Archive for July, 2010

Garden and other updates

I haven’t posted in a while. The last couple of weeks have been really rough. The last 10 months have been really rough, but since July 4th it has been impossible. I don’t like to talk about work here. This is part of my escape from it. But since September 2009 they have been working me 6 different shifts, often in the same week. I could have been going to work at any time of the day or night. My circadian rythm has been totally screwed. I am always tired, and I never sleep right anymore. Hopefully that is coming to an end.

I also haven’t posted anything on the garden in quite a while because we’ve been neglecting it. Between my work schedule and a dozen other things going on (but mainly my work schedule), we just haven’t been able to get out there as much as we would like. We can only garden during the day, if it isn’t raining. But I can do the activist stuff any time of the day or night, from any location where I can access a computer. That’s why I was able to do the activist stuff even when I couldn’t get to the garden. And when we did get to the garden I didn’t take pictures as much as I should have.

Radishes 06/07/2010

Radishes 06/07/2010

The first thing we harvested were the radishes back in June. We left them in a little too long, so they got hotter than normal and were a little fibery. But they were certainly OK. We felt good to be harvesting something. If we had done all of that initial work only to have it go to hell we would have felt really bad.

Radishes washed 06/07/2010

Radishes washed 06/07/2010

We planted two more rows of radishes which we will hopefully harvest in the next week or two. We won’t leave those in as long. But with the first set we almost couldn’t distinguish the radishes from the weeds. In fact when I cultivated the rows to plant more radishes I found some in the ground that we had missed.

Orange Pepper 05/30/2010

Orange Pepper 05/30/2010

Back in May the orange pepper was doing well. It even produced a couple of peppers which did turn colors, but never got big enough to be good. My wife kept asking me if we were going to put it back in the ground, and I kept hesitating. If we did put it back in the ground it would die back before growing again. And at the end of the season it would die completely. So I held off, and then it got dropped along with all the other balls as I ran out of steam. So it’s still in the pot. If I can nurse it through another winter then next year we’ll plant it again.

Orange pepper close up 05/30/2010

Orange pepper close up 05/30/2010

It has produced 2 or 3 peppers, though none of them ever got big. I think light is part of the problem, and I know water was part of the problem. There were times when I didn’t get to water for 4 or 5 days or more. We lost a lot of the stuff in the greenhouses too. The strawberries never sprouted. All in all it’s been a screwed up year. I have a plan to rig up some plant lights if we can ever afford it so maybe over the winter and next year we will do better. A lot of our stuff got leggy due to reaching for the sunlight, even with big windows.

Apartment Garden 07/01/2010

The garde 07/01/2010

Well, here is the garden as it looked July 1st. This is AFTER extensive weeding. The weeds come up so fast that if we aren’t out there at least twice a week (and we weren’t) then they take over. All of the clear spaces looked just like the section on the right. You can see the rows of cabbage, black simpson lettuce, brussel sprouts, and broccoli. To the right in that mess there are peppers. In the rear on the left are the onions and radishes.  Somewhere back there should be potatoes.

Side view of front rows 07/21/2010

Side view of front rows 07/21/2010

Here is a closer look at some of the rows. Bugs have gotten to some of the plants, but they are mostly doing OK. The broccoli bolted to seed because the temperature has been too high for it. We have hope that if we cut it back it will grow more heads before winter. Some of the lettuce bolted as well so we harvested what could, pulled out the bolted lettuce, and left a few that were still small.

Rear view of front rows 07/01/2010

Rear view of front rows 07/01/2010

Looking from the rear gives a better idea of how long the rows are. Despite our lack of attention they are doing quite well. If nothing else, we’ll get plenty of cabbage. The cabbage were originally given to me by a friend at work. He had started them in his basement under grow lights, and they looked better than any of our stuff. And they have done better than any of the stuff we started. That’s why I’m really thinking about a small grow light set up for over winter and for starting plants next year. He just has some small ballasts with cheap full spectrum plant lights hung from chains so he can adjust the height. They are in a basement with no windows, so the grow lights are all they get. And yet his stuff looked great. Our stuff, in windows with full sun for half a day got leggy.

