Yellopig Is Free

Or, Recreating A Life From Scratch

First Year in the Garden

According to my (spotty) records, I planted the first vegetables in the garden on 23 February last year. So it’s time to assess.

That day I planted a row of lettuce, a row of spinach & three potatoes. All but one of the lettuce plants and all of the spinach became bird food. Darn! Two of the potato plants were also lost. But the third one did eventually give me a dozen potatoes, and they were the best-tasting potatoes I’ve had in years!

After the debacle with the greens, it was time to plant beans. The instructions said to plant a few beans every week for a month or more. This is supposed to spread out the harvest so one doesn’t end up with 25 gallons of beans all within one week. Well, my dirt wasn’t all that productive, and only once did I even get enough beans to make a decent side-dish. The rest of the summer I got one or two or sometimes three beans a week, and they didn’t even make it indoors because I munched on them while doing other things around the garden. But again, they were the most excellent beans!

Side note: the wax beans did better than the green beans. Both were bush-type plants, because I didn’t feel up to building a trellis for the runner kind. I’ll plant more wax beans this year.

Once the hundred-degree weather arrived in May, and with an evil eye out at those birds, I started covering everything for most of the day using an old bed-net. It probably cut out less than 20% of the sun, but the plants seemed happy to have it. In June I planted a bell pepper plant, which said it wanted full sun but also seemed happier under the netting.

Then, in July it started raining. Up to then, I had been watering with untreated water from the well. I used a (black) soaker hose and watered in the evening around sundown. By that time of day though, the water coming out of the hose was pretty warm(!). The water wasn’t really spraying on the plants, and they didn’t seem to mind much. But they really liked the water that fell right out of the sky! Everything looked so much happier with the rain.

Finally, I planted cucumbers, sunflowers and tomato seedlings. I got six tomato plants, but only had room in the bed for three. They were determinate-type, and were caged; the other three were planted in pots, but they didn’t like that and died. I think the dirt in the pots didn’t have enough organic mulch and had too much sand — it baked up pretty hard and the plants just didn’t like it. The three plants out in the dirt did fine though, and eventually there were more tomatoes than I could eat. The cucumbers also did well, and the sunflowers were pretty to look at. They weren’t the eating kind though, and I think I’ll get that kind next time. The ones I have got to be about four feet high, and provided a nice support for the three cucumber plants, which eventually took over half the garden bed.

In October when everything was about finished (except the tomatoes), I planted “winter garden” things: peas, carrots and more lettuce and spinach. The spinach did not sprout. The peas and lettuce sprouted but didn’t do anything much. A surprise potato appeared — apparently I hadn’t pulled quite all of them. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long — I think I over-watered it.

Winter came, and there was a freeze in late December. I covered everything and left a little light on under there, but the light didn’t really produce enough heat. The tomato plants were puddles of black mush by morning. Fortunately I had picked most of them in preparation, so there wasn’t really much lost there.

We ended the year with just a smidge over our average 13.5 inches of rain, so that was a good thing. The deeper part of the tree moat gets a regular puddle when it rains, and that’s also a good thing. I’m still digging on that — at least when the temperature is above 60°F. I hate being cold.

So, to sum up: I got a dozen potatoes, about 50 green and wax beans, a bit of lettuce (from the one plant that wasn’t eaten by birds), 5 bell peppers, 6 cucumbers and about 25 tomatoes. Back when I was surveying the burnt and beaten dirt in my yard, I set my expectations for the garden pretty low: a handful of beans and a dozen tomatoes. I definitely beat that, and (re-)discovered how great vegetables taste when they come out of your own yard!

Now, how can I do this better? First, start the potatoes at least a month earlier. Also, I didn’t “hill them up” properly last year, so I did it differently this time. (Pictures maybe next week.) The bed-net will need to be replaced, but the shade cloth I’m seeing around here looks too shady, so I have to think of something else or maybe look more diligently for 10-20% shade cloth. The head lettuce didn’t “head”, and the leaf lettuce I have going now isn’t quite what I wanted either, so I need to keep looking at new varieties there. Plants need less water in winter, so I need to cut back earlier than I did. And, of course, I need more room — which means I need to keep moving on the tree-moat and finish it so that I can start digging the other garden bed. I’m planning to have that bed ready by next January.

