Wednesday, May 31, 2023

A monkey off my back

I had five apple trees "potted up" in dog-food bags. I was holding them for my nephew, the one who was the model for "Clayton" in one of the recent fiction.

I got to walk around some of his new property. We picked a place near his pond but on the "house" side. He will have a good view of the deer from his deck and he should see a boat-load of them since his property straddles a long, slender, 30 acre swamp and the pond is on the edge of the swamp (Duh!).

Those trees are no longer my responsibility and they are in good hands. "Clayton" already had a roll of 4', welded wire mesh he was going to use to make individual deer-cages for the trees.

Not much to work with

Not a lot of temperature difference to work with. We started at 67 inside the house yesterday morning and it rose to 71. It was still 71 at four this morning.

Three hours of sucking air through the house only pulled the temp down two degrees.

Using the early morning hours...

I got out into the garden at 6 this morning and worked until 7:30. I killed thistles, planted flower seeds, transplanted melons and oregano. I had to be in by 7:30 because that is when the "kids" were heading off to their paying jobs.

The plan is to plant some pole beans, green bush-beans and some squash seeds today.

Romance advice from ERJ


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Large Rifle Primers

At the time of this writing, Powder Valley lists CCI Large Rifle Primers (mil-spec) as still in stock. They will cost about $160 to have a thousand delivered to your door.

Mil-spec primers have a "harder cup" than standard primers to resist slam-fires from floating firing pins of gas-powered actions impacting the primer on bolt-closing. Yes, that includes AR pattern firearms (7.62X51mm, .450 Bowel-Movement)

Mil-spec primers might not be the best choice for lever-action rifles which have sometimes been tweaked to speed-up the action cycling, nor are they a good choice for somebody with a fifty-year-old gun that has never been cleaned and the firing-pin channel may be gunked-up with oil and dust. Federal large rifle primers are the primer-of-choice for those firearms.

Orchard Grass is pollinating

The first Orchard Grass is pollinating here.

440 Growing Degree Days, base 50F.

810 GDD, base 42F.

The seedheads opened up and started dumping pollen when the relative humidity hit 55%, or about 9:00AM.

That means that my best time to work outside will be before 9:30AM for the next week or so. Otherwise, the smart thing will be for me to hide inside. We run the furnace fan 24/7 this time of year to keep pushing the air through the filter.

  • I was able to weed-whack the weeds in Zeus's kennel
  • Graft the last two Kanza pecan scion. I saved the seedling most upwind of the mature trees for that variety
  • Spot-water some of the new plants in the fenced-in garden
  • Pull nightshade from around one of the outside spigots
  • Mix herbicide and spray Poison Ivy that has popped up around the house
  • Top-off the stock-tanks with water.

An indoor project

Mrs ERJ and Southern Belle are teaching Quicksilver American Sign language. 

Quicksilver ha already mastered "milk", "more", "all done".

In honor of her southern roots, I want to teach her "Sweet tea" and see how long it takes the girls to figure out what she is saying.

Fine Art Tuesday


The ERJ household looks like this some days
Arthur John Elsley born 1860 in jolly olde England, died 1952.

Notable for being commercially successful in his lifetime as well as enjoying popular support. He didn't argue with what his customers wanted.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Big, Ugly, Fat Friend

In some circles, "BUFF" means the Big, Ugly, Fat Friend you keep around to make yourself look better

Looks like Leo is sporting a Dunlop. His belly done lop over his belt

By the standards of the folks who report on celebrities, I am within 15 pounds of being "buff".

Shade in the summer, warmth in the winter...that is why Mrs ERJ tolerates me.

Theft, Illness, drought and grafting

On Saturday I mowed about a quarter of the yard. Then I went in the house. Before I could say a thing, Southern Belle and Handsome Hombre filed out the door and finished the job.

Admittedly, the yard looked pretty bad. I picked the quarter where I could go from one end of the yard to the other...right up the middle.

Theft; not so much

Realizing that the fleet of push-mowers was showing its age, Mrs ERJ and I went to a Lansing big-box store and purchased a brand-new push mower.

