Random Stuff

Warning: The following is nothing but the boring details from my recent life non-events. Unless you’re suffering from insomnia, you might want to skip this.

Garden

I finally finished installing the drip irrigation system in the six raised 4′ x 8′ beds earlier this week. I still need to bury the supply line, but at least it is functional. It works well, but the soil drains so well and so quickly that it doesn’t take long for the top couple inches to dry out. I guess I’ll have to water 60-90 minutes every day instead of a couple hours a couple times per week. I’ll be picking up an old timer from Mom on Mothers Day to automate the process.

The first thing to go in was 103 strawberry plants (the product of 5 from last year – talk about multiplication) in the first bed. Several already have little green strawberries on them. We also planted two bush-type raspberries. Around the edges, Roomie planted onions (some tops have already been harvested), and between two of the rows, radishes. She also planted some parsley and other herbs between some of the other rows of strawberries.

The second bed has the early variety of tomatoes. I thought they were a little small to put out (we started them from seed), but they seem to be doing OK. Something is eating at them, though, so it is time for some dust.

The third is where the cucumbers went, but almost all of the ones we started inside and transplanted got sunburned and died. Roomie planted some leftover seeds where the dead plants were. Time will tell if either the surviving plants or the seeds will survive. They were last year’s seeds, so they may not have been viable anyway. Hopefully they will make it, because cucumbers are one of our favorite and more expensive vegetables after tomatoes.

The remaining three beds will get the later variety of tomatoes, peppers (habanero and jalapeño), peas, some sort of zucchini squash thing that Roomie picked out, and anything else that we have room for. Neither variety of peppers is doing very well germinating, so those might end up being a bust.

Rabbits

I started thinning out the radishes yesterday, and the bunnies absolutely love them. Sometimes they will leave the stalk/root, but the leaves disappear within seconds of dropping them into the cages. That works for me, because I would just be feeding the tops to my worms anyway. There is plenty of other kitchen waste for them, so the rabbits will get regular treats throughout the growing season.

They are almost six months old, so I’ll probably make the first breeding attempt within the next few weeks. I think I’ll try Bonnie/Princess/B—h first. Roomie expects her to fight Lucky, but we’ll see.

Lucky is probably not going to be the best choice of a sire, but I have to give him a chance since he is the only buck I have. He is still scrawny compared to the two girls, although he is the least picky eater of the three. Maybe he’s a runt, or maybe he has a little dwarf-breed DNA. The girls have gotten plenty chunky. I don’t think they are above a healthy weight yet, though.

They all dig some, but Bonnie has really developed the habit of tearing up the corners of her cage. It’s not a big deal – grass is resilient and the bare spots will recover quickly. I just wonder why she is so much worse than the other two. I may run a 6″ strip of 1/2″ hardware cloth across that part of her new cage that I haven’t gotten around to building yet.

She verbalizes whenever something startles or annoys her, not just when I try to handle her. When I dropped the radishes through the top of the cages this morning, she growled about it.

They all still startle relatively easily. Lots of times when I walk by their cages on my way to the garden beds, they all scamper inside their houses quickly. I don’t pet them as much as I did before I started working, but I still try to give them some regular attention.

Work

My body is adjusting pretty well, both to the schedule and to the physical demands of the job. My hands are dry despite the application of lotion, and still have a little numbness from time to time if placed in certain positions for extended periods of time. My grip is not nearly as strong as normal, but I think I am still recovering from the digging I did to put in the raised beds the week before I started the job. All the product handling that I have to do has just slowed down the healing process. My toes still want to blister, but thicker skin has developed instead of true blisters. At Roomie’s suggestion, I’ve taken to wearing boxers in addition to regular underwear to avoid the whole jeans and upper legs sweat/rubbing rash thing, and I haven’t had any more problems. It also could have been a fungal issue cured by the addition of yogurt to my diet. Whatever the reason, I’m happy for the end result.

