Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Love My Drunk Kitchen

If you haven't yet been privy to a semi-viral Internet sensation Hannah Hart and her show My Drunk Kitchen, let me be the first to show you the way.

It all started ten episodes ago on March 16, 2011. Using the camera on he lap-top Hannah created a show after having a few glasses of wine. A grilled cheese sandwich was in the making, but unfortunately she didn't have any cheese. Her shows are a culinary disaster in the making. Her humor is sharp and young and her editing is perfect for those of us with short attention spans.

You can check out all of her episodes at the link below. Newbies should scroll down to the first one first, but if you are Canadian you can start with episode #10 which covers her recent trip to Canada.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Google +

As some of the more dedicated followers of this blog know that I am migrating my Astoria-Rust, Guy Who Writes This presence from Facebook to Google+. I know that Facebook is trying to make the leap into the Big Brother Future offering all sorts of rewards, but I see the risks. Also, having to relearn everything every couple months and having to spend lots of time searching for the nice features that used to be there just isn't worth my time.

Sure, there is a certain learning curve with Google + but I'm looking for the stability and lack of monthly surprises.

If you are on Google+ you can circle me by name of Guy WhoWroteThis. If you think Google+ will never replace Facebook, think of all the people who thought Facebook would never out do My Space. Do you know anyone on My Space anymore?

Also, if any of you are friends with my alter ego, he has a Google+ account as well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Over twenty years ago I planted two walnut trees. Walnut being a hard wood is a real slow grower. After all these years the one surviving tree is probably twenty feet tall.

Being the sister tree died years ago this tree doesn't have a good local pollinator near by so it has never bore any fruit. Yes, nuts are fruit.

The tree is in one of our pastures and it provides some shade for the horses. I noticed some tansy in the pasture so I went in to pull it and right near the plant was a golf ball sized green orb on the ground. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was the only nut I'd ever gotten from this tree. There was a little husk fly damage to the husk, but I got it in time. How a husk fly found this one nut is beyond me.

I took the nut inside and carefully curt off the husk. Beneath was a beautiful walnut shell that darkened as it dried. I'm going to leave it dry for a few days and then I'll see what is inside. Somehow I doubt it will be as good as I hope, but I'll give the tree credit for a good try regardless of the outcome.

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Phone

I finally got a new phone. This is the third phone I've had since we got our first cell phones in 1999. I had my last phone for nine years. I used it as more of a watch then a phone. It had features I never used and the new phone has even more features I'll never use.

It has a slide-out key board, though I never text. I don't even check my voice mails. It has a camera which I wouldn't normally use on most phones because in order to use the photos you have to send them somewhere first, where this phone has an SD card that I can remove and put into my tablet or laptop; very cool.

My former phone hung from my belt where I would glance at it when I needed to know what time it was. It was rare that I ever got a call. I can't recall the last time I used my phone as a phone. Perhaps I should have a pocket watch instead.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wilfred, A Show You Should Be Watching

Wilfred was originally an Australian TV show that was created by Jason Gann and Randall Einhorn. Jason Gann plays Wilfred, who happens to be a real dog to all but one person in his life who sees a humanized version with which he can communicate, drink and smoke pot with.

This show has an American version that started airing in June 2011 on FX, though they do play the IFC imported Aussie version every once in a while.

Aside from there being two versions of the show with the American version a more annoying because it is American, the Wilfred character is a total dog. Wilfred pretty much does what he wants when he wants and when questioned why he does things, he'll provide a perfectly natural explanation. Like when asked why he urinated on a drunken bum, he explains that the guy is part of the landscape and that he was marking his territory to include him.

Wilfred is a dog and like all dogs he enjoys the finer points in the things humans find disgusting, such as the smell of excrement, humping stuffed animals, knocking the postman off his bicycle.

This show is dark yet funny and is the best new thing I've seen in years. Here is a clip Wilfred Clip

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Summer's Almost Gone

Summer went by quickly this year. We didn't go horse camping all that often. We only went twice; once in June and once in July.

We bought a used pop-up tent trailer last year and each time we use it we find things we want to do to improve it. So far I've replaced the top vent, taken apart and cleaned the plumbing. I had the bearings replaced.