Fordhook Zuccini 07/01/2010

Fordhook Zuccini 07/01/2010

This is a Fordhook zuccini. It was one of two that survived the cats. By this time it’s partner had died, but we had high hopes for this one. unfortunately we had a run of about a week with 95-101 temperatures, and I dropped the ball on watering. He didn’t make it. Or she didn’t make it. It didn’t make it. We put a yellow Crookneck Squash in it’s space. Hoepfully that will do better. We’ve been getting plenty of rain lately, but another dry week is coming up. Hopefully I can keep up with it.

Baxters Bush Cherry tomatoes 07/1/2010

Baxters Bush Cherry tomatoes 07/1/2010

My Baxter’s Bush Cherry tomatoes seem to be doing OK. The tomatoes have been a little slow this year and haven’t produced like we had hoped. But a few days ago they had a lot of green tomatoes on them, so we may still get a decent amount. We’ve harvested a few so far, but nothing like last year.

Yellow Pear Tomatoes 07/01/2010

Yellow Pear Tomatoes 07/01/2010

We planted quite a few Yellow Pear tomatoes, and a lot of them survived despite my neglect. They have started producing, though as of a few days ago all of the tomatoes were still green.

More Yellow Pear tomatoes 07/01/2010
More Yellow Pear tomatoes 07/01/2010

But like the others, if all of the green tomatoes survive we should start getting quite a few in the next days. These were the only Roma type tomatoes we had planted. Lesson learned there. We started too many seeds because we didn’t know how many would take, and then I didn’t cull out all but a few really good ones.  For the fall harvest plants we are planting fewer total seeds, and will save the best of each type.

Rainbow Hierloom tomato Mix 07/01/2010

Rainbow Hierloom tomato Mix 07/01/2010

The rainbow Hierloom Mix also seem to be doing pretty good.  The problem with rainbow mixes is that you don’t know what your getting so green, yellow, or orange may be the final destination of the fruit, and you have to try to figure out which one it is.  We have harvested a few orange tomatoes so far, but many more are coming.  We also planted some more seeds in mid July.  I don’t know if anything will come of them, but we can hope.  As my friend at work says “Every year is an experiment.”

The tomato corner 07/01/2010

The tomato corner 07/01/2010

This the corner.  Here the row of Yellow Pear tomatoes meets the Hierloom mix and the Super Sweet 100’s in the front row.  The super Sweet 100’s have done pretty well, and we have harvested a handful.  But more green tomatoes are waitng to ripen.  Honestly, despite all of our problems so far we could do really well with tomatoes in August.  I’m really hoping we do.

Red Onions from sets 07/01/2010

Red Onions from sets 07/01/2010

Back over on the other side of the garden here are the onions.  They were red onions grown from sets.  Once the tops fell over we waited a bit to harvest to toughen them up for storage.  Unfortunately they were all small so we used them all already.  They were good, mild slightly sweet red onions, just on the small side.

BioFactory reboot 07/20/2010

BioFactory reboot 07/20/2010

And here is the BioFactory on July 20th, rebooted for the fall crop.  After several failures to water for a week at a time we had to throw out a bunch of stuff.  What survived?  The Orange Pepper, the Purple Basil, and I kept the strawberry pot which never showed any signs of life.  I thought maybe if I kept it moist it might sprout, but no luck so far.  From the greenhouses we salvaged some celery, and a few other thing swhich I have hardening outside.  Everything has been cleared out of our bedroom, and the cats are allowed in again, which they are very happy about.

We reloaded both greenhouses for a fall crop.  Unfortunately I can’t recall a lot of what we started in them.  But we tried fewer seeds of each thing, and we will save th ebst plants from each type.  I know we strated several varieties of beans, peas, more broccoli, and cauliflower.  Anything with a 3-4 month time to harvest.  I’ll try to post a complete list soon, both of what survived and what we started for fall.

