My container garden is starting to expand beyond my original intentions. I now have patio tomatoes, carrots, lettuce and beets. The nice thing about using these smallish planters is that you can keep the environment perfect – not enough sun, move them; too much sun, move them; too cold, move them. I’m picking lettuce leaves for salad so that particular crop is a complete success. Got excellent germination with the carrots and have about 3 dozen growing between and around the two patio tomato plants in the same container. The beets have already surprised me a bit. Beet seed is hard so it’s a good idea to soak them before planting. Even then it usually takes a week or more for germination. This time around I soaked the seeds for 12 hours, then let them dry about the same and they’ve germinated in 3 days. I’m thinking that may be because it’s been warmer than when I normally plant beets – 80 degree days, 60 degree nights. That’s 10 degrees warmer than normal mid January weather and probably 20 degrees warmer than last year, a very cold winter. It’ll be a few days before I have a handle on germination percentage but I suspect it’ll be just fine.

My neighbor’s tenant, Harley, has decided to start raising chickens. I have to admit I’ve thought about it but have to think that with all the wildlife we have around here, putting chickens out could be questionable. Wonder if bears eat chickens? This could work out well (for us) if Harley is interested in swapping eggs for lettuce or for whatever the crop of the moment happens to be -one tomato for one egg seems about right to me. I could also see letting him the chickens peck around in the garden – assuming they will eat weeds and insects, leave a high nitrogen deposit or two, and not mess with the goodies.

Forgot to mention a little tidbit I picked up at the square foot garden seminar. Everybody, I think, puts egg shells in the compost pile. Basically they never really break down. The valuable info was to pop the egg shells into the microwave for 30 seconds then put them in a bag and crush them into little bits and pieces. It works. I’ll be putting tomatoes in the garden in a month and that’s where the calcium makes a difference.

Figured out how I’m going to decide who to vote for – I guess I have to vote but not really liking any of the choices. Every time we get a piece of junk mail or a campaign phone call, I mark it down. Before going into the voting booth I’ll count the number of times we’ve been pestered and whoever has bothered us the least, gets my vote. So far Romney is losing on phone calls but Newt is a close second with junk mail. Paul and Santorum are tied with zero. It’s not just a straight, one by, kind of count. If the call comes in between 9am and 5pm, that gets one point; 5 points if outside that time band; 10 points if it happens exactly when I’m interrupted – as in dinner or during the nightly news.

I think I may have been sun flared on Tuesday and Wednesday. I heard on the morning news that the sun was sending out some gigantic rays or something and it could disrupt communication kinds of things. I came in from yarding around 11am and tried to connect on line only to find a big “not activated” tag on the Virgin Mobile screen. That does happen from time to time so I have a ritual of restarting the computer and then trying to find solutions or solace from a help screen. All to no avail so I called Virgin Mobile – rather tried to call Virgin Mobil. All I got was a busy signal which I’ve never experienced before. When I tried later, it never even got to the busy signal – just started making some kind of bubbling sound for a minute or two then an automatic hang-up. I suspect there are a billion or so others trying to call them. Flared. Interestingly (to guys like me) the signal strength is 10db higher than normal. That’s quite a bit higher in db language so having a good strong signal is not the thing effecting me. We’ve got clothes hanging on the line drying – wonder if they’re getting flared too? I can see them as I bang away on the keyboard and don’t see any suspicious glowing. This posting is being done on Wednesday via the library wi-fi.

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