Thursday, September 25, 2008

Garlic Planted

Garlic cloves laid out in the bed ready for planting.
Jo got our garlic planted Wednesday afternoon.  She was a couple of weeks late getting the garlic in the ground, but everything we've done out in the garden this year has been late.
Here in the South, garlic is planted in the late summer or early fall.  It sprouts and grows to a foot or so in height before the weather gets cold.  During winter, the garlic remains green but goes dormant and stops growing.  Our temperatures in the teens and occasional snow and ice do not hurt it.   When the warmer days of spring arrive, the garlic starts growing again and is ready to dig by mid-July.
I hope this year's late-planted garlic has a chance to get established before our weather turns cold.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Edwards Place Fine Art Fair

Springfield, IL
September 20 and 21, 2008

Friday: Left the house around 7 AM. Dropped Rusty and Bucket off at the vets in Harrison for boarding. Bought our first gasoline of the trip in Ozark, MO ($3.36/gallon). Ate lunch at an I-44 rest area just shy of Rolla, MO. More gas on the west side of St. Louis ($3.79/gallon). Arrived at the motel in Springfield, IL, around five o'clock (460 miles). Checked in to the motel and unloaded our personal stuff from the van before driving on down to the show. Unloaded the van and began setting up our booths. Got the canopies up, the fixtures in place and the merchandise into the booth before it became too dark to see what we were doing.

A note about driving through (around) St. Louis: Like most major cities, St. Louis has a loop. As you enter St. Louis from the west on I-44 you have a choice of getting onto the loop heading north (Chicago) or south (Memphis). Since we're always heading toward Chicago we always take the north section of the loop. A friend told us to try taking the south loop. We did. It may be a few miles longer around St. Louis, but the trip around to the south is faster because of much less traffic.

Even though Jo looks as if she's intent upon whacking someone over the head with that spatula, I think she's actually selling it to the lady behind her.

Saturday: Back down to the show around 7 AM and finished getting all our pots and spoons out and organized. We were ready to go when the show officially opened at ten o'clock. Sales during what was left of the morning were good, but things slowed way down during the afternoon. There just weren't nearly as many people attending the show as there usually are on Saturday afternoon. Jo and I still did okay, but many exhibitors did not. (Later, we learned there were showers in the area even though no rain fell on us. The weather may have kept some people away.)

Saturday evening there was an awards ceremony with free food, beer and wine. We won no awards but did partake of the food and refreshments.

Edwards Place is said to be the oldest home in Springfield, IL, "still on its original foundation". The home and it's owners played a prominent role in Illinois politics in the 1800s, including the local politicking done by Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

Sunday: The crowd was better than on Saturday afternoon. Sales were decent. Considering everything that's going on in the economy right now, I consider decent pretty good. (Presidential election years alway seem to have an adverse effect on fall show sales.)

The show closed at four o'clock. Jo and I finished packing and loading around 7:30. We were the very last exhibitors to leave. We usually are. If we can get the van close to our booths as soon as the show ends, we can pack and load in around three hours. At this show we were able to do neither.

Where the buffalo chrome. A sculpture on permanent display at Edwards Place.

Monday: Away from the motel around 8 AM. I drove from Springfield, around St. Louis (via the south loop) and all the way to Cuba, MO, where we got gas. About five minutes after we got back onto I-44, the right, rear tire on the van disintegrated. I mean, it suffered a sudden and total tread separation. Jo did an excellent job of getting the overloaded van traveling at around 65 mph slowed and safely off the Interstate while running on three tires and a rim. Then, I got to change a tire while the 18-wheelers whizzed by a few feet away. After I got the tire changed, we had lunch at a rest area a few miles down the Interstate. The price of gasoline had fallen over the weekend. We only payed $3.26 per gallon in Ozark, MO, on the return trip. That's the cheapest gasoline we've purchased in a long while. We finished the trip without any more problems and got home around 7 PM.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wrong Place; Wrong Time

Wrong place + wrong time = disasterous consequences.

My apologies to all amphibians, all people who love amphibians and to anyone still trying to eat his/her breakfast.

