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Saturday, March 31, 2007 5 comments

Four-Glove Weather

ViragoAs I said earlier, Daughter Dearest now has her “real” driver’s license, and got Cousin Splat’s parking permit in return for taking him to school too (Big V took the keys). With The Boy out of school, I now (for the first time since the kids started school) am no longer responsible for getting the kids on the bus or dropping them off myself. Thus, I can a) sleep a little bit later; b) ride the motorcycle to work.

Besides making the commute a bit more enjoyable, there are a couple of other advantages to biking it: even as large a bike as a Virago 1100 gets 42 MPG without too much trouble, while I have to work to get 40 MPG out of the Civic. Then there are a couple of right turns where I have enough room to squeeze between a car wanting to go straight and the curb.

But one thing you have to do is get ready to ride. You can’t just jump on, start it, and go: without a shiny glass & metal cage around you, you have to wrap yourself in safety equipment — helmet, jacket, gloves, and decent boots at a minimum. I keep saying this is the year I’m going to get a riding suit, although I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds in the last year so it’s probably best that I put it off thus far. The wind chill on a bike with no windshield is amazing — even when it’s 80°F outside, you’re happy to be wearing that jacket once you get above 40MPH or so.

This time of year is what I call “four-glove weather.” In the mornings, it’s around 50°F or so, and you want the heavy gloves. (The alternative is not being able to type for an hour after you get to work.) On the way home, it’s 75°F and just the right temperature for well-ventilated summer gloves. A sweater is good, too; I can wear it in the morning and bungee it to the back rack in the afternoon.

The laptop rides in a courier bag. I let the shoulder strap out just enough to let the bag touch the seat; that helps keep it from moving around. The wind turbulence (and the weight) keeps it against my back pretty well.

So this is how I save gas and have fun at the same time.

Friday, March 30, 2007 6 comments

Self-Defense for Bicyclists

Jack at Tallpoppy, a commuting cyclist, writes:

Texas just expanded the legitimacy of deadly force to include vehicles and workplaces. [...] You're allowed to use deadly force to protect yourself in your vehicle. Regular readers should be able to spot where I'm heading with this.

Picture it: you're cycling down the road at a good clip, and some oncoming idiot swerves to force you into the ditch, laughing as you're forced off the road and they drive off secure in their metal cocoon. Previously, you'd have had to content yourself with getting their license plate number. Now you can just pull a .45 loaded with hollowpoints out of your jersey pocket and blow the little fucker's head off (while taking care to ensure that their uncontrolled car does not cause an accident) as soon as they start swerving towards you.

Oh, I'm sure there will be weasel words in the bill about being in fear of your life, but that's the beauty of it: on a bike, most of the inconsiderate or malicious stuff that drivers can do does put you in fear of your life. So they've just given us carte blanche to strap a Glock to the top tube.

Ah, such lovely thoughts bring back the days of my youth. After my fourth year of college (a mid-stream change of majors cost me an extra year), I was offered a summer job at what was then Sperry-Univac in Roseville, MN (a suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul). It didn’t hurt that Michigan Tech had Univac mainframes at the time; I was already familiar (as a user) with their products. Like many college students in 1981, I was financing my education partly through scholarships, largely through parental help, and partly through summer jobs and part-time jobs on campus. The occasional short-term loan, financed by the college for the college, smoothed out cash flow bumps. Thus, my mindset upon arriving in Minneapolis in my beat-to-hell '66 Rambler was “find somewhere cheap to live.”

After turning down the absolute-cheapest option, a filthy unfurnished upstairs room in a house full of drug-addled hippies (they literally talked like Cheech y Chong) for $50/month, I found a furnished one-room apartment on Aldridge, just off West Broadway and close to the river, for $140/month. That part of town was kind of on the edge at the time — two blocks north, it was pretty nice; two blocks south were slums. But the location was good; it was less than six miles from the office, and grocery stores and restaurants were only a couple of blocks away.

In addition to my Rambler, I brought along my old Schwinn Continental 10-speed — a good move for a summer in Minneapolis, which was bike-friendly years before many other cities. I lived in a “walkable” (if seedy) part of town, within biking distance of my job, and I was trying to save money, so I used the Schwinn pretty heavily for that three months. In the 5.5 miles between the apartment and office were 17 traffic lights, and I found it took 20 minutes to make the commute by car and 25 by bicycle. The 30- to 40-mile weekend rides were fun — Mom accused me of not exploring the city, since I didn’t know where the good restaurants were, but I saw quite a bit of it atop the Schwinn.

