th’snowshoe

thoughts from New England

w00t-off yields big dividends July 19, 2007

Filed under: housekeeping,shopping — tim @ 1:18 pm

Woot is a great place to score some amazing deals on electronics as well as some oddities. It’s one item per day, launched at 1am EST, and they sell it till it’s out of stock. Today, they are having another woot-off, meaning they just keep selling things, one at a time, until that thing is gone and then it’s onto the next item. You can get some pretty nice deals out of this if you read up on reviews and know your prices beforehand.

That being said, this morning they offered something we’ve been wanting for a while: A Roomba! I always thought them to be frivolous or a novelty, but once we had a kid and I find myself picking Cheerios and vegetables off the floor on a regular basis…I was sold on the notion of having something keep the house clean automatically. The house should now have nice clean floors on a regular basis. I think this will also get me in the habit of picking up regularly so the Roomba (name TBD) can do its thing.

I think we got a good deal on this gizmo and with kids, I think it will free up time for us to do kid-things. Isn’t that what technology is supposed to do? Make our lives easier? We’ll see — this will be an interesting experiment w/a baby and a cat.

 

I Squash You, Bug; or: Japaneetle Bees July 17, 2007

Filed under: bugs,garden,gardening — tim @ 12:37 am

So I’ve discovered the source of my discontent in the garden — squash bugs. These lil critters look like this:

I’ve searched out the pumpkins and yellow squash for their eggs, and I’ve found quite a few. They look like tiny little orange/red dots on the underside of the leaves. I must have killed a city’s worth of these guys today. Hopefully I’ve been able to drastically reduce their numbers enough so the squash can live to see another day. I’m kind of kicking myself because I meant to grow butternut squash this summer for this exact reason: they are strongly resistant to pests such as the squash bug. But this spring, I had forgotten that piece of information and only remembered that I had to powder the tomato plants around my birthday to prevent mass horned tomato worm infestation.

The solution to the squash bugs, besides crrrrrrrrushing their eggs, is some stuff called Red Devil or Natural Guard. Well, that’s the organic solution, as it uses a fairly organic means to eliminate these guys. Today I cut one of them open with my pocketknife and made him pay. That was only moderately satisfying.

The internet has been a great help to me in finding resources for gardening; I also was wondering why some of my tomato plants were wilting on the bottom leaves. A phone call to my dad revealed that I needed to cut the wilting leaves off right away– there was an infestation of some sort. The weirdest thing was, I couldn’t see anything at all!

Thank you, interwow: Tomato Russet Mites. So small, you need a 14X magnifier to see them! Good thing I cut them off, now I think my one or two affected plants will be okay. Still, I’m going to get some wettable sulfur in order to properly eliminate them.

This season has been much more about educating myself with pest than it has with the simple fact of growing things. I’ve found quite a few slugs among the radishes and I found one in the lettuce today. I need some skunky, cheap beer to get them to die. I also saw some odd worm munching on one of my habanero plant — it was very green on the outside and even greener on the inside. I don’t think it was a horned tomato worm, because I didn’t think they liked peppers. Still, I’ll be on the lookout and launch a preemptive shock-and-awe strike on them this summer.

Japanese Beetles are a pain — I was changing the trap bags this morning (which has become part of my Monday routine) and I remember how much this reminds me of my childhood. Well, Japanese Beetles, that is. My dad would always have to put traps up because they would just decimate our chestnut trees similar to Biblical locusts. K-ren, my youngest sister, was about 4 or 5 when she called them “Japaneetle Bees,” and the name has stuck in our family ever since. The Japaneetle Bees (which is a great band name, btw) have ravaged the wild grapes around the property, and had been munching on the peppers, the tomatoes, and the basil — although they haven’t gotten any of these too badly. I attribute this to the traps.

By the end of a week, the traps turn into a hanging bag of death, and I know I have to change them when more flies are on the outside than JBs. Still, it hasn’t been too bad this year — I think the wild grapes are holding them off.

Tonight we had a salad with homegrown lettuce — delicious as always. Did I mention that last Friday, Lidz and I picked wild blackberries from across the street? It’s true — we did. She absolutely loved them.

