Sweet Potato pull

We’re tough on phones. About 6 months ago we bought a 3 headset cordless at Costco and as I recall it was just over $50. A month back I left one of the headsets out, it rained, and has never worked exactly right after that. It’s useable in terms of answering but the 4 digit doesn’t work so you can only dial numbers that don’t contain a 4. For us that’s a very livable situation, having 2 1/2 phones is about as good as having 3. Then we totally lost one of the headsets. The only thing we can think is that someone broke in while we were gone and stole one of our phones. Neither one of us misplaced it so what else could it be. Had it been the one with the missing 4, that would have been ok but it was one of the remaining good ones. So I went on line and found that a single headset, not the whole system, would cost just under $50. At the same site, I found that we could get a complete 3 phone system, factory refurbished, for $40. And there were no shipping charges or tax so, all in all, considering the rate we go through headsets, this is probably the right thing to do.

Got a big weekend coming up. Joanne and the girls are coming up on Saturday and we’re joining Tom and Tina at EPCOT Sunday for the annual Food and Wine Festival. We went last year and Tom bought us a one year pass – which we never used after that visit – but it’s still active for a few more days. Nancy bunged up her foot a few days ago so that may create an obstacle to the Disney trip but as of now, we’re still planning on it. I’ve got some good gardening activities planned for the girls. Going to pull out the sweet potatoes and plant onions and carrots in their place. If I don’t have any better luck with the sweets than last time, it would be more accurate to say we’re going to pull out the vines. Before we plant the new stuff, we’ll work in some new organic material and sprinkle the area liberally with a special “root crop” fertilizer formulation. Planting onions is easy to do and something I’m guessing the girls will like doing.

We have a new predator prowling the territory, a feral cat. He/she is a nice looking, smallish cat with white fur on all four legs from about the knees down so it’s probably a house cat that has taken to the wild. I’m ok with that so long as one day it doesn’t turn into a clan/passle/gaggle/pride or whatever the correct term for a family of cats is. It must be doing ok here even though nobody is feeding it or maybe it goes home at night and then comes here for hunting and catting around. If it’s a good cat it would keep the mice/rats/rabbits and small snakes on the run. It’s definitely not a fat, lay around all day kind of cat but rather seems to be constantly on the prowl. And very spooky around people, which is also a good thing.

Believe it or not, some of the citrus is turning color already. The tangerines are turning orange and the Ruby Red grapefruit is lightening, some almost yellow. To me, the color is mid November coloring, not early October. Our summer was much drier than usual so that may be the factor driving the earlier maturity. I’m wondering if the fruit will be drier than it should be?

Cooling off

What’s with all this Listeria food thing going on? I thought listeria was some kind of mouthwash or the disease you got if you used to much listerine. At first I was ok with melon problems in Colorado then next thing you know it’s lettuce from California and something or other from Arizona. All of a sudden it doesn’t seem like a one time, avoid one item problem but spreading to all fresh veggies. I’m very suspicious that it just so happens to occur exactly when the output from our garden is at it’s seasonal lowest. We’re pretty much down to eggplant and peppers and that will get old really quick. If you’re a conspiracy theorist, how about the organic growers are sprinkling a little listeria around to get you to switch to organic.

Seen no signs of the bear(s) in over a month. I solved my personal problem by putting the trash can in the shed up to the day of pickup but not everyone has done that and I haven’t seen any signs at all that their trash cans have been attacked. What I think is that the same folks that eliminate gators from the lake, should any decide to take up residence, took care of the bear in the same fashion. So somewhere there’s a brand new bear skin rug laying beside an alligator rug.

Read something in the paper about growing pomegranates in Florida. That may be my next project after I do a little research. This UF professor is pushing a new variety he developed specifically for Florida and believes there can be a whole new cash crop for the state. I honestly don’t care much about that other than it would probably reduce the outrageous prices charged. I can buy small trees for $10 from the county so $$ is no issue. What is a consideration is that the only place I really have to plant a couple is currently shaded by a medium size camphor tree and some scrub palmetto so it would most likely take a day of hard labor to get them in. I don’t want to go to all that trouble only to find that they won’t fruit for 20 years or require some special kind of spraying for fighting off the elements.

Getting used to the cooler weather and can see why people enjoy it. The best part for me is that we can open up the house – doors, windows – and let in the fresh air and jungle sounds. This house is very well built and it’s amazing how much difference it makes when it’s open. All of a sudden you hear the birds, squirrels, leaves, pine cones and acorns falling; an occasional train passing, boats and skiers on the lake. None of those sounds make it through the doors and windows all summer long. Best of all, no air conditioning – we usually have two months before we occasionally have to turn the heat on but that’s only at night – so a wide open house for the next 7-8 months.