Although there were bike trails running all over town, mostly between the parks, West Broadway was somewhat less bike-friendly and heavily travelled during rush hour. Trying to be the considerate person I was raised to be (not to mention the natural self-preservation drive), I stayed as close to the curb as I could for most of the trip. However, there were a couple of narrow spots and had some fairly close brushes.

Then one day, I had an idea. Instead of wrapping the heavy chain that I used to keep the bike secure (this was a seedy part of town, remember) around the seat post, I simply doubled it up and draped it over my neck. Suddenly, I found drivers giving me plenty of room. It was like having my own bike lane, even in the narrowest spots. It seems I wasn’t the only person on the road concerned with self-preservation: I could have easily caught any miscreants at the next light and given them what-for.

The chain may also have kept me out of a fight one morning: a local bus got “caught” behind me, right at Aldridge and West Broadway. I crossed Aldridge at the light, but the bus was unable to get through. As I was waiting for the light to let me across Broadway, a guy jumped off the bus and started screaming at me — I don’t remember anything he said, but his demeanor was totally at odds with his business attire. I said nothing, just watched him as he continued his tirade… but when he stepped into the street toward me, I pulled the chain off my neck. He stepped back quickly, and continued to scream at me until I got the green light and rode away.

So Jack’s thought about “[strapping] a Glock to the top tube” is not quite the right way to go about it — my own experience suggests that displaying weaponry is key. A Glock should be stuffed in the back of one’s riding shorts, with the grip protruding and very visible. Perhaps a shoulder holster would be more secure, with the gun hung on the back. This would probably work even in locales where self-defense isn’t an explicit right — the whole point is to not get run off the road in the first place, and visible weaponry is perhaps the best deterrent.

I hope commuting cyclists will try this out and report back on how well it works.

Monday, March 26, 2007 2 comments

The Downside of Spring

Shovels, rakes, and implements of destructionVery few things in life are purely good or purely bad, and that includes spring. The downside to spring, of course, is yard work. It was quite warm, bordering on hot, over the weekend, so there wasn’t much excuse to stay inside.


WisteriaMrs. Fetched decided that the entire front bed needed to be tilled up so she could re-arrange it. Figuring it would be easier to till up without the stepping stones in the way, I pried them out of the ground and stacked them off to the side. There were 25 of them all told, some of which were buried under dirt or plant-sprawl. This wisteria was hiding two, maybe three of them. I just probed around with the shovel, heard the tonk, and pried out the stone.

The hard part was when I started tilling around a couple of the butterfly bushes along the driveway: I’d forgotten those beds were graveled (easy enough to do when the gravel is covered with dirt, grass, and leaves). The Mantis about shook my arms off before I was done. We covered that area with mulch cloth and eight bags of pine bark. I also appropriated three of the stepping stones so I could cross it (on the way to Studio FARfetched) barefoot.


Thrasher nestBrown Thrashers are Planet Georgia’s bird, which is appropriate. They get into your business, attack their reflections in car windows, and roost in inconvenient places. Like the little porch in front of the studio. They’ve been roosting there at night through the winter, and I’ve shoo’ed them away I don’t know how many times (and ducked many more times when trying to go in and they freak out). Although it was rather warm in the studio, I had stuff to do; the thrashers kept flying back & forth outside, waiting for me to leave.


ThrasherHere’s one of this year’s houseguests, perched in the dogwood outside Studio FARfetched, waiting for me to get back to the yard. They’re going to love it when I replace the burned-out light bulb on the porch. I figure I’ll wait for the young to get gone, then I’ll put tack strips in the rafters. They can use one of the several bird houses we’ve put up around the manor.


The upside of spring, of course, is that I’ll be riding the motorcycle to work. Daughter Dearest is getting Cousin Splat’s parking permit, so she can drive herself to school…

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 4 comments

Pretty weeds

Wild violetsOne certain sign of spring at FAR Manor is that the weeds start waking up and (in some cases) offering bribes. One of the prettier weeds, the wild violets, are nearly impossible to eradicate. I even poured old kerosene on them over the winter, and they only died off temporarily. The lawn mower passes over them and leaves them pretty much unscathed.


Wild violet, up closeThis is what they look like up close and personal.


A weed of a different colorA few of them, for whatever reason, are more white than violet. I have no clue.


Cheerful weedsHere are some cheerful yellow flower-weeds popping up amongst the violets (and the grass).


