Month: June 2003

Good Things going down

See my first post for today on my Eggreport. Something different happened when I first checked the hens today.

Then see my second post for today on my Eggreport. Something really big happened today, and something cool too. Which is which? Interchangeable, I’d say! Post comments here and there, or anywhere!

Lightning

This was an interesting tidbit to read. I usually don’t post articles, but this one is worth it, and I can’t see that I’ll be able to find it in the future on Accuweather. Here’s the link, in any case, to the column, this one or another one by Joe Sobel.

AccuWeather.com Joe Sobel’s Column

Joe Sobel’s Column
POSTED: 11:50 a.m. June 27, 2003

The thoughts expressed in this column represent Joe Sobel’s personal speculation. While they are considered in formulating AccuWeather forecasts, the opinions of many other AccuWeather meteorologists are also considered.

This discussion is updated only the days that Joe is available, usually Monday-Friday. Check the date above and come back often!

So, do you think all lightning strikes are created equal? The answer to that question is a resounding no. Not only are no two lightning strikes the same, the may actually be of different polarity, that is carrying a negative or positive charge.
Most lightning strikes are negative, that is negatively charged ions flow downward from the cloud to the ground in what is call the stepped leader, and then a return positive charge flows from the ground to the cloud which is the brilliant flash that we see. In a positive strike the stepped leader is a positive flow of current and the return stroke from the ground is negative.

A few interesting differences between the two, according to an article in the June 2003 issue of the American Meteorological Society….

1. Positive strikes account for only about 10 percent of cloud to ground lightning stokes.

2. The highest current flows are thought to be associated with positive lightning.

3. Cold season thunderstorms are more likely to produce positive lightning strikes.

4. Weakening or dissipating thunderstorms tend to produce more positive lightning strikes.

5. Positive flashes are usually composed of a single stroke, whereas about 80 percent of negative flashes contain two or more strokes.

6. Positive lightning strokes often involve long horizontal channels. It is presently not clear why.

7. There also are bipolar lightning strikes in which current flows reverse during the event.

I don’t know about you, but I found all of this rather “shocking”, but whatever the weather I hope you will be “positive.”

City vs. Country: Heat

AccuWeather.com – Headlines

“Many people notice that the city seems hotter than the suburbs during a heat wave. This is not just imagination. In the city, the sunshine rapidly heats rooftops and blacktops, which in turn heat the air. Outside of the city, there is a lot more soil and vegetation. The sunshine encourages water to evaporate from the ground and the plants, and they do not heat up as quickly. Thus, the air remains a few degrees cooler.”

Accuweather says it’s true, it gets hotter in the city during a heatwave. In the country the air is heated more slowly — green is good.

Fireflies

We are expecting it to rain anytime, accoring to the radar it should be raining πŸ˜‰

At any rate, it’s after dusk and I was outside and noticed a few lights flashing here and there around the fence in the back yard, under the Locust Tree. Sure enough, it was Fireflies!

Sounds like a silly thing to be excited about. Right? Well, it’s the first time we’ve ever seen Fireflies on our property. Exciting!

I called Russell out of bed to see them. Asa and he share a room, so since Asa was still awake, out he came too. Victoria was already asleep.

I showed the boys the Fireflies from the deck, then we went into the yard. We “chased” the Fireflies, trying to follow them, then I encouraged Russell to catch one.

Oops! I told him to catch it in his hands.

I should have done that differently. One dead Firefly.

It was interesting to look at it though. It was dead alright, but still rather intact in it’s body shape. It’s luminous rear end was lit up in a 3/4 power glow … poor little beatle. That’s right, not fly, beatle. Fireflies are beatles. Learn about them here.

This is an example of home education. It happens when you least expect it. It’s fun too!

Russell successfully caught two or three Fireflies after the first dud of a catch.

As we were going inside, Asa was waving so sweetly at the sky, looking for Fireflies and saying “Bye Firefwies!”. It was really nice.

