Sorry, very busy lately. I’ll post when I have a chance. There a several unfinished ones around. Mother’s day, water heater and garbage disposal replaced, pergola finishing, many new plants in the ground, and new ideas on gardening/farming (permaculture, biodynamics, companion planting, experiences, etc.).
Archive for May, 2007
Well, on Thurs I noticed some water in the hall, but I thought it was tracked in from outside. Then Friday morning, while I was preparing for work, the water was still there. I looked into it some more and it seemed like there was a very slow leak coming from the water heater. The water heater is the only place the water could come from. Every other source was 10-15 ft away.
Thank God and the realtor for throwing in the American Home Shield insurance to the house deal. I submitted a ticket to the website and a plumber called in about an hour. Barry from A-1 Vaughn plumbing came by yesterday at 4:30 to look the situation over.
I exaplained how I wanted the water heater moved to the garage, switched to electric, and enlarged. Then he explained how the pipe from the washer was too small (1/2″ vs 3/4″) and a new distribution line would have to be run in the attic from the hall closet to the garage closet. The hot water would take longer to reach the tap. And a seperate electrician would have to be called for the circuit. So. very little is going to change with the water heater. It will go from 40 gal to 50 gal. The next size up is 75 and I suspect that one would be to wide for the closet’s depth.
They were going to fix it today, but I want a larger heater and that requires a conversation with the home shield insurance that can’t happen over a weekend. When he told me about that this morning I asked about the flooring. The original house tile had been soaked for a few days and had flooded and dried a few times over the years. You could peel it up with you hand and it was extremely disgusting. Replacing it would take at least a day.
No problem. He came and took away the old water heater this morning. He removed one of the valves too. It was so corroded it got mushy in the pipe wrench while taking it off.
Then I went to Lowe’s and found some commercial vinyl tile. $30 for a box and $6 for glue. The peal and stick tiles were interesting, but more suited for public areas. And were a little to squishy for hold a several hundred pound water heater. There’s way more tile than I can ever use, but you never know. This is the tough stuff they use in public buildings like schools.
Right now, I’ve got a fan drying the area. It’s been cleaned several times. I used a wood chisel to scrape out high spots from old glue. Tonight, I’ll lay the tile. Giving it tomorrow to setup. Monday morning they’ll bring the new water heater.
With no water heater there’s no hot water. Tomorrow I go to Canadian for mother’s day and I guess I can get a shower and some clothes washed. It’ll be like the college days. Bring home dirty clothes.
I also asked about the non functional garbage disposal. Hopefully, they can replace that on Monday morning too. I don’t like running the dishwasher, because it backs up a little into the garbage disposal and I don’t think it’s doing any good for the dishwasher.
It will be great to have all this sorted out. I started putting things up in the garage closet. The storage space is desperately needed. Now, that it’s not waiting on the water heater the garage will be cleaner. With the garbage disposal working the kitchen will be cleaner. And the water heater closet will have new tile and be cleaned out. All of this will feel much better.
OxyContin is a powerful, long-acting narcotic that provides relief of serious pain for up to 12 hours. Initially, Purdue Pharma contended that OxyContin, because of its time-release formulation, posed a lower threat of abuse and addiction to patients than traditional, shorter-acting painkillers like Percocet or Vicodin.
That claim became the lynchpin of the most aggressive marketing campaign ever undertaken by a pharmaceutical company for such a drug. Just a few years after the drugâ€™s introduction in 1996, annual sales reached $1 billion. Purdue Pharma heavily promoted OxyContin to doctors like general practitioners who had little training in the treatment of serious pain or in recognizing signs of drug abuse in patients.
But both experienced drug abusers and novices, including teenagers, soon discovered that chewing an OxyContin tablet or crushing one and then snorting the powder or injecting it with a needle produced a high as powerful as heroin. By 2000, several parts of the United States, particularly rural areas, began to seeing skyrocketing rates of addiction and crime related to the drugâ€™s use.
Federal officials said that internal Purdue Pharma documents show that company officials recognized even before the drug was marketed that they would face stiff resistance from doctors concerned about the potential of a high-powered narcotic like OxyContin to be abused by patients or cause addiction.
Between 1995 and 2001, OxyContin produced $2.8 billion in revenue for Purdue Pharma, a closely held company that is based in Stamford, Conn. At one point, it accounted for 90 percent of the companyâ€™s sales.
Those executives are Michael Friedman, the companyâ€™s president, who agreed to pay $19 million in fines; Howard Udell, its top lawyer, who agreed to pay $8 million; and Dr. Paul Goldenheim, its former medical director, who agreed to pay $7.5 million.