After sliding the boxed mower into the back of the truck, Mrs ERJ fretted about finishing our grocery shopping at the Walmart next door. "Somebody might steal it" she said.

Looking at the box, which clearly stated that it held a push-mower and that much assembly was required, I told her that it looked like a lot of work and most folks wouldn't steal a tool that generated sweat and guilt.

Then I reminded her that the safest place to wait out a riot was inside of a Red Wings Work Boot store.

We did our grocery shopping and the box was still in the back of the truck when we came back.

The cold

The issue was a cold and not allergies. I am in the late stages where chunks coming up from my lungs when I cough.

HH agreed to go for a run with me this morning. I think he wanted to keep an eye on me. We did a slow, easy 2.5 miles and a half-mile walking cool-down. I am feeling the strain in my left calf right now. I am miles better than I was but still have a ways to go.


Michigan continues to enjoy Southern California weather with 30 degree F temperatures swings between day and night.

I have been running the sprinklers at night and the trickle irrigation in the orchard by day.

I have also engaged in a pogrom to exterminate thistles. Canadian thistles are the worst. They spread underground and take over large swaths of the pasture. I have been spraying with 2,4-D, the amide formulation. 2,4-D has a couple of advantages. It does not kill the grass around the thistles so it does not expose bare ground which is vulnerable to recolonization by more thistles. It also visibly changes the thistles after a few days. I can come back and hit the ones I missed in the first pass-through.


After a slow start, I did some grafting today.

My driveway is lined with mature pecan trees. All of them are Type I pollinators except for a single Type II. That creates a genetic bottleneck because all seedlings will be either pollinated by the single Type II or will be a seedling of that Type II.

I sent word of my dilemma to Lucky in Kentucky. Lucky has taken me under his wing and gently tries to teach me the ways of goodness and least in terms of grafting nut trees.

He sent me a sampler pack of three types of Type II pollinator: Kanza, Oswego and Posey. He also sent me a half dozen types of Shellbark Hickory varieties.

Today I grafted five Posey, two Oswego pecans, and two each of Fayette, Fayette Seedling and Lebanon Junction Shellbark hickories.

The process was a little more involved than usual. Due to the dryness, I soaked each seedling I grafted over for five minutes from the end of the hose. That SHOULD have been about 25 gallons of water. Thirsty trees do not readily accept grafts.

I had no intention of grafting that many Posey but the scion wood was of such astonishingly good quality I could not resist throwing it on every tree that might take it. I saved one seedling for Kanza, which I have soaking to plump up the wood.

I fully expect to be able to get great crops from the Shellbark hickory trees but am more interested in the pollen and the seedlings of the pecans than I am interested in getting any meaningful crop.

For future reference

Oswego: The Oswego Pecan is a seedling of the great old variety Green River selected by Dr. William Ried at KSU. Northern Pecan Blogspot Oswego was chosen for its excellent disease resistance and heavy annual production. Oswego is another easy shelling High quality nut. Oswego makes large pecans at 66 to 70 nuts per lb. Pollen shed type 2. Pecans are hardy in zones 5 to 9.

Posey: Native selection from Gibson County, IN, introduced in 1911 by W. C. Reed. Nut: oval elliptic with an acute apex and obtuse base; laterally compressed in cross section with raised suture; 63 nuts/lb, 54% kernel; kernels light brown in color, with prominent secondary dorsal grooves. Protogynous bloom pattern. Late to break buds in the spring. Resistant to scab. Early nut maturation. Kernels have a "buttery" taste but the skin darkens soon after ripening. Recommended (1990) for planting in KS, KY, MO and TN. 

Kanza: 'Kanza' was released because of its superior productivity, quality, disease resistance and cold tolerance. 'Kanza' is not a precocious cultivar, but has good productivity as a mature tree. Alternate bearing has been a problem with 'Kanza', but nut quality in high production years is good. 'Kanza' produces a small but very attractive round kernel similar to 'Elliott'. 'Kanza' was primarily released for use in the northern pecan growing regions due to its excellent cold hardiness. Its early maturity and small size makes it susceptible to predator damage when only a few trees are planted. So far, 'Kanza' appears to have excellent resistance to scab.