Yellow flower-weed, up closeCutting one yellow flower-weed out of the herd.


Mrs. Fetched buys a lot of flowers and plants them in various places. She doesn’t really have to bother, but she likes bigger blossoms and putting them where she wants them. These don’t get out of the grass and are nickel- and dime-size. What do you want for free?

Sunday, March 18, 2007 4 comments

Stuff (mostly good)

Another collection of things, too short by themselves to merit their own post…

New computers! We made a pilgrimage to the Apple Store yesterday, and came home with a new MacBook. The fun part was walking by the Dell kiosk (on the way to Godiva, Mrs. Fetched wanted some goodies) with a big grin and a new Mac. The “specials” involved big rebates on printers, so I also grabbed a Canon Pixma printer/scanner/copier — $10 after rebate, and we needed a copier anyway. Mrs. Fetched and I agreed on a very similar model last year, to be bought when needed. The difficult part, as usual, is finding a place to put it.

I also ordered Daughter Dearest a used G4 Powerbook, which should be here tomorrow or Tuesday. One of the things I really like about new Macs is how they can transfer all your old files over, and let you pick up right where you left off. In my case, the iBook was dead — but the drive was sitting in a USB enclosure and “get files from a partition” was the right incantation to copy it all into the new MacBook. Clutter and all. I really need to clean things up.

A smaller gadget is the Blue Snowball mike. DD’s chorus teacher asked me to mess with his, and I had to get one of my own. Podcasts should sound a little better.

Boyfriend issues: The boyfriend’s career at Home Despot is coming to a close as of Tuesday. It turns out he’s allergic to pine straw, which isn’t good when you’re working the Garden section. He’s also thinking about heading back to Indiana for a while — personally, I think he’s better off on this planet(!) but it’s his choice and he himself admits he’ll probably be back in a few weeks. Daughter Dearest has been working hard to accept that he won’t be around for a while, but it seems to be taking. He got a new iPod nano yesterday too.

Plastic: In the last while (about a year), I’ve taken to writing “CHECK ID” on the back of credit/debit/gift cards instead of signing them. It isn’t any inconvenience — my driver’s license is in the same wallet, after all — and it’s interesting to see how many few cashiers actually look at the back and ask for ID. About 1/3 or 1/4 of them do. That sounds bad, but it would be enough to trip up someone who got my wallet and wanted to have a good time at the mall. Of course, they could buy gas at the pump safely, but that’s about all they could dare to do before I could call in and get my cards invalidated.

Weight: Down to 202 as of this morning. 3 more pounds before the celebration!

Well, that’s about it. My friend from SC just rolled in.

Saturday, March 17, 2007 No comments

Yup, I jinxed It

I said winter had just gone by, and this morning and tomorrow morning are around above/below) freezing.

Stay warm, wherever you are.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 5 comments

No Test Left Behind

A post on 43 Folders today linked in turn to a Brian Kim post about things that schools should be teaching: personal finance, communicating effectively, social skills, sales (yuck!), and time management. While I think the important things about sales would be covered in communicating and social skills (which themselves are heavily related), there’s some good points to chew on here.

I responded in part to the 43 Folders post: “On one hand, I find myself wishing I'd been taught time management in high school — on the other, I probably would have (as Kim says) regurgitated the answers to pass the class then promptly forgotten about it.” Another response thought that school should teach kids how to change a tire and iron a shirt.

While it’s certainly a valuable life skill, time management just wasn’t relevant for me in those days. School days were pretty well planned in advance: I’d get up, eat, catch the bus to school, go to classes, ride the bus home, do housework and homework (what little I didn’t finish in study hall or history class), eat supper, run 5 miles (I was on the cross-country team), then usually do what I pleased in those 2–3 hours before bedtime (the softball field a couple blocks away in season, reading or messing with electronic equipment otherwise).

Time management and personal finance might be more relevant to kids these days than it was for my generation. Like many of us, today’s kids tend to have more discretionary income and less time. But when I was in school, “home ec'” (as we usually called it) was primarily a cooking class — even then, I wondered where the "economics" part of it went. We learned more about money management in shop class, where we had an assignment to list what tools we would/could buy with $100 then had to justify our choices. But if there is an existing class that would be ideal to cover these topics, home ec' is it.