As we were going in, I could smell the scent of Fireflies in my hands. It was a memory, not an actual real-time scent. It was the memory from when I was a little girl, chasing “Lightening Bugs” [as we then called them] and catching them in my hands, in jars, letting them go. They left a particular smell, earthy, and it’s burned in my memory. It’s one of those kinds of reminders that refreshes your outlook for how to communicate with the children. Fun, sweet times, and good memories will last forever.

Building Time

I was looking out the back door and noticed something moving in the Maple in the East part of the yard, directly ahead to the left a bit.

I got out my binoculars, and sure enough, in the tree was a Northern Mockingbird, building a nest. I went out and looked at it a little while ago, and it’s in early development stage. This will be interesting if they finish and actually use the nest. We’ll have a good view, since it’s a young tree, and the bushiest part of the tree is visible … right where that nest is being built.

PHP in use now

Note to everyone:

I’m beginning to use PHP on my pages, so all the pages related to this portion of my site, i.e. this WEBLOG, are now in .php

Any previous pages that you’ve saved links to are still on the server, for now, but if you REALLY want to be sure and save the link properly, do it again, from the .php version of the page. How to do that? Here’s how:

Go to the .html page you have a link for. In your browser’s address bar delete the “html” at the end of the URL and replace it with “php”.

a basic example would be:

OLD HTML WAY:
http://www.pastoralfarms.com/weblog/index.html

NEW PHP WAY:
http://www.pastoralfarms.us

Just change what comes after the “.” [dot]

You can see one the reasons for this, on the side bar, look under “Latest from Photo Log”.

It’s the first step in further development of this site –A testing place for other sites I run, as well.

Stylesheet and Temlates fix for IE and NN problems

I’ve worked on my stylesheet and templates for comments … and I’ve worked out all the problems.

One fix I heard of was to make the .blog class in the stylesheet to not reflect any background color. [i.e. take out: “background:#FFF”]

I did that, and it helped, but the whole gray bordering made the comments look horrible, all chopped up, text all appeared, but ugly.

Also, the header in the comments reacted differently in IE and in NN so, that prompted me finally to fix it all in one fell swoop.

Stylesheet body margin was set to 20px all sides. I made it 0px and put in a 20px gray border. Took out the .blog background color as stated above. In my Main Template I made my comment pop up java to make a 500×500 box, instead of the 480×480 it originally had. In each Comment template I made the “column 50” for the “Comment:” box to be “48”.

I also added “position:relative;left:0px; top:0px;right:0px;” to the #banner-commentspop id in the stylesheet.

I think that’s all I did. This made my comments look right, and the comment box not to overflow in either IE or NN and the banner heading to fill the space correctly as well.

After all that, the gray background on the Main Index was only a border, so next to the blog on the right side, was plain white. So I tweaked border colors, and added the gray as a right border for #content, and as the top border for #links. All in all, it’s more acceptable of a look, and the dissapearing text is history. AND I didn’t have to change my page look too much. I like it this way, and through this process I learned how to make a div look as though it’s encased in another colored div. COOL!

Classic 50’s

Here are two photos from my Mother. She sent them via snail mail, and I recieved them this morning. They were taken in the early 1950’s in NE Maryland, a farm, and a cow posing for my Mom.

I scanned them in at a high resolution to get a larger online version than the original paper photograph is. Both images were 3×2 inches, approx., originally.

New photos on My Photo Log

Check out today’s Photo Log entries.

I was able to load up my May 1999 photos of Victoria. She was a sweet little baby back then.

I’ve added “Daily” archives to my Photo Log, which is what kind of page the link above is. I haven’t added it into any of my “archive” indexes yet though. Feel free to go back to my Main Photo Log page, or any of the Categories … to see what you may have missed!

DSL Hassles

Our DSL has been acting up the past three days, including today.

It just came on a few minutes ago for the first time today. Yesterday it was out a lot and the it all started the day before that.

