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Tomato season

This is the time of year when tomatoes taste like tomatoes. My own harvest has been sadly limited by brown-thumb techniques, desultory soil, lurking fungus, questionable ratios of nitrogen to potash, pruning failures, hydration missteps, predatory squirrels and the garden's weird mimicry of my personal degeneration. But even so, the earth is generous to those of us who beg, and some perfect mayters -- Big Girls, Brandywines, Early Girls, Cherokee Purples -- are now migrating to my kitchen on a daily basis. This time of year is a good-eatin' time. The taste of a vine-ripened, home-grown tomato is the taste of summer (though clams dipped in butter may argue that point).

I've also got squash and green beans rioting in an ungoverned patch in back, and melons allegedly on the way. No corn patch this year -- the postmodern corn field ("corn") being postponed for another season. I'd like to find something to plant now, in the dog days, for autumnal harvesting, but I don't know what my options are. (Any ideas?) As in the kitchen, I'm stuck on basics and need to expand my repertoire.

But lifestyle expansion of any kind is inhibited by the lack of supervision of those things already attempted. The list of Things Undone is so long. Financial stuff. Basic organizational duties. Kids need to learn to drive. Car is a decade old and suddenly needs new knees and hips and I'm studying bus schedules.

Plus, I got to plug this damn oil well! But I'm getting that done. I don't know if the static kill will end this thing completely -- sounds like the experts really think it will come down to the bottom kill -- but there's a chance they'll plug the well this week with cement. And killed is killed. You can only kill it once. The bottom kill in that case would be, as I wrote the other day, just poking the corpse to make sure it's really dead.

But we can't just focus on the news. Part of the reason for gardening, I think, is that it locates us in the world, in our own little patch of the planet, and that satisfies a primitive need. Next year the oil spill will be a memory, but I'll still have a garden, and still be trying to coax tomatoes from the earth.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 3, 2010; 8:02 AM ET
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Next: Oil spill: Is it over?


Down here, backyard mangoes. Tomatoes are migrating in from Canada.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 3, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Ah, gardening! The Roma tomatoes are starting to come in, the Early Girls are just beginning to think about ripening.

Mr. T filled the raised bed he made for me with dirt etc. from where I had been dropping my kitchen scraps. A bunch of vines have appeared and prospered, to the point that they are taking over. I think they are cantelopes but as they haven't set any fruit I don't know yet. I may have to pull them up because they are threatening the moonflower vines and the grass.

Yes, optimism is defined as planting a garden...

Posted by: slyness | August 3, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

The NukeGarden has consistently turned out servicable 'maters and tons of cherry/grape mini-'maters, as well as healthy numbers of cucumbers. Unfortunately, the recent heat wave turned much of that to worm food. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 3, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Daughter planted two tomato plants in the large container. Like other years, we got lots of flowers but only one fruit. And I don't know if it was the elusive Mr. Stripey or the other variety (I forget which other).

I'm going to believe it was our beloved friend. It was misshapen and the one area never really turned red.

It was delicious, by the way. Unlike other years, we managed this year to harvest and eat it before The Squirrel got to it.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 3, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

'Mudged big time! And I even asked for it.

Got nothing on gardening as we have basically the same yield that Mr.A has with some zinnias, morning glories and the usual perinniels thrown in for good measure. With the heat and drought and home repairs our garden will slide into Autumn on benign neglect and a prayer.

[Messages for TBG and rainforest (and anyone else who backboodles) at end of last kit.]

Posted by: talitha1 | August 3, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Romas are at home in Washington: they're the result of breeding at Beltsville.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 3, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Cool link, Dave. I did not know this...

The first recorded spontaneous occurrence of parthenogenesis--the ability to give birth to offspring without mating with a male--in warm blooded animals is discovered in turkeys. A strain of Beltsville small white turkeys is then bred for a high incidence of parthenogenesis.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 3, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

You already know about our chipmunk problem. The traps haven't caught any of them yet and we haven't had any more ripe tomatoes, except for the cherries. I do love garden tomatoes and can't wait to gorge on BLT's and toms and mozzarella with basil. The rest of the garden is producing like mad. Zucchini, summer squash, cukes and green beans are overabundant. The butternut squash vines have escaped the fence and were headed for the shed but as they are easy to train, I redirected them. We didn't plant corn this year because of the borers we had last year. We will try it again next year, hoping the borers have died off or were burned in the fire of stalks this Spring.

