Saturday, May 8, 2021

More flowery stuff

The bottle brush behind the fence is in bloom.

And the Canna is sending up some flower stalks.

I keep trying to trim the ugly, brown leaves off the Canna but it keeps getting ugly brown leaves any time the wind blows even just a little. Somehow it just rips the leaves to shreds.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Musical Pots

A while back one of the daisies lost a few branches and gained a bit of a port-side list.

And by "a bit" I mean "a lot". It's been basically hanging over the edge of the pot for a year or two now, and it's about time I gave up on just waiting for it to right itself.

This calls for repotting.

But repotting requires a new pot, and it just so happens I have one in mind.

However, it's in use. The fuchsia in this pot has had its ups and downs, and mostly its had a bit of difficulty growing to its full potential due to the fact that the pot is only about half full of soil. It definitely needs more, but you can't exactly just dump more dirt on top, so fixing this is the perfect opportunity to repot it.

Off to the home depot and a bit of green thumbing later, and magically it has a new home.

Slightly bigger pot, and actually full of dirt. Much better.

So now I have a pot freed up for the daisy, and in it goes, with a moderate attitude adjustment.

It would be nice if the pot wasn't chipped, but that predates my ownership of it by quite a while. The old pot was broken and glued together though, so this is at least an improvement over that.

Oh, and I also deadheaded it. At some point I'll give it a bit more pruning to try to train it up more, but for now I'll just try to keep it from dying while it adapts to its new home.

More flowers

Spring has most certainly sprung.

Iris, Iris, Rose, Some kind of Transvaal or Barberton Daisy, Ice Plant, and some kind of Penstemon that I've been calling a bluebell for a while.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Another day older and deeper in debt

So Tyler noticed on Friday that a neighbour was giving away some free 12x12 concrete pavers after presumably ripping out a backyard patio. He grabbed a few to lay down beside his house, and mentioned to me that more were available.

Now I've had in mind for a while a plan to dig out some access paths under my crawlspace, as it was built too narrow to actually crawl through properly, and I wanted to line the bottom of these paths with some concrete pavers so that I wouldn't just be crawling along on the dirt all the time. So, that made it a no-brainer to go pick them up.

It's a good thing I have a van.

Anyway, I got pretty sweaty loading these on Saturday morning, so I waited until today to unload them.

Ah, what a satisfying stack. 97 pavers in all, each about 18lbs, so 1746lbs (approx.) in total. For reference, the total payload capacity of my van is almost exactly twice that amount (just under 3500lbs).

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Yes, we have no bananas today

As a child, I only knew cottage cheese for one thing: being the punchline of food jokes. It was the culinary version of self-flagellation, an edible penance for dieters to consume to atone for their sins. It was a key ingredient in "Nachos, Flanders' Style" (that's cucumber with cottage cheese on it).

But it wasn't something that any sane person would eat by choice.

Fast forward to a few days ago, and I'm watching a video on youtube about how to make ricotta cheese at home, and it occurs to me that ricotta cheese bears some striking resemblances to cottage cheese. As I ponder this notion, I meditate on the thought that I do quite like ricotta cheese, and given its similarities to cottage cheese, might I actually find myself enjoying it too? Might that explain why this product mysteriously remains on store shelves to this very day?

There was only one way to find out.

I traded in my usual weekly haul of honeycrisp apples for a bunch of bananas, and bought a tub of the cheese of mystery.

The recipe:

  • One banana (for scale)
  • One banana of cottage cheese (use banana for scale)
  • One healthy squeeze of liquefacted bear brains (commonly sold under the common name 'honey')
  • One healthy dusting of cinnamon (or canela molida if you're feeling fancy)
  • One unhealthy dusting of cayenne (it makes cinnamon more cinnamon)
  • One consecration of salt (to ward off evil spirits)
The preparation:

In a bowl, deposit a pillowy cloud of cottage cheese. Squeeze the blossom end of a banana to begin a tear in the peel and gain access to that tough little black nub that's always found down there. Throw out that part, nobody likes that part. Use a spoon to scoop the banana into banana coins, depositing each one in turn onto the cottage cheese, making a cash register ringing sound with each one. Slather on the bear brains, sprinkle with the spices and salt, and then take an instagram-worthy food shot.

