Saturday, May 31, 2008

Vegetable Garden Plants

I thought it would be a good idea to 'take inventory' of my vege garden.

Earthbox #1: Tomato 'Big Boy', Tomato 'Taxi' (yellow)
Earthbox #2: Cucumber 'Fanfare', Cucumber 'Sweet Slice', Sweet Pepper 'Nardello', Sweet Pepper 'Banana Supreme'.

Five Gallon Bucket Self Watering System: Tomato 'Better Bush'

Salad Table:
  • Habanero Hot Pepper
  • Bush Beans
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Broccoli Raab
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Salad Bowl Lettuce
  • Mesclun
  • Swiss Chard
  • Spinach
  • Radish

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Frederick Douglass on the Struggle for Liberty

"Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reforms. The whole history of the progress of human lliberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of struggle... If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will..."

- Frederick Douglass, 1857

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fantasic Cleaner!

All-Purpose Cleaner (Fantastic Cleaner)

1/2 teaspoon washing soda
2 teaspoons borax
1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent
2 cups hot water

Combine the washing soda, borax, and soap in a spray bottle. pour in the hot water (it will dissolve the minerals), screw on the lid, and shake to completely blend and dissolve. Spritz every 6 inches or so of surface once or twice, wiping off the cleanser with a rag as you go. For tough dirt, leave the cleanser on for a few minutes before wiping it off.
Shake the bottle each time before using.

Shelf Life: Indefinite
Storage: Leave in a labelled spray bottle

The first time I tried this, I used the Dawn dishwashing soap we had. It worked great with that. Then I tried it with Dr. Bronner's Lavender Liquid castile soap. Wow, the cleaner still works great, and now it smells great too!

Please note! Baking Soda is NOT the same as Washing Soda. I found the Arm & Hammer washing soda in the laundry aisle of my grocery store.

This is natural, powerful, and CHEAP! :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


About 2 weeks ago, my wife discovered that her computer, running Ubuntu 8.04, would no longer read her digital cameras. As she was running the 64 bit version, and I was running the 32 on mine, I tried the cameras on my computer. No luck. What a disappointment! We had both happily been using Ubuntu for almost 2 years!

I looked around on the forum and tried a few things, no luck. Well that did it for me. I just find my time is too valuable to spend tinkering with the OS in order to get it to do what I consider basic functions (things like printing, internet access, sound, and cameras).

So I went to and did some research. Here's the list of distro's I tried, along with a few notes.

  • PC Linux OS Gnome Edition 2008- had a good bit of trouble getting it installed.
  • OpenSUSE 10.3 - It was ok, just didn't wow me.
  • Mandriva 2008.1 - Pretty promising, I put it on my short list. Wasn't happy about it's history though. Some releases were reportedly awe full.
  • Debian Etch - I've never, ever had a distro boot up so quick! Pretty smooth install too. Required a bit of tinkering though, and the packages were so old.
  • PCLinuxOS 2007 - My current choice. Read on for further review.
Yup, to my surprise, I ended up deciding on a KDE based distro. KDE wasn't nearly as horrid as I remembered. Perhaps I got better at tweaking it to behave the way I like.

PCLinuxOS 2007 almost didn't make it though. The install was not perfect, and I was putting a high value on perfect installation performance. Still, I got through the install ok. Tweaked the desktop... I like a simple one, similar to windows. One small bar on the bottom with a 'start button', task section, notification section, clock. Simple.

I got a real kick when I fired up firefox and noticed the built in PCLinux Home Page was titled: "PCLinuxOS | the distro-hopper-stopper" I had to laugh out loud, as that is precisely what happened to me... I was hopping, now I stopped. I also thought that showed an amusing level of confidence on their part. Was it boasting? Will I stay with PCLinuxOS? I hope so, it seems to offer so much.

Right away, I was able to watch flash online. Many things just worked. I do think they should've included webcore-fonts in the install. It's in their repository though, so not that big a deal.

Very important as well is that my cameras worked! WooHoo!

And THEN I find out that PCLinuxOS is a 'rolling release' style distro. This means that you don't have to worry about major version upgrades, just keep doing the updates and you will always have the latest 'version'. I like this a lot.

I need to find the time to put this distro on my wife's computer. I'm curious how she'll react to a KDE desktop. She does NOT like change when it comes to her computer. We are both so used to GNOME. I think she'll value a properly working OS though over a broken one. I'm also curious to see if the install goes better on hers than on mine.

Maybe I can get to it this coming 3-day weekend.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Planted 5 cloves of garlic in the deep box of the salad table. Just grabbed some out of the fridge, poked a hole in the soil and dropped in a clove, point side up...

The greens are supposed to be pretty good, not as strong as the clove itself.

Also did some thinning this morning in the salad box.

Saturday I made a trip to Behnke's to pick up a new sweet pepper and cuke seedling. They went in the Earth Box #2. I don't like the looks of the other cuke, a leaf is browning and curling up. And it doesn't have a leaf to spare! Maybe it's too cold still for cukes? Night time temps still drop into the upper 40's.

The bush beans are coming nicely, had 6! Too many for the space, it was kinda sad to thin out such nice looking seedlings.

Harvested more mesclun for my sandwich, from the Mom's mesclun bunch I planted a couple weeks ago.

No sign of the peppers in the salad box. But I read that germination could take 10 to 25 days...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

An Early Garden Disaster?

I worked all day today, overtime. When I got home, despite the heavy rains, I checked on my garden and found the new earthbox with the showercap mostly off. The fertilizer strip was soaked!!!

I covered it back up, and am crossing my fingers. But this may activate the fertilizer and burn the young seedlings? I don't know...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Spring Garden

Last weekend, I decided to build and plant a 'Salad Table'. Look for info here.

Also last weekend, I started my first Earthbox, with 2 different tomato plants.

This weekend, I bought another Earthbox and planted it with 2 different cucumber seedlings and 2 different sweet non-bell pepper seedlings.

I wish I could find my camera...