Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The Iowa Brewers Union held the first ever Homebrewfest on 8/22/2009. Here are some pictures...

Pictures of the hops

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Garden Update

Haven't posted in a while:

Tomatoes - look like crap but are producing very well.
Peppers - a bust! Looks like the cool weather has caused some problems
Pac Choi, cauliflower - both did pretty well, although they both tend to bolt pretty quickly

Others - not so good this year. I need to be better with upkeep.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Plants in the dirt!

I always feel better once I get my plants in the ground. Last night Shannon and I planted our tomatoes; and a few other things. After the loss of our dog we have been spending more time in the garden. It has helped us to keep our minds off our loss as well as allowed us to talk about it - kind of strange we can do both things at the same time. I think the best thing we can do is spend time together and planting things helps. Shannon usually doesn't spend much time with the vegetables but I know it's very hard for her to be alone in the house right now. Any time we spend together right now just helps us work through our grief.

We planted:
Pineapple, Beam's Yellow Pear, Brandywine (Sudduth's), Hillbilly Potato Leaf, German Pink, Gold Medal, Federle, Old German, & Big Mama Hybrid tomatoes.

We also planted:
Tomatillos, Pac Choi, Cauliflower - Cheddar, Cauliflower - Graffiti Hybrid, Cauliflower - Rosalind.

Sunday we planted onions and some seeds:
Onions - Red Hamburger, and a white and yellow variety we picked up as plants from our local Earl May garden center. I like to plant the starts that are skinny and maybe 4-6 inches long and wrapped together in bundles of maybe 50 or 75 plants. They work great in the square foot garden.

As for seeds we went with:
Radishes - French Breakfast - Burpees
Lima Beans - Fordhook No. 242 and Henderson Bush - Burpees and American Seed
Spinach - Avon Hybrid and Baby's Leaf hybrid - both from Burpee
Arugula - Rocket - Burpee
Popcorn - Japanese White Hull-Less - Gurney's

I also planted some cucumbers - Straight 8 from an old packet I had, and Diva from Park Seeds. I also want to plant one more variety, Fanfare from NK seeds. They were in my pocket but I forgot to plant them...oops.

Whew! My back is sore just typing this!

Next up - the Peppers! The plan is to put them in the dirt this weekend. I also have a couple of Okra plants that I have not yet figured where to plant.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hey Porter

Today was a very sad day. We had to put down our dog, companion, little guy and all around best friend, Porter. He had become sick over the last month or so. It started with the occasional loss of bladder control and some weakness in his back legs. We thought he had a bladder infection and he just finished treatment for that earlier in the week. This morning started out fine but almost immediately he went downhill. He could not move his hind legs well at all. We took him to the vet hospital and they thought he might have some sort of immune system problem that was making him anemic and it was made worse by the bladder infection. We left him there so they could observe and treat. A few hours later we got a phone call stating that they found a large tumor that had pretty much destroyed his bladder. At that point it was clear there was not much that could be done for him and that he wasn't going to get any better. We decided that we couldn't bear the thought of him suffering or having any long drawn out struggle with the inevitable so we made the decision to put him down. Heartbroken doesn't even begin to describe how my wife and I feel. Less than 24 hours ago he was playing and cuddling with us and now he's gone. We always knew this day would come but it's so difficult.

His AKC name was 'Hey Porter!' from the Johnny Cash song of the same title. In addition, I am a homebrewer and on of my favorite styles of beer is Porter. It seemed to fit. He was a Boston Terrier that was bigger that just about any other Boston I have ever seen. He was around 35 pounds and strong as a bull. We knew we were in trouble the day we brought him home. He whined and cried all they way home unless we held him up so he could see us. That first night we tried to have him sleep in a box. He whined and cried until my wife finally said, "why don't we just put here in bed with us until he stops crying". He never slept anywhere but the bed again.

We had him for maybe 10 months when, while playing with me, his cornea was scratched. We were frantic. We ended up at Iowa State University's vet hospital at midnight, in the rain, and left him there to have surgery on hie eye. We picked him up a few days later and, while we were still in the parking lot, he ripped the stitches open and we had the have the surgery done again. That was a really sad day when we had to leave him the second time. When we picked him up we were told that the students had celebrated "Porter Day" by decorating his cage. Every one we saw said they were so happy he was able to go home and that they would miss him.

A few years later, while my dad was terminally ill with cancer we brought Porter over to visit. Dad was nearing the end and was going in and out of consciousness. When Porter came in the room he went over and jumped up on the bed. Dad sort of came through and was 'there' with us. He was petting the dog and we were all able to have a conversation with him. It lasted for about 5 minutes or so. That was the last time he was able to speak with any of us and he passed a few days later. It was incredible to see.

Those are just a few of the memories I have and I feel a little better sharing them today. If you have a dog give him an extra hug and a kiss for Shannon and me. Also, rub his belly and scratch his ears; Porter really liked that.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hops planted

I planted the hops in their final location. From East to West they are:
Mt Hood
East Kent Golding