Posted by: David | May 25, 2012

I’ve Been A Very Negligent Blogger

Sincere apologies. Sometimes life just gets so busy and tiring. Then you start reading pulp fiction at night on your Kindle instead of posting your own scintillating thoughts and ideas to the blogosphere … if you happen to have any such thoughts and ideas that is.

May 12. Nearly 2 weeks ago.

The month of May has flown past in a flash. We’ve had lots of rain and lots of sun and the grass needed mowing three times already. Here it is Memorial Day weekend already, the traditional time when everyone and their sister gets done whatever gardening they’re going to do for the year. We’ll be doing lots of gardening too.

Again from a couple weeks back. The potato plants are peeking through the mulch-mounded bed just right of center.

The potato mound yesterday, viewed from the other end.

The weather has been pretty agreeable so far, little risk of any more frosts, timely rains, and enough sun to keep things growing rapidly. Good weather for the slugs and bugs too. Slugs ate 20% of broccoli, cabbage, and other brassicas my wife planted out in the little anti-animal chicken wire pen she constructed around 3 beds. Last year critters (deer, woodchuck, ?) ate all our brassicas and lots of our peppers too.

And the garlic has grown another half a foot or so. Just looking at these 4 beds cheers me every day.

At work we immediately shifted into the post-commencement summer project mode. Bigger IT projects are generally done in the summer. Lots to do, but people also seem to want to take a little more time to chat. There are also 3 major construction projects going on at the college. Two of the older residence halls are having their basements redone with student rooms, and the Ware Campus Center, home to mailroom and cafeteria, is having a major addition built on to its eastern side. Lots of fences, activity, construction dudes and their trucks all about the campus this summer. It’s exciting.

Burpee Hall, fenced in and de-shrubbed for the basement renovations.

Also exciting, to me and my coworkers anyway, are some of the IT projects that we’re working on this summer. Non-geeks may choose to skip to the next photo or paragraph. Having virtualized our servers a few years back, we’re now getting ready to offer virtualized desktop systems to our various groups of users. These will feature Windows 7, moving us forward from our early-2000s operating systems and will allow some of our users more freedom to customize their desktops. I’ve also gotten better at constructing and deploying Windows 7 images to conventional standalone PCs and laptops. I have to say that Microsoft has done very well with their Windows 7 tool set and documentation, even if I have had to learn more command line and xml syntax than I might have wanted.

The grandchild and me in the mirror. She’s getting ready to become a biped.

There was some animal excitement this week. Monday afternoon brought a bear into our back yard. My wife got some great photos of it. It didn’t touch a thing in the garden, didn’t even leave footprints. It was a big one too.

The bear makes for the exit.

The other animal event was the capture of a raccoon in the Havahart trap, which had been set for a week or so. Hoping to catch woodchucks or porcupines as they’re the ones who wreak havoc in the garden. So I let the raccoon go. Needless to say, Oliver was not impressed with either of these events and has doubled up on his squirrel and chipmunk sentry duty.

Hunter the cat has no opinions on these matters. She’s a natural born killer.

Let’s see … what else? This is the problem with dilly dallying so long between posts. Blog constipation. Which leaves you poor readers with this extra long, compacted, smelly … uh … post. So sorry. Apologies as well for breaking the rules governing blogging with no apologies. But there are a few more photos. They build up regardless, since the advent of the smartphone with camera, which is always with me.

We moved the birdbath from the unruly herb garden to this flower patch in front of the greenhouse.

The garlic bulbil experiment in bed #1. Fall 2011 (upper frame) and Spring 2012 plantings.

So that should catch us up for the time being. Today is a day off that the president of the college bestowed upon the entire staff via email on Wednesday, in recognition of a very successful academic year. That was a nice email to get, even though I had planned to use a vacation day today anyway. Gives everyone a 4-day break for Memorial Day.

Happy Memorial Day everyone.


  1. Flower ‘patch’ gives you away as a veggie gardener I think. That bear is like a zoo escapee– I will never again complain about little raccoons.

    I tossed the phone case and just use a ‘bumper’ with thick edges– it bounces pretty well.

    The garlic awesomeness continues.

    You are correct. I’m a veggie gardener all right. My wife is in charge of all the flower patches. She would vigorously defend herself against your implicit critique. Not that she has any formal training in flower patch construction. Or that I would tell her … she doesn’t read this blog. Who can blame her? Anyhoo, the flower patch in question will look a little better soon when the peonies and irises bloom. Right?

    We had a mama bear and her 3 cubs a few years ago. Fortunately, they were just passin through …

    I can’t toss the Otter Box, I spent $50 on it. Besides, it makes me feel better to know that dear little iPhone is fully defended.

    The photos don’t show it but the garlic scapes are just emerging. In a few weeks I’ll have to decide whether to leave them or pluck them. Probably I’ll do both. Two years ago I plucked all the scapes. Last year I let them all go. The garlic seems to have kept better this year. We still have some usable heads from last year’s crop.