By the way, those bugs at the top of this post? Mating. Bet you weren’t planning on having to see bug sex this morning. Looks like you all got punk’d!

 

I need to take this blog more seriouser! July 13, 2007

Filed under: garden,gardening,local,vermont — tim @ 5:27 am

Yeah, I really do. Here’s some good updates:

Garden: the garden so far has a grade of a B. I’m not totally thrilled like I was last year, so maybe the novelty has worn off, but I’m also kind of disappointed by the outputs. The tomatoes are doing well except the Japanese Beetles, the bane of my existence, are loving to eat the leaves. The weaker plants have stopped being sickly looking and, while smaller, are actually producing tomatoes before the bigger plants. The peppers are doing okay, but not awesome. Something is eating the leaves on my purple bell peppers, which I cannot find. I’ve been spraying them with organic soap stuff, and it’s working on everything else but those are still getting chewed up a bit. The mystery squash turned out to be yellow squash, which I’m glad of because they’re easier to use and grow than acorn or butternut. I have about 3 of them so far with more to come.

The cucumbers suck and are just not growing. Well, maybe one or two are. The zucchini are so-so, we’ll see how they come out. Pumpkins are growing so they’ll do well. I don’t think I gave the radishes enough room because I had no idea that they would all actually sprout, so I’ve been thinning them out little by little.

The herbs are doing really well — we have so much basil that looks so healthy! However, this week I’ve been finding a few leaves that look like they’ve been eaten, so now I have another mystery to solve. Crap. Cilantro in its own planter is doing really well, but sharing w/parsley is not helping it.

The mint was great — we made mojitos on Tuesday night and watched the All-Star game and there’s plenty of mint left. The lettuce has also been good for one batch of salad and we’ll be ready for another batch tomorrow today — that makes us a big salad about once a week, which is a really nice perk. Once I have land, I will definitely be planting a good-sized lettuce patch.

We went to a Wilco concert at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont the other weekend and it was Lidia’s first concert. The sunset behind the band made for an absolutely beautiful backdrop for a gorgeous show — I’ve seen them eight times now and they never disappoint. Ever. They were fun, loose, tight, together, and above all, they put on a great family-friendly show. There were soooooo many kids at the concert and the setting was perfect.

I bought the book Buy Buy Baby this past week and I need to start getting into it ASAP. Oddly enough, I had to buy it, but I think that makes sense as marketing to the under 3 set is something that really bothers me. I am a very bad consumer and I need to stop consuming, so I am going to try and break this because what good is it, really? And what kind of example am I setting?

I think that there’s something to be said about getting back to the land; but not necessarily like that. I think that we can use a good combination of neo-Luddite attitudes with some awesome technology thrown in. I do enjoy modern conveniences, but I’m seriously thinking about lobbying to get rid of TV. What’s on that’s so important that the internet or DVDs can’t provide? I’ll do it as soon as the Red Sox season is over, I swear. 🙂

We’re trying to save for a house, but consumption isn’t really helping, you know? I need to figure out a way to get our electric bill down, it’s insane. I need to get on a budget, for real.

Having a kid who is suddenly soaking up everything you do and say really makes you stop and think about what you do and say. What kind of person are you molding? How will they develop and grow, and how much of that is a result of what you’re impressing on them? All things that I need to remind myself and think about.

In the meantime, make a panflute out of tampons.

 

Shoe Love June 28, 2007

Filed under: LL Bean,shoes,shopping,summer — tim @ 4:36 am

There’s no love like shoe love. And I LOVE these shoes.