Fayette Shellbark: A very large nut, the size of a walnut. It is a well-filled and annually productive shellbark. It has the typical hard shell of the shellbark hickories but it cracks out in halves with the Duke Nut Cracker fairly easily. The nuts are mid to late October ripening. In a cool year the nuts can take an extra month to drop, but they remain in good shape for consumption. Suited for zones 6-8.

Lebanon Junction: A selection from wild found in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky. When cracked, the halves drop out "like cookies".

Memorial Day, 2023

Today, I want to remember my mother's oldest brother, my Uncle Myles.

Uncle Myles fought in WWII in the South Pacific. He was one of the lucky ones. He came back.

He entered Michigan State College (later known as MSU) on the G.I. Bill.

That is when he "lost his shit".

Details are very sparse.

What I overheard as a young nipper is that shortly after entering college, he deduced that the United States had NOT won the war in the sense that the ideals of the NAZI party and Japanese fascist had taken root in the college/university.

He had chums who died or were wounded fighting against those evils. He had faced privation and mortal fear beating back the totalitarianism and elitism and intolerance.

And he came back to find those ideas coddled in state-funded institutions and being force-fed to students.

Myles took some time off. Once he had cooled off, he checked out some other institutions of higher learning. He liked Western Ontario in London, Ontario. The GI Bill was good with the arrangement and he continued his education.

I wish he was around so I could ask him how he knew so early. What did he see? What did he hear, exactly? Uncle Myles "losing his shit" was considered shameful at the time but in retrospect it was a canary in the coal mine.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Expectations minus reality

Our happiness is often a function of our expectations minus reality. If reality does not meet our expectations, then we are unhappy. If reality meets or exceeds our expectations then we are happy.

Posed this way, "choosing to be happy" becomes an exercise in managing expectations.

This gets much harder when our entire frame-of-reference gets ripped away.

Handsome Hombre went to a local festival and was distinctly not impressed with American Baked Beans. His expectations were grounded on Latin American Red-Beans-and-Rice, a savory dish. The ABB was a sugary confection with a few beans swimming in it. It was not the food of working people but an interpretation of an interpretation of a food that once was.

So...I went on the internet and found a recipe for red-beans-and-rice. A few adjustments were made based on what we had available. Garlic, onions, green peppers and celery were sauteed along with a little bit of oregano picked out of a patch growing in a sandy spot in our lawn.  Red beans soaked and cooked. White rice (not a staple in the ERJ household) was cooked. Mixed together in about a 1-3-6 ratio along with enough chicken bullion and bean broth to make it sticky. (A tip-of-the-hat to Pawpaw).

I am 99.5% sure it wasn't what he grew up eating but I am equally sure that it was much closer to his expectation than the ABB from the festival.

Add burgers cooked over the hobo stove, great company and a few glasses of wine and we had a feast.

City vs. Country

While we were eating, we could hear some of my neighbors having a party. Their guests were clearly having a water-fight and playing in a pool. There were also some other neighbors messing around with motorcycles and quads. At one point, some other neighbors who did some target shooting. Based on where the sounds were coming from, those parties were about a quarter-mile from our house.

In Miami, there would have been 1100 people within a quarter-mile of their residence. That is based on a population density of 5500 people per-square-mile for their part of Miami.

While I have to take off my shoes to count all of my neighbors, by my estimate I have 19 neighbors living within a quarter-mile of Casa ERJ. In Miami, it wouldn't have been possible to hear motorcycles being started a 1/4 mile away, nor the sounds of a pool party.

Two very different worlds.

Street-corner preaching

 Pentecost marks the birthday of the Christian Church. According to the Biblical accounts, that was when the Holy Spirit descended as tongues of fire on the Apostles and filled them with zeal. They went out and converted people by the thousands. The people who listened to them were amazed to hear them speaking in their own native tongues.

