Phenology 2022

As a famous whitetail deer once lamented: “Winter sure is long.”  And here in zone 6a, I would concur.  The last week of April through the last week of October are the only guaranteed growing times for anything not frost-resistant, and even that’s a gamble.  The remaining half of the year is reserved for watching it rain.  It certainly gives the mind some time to contemplate self-harm.

But then I discovered something: Phenology.

In an applied context to gardening, it correlates planting times to what local native plants are doing.  For example, when the crocus blooms, it’s time to plant radishes.

The benefit being, some vegetables can, in theory, be planted ahead of last frost, thereby extending the gardening season.  The practice is entirely anecdotal, as micro-climates are too variable to establish a regional constant.  The information available is therefore crowdsourced, making for nice little community of gardening nerds.

It also made for a fun experiment.  And with a basic internet search providing corollaries to what I planned to grow, I was able to create my own planting guide.  The dates themselves I left blank, as I would fill them in myself, noting whether the incidence was successful or not.  And so, after one year, I have my own vegetable garden planting time reference index, specific to my immediate geography:

Local Phenology 2022.xlsx

I intend to add more items, but for now the greatest revelation was that I could squeeze out a few more weeks’ growing time for peas and root vegetables.  And with the carrots maturing earlier as a result, I was able to plant a winter crop far enough in advance of the hard freeze to yield some impressive roots.

I pulled this out yesterday: 1/17!

So while Suicide Month will remain unchanged, I can at least take comfort in the knowledge that it’s the last month of the season that I can’t plant anything.


Winter Wrapup

I went a little out of order on my posts.  I must have been anxious to jump to the new year.

Here’s some final highlights for the end of 2022:

Obligatory external shot
The more people develop land, the more these invade.
Alas no rabbits this year
And time to start peppers

On to 2023!


Cold and Snowy (Part 3)

As per usual, here’s my post-holiday winter post, recapping whatever I was up to in January last year.

Also here’s the first good winter snow of the season

Aside from that, the holidays were stressful as usual and too action-packed for my liking.  So here’s a toast to the new year, and the holidays being concluded once more:



Knife Wielders

Guns are of course a polarizing topic for us Americans.  But unlike guns, knife design has a far less malleable intent of purpose.  Sure, the gun pendants will argue otherwise, that a gun is a tool–but its purpose is always to kill, regardless of the target being animal or human.  A knife, however, may indeed be designed for killing, and it may be multi-purpose say for military or survival applications that might require killing, but it may also be very obviously designed for non-lethal utilitarian tasks.  And the attempt to use the latter for the act of killing would probably bring equal harm to the wielder.

But this is difficult to explain to those whose sheltered lives never necessitated the carrying of a basic blade, for why carry a blade at all when other tools can be acquired to accomplish a blade’s tasks?  And if a blade is indeed required, could it not be readily requisitioned from somewhere other than a person’s clothing?

Is it necessary to carry a knife as regular personal equipment?

This question came to mind recently when, due to my own negligence, I had my daily-carry folding knife confiscated at a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert.

The concert was pretty awesome though!

As what seems to be the increasing norm at large gatherings, security has tightened to the point of ridiculousness.  Coupled with the wannabe cops that seek this employment, the experience is akin to TSA, minus the wandering hands squeezing my crotch.  Humph–their loss.

But the old guy who caught me was nice (no crotch-squeezing involved), and probably just making some extra money in retirement, so rather than relegate a fine blade to the dumpster, I gave it to him on the spot.  He was openly pleased at the offering, so at least I know that it went to an appreciative new owner and not a douche-bro trying to act ultra-alpha.

But back to the question: why carry a knife at all?  Does its application warrant the irritation of having personal property essentially stolen?  My daughter, who herself has lived an incredibly sheltered life to date, didn’t seem to think so.  Maybe I just have outdated habits based on early experiences of a life I no longer live myself.

So to answer the question, I began documenting every instance where I reflexively reached for and used the knife in my pocket.

Over the course of 3 days I…

  • Opened a cardboard box of making soda
  • Pried a gap in some siding in order to fit a Christmas light mount
  • Opened a letter
  • Opened a box from Amazon
  • Made a quick mark on the ceiling for mounting a decoration hook
  • Opened a computer box
  • Teased some fuzz out of the Roomba’s wheel well

Okay, 3 days isn’t a large sample size, but it was a tedious list to maintain.  Still, it’s enough to make two observations:

  1. Having a knife on my person is incredibly useful…around the house.
  2. I don’t leave the house very often, and when I do, I haven’t needed a knife.

So perhaps it’s time to revise my loadout.  I could always just stash a knife in each of the vehicles in case I’m out and need one, but as I’ve already taken this approach to flashlights and never seem to have one in the glovebox, that might not guarantee knife access.

Or maybe the world just needs to chill the fuck out.

In the meantime, I’ll just carry cheapies.  Fuck you, paranoid world.