The squashing was an accident.

I don't even know when it happened.


Friday, September 5, 2008

Journal: Friday, 9/5/08

One of the many varieties of binder weed blooming at the present time. Binder weed is a vine closely related to the Morning Glory. Many gardeners hate binder weed with a passion because it is weed that's difficult to eliminate. I love them blooming along side our road.
► Started Jo's kiln on a bisque firing. The damp weather we've been having is causing Jo problems over in her studio. (No I'm not referring to the drips. She's more or less learned to live with those.) Whenever she throws something like a mug, it must dry a bit before she can attach a handle. Nothing is drying. The work she threw yesterday was still as wet as when it came off her wheel. She's building up a backlog of thrown work that needs more attention. She doesn't have room for a backlog. (66º @ midnight)

► 10:00 AM: So far, the forecast for today is proving to be accurate. Our skies remain overcast. The current temperature of 65º feels a little chilly since I'm dressed as I would be for a temperature in the nineties.

► Took pity on the dogs and bathed them inside because of the chilly temperatures and breeze outdoors. The dogs don't particularly like being bathed, but tolerate it. Dog bathing works best if both Jo and I participate, one to hold the dog in place and the other to do the actual bathing.

While Rusty and Bucket don't like baths, they certainly find them invigorating. After a bath they run, play/fight, shove furniture around, bounce off walls and just make all around nuisances of themselves.

The sun has made a few very unconvincing attempt at burning through the clouds. (72º @ 2 PM)

► Walked up the road taking photos of fall wildflowers. Skies have finally cleared to partly cloudy. (72º @ 5 PM)

► Almost tripped over a copperhead as I rounded the corner of the house. We both thought we were alone and we were both startled by the encounter. He tucked tail and disappeared under the wood rack while I watched. Copperheads are common around here in the summer. I see them most often at dusk, a time when we are both out and about. They are just beginning a night of hunting while I'm trying to finish up chores, pick up tools and complete my day outdoors. Last summer, copperhead sightings were frequent. I haven't seen nearly as many this summer. Everything in nature seems to run in cycles, most of which I do not understand.

► Jo and I spent a little time out in our soggy garden late this afternoon. She harvested a few veggies. Many cherry tomatoes had ripened over the past couple of days. All but a very few were split. That happens when a lot of rain falls. I just checked things out a bit and picked hornworms off the tomato plants. It seems another hornworm siege is beginning. Also found four hornworms covered with parasitic Braconid wasp cocoons. (68º @ 7 PM)

► Chilling down a bit this evening. (61º @ midnight)


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Journal: Thursday, 9/04/08

Our garlic chives is blooming and attracting a lot of butterflies and other pollinators -- at least it was before all our recent rain start.  I haven't been out in the garden to check since.

Midnight:  We still have a 90% chance of rain tonight and a 70% chance on Thursday, but little rain has fallen over the past several hours.  There's hope that an ark may not be necessary.

Only another .6" rain overnight (8.8" total) and I think most of that fell in the very early morning hours.  Jo and the dogs were able to take their walk up the road this morning.  Though NOAA says our chance of measurable precipitation is still 60%, the sun is currently making a feable attempt to break through the clouds.  (70º @ 10 AM)

The sun's attempt at shining was a failure.  Light drizzle falling.  (72º @ Noon)

Walked up the road to the gate and back in a light drizzle.  Our road out is still in pretty good shape considering all the rain that's fallen in the post 36 or so hours.  The rain was steady, but never fell hard and heavy.  The downpours are what washes out the road, especially when the runoff breaches a water cutout in the road. (68º @ 5 PM)

Starting to chill down a little bit this evening with a breezy north wind blowing.  (68º @ 7 PM)

Midnight:  No significant additional rainfall today, just drizzle.  Skies remain overcast.  Tomorrow is forecast to begin foggy and then slowly clear.  Knowing our luck, the sun will probably finally break through the clouds around sunset.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Journal: Wednesday, 9/03/08