The Christian Church was young and radical, vigorous and virile.

Today, those are not adjective most people would use to describe our churches.

Radical thought for the day (Ephesians 3:14-19)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named*,

that He may grant you in accord with the riches of His glory to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses human understanding**, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The phrase "inner self" resonated with me. I look around and I see people trapped in the frenzy of pursuing external, ephemeral wealth: The number of likes on social media, "views", how quickly people respond to your tweet, fiat currency, hot-looking girls, cool vehicles. 

It reminds me of how "ball drive" is used to train a dog. Get the dog stoked and then take the ball away. Get the dog stoked and then take the ball away. Repeat. Then use a very brief period of "possessing" the ball as a reward for a behavior the dog would not have done of its own free-will.

We do not have to be jerked around. We do not have to be continuously reminded of our inherent powerlessness. We can have inner peace. We can invest in lasting wealth. Every one of us can. We just have to reach out and accept the offer.

*"family" and "named" implies that the offer of the Father is universal to all peoples. Membership in the larger family of God is not limited to a single family (familial or patron deities) or village or nation or language or age or political affiliation. The offer is extended to everybody.

** I substituted "human understanding" for "knowledge".

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Male privilege

This is the time of year when the local papers publish the names of the students graduating from high school. They also include names and pictures of the top ten graduating students.

The Charlotte Class of 2023 has nine girls and one boy in the top ten.

Bellevue has seven girls and two boys in the top nine.

Olivet has six girls and four boys.

Eaton Rapids has seven girls and three boys.

Accumulating the numbers, twenty-nine girls and ten boys.

If one were to propose the null hypothesis that boys and girls have the same academic aptitude and that teachers did not discriminate for/against either gender (basically a fair coin-flip), then the odds of a twenty-nine-to-ten split is about 1.7%. Link

If this happens two years in a row then the odds are 0.0004%.

Odd how male privilege plays out.

A restful evening

I caught the sixth woodchuck of the season yesterday. I had a live-trap set but no bait. Stupid critter went into the trap and stepped on the dog.

Allergies/cold was bad last night. The winning combination for a full-night's sleep was to take a decongestant and then after one of my nostrils could pull some air, to use Nasacort, an aerosol product to further shrink the nostril tissue. I also took an extended-release guaifenesin tablet to make the snot more fluid.

I breathed pretty well last night. I spent half of it in the recliner and the second half in bed.

A very old steel vehicle-wheel. Long devoid of paint. HH expressed an interest in raising the top of the grill to about 30" of height.

Handsome Hombre's idea of a relaxing Friday evening is to incinerate meat over a wood fire.

We jumped the gun and put the kiebasa on before the fire had died down to coals. I got the fire going, he stoked it and then handled all of the meat end of the job.

HH declined my offer to dress the woodchuck .

I have one job

I have one job today. To mow grass.

Friday, May 26, 2023

More garden gack

Sheets of newspaper and dirt for frost protection. Epoch Times for the win.


Orange Icicle

Carmelo. I expect these plants to be twice as tall by next week. They SHOULD be almost as tall as the buckets.

A 35' row of green beans (double-row with beans 4" apart in the row and between the double-row) in the ground. I will plant another double-row tomorrow. I am planting "Jade" this year.

I finished up the sweet corn and now have 400 feet of row planted. The "Annex" is now 100% planted with potatoes, sweet corn and a fallow of clover, rye and miscellaneous grass species.

Cucumbers are in the ground. I covered the seedlings with a light covering of green grass. The grass will dry over the course of the day and allow more light to hit the plants.

Moss Roses (Portulaca) and Alyssum are planted between the flagstones north of the house. Alyssum comes in red, white and blue colors and I did about what you would expect given the color palette. Alyssum is also notable for its honey-like fragrance. Moss Roses are a succulent and should be drought tolerant. Moss Roses also sprawl out and have been known to self-seed.

I flushed out the trickle irrigation in the orchard and am now running water. The emitters are nominally 2 gallons per hour and since the soil is dry I will run them for five hours.