    • There was no critique meant at all. The flower bed is wonderful. Bear cubs must be a wonder to see. I had three cute coyote puppies at the edge of my garden for a few minutes once, roly-poly and yellow.

      Thanks for the clarification. My bad. We planted our little butts off today! Celery, tomatoes, peppers, parsley, cucumbers. T I R E D …

      Wow coyote puppies? That must have been interesting.

      The bear came back last night. Knocked down one of our birdhouses. The unoccupied one fortunately. Swallows are living in the other one. Bear left a big poop in the yard too. Hope it doesn’t wreck the Havahart trap.

  2. With all those great beds of goodness, you certainly have nothing to apologize for. Those with lives, live them; those without, blog. I’d have been terribly impressed even if you hadn’t thrown in that very handsome bear (being a safe distance away, I can say that). That granddaughter is getting so big! And I can attest the growth rate only seems to accelerate.

    Now I’m off to look up brassicas …

    That’s a very nice comment Pi! Thank you. 🙂

  3. I love the photos of your garden. do you read healingmagichands? She has a wonderful garden too.

    Thanks nursemyra. I never seem to get tired of photographing the garden.

    I have not read that blog, but I will now that you mentioned it.

  4. I think that having a life is a really good reason for not blogging (especially if you come back and tell us all about it later). I love the new look of your blog. The photos of the bear are amazing, but your comment about the poop and the Havahart trap surpassed them. 🙂

    Thanks Moonie! My life is going pretty well at the moment. It’s nice to have this blog and my blog friends like you to provide that needed reflection. I haven’t really changed the blog’s appearance theme, despite having been occasionally urged to do so. I do change the header photo every month or two. I’ve sorta been hoping that WordPress would update the theme I’m using, sorta like they did with your theme.

    The bear passed up some grapes and an apple core in the Havahart trap. She (he?) hasn’t been back since the birdhouse demolition. The clematis that used to climb that birdhouse post now needs a new home.

  5. What fantastic photos. With a garden like that I wouldn’t get any blogging done at all.

    Thanks for visiting and for that nice comment ljclayton. Gardening is a definite passion of mine. One that helps keep me sane.

  6. I don’t understand why you are not scared out of your mind seeing that bear in your garden. And in day light! Doesn’t that mean you can never leave that future bipede of yours play outside? And why wouldn’t it attack yourself or your wife?
    I also planted a potato, but I did it wrong. The potato had little green sprouts, and I thought they were future leaves, but they were roots.
    As I must have told you, we got caught in a legal tangle. It was hell as described by Dante

    “Babbling tongues, terrible palaver,
    Words of grief, inflections of deep anger”

    and it was dangerous, because most of the other owners are illiterate and could not understand the issue. We had to go and win them over one by one. At the meeting they howled and howled and howled to vote no.

    The basic problem is of course corruption. We found out that no real estate administrators can make a living by what they charge for their services. They all get their income from commissions which they illegally add to anything that has to be done.

    You’re thinking maybe of grizzly bears. Here we have black bears, and while not welcome visitors, they are not aggressive. They are herbivorous and are well known in these parts for destroying backyard bird feeders and domesticated bee hives. (Our bird feeders are well out of reach.) We are well schooled to keep a good distance from these critters, especially mothers with cubs. Even so, they tend to be shy and take refuge when they see people. So not to worry.

    Wondered how your legal tangle was going. You refer to it in past tense so I assume it is concluded? I hope you survived intact.

    • The legal tangle is still tangling, but at as distance right now, not so clearly visible. Rather than a tange, it is now a knot.

      But the bigger picture here is becoming awfully interesting. Breathtaking. I suffered from a spontaneous dislike of Rajoy, the new president of Spain, and so I took no interest in his existence. But now that he has become somebody, I have begun to watch him, and I wonder whether he is nuts or so arrogant that he can’t behave or whether he is about as knowledgable as a 13 year old kid?

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Breathtaking is the perfect word for this “debt crisis”. Before too long, we will have to pay for air.

      Please tell me more about this PP President. As to arrogance vs. intelligence- in politicians, is there any possible way to discover which dominates their personas?

  7. You are not nearly as negligent as I am so I win this round! In fact, I’m such a naff blogger lately that I’ve posted a “be back later” post. Hopefully I will actually be back later. No promises.

    The bear in your yard would absolutely scare me out of my (admittedly fragile) wits! My brother hikes in the mountains of Virginia and he encounters black bears all the time. Scares me!

    Hope to see you around. Ta for now! ~S

    Thanks for helping me bear the burden of negligent blog shame. You’re too kind.

    I was thinking of you the other day when I happened to watch an old movie featuring the actor who played Withnail. It was called How To Get Ahead In Advertising. That Mr. Grant was quite something as an actor. What ever happened to him I wonder …

    UPDATE … Googled Mr. Grant and apparently he’s been quite busy lately.

    • “Bear the burden..” my aren’t we clever then?

      Richard E. Grant is one of the busiest lesser-known actors out there. He also does a lot of voice work.

      Hope to be around some. I’m mostly feeling brain-dead and have nearly no Online time.


