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March 2005
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May 2005

To all TV Addicts

I have to come clean. Kevin has recently pointed out to me the amount of time I spend in front of the TV. I respond that this is my way of unwinding after a full days work etc etc. Yet I have to agree. I do spend a lot of time in front of the TV. Even with TIVO, I haven't been able to reduce my consumption.

Now I've discovered this site literally dedicated to TV Addicts. Television Without Pity. Now instead of just watching the TV now you can comment on it, disect plot lines, speculate about future plot lines, and the best of all go onto the spoiler thread to find out what happens.

I have a number of programs that I watch religously. I am a bit of a reality TV freak. I like Big Brother, I do like watching The Apprentice (which now in its 3rd season has become really lame), Amazing Race and even American Idol. Battlestar Galactica has been the best science fiction remake of the old BG which I remember watching in SA when I was growing up. (I had a crush on Apollo - but then who didn't?) The first season has ended and now we have are the reruns, and we have to wait until July (I think) for season 2.

Other shows included in my list of 'must watch at all costs' are The View, The Oprah Show (I know - there are no words!), Desperate Housewives and 24.

Television Without Pity provides great reading for most of what I watch. The American Idol forums are hilarious - as people give vent to the artists they most like, love or hate.

Cat Blogging and the Power of Catnip

Catnip is a powerful attractive force of nature. Well, at least to cats it is. Last year when I started my front garden I foolishly planted catnip (one poor struggling plant). The neighborhood cats went wild. The poor plant seemed to wither and give up entirely. The cats had created a little barren area around the catnip, where these fur ball addicts would curl up and inhale. I despaired.

This spring I am pleased to report that the Catnip is doing quite well. I have seen evidence of various visits from neighborhood cats. Here is a link that describes the Catnip Response in cats.

Catnip_cat_3680 Here's one neighborhood cat in a catnip induced haze.

Blog dialogue

I found this wonderful example at how the blogosphere creates dialogue and communication among diverse groups of people. Neo-neocon is writing a series called "The Mind is a difficult thing to change". This series comes in 4 parts. Here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Check out the link here to Part 4A . Part 4 deals with the Vietnam War. As a response to her blog post about the Vietnam War Vietpundit responds. Read the Vietpundit's comments section.

This is what makes blogging so powerful: ideas are immediate. Connections are made, news and commentary is fast, dynamic and changing. Who wants it the silly old fashioned way? I don't.

Storm Chasing Season Begins...

Amos at Cyclone Road talks about the warm up to the 2005 season. We have been getting some (weather). Oh for the life of the Independently Wealthy!

Last weekend we were out gardening and I saw a truly magnificant cloud mass developing. It reminded me of a supercell over Eastern Kansas. Yes, its coming. Here's a link I got off Amos' site about a successful storm chase April 22. I am so envious I shouldn't say another word...

Here are some other links I found off Amos' site:

A link about cold core tornadoes and the April 10th event.

Here's Amos' chase report from April 10th. Oh a sight for sore eyes... (sigh)

Here's a story of a bust (this happens more often than not - truth be told.)

Our proposed chase 2005 is looking pretty dismal. Mainly because I have no leave due to me, and we have other committments. So I am going to be doing some virtual chasing, and living enviously and vicariously through the antics of others. If (a big IF) we have activity nearby I may (cough cough) just have to have a sick day. But Colorado severe weather is typically later in the season.

Burrowing Owls

Since my last post we have been busy - busy with gardening, and general spring orientated activities. I've ordered my plants from High Country Gardens and they should be arriving during the week of May 16. This is also the time of year for Burrowing Owls.  Kevin visits Rich Stevens' website for interesting tips on bird watching. We used this site to find the little screech owl that I blogged about here.

We found a very informative Burrowing Owl "Owl Loop" that practically guaranteed us a good sighting of some burrowing owls.

And sure enough we spotted them. So we have been regular visitors and watching these cute cuddly owls as the stand on their holes and watch us! We have been taking pictures, but none have come out good enough to post on this site. These owls are kind of skittish, and do not like to be approached.

The best time to see Burrowing Owls is during the day when they are quite active. Watch out for prairie dog colonies and do a careful scan of the mounds as they sometimes peep out at you. Typically they stand on top of the mound in a very erect way.

Here is a more informative site about Burrowing Owls. It includes pictures and sounds.

Square Foot Gardening

Spring is in the air. This means it is time for gardening! Kevin has for 10 years used the square foot gardening method for his vegtable garden. What is that? Square foot gardening is a method whereby a frame 4' x 4' is constructed of wood, place on top of any surface and then a special soil is mixed into it. Plants are then planted and grown in about 6" of fabulous soil.

