June, 2013

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Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

As much as we love the thunderstorms here (especially during the monsoons), we have come to view them we some concern. Twice now we’ve had damage from a strike. This seems a little funny as the strikes were not really that close. They are delivered to us via our phone lines. Ugh.

The first time this happened we lost a couple of phones, a fax machine and a DSL modem. When we replaced the items I ordered a surge protector for the incoming phone lines and I installed it outside next to the phone box.

The recent strike destroyed the surge protector. Though it is possible it protected something, quite a bit was lost. 2 phones, a DSL modem, a WIFI access point, a small computer and a couple of controllers for the solar equipment. Ugh. (The solar has continued without interruption despite the damage.)

This time I’m going overboard on the surge protectors. I’m installing three in a row outside and inside, one before and one after the DSL modem. I will also connect the solar equipment wirelessly so it has no electrical connection with the phone lines. I really don’t want this to happen again. I’d like to find a simple disconnect for the phone lines that I could throw when it’s looking bad, but have not seem on. Or better, a electrical isolator,,, perhaps a wire to fiber to wire device that could prevent any electricity from coming in through the phone lines.

If anyone has thoughts on the problem, I would be very interested.

Allium update 2013

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Our garlic were harvested a month or so ago. Today I harvested the red shallots and tomorrow the grey shallots. It’s been a great year for all.


After a year of smaller than I hoped for garlic, I put a lot of effort and guess work into a crop of bigger garlic. I am pleased to report that this year’s crop was the biggest yet in total and individual garlic sizes. I embarrassed to say that this was entirely due to luck.

One of the two beds of garlic produced bulbs 3 to 4 times larger than the other bed. The only difference in the way the two beds were handled is that one got sprinkled every night starting in early May. Karen and I took a vacation and part of our preparation was to water the lettuce on a timer. The only way to do this was to put a sprinkler between the bed of lettuce and a bed of garlic. (In fact, I worried this might hurt the garlic crop.) It was so convenient that we left it on after our return. I guess garlic like a lot of water in the spring. There were shallots in that bed also and they too are larger than usual.

Our Purple Maiskij garlic crop came in at 16 pounds this year — double last year. We grew a couple of new kinds of garlic this year which may account for an additional couple of pounds.

Purple Maiskij

Purple Maiskij

16 pounds!

16 pounds!

The red shallots will need to dry before weighing. But it’s a lovely crop which we hope will last til winter. The grey shallots look good too, but are a lot of work to peel. :)

I am very pleased with this years crop and am already looking forward to next year.

Office visitor

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Adobe is done

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

In the ongoing push on the house, we’ve finished the interior adobe. Here are some pics.

This is a heavy lot of brick. And much of it pretty high up.

The grass is always greener

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

…and more plentiful on our side of the fence. This cow has managed to squeeze her head between our (unbarbed) wire fence to try it out.


There are lots of baby animals around right now. Calves, bunnies, and quail, which are especially cute. Very hard to get on camera though. I’ll keep trying.