Okay, I'll admit it: I didn't take the picture above today. I didn't take any photos today. Who wants to photograph a gray sky and rain? Jo and the dogs picked more -- four pounds more -- green beans on Sunday. After the last picking, we weren't sure we were going to get any more fresh green beans. The plants were looking spent and we noticed few blooms. However, a string of cooler days and some rain revived the bean plants back into production. There were more tiny beans and blooms on the plants so we may get even more green beans, assuming they don't drown in our current spell of more rain than we really need at one time.
Gustav's wind and rain continue, but since we haven't had any thunderstorm with lightning, Jo set up the kiln to begin a glaze firing at midnight. I went over to the studio and took an electric meter reading and also started the kiln room exhaust fan. (73º @ midnight)

Made another trip over to the studio. The kiln lid was open a couple of inches so it could vent the gases being emitted by the glazes. I closed the kiln lid so it could finish firing. (74º @ 3 AM ... another .9" in the rain gauge, making a total of 2.5" of rain in the last 18 hours or so)

Water is beginning to seep into my basement/shop. It always does if we get very much rain. (74º @ 4 AM)

Day two of Gustav rain begins. 4" of rain thus far, but no stormy conditions in our immediate area. 72º @ 10 AM.

Jo's gamble with firing her kiln worked. The firing is finished and we did not lose electrical power. At the present time, Jo has the controller programed to fire the kiln down more slowly than if it were simply shut off and allowed to cool. This process is supposed to improve glaze colors, but isn't an essential step. If we lost power now, everything would still be okay. She wouldn't lose any of the pots in this glaze load.

Still have a 100% chance of rain today and tonight and are under a flash flood watch, although we don't really have anything to worry about in that regard up here on the ridge.

The mint "bed" I've been mowing around out behind the clothesline is doing just fine.

Forced the dogs off the porch and out into the rain to take care of their business. Now the delicate aroma of wet dog is wafting through the house. (71º @ 2 PM)

4:00 PM: 72º ... additional rainfall = 1.1" ... total rainfall = 5.1" ... rain can stop any time now as far as I'm concerned.

6:00 PM: Waded out to have a look at the garden -- looks soggy, but okay. Rainfall total up to 6.3"

Midnight: Rain is becoming a very boring topic of discussion, but not much nothing else is happening. Total for today = 6.5". Total since tropical depression Gustav started moving across Arkansas = 8.1"

Bogus NOAA Forecast

I'm always a little suspicious of weather forecasts, but I'm totally not believing this one.

(The radar image correctly show the entire state covered with rain squalls of varying intensity. That I believe.)


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Journal: Tuesday, 9/2/08

Jo happened to be at our local grocery store when they were disassembling their greenhouse tent at the end of spring. Everything left was on sale for $1.00. Jo said some of the scraggly and mostly dead plants weren't worth a dollar -- and some items were originally priced at less than a dollar. She did manage to find and purchase a couple of geranium plants. They bloomed right after Jo brought them home and are now blooming again.

Jo and the dogs were able to take their morning walk. Jo says the rain began around eight o'clock this morning.

Noon: Rain and 76º. We are forecast to receive rain from Gustav for the next couple of days. Gentle rain falling thus far.

A heavy downpour and gusty winds replaced the gentle Gustav rain we'd been receiving since early morning.

The heavy downpour didn't last long. We went back into a cycle of continuous light to moderate rain.

No walk today. 1.1" of rain thus far. (75º @ 4 PM)

Since I couldn't work in the garden or mow today, I made a batch of waffles instead. If you like light and fluffy waffles, I doubt you'd like mine. I make heavy-duty, stick-to-your-ribs waffles. I start with whole wheat flour to which I add oats, bran and sunflower seeds besides the routine leavening agents, oil, yogurt and eggs. And, of course, I cook them in a cast iron, stove-top waffle iron.

No more heavy downpours, but there's still plenty of rain in our forecast. (75º @ 6 PM)

Another .5" rain for a total of 1.6" (74º @ 10 PM)

Weather summary: High = 77º ... Low = 73º ... Midnight = 73º ... rain most all day ... total = 1.6"