It is wonderful to have such a lush garden after last year's soggy disaster.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 3, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Yummm, really ripe tomatoes this time of year, so sweet. I buy them at roadside stands up here. When I visited San Fran, they made a salad of just heirloom tomatoes of all kinds and colors, cut into chunky pieces with a basalmic dressing. My favorite way to serve ripe tomatoes is to cut the top third off(save for sauce later) then sprinkle with buttered bread crumbs and fine shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese and put under the broiler until bubbly. And you r killin me DotC with all this mango talk.

Posted by: -CB- | August 3, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Dr G's been buying tomatoes at the farmers' market every week. Here's one thing I'm fixing with them...

Fresh Tomato Spaghetti "Topping"

Start cooking spaghetti.

In medium pan, saute finely chopped onion in olive oil until very soft.

Add a wee bit of fresh oregano and rosemary from the deck.

Cut up tomato(es) and add to mixture.

Cut up a few balls of marinated fresh mozzarella and throw in.

Remove from heat.

Finish cooking spaghetti.

Stir up so that the mixture is slightly gooey (this helps it stick better to the spaghetti).

Plop some spaghetti on the plate. Add topping to taste.

Add grated Parmesan cheese to taste (freshly grated is best, but out of a can will do).


Posted by: -TBG- | August 3, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Yuumm, TBG!

So nice to have a garden kit, with the only mention of oil being the olive kind.


Posted by: slyness | August 3, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I decided to immerse myself in the Mr. Stripey experience this year; that's all I grew. Serviceable for salads, I still seek a good meaty variety. What they call "canning tomatoes." Whenever I see a tomato variety described as "juicy" I translate into "slimy." I think any homegrown vine-ripened tomato will be "juicy."

Romas don't do it for me. Many recommend them but the deep meaty taste I crave for cooking often does not develop. Plus, any homegrown meaty "canning tomato" is surely delicious on sandwiches and in salads too. I would like to try growing the "Brandy Boy".

The other volunteer squash plant has revealed itself to be a scion of the Orange Hubbards I discovered in the market last year. Very rewarding year for squash.

Joel, cilantro and lettuce can be planted weekly and should be. Time for beets, too. Do I practice what I preach? Ha ha ha ha ha!

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 3, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

'tis 'mater time around the Vast Padouk Estate as well. My tomato crop has done alarmingly well, which I attribute entirely to my extensive use of High Quality Bunny Poop. (That's HQBP fer short.) In addition to freezing large quantities of puree for wintertime use, I also find that well-chilled sliced tomatoes served with a smidgen of salt and balsamic vinegar is a pretty good after-work snack.

I note mention of "Cherokee Purples," which I take it is one of those high-falutin' heritage types. I must admit I don't have much experience with heritage tomatoes. I have always relied on mainstream varieties that are the result of many years of scientific hybridization under controlled conditions. You know, the way God intended.

The exception, of course, is the variety known as Mr. Stripey. (Although even he is in danger of Selling Out and going all Commercial.) My first experience growing a Mr. Stripey, as many will remember (despite your best efforts to forget) was documented here. And despite the morally uplifting and thoroughly inspiring nature of his Noble Life, it was a bit shy on good eatin'.

And my attempts at growing descendants from seeds did not result in dynastic dominance.

Indeed, it is only this year that I have grown a Mr. Stripey from a truly healthy seedling and under reasonable conditions.

When measured in terms of foliage the results have been astounding. Mr. Stripey towers over the rest of the garden, and this after merciless pruning. But there is, as of yet, not a proportional amount of fruit. It is only in the last two weeks that green tomatoes have begun to form.

I have read this isn't unusual for heritage varieties. And I don't mind that Mr. Stripey isn't a big yielder.

Heck, I just enjoy the company.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 3, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Joel, when I first moved out here I attempted to grow crops I was familiar with from the Pacific Northwest. These included pod peas, lettuce, and carrots. These didn't do well because of the extreme heat. I did find, though, that if you plant such crops in August, there is a pretty good chance they will thrive and provide you with a second harvest in the fall. I did it a couple of years with reasonable success.

The other thing you can do it plop in a hot pepper plant. These things will grow like crazy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 3, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

'tis the season when it is very good to work at a Farmer's Market. One of my tomato pushers said that she is a freegan. I asked what that was and she told me that she only eats what is free. Trades are being made.

Lunch will be fresh farm grown tomatoes, artichoke, feta, cucumber and greens.