The problem is … I have no idea. The troubleticket that Alltel, our host, had for the first complaint checked out with no problem — as our DSL came on by itself sometime before they checked the troubleticket.

Then later, boom, it went out again. The guy on the phone this time pretty much said it would come on and stay on when it was fixed. Well, is it fixed now? Or just one of the flukey things.

I dialed-up once today, and once yesterday. Yuck. I have no desire to do that often, so once a day if DSL is out for many hours, fine, but I don’t do anyting but check mail pretty much.

So now I’m on a rampage to write this, my egg report, which I already did, and load up more older photos I’ve been working on for my Photo Log. I was in the middle of entering posts for some of them yesterday, when DSL went out … so I never got that series finished for the Log. I have more now, all of Victoria from May 1999. Cute baby. Hopefully I’ll get them up tonight! I have plenty of other work to do online as well, and it’s stuff that requires me to be online. Not fun to be off-line when there is stuff to do, not just surfing, but actual work, though not for pay. Work is work, in any case, to me at least.

The sky today

Continue reading

Named!

Our new kitty has a name now.

St. Foster, or “Foster” for short.

What does it mean? St. stand for “Stephen”. Stephen Foster, composer from the 19th Century … Southern songs.

Crash, Crack, rain, boom

We just had a fantastic thunderstorm. It was super dark gray to the NW, and you could feel it coming. I looked at accuweather’s animated radar, and it was incredible to see it grow and move right towards where we live.

I watched most of it from the front porch then, with children and Frank joining and leaving off and on. I prefer to have silence and enjoy the whole affair, none of my family seem to share that preference, alas.

So the cloud formations and colors were great, lightening was good, cloud to cloud above the whole mass that was visible to the naked eye, as well as many cloud to ground conduits of light and bang, with several near the end of the storm getting that “craaccccckkkkkingggggg” beginning sound. All in all, it wasn’t the “perfect” storm, but a good one. The air cooled down from the high 80’s to 72.6 degrees F. in a very short time. Natural air conditioning, for now. The wind gust were quite boisterous, whipping in from the West, North-West.

Storms like this are fun because across the street there are many tall pines and oaks and other assorted trees. When the gust of wind come, they hit those tall tree tops first, and they swoosh and sway, making a beautiful sound, then our little trees begin to move in our yard, then you can feel it on your face.

I love it when the rain is coming closer too. You can see it like fringes of gray coming down in the distance, then as it comes even closer you can smell it, feel the moisture, yet no rain has fallen on your property, or anywhere you can see without a telescope πŸ˜‰

This storm has slanted, nearly side-ways, rain for awhile, it was so slanted hardly any hit the ground. Later, giant rain-drops began falling, one, then another, then more here and there, finally several at a time, until it was raining hard. Lightening everywhere. You could see that the grass was actually greener after awhile.

Well, we don’t “need” this rain. The gardens are so wet. I won’t have to water them for a month, even if we get no more rain. It’s that wet. What a wonderful difference from last year and the previous five.

The Babies have Fledged!

My Eastern Bluebird babies have fledged their nest. Yesterday they were in there, evidenced by their Mama and Papa feeding them, and the noise of the babies whenever their parents checked on them.

I’ve not been watching the nest box this morning. So, I was outside getting eggs and decided to check on the babies. Empty nest.

So it happened later yesterday, or sometime this morning. Drats. I really hoped I would see at least one of them go. I’ll be thrilled though, when I see them flying around like big birdies!

This was clutch number one for 2003, with this pair of Easter Bluebirds. 4 eggs, 4 babies, 4 fledged. Great results!

Garden Update

It’s hot out. Despite that, when checking for eggs, I nearly always go and pick around in the garden. From now on I need to be sure and have a long sleeve over-shirt on. I can see freckles on my arms that were not there this morning.

I always put on my wide-brimmed hat when going out. I suppose that’s why I’m able to tolerate being out longer. So now I need to be sure and cover my arms well enough.

All in all, the garden is doing nicely. One pepper bit the dust when some creature dislocated it from the parent plant. Rabbit, perhaps? That was on Monday morning I found it had happened.

