This week’s garden produce

I promise I’ll make it to the farmers market eventually to price this all out!

Tomatoes!  2 more Purple Cherokee, the rest are black plums


The first batch of tomatoes made 1.5 quarts of sauce, this batch made 2.5 quarts.  Course, we’ve eaten several handfuls of the plum tomatoes too.

8 more cucumbers.

3 Sugar Baby Watermelons, two of which were quite small, but they were sure tasty!

1 carrot.  But there are two going to seed, which is screwy as heck, but a google search tells me that it’s not completely out of normal for carrots to seed in their first year.  I’m letting them go mostly for curiosities sake.


There are now several Pumpkins “ripe enough” to be picked and finish ripening in storage, but since the weather’s gorgeous I’m letting them ripen on the vine.  I’m not counting them towards totals till I pick them.

I’ll likely be picking hot peppers this weekend, as the Jalapenos are starting to turn red and so are a couple of the Hot Wax peppers.

Just realized I never counted the lettuce or radishes I picked earlier in the season.  I’ll have to guestimate off of memory.

Sunflowers are blooming.  So far they’ve all been the same variety, I planted 4 varieties total, including one variety of fancy dark colored flowers, hope I get at least a few of those this year!

If you ever wanted to know what lettuce allowed to go to flower looks like:



Thats a Purple Romaine in case you’re curious.


Flushed a tiny tiny baby rabbit (like, barely old enough to be out of the nest tiny) out of the garden while picking watermelon on Wednesday.  Looked like he was using the vines for cover more than for food, but I re-treated the garden with the deer and bunny repellent just to be on the safe side.  He was a cutie though, glad I didn’t have the dogs with me!

I’ve got a weird wilt/leaf die off happening.  In both Sugar Baby Watermelon tires, one pumpkin tire, and I noticed yesterday that now some of the Blazing Star flowers look like they’re succumbing.  I’ll have to get pictures.  Took me a bit to figure out what was going on.  I initially took it for a fertilization or water problem.  And maybe it is, but that doesn’t completely explain it.  Treated all affected areas (and several other tires that looked like maybes) with a heavy coat of diluted neem oil in hopes of stopping the problem.  

The plum tomatoes are definitely being hit with wilt too, but that’s not abnormal for tomatoes, especially considering the weather.  I didn’t treat them with neem, no way to avoid the ripening fruits, and I don’t want to have to worry about washing the neem off.

No more sign of the nest of stinging insects I found last week.  I was able to finish weeding that tire safely.  Here’s hoping the permethrin can go stale on the shelf now and I won’t need it again!  I discovered that apparently some people with arthritis find relief from pain by using bee stings.  I can promise you that I won’t be trying it.  I spent almost three full days on a max dose of benedryl because the hand closest to the sting (the sting was on my lower right arm) became extremely painful to use.  There was essentially no external swelling from the sting after the first 8hrs, but something was clearly going on internally.  I haven’t felt joint pain like that since the time the doctor prescribed me Levaquin for a respiratory infection!  Gives me a better appreciation for how much worse my joints could be…..

Started pots of the Purple Sprouting Broccoli that I’m going to try over-wintering this year.  I’ll plant them out end of August/beginning of September -ish depending on the weather.  Then I have to figure out how to protect them from the extreme cold lows we get in the winter.  I’m thinking a plastic teepee type setup ought to work.


Arista Power-review in progress

I’m a little frustrated so bear with me.

Back in 2012 we had solar panels installed.  Arista Power, out of Rochester NY, was the installer.  Admittedly likely not who we’d have chosen had we done the picking, solely due to the fact that there are closer installers, but we were getting the panels done via a Solarize program and weren’t given a choice.  Despite that fact the install was done smoothly and we were quite happy with the whole process and the installing company.  Everyone was professional, great to work with, courteous of us and our dogs, and the equipment has functioned perfectly since.

I had a brief contact with Arista’s Installation Coordinator a year ago (March 2014), a check up on the system and to find out how much power it had produced.

