Monday, May 22, 2017

Happy Birthday, Hercules!

Belladonna misses Hercules.  He turns five today.  Bella asked me to post some pictures, to give Herc a kiss and to tell him "I love you."

I took him out to the bar to celebrate.  The bartender cut him off after a couple of brews.  I objected.  I said, "Dude, he has only had two!"

The bartender responded, "While that may be so, it was 14 in dog beers."

Plum Curculio

The crescent shaped scar is evidence of the Plum Curculio laying eggs.
Plum Curculio is the most difficult pest to control in the home orchard.  That may be why I detest all things "PC". In spite of its name, it also attacks apples and pears.

I usually don't see damage until about June first.  I was looking for the damage thinking I was WAY ahead of the curve.

I was wrong.

According to Mr Internet, two back-to-back, sunny days that are over 70 degrees are enough to get the Plum Curculio moving.

I am not able to spray today because I am working for a couple of little, old ladies.

One of them had a Blue Spruce taken down and I was dragging brush.

The other one has a 20' by 40' bare patch she wants me to rototill and plant to grass seed.

I will be a tired boy tonight.


It feels like I am taking advantage of these little old ladies.  For example, the one who needed the grass planted sent her husband out to keep an eye on me.  He has a bum back.  He was happy to have a new audience.  I can work and I chatted it up with him.

I gave them the little-old-lady discount.  She objected and paid me way more than the $15 I asked for.  In the back of my mind I was paid $15 for planting the seed and the remainder was for respite care.

I always let the customer win.  I tell them that my wife trained me not to argue with ladies.

They invariably ask for her phone number.  I think they want to hire her to coach their hubbies.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Causes of death by age group

Causes of death per 100,000, by age group, in the United States, 2014.
Same information in tabular form.  A "0" indicates that the CDC did not list it in the top ten causes of death for that age cohort.  CLRD is Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases.
As a member of the 55-64 cohort, the biggest cause of mortality is.....turning 65.

All joking aside, the three big hitters for my age are Cancer, Heart Disease and Accidents.  The best "Band-aids" I can buy are to know the signs of cancer so it can be caught early, take a 81mg entric-coated aspirin every day, exercise, watch my weight and avoid doing stupid stuff.

The Three "B"s

Nothing fancy.  Just the fundamentals.

Prepper Website

I recently stopped visiting a well known  Prepper/Survival aggregator website after it got too slicked up.

Maybe "slicked up" is not the correct term.  One of my email friends suggested "monetized" was the word-of-choice.
An example of the ads that now comprise half of the websites body.
Half the content in the body of the site are now ads.  The entire right sidebar was already ads.

The real content seemed to drop by at least 50% and most of that was put behind a click-counter door.

I don't begrudge anybody an honest dollar.  I would keep visiting it if the quality of the articles had not also slid.  Most of the articles were breathless gee-whiz articles about why every food pantry should have five pounds of turmeric.

Prepper Website
Prepper Website is an aggregator site that still has that  "mimeographed on cheap paper" feel.  By actual count, it had twenty links in the same space the commercialized site has three ads and three "articles" that looked like ads (Articles about turmeric written by somebody who imports spices.  Go figure)
The Prepper Website has ads but they are all conveniently crammed over in the right sidebar.

First row of ads were included so you can see where the tabs are in relationship to them
A feature that the new reader is likely to miss are the "tabs" the editor has over in the upper right corner.

Frugal Living
Many of us who consider ourselves "Preppers" do it out of frugality.  We buy things when the seller is highly motivated because we know the prices will be much higher if we are forced to buy those things in a hurry.  That means we need to think ahead...we prepare by storing stuff (like soap and toilet paper and fertilizer and motor oil) we know we will use.

Conspiracy Galore
Not my cup of tea.  I believe in entropy, stupidity and self-interest more than secret societies and such.  To each their own.

Do It Yourself
Self explanatory.

Alt News Hub
Because Main Stream Media is not about news, it is about manipulating opinions.

Shooter's Gallery
Exactly what it says it is.

Is it perfect?
No but the imperfections are minor blemishes, so minor they probably are simply matters of personal taste.

I think the site would be stronger if the "Tabs" were visually cued to look like tabs.

I think the site would be a faster read if the editor placed something in the body of the main page to separate each day's entries; a horizontal line or a blank line.  He date-stamps each article but that that requires more attention on my part than a simple line. 

After all, a huge part of Prepper Website's appeal is that I can scan large amounts of information in a short time.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The corn is in the ground

The corn is in.  I am taking my "strain" of corn in a slightly different direction.  It is currently too tall at 10' to 12' tall.  It is vulnerable to blowing over. It is also later maturing that I like. Consequently, I am mixing in a little bit of common yellow corn into the mix.  My plan is to de-tassel the yellow corn to ensure it is pollinated by my tall corn.

If you look closely you will see an orange line stretched near the bottom of the frame.  The line has knots at 20" intervals.  20" is my potato spacing.  10" is my corn spacing.  Easy!
I planted 10" within the row with 42" between the rows.

Friday, May 19, 2017

630 Growing Degree Days (B42)

He found two of our feeders.  He is perched on the rope for the dog run in this photo.  I like how the camera made the green in the background look like brush strokes.  Reality imitating art.
Lilacs are done.

Very done.

The first Blackberry blossoms are open.

I think Spirea (Bridal-wreath) is the most popular landscaping shrub in local cemeteries.  It can be reliably counted upon to be in bloom on Memorial Day in Southern Michigan.  I suspect other latitudes have other favorites.
Motherhood was a tough job.