Flower seedlings are hardening off in the shade.

Pollen or a cold is kicking my butt. My voice is a deep, vibrating bass. I was going to cut some grass but am going to tap-out for today.

The "kids" are talking about having a fire outside tonight and cooking weinies and marshmallows. One advantage of the dry weather is that there are almost no mosquitoes.

Fake News Friday: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion staff transferred to Corrections

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that she was forced to transfer 43 new hires for Michigan's leading-edge DEI/Hate-Crimes Enforcement Division over to Corrections due to the collapsing budget talks in Washington D.C.

The new prison guards will be flowed into the general population based on the Union Contract. Most of the openings are in penitentiary wings housing felons convicted of Level 4 and Level 5 crimes and are located in Ionia, St. Louis, Muskegon and Newberry. At this time, there are no openings in women's prisons.

Grab bag

"A married couple often resembles a pair of scissors: Seeming to work at cross-purposes but invariably punishing to any who come between them."

One of my readers oberved that I am part of the vanguard of the new "multi-generational families".

I am not sure that I have many gems of wisdom to contribute but I will throw out there what I have and let history determine if it has any value.


It is hard enough for two people to sort through the minefield of battling through "adult" problems without other adults randomly weighing in. Mrs ERJ and I exercise selective non-hearing when HH and SB are tussling over the best way to deal with an issue.

As humans, we have selective memory. We remember going to the solution with laser-like directness and forget all of the false-starts and tangents. I think that many times the people who are vigorously discussing something are both in agreement about the best path but one of them has not accepted the necessity of letting go of their first image of how things should proceed.

Finding ways for our newly landed adults have ownership is huge. If HH wants a special kind of gloves, I will do my darnedest to find them or something very similar. If he wants to take a stab at raising rabbits, I have the cages and grass and am willing to front the money for breeding stock.

Good fences make good neighbors

Learn to say "no". Southern Belle asked me to do some banking for her. I said "No." She was dismayed but I stood firm. There are a hundred ways the errand could go sideways and no upside for me.

Schedule time for fun

The kids need time for dates. Mrs ERJ and I need time for dates.

Watermelon seeds

The way to hold a watermelon seed is to gently grasp it between your thumb and pointer-finger. Keep the seed horizontal and don't shake your hand.

Hold you kids gently. Don't expect them to be sock-puppets. Try to be a calm person.


HH left everything but his family when he left Miami: He left his brothers, his job, his credentials, his neighborhood, the church they attended, Home Depot, restaurants, his pickup truck...

If HH is successful then Southern Belle is successful.

If HH and SB are successful then Quicksilver will be successful.

If HH, SB and QS are successful then our home...and I...will be successful.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Spring creeping north, Frost, Rabbits

The Black Locust started blooming locally and are at about the same stage as the Black Locust in Knoxville on May 1, 2023.

That works out to spring-time proceeding northward at 130 miles a week (in 2023).

Charlotte, Michigan (just west of me) received 1.6 inches of rain since April 15 and experienced a potential-evaporation of 5.4 inches in the same time-frame.

Based on predictions of temperatures, humidity and wind-speed, the moisture gap is expected hit 4.9 inches by the end of the month.


Another cold night is predicted for tonight. I left the protection in place over the tomatoes and peppers.

Friday will be pedal-to-the-medal planting the garden.

Then next major "tombstone date" is the mid-June to July-4 when the root vegetables to into the ground. That plays into optimum day-lengths and the biological cycle of root vegetables that store up reserves for the sprint to make seeds the next spring.


Handsome Hombre expressed an interest in raising rabbits!

The tension is that I see rabbits as livestock that are a great ace-in-the-hole if things get goofy. 

Rabbits don't have to compete for human-quality food. They can be fed trimmings from beside the road and weeds and garden waste and hay peeled from a round-bale. Their productivity will not be as high as if they are fed optimally blended pellets but they will put some meat on the table.

Handsome Hombre looked stricken when I staked out my position.

