Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I <3 Chuck

Guys, I know kung-fu

Chuck is my favorite TV show, not that I watch much since I don't have cable or even an antenna! Just what I can stream over the 'net.

Please, please, please NBC and Sheinhardt Wigs...renew Chuck. Pretty please with sugar on it?

It's just wonderful, mindless fun to watch :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate... we can not consecrate... we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government : of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More seed starting

Went to Agway to get some Beefsteak Tomato seeds...they were low in general on tomato seeds, and I bought the last packet of Beefmaster (thought it was Beefsteak till I got home and looked...du'oh.)

Tomato, Beefmaster, 20 seeds, $1.99
Broccoli, Calabrese, 1g, $1.39
Cabbage, Mammoth Red Rock, 1g, $1.39

Time to set them in four packs :)

Plenty of cabbage, may plant some direct later this year.

Ok, cabbage transplanting 2' apart I understand...but wow, broccoli takes 1-1/2'. I guess they're bigger then expected!

Hey! That's a surprise...the 4 packs & trays I bought years ago at Ocean State...had Beefsteak seeds with them! Gave them a try.

Started tonite:

2 four packs, Beefmaster
2 four packs, Beefsteak (old seed, poorly stored)
2 four packs, Cabbage
2 four packs, Brocolli

Maybe late on planting the brocolli for starting it this year. Have plenty of seeds for a fall crop. Cabbage, too.

Chart of fall planting dates: http://www.heirloomseeds.com/schedule-2.htm

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Seed starting

Guess I'm gonna try doing my own seedlings again, at least for some stuff :)

Putnam Farmer's Co-op:
Tomato, Big Boy, 20 seeds, $2.19
Tomato, Large Red Cherry, 180mg, $1.39

Southern Seed Exchange:
Long Keeper Tomatoes (bought last year)

I already had some flats I bought years ago in the garage to use, so no cash expense this year for them. Soil is down below, $4.95 + .30, hope it's enough.

Variation from Organic Gardening #1 this year: The potting soil is Miracle Gro. Didn't really even pay attention when I grabbed it. If starting seed works out for me this year, I'll consider finding the raw materials myself next year. Like seed, if I buy in bulk I should get years worth of mix for a fraction of the "retail" price.

1) Looks like 8 quarts of potting mix will be enough for 12 4-pack flats.

2) Planted 2 4-packs of Long Keepers, Big Boy, and Cherry tomatoes, with 2 seeds per cell. Will need to thin them later.

Plenty of seed kept for Long Keepers & Cherry for next year. Used all the Big Boys (ok, had 3 seeds left over, I'm not keeping them).

3) Squash isn't recommended for four packs, doesn't like roots disturbed. So they're not candidates. No sense in starting beans early.

4) Cucumbers only need to be started 2-3 weeks before planting, so too early to start right now. I'm about 6 weeks from transplant season.

Rough Costs:
Big Boy seeds: $1.10
Four Pack: $0.25
Potting Mix: $0.44
Total: $1.79 per four pack

Cherry Tomatoes are a lot cheaper, around $1.04 per four pack

Now to remember to check prices on four packs later this year for comparison!

Friday, April 10, 2009

We're walking, we're walking

Walk #1 @ Audobon:
1.3 Miles, 1 hour overall. Moving avg = 2.5mph, did basically last 1/3rd mile @ just under 4mph. Little slower going here between one steep grade, plus a lot of un-even walking.

Walk #2 @ Pachaug: 0.27miles @ 4mph moving, all moving.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cellulosic Ethanol and Wood...

I was reading this article about the "Q" bacteria discovered by UMass at the Quabbin with the potential to be an efficient convert of cellulose to ethanol.

Let's do some quick math.

-- Estimates are we can get 94 gallons (eventually) of ethanol from each ton of cellulose.
-- Cord of hardwood is roughly 1 ton per cord.
-- Connecticut forests generally have a sustainable yield of 1/2 cord per year
-- There's 1.8 Million acres in Connecticut
-- About 60% of Connecticut State Forests are loggable. The rest are environmentally sensitive, culturally sensitive, or being purposely managed "naturally." I think we can apply that percentage to the state as a whole.
-- So that's 1.08 Million acres yielding 1/2 cord per year which would make 25 Million gallons of Ethanol in a year.
-- In 2007 Connecticut used 37,906 thousand barrels of gasoline, that's 1,592,052,000 gallons of gasoline (that's 530 gallons per person, about 10 per week, so I believe it).
-- Ignoring ethanol's lower energy content (long term that could be compensated for by more efficient, higher compression engines), Connecticut grows enough wood to offset 1.5% of it's gasoline usage.

