Category Archives: Cats, dogs, chickens, and other critters


I had big, big plans for the two acorn squash I had picked up at the store: Baked, stuffed with a wild rice mix, and served as a side to a couple of seared balsamic-glazed, bone-in pork chops.

Sometimes things just don’t work out that way. The menu I’m saving for another day. The squash, though, had to be dealt with before they melted into goo on the countertop. That would have taken awhile, but better to address that sooner (when the squash would still be tasty) rather than later (when there would be a rather icky cleanup duty involved).

First things first: gather the ingredients. I decided a honey-soy glaze would work.

Starting out

Cut into rings and remove the seeds. Since we are the composting types, the innards were saved for that.

Rings of gold

Off they go to a baking sheet, awaiting their fate. Since they look like gears, it was amusing to play with the rings on the sheet, interlocking them.

Lined up and ready to go

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Light seasoning

Into the oven they go. Every so often, I brushed them with a mixture of honey, soy, ginger, salt, pepper, and lime juice. I also stepped outside to watch the approach of the first cold front that was to bring the deeper cold front a day or so later.

Storm approaching

What a good dog, staying in the doorway as he was told! He’s a handsome devil, too.

Handsome devil

The squash is tender and ready for anyone who wants it. I did. Delicious.


And so it goes

Every so often, I look at this blog and wonder if it’s worth the bother. I think my life must be terribly uninteresting and the failures here at the homestead have far outnumbered the successes in the gardening realm. Still, on the rare occasions that someone does come by, as my aunt and uncle did this weekend, and looks at the place with their eyes instead of mine, it reminds me that being too close to something can give you tunnel vision sometimes.

So here’s what’s been going on around here of late, beyond the workaday crap that made August a hellish month, stress-wise – a month in which I managed to lose eight pounds, dropping me to 100 even. I’m working on keeping the needle there and climbing, and thus far, the “keeping the needle there” part is working out better than the “climbing” part.

I had worked my ass off to prep a bed of corn, which started out well.

Very well.

And then, there was zero rain. None. Zilch. Nada. So I was trying to water. Then I had some kind of animal run through this back side of the plot – probably the damn dog next door, who is forever running all over our property. And then these critters showed up, along with the corn earworms.

I don’t think I could have done enough to turn that plot into arable soil that would sustain growth to maturity. Between all of those factors, the corn withered, and eventually had to be cut down. A total loss of the time and effort spent.

I’d put in a line of limas, which I hate, for other people to eat. Out of eight seedlings, two survived. Neither has put out any beans as of yet, although they both have flowers.

I had also set up several cucumber plants, of two varieties: picklers and lemon cukes. One of each survived, and this lone pickler, along with one lone lemon cuke, are the output so far.

Continue reading And so it goes

Care for a swim?

It took us awhile to get the dogs in the pool. Newton isn’t a big fan of it – and I have the scratches to prove it. Not that he meant to, of course, but he was desperate to get out of the water and back on dry land.

Mickey, on the other hand, has turned out to be part fish, or so it seems. It may just be the puppy in him, which makes him rather fearless (like any child). Or it may just be that he loves to swim. Or a little of both.

Take a look.

Visitor to the estate

“Look out the window,” my mom shouted to me. I looked, saw nothing. “You won’t believe this!”

I was unable to figure out what in the world she was talking about – after all, my view out the window includes the pool area and some of the patio, and other than the heat waves radiating off everything, there was nothing extraordinary going on out there.

So I thought.

Continue reading Visitor to the estate

How was your day, dear?

Well, I gotta tell ya…

Good. And bad. And good. And seemingly neverending.

The pool is lovely, bright, and deep.

After a very restless night and very little sleep, I bagged it, got up, and did some work to clear a few things off my list. All the while, I seriously contemplated the distinct possibility that I might wind up puking before going off to get a cashier’s check for closing.

But I didn’t puke, I did get the check, and did head off to sign my life away.

Naturally, in the midst of signing all the papers, one of the servers went down and would not come back. A bit of misinterpretation by one of the guys equaled an issue that lasted quite a bit longer than it should have. I wound up blasting out to the NOC, at the beginning of rush hour, to run some commands on the server. While working on that one, another page from the monitor: another server has bitten the dust. Fortunately, I was already there, as that server, after a reboot, needed a disk check as well. With that running, but before the final reboot to bring that one back online, yet another page: another person has crashed their server (but this one does this on a fairly regular basis). That one, of course, came right back after a power cycle, as it was the one I was least concerned about. With all the disk checks done, everything back online, and the monitor all clear with all services green, I could finally enjoy the moment.

Just the tiniest taste for me, since alcohol and my tongue are still not yet approaching being even the most distant of friends.

Back on the road for more work, then back on the road to return to the HQ. Ding! Yet another server issue, and it’s the same one that went off earlier today as I was working on server number one. Criminy. Manage to get to a safe spot, get logged on to the reboot port via my phone. Ding! Recovery notices. In the five minutes or so it took me to do that, the user has rebooted the server (although, I believe that if you can get into the server, 99% of the time it isn’t necessary). Back on the road, finally to the HQ, settle back in to work.

Only to consider that perhaps our habit of answering tickets almost instantly is something we should rethink, as a user is demanding to know why someone hasn’t answered a ticket in 30 minutes – a ticket related to that very server, in fact. That could be because my vehicle, sad to say, does not travel at the speed of light, it’s impossible for me to answer tickets on my phone, and I’m the one covering tonight. Ergo, no response to that ticket or any other in the preceding 30 minutes.

Take care of that, whip through the other few tickets that have arrived, and then receive a real winner: someone complaining about a charge for domain registration, telling us they have no account with us and to remove it. Well, genius, it would help if you could give us some kind of hint as to who you are, when the charge was processed, what the domain name was on the invoice, what the invoice number was, or perhaps what the last four of the credit card were. You know – any sort of information whatsoever that would let us know which of the numerous charges we process on any given day would be The One.

Oh, and this is what greeted me when I got back to the old house.

What used to be a pillow was now a collection of small fluffy islands in the foyer, living room, and office. And no, Newton was not the culprit. But he did pose nicely.

Mickey had wisely decided to take his ass outside after laying down on the floor at my feet, knowing that he’d been bad. Damn dogs. Good thing they’re so cute.

The first couple of loads of stuff is at the new place. Tomorrow will bring more work and more back and forth between the old and new houses. It will be a rather exhausting weekend, I can see this already.