I got a gift certificate for Father’s Day from my mom & dad to LL Bean, and these were at the top of my list after seeing my sister Luis wearing a pair.

shoezThe summer heat beats down upon your brow as you head back to the cottage after a long day of foraging for shells and sea urchins along the rocky Maine seashore. Sweat trickles down your neck, tickling the small of your back. The office is a million miles away as you take a whiff of the briny smell of the ocean, reminding you of clambakes and lobsterfests in the waning evenings of your youth. You can’t wait to get back to shore, kick back in an Adirondack chair and feel the salty wood splinter into your backside as you pop the top on a frosty beer you picked up at the local market. The late afternoon sun is sheer torture on your sunburned arms and legs, but your feet are being carried by the four winds themselves as you bound back up the rocks in your LL Bean Summer Sneakers. Breathable, ultra-lightweight and impeccably stylish, your summer days are captured in the soles of these shoes — but not your sweat. You wince as she places a wispy hand upon your blistered shoulder. “You look hot — are you alright?” she asks. “Never been better,” you reply. “I’m walking on air.”

The Summer Sneaker from LL Bean. Priced right at $34.50 for men, $29.50 for women.

Okay, but seriously, these shoes are amazing. Easy on/easy off, ready to wear without socks (and I hate wearing shoes without socks, even ankle socks bug me), these things are so comfortable.

 

Week-end Update June 24, 2007

Filed under: concerts,eat & drink,food,garden,grilling,maine,Recipes,school — tim @ 9:46 pm

There’s so much! Where to begin? Garden is going, work is work, and kids is kids.

Been very busy between work, school, and the lil one. She definitely keeps me busy!

How about the wrap-up:

(more…)

 

Garden 2007 is here, baby June 17, 2007

Filed under: garden,gardening — tim @ 4:16 am

Well, I finally got some time to get things planted in the garden. I didn’t want to go bigger than last year, but I ended up having to get 5 more pots because I didn’t want to crowd anything like last year. Here’s my mistakes from last year:

  • overcrowding (4 grape tomato plants in one pot, 4 big pepper plants in a medium pot)
  • no tomato stakes — sticks & twine don’t work
  • not spraying for tomato worms
  • not catching the things that ate the zukes

So far, I didn’t have much luck sprouting anything except a few pumpkins and squash — none of the zukes or one of the other kind of squash came up. I planted the pumpkins and whichever squash this is — I honestly have no idea. Butternut? Buttercup? Acorn? We’ll see.

I bought a bunch of plants at Longacres in Lebanon:

Tomatoes:

  • Better Boy tomatoes (6) — planted 3 in their own M size pot, and 3 in a L pot
  • Olive (Grape) tomatoes (4) — 2 in a large pot, 2 in a hanging basket. This will be an interesting competition.
  • Roma (4), 2 to a large pot (New this year!)
  • Peppers:
    • Habenero (same pot as last year — tiny)
    • Cherry Bomb & Banana (NEW) (sharing a M pot)
    • Thai hots and Cayenne (each in their own S pot)
    • purple bell peppers, planted 2 to a tire, as seen above (NEW).
  • Herbs:
    • peppermint
    • basil (4) — it looked really fresh so I’m hoping to get a good crop from this
    • Cilantro (4) — try this again this year
    • Chives & Parsley are STILL going strong — using the same plants that survived all winter indoors
  • Lettuce: I have 6 mesculin mix plants in 2 pots on the stoop. I am eager to see if I can grow our own salad!
  • I also planted cukes, zukes and radish seeds in the ground to see what would happen. The radishes have already poked through, and it’s only been 4 days. They should be ready in about 3-4 weeks.

    So, it’ll be a productive and busy season in the garden again, but hopefully I learned enough from last year (like, get tomato cages on early — check) that this year’s will be more rewarding.

    Photos at flickr.

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    I’m gonna change up my style just to fit in June 14, 2007

    Filed under: beelogs — tim @ 4:09 pm

    So nothing’s been happening on here. At all. That’s not to say that nothin’s happening in life; on the contrary. Too much stuff = not enough time for this.

    Sooooo……I’m moving a bulk of what I’m actually thinking over to tumblr.com because it’s all about the stream-of-consciousness thinking. That way, you can also see the things I’m reading on the feed reader (google reader, which, if you don’t already use, you should). You can add the tumblr to your RSS feed reader and get updates on the fly. This will incorporate both my thoughts and things I find interesting from around teh web.

    Cool? cool.

    Edit: I are dumb. My tumblr is located at jasperco.tumblr.com

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