Last week I replaced all the clasps on the cabinets. They were so tight it was hard to open any of them so I replaced them with magnetic clasps. We found that the furnace wouldn't start this year so that is something that needs to be looked into before we go out next year.

I took the bed and seat cushions and brought them into the house so they won't get moldy this winter.

Now it's time to put the trailer out back and tarp it up for the winter. Though it closes up pretty tight with all the wind and rain we get here even a tarp isn't always enough to keep the moisture out.

I'm looking forward to opening it up next spring.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tansey Ragwort

Tansy ragwort is a noxious weed that is hated and feared nearly as much as scotch broom. Tansy ragwort is toxic when ingested causing irreversible liver damage. It is a danger to cattle, horses, and other grazing animals.

It used to be I only saw this weed when riding horseback on old logging roads, but lately I'm seeing it on roadsides everywhere I go. I guess the county stopped spraying. There was a plant growing on the roadside in front of my house last year and I pulled it up. This year I've already pulled up ten of them in front of my house and across the road. I drove by the north end of the property on my way to town this morning and I saw several more that have popped up. I hope this isn't a sign that this is going to get worse next year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Just Like Riding a Bike???

A while back I decided it was time to take a break from all leadership positions I was holding with several organizations. In one organization I held the position of Web Master. I think I performed this duty for seven or eight years and I was happy to turn the duty over to someone else.

To make a long story short, this person took over the site and did a wonderful job. He totally revamped the site and took the site to the next level. About a month ago this fellow got in a huff about something and he flat out quit so the organization asked me to take the site over again.

Last night I got an email from a member and he wanted me to add several event photos to the site. I figured it could wait until the morning so I went to bed, but I woke up at 3:30 AM in a bit of a panic. This is rare because it is rare that I ever panic about anything. I got up and headed down stairs to turn on the computer. I fired up the HTML editor, Dreamweaver and looked at the site. Suddenly it occurred to me that not only was the web architecture foreign to me, it was a totally revamped site, but I had also forgotten nearly everything I knew about Dreamweaver. Panic was setting in, so rather than obsess on it I closed off the session.

This is how I process difficult situations, I walk away. I went and watered in the greenhouse, then I started another session. I advanced a little then hit another wall, so I hung some laundry out on the line. I came back in and made a little more progress then hit another wall. I put the horses out on the pasture and collected some eggs and then took another crack at it. I finally figured out everything I needed to get it all loaded, linked and added to a drop-down menu after I vacuumed and dusted the house.

I felt I was a little over optimistic when I took the site over again, but I think I'll be able to handle it now. It's like getting on a bike, right?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Amber Fields

If you've driven to Portland on Hwy 26 recently you may have noticed the amber fields on both sides of the road when you hit the valley. It appears that fields that are usually planted in corn or grass hay were planted in wheat this year.

I find it interesting how a mono-culture farmer can decide that there will be more money in a certain crop and plan and accept the risk for a year in advance when they put their plan in motion. The retooling alone is daunting. Harvesting wheat is very different than harvesting corn or hay.

The some of the fields I looked over last week had been harvested and some were yet to be harvested. The harvested fields were in straw which the farmers will harvest and bale like hay.

I usually keep a bale of straw around here. I use it in the chicken yard during the rainy season. The chickens do roam free most of the day, but they spend a lot of time milling around in their pen where they scratch the wet soil and turn it into mud. I lay dawn a couple flakes of straw and the chickens love scratching around in it looking for the occasional stray grain of wheat mixed in.

I have a couple stalks of wheat growing where stray grain fell on the way to the chicken pen or where I've put down straw as weed control. It's so cool that I want to grow a bed of wheat next year. I'll take the harvest and run it through a coffee grinder an have some home-made flour.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hot Hot Hot

I think that living in Oregon has ruined my ability to adapt to climates. I moved here from New Jersey 22 years ago. Back east we just lived with extremes and never though much about it unless you didn't have air-conditioning in your bedroom at night.

I recall coming home from work and it being 95 degrees with +90% humidity. I just hop on my bicycle and go for a 30 mile ride. Every thing after that felt a lot cooler.