Unless all profits plus interest made from Oxycontin during the years it was “mislabeled” are taken we are saying that contrary to that popular slogan, crime does pay. And pays quite will. Perhaps those involved should also serve some of the jail time of the people they intentionally or negligently sought to addict. Say 1% of the sentence from each Oxycontin related offense. Under the idea they induced these crimes through their illegal promotion of Oxycontin?
You know those subscriptions Best Buy is always pushing; AOL, MSN, NetZero, magazines, etc. This is what an employee has to say: Best Buy Employee Confesses To Scams Similar To Ones Outlined In Racketeering Lawsuit
This is a great article on the programming for Microsoft products after 15 years. I acknowledge that I’m getting more than a little tired of 5 years of stagnation coupled with a recent year of hyperactivity. And the constant stream of bullshit marketing terms from people who think the difference between Perl and Pearl is spelling. And the $60 books which are nothing more than semi-useless repackaged Microsoft Developer Network material. And…
My thanks go out to courageous people like Mark Klein.
Medium water-use plants are plants that need to be watered every 2, or 3 weeks. Plants are native to the mid and tall-grass prairie areas of the Great Plains and south and southeast Texas and other areas receiving 25 inches and more of rain.
rudbeckia (black-eyed Susans)
echinacea (other than our native Echinacea angustifolia)
heuchera (coral bells)
many non-hybrid tea roses
some ornamental grasses and most of the traditional shrubs weâ€™re familiar with
Low water-use plants are plants that require an inch of rainfall or irrigation a month during the growing months. Plants that originate in semi-arid, cold desert and in higher elevations in the southwest (and other similar eco-regions of the earth) with alkaline clay and caliche soil and little organic matter do very well in our area.
Melampodium leucanthum Blackfoot daisy
Berlandeira lyrata chocolate flower
gaillardia blanket flowers
Ipomea leptophylla bush morning glory
Zinnia grandiflora prairie zinnia
Origanum libanoticum hop or Lebanese oregano
Anisacanthus wrightii quadrifidius flame acanthus
Salvia greggii (Zone 5 or 6 for us) cherry or autumn sage
germander sage or New Mexican Blue Sage
Veronica pectinata and V. â€˜Blue Reflectionâ€™
Artemisia versicolor â€˜Sea Foamâ€™
Marrubium rotundifolia silver edged horehound
Caryopteris blue mist spirea
Nepeta faassenii â€˜Select Blueâ€™ a catmint variety
Centranthus ruber coccineus and alba Jupiterâ€™s Beard
Cerastostigma plumbaginoides hardy blue plumbago
I’ve been working my ass of lately. The weather has been great and I want to take advantage of it before the heat comes along. The majority of the outdoor projects should be coming to a close by the 2nd wk of June. Switching to gardening and plant care for the duration of the summer.
So, what’s been done since last time. Yesterday, I got the chainsaw out and scuplted the two evergreen stumps that flank the back porch. Heh, I just wrote, “got the chainsaw out”. Whoever took the trees down dig a pretty good job up to the point where they got too tired or the job got too big. One stump is next to the grill. A crude, off angle shelf or bench was cut into it. Besides that both pretty much look like big stumps.
My intention was to turn them both into planters for low water plants like sedums. And to expand and level the bench. I started by cleaning them out as far as I could. That was a rather disgusting job and those parts of the tree had probably never been cleaned. I found a worm, lots of snail shells, an incredible amount of dirt. A whole that was 4 inches became 12 just with cleaning.
Then I chainsawed the bench level, deeper, and more square. Cut off any jutting limbs and recut the ends of several limbs to give them a more even look. This was a lot of work. Turns out the trees are cedar, very nice smelling, and tough. The water hose washed off the wood chips and “dirt”. A cocunut fiber planter was cut up to cover gaps between the limbs. Potting soil was added and then plants.
It turned out pretty good. The bench cut is great. Now, it looks intentional. The cutting revealed the beautiful cedar color and lent purpose.
Lots of plants have been purchased and planted. Probably four flats of zinnias, petunias, and marigolds. The marigolds go everywhere to protect agains nematodes and other soil born pests; garden and flower beds. A few herbs go in both types of beds; oregano and rosemary. If I could grow chamomile easily it would be planted every few feet over the whole yard. The intention is beauty and overall health. Flowering plants and disease/pest resistant plants mixed.