Especially before the advent of antiseptics, antibiotics and blood transfusions.

It is still a tough job.  H/T to Mike K.

Mrs ERJ's new row of asparagus is coming along. We planted it last year.  We will not pick any this year. 
A #110 body grip trap is just a little bit small for woodchucks.  #160 is a better all-round size for woodchucks and raccoons and possum.  In this case, the #110 was the first trap I found and it got the job done.  Woodchucks are hell on emerging green bean plants, leaf lettuce and they undermine concrete slabs.
The ostrich phenomena.  He thinks that I cannot see him because he cannot see me.
The persimmons are starting to show flower buds.  A single bud is a female.  That is, it will bear fruit.  It is exciting to have a seedling bear fruit for the first time.  You can never tell if it will be a "spitter" or Ambrosia of the Gods.
Flower buds that are in clusters of two or three are males.  They will, generally, not bear fruit.  I pulled the leaf off to better display the three flower buds.  That is when it is handy to be able to graft.  Persimmon gurus debate the necessity of having any males.  Many of them claim persimmons will set seedless fruit in the absence of viable male trees.  I would just as soon have the seeds.  Call me Johnny Persimmonseed if you want.  The thing is, I want males that will produce awesome progeny.
First bloom seen on Climbing Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara).  Not edible by humans but a great favorite of birds in the late fall.  This could be a beautiful ornamental if the flowers were flattened out and were five times the diameter.

Shrugging off the negativity


Listen to the Mustn'ts

Shel Silverstein
Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
      Listen to the DON'TS
      Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
      Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me-
      Anything can happen, child,

P is for Pony from Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fake News Friday: The Player was Played

Trump retreats to his strength.

He OWNED the polls when he acted.

The polls destroyed him when he let critics push his buttons.

Trump is going open-loop.

Trump is going to get stuff done.

The critics can cry.

The Bridges of Eaton County: Thornapple River edition

As a wee sprout, I was raised on tales of my dad fishing in the mighty Thornapple River.

My dad spent many of his formative years under the wing of his uncle Wheeler.  They made many road trips to fish the Thornapple.  Fishing was serious business.  It put food on the table.  It was also fun.

Little did I know that the Thornapple river had its origins fairly close to Lansing (where I grew up) and VERY close to where I now live.

This project has been simmering on the back burner for a while.  Today I grabbed a coffee drinking buddy, Onondaga, and we went road tripping.

Perkey Road
The headwaters of the mighty Thornapple River on Perkey Road.  The shadows are long because it is about 7:30 AM.
About as much water as you would expect out of a garden hose.
In Eaton County the East-West roads are called "Highways" and the North-South roads are called "Roads".


1.04 miles from the headwaters as the crow flies (ATCF)
Bell Highway
1.32 miles ATCF
South Royston Road
2.65 miles ATCF

Island Highway
2.88 miles ATCF
Kinsel Highway
4.47 miles ATCF

Onondaga thought this 1973 Super Beetle was in great shape.  I wonder if Kubota....after all, orange is the new black.
North Royston Highway
The corn is up.

This was a difficult bridge to get a good photo of.  4.75 miles ATCF
4.77 miles ATCF from the headwaters but a mile west of the previous bridge.
Shance Highway
4.92 miles ATCF.  Probably 10 miles by river.
 Lansing Road
5.2 miles ATCF
Stewart Road
OK, I get it.  This is not a photo of a bridge.  It is a photo FROM the bridge.  5.49 miles ATCF
East Vermontville Highway
5.94 miles ATCF
East Gresham Highway

Onondaga standing on the bridge for a sense of scale.  6.87 miles ATCF.
Otto Road
The next series of bridges are very close to a mile apart as the Thornapple runs almost due west.
Benton Road
There are groves of pawpaw trees near here.  That is an indicator of Native American settlement.

Somebody made the guardrail pretty.
Onondaga swore that he saw a loon, so I took a photo where he said he saw it.
Cochran Road
Cochran divides the east and west halves of  Eaton County.
Wheaton Road
Moyer Road
Mulliken Road

This house was on Mulliken Road north of the river.  I took a picture of it because Onondaga likes stone houses.  If you zoom in you can see some interesting vertical, cut stone details.
It is now a little bit wider than at the headwaters, 12.33 miles away ATCF

Nice trailers.  I guess I am losing focus.
One reason the Thornapple River grows in size so quickly is because it is fed by many, many tributaries.  This is the three mile run below M-50 and I count 12 small, feeder streams.

West Gresham Highway
An Amish Schoolhouse.

No parking lot but lots of places for bikes.

Beehives!!!!  Amish may wear black but their beehives are all the colors of the rainbow.
West Vermontville Highway
This bridge is dedicated to Commander Ellis E. Austin, USN MIA 21 April, 1966.  There was an American flag atop this plaque but I chopped it off.

Wood Ducks gorge on Silver Maple seeds this time of year.
Shaytown Road
Shaytown Road is a two-fer.  There is the road bridge and a hundred yards downstream is a railroad bridge that I did not see but Onondaga saw.

White violets.
Ionia Road

In Memory of Army Spc 5 Jeffrey N. Duffey  KIA DEC 13 1971
Evidence of good fishing.  And maybe a little huggin-and-kissin.
Mason Road

Looks like good fishing here.  The water is deep and there is a slight back-eddy close to shore.
17.7 miles ATCF from the headwaters.  Technically, this is just west of the Eaton-Barry county line.  The truck gives you a sense of scale for how wide the river is at this point.  We finished about 10:45 AM.