Posted by: David | November 13, 2012

Stormy Times

These past few weeks have been rather eventful. My mid-October dental visit turned into my fourth “coronation”. Yes, friends, I now have 4 “high noble metal” crowns in my mouth. Go me. Note to self: next time you’re a child don’t eat so much freakin’ candy. Is it any more interesting that I got the permanent, golden crown cemented in just before going to vote? The nice thing is that my dentist has kept the price of golden crowns pretty constant over the past 5-10 years, despite the fluctuations in gold valuation.

Note, reader that the following photo is only connected to this “narrative” if you think it is. The posting process for me starts with a bunch of photos, between which text is “injected”. That explains it, right?

Guess which egg came from the free-range chickens.

The other “October Surprise” was the “superstorm”. I can’t recall any storm ever having been named such, and though Sandy didn’t do much damage around here, her presence had some major impact. Firstly, my wife’s trip to South Carolina was moved ahead a few days, and thanks to the storm, the Monday I’d planned to work before starting a vacation was cancelled. The college was closed for two days. There were many power outages, as well as interruptions of telephone and internet service. Our power went out twice, but didn’t stay out for too long. A sickly poplar treetop broke off and landed on the fence around the horse pasture.

I had to look after the pony while my wife was away in South Carolina.

Not having internet for two days was no big deal since I was just finishing the 7th volume of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King as well as listening to a really good audio book called “By Blood“. One thing I really like about the audio books is that I can listen to them on my phone while I’m working in the garden. Though I have to make sure to thread the headphone wire securely under my shirt so as not to yank the earbuds out with a stroke of whatever long-handled garden implement is in use. That’s annoying.

Harvested all the carrots. These are the nicer ones that rodents didn’t munch.

I did lots of digging. LOTS of digging, cultivating and raking. It was the main form of exercise during my week off from work.

And of course, the planting of the garlic. Mostly it was planted on Halloween, but I decided to plant another batch the day after. First planted two beds of cloves from the largest heads harvested back in July, a total of 320 cloves at the 7″ spacing. After the insanity of the 484 cloves (and resulting 2 bushels yielded at harvest) you’d think I’d have learned my lesson. But there were these little mini bulbs I’d harvested from the bulbils planted last fall. In the photo below you can see that these bulbs are nicely proportioned but small at around 2″.

So I had to plant these too, to finish the experiment.

Finally some crop rotation. Tomatoes had been planted in these two long beds for maybe 10 years.

Because the cloves were smaller I used a 6-inch spacing, 5 per row time 57 rows=285 cloves.

This bed is in the backyard garden spot: 112 cloves. Parsley in the foreground.

So that’s a grand total of 605 cloves planted. The insanity continues. I also planted these peculiar little rounds that were harvested in July from planting of some larger bulbils in the spring. Not sure what they’re going to do, but we’ll see. The other thing about the garlic planted where the tomatoes used to be is that garden patch, behind the barn and well fertilized with years of horse manure and bedding, is that there were tons of moles living there last summer. Probably they were enjoying the millions of earthworms that had proliferated the previous summer. I’ve heard that moles like to eat worms. I’m hoping the garlic will deter them. But maybe they’ll just eat it. Time will tell.

I’m tempted to say something about the election results, though I should know better. Republican friends, I’m sorry it didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped. Democrats love this nation as much as you do; please remember that as you rebuild your platform for 2016. The Us v. Them Syndrome is a terrible trap for all of us. A majority of the voters this year indicated they’re not all that concerned with gun control, abortions, gay marriage, immigration, or the post-WWII nostalgic yearning to be the greatest nation on Earth. We have many more pressing problems right in front of our faces.

My granddaughter and I visited the college during my vacation. She met a ton of nice people there and smiled and waved at some of them.



  1. This could be the first evidence of a garlic apocalypse. It also brings to mind a man I once heard of who collected bulldozers. (These remarks have NOTHING to do with my semi-pathetic garlic harvests.)

    HAHAHA!! Garlic apocalypse! That is BRILLIANT! Maybe the fifth horseman is called GARLIC. 🙂

    I’m only sorry that I gardened for so many years before I got the hang of growing good garlic. Don’t know what makes me go overboard with it, but I’m not going to worry about it.

  2. My goodness how your granddaughter has grown! (They do that, you know.) I can’t think of a better environment for her than a college town. Teach that appreciation early.

    I’m always amazed that you can do so much gardening/farming and still hold a full-time job. I don’t think on my best day I had energy like that. Quite a payoff though (said she enviously).

    Glad Sandy decided to pass on New Hampshire.

    Yes, she’ll be two next spring. She’s a sharp young lady too. Very much an observer, but with an active imagination and a very expressive little face. In this photo she is looking rather neutral.

    The gardening looks more impressive than it really is. The laborious tasks are not so time-consuming as they might seem. We don’t really have that much area cultivated, compared to a real farm. It’s like a micro-farm. It’s the simplicity of the tasks that I find so necessary and rewarding.

