Earthtainer – not just for corn or tomatoes!

On a whim (and pure laziness) I’ve been using my Earthtainers as compost bins, putting whatever I can in them, occasionally stirring and planting my leeks, creeping thyme, mums and other odds and ends as I find them.

So a few months ago the old and wrinkled spuds I put in there mostly broke down, but some sprouted. I put green bamboo stakes next to the seedlings and used some clamps to hold the plants steady.

They grew quite fast, much to my amusement, now in August the potato plants are just over five feet tall (from ground to tip – includes Earthtainer). The plants themselves are about 4 feet…

I’ve even had a neighbour ask what they were, asking if they were flowers… he was impressed when I grinned and said “Nope, they’ve got pretty flowers but they’re actually potatoes”

(we talked about the different kinds of potatoes – red, gold, white, peanut/fingerling, purple…)

Anyways, I decided to root around (heh) the first few inches of soil and found some surprisingly large potatoes – all red right now, the purple potatoes in there are slower to grow (but getting there – I found some still-attached little ones).

Sometimes minimalistic input pays off more than fretting and fussing (which is what I usually do).

On the subject of potatoes, I put some in my side garden as well, and there were a few lurkers from last year that popped up.

Working on a theory that the more room for roots the better I cut the bottom out of a square pot and plunked it over the strongest one… it happened to be in the middle of the back of my patch, so the look of it was a bonus.

I then filled in the container about two inches, reaching deep into the new soil (half compost, half sandy soil) to scratch at the old (mixing the two and breaking up any surface compaction). Topped off the container, watered it in twice and then mostly ignored it.

It grew reasonably well, flowered and died back as it’s supposed to. I was putting off digging it up so the skins could thicken.

About a month ago my landlady decided to help me in my garden and take the dead “flower” out – lifting the pot up and out… I guess she didn’t notice the two fingerling/peanut potatoes dropping on the ground… the roots held the soil in.

I came out a couple hours later and stared at the “dead flower” in a pot in confusion, then flipped it onto it’s side – there, clearly visible, were two potatoes. I dug around and got a nice handful, grabbed my shovel and shoes and dug up the rest… picking up the dropped ones as a final cleanup.

They didn’t last long – I cooked them up with some garlic butter. Yum.

As for the red potatoes I gathered today? Making some potato and hard boiled egg salad with them. … it should make a double or triple recipe.
I wonder if it freezes well… Anyone know?

Locust Plagues – a curse or cure for hunger?

Over the last while there have been biblical-proportion storms of locusts in areas that are already famine-ridden.

My question is, if locusts are edible (and they are)… instead of spraying them to try to kill them, why aren’t they catching them and eating them?

Yes, the locusts devour everything they can touch, but why not turn that into a positive?

Just a thought.

RE: Panicking about small risks, oblivious to large risks

“There are several factors involved in vaccine rejectionism. Vaccine rejectionists lack even the most basic knowledge about science, immunology, and statistics. They don’t have even rudimentary tools with which to analyze the claims of charlatans. Just like the flat earthers, they are persuaded by what “seems” reasonable to them in their limited experience.”

From: Panicking about small risks, oblivious to large risks

The first step of propaganda is to dehumanize the enemy.

Each person has their own reason to vaccinate or not, painting them with a wide brush is quite ignorant.

I would have expected better from an educated person; I am rather disappointed.

Internal US Patrol – Pastor beaten and tazed – 11 stitches

Why won’t I visit the US?

Well…. they’ll do this to an American, what will they do to a Canadian!?

[Edit] Farking WordPress wouldn’t embed the video, so here’s a link:

Baptist pastor beaten + tazed by Border patrol – 11 stitches

[Edited again on May 13, 2009] The above link goes to a video where he talks about what happened, but as a followup, here’s actual footage (!)

ACTUAL FOOTAGE Pastor Beaten & Tased by Border Patrol & DPS

The sounds he makes while he’s being tased will probably haunt me for a while.

Superstore: Tossing wilted flowers because watering is hard.

So I was shopping at Superstore, checking out the flowers, when one of the workers there was pulling all the wilted ones off and putting them in trays.

I figured he was going to go water them and put them back. A few minute’s work for a little profit and less turnover, right.

Wrong.

His job was to find the wilting flowers and to throw them out. Yeah, you read that right.

I made the obvious request – can I grab a few?

Nope.

I’d suggest someone needs to talk to the manager over this (I will soon), but knowing corporations as I do… looks like their dumpsters need to be explored.

In the meantime, I’m nauseous thinking about the pure level of mindless WASTE.

Ubuntu Computer from FreeGeek

So… my mom bought a computer from Free Geek (Vancouver) and asked me along. It’s been a while since I’ve seen my mom that anxious; she almost convinced me to get off on the wrong stop (which would have been QUITE a walk) and was generally fretting and fussing the whole trip.

I, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. As I get older (I just turned 29 recently) I find I’m getting less and less judgemental about neighbourhoods and people yet becoming more firm in my boundaries.

Anyways, back to the computer. I convinced my mom that she really didn’t NEED to dualboot with XP for at least the next month, and to just use it as is. She’s no stranger to Ubuntu, so I doubt there will be much of a transition period.

The only issues she’s run into were preset settings on the computer – the resolution made her monitor look odd, and the keyboard was set to an odd layout.

I figured out both of these issues for her over the phone – the resolution was just a case of adjusting the monitor so she could see the menus at the top (vertical position) and then setting the resolution to her usual 1024 by whatever.

The keyboard layout was amusing – she had it set to Canada layout, which apparently means French Canadian. She HAD to change it because, apparently, there is no @ symbol in that layout. A simple change to Generic brand and USA layout fixed it easily.

Convincing her to go with the USA identity (even though it was just a keyboard layout) was the hardest part. Our family are old Empire Loyalist stock – we tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to being identified as American.

All the small drama aside, I’m sure she’s enjoying her computer.

Oh, and yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. To see what I’ve been up to, check out my amandakerik.stumbleupon.com

Tubemogul – a flash tracker

I value my privacy quite a bit, so when I figured out how to make Flash ask me for permission to store info, I was quite pleased.

Except today… Today I’m rather annoyed. I was over at Second Life’s site trying to watch tutorials and there were 3, yes three sites asking to store info in Flash.
blip.tv (the video hosting site)
flash.quantserve.com and
tubemogul.com

The last two are trackers – they keep track of who watches what, what the person tends to watch over time, and other stats.

The problem? I had to click [Deny] to their request 3 – 5 times in a row and it was reasking me every 30 seconds.

OY! I’m trying to watch a video here, not engage in a battle of wills. Gah!

The part that annoys me the most? I can’t tell it to never ask again, like I could when blip.tv asked.

It’s not an option.

So I edited my hosts file.

No change in how it behaved (it still tries to annoy me into saying yes).

I went to the site so I could get the option to deny. Yeah, the site’s blocked editing the settings (data storage, access to mics / webcams).

So I guess the question is… how the fuck do I block this when editing my HOSTS file didn’t work!?

My computer, my connection, my choice.