The Yellow Brittle Wax Beans are nearly all beginning to flower, pretty little white blooms, destined to be delicious yellow wax beans.

The Green Snap Bush beans that I planted nearly a week and a half ago are up and looking mightily strong, and I need to thin them. I generally try and gently remove plants from where I don’t want them, and find a new spot for them. In past times, I’d not thin at all, not wanting to get rid of perfectly good plants, just because they were too close. My revised method is working alright. Not all plants take to the method, but most do, and that’s better than outright culling them.

My German Thyme is growing well, but one of the plants (I have two) has a big ant hill in it suddenly. That will have to go, or I’ll not be able to harvest the Thyme without ants coming along.

Lastly the tomatoes are all doing rather well. Three Roma’s (determinate) are all flowering and have tiny little new tomatoes showing. One German Queen (indeterminate), is very tall and flowering, and is sporting many teeny tiny tomatoes. I then have an uncertain amount of each of the following varieties: Big Beef, Red Beefsteak, Big Boy. I have five tomatoes in a row times two. One is a German Queen, then the other three I just mentioned are amongst the rest of those two rows. The Roma’s share a row with Bell Peppers.

Then on another section of the garden are the three Mr. Stripey tomatoes (heirloom, indeterminate). Better Boy makes up five more plants in that region, I think (variety may be in question) and one “Park’s Whopper”. I lost one of the “Better Boy” plants due to the stem breaking before being planted. I planted it, but it seems that something stole it away out the ground entirely. Rabbit, perhaps?

On a whim I planted three sweet pototoes we had in the kitchen. I found them behind something, when moving things around. They were in a brown paper bag. I recall that they came from South Georgia when we purchased them from a veggy stand on the way home from a Florida trip last Spring. They had long growths with little leaves on them, so I popped them into the ground. I have no idea if I’m doing it all wrong or what. It may be the wrong way and the wrong time of the year, or visa versa one or the other. Anyway, they are still there, no mysterious “whisking away” of them, yet.

I started Mantis-ing out a new herb garden, right behind the garage, yesterday. It’s just too hot to get it all done. I need to though, since I have some new plants to go into it. These plants: Plants, Plants, Plants from June 6.

New kitty in our house!

We picked up our new kitty yesterday. It’s a 7 week old brown, black, and tawny stiped male. He’s so cute. Curtesy the Greenewald family of our church. Out of Bloomer, he’s one of a litter of 5. One female that looked similar, though more tawny than black, and three male versions of red (orange) kittens.

We haven’t dubbed our new addtion with an official name yet, we are working on that. His first name from his birth home was “Tigger”. It’s a good name, but we always re-name all animals when we get them, if they had previous names.

Let’s see, to remember a few of them: Our red tabby female “Cinnamon” was called “Margaret” before we adopted her. Our previous youngest who’s a tortie with a hint of calico look was called “Galaxy” before we adopted her. We renamed her to be “Scarlet”. Strider and Dixie were known by other names as well, but I don’t know what they were. They were 9 months old, brother and sister, when we adopted them.

That’s our adoptees … Samantha I picked up from a garage that had a cat with kittens in the back alley. She was tiny, feisty, and so much my little sweetie from the moment I got her home. Princess was a feral born under our next door neighbors pool deck. We caught her when she was 4 months old, so we were her first human contact. Neat cat. That’s the role call for what we have right now.

Yup, 7 cats, from 11 years old down to 7 weeks old.

Click the above photo for a the first of a series of eight bad photos, taken with our CHEAP digital camera. New kitty and some of our others, eating their meal of raw chicken carcass. We switched the cats over to raw food a few weeks ago. They are doing well. Much better than they used to be on commercial kibble.

Plants, plants, plants

Our Patio Peach tree didn’t make it. We planted it new this Spring, root shock did it in. We bought it at Pikes, who guarantee their plants. So we had a store credit, fine with me!