Of course, today’s NCLB-driven schools are focused primarily on teaching kids how to pass standardized tests — and doing very little to teach useful life skills. Nowadays, they don’t even give kids time to visit their lockers between classes… if they’re even assigned lockers. Instead, they drag around knapsacks loaded with 30 pounds of books and other materials (I'm not exaggerating). How could you even teach them time management when you don’t even give them the time to do the planning that’s a part of it? Where in this avalanche of SAT cramming is there time for learning real necessities like basic home and auto maintenance, meal planning (including nutrition and cooking), writing, or planning a budget? Today’s school curriculum is well-suited for anyone who can afford servants or contract labor for such things, but 99% of the kids are getting short-changed.

Daughter Dearest had a finance job for a few months, entering stuff into QuickBooks for a small local company and helping with the payroll(!). While she was constantly afraid she’d make an expensive mistake, she probably learned more about bookkeeping and finance during that one afternoon per week than she did in her entire school career. (They amicably parted ways a couple of weeks ago; between school and chorus, there isn’t much afternoon left for work. That may change, now that she can drive herself around.)

Most of the things I can do (and blog about here) are things I learned on my own, either because I was interested (electrical, early on) or needed to fix something (plumbing, much later). No school taught me how to cut and glue pipe, or how to solder. I learned how to cook and clean long before I had home ec' in junior high (not because I wanted to… hi Mom!). I also learned how to type before I had typing class (but this was something I did want to learn). Bookkeeping… now that was practical, I learned how to balance a checkbook in bookkeeping class. As was the basic math that is pretty much a prerequisite. College English was the only humanities class I actually enjoyed in high school, but that was more about honing the writing skills I already had (I learned to type because I wanted to write a novel).

(I’m sure I wrote this once before, but can’t figure out for the life of me where.) In a better world, schools would evaluate each student, identify their talents, and tailor their education to develop those talents (and throw in the basic life skills things I’ve been ranting about). But an intelligent move would raise taxes… OMG, we can’t have that!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4 comments

Getting Ready for Spring

The hedge in front of our garage is getting ready for spring. On the other hand, it will bloom all year around if it gets a mild winter like the one just gone by1. It started sprouting bulbs in early February; they got frostbit so the hedge just shrugged and started another round. Check out the top right picture from last year, this is what it will look like when it blooms. We’re supposed to wait for it to stop blooming to trim it, but it never stops!

I’ve been planting herbs — garlic some friends gave me (and some more that I bought to eat but sprouted), marjoram, and basil. Lots and lots of basil. I’m going to be the Pesto King this year.



1Of course, now that I said that, we’ll get a late frost. But the extended forecast shows us staying above freezing by a reasonable (for March) margin, so…

Monday, March 12, 2007 7 comments

That Driving Beat

The weekend started with Dad arriving safely, on his way back north after six weeks or so in Florida. There also occurred a driver’s test, a time change, and what would a weekend be without The Boy throwing multiple TB errors?

Daughter Dearest had an appointment for her driver’s test early Saturday afternoon. The Boy invited himself along, because he was supposed to surrender his driver’s license and get a picture ID, so that was fine. The DMV facility tends to be crowded on weekends, with long waits — fortunately, the appointment held up and Daughter Dearest did her thing: and passed. Barely. The Boy was waiting impatiently for his number; he was starting to make noises about leaving while DD was still taking her test. But shortly after that, about the time she finished and went in, his number came up and he went in too.

Daughter Dearest came out, waving her new license and grinning (naturally). A few minutes later, The Boy came out with a similar grin. “They said my license isn’t suspended!” (Like Solar, I suspect that a clerical error has occurred and will eventually get fixed.)

I dropped The Boy off at Ryan’s, where he met up with Mrs. Fetched and her parents — he was still hungry after lunch, because he hadn’t eaten Friday night. Daughter Dearest wanted to try out her wings when we got home, offering to go to Home Despot to get a bag of potting soil for me (that the boyfriend was working there had zippo to do with it, I’m sure). No problem, as far as I was concerned, although Mrs. Fetched was quick to inform me that DD needs to be re-attached to our insurance now that she has a “real” license — they met up at Home Despot, as her mom wanted some flowers and other necessities.

The Boy’s demeanor, which had been marginal up to now, went to hell in a handbasket — probably because he figured that with a non-suspended license, he no longer needed us to drive him around. Yesterday afteroon, he started badgering Mrs. Fetched to let him use “his” car to visit his usual friends. He agreed to be back by 7:30, and naturally a TB03 came up — he called and asked for an extension to 10 so he could take a friend home, then Mrs. Fetched called him around 11 and hold him to be home in 15 minutes OR ELSE. He made it.