    Sandy caused New Hampshire some trouble, but nothing like what southern New England, NY and NJ got. Superstorm indeed.

  3. Wow. In the event of Vampires rioting, your farm is the safest place in thee country! What will you do with it all? Do you have farmers markets at all? I’ll bet you’d make a killing on Garlic. (Garlic is always way expensive here. )

    Hi leaf! Thanks for visiting!

    New Hampshire vampires must be very quiet. Never hear a peep from them. Of course maybe you’re right, the garlic’s supposed to keep them away.

    I gave a fair amount of garlic away to gardening friends at work. Over half of it.

    It’s surprising to hear that garlic is expensive in Australia. Why would that be? I thought you could grow anything there.

  4. Now the little girl has become a real persona, meaning somebody with her own ideas about her constitutional rights to the pursuit of happiness. Does she like garlic? Of course I looked up maps to see whether you had been snowed in, but I could not figure out that part of the US. I only found out that I simply do not have almost any visual memory or orientation. I duly remembered the town that is on your biking route because it does sound similar to the name of a famous beer, (but right now I cannot remember either 🙂 — but then I could not match that with the weather reports.

    Does Lydia talk now? And does she get along with Oliver? And doesn’t Oliver feel jaelous of the attention she is getting?

    Yes, she’s developing quite the persona all right. Thankfully her pursuit of happiness is pure instinct at this point. Constitutional mandates put her to sleep. When unhappy she sometimes slaps her forehead.

    She hasn’t got too many recognizable words yet, but is making an increasing variety of sounds and she pretends to talk (rather loudly) when there is conversation around her.

    Oliver likes her pretty well, although some of her stuffed animal and puppet toys seem to bother him. Dogs don’t get puppets at all.

    We may have some snow heading our way tomorrow, and I’m not ready for it. Winter tires for my car won’t be arriving until the end of the week.

    • And crying? A neighbour of mine has a little girl, about the same age as yours, and she has always been crying very much, and now she screams, and this often sounds painful, though I am absolutely sure her parents do not mistreat her.

      “… she pretends to talk (rather loudly) when there is conversation around her.” We once had a linnet in a cage, and he or she did the same.

      On the whole the granddaughter maintains a fairly cheerful mien, however in her rare dark moods she does let loose some pathetic wails. There’s not much to be done about it beyond the expected provision of comfort, which, though it doesn’t always help, at least gives the child the idea that her family is sympathetic.

      We had some caged finches that behaved that way too. Depending on the ambient quality of the human conversation, this bird-chatter could be either amusing or annoying.

      • By the way, now that the little girl talks, can you see how awful it is when parents try to teach them a second language so early “in the game”? You can see that the little girl, when she talks, does not have an idea “in her head” that she has to formulate for other people to “see” it. Her talk, for a long time, would be imitative. She would pick up this or that as ways to get something or other. The idea does not precede its formulation. The two are one. I believe that separating them comes very late, through schooling only. Uneducated people cannot do it. —

        No I had not thought of that. “The idea does not precede its formulation.” I’ve had to read that over and over and still don’t know if I get it. I’ll have to digest it for a while. At what age did you diverge from your “native” language?

        • In normal conversation people speak automatically. They could not e.g. after an hour summarize what has been said. It is all from a disk. This is why e.g. in a mainly polite conversation or if e.g. you have to explain the same thing many times over on your job , you can talk about one thing while thinking about something else; e.g. you can talk about a computer problem while wondering whether you left the car parked in the wrong place.

          But if you have to apologize for a mistake you made or if you have to give orders or ask for something that is not necessarily granted, then you have the idea, but you don’t have the words.

          The same happens if you try to formulate something you have never formulated before. Now I just held my breath: do most people NEVER have to try and say something they have never said before!!!???

          Can’t be! Of course I have to do it all the time, because I “speak” all these languages. Very funny.

          As to your question, I don’t think there is a divergence. When I was little, I spoke French and Swiss German, but I did not realize that these were two languages.

          The reason why this is of basic interest is that if only I could find out whether in fact all speech is automatic, I would then have a good proof that there is no free will. Of course I believe in free will, but the evidence is against its existence. Consider how old people only speak in formulas, always the same. Their own disk gets wiped out. Consider also that almost any text can be used to determine where and when the author lived. His language is just a sample of what existed at a certain time in a certain place. — Anyway, here I have to remind myself that concepts like “free will” or “soul” or “god” cannot be evidence-based, since they are mental constructs like the triangle or the meridians. That is very simple, but easily forgotten.

          Thanks for this great comment. I’m glad to hear that you do believe in free will, glad too to be reminded of the lack of evidence. As you say, it’s an easily forgotten truth.