In unrelated news, I got my driveway graded! My neighbor has a front-loader, and after it rains he sometimes goes out and scrapes our road. This is much appreciated by (probably) all 20 people who live on this road, heh. Last time he went out, I caught up with him and asked that he have a scrape or two at my driveway, and he was nice enough to do that. The meter-reader will probably appreciate it too.

Lastly, have a picture of a Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis) butterfly:


WordPress Changes – Your Poll #1 – Herded ?


For those of you affected by the new WordPress “enhancements”, plz add your vote & thoughts to GrahamInHats’ post. He may be able to help us. More voices may get TPTB to listen.

For others, please excuse the meta. The WordPress blogging interface is being changed, and mostly for the worse and with much consternation amongst the small bloggers (such as myself), and without “consent of the governed”. I’d like to keep this blog going, and the changes will make that cumbersome. More than the “stats” page is involved…

Originally posted on Freed from Time:

Duck back 2This is your opportunity to vote on the recent changes to WordPress and there are two vital reasons to do so.

Firstly, the survey is unlikely to be published, so this is your opportunity to be heard. Secondly, by ourselves it is unlikely that we can bring about improvement but, investors and allied businesses do not like management that alienates it’s customers and fails in new endeavours.  They can make a difference.

Our endeavour is to rescue WP, for desktop users and for the new mobile market.

Workarounds are here , more articles are here and, for surety, you might wish to note my standby blog:-

The subjects for these polls will include: Herded ?,  Democratized Blogging,  Transparency,  The New Interface Failures,   Misleading Claims,  Censorship,  Privacy/Security and Management.  Each will have a Link when available and I will post every couple of days.  So if you don’t…

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About WordPress Changes and What We Can Do



WordPress is implementing changes. Feedback concerning these changes is uniformly negative. In fact, the changes make it impossible to for me to tell if you have seen my posts unless you “like” them or comment. So please: I know you have been reading, but in the future I will not be able to tell, so again please, drop a “like” or comment (even if empty), to let me know you came by. Thanks!

Originally posted on Freed from Time:

For Help with the changes (workarounds) please click here.    This content is about Underlying Motive, The Problems, Probable Cause, How We Can Make a Difference and Remaining Questions.

*** There is now a reply from CEO Matt Mullenweg, (Jan 29, 2015 at 17:57) in comments and your very welcome to respond. ***

Underlying Motive

Matt Mullenweg, owner and recently appointed CEO of WordPress, has himself indicated a wish to pursue the mobile market which is made clear in and interview with Forbes click here ! (page 5/6) .  However that interview does not indicate any intention to abandon desk top users.

Add to this, Tiger Global now have at a total of $110 million invested in WP here !.  Tiger Global also have investments in the expanding Indian and South American mobile and e-commerce markets.

Amended/Addition:  From WSJ/Digits  “We both have a long term…

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Midwinter Blues

I knew it would come to this, and I prepared ahead.


These are Desert Tansyasters (Arida arizonica), and there are almost always some of these blooming around the yard somewhere. Since I get pictures of these almost every month, I hadn’t been showing them, since there was always something else to show you. January, though, is flowerless this year — dreary and cold. OK, not cold compared to other places, but enough to make me feel a bit cranky. And I so miss the sunshine.

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‘Tis the Season


Desert mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum) growing on a Chilean mesquite tree in my front yard. I took this picture only 2 days ago. When I showed it to a plant-nerd friend, he said it was weird, because it’s completely off-cycle. Like by six months!

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December Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), glaring at his reflection in the window, during an argument he thought he was having.

Beneficial Pests

When it rains in the desert it’s like an alarm going off, and then suddenly everything happens all at once. Billions of eggs are laid, billions of seeds germinate, the daytime air is one long buzz and the night is filled with creaks and croaks and hoots. And those baby critters all arrive hungry!


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Hurricane Odile Update

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

August Wildflowers

It’s another gray, rainy day, which gives me an excuse to wander the interwebs, checking on the names and habits of the little plants I found while wandering in the yard last month. OK, some are not so little.


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Garden Update — August/September 2014

Hurricane Odile just sent me my first squall, so there won’t be any garden action for a couple of days. In the meantime, let me show you what’s been going on out there.


So here you see wax beans at the lower right, green beans in the middle, a pepper plant at the very bottom, three caged tomatoes at the left, then sunflowers and cucumbers just outside the tomato cages.

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