Plant problems…

We were really organized this year – made a spreadsheet that tells us what’s up for planting when. We got grow lights, because last year the plants went super stringy – probably because of insufficient light.

But last year we were pretty successful – despite getting plants into the ground late, things still grew well. In fact we gave away a ton of food last year. This year… things have not got gone so well. I’m now wondering if the grow lights were too close to the plants, apparently that can lead to bleaching. This round of plantings does seem to be doing better and we’ve just been turning the lights on briefly in the morning and evening.

But it’s been dispiriting, our plants going out having barely grown, then plunking them in the soil only for them to die. The weather also, has been somewhat weird – burningly summer hot one day, and ordinary spring cool with a ton of rain the next. I’m not sure the plants really know what to make of it.

Anyhow, all of that combined means that yesterday we headed out to the urban farm store – we needed to get some straw to go around our potatoes, but we also used the opportunity to get some plant starts. We had got some at the market the day before, but having already got out ‘extra’ money to pay for a chopping board (we have finally got ourselves a wooden chopping board to protect our knives. They have been being destroyed by our glass boards for a couple of decades), we felt we’d spent enough. Which obviously we hadn’t because we just spent a bunch more in the urban farm store. ;-)

So today is going to be spent prepping and getting these in the ground in the hopes that they’ll take better than the ones we grew. We’ve also had *something* eat the squash we planted, upsettingly. I don’t know what – maybe slugs? But they’ve taken some of them down to just nubs, which is also… dispiriting.

Anyhow, so the garden is not quite where we were hoping this year, but it’s all about learning.

In other news, I’ve realised we could get solar for probably around 1.5k, sufficient to maybe generate around 40% of our power. Indeed, it would probably meet the majority of our day-time use, and might make switching to time-of-use worthwhile (so we’d charge the cars at night most of the time). Anyhow, I was nudging at this problem (because I need more projects, totally); and came across a company that specializes in used solar panels. That would get us 2.8kW for about $1k plus a not super expensive inverter and mountings – we’re probably in for about 1.5k (less tax subsidy on the new components). That should put us at about 2-3 years for a ROI.

Which, if we stay here (in this house) after we adopt for a bit (current plan)…makes sense. Irritatingly, we could have put these in right at the beginning… anyhow.

I need to replace the duff breaker in the panel (never buy a second hand breaker, even if it’s warrantied, if you work as slowly as we do. Because the only second hand breaker in the panel trips all the time when it’s wet, but I only discovered it after it was well out of warranty — and I know it’s the breaker, not the wiring, because if I switch it for the 40A breaker (used on the other EV charger) it still trips, but the swapped breaker works fine. So I have to open the panel up at some point…

It bears thinking about.

Do builders dream of electric tiles?

I’ve been dreaming about the shower again. Not nice, peaceful relaxing water splashing luxuriantly over me as I relax. No, the tiling dream.

As the due date for another inspection approaches, and with Kathryn now vaccinated, there’s a potential small window of opportunity for us to coat the bathroom walls in the vile gunk that will waterproof it. That will mean I can finally get to tile the bathroom (and that will mean I get a shelf back in the garage which is currently filled with tiles).

It’s quite exciting, but it means I get the recurring dream about how to tile the bathroom, how to install the drain, plumbing it in… It’s all very useless – my brain’s trying to solve problems that I don’t know the answer to until I lay out the tiles. It’s trying to work out how I should space them out, how I should cut around the shelf…

It’s all pointless and irritating and means I wake up not feeling rested.

It’s fine for my brain to do this stuff when progress is quicker* and I’ve actually worked out stuff in the half-sleep/wake state which has been useful. At least, that’s happened at least once.

But for the most part it just means I wake up tired and feeling slightly grumpy.

Today, the plan is to measure out more trim and cut it – if it stays dry. If it seems like it’s going to not be that kind of day I might try and finish the last 4 feet of rock moving; it would be really nice to get that job done. I don’t want to push myself too hard today, though, because I’m going to be at work tomorrow. And work has, of late, been quite tiring.

In an NHSy way, all the local hospitals have been pretty full, meaning that we’re also busy. This normally happens for us in the summer when everyone gets out – and we fill up with people who’ve done something foolish outdoors. But at the moment we seem to be being hit with wave after wave of people who didn’t get X checked because COVID and now are very sick, or are just very sick anyway, or are having mental health challenges either because of the fall-out from a year and a half of limited option to be away from the people they live with.

…or because they’re (understandably) very stressed about the return to ‘normal’ when ‘normal’ involves a big chunk of the population walking around sans-mask-unvaccinated. And also it involves lots of social interaction – which many of us haven’t had much of.

And that makes work pretty exhausting, mentally and physically.

It really makes me more want to go live in the middle of nowhere – on a nice bit of land. Of course, the challenge with that is that money. And this year our growing… well, it’s not gone terribly well. I mean, some things seem to be doing okay, but as usual I’m feeling like I’m quite behind on planting. And the plants that we have – some of them really haven’t thrived, and I’m not sure why.

So, that’s that really. The world otherwise continues as is.

Which does worry. I mean, I’m pleased that there’s some progress from the new administration – but again a large chunk of the Dems seem to be trying to play nice and by the rules, and ignoring the fact the GOP don’t. It really feels like they’re trying to get bipartisanship from a group who’s only aim is to deliberately obstruct.

And in the mean time, while the Dems are playing nicely, the republicans are making it impossible for anyone but them to win. Voter suppression, gerrymandering, police overreach. I’m really concerned about what’s going to happen in the mid-term elections here. Because if the dems lose that slim majority then what?


And the endless attacks on trans people here, and back in the UK? It’s just wearing and tiring.

Definitely think a house far away from others would be nice.

*it’s not.