Monday, July 20th, 2015, Monday of last week, I received a letter from NY state advising us that we were being audited for claiming the solar system on our taxes.  Not a particularly huge surprise, the system had resulted in a huge refund for us that year.  But frustrating since it was 3yrs after the fact.  Especially since I’d swear I included all of the requested paperwork with our taxes.  But I sat down and started digging through files to find stuff.  Found most of it, but came up short on a couple pieces, one of which turned out to be mis-filed and I eventually found it.  The other piece I needed is proof of how much we paid the installers.  A phone call to the auditor’s office confirmed that an invoice from the installer showing that we paid X amount on X date would be sufficient.

In the week and a half since then I have emailed Arista, both via the individual email address I had from when the install was done, and via the “contact us” on their web page.  I’ve left three voicemails, one on the voicemail of each of the two people I had contact with as part of the install and one on in the general mailbox.  I tracked down the names of their executive team and sent emails to what should be their email address (one of which bounced, but the others appear to have gone through no problem).  

I have received zero response.

This morning I filled out the “I want a quote” form, we’ll see if that nets me anything.

I realize this is their busy season, but in this day and age email and voicemail can be checked from any location (and I know from chatting with both the sales guy and the install guy that they DO check them from anywhere).  Even if they don’t have a secretary to man the front desk and handle basics in the office, and I can’t imagine they don’t have someone in the office to handle that sort of stuff.

My next step is to send a signature required return receipt letter to them, to see what that nets me.  And I’m seriously considering driving out there.

In the mean time we’re making progress on tracking down proof of payment ourselves.  Turns out part of the problem is that we had a different bank account then, which has since been closed.  I think we can track down the info ourselves just fine.

But this whole process is not giving me warm fuzzies about what’ll happen if we ever need repair work done.  Or if we have to replace the roof/shingles on the house for that matter, which will happen eventually, we’d need the installer to come out and remove the panels, and then put them back on after the roof is done.  And though I’m sure that any decent solar installer could manage the process I’d certainly prefer to have the original folks handling it.

Edit: The CEO finally contacted me Friday July 31st.  Now to see if they can produce the paperwork I need!

Computer problems-Update

Windows Defender was the cause of the problem.  I don’t even remember turning it ON, and I’d have sworn I turned it off.  So I’m pretty pissed.

So here’s your headsup.  If you’re having trouble connecting USB devices, or SD cards, etc, to your computer, disable Windows Defender completely!

Garden update

8 cucumbers out of the garden so far

1-Cherokee purple tomato so far

and a bunch of Black Plums (I forgot to measure or count, will have to guestimate) tomatoes.

Didn’t make it to the farmers market this week, so the estimate of cost of the above and the zucchini will have to wait.

Computer problems……


For the last several days I’ve had trouble connecting other devices to my computer.  Mostly via USB connection, but also SD cards directly.  Its not entirely at random, but it feels like it.

The pattern goes like this:

With a freshly rebooted computer I can plug in any device (my phone, ipad, camera, SD cards, etc) into the computer no problem and the computer will recognize them with no issue.  This will seem to last for several hours with no problems, and no matter how many times I plug stuff in and unplug it and plug it in and unplug it……

At some point overnight (I don’t generally turn off the computer overnight due to using it to play quiet music as white noise to keep Apollo from having a snit over night noises) this changes.  When I get up in the morning, anything plugged in the night before is still connected fine, but as soon as I unplug something I can’t plug it back into the computer.  Attempting to plug anything into the computer at that point results in the single-tone “duh-duh” noise indicating failed connection, and the computer not recognizing the device/SD card/whatever.  This lasts until such time as I reboot the computer, and then we start the pattern all over again.

My next step to try (tonight) is to try turning off the various scans that I normally run overnight and see if that fixes it.  If so I’ll then have to try each scan individually till I figure out which one, and then see if I can figure out what setting to change to fix it.  If turning off the scans doesn’t fix it my actual suspect is one of the 18 Windows updates that came in the day before this started happening……yah, that should be fun to figure out…….

I’m having one of “those” weeks…..

It could be ever so much worse, but still.

The last 5 days in a row we were predicted to get rain, potentially a lot of it.  We got a sprinkle once.  Looking at the weather map it looks like there were actually storms, but they ended up going around my immediate area somehow.  For 5 days in a row.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m thrilled that the yard has finally dried up enough for me to mow completely.  But it also means that I’m having to water the garden…..

Monday in particular was extra “interesting”. 