Oh yeah, that'll get the likes and follows for sure.

The verdict: uncomfortably delicious.

Why have I not been eating cottage cheese all my life? The only logical explanation is simply that I have been deceived by a long running conspiracy perpetrated by cottage cheese lovers hell-bent on keeping their favorite delicacy under wraps for fear that if the masses caught on it would drive up the price and lead to their ruin.

Well, their uppance has come. It's time for this conspiracy to end; it's time for the veil to be lifted, the masses must know the truth that has been kept from them all their lives.

If this is the last you ever hear from me, you'll know who got me. They can't get us all. Share the knowledge with the world.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Only flat on the bottom

So when I was out grocery shopping yesterday, I forgot that I wanted to pick up a few extra bits and bobs to try out a new dish, which I will cover in a future blog post. In order to remedy this oversight, I decided to take my electric scooter out for a little spin down to the local grocery store.

Now I hadn't ridden the scooter in a hot minute so the tires were a bit on the soft side, but I figured it wouldn't be the end of the world and might help soak up a bit of the pavement buzz. So off I went.

The trip started out quite well, save for one spot where the sidewalk inconveniently ended. I had to wait a good three minutes or so to get enough of a gap in the traffic to scamper across the street and continue on my way. Inconvenient but not disastrous.

Of course, starting quite well doesn't mean ending quite well, and as luck would have it I ran over a particularly large rock just as I was about to pull into the parking lot of the grocery store. It was just large and pointy enough to put a nice pinhole in the tube in the front tire.

Naturally the parking lot of the grocery store was basically the furthest point of my journey from my house, approximately 2 miles, so of course that's where I got the flat tire.

Undeterred, I did my shopping and then considered my options for the return trip. I started walking home just pushing the scooter along, but I noticed that the sidewalls of the front tire were stiff enough so that the tire wasn't completely collapsing under the weight of the scooter. This gave me an idea, and after a little experimentation I determined that if I stood on the very back of the scooter right next to the rear wheel I could still roll along without destroying the front tire. So roll I did, all the way home, albeit a bit awkwardly.

Once home I packed away my grocery haul and set about fixing the flat. I'm going to insert the 'after' picture here just to give some context.

The scooter is, for various reasons, front-wheel drive. And for various, mostly cosmetic, reasons it has little covers that go over the axles. And for other cosmetic reasons it has stickers that cover over the bolts that hold the covers that go over the axles. Repairing a flat definitely isn't a "quick fix on the side of the road" type of procedure.

Off came the stickers; off came the bolts; off came the covers, and then I had to deal with the axle nuts.

This is where things started to get even more fun: the axle nuts are 18mm. Almost every set of metric wrenches and sockets you'll ever find comes with 17mm and 19mm sizes, but never 18mm. I did just happen to have an 18mm socket, by some strange twist of luck, but that would only do for one side: the other side had the power cable going through the middle of it.

Now you may well say "just use an adjustable wrench, you silly goose", but that brings us to the next issue: the axle threads were absolutely plastered with red loctite.

That said, getting the one side off using the 18mm socket was a bit of a bear but basically manageable, and luckily the power-side had a bit less loctite on it and so the nut didn't get completely rounded over by me going all bubba on it with the adjustable wrench, so all's well that ends well. Still, not ideal.

Of course, this just lead to the next painful job: getting the tire off. As I mentioned earlier, the sidewalls on this tire are quite thick and stiff, and that generally makes getting tires on and off the rim a pain in the ass. The small wheel diameter also didn't help things one bit, nor did the fact that the wheel was tethered to the rest of the scooter by the non-removable power cable. Still, through all those trials I somehow managed it.

Patching the tube was honestly the easiest part of the whole process, and then I had to do all the steps in reverse again. About the only step that was easier to do backwards was dealing with the axle nuts, since I didn't have to fight with the loctite.

Anyway, I did manage to get everything buttoned up, get air in the tire, and go for a spin around the block to test it out.

The repair was a success. Job done.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A disagreement of sorts

The scrub jays seem to have a different opinion about how many Coast Live Oak trees should be growing in my yard. I tend to lean towards "none, thanks", while the jays are rather insistent that the correct number is "dozens of them".