A decision was reached Wednesday in the case of Dorr vs Weber. Dorr, an Iowa resident was denied a permit by Weber, an Iowa sheriff. The reason? Dorr’s political activity and speech. As reported on The Volokh Conspiracy, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa Western Division ruled that the sheriff had violated Dorr’s 1st amendment rights by denying his 2nd amendment rights. The court ordered the sheriff to issue Dorr a permit, and brought up the possibility of requiring the sheriff to attend a class on the 1st amendment.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, is reporting on the ongoing saga of sheriffs over charging for a License to Carry Firearms. Lehigh county was recently taken to task for charging $38. Now Bucks and Montgomery counties are being focused on. It is unclear at this time whether recipients who were over charged will be getting a refund.

State law specifies a fee of $21 for a License to Carry Firearms and a $5 charge to be placed into a fund for modernizing the system and keeping it up to date. That adds up to $25 that they can charge according to state law.

Oddly, some county sheriffs in counties often percieved as less sophisticated by those in the Philly burbs seem to have better reading comprehension and manage to get by with the $25 total fee. The county sheriffs called on the carpet for price gouging, instead of admitting their mistake and apologizing, have chosen to dissemble, and make all manner of excuses about why they don’t have to obey the law and yet expect us to.

Utah is also being looked at as one of the few states to allow permit holder to carry on college campuses. A report in Business Week paints utah’s law, and lack of subsequent slaughter on campus, as a model for other states in the wake of the DC vs Heller decision that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, and the McDonald vs Chicago decision that the Second amendment applies to the states. Michigan and colorado may follow suit, as gun rights activists propose new legislation and file court challenges to existing prohibitions. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is leading the effort.

Again back in Pennsylvania the Delco times reports that Rep. Lentz won’t push HB 2536 until fall. Anti liberty forces in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives have kept this from being voted on in the Judiciary Committee 4 times now because they knew they would lose and it would die.

By pulling HB 2536 at the last minute each time they keep it alive for future consideration. After the elections in November there may be a lot of outgoing politicians who will decide to give us the finger one last time by voting for this bill, when they have already been voted out of office.

HB 2536 turns due process on his head, and makes everyone guilty until proven innocent. If the cops don’t like you then they can deny you a License to Carry, and they do using the character clause, all the time. If the local enforcers don’t like armed citizens they can make the process as difficult as possible so you won’t bother with it, and they do right now in several counties. If you have EVER been arrested they can deny you, and this happens every day in Philadelphia. HB 2536 would remove your recourse to get a license from a state that issues based on strict criteria such as NO CONVICTIONS. Not just because the lard ass behind the desk doesn’t like your tatoos or piercings, a list of which is asked for on the illegal application used by Philadelphia.

Again, if they expect us to obey the law, they damn well should as well. And the penalties for not obeying the law should 10 times worse for government employees and elected officials than they are for ordinary citizens. After all, they get to make and enforce the laws. That’s one hell of a fucking priveledge.

According to a report in the Houston Chronicle lobbyists and political activists in Texas are lining up to get a concealed handgun permit. Why? Because in Texas you can carry into the capitol if you have a permit. And if you have a permit you get to bypass the security checkpoint. This isn’t new. And guess what? No one has been killed at the capitol. Why? Because permit/license holders have been trained, background checked, and are decent, responsible people.

Now lets contrast that to Pennsylvania where you have to go through a security checkpoint. If you are a license holder and armed you must declare that to the Capital Police. You will have to produce your license, fill out a form, and give them your gun. They will record your serial number and other information and lock your gun up in a locker. You will be given a receipt. Don’t lose it, you need it to get your gun back before you leave. Most of the Capital Police are very nice, and professional about it. I know the process so well because I’ve done it half a dozen times. The first time I went down I wandered around the capital for 45 minutes with my openly carried handgun trying to find the correct entrance. Only one entrance has the checkpoint with the firearm lockers.