He sees them as cuddly pets.

Another difference is that I lean toward rabbits look a lot like "wild" rabbits because they have the fewest health problems.

English Lop rabbits

Handsome Hombre is leaning toward "Lop" rabbits which have a tendency toward ear and dental problems. At least he is not in love with Holland Lops which have pushed-in, pug-like faces which doubles the problems.

Silver Fox rabbits. Oddly, they do not look a thing like Mrs ERJ.

If HH's interest in rabbits continues, I suspect we will end up with a couple of English, French or Velveteen Lop doe rabbits. These are full-sized breeds and make pets because they have the dispositions of Basset Hounds. I also envision having a "commercial breed" buck (California, New Zealand, Palomino, Champaign d' Argent, Silver Fox, Flemish Giant) standing in the wings in case things get squirrelly.

That would be a very acceptable solution to me.

Work gloves

HH was moderately impressed with the work-glove locker at Casa ERJ.

His new boss believes in working hard and playing smart. If it makes sense from a travel-time standpoint to work 11 or 12 or 13 hour days for four days and to knock off on Friday...then that is what the crew does. That means HH has little time to shop for the items that would make his life easier.

 I told him that I would be in the neighborhood of a big-box store and asked if there was anything he wanted me to pick up. HH's hands have been getting beaten up on the job.

He admitted that he was out of work gloves and asked if I could pick up a pair.

I showed him the work-glove locker. He found a pair in the locker that would get him through the day. Not optimal but better than nothing.

I picked up four pairs in his size today. Once we confirm what works best for him I will make a bulk-buy. Boots and gloves are where the rubber hits the road.

Happiness is having your needs met. Joy is having your preferences met. HH is on the pointy end of things. Hunting down the exact brand and size of gloves he prefers is a small thing for me to do.

Cost to plant crops up 20% over 2022

“Iowa farmers have a lot on their minds as they hook tractors onto planters this year: Skyrocketing interest rates are helping drive a 20% hike in the cost to plant the crop, along with higher seed, fertilizer, chemical and land costs, said Chad Hart, an Iowa State University agricultural economist.   Link

“At the same time, prices for corn and soybeans, the dominant crops in Iowa, are lower than a year ago: Iowa corn for delivery this fall is trading around $5 a bushel (a 20% drop), while soybeans are hovering around $12

Can you imagine any other industry (restaurants, manufacturing, construction) that could survive if costs rose 20% while at the same time customers started paying 20% less for your product?

Farming is an industry where all of the inputs are purchased at retail prices and all of the production is sold at wholesale prices.

Farming locks-in many of its costs 12 month before the first kernel of corn is harvested. "Hedging" can help dampen out wild price swings but does little to smooth long-term trends.

Much farm land is rented. It is not unusual for a land-owner to raise rates based on the previous years' gross-receipts, that is, yield-per-acre times price-per-bushel. Prices of other inputs also float based on what the suppliers believe the farmers can afford to pay. That gives farmers a financial wedgie when a poor year follows a couple of profitable years.

Glen Filthie over at Gab

Filthie's Thunderbox

It appears that he was deplatformed and his blog was vaporized.

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."

He moved over to Gab where he is still a loose cannon.

While I don't agree with everything he writes, accurate triangulation of usable firing-solutions is facilitated by incorporating observations from widely separated locations.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Pictures from the garden

The potato patch is getting a bit weedy. Weeds suck moisture that the potatoes need.

After: Not perfect but significantly better

Another after shot, from about the same place as the first image.

South is to the left. Stupice is a short tomato vine and it is closest to the equator and will be trained up feedlot panels. The other two varieties will be trained up strings tied to a frame that is 6' tall.

Sunflowers popping up

"Flour" corn popping up

The Queen of Somebody's Double-wide

I wonder if she is dating the Charlie Daniels of the torque wrench

MSU Political Professor informed students that she would fail them if they did not give her a $99 "contribution".