As soon as he was home, he and Mrs. Fetched got into it (it was 11:30 p.m. by now) and a TB09 came up. He decided that he had to move out right away (TB01) and demanded a phone. We said no and he went into Badger Mode. I matched him.

“I need a phone.”
“Shut up.”
“I need a phone.”
“Shut up.”
“I need a phone.”
“Shut up.”

After a few rounds of that, he (to my surprise) cracked fairly quickly and made the mistake of asking why.

“Because you haven’t done even the smallest of the things we told you were the conditions for living here — why should we give you anything?”

“Why are you trying to change me?”

“Well… you need to change. You’ve screwed up your whole life trying to do it your way.”

That went over like a lead balloon. Surprisingly, there were no TB04 errors. But Mrs. Fetched could have saved me some trouble had she told me he was supposed to stay at her parents’ place — the Evil Twins had come for an overnight (their dad had therapy in Atlanta) and were in his room. I told him he could use the phone down there for all I cared, and go wherever he wanted from there. He began to object and suddenly changed his mind.

On the way down, he told me to “not come looking for him.” Fine — I figure we can catch him at the jail sooner or later if we get the urge.

He lasted here two days longer than I expected. But as far as I’m concerned, he can stay away until he starts straightening his life out himself. We can’t help him until he’s ready to help himself.

Saturday, March 10, 2007 1 comment

Weekend Cinema

Since Dad’s in for the weekend, I had too much going on to post Friday Night Cinema. But this is too good not to share.

The Escape Pod podcast recently plugged a new video series called Stranger Things. They describe it as “…a free 30-minute television series of original speculative-fiction stories, released monthly via the Internet. Stranger Things lives adjacent to the moody worlds of Rod Serling, Ray Bradbury, and Philip K. Dick.”

Their first episode, Sacred Cow, is dark but very well-produced. Go check them out before they go commercial or something!

Thursday, March 08, 2007 4 comments

Programmers. Argh. (3.0, when “RTFM” is Just Too Much Effort)

I had to bang out an emergency project today — well, they’re all emergencies these days, but that’s beside the point. Knowing it had to be done today, I seriously considered working at home; I decided not to because The Boy is around and I didn’t want him interrupting me with spurious requests for money, car keys (missing driver’s license notwithstanding), a ride to somewhere, blah blah blah. There was also some camera work to be done, which usually involves my physical presence anyway.

Hindsight is 20/20.

Instead of The Boy, I had people popping into my cube all day and committing Documentus Interruptus — some of them were asking about the project I was trying to get done in spite of the interruptions. It was difficult at times to hold my tongue. Worst, though, was a programmer from down the aisle.

“Where in the manuals would I find Voice Quality Metrics?” “There’s a description in the Feature Guide, and instructions in the Troubleshooting Guide.”

“Where in the manuals would I find Loop Diagnostics?” (same answer)

At one point, I was about to get into The Zone — a rare state where I can out-produce just about anyone — when he popped in and barked my name a bit too loud, causing me to jump several inches.

“Sorry. Where would I find Loop Voltage Management?”

“Description in the Feature Guide. Instructions are either in Management or Provisioning, I can’t remember.”

“How could I find out?”

“Um… have you tried looking at the table of contents?”

I think he got the hint, because he didn’t come back the rest of the day.

The second most annoying visit was from the Vietnamese guy in Tech Support, who waved his hand alongside my head to get my attention (I have my iPod going most of the day, partly because the guy across from me is on the phone being Super Consumer Advocate half the time). Naturally, he wanted to know about the emergency project he’d just delayed.

I’d seriously considered, early on, grabbing a conference room and closing the door so nobody could find me. In retrospect, that’s exactly what I should have done.

I never did get to the camera work. Maybe tomorrow.

If you want to see the previous installment

Wednesday, March 07, 2007 4 comments

TB02: For a day or two, at least

TB02: The Boy comes home (again)

The Boy called the house yesterday, getting Mrs. Fetched. “Can I bring some stuff home?”

“Like what?”

“My guitar, amp, clothes…”

“What are you really asking?”

“Can I come home and get my life straightened out?”

While we’re both all for that, long experience has taught us that The Boy is better at making the right noises than following through. We both quickly agreed on a list of conditions: keep normal hours, stop smoking, pocket that stupid lip ring while at the house, find some new friends, and plan to be around the house most of the time. In return, we would help him save his money and get him ready for tech school.