You know what else you don’t have to go through in Teexas if you have a permit? A background check for every purchase. Youre permit counts as the background check. And with no state form for handgun purchases that means that, unlike Pennsylvania, you just fill out the yellow sheet, pay, get handed your new gun and walk on out the door. God I miss Texas. If they would just fix that prohibition on open carry I could move back 😉

The verdict was read about 7pm and is being reported by a variety of news outlets including USA Today, the LA Times, and CBS News.

For those who haven’t followed the story, on New Years Day 2009 Bay Area Transit Police officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed 22-year-old Oscar Grant on a train platform in Oakland. At the time Grant was face down on the ground with Mehserle effectivly on top of him. A number of bystanders took video of the incident and it can be easily located on you tube and other online video sites. It was widely thought at the time that Mehserle had intended to draw and use his Taser, but instead drew his pistol by mistake. Both were holstered on the same side, and both have similar grips and operation. Mehserle’s attorney used this as his defense, along with the usual qualified immunity bullshit.

Crowds had gathered awaiting the verdict and they moaned and shouted with disappointment when it was read. MSNBC is reporting that Oakland police arrested 50 after protests over the verdict turned violent. Reportedly the crowd was urged to avoid violence by community activists and volunteer peacekeepers. But after the majority of the crowd dispersed a core of black clad, hooded protesters roamed the streets looting several stores, and setting fires in trash cans and dumpsters.

The reports so far all engage in typical race baiting and emphasize the WHITE officer and BLACK victim and the NON BLACK jury parts. Personally I’m pretty sure race had nothign to do with it. Here’s my take:

  1. The cop screwed up. Personally I believe he was reaching for his Taser and got his fo-tay by mistake.
  2. I don’t think the above point makes one damned bit of difference. If anything, cops should be held to a higher standard, not given a break. If a citizen screws up they will get the book thrown at them. Cops should get double the book as holders of the monopoly of force operating under color of state authority. The cop murdered the citizen. Maybe there was no malice of forethought, but as one of the guys with a badge and a gun he should be held more responsible. He should have been convicted of murder.
  3. As a carrier and gun rights activist I am frequently told by opponents that it’s just dandy for cops to carry deadly weapons when normal people shouldn’t because of the extensive training police get. What? Really? Look, if I was strapping on my gear it would occur to me that it’s a bad idea to have two similar weapons with similar controls on the same damn side. I shoot twice as much in one range trip as cops shoot in a year. I know the laws regarding weapons, and the use of force in my state better than any cop I’ve met. I’ve never accidently shot someone. So much for his extensive training.
  4. In my experience cops don’t care what color you are. They will roust anyone who doesn’t cow tow to their authority. I can think of half a dozen instances where cops rousted whites and other non black people who were not doing what the cops wanted.
    • Someone’s going to say “How many of them got shot?”. Doesn’t matter. I still think the shooting itself was accidental. The circumstances that lead to the shooting, such as a few people having a monopoly of force, the common use of excessive force by those people, the idea a lot of cops have that they can do anything they want, having two weapons with similar form and controls on the same side, the belief of the citizens that they have to obey the police, years of pro cop and pro government propaganda, etc, etc, etc, were not accidental and were preventable. The system itself was at fault in this incident. Both the officer and the system itself should have been held accountable for the murder of an innocent man.

The PA House Appropriations Committee is still holding HB 40 Castle Doctrine hostage. The House of Reps leadership is hoping it will die in committee. They know it will pass if it comes up for a floor vote. This bill, if it becomes law, will make it the presumption in your home and outside your home if your attacker has a visible weapon, that you were in fear for your life or serious bodily harm. It will also provide protection from frivolous lawsuits to individuals involved in a legitimate self defense shooting, and police who have to shoot legitimately in the line of duty.

Under current law if you have to shoot in self defense in your home you then have to prove that you were in fear of your life or serious bodily harm. Outside your home you have to retreat if you can. And after you shoot someone they or their survivors can sue you, even if you successfully prove that you were in fear of your life or serious bodily harm.