Amy Marie Wisner's address of record is 1030 Columbia Ave E., Battle Creek, Michigan
I wonder how many of the other residents of the trailer park know that she is sitting on $60k? Being a Leftist, I am SURE she wants to share it with all of her neighbors.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Possible frost Wednesday and Thursday nights


Any time the temperature drops below 40F and there are clear skies there is the potential for frost. Surfaces can emit heat to deep space via radiation and a 1/2", black poly tube can freeze solid at 35F.

The easiest way for me to protect the newly planted tomato and pepper plants is to put a "book" of straw over each plant. Slightly more labor is required to put a sheet of newsprint over the plants and to weight down the edges with dirt.

Within my memory, we have had a full bird-bath freeze solid on May 26 due to a late freeze.

If you are not complaining about the weather then you aren't really gardening.


I picked strawberries long before I grew them. Anybody who picks strawberries knows that the plants along the edge of the "mat" produce three times more heavily than the plants in the interior of the mat.

One characteristic of the mat of June-bearing strawberries is that the plants along the edges are not as close together while those in the middle are much more crowded.

I don't know if the difference happens when the flowering buds differentiate (August-September) or when the berries are filling out (June).

There is not much data on the optimum plant-spacing for June-bearing strawberries. My guess is that a usable number is in the range of two-per-square foot or about 8"-by-9" spacing. That implies that near the end of July, I will need to go through the strawberry planting and thin the heck out of them.

If anybody has information to share about the optimum plant density for June-bearing strawberries, I would love to hear it.

The new minivan is home

Mrs ERJ is walking on air. She is happy, happy, happy.

I am happy that she is happy.

Put me in, coach. I'm ready to play...

Mrs ERJ informed me that I get some special consideration after nursing Quicksilver back to health for two days and letting Mrs ERJ go batting about southern Michigan looking for her new minivan.

I suspect that I will be pushing a lawn mower, dragging hose, planting lilac bushes, grafting shellbark hickory scions....

I probably ought to write a list.

Miscellaneous pictures

The north end of the fenced-in garden. This will change dramatically over the next 60 days. The tall plants with yellow flowers are turnips that I let go to seed.

Barn swallow nesting platforms in the middle of the barn roof.

A tree frog who (thinks) he is wearing the cloak-of-invisibility.

Fine Art Tuesday


Amaldus Clairin Nielsen, born in Norway 1838, died 1932.

A tip of the hat to the tireless Lucas Machias

Monday, May 22, 2023

The Left shooting themselves in their foot

Derrick Johnson, current president of the NAACP released a statement to the press advising people who "care" about peoples-of-color to boycott the State of Florida.

Somehow, in his zeal to signal to donors his overwhelming zeal for justice, Mr Johnson somehow failed to realize that a disproportionate percentage of peoples-of-color are employed by the Hospitality Industry in Florida; the very industries he proposes to target.



Maids and housekeepers, for instance, are over-represented by 120% by peoples-of-color and 88% of them are women. Perhaps I am naive, but I assumed the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People would care about all colored people and other marginalized groups.

Silly me!

Cooks are over-represented by P-o-Cs by 79%, nationally.

Dishwashers by 72%.

Food preparation workers and non-restaurant food-servers by 50%.

Florida, being a very cosmopolitan state is likely to have even higher rates of P-o-C working in the hospitality industry than the national average.

And Mr Derrick Johnson would throw those people under-the-bus for abstract nuances; nuances that will not feed hungry families. These are workers and families without a lot of economic cushion.

They are cannon-fodder to Mr Johnson.

Shame on you, Mr Johnson! You are out-of-touch with the majority of the people you profess to represent.


Yessiree-bob, Quicksilver has a cold.

I stayed home with the little-nipper and Mrs ERJ went and looked at the "new" vehicles.

Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. We assume that because they cannot talk they are not tracking what is going on. Not a good assumption.

Quicksilver had been grumpy for a bit and I assumed it was because her nose was stuffed and she wasn't feeling great. She squirmed and wanted to get down. Once on the floor she made a bee-line down the hall toward the bedroom where we change her diapers.