Yesterday's lunch was a small but "healthy" BLT made with a farm-raised tomato slice and slow cooked thick-sliced Applewood smoked bacon.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 3, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Looking through my homeowners' insurance policy, I'm a little disturbed to see that I'm not covered for Volcanic Eruption (other than loss caused by earthquake, land shock waves or tremors.)

Posted by: -TBG- | August 3, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Floridians who planted Pacific Northwest veggies last fall did well. Broccoli and the other cool stuff thrived. Tomatoes didn't.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 3, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

TBG, that sounds really good, for the cooking challenged please explain balls of mozzarella - the big ones?

Love the garden stories, I do not grow veggies, other than the odd tomato plant - but with very limited success.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Isn't garlic a late season crop? Still to early for it perhaps.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

They look like this, dmd...

Posted by: -TBG- | August 3, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Ahhh boccini

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

My father taught me to "plant garlic on the shortest day of the year; harvest it on the longest." There's a lot of leeway in that, but I sure have magnificent results with garlic when I follow that prescription.

I hear you on the Stripeys, RD. Nearing six feet, I have about as many adventurous squash hanging off the tomato plants as tomatoes.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 3, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Given that males are WW and females ZW, I expect these parthenogenic turkey offspring should be male-- and I see they are. (Any ZZ parthenogenic daughters would be likely to abort.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Turkeys reproducing like aphids-- kind of spooky, really.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Gardening is no longer a CasaJS activity, but good eating definitely is. The local farmers' market is yielding majorly tasty produce now, and I am attempting to befriend those who toil in a nearby allotment garden.

Posted by: MsJS | August 3, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Gardening is one of the best ways to organize your thoughts, catch up on the mental filing.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 3, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

MsJS, the farmers are saying that everything is coming in at once. It is a good stretch for us consumers, but may cause for some slim pickings later in the season. They were suggesting that it is the heat wave.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 3, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Aaah, tomatoes. I am passionately fond of tomatoes, so much so that I only eat them in season. They taste like tomatoes indeed. I often put one in my lunch box and eat it like an apple.

I am impressed by Joel's Cherokee Purples. Those are indeed heirlooms, and awesome. Often they're greenish outside and very lumpy, but the interior is dark, dense and salty - a real meal. They're also hard to grow. My extended family is as greedy for Cherokee Purples as the hobbits were for mushrooms. I'm saving seeds this year to see whether someone else can grow them.

I'll save a few for myself, but as I've mentioned my gardening is almost purely symbolic. As I'm extremely stubborn I refuse to concede defeat. I plant things, they do not thrive. I've tried replacing my high-acid sandy dirt with good soil, watering, fertilizing, etc. This year I went to containers and have had more luck, and even the occasional tomato. However, between the heat and the varmints my vegetables cannot be said to be healthy. My herbs, by contrast, flourish. Except for the dill - something eats it as fast as I can plant it.

Fortunately I can shop weekly at an excellent farmer's market. Some of these vendors have been feeding me for years. Not only is there a source for heirloom tomatoes (including Cherokee Purples), there are old-fashioned meaty slicing tomatoes.

I value the farmer's market because I like the food (and of course supporting local farmers, sustainability, etc). I value the gardening, hapless though it is, because the commitment to taking care of plants and producing food, and the accompanying work, is satisfying in a wholly different way.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 3, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

News flash: Medveydev (I am sure the spelling is wrong) is now on board with climate change. Here is why.

Posted by: baldinho | August 3, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

no leash
runs out free
in new lanterne


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I have to say that the workmen in my house are amazingly nice. Happy to have them here. And not just because they're doing all the work.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 3, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Could our long national nightmare finally be over????


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 3, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

ripening slow


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

full kitchens
bustling happy


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

TBG, isn't it wonderful when workmen are nice! Scotty, I'll believe that when we get half way thru the season and he hasn't shown up somewhere!

All this tomato talk is making me very impatient for mine to ripen!

Regarding those six teenagers that died in Louisiana, is there some way to mandate swimming instruction in schools, or at least water survival. None of them and none of the adults there with them could swim - such a tragedy.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 3, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

There are no more chip monks and squirrels in our garden ever since a mother hawk decided to raise her 2 or three young near-by. The young ones screech with excitement whenever they do their short flying outings and are therefore easy to observe. All of this is not so bad, were it not for the other birds that also stay away, especially the goldfinches who liked to nibble on coneflower-seeds. Oh well, you win some, you loose some.