It turned out that his belongings — including a puppy, of all things — were split among two places, so we had plenty of time to let him know what we expected while we gathered it all up. I finally asked him the $20,000 question: “Are you ready to agree to all this?”

“To a point,” he said.

“There is no point,” said Mrs. Fetched. “There’s either do it or not live with us.”

He was already planning on not being around most of the time, and that after we told him we expected him to not do that, so I don’t expect he’ll be at FAR Manor tomorrow night. Or maybe even tonight: he agreed to help Mrs. Fetched with the chickens but didn’t get up this morning.

At least Mrs. Fetched and I are agreeing on something. Bailing out of FAR Manor and downsizing would prevent a lot of this; there wouldn’t be room for him….

Monday, March 05, 2007 3 comments

To Move or Not to Move

In my last post, I disclosed my Master Plan for getting out of FAR Manor and away from the bane of my existence.

Funny how life will throw you a curveball. A night or so later, I saw this rather disturbing article. I showed it to Mrs. Fetched, who understood the charts pretty quickly.

It’s one thing to look at a theory and understand that it makes sense; it’s quite another to see potential proof. If the Saudis have really topped out their oil production, despite tripling their drilling rig count in the last two years, then “it” will hit the fan in a year or two.

The question is, where would the best place to be when it happens, here or in the city? Definitely not the 'burbs; if design they have, the design is around cheap transportation… and that’s going to get hard to come by. In fact, I expect to see the urban poor displaced to the suburbs as the inner-city areas rapidly gentrify. There are three ways to look at it:

1) The “Earth” (very good book, by the way) scenario: we muddle along, staving off major problems with new technologies. People start carpooling or working from home, and the electrical and phone systems continue to work well and improve. In this case, staying put would work just as well as anything else.

2) The “Crash” scenario: the economy goes to hell in a handbasket for some time, while everything readjusts to new realities. Utilities become unreliable, and suburbs empty out as people go either to the city or to the country to find work. In this case, it’s a toss-up: we might be better off staying put and becoming landlords, or not.

3) The “Olduvai” scenario: we’re all screwed, so it doesn’t matter.

I suppose I should point out that I tend to have a gloomy outlook on our collective future, and have since I was in high school. The graphs in the referenced article could well be completely wrong, and the Saudis will continue to pump as much oil as needed for as long as needed… in which case, getting out of here is clearly the best course of action. But getting Mrs. Fetched to go any closer than Outer Suburbia would be a hard sell: when she and Daughter Dearest were in Savannah, she complained about all the night-time traffic keeping her awake.

However, she’s on board with one of my oldest dreams: to become more energy self-sufficient. Time to start looking into wind systems.

Saturday, March 03, 2007 4 comments

When is beach grass not beach grass?

Broom Grass out frontAnswer: when there’s no beach. Then I guess it’s broom grass. Mrs. Fetched says so anyway, and I have no reason to doubt her.

Shortly after I took this picture, I got the weed-eater and cut it all down — I figure it will come back better now that it’s gone to seed. Before that, I zapped the frondy border plants that are supposed to be cut back every year. I cleaned up some of the big garage, finding three washer hoses (all bad, according to Mrs. Fetched, so why were they in there?), several half-used bottles of motor oil, infinity dead ladybugs, and a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff that will get carted to the community yard sale (I think they start next month). Daughter Dearest’s boyfriend got an NTSC monitor for his PlayStation, one of four that Mrs. Fetched had laying around from her analog editing days — to my surprise, he took the smallest one because it wouldn’t require a lot of space. I think I’ll take the other three to the yard sale too, mark them as “gamer monitors,” and see if anyone bites. Somewhere in there, I put the wick in the kerosene heater, but I think I need to dump the old kerosene and try again.

But I digress. I also began a pine eradication program harvested my mulch garden. I’ll let them dry out for a month or so then feed them to the chipper-shredder. We transplanted some bushes, then I got the Mantis out and tilled up a bed and planted some garlic that my friends gave to me. I covered the dirt with some of the brush grass, hoping that will keep the dogs from digging in it. Finally, we fixed the weatherstripping on the bottom of a door. Yeah, it’s been a busy day, but it beats chicken house work. :-) Besides, it’s part of my escape plan: we can’t get away from the chicken houses unless we sell FAR Manor, and we’ll have a better chance of selling it if the place is cleaned up. So I’m going to work on getting rid of stuff we don’t need, which will make the rest easier to keep tidied up!

March has definitely come in like a lion. The claws (heavy storms) went well south of us, but the roaring wind is still with us and probably will be through tomorrow.

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