ducking things pitched his way he’s not going to be aiming.

Course, today’s college students are practically taught to freeze instead of act.  They’re being taught to stop and think through every action and even every thought, lest they give offense.  THROW something at SOMEONE?  How could you?!

We’re raising a bunch of victims.  The students who’ll be entering the workplace over the next several years wouldn’t dream of defending themselves, lest they cause offense and become a target themself.  We’ve turned our colleges, and very shortly our workplaces and lives, into places where we are victims, where shooters who want to publicize a thought process with their own deaths know that they can find willing and ready victims to add to the media cry.

Any one out there with small robotics or electrical experience who’d be willing spend a few minutes to help me set up a wiring diagram for a project?  I can PROBABLY figure it out, but I’d appreciate assistance in making sure I’m getting it right…..

I could also use a link to a decent source for “stuff”, such as a (dimmer type) power control knob, etc….I think I miss Radioshack!