We bought lots of nice little plants today with that store credit. Some new Gehrber Daisies to complement the ones we already have, plus a hanging basket of the same flower. Many herbs and other perennials for the garden, and in the bern.

I’m hoping to get them all planted tomorrow. Maybe/maybe not, since it’s raining now. It could rain too much and be really gooshey and gooey out there … so the task may have to wait until Monday or Tuesday. We’ve had sufficient rainfall this Spring. So every time a decent storm goes through, we get Flood Warnings issued. It’s a total opposite of what the last few years has been like. Now, dig down into the earth and hit moist dirt that gets wetter every half an inch deep. It’s great. Just gooey when it’s actually raining πŸ˜‰

Birds of late

Over the weekend the Hummers began coming to our feeders, visual sightings, that had been infrequent at best since migration this Spring, began to be more usual, with today being a day of acrobatic two-some between two young male RT’s.

It’s a rainy day today. Warm and muggy, with the rain stopped for now. I heard the musky mellow sound of an Eastern Bluebird close by, through the glass door. So I went out, and had a hard time spotting where the bird was. I saw many House Finches sitting on the fence under the Locust Tree, and in the tree itself. Another House Finch sitting up the fence line a ways. Big black birds in the yard next door, no doubt searching for worms and bugs.

On our rooftop there was music being played … a Northern Mockingbird, singing away, song after song, call after call, ever mocking others. Finally I spotted the bird I was searching for, right in front of me … sitting on a post of the “box tower” the end climbing structure on the “Jungle”. It was Mr. Bluebird. He was quiet after I went out searching for the Bluebird that was singing. Mr. Bluebird is so blue. Intensely so, the exact shade of blue I love. Gorgeous blue, gorgeous voice.

I was distracted then by Mr or Mrs Mockingbird on our roof, and after watching that bird awhile, I noticed Mr. Bluebird was gone from the post, but a cacaphony of little bird voices right at that moment gave away his position … he was checking on his babies.

Birds and their sounds, it’s a great hobby. So now the Hummingbirds are back. The distinctive “chatter” they make, the “whirring” sound of their wings as they get closer … it brings a delightful chill to the spine to hear these things … for it means you’ll get a peak at them. They are such fun to watch!

My Garden is getting bigger

This past weekend Frank and I turned out another piece of ground for our garden, it’s now in a sort of L shape. I have planted some green “bush” beans, and plan to plant some stringless green climbing beans at the end of that parcel.

In-between the beans are more tomatoes. I’ve never had as many tomatoes as I already had in the other parcel of garden from earlier in May. This is serious stuff!

I have three Mr. Stripey tomatoes, which are an heirloom variety. Six of a beefsteak or similar, and two more of different names, all the normal kind you’d find anywhere. I was thrilled to find an heirloom tomato plant for sale. I’ve never grown one, never could find any. I’d have to start them from seed, and that’s not happened as of yet.

I have room to add some more herbs, which I am more than happy to put in. I’ll make up a diagram of the garden one of these days, and upload it here.

I also put in 6 more pepper plants, a green bell variety. My first two pepper plants are doing fine. One has two fruit on it, fairly well developed, still small, but definitely not small. Both plants have been flowering, and both also have the beginnings of new fruit galore.

Most all of my earlier planted tomato plants are flowering now. One of them has 5 tomatoes, and is still flowering. No other tomato plant has obvious fruit yet. Most of the flowering just began the last few days … so it’s not so bad that there isn’t fruit on those plants yet.

Well, my gardening bug has grown to great portions this year. I’d love to expand the gardening space yet some more, and add even more variety. It’s kind of late June 2, to think about that, but not exceptionally so, considering we have until early November to safely grow most things, and with protection whatever is still producing late this Autumn will survive any early freeze … so I’m willing to gamble!

I’ll be wanting to do some cool weather crops also, sugar snap peas, garlic, and whatever else I come up with. So I’ve plenty to do on this land. And plenty of weeds to overturn to produce food.

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