You might think that 6 inches is too shallow- it's not. Not for most little plants, and veggies. This is not for planting trees - they need more soil to grow!

This season I have been inspired to plant and grow more. The reason for this inspiration is my delight at seeing the first bulbs start to come up, and my amazement that the garden I started last fall has not died! My beautiful plants are starting to re-establish itself. Even the catnip that the neighborhood cats decimated in the fall (the sluts!) is creeping back.

Kevin has used SF gardening for his veggie garden. Typically he uses about 3 squares, and our household simply cannot keep up with the yield. We have lettuce, swiss chard, beets, marrows/squash, tomatoes, parsely, spring onions, and cilantro.

This season I decided I would like to create a flower garden (using drought hardy xeriscape plants) out of a SFG. I had thought of creating one at the side of the house facing the street. But after Kevin had constructed one, it looked stupid, and I wanted to enjoy the flowers not hide them away for only the street to see. So we plonked it in our back yard. Kevin went on to make an additional 2 squares to add to his vegtable garden. He now has a total of 6 squares. (One had been defunct, but he is now growing strawberries this year.) The new squares are experimental squares for plants that he just wants to see what they look like. We plan to plant sunflowers (because I like their bright cheerful faces) and maybe black eyed Susan's.

But before our plans could happen we need to do some hard work and preparation.

We had to plan this right since the weather forecast predicted a nasty spring storm coming through the neighborhood on Saturday night, with snow falls of up to 2 feet. The best day for gardening was Saturday.

Kevin had made the squares by attaching 1" x 6" boards cut to 4 feet together. My square was slightly different as I had half of the square raised 12".

Mygardenempty_1 Position the frame carefully. Once it is full of soil it is extremely heavy and impossible to move.

We put the frame on landscape/ weed blocking fabric to prevent weeds and grass from growing through.

For the deeper raised portion we used fill dirt from the garden and then cut cardboard out and placed it over the fill. You do this so that next season you know where the good soil ends and the crappy (note technical terminology) soil begins.

Here is a picture of the ingredients:


Then we had to create the soil. Use 1 part vermicullite to 1 part compost to 1 part peat moss. (1:1:1)

I used a mixture of mushroom and cow manure.

The best method is to use a bucket for measuring the different ingredients. Place in a mixing bowl and mix mixture together when it is dry.

Vermiculite This photo is of my measure of vermicullite.

It is much easier mixing the mixture in another larger container than in the squares themselves.

So I poured 1 bucket of vermicullite, 1 bucket of compost to my mixing bucket. Mix together, and add 1 bucket of peat moss, and mix together.

Peatmossmix Here's my mixing bowl.

After mixing add water, and continue mixing. You are looking for the consistancy of mud pies. When ready pour into frames. You have to do this a number of times before the squares are full. Make sure that the soil comes up to the top of the square.

Done! Now the soil is ready!

We covered up the squares with clear plastic to prevent the neighborhood kitties from turning our gardens into litter boxes. Since we were expecting a snow storm we removed the plastic just before the ETA of the storm so that the nice wet snow could cover the soil, and keep it nice and moist.

The next step? I have to order my plants. I will probably only have them delivered around the second week of May, for planting around then. Colorado weather is deceptive - we have been having 70 F days, yet it can still drop below freezing during the night.

For more accurate information about SFG go here. FYI - Kevin and I do not use the planting grids recommended by Mel. I find that the planting area is small enough not to need it. Besides, I like a slightly unstructured look to a square.

Lamb & Mango Stir Fry


I was feeling unusually creative food wise this evening. So I wipped out some Australian lamb chops I had picked up at Costco and decided to make a "Sally's Surprise" of Lamb and Mango stirfry.

I've always thought that lamb is a sweet meat best eaten with something fruity. Hence the mango. I did not have fresh mango so I soaked some dried mango in water and through in some raisins for fun.

Finely chop onions and fresh garlic (the fresher the better - mine were getting a little soft, I really had to dig around to find a firm pieces) Put in as much garlic as you can stomache. I chop the garlic up finely too. But if you want you could crush it too. Place in wok, drizzle with olive oil and simmer until onions are glassy. Make sure that the wok surface is super duper hot and add the lamb chops. Brown all sides adding rosemary, a sprinkling of regular chilly, pepper and cayenne pepper. (I cooked my chops in the microwave before adding to the wok)

Once nicely browned and the onions look seared add a can of diced tomatoes, mangoes and raisins. And let it all simmer.

Serve with rice.