Monday we received a notice from the state that we were being audited due to our claim of getting solar panels put up in 2012.  We have 30 days to provide them with the paperwork to prove the claim or they’ll cancel the refund.  Never mind that I included copies of almost everything they’re requiring with the tax paperwork……So now we’re digging through files and muttering rude words as we discover that this or that piece of paper didn’t get filed properly.  We’ve got it all, but it’s still frustrating as heck.

After spending an hour digging through files and getting frustrated I went out to go spend an hour or so in the garden since I find that generally calming.  Keeping the volunteer clover from taking over is pretty much a constant chore anyway, and after the discovery of the giant zucchini hiding under the clover in that tire I’ve been trying to work my way around the various beds to at least thin the clover enough to be sure I don’t have to many other surprises waiting for me.  Everything was going smoothly till I grabbed a specific clump of clover in one of the cantaloupe tires.

There are yellow jackets nesting in that particular tire.  Under that specific clump of clover.  Immediately adjacent to a ripening pumpkin and a still growing cantaloupe.

And yup, I got stung.

Today’s Wednesday and I’m still swallowing the max dose of benadryl in order to keep the swelling down and itching from driving me crazy.

I hate using general insecticides in the garden.  I have, after much work, finally managed to have enough pollinators in the yard to ensure proper pollination of everything.  And the last thing I want to do is kill them.  But I’m not going to try to work around a nest of stinging insects either, even if we didn’t have family who’re allergic.  ESPECIALLY when the nest is immediately adjacent to two growing fruits that will have to be picked before TO much longer.  I picked up a bottle of concentrated permethrin, and have already treated the nest area once.  I’m being extra careful to ensure it doesn’t get onto any flowers or the like, but I’m still not happy about it.

I’m just hoping the rest of the week goes a bit smoother…….

Garden update

So, I, er, forgot to watch the zucchini carefully enough…..


I pulled these four baseball bats zucchini out of the garden on Tuesday.  Well over a foot long, they’re at least twice the size I normally try to pick zucchini at.  In addition I pulled two more out of the garden yesterday that are closer to the size I prefer to pick them at (but still on the larger side).  And of course there’s more coming.  I think I have plenty of zucchini for the coming year…..

Next week when I hit the farmers market I will price out zucchini and see if I can get a guesstimate on what it would cost to buy this much zucchini for the records.

Dogs in Cars

Yes, dogs die in hot cars.  And yes, there are climates where, for most of the year, even parking in the shade with the windows for just a few minutes down may not be enough to keep the dog cool enough.  And yes, they cook to death in the heat.

But lets clear a few things up.  Cause this is just ridiculous.

First off, dogs don’t suffocate in cars.  I have yet to see a single consumer vehicle that actually seals air tight.  Maybe some of the newest high end fancy cars with extra good sound insulation are (though I doubt it, cause what car maker wants to be sued because you suffocated in their car).  But certainly the average car on the road isn’t.  A dog in a car with the windows rolled up isn’t going to suffocate to death.  No matter what the weather conditions.

Second, even in the hottest climates in the USA, if the dog is in a car that has been left with the AC going the dog is not going to overheat.

And in much of the rest of the country, parking in the shade with the windows most of the way down is plenty on all but the insanely hottest of days to keep a healthy dog from overheating.

And if the car owner has put up shading and a fan and water then the dog is REALLY  not going to overheat.

Oh, and while we’re at it, “panting” alone is not a sign that a dog is overheating.  Yes, I know that the little blurbs that the media keeps putting out say that “panting” is a sign of overheating.  You know what?  They’re fucking stupid.  Dogs pant for MANY more reasons than just because they’re hot.  Stress or excitement can cause panting.  You coming over to pound on the window and stare at the dog could be enough to cause a sensitive dog to start panting.  And even it the dog is panting because its warm it doesn’t mean he’s overheating.  A dog who pops up to greet you isn’t overheating.  Even if he’s panting.  Even if he’s fussing at you.  A dog doesn’t sweat, he pants instead.  Just like us humans can be sweating (even sweating alot) without being in danger of heat stroke, a dog can be panting (even panting alot) without being in danger of heat stroke.

A dog who’s panting due to overheating is ALSO going to be flat on the floor or footwell of the car in the only shade he can find, and he’s NOT likely to pop to his feet to greet you.  A dog who’s panting due to overheating will ALSO be drooling excessively.