In the front yard, I redug the flower bed under the hedge. And was very suprised to see that the turned sod had become the consitency of peat moss. My intuition about digging that first week was correct. Six weeks later it paid off. Also, the curbside bush got some company from flowers; zinnias, marigolds, snapdragon, daisy, and calendula.
The backyard flower beds got trellises for the sweet peas and zinnias, marigolds, and petunias. The pumpkin seeds went in one corner. And cantaloupe and watermelon in the other corner. I couldn’t wait for the seeds so I got a six pack at Sutherlands. Soon they’ll get a trellis to help with the space issues. This corner is very interesting to me. It’s under three pecan trees on a mound. Yet, it seems to get almost full sun given the motion of the sun and plants and fence around it. I suspect in the summer it will be a very cool spot.
When planting the cantaloupe I was very excited to discover that chamomile had sprouted in several spots. Chamomile is referred to as the plant doctor. You’re supposed to set a pot of it next to any sick plant. I have so far been unable to grow it at all. Seeing in the yard is great.
I’m not sure if the seeds will come up. So, I decided to try an experiment. Let me back up. Last year, I tossed the rotting halloween pumpkin in the compost bin and was very surprised to see that many, many of the seeds sprouted and were very vigorous even though they never saw the light of day. In fact, I checked the bin Sunday and there were 4 good pumpkin sprouts. I planted them in dirt, put them in sun, and 3 have survived and look fantastic. 2-3 times better than the peat pot plants.
My experiment is to put 6-8 watermelon seeds and a packet of red corn in plastic contains, cover with worm compost, and place in the worm bin. I’ll let them sprout in the bin and pull them out like the pumpkin. I found one blog post by someone who sprouted his seedlings in worm compost and did a side-by-side comparison with regular soil. His pics showed plants 2-3 times bigger. But I could not google someone who had actually sprouted their crop in the worm bin. So this will be a “first”.
Several vegetables were started inside and moved to the raised beds. It looks like one bed will be tomato centric. An heirloom seed I got off the Internet, Cherokee something and packet of store bought seed. Of course lots of flowers and herbs in the same bed. Oregano, marigold, sorrel, bee balm, purple basil, chamomile, caladiums, petunias, and whatever else. The other bed is based on beans. 2-3 long bean types and 1-2 bush beans and purple potatoes. The potatoes have some allysium seeds sprouting on them. And I threw a packet of lettuce and radishes near the beens. Other plants in this bed are petunia, zinnia, chamomile, marigold, and marjoram.
Six tomatoes were planted in the bed from peat pots and 3 are alive. Several times I thought they were all dead. Then one day I noticed two had grown substantially. One day they had the first and second set of leaves and the next day they grew the third set. The only other seeds to do this were the marigolds, which never looked very sickly. I think it was the heat. We had a couple of days of 80′ degree weather and I suspect the chemistry of tomatoes needs these higher temperatures for growth. There’s still one more sickly tomato, but I keep pulling for him. He’s managed to stay alive for this long.
Another interesting note was that the sorrel started getting sunburned. I felt I had to plant it because it was looking poorly and looking poorly is usually due to lack of water or lack of sun. He wasn’t suffering from lack of water. Anyway, I built a little shade for him. I considered moving him, but I suspect the tomatoes will soon tower over everthing given a chance and that will work out perfectly.
The garden bed has sprouted and looks great. Lots of little plants, most of them unidentifiable at this stage. Some corn, a few beans, 6? cucumbers, and many unknowns. Of course, I threw soemthing like 8 packets of seed in this ~100 sq ft space. The weather has been perfect for seeds. The day after I planted it was wet for two days. Then sunny for 3. Then wet for two.
The days it dried freaked me out, because the surface of the ground cracked big time. Luckily, the WT A&M compost I ordered in March showed up and I put it on the bed to “seal” the cracks. This is by far the best looking compost I seen. Light and fluffy with no odor. I’m going to order a lot of it next year.
I saved the best for last. The Pergola is proceeding slowing. 4 of 6 post holes are dug. The ground is somewhat leveled. Half the wood is here. The site is cleared. Concrete is lying around. The post bases are painted. And I given the plan and construction plans and incredible amount of thought.
Unfortunately, it keeps raining and filling up the post holes. Today, I even had a plan to use a Walmart sack to dip the last little bit of water out of the bottom of the holes and it rained enough to completely fill two holes. It takes 1-2 days to mostly dry out. Every rain is like a 2 day delay. My drop dead goal is by 5/20 to have posts and main supports in place. The dozen or so rafters will take a while. Since, the supports are not square each rafter notch is unique. That one task may take 2 days.
Well, that’s 2 hours of writting and it’s bed time. Until later.