A couple folks have commented positively on my performance, and seemed surprised to learn that this is my first time doing this kind of work. They might be just being nice to the new guy, I don’t know.

Management did mess up the schedule for week after next, though. I was promised Mothers Day weekend off when I was hired, and I put in the official request electronically (per procedure) on my first night. It remained in Pending status from that point on, but I didn’t worry about it. I did what I was told to do, and I thought that everything was normal – I’m still learning how BigBoxRetailer does business. When the schedule officially came out, I was scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday nights. They promised to fix it, and have already fixed Saturday. Sunday is supposed to be fixed tonight. I still don’t know what happened, or why, but having already worked for six different managers, it’s easy to imagine how the request could have fallen through the cracks.

All in all, I’m fine with it. I hadn’t planned to work more than about half the hours they’ve been scheduling, but the extra shifts keep me from wasting time playing Frontierville and provide a little extra cash at the same time. Not to mention that I’ve already lost almost fifteen pounds since I started.

Car/Other

I got a flat tire on the Toyota last week. It was the driver side rear, again. That is the second time a tire in that position went flat on that car, but this time it was a true blowout. The sidewall split about two inches. I was on the interstate in heavy traffic, but since it was on the back, there was no loss of control. I was able to maintain speed until I could get over three lanes (there are five lanes in each direction at that particular location) and onto the shoulder. The roar was significant, and what was left of the tire was very hot by the time I got it stopped, but no real drama – thank God. Despite not having been checked for a year, the spare was still inflated. After installing the spare, I headed for the nearest Walmart. Fifteen minutes and fifty-seven bucks later, and I again had a serviceable spare.

The last time I filled up the gas tank before fixing and recharging the A/C, it got 39.8 miles per gallon. Running the A/C will drop that into the low-30’s, but still pretty good for a nineteen year old car with 275K+ on the odometer. She clunks, squeaks and leaks, but she’s never left me stranded and gets better mileage than almost all of today’s non-hybrids.

However, as the price of gas continues to rise, I’m giving even more serious thought to almost completely eliminating automotive use. Work is only about a mile from the house, so I can walk or bike it except in the worst of weather. As an added bonus, doing so would help keep the numbers on the scale heading in the right direction. The post office and bank are only a couple miles away, so except for the occasional trip out of town, I could feasibly (and may very well) eliminate driving. Suck on that, OPEC.

I had mentioned previously that the truck would occasionally refuse to start, even when warm. Although starting fluid seemed to help once, it didn’t work on two other occasions. While I still don’t know what is wrong, I think I have discovered a work-around that will keep me from ending up stranded at Lowes any more, at least for that reason. If I press the accelerator more than halfway down while cranking, it will start. At least it has so far. I don’t understand the logic – diesels use injection, and that process should be unaffected by throttle position, but it seems to make a difference in this case. Why doesn’t really matter as long as it works, so I’m not asking any questions.

The friend to whom I sold the bike is still enjoying it. He stopped by on it the day before yesterday, in fact. As much as I wish I was young and invulnerable (in my own mind) again, I’m happy it has found a new home with a more suitable owner.

Last week, I spent an evening sharing cow slices, beverages and conversation with one of my best friends, two of his sons, and a few other folks who tend to hang out at his house. Hermit or not, it was a very nice evening. As an added bonus, I got to pilot Firefly – his 2011 Mustang GT. It took me back to the days of my 1999 Mustang Cobra SVT, but it was obvious that the former was a dozen years ago. The extra 100+ ponies, even when routed through an automatic transmission, were quite obvious. As nice as it would be in some ways, I’d lose my license within a week if it were mine.

I’m heading back to the shooting range Friday morning. I’ll mostly be playing host to a couple friends, but as soon as I have the time and motivation simultaneously, I need to work up and test some reloads for the 454 using a different powder and bullet combination. Not this week. though.

Well, I have to go out and turn off the watering system and then head to bed.

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