          The image of the disk is a good one and holds up well when applied to the speech of the elderly. Though I think that their disks are not wiped out, rather approaching fullness. As we technology geeks know, disks require at least 10% empty space in order to efficiently perform basic read/write functions. As the most common cause of computer failure, disk wear and tear corresponds well to the grooves and ruts in the demented brain. Though I have met rare elders who have somehow managed to retain their faculties. It’s a pet theory of mine that a healthy mind notes its empty spaces as necessary rather than needing to be filled. Books jammed on the shelves are hard to get down for reference.

          • Error!!!!
            This “automatic” wordie bugged me even while I wrote, but I could not remember the right word (“remember”, not “find”, see). It is “echo”. The idea is that everything is always just echo. (and the echo idea itself echoes Goethe and Machado and Proust also.)

            How timely this discussion is. I read a lengthy article in New Yorker magazine about an “artificial” language created by an amateur linguist named John Quijada. (Googling his name, I learned that quijada is Spanish for jawbone, which is also an older slang term for conversing, along the lines of chit-chat, shooting the breeze, having a chin wag, etc.)

            It was an interesting piece and often reminded me of your language-related comments over the years. Apparently there have been hundreds or thousands of humans (since Babel?) who have aspired to create ideal languages, to free humanity from two of its greatest failings: miscommunication and misunderstanding. The link to the New Yorker article probably won’t last, so here is Mr. Quijada’s original work, published to the internet.

            I like your choice of the word echo- with its implicit sense of reflection. But I also liked “automatic”. It seemed an accurate descriptor for common speech, filled with cliches, idioms and the usual assortment pre-assembled concepts, e.g. the weather, life’s objectionable aspects etc. Automatic speech requires no real effort.

          • Re: idea prior to and distinct from formulation
            This is quite frequent everywhere. What else do lawyers do? Find “language”. That is the lawyers’ technical term. At the patent office where I worked the lawyers received instructions to “find language to underline the importance of …”
            Instead of all those abstract terms, a better example would have been: “Define what is a bike” or “define the difference between a cat and a dog”.

            Ah, that makes sense now. Thank you. The lawyers and their “language finding” … Maybe one reason why the lawyers are such figures of derision is that in their constant search for language they often tend to create more fog than they dispel.

  5. Hey! Well, well. You DO still exist! Good to know. I also added a post and have another in the queue. Gardening looks like too much work. I’m glad I don’t have a place for veg planting. We do shade gardening here and not much of that any longer. Perhaps as I age, if I don’t get too crippled, I may take it up again. For now? Not so much.

    Yes, I found that it was impossible to carry on without existing. Gardening IS a lot of work, but so is EXISTENCE. What with the respiration, perspiration, thinking therefore amming, etc. It’s all a great bother and to what end? THE end. That’s the ticket, ashes to ashes. Dust to dirt. Dirt under my fingernails, etc.

    • …and I like your byline about being less-tedious in one dimention. That would count for me as well.

      I need to make sure that you understand the full cleverness. The blog, appearing on a two-dimensional screen, is one dimension fewer than the three which my physical existence uselessly occupies. Plus I’m a waste of perfectly good oxygen. Or so I’m told. By my “friend”. Methinks I need a new friend.

      • You DO need a new friend, it seems. BTW, your granddaughter is still WAY cuter than you. Is she adopted?

        I was much cuter 54 years ago. Take my word for it.

    • I really don’t like the idea of me being dirt under your fingernails. Good that I live in Ohio!

      I spoze not. How about dust then? Dust? Anyone? Dust? (Little Britain reference)

  6. Gifts for little children

    A Box of Cookies

    There’s nothing that gets little kids more excited than giving them a box of cookies. What’s great is that they are perfectly satisfied when you give them just *one*. What’s even better is that they believe you when you tell them there are no cookies left in the box the next day because *they* finished them all.

    Bubble Wrap

    Bubble wrap is like the supporting actress who steals the show from the leading lady, the bread that you fill up on at a restaurant and then have no room left for dinner. No matter what amazing toy is protected by its cushy little buttons, kids always just want to play with the bubble wrap. It provides hours of entertainment and can be dumped with a clean conscience once it’s deflated. What more could a little apartment dweller’s mom ask for?
    I think she meant just one cookie in the box, so it rattles. And the next day there would be another cookie, I guess.

    Thanks for that linked post. Interesting. The cookie(s) in the box … that was the best part of the post for me. The empty box of cookies.

  7. You say: ” The lawyers and their “language finding” … in their constant search for language they often tend to create more fog than they dispel.”

    It is their job in cases where simple notions of good and bad do not apply. I saw it done and had to translate it, that is, had to do it, too, in patent claims. You invent something, and somebody comes and says you copied your invention from his which was older. You have to show that yours is essentially different from his. How do you prove “essentially”?
    And it would be worse in design cases.

    New Years is coming up. Can’t stand that fiesta. Firecrackers in the stairwell of the building. And fireworks. Ugly. Frighten the birds out of their wits. One year they combined that with piped in music!

    Yes, fog creation is their true objective.

    Not much of a fan of fireworks either.

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