Posted by: gmbka | August 3, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Just afterschool programs offering that for free/bus rides after would do a lot, badsneakers.

Mandatory swim instruction just makes kids who already know how to swim chafe, and it could endanger children with health issues that really makes swimming contradicted.

I had to do a swim test fully clothed at camp once. That wasn't fun at all, I barely made it out of the pool.

In any case, you can't swim well intoxicated, which so many boaters that fall into the water may be.

Lifejackets, baby.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Growing a TickleMe Plant was the best experience ever. My students loved how the leaves fold one by one like a wave. It really MOVES fast when you Tickle It. If your not growing a TickleMe Plant you are missing out on one of natures wonders.
See the video and grow your own indoor and you too will become a TickleMe Plant Fan.
Just search TickleMe Plant for this very sensitive plant. Im sure Martha Stuart would love this plant!

Posted by: GoGreen3 | August 3, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Any fish monks now all the chip monks are gone, Gym?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, regarding the QB from Minnesota, I am already re-tired of him.

Posted by: baldinho | August 3, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

badsneaks, there has been a large increase in the number of drownings here this summer as well, people are trying to implement a "Swim to survive" program for Grade 3s. It is a few lessons, taken during gym class, that teach the basics, the goal to help those who find themselves in trouble, naturally funding is an issue.

As some of the articles have mentioned we are a country of lakes, rivers, oceans, streams, creeks, ponds and pools, water is everywhere and knowing water safety and the basics for water survival benefit all.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Pun City on the Achenblog.

TBG, the guys working at our house are also extremely nice, considerate and pretty funny, too. If they just didn't show up at 7:15 in the morning when I'm neither fully caffeinated nor fully clothed!

Posted by: talitha1 | August 3, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes, water safety begins with understanding water danger.

Not all kids can go on to be champion long-distance ocean swimmers. Also, understanding that rivers have dangerous currents under tranquil surfaces matters.

I have had to fish Wilbrodog out of water twice already; both times he was on a long line tethered to a deck post specifically for his own safety. The second time, he had a harness with a handle.

I didn't bother with lifejackets because I knew deer had drowned in that river-- the current is THAT strong. Just staying afloat wouldn't save him once he got to the dam.

It ain't a swimming pool out there where the wild things are.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

7:15 is a rather late start, Talitha. Mr. T and I said hello to a roofing crew that had just arrived at a house up the street at 6:40 this morning. Of course, if you're roofing it makes good sense to start early. The streetlights were still on.

Posted by: slyness | August 3, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

If stranded on a desserted island, (or would that be a desert island?), and I could only bring 3 seeds, a tomato would be my first pick.

I haven't learned how to grow decent tomatoes yet, but a mediocre yield is good enough for me, and I can proudly say that I harvested a single Mr Stripey before July 4th. Also, I got my share of cherry tomatoes, but the vines have since begun to shrivel. To me though, since I live in a neighborhood where tomato growing is a competitive sport, growing cherry tomatoes is like a bass fisherman going for bluegill just to make sure that he doesn't get entirely skunked on the fishing trip.

I'm trying the upside-down tomato plants for the first time this year.The vines look ok so far, but the leaves look like they are suffering from heat exhaustion. The rule of thumb is to plant tomatoes after Mother's Day so the frost won't kill them, however, I've noticed that those that took the risk and planted in mid April are getting a bountiful harvest. I've heard that when it gets above 90 degrees for several days in a row, the blossoms fall off the plant and the fruit won't set. With 90 degree temperatures starting at the 1st day of summer, I think I'll modify my strategy next year.

The cucumbers are growing like crazy and another 1st for me, I made a batch of 4 quarts of pickles. One cucumber per quart. I like doing wedges, and the hardest part about pickling the cucumbers was cutting them up. I've looked for a cucumber wedger, which I thought would be a common item in any kitchen store, but I haven't been able to find one yet. Hmmm... maybe I'll have to make one from scratch. I've got a design in my head using an empty jar of peanut butter with the bottomn cut out and a guitar string. If it works, I'll tell you about it, if not, I'll just add it to my long list of good ideas that didn't work.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | August 3, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

gmbka, I watched a hawk tear apart a chipmunk in my back yard on Saturday. Two or three robins flew into the area during the process, quickly saw what was going on and got out of dodge.

The boy was transfixed. "Daddy, what is the hawk doing?" "He is eating that chipmunk." "Why?" "Uh, I guess he is hungry."

Posted by: baldinho