Last year’s corn experiment was derailed by various things, including either a dog or a deer crashing through the plot. We’ll be redoing that plot again this year, but decided to also try a little experiment.

Corn in the frame, May 4

These frames were set and then seeded on April 20. The photo above is from May 4. So far, so good. These frames were placed in an area where I had planted watermelon and canteloupe last year. We didn’t get anything from those plantings, although there were several watermelons that showed up to get chewed by the ants. We left the fruits and the plants to die off in that area, because as everyone who reads this knows, the soil can use all the help it can get.

Given that, I expected to see some volunteer watermelons show up this year. What I did not expect was to count 41 of them between the frames, and two in the frame above – how they got there, I’ll never know. Most or all of these will need to be relocated, as we’ll need the space between the frames to walk. What we’ll do with all this watermelon, assuming any of it comes in, I don’t know, but I’m sure the people and the animals around here (including the chickens) will take care of a good portion of it.

I’ve also decided to plant part of the front of the property in corn. We’re going to till up a plot in the front and put in a variety called maple sweet. It’s also highly likely that we’ll be putting frames around the front of the property. This all occurred to me as I was cutting the grass at the road side of the property, and before I ran out of gas in the tractor along the fenceline. I don’t mind using the tractor to mow, but growing cool stuff to eat is much more fun and if we ever go the CSA route – something we’ve been discussing more seriously than “one day, we should…” – we’ll have areas already started to hold more goodies.

Going to be a busy season around here. I’m already thinking ahead to winter (greenhouse, wiring the barn for seeding racks, keeping the chickens warm, and so on) and next year (bees, hopefully). I’m also thinking about tomorrow, which will find me at the dentist having two crowns put in my face. No doubt I will not be as chipper as usual after that particular activity, although I hope to be in minor enough pain that I can single line trellis the sungold tomatoes, which are beginning to fruit and need a bit of support.

Life on Lazy Dog Ranch.

Greening up

Spring has been a busy time here at the ranch. That’s understandable, given that our growing season starts early, and we’ve been working to get things in shape to actually grow things this year rather than struggling with the soil, such as it is, which will take years for me to build up organically.

We had started off with a couple of rows of frames: getting them built, filled, and planted. March 19:

Garden in March

The front of that frame second from the right has the snow peas, along with carrots and some herbs. We were still in the process of mixing and filling the built frames and putting together more.

As of early April, the peas were starting to take off – as was everything else, in fact, given the much healthier soil. April 2:

Garden, April 2

In mid-April on one weekend, my brother and his son built the rest of the frames out for me while I prepped the area that would hold our experimental frames for corn. The already-planted items continued to fare very well. April 13:

Garden, April 13

I laid down weedblock in the new frames and my brothers finished filling them while I was at the NOC one day. The snow peas were finally at the point where they needed to be picked (past due, really). The catnip had gone bonkers and I did a little massacre on it (it has not seemed to care much), and I pulled the entire bunch of thyme up and dried it, then planted new from seed in the same square from which I had pulled it. The carrots are doing incredibly well – that is the frilly green stuff on the right, and in the front is several basil plants. April 27:

Garden, April 27

The first snowpea harvest, steamed that very evening.

Snow peas, April 27

The other things that have been planted/transplanted in have taken off with the warmer weather, regular watering, and available nutrients. May 4:

Garden, May 4

The snow peas continue to be productive, and need to be picked again tomorrow.

Snow peas, May 4

The additional strings running from the frame to the right are for runners that refused to go up the trellis. Since it’s difficult to get the plants to cooperate in one fashion, I’ve given them another direction to run so they’ll continue to put out pods without lying on the ground. The only other issue we’re having at the moment is a good one to have: the peas are climbing higher than I set the trellis. Next time we’ll know that just over five feet is not quite enough.

This is a front view of the frame with the snow peas, carrots, basil, catnip, and lavender.

Frame: peas, carrots, basil

More to come as things keep growing along.


There are some very important lessons to be learned in life.

How to drink from the massive water dish out back. Having a big brother show how it’s done is helpful.

Einstein and Mickey

Because you never know when thirst will hit you.

Einstein by the pool

Staying out of the way of the Princess. She is, after all, the Princess.

Einstein and Gandalf

But most of all, how to be cute. Although this is probably something that comes naturally.

Einstein and me

How to irritate tech support

One in a never-ending series.

1. Open a ticket whining that your site is down, and that there have been no visitors in an hour.

Your main problem here is that we have access to the monitoring reports, which show no issues, and access to your site’s logs which not only show continuous, unbroken traffic to the site, but shows you logging right in the site yourself – multiple times – in the same “hour” that you’re claiming the site has been down. If you’re going to try to exaggerate, or just lie outright, as least make a tiny effort instead of tossing something our way that can be debunked in the span of less than two minutes.

2. Whine that where you used to receive a couple hundred pieces of spam a day, you’re now receiving next to none.

Your main problem here is that you’re a dumbass: no one wants to actively collect spam except those people running honeypots. You are not one of these people. The single largest group of tickets we receive in any given day revolves around email. A large portion of that subset of tickets revolves around ways of reducing spam. We do quite a lot of continual adjustments to the filters we have at the network and server level because all your neighbors on that same server do not share in your perverse need to feel important because some spambag sends junk to your domain. I have never, in all my years of being in the tech field, found anyone who ever wanted more spam and not less. Telling us that our quality has “deteriorated” because your ego requires that you collect junk mail wins you no points.

3. Threaten any sort of legal nonsense when your site is down. Because you allowed your domain to expire.

Your main problem is that I despise it when people do that sort of thing. It’s pretty much a one way ticket to getting your account terminated instantly for being a douchebag.

There is a reason that a lot of tech people burn out and seek other fields. The 85% of people that are nice and civil when they contact support for anything are far outweighed by the 15% who are rude, clueless asshats when contacting support for something.

Moving right along

We’ve been motoring along here.

The chickens, at just over three weeks, continued in their baby dinosaur phase.

Baby chickens

Mostly, like any babies, they ate, slept, pooped, and required frequent changes of their dirties.

A new puppy, just in time for my sister’s 29th birthday, and my 40th.

Einstein sleeping

He – Einstein – sleeps quite a bit, too. But only after he’s been running around like he’s on puppy uppers, playing as only puppies can.

We were also awaiting the arrival of yet another baby, who would continue that time-honored tradition of eatings, sleeping, and pooping.


Fortunately, she held off on making the birthday party really lively.

My sister and I had been letting our hair grow out so we could then have it cut off and donated to Locks of Love. We had decided that would be a fine birthday present for both of us.


That turned out well.

Aubs after a trim

Although for some reason – and we didn’t realize this until well into the evening during the party when my sister pointed it out – mom and I were wearing the same color. Must be that whole spring thing.

Birthday 2008