The other day it was really hot here, uncomfortably so for me. I got into my truck and looked at the thermometer and it said 70 degrees. Those of you reading in other parts of the country must think I'm insane, but 70 is too hot for me. I like it cool enough so I can wear a flannel shirt all day.

I'm ready for this summer to be over.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My New Favorite

My new favorite Indy Group is the Silver Jews, and my favorite song from them is The Farmer's Hotel from their Tanglewood Numbers release. Click here for the still life video

Friday, September 09, 2011

Full Of Beans

Back during the Summer of Woodstock I was working on a farm. There were fields of corn, cabbage, tomatoes, squash and peppers. These crops were easy to harvest because one could detect the ripeness by the size and color. The corn was planted ten rows every week so that we could harvest through out the summer. Every week ten more rows were ready to be picked. If the first ear was ready, they were all ready in that ten row plot.

A difficult plant to harvest were the green beans. First the color of the beans was the same color as the leafs and stems of the plant. To make it even worse the farmer planted a bush variety and it was sometimes hard finding the fruit from above.

I was harvesting our pole beans yesterday and I wondered why the farmer planted bush beans. Pole beans are much more efficient. By giving them something to grow on the plants easily produce 10 times what the bush varieties produce. The only problem with ours is that we grow them on three sticks fastened together like a teepee so it is a very three dimensional entity. You can pick and pick and just when you think you've picked it clean, you look at it from another direction and there are a whole bunch you've missed. Keep picking...keep picking...

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Raspberries, Finally

Our hopes for an early raspberry crop was dashed by a couple local deer that jumped the garden fence. Even the electric fence wire didn't keep them from their six-foot vault. We put in the water squirting care crow and that is keeping them out. The raspberries have recovered sending out new shoots and flowers that have finally turned into ripe berries.

It's funny how the birds will rob every ripe blueberry if given the chance, but they seem to leave the raspberries alone; to my benefit.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

At What Cost?

I guess we should count ourselves as fortunate that we have a lot of rain most of the year. It encourages us to have gardens filled with non-native plants. Though we pile on tons of compost to keep the soil fertile and hold in moisture; August is a dry month that sucks any hint of moisture from a garden. Evidence of this is the increase of our water bill. Usually we pay about $30 per month for water, but I was shocked to see my August bill was nearly $90.

We used to use rain barrels, but we only could store 150 gallons and that wouldn't last long and was totally useless in August.

This is a high price for the joy of having fresh food. I'm thinking of sinking a well.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

After and Before

August was the month for painting. I painted the chicken coop and I also painted the horse trailer. The trailer looks great (from a distance.) I've learned for next time to only tackle one portion of the trailer at a time and never prep and paint the entire box in one swoop. Better yet I learned that next time I'll buy an aluminum trailer.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Angry Bees

Two of the seven hives I worked today were absolutely awful. I've worked hot hives before, but these two hives were relentless. They got really stirred up. I expect this reaction to a lesser extent when I'm pulling honey off the hives. I work as quickly and as gently as possible. The other hives were fine, but these two had bees that just boiled out and hundreds of bees were bumping me and stinging my bee suit. A couple were even able to sting me through the bee suit.

I now have 50 frames of honey stowed away. I left another 50 frames on the hives because they weren't ready to be harvested yet. I am not looking forward to addressing those two hives again. Maybe I pull that honey at night when the bees don't fly.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Transfer Station

I take pride in all that we reuse and recycle. It was a funny little joke when we boasted about going to CARTM in Manzanita for our anniversary trip this year. Some people go on exotic trips or out for dinner, but we drove down the coast to recycle things that aren't accepted locally.

For all our efforts the reward is that we have very little garbage that actually goes to the landfill. I did a post here a few years back comparing the statistics of the volume of trash Western Oregon Waste takes to the landfill with the population. The stats showed that each person in the county generates around one ton of trash every year.

We could have trash service where we live but we generate so little that it isn't worth the expense. I have a container where we place all our trash and when it is full it is time to go to the transfer station. This is one of the things I do every August. Last year my load was 500 pounds. This year we were down to 400 pounds. I was surprised by that because that tells me we generate 17.5 ounces of trash a day. For the life of me I can't imagine how we generate that much, but now I have a goal to reduce that by half for next years dump run.