HB 40 Castle Doctrine means in your home justifiable fear is presumed, you don’t have to prove it. HB 40 Castle Doctrine means outside your home if you see that an assailant has a weapon then you don’t have to retreat. HB 40 Castle Doctrine means that if you justifiably defend yourself you won’t have your life and finances ruined by lawsuits from the assailant or his survivors.

Write, call, and email the PA House Appropriations Committee members. Ask them, politely, when HB 40 Castle Doctrine will be brought up for a vote? Ask them to personally ask the Majority Chair, Dwight Evans and the Minority Chair, William F. Adolph Jr. to bring this up for a vote.

These reps are on the appropriations committee and are sponsors. Contact them, thank them for their support, and ask them to ask the Majority Chair, Dwight Evans when he is going to bring this up for a vote.

Gordon Denlinger – R (717) 7873531

Brian L. Ellis – R (717) 7877686

John R. Evans – R (717) 7729940

Mauree A. Gingrich – R (717) 7831815

Glen R. Grell – R voted FOR passage of HB 40 in Judiciary committee (717) 7832063

Tom H. Killion – R (717) 7720855

Bill Kortz – D (717) 7878175

Deberah Kula – D voted FOR passage of HB 40 in Judiciary committee (717) 7721858

Tim Mahoney – D (717) 7722174

David R Millard – R (717) 7831102

Scott A. Petri – R (717) 7879033

Dave Reed – R (717) 7057173

Douglas G. Reichley – R (717) 7871000

Mario M. Scavello – R (717) 7877732

John Siptroth – D (717) 7876492

Matthew Smith – D (717) 7831850

Richard R. Stevenson – R
voted FOR passage of HB 40 in Judiciary committee (717) 7836438

And now, the others. These are the appropriations committee members who ARE NOT sponsors. E mail them and ask them to sponsor the bill, support the bill, and to push the chairman to get it out of committee. Some of them voted for this in the judiciary committee, and we need to thank them for that and remind them to do it again.

Dwight Evans – D Chairman (717) 7831540This is the man who decides if and when HB 40 will come up for a vote in appropriations.

William F. Adolph – R minority chairman (717) 7871248

Matthew Bradford – D (717) 7722572

Tim Briggs – D (717) 7057011

H. Scott Conklin – D should vote for passage (717) 7879473

Eugene DePasquale – D (717) 7877514

Dan B. Frankel – D (717) 7051875

John T. Galloway – D (717) 7871292

William F. Keller – D (717) 7875774

Bryan R. Lentz – D voted FOR passage of HB 40 in Judiciary committee (717) 7878574

Kathy M. Manderino – D voted AGAINST final passage of HB 40 in Judiciary committee – expect the same vote (717) 7871254

John Myers – D (717) 7873181

Bernard T. O’Neill – R voted FOR passage of HB 40 in Judiciary committee (717) 7057170

Cherelle L. Parker – D (717) 7832178

Josh Shapiro – D voted FOR passage of HB 40 in Judiciary committee (717) 7837619

Greg S. Vitali – D voted AGAINST final passage of HB 40 in Judiciary committee – expect the same vote (717) 7877647

Jake Wheatley – D (717) 7833783

Jewell Williams – D (717) 7722004

and here is a comma delineted e mail list to make it super easy;


Not sponsors,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Updates can be found in the PAFOA forum thread about HB 40

If you care about your right to keep and bear arms then please visit PAFOA, and join the forum. It doesn’t cost anything, and you can meet and nteract with other gun owners, learn how to become more active in protecting your rights, and keep up on the latest and greastest in guns, gun stuff, and gun laws.

If you are serious about protecting your right to keep and bear arms please join Firearms Owners Against Crime (FOAC). They are our only pro gun Political Action Cmmittee (PAC) in Pennsylvania. Anytime in the last 2 decades that something good has been passed or something bad has been stopped they are the reason.

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