Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gardening sieve

I want to expand my vegetable patch, but to do that contiguously (and I need to, because I don't have more anti-dog fencing) I need to separate the garden gravel under the plum tree from the soil.  I don't think the gravel makes for good vegetable patch soil, even though it has over the years intermixed with the soil underneath.  It would frustrate working the soil, and potentially disrupt carrot growth.

My solution: a gardening sieve.  With a bit of leftover steel mesh and some hand-me-down meranti planks from the garage and some brand new steel screws, I hacked up a wooden frame to both hold the mesh rigid and to prevent material from spilling over the edge.  I did this with my el-cheapo Ryobi table saw (more on that later), but you can build this just as well with a hand saw, or even no saw.  You could even use logs and nails if you had to.

I added the diagonal corner pieces because the frame was too wobbly for my liking without them.  The mesh was originally about twice the size of the sieve as it is now, which would have been unwieldy.  In fact the sieve is just the right size now - neither too big nor too small, so I can comfortably hold it and shake the soil/gravel mixture to separate them, as you can see here where I have a little pile of gravel piling up.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The right way to prune a tree

I often see trees disfigured by bad attempts at pruning.  Cutting limbs arbitrarily results in wounds that stay open longer than necessary (if they heal at all) and ugly proliferations of new-growth shoots.

It only takes a little more energy (mostly mental) to prune in a way that helps the tree recover from the injury.  Make your cut nearly flush with the trunk.  You especially want to preserve the top of the bifurcation - you'll often see this as an area where the bark is rough and flakes off, almost as if the barks of the trunk and branch are "colliding".  I no longer remember much of plant physiology but there's something magic about that part that can initiate new growth to cover the wound.  Your cut should look something like this:

 After a few years (exactly how long it takes depend on the size of the wound), the tree will heal the wound, by growing tissue to cover it from outside in.  Here's an example of a properly made cut on the same tree as above, after a few years' healing:

Eventually the wound closes completely, and over time the former wound site becomes almost unnoticeable.

If anyone has any particularly egregious examples of poor pruning, I'd like to add an image of it here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Response to "excessive" spending by rich article

Okay so why does Yahoo! want me to tell them my dick size, bank balance, and bowel movement schedule before they'll let me comment on this story? I thought my Google account would be good enough using OpenID! No matter, I'll reply here, and collect the millicents of ad revenue myself.

McGill University professor warns about spending excesses by rich and famous

This is as much a response to the article as a whole as to all of those retarded quasi-communist comments.

How many times over must the "rich" pay the purported "debt" you think they owe society? Where exactly did they incur this "debt"? They've already paid their income tax, and the tax they pay is more than you'll ever earn in your jealous little lifetime. I used to think the beer story is just one of those stupid right-wing chain emails (and maybe it is), but it seems like people just don't get it (and that's probably why they aren't rich). Just google for beer + "tax cuts for the wealthy" to find other variants. Also, get a fucking [high-paying] job (*).

P.S. If you wait until there is no more hunger anywhere, ever, you'll never see any Ferraris. Why don't you start by selling your TV and donating the proceeds to some starving kids in some despotic hellhole?

(*) I mean it, seriously. If you're so convinced that the rich are getting rewarded unfairly, then do what it takes to become rich yourself, and stop whining. Go to school, send your kids to school, toss out the TV (yes, really) and read books instead, take up a hobby that teaches you something useful. Think like rich people. Act like they do. Talk like they do, and adopt their attitudes. If it's so arbitrary who gets to be rich and who gets to be poor, you should be able to get a loan, whether from a bank or from your friends and family, that would give you the cash you might need to trigger the "rich get richer" phenomenon. You'll be able to convince someone to lend you that money, because, after all, being (and staying) rich is so easy, and so profitable, that you should pay it all back easily!