      OH I WISH it had been clever. Used the wrong word I did. Or did I?

      I’m brain dead too. My posts are dwindling to monthlies. Eww.

      Anyway, thanks for your comments. Like Withnail and I, the advertising flick is quite deserving of repeated viewings. I don’t know if Mr. Grant is an “over-actor” or not, but I don’t care. He convinces the crap out of me.

  8. I swear, I’ve read this 3 times. And every single time I was rudely interrupted mid-comment by 1) my roommate’s bladder-challenged boxer, 2) Texts from my roommate asking me if I’ve taken her bladder-challenged boxer out for a walk, and 3) A phone call from an inconsolable friend telling me that her high school crush announced on Facebook that his wife was expecting. (Because apparently the fact that he had a wife wasn’t necessarily a deal-breaker.)

    I can’t believe you had a bear in your backyard!! A BEAR! IN YOUR BACKYARD!!! I also still can’t get over the fact that you’re a Grandfather. Maybe because my Grandpa looked like he could also be your Grandpa.
    Your granddaughter is adorable, though. And she does compliment your right arm nicely.

    Dog urine = my salvation. And the inconsolable friend. I’m glad that you eventually found the time to read and comment. Thank you! You’re too kind! Please visit again, if I ever post again. I’ve built up a cluster of photos, so a post is imminent. I can feel it …

  9. I want to try something new. Let’s see whether I can insert a photo right here and now:

    • It didn’t work. And yet I think I have seen photos inserted in comments. This is from a mountainside near Lucerne, and I am pretty sure that this is the mountain where I spent the first years of my life, but only the very first, and so I cannot remember it. However, later, for many years, maybe almost ten, I saw a similar sea, the sky as seen from above, for years, very often, in spring and fall almopst daily.

      Notice how this view simplifies everything, not just the goegraphy.
      I don’t have the reference for the photo, but will get it later.

      I think it would have worked with the correct html tags for inserting the actual image file, rather than just the reference link itself. I don’t know how to illustrate the HTML tags here without having them get rendered as tags. But I used the ‘image src’ tag with your same URL and it now shows the photo.

      It’s a lovely photo! Please supply the reference for the photo when you can.

  10. All that garlic would cheer me, too, but I am not allowed to have any and cheating won’t work because garlic can be smelled from a mile.Tomatoes: don’t you have any? And parsley? And basilicum which in spite of its silly name is a wonderful thing.

    Hi justkidding! Thanks for your visit and your comment. Yes we have plenty of tomatoes and peppers and parsley and basilicum. We just staked up the tomatoes today. They’re in a different garden patch which is not as photogenic. But I’ll try to remedy that soon.

  11. Well, the problem is that the reference would point to a newspaper that I would not read, so I’ll have to look for a way to mention that newspaper without actually advertising its existence.

    As to the PP president of Spain, I just don’t know. There are of course many intelligent people who never took an interest in some basic concepts of economics and he might be one of those, but then he always acted as if Zapater’s (the former president’s) notions were just idiotic and not even worth commenting on.

    Rajoy is from the part of Spain where Franco came from. It is not generally known that Franco persued a policy of hoodwinking Hitler and the Germans by acting as if he were a little slow-witted and therefore no asset as a possible ally. Franco was not intelligent, but he was astute. Being astute seems to be a psychological quality rather than an intellectual one, something close to instinctive. So I wondered whether Rajoy (name of this PP president: pronounce Rahhoy) remembers Franco and understood his policy and saw he could do that, if nothing else. But when I mentioned this possibility to someone here who knows more than I about the situation, he said it was an absurd idea.

    But I took so little interest in his ways that until he got elected I thought I had never seen his picture in the press.

    Yeah, I don’t know why I asked you to tell me more about the guy in the first place. Does your acquaintance think that Rajoy is too dumb to play dumb or that emulating Franco is absurd?

  12. The part of Spain where Franco came from is called Galicia and is on the left top corner of Spain. Have you ever heard of el camino de Santiago? A strange thing. — Whereas large parts of Spain have always been poor beause of most erratic climate and soil conditions, Galicia has always been good for agriculture and the Gallegos that I have met were more like the Swiss: silent, hard-working, commonsensical and boring even to themselves.
    Here is a typical joke from there:
    A Gallego goes into a bar and on his shoulder he carries a peri — pera– pere — what is the name of those very small green parrots that I was trying to find as Periquete ? —
    So the bartender says: Does that animal speak?
    And the periqueet answers: What do I know.
    Another one is only a saying: “Tarde piaste” meaning “you peeped too late”. It’s a solder who in a bar orders some tortilla=omelette. It must have been made with eggs that were not fresh. So as he was going to swallow the tortilla, he heard it peep, and he swallowed it anyway saying “You peeped too late”.

    Parakeet. I like that joke.

    It reminds me of this one: Two muffins are baking in the oven. One says, “Oi it’s hot in here!”. The other one says “Holy crap! A talking muffin!”

    Maybe I am also Swiss-like and boring.

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