You know what causes a dog to crash suddenly from overheating?  Assholes who can’t mind their own business and so over-excite the dog by pounding on the window and calling the dog and exciting the dog to the point where he overheats himself in his excitement and crashes.  Yes, by repeatedly “checking on the dog” you could cause him to overheat and potentially die.  So back off asshole.

And third……I keep seeing it reported that there are 16 states where it’s illegal to leave your dog in the car.  Do any of those folks actually bother to READ the laws they’re reporting on?

In 15 of those 16 states the laws  specifically require that the dog be left in such a way that harm or death will result in order for it to be illegal.  And in case you somehow got to this paragraph without reading the above, no, leaving your dog in the car does not automatically sentence him to death.

The only state with laws specific to dogs in cars that doesn’t have that provision is Tennessee.  And even in Tennessee you’d better be willing to swear under oath that you believed the animal was in imminent danger of death.  Unfortunately there are idiots who think that any dog left in any car regardless of anything else is in danger, which makes laws like this one dangerous.  

Now, I keep seeing online commentary that there are individual cities with laws prohibiting dogs in cars.  I’ve yet to actually be able to find any such law.  Several have laws similar to the above mentioned 15 states, where leaving a dog in a car in a manner that will result in harm or death is specifically prohibited, but again that’s not the same thing.  Mind, apparently even some responding police seem to be unaware of the difference, but that’s what the laws state.

In addition, not one of these so-called rescuers seems to care what the impact of “being rescued” can have on the dog.  There are many many dogs who are not stranger friendly, or who will guard their owner’s car, or who will even bite when cornered.  And contrary to popular opinion many dogs don’t give a care what your intentions are, all they know is that some stranger just smashed the window and is now cornering them in the back of the car…’s only a matter of time before some “rescuer” is bitten in the process of trying to “rescue” a dog who doesn’t need it.  And in many many areas that bite is a death sentence for the dog.  Especially since it would be considered “unprovoked” in the minds of many people. 

Now sure, in an ideal world no dog would ever be left in a car unattended.  But even the best laid plans can fail, and a bout of diarrhea on the way home from a 45minute trip can require an emergency bathroom break.  And a 5minute sit in the car unattended is nothing compared to the benefits of being able to spend the rest of their day with their human in the minds of many dogs (and owners).  Have you ever gone to a canine sporting event?  Very few facilities have the space to allow indoor crating of every single dog participating.  Heck, if it’s an outdoor event there may not be ANY indoor crating space.  And yet the number of canine deaths from heatstroke at these events is astronomically tiny (and even then, it tends to be after the event, on the way home, that it’s an issue).  

So lets stop this hysteria, all its doing is harming the dogs and the responsible owners who are caring for them!

Garden update

I pulled the garlic yesterday.  Might have been a bit early, but I waited till to late last year, and since I’m going to freeze it all anyway if its got an extra layer or two of paper on it, it’s not the end of the world.  Snapped this picture of the two largest and two smallest heads.  Wish I’d put something in for size comparison.  Those two largest heads are about the size of my fist……


I don’t think I’m going to grow garlic this winter/next year.  We still have a little left from last  year, plus this year’s crop.

The Long Pie Pumpkins are in their “huge zucchini” stage:

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I did grow zucchini this year, but didn’t get a picture this time.  So far none of them are as big as the pumpkins.

Jalapenos and Hungarian Hot Wax peppers look good:

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We got our first Black Plum tomatoes out of the garden this week, with lots more to come:

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Sugar Baby watermelons are coming along nicely:


The other watermelons I planted (Early Moon) have several tiny babies on the vines, so cross fingers.

So far neither cantaloupe has more than tiny babies either.  The one variety is a completely new one for me, and the other is the Charentais that I tried to grow last year and failed massively.  The vines are MUCH happier looking this year, so cross fingers.

Habanero’s have tiny peppers growing, and the Cherokee Purple tomatoes are growing big but still very green.  I planted my second crop of lettuce, and put in the seeds for Rattail Radishes.  So far neither variety of broccoli I planted has produced heads.  But the plants themselves are more intact than the last time I tried broccoli at least!  Carrots are growing, sunflowers are headed for the sky, and the okra is looking decent (though I’m not sure its as big as it should be).