Sure enough, she had a poopy diaper. She was telling me that she needed a change. She didn't have the verbal ability to tell me but she found another way. She is just shy of a year-old.

Mrs ERJ bought a vehicle

I trust Mrs ERJ. We looked at enough vehicles to know what the market is. She picked one of the offerings and bought it.

She paid the same amount in nominal dollar terms as we paid for the last minivan in 2010. The 2010 van had 40k on the odometer and the 2023 van has 100k on the odo. The 2010 currently has over 300k miles so 100k is not a used up vehicle if it has been maintained.

One of the things that tipped this one for Mrs ERJ is that it spent much of its life in Arizona where rust is not an issue, it has never been in an accident and it only had two owners, neither of which were rentals.

Garden update

I got a late start. It was closer to 2:00 than 12:00 when I got cut-loose from Grumpy-daycare duty.

I watered some newly planted trees.

I planted 160 feet of row to sweet corn. This weekend I intend to plant another 240 feet to a slightly later variety. I purchased the seed for the later variety this year.

Looking at the seed I was planting did not fill me with confidence. Those seeds were three years old which would not be a problem if I had stored it in the freezer, but I had not.

My back-up plan is to replant to black, "oiler" sunflowers if that 160' of row planted to old seeds does not come up. Oilers are fairly short season.

Hey-ho, hey-ho....

Southern Belle and Handsome Hombre are both heading off to work this morning.

Kubota started a new job today.

Steak is marinading marinating in the fridge to celebrate the industry of these fine, young folks.

Quicksilver has a respiratory virus or allergies and is under-the-weather. I also have a tickle in the back of my throat.

We were going to look at vehicles today but that might be on hold.

God willing, I will be able to get out to the garden by noon today. I got the peppers planted yesterday. 15 sweet peppers, nearly all Stocky Red Roaster due to its ability to germinate at relatively cool temperatures, and 4 Mango and 4 Pineapple Aji. Reading the descriptions, these may be the same cultivar.

Today's agenda includes watering and planting four, 45' long rows of sweet corn.

Also from yesterday

There was a traffic slowdown on !-94 due to a vehicle that caught fire at mile-marker 176 West. Two cop cars and a ladder truck blocking traffic. No ambulance. 

I suspect an electric vehicle. No sign of collision. The fenders had gotten hot enough to bake off all of the paint and oxidize the galvanizing to chalky-yellow-white. Not just the tops of the fenders but from very bottom to very top. The interior was gutted as far back as the rear seats. That was a super-hot fire.

If you have an electric vehicle and a home charging-station, I recommend that you construct at least a cinder-block wall between the vehicle and where you live-and-sleep. Probably also desirable to not have gutters near the station either. Gutters filled with organic trash have been fingered as a point-of-entry into structures when embers fall on the roof and roll into them.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Wyandotte, Michigan

I saw mulberry, cottonwood and some catalpa and some dying ash trees but no mature oak.

By Michigan standards, this is an OLD cemetery

They have a very small tree nursery as part of the cemetery and they have two Swamp White Oak trees in addition to Buckeye, Tulip trees and something I could not ID. I wish I had a contact, I have some oak trees I would like to "gift" them.

Henry Ford, Wyandotte Hospital has a power plant on one side of it and a cemetery on the other. Efficient planning!

The other side of the river is Canada.

Wyandotte is considered "Downriver Detroit" and has a reputation for being grubby and industrial.

I could live there except that it is way too close to Detroit

Say what you will about Downriver, but they are very patriotic.

I saw a Respiratory Therapist (according to her name-tag) step off of the hospital property to enjoy a cigarette and we chatted about the beautiful lilacs lining the sidewalk.

A short time later I saw her zipping along to transport a visitor in a wheel-chair. She had dashed into the lobby to grab the chair and was helping the elderly woman into it.

"That isn't your usual swim-lane, is it?" I asked her.

"Nope" she agreed "but somebody had to do it" as she wheeled the woman into the lobby and headed to the elevators.

That one act of unsolicited kindness was as effective as one-hundred commercials.