On Being Fred Sanford’s Neighbor

Ok, life as I know it has changed. The Gators lost big time and it was “cold” when I went out this morning. The air had a real bite to it this morning as I went up to get the paper. According to the thermometer on the front porch it was 60. I’m already feeling nostalgic for the 90’s of August. Just knowing that before long it will be in the 50’s has me twitching. No more shorts, sleeveless T’s or sockless flip-flops. No dripping, sweaty garden workouts for 6 months and no mid day clothes changes or three shower days. As far as the Gators, this loss was probably a good thing since I no longer have to worry about things like the SEC championship, national rankings and can go back to the more routine Gator things – like the FSU game and the Georgia game. Nothing else matters. Even the fact that the starting quarterback was injured and maybe out for a while, takes the sting out of any defeats that may come along.

Talk about calibration – The car cover we use for the Merc was wearing out where wearing out means the material had thinned to the point where you could see through it. – I think the technical term is threadbare. Nancy stopped to get a new one and guess what, it has a 5 year warranty – exactly how long the original lasted. When new, the material has a coating to which nothing clings. As it wears, the first thing to go is the coating and it becomes an ever cling fabric. We keep the car under a carport but here in the woods there are always leaves flying around and once the coating wore off, the leaves started attaching to the cover. It made the whole thing look like a camo cover. Maybe that’s why the bears never attacked the car. Actually I have a use planned for the old cover – it will fit nicely over the greenhouse as a thermal blanket.

Living next door to Fred Sanford can be a good thing. Part of the furnishing for the green house came directly from his salvage operation on an old travel trailer. I made a nice cover for the table that will protect it from the water that invariably spills inside a green house. Almost anything I need to codge together from bits and pieces can be had at George’s and if they don’t exactly fit what I need, he has all the tools to create or modify as required.

So, all in all, the greenhouse is ready to go and will be full of plants by the end of October. I do have to make one confession – it’s carpeted. Lest you think I’ve gone over to the dark side or become OCD on all things greenhouse, this is something I was nominally backed into. A few weeks ago I was just fine sans greenhouse. I used the screen porch as a perfectly adequate substitute. The problem was that my bride was not necessarily happy to have all the flats, seedlings, potting soil and misc starting goodies in the porch so when she spotted the greenhouse at Harbor Freight, she jumped all over it. At the time it didn’t seem like a bad idea and I think I mentally had it that this new greenhouse would be an adjunct to the screen porch, not a replacement. So we were not on the same page from the get go. All of my goodies are now in the greenhouse. You’ll also recall a couple weeks back I had a long position in limestone and builders sand, perfect to fill an area alongside the house where the greenhouse would sit. In my mind that was a nice dirt floor that would never require anything further, no matter what I dropped on it. I didn’t think ahead to the fact that some of this sand would stick to my shoes and make it to the house. Hence, the carpet. It was an old carpet that I had in the shed so it didn’t involve any acquisition – it’s more the principal of it that bothers me. There’s no room for a cot so I guess I’m safe from that potential.

Shipping ghost peppers

I’m tracking down a special pasta style that sounds like something we’d like. It called Fusilli Lunghi Bucati. Not sure what the Lunghi signifies, but suspect it means it’s long, but the fusilli is curly and the bucati is hollow. So this is a long fusilli variety with a hollow core. I love fusilli and Nancy’s favorite is bucatini, a hollow spaghetti, so we figure that combination has to be made for us. Problem is finding it, in the USA, without having to buy a truck load. In the process of researching this, I did find that the flat, narrow lasgna style noodle we found in NJ and have subsequently put into our inventory is technically called Mafaldine and there are several sources. We currently have a long position in Mafaldine but it’s comforting to know that we can replenish the stock without having to bother Chris, our NJ pasta hunter.

This may be something you already know but if not, it may be helpful in the future. Suppose you need to install or reinstall the rear view mirror in your pickup truck. Maybe other vehicles use the same technique but in the case of a pickup, there’s a mounting bracket that is glued directly to the windshield. After a while and in a very hot, closed car the glue gives way and the mirror along with the mounting bracket detaches from the windshield. I’ve had it happen twice in the F150 that I’ve had for about 15 years now. It’s a common enough occurrence that places like Advanced Auto Parts sells the glue kit for reinstallation. It’s a simple job that even I can do quickly and with ease. Although it failed in June, I waited until now to fix it – I kept forgetting about it and use the truck so infrequently but also thought it would be better to do after it cooled down a bit. Cooling down means being in the low 90’s, not to be confused with cooling down as most people would define it.

Picked a batch of Ghost Peppers and sent them off to my nephew, Glenn. He called and said he plans to experiment with them and will let me know how it all goes. I warned him to be really, really careful. Just touching the skin of the peppers and accidentally transferring that to my mouth and close to my eye caused a burning sensation so I can’t imagine what it would be like to try to ingest even a micro piece. The bushes are loaded with green peppers so if anybody wants to try some, let me know – it sure won’t be me.

Took a walk on the wild side and tried vanilla flavored almond milk in place of the original. Outcome – honestly, my taste buds are so jaded that I couldn’t tell the difference. Nancy said it was good so I’ll take her word for it.