I have no doubt cellulosic ethanol can be part of the solution, but obviously it ain't the end of the world. If we assume similiar figures for Maine (in reality, they'd probably harvest a higher percentage, but growing a little bit fewer tons per acre) they'd be around 240 Million gallons of ethanol a year, or roughly enough to displace 1/3rd of their state's use of a gasoline.

And we haven't talked about diesel.

Switchgrass can produce about 5 tons per acre, but at what cost in annual fertilizers and pesticides I don't know. It shouldn't need fertilizer and pesticide like corn, but I doubt it can go without any perpetually.

We're walking, we're walking

Went up to the pitch pine knoll in the Audobon property. Meant to take some photos...forgot to put a memory card in my camera. Pace a bit slow & stopping, mainly looking at the fire results from last year's controlled burn, plus playing with the GPS.

At any rate, 1 mile @ 2.5mph moving average.

Oh, think I figured out, to calculate an area, I need to "save a track" around it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More GPS play

Ok, starting to figure this GPS thingy out.

Streeter Trail, Douglas State Forest
2527' 0:08:15 -- so that's 4mph.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Seed Notes

Stocking up on my seeds for the year. And in some cases, the next few years!

Beans, bush, green, Long Tendergreen, 4 oz, $2.79
Beans, bush, yellow, Golden Butterwax, 4oz, $2.79
Zucchini, Black Beauty, 4oz, $4.69
Cucumber, Straight 8, 4oz $4.85
Cucumber, Marketmore 76, 4oz $5.75

Putnam Farmer's Co-op:
Squash, Butternut, Waltham 2.5g $1.89
Squash, Summer, Goldbar Hybrid 3g $2.69 x 2 = $5.38
Potting Soil $4.95 + $0.30 tax

Today's purchases: $33.82
YTD Garden: $46.09

Price Comparisons:

Agway carries some of their seeds in larger packages -- 1/4# and 1#. Putnam Farmer's Co-op has a smaller selection of seeds but sells them in bulk (weigh your own), and looking at the prices that's an even better deal then the Agway packages. But Putnam didn't have the varieties of Zukes & Cukes I was looking for.

The price differential is such it only takes being able to use the seeds for 2 or 3 seasons to save money by buying in bulk over little packets.

Green or Yellow bush beans:
$1.49 for 3/4oz packet = $31.78/pound
$2.79 for 4oz (what I bought) = $11.16/pound
$2.50 for 1/2# bulk = $5.00/pound ...guess I should've price checked first, 1/2# probably would last me a decade :)
$4.25 for 1# bulk = $4.25/pound

Zukes, Black Beauty:
$1.29 for 5g (1/6th oz) = $123.84/pound
$4.69 for 1/4# = $18.76/pound

Cukes, Straight 8:
$1.29 for 3g = $185.76/pound,
$4.85 for 1/4# = $19.40/pound

Cukes, Marketmore 76:
$2.99 for 1/4 oz = $191.36/pound
$5.75 for 1/4# = $23/pound

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Playing with the GPS

GPS I just got from Pat for Christmas :)

Railroad tracks from Route 169 to Needle's Eye Road. 1.2 miles. 11:50 going out (walking time); 9:30? coming back. Overall 3.0mph in motion, 1.6mph including breaks.

Have to play with how to "save" a trip log. Or just use a pen to write it down.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Something to remember if I ever sell firewood

Toy with the idea sometimes of selling 1/4 cord loads, what my pickup can comfortably handle, for a premium for people looking for social fires for fireplaces and such sometimes. I reckon I could get $100-125 a load stacked at the customer's residence which is a nice premium.

Saw this post on arboristsite.com today:

Your 3 biggest days where your really gonna move wood (at least my experience is the day before thanksgiving, christmas and newyears. I dont know how these holidays sneak up on people but no joke last year for each day I got probably literally 50 calls for firewood, the day before, because people wanted 1 face cord, cause the family was coming over, and they needed a fire for the holiday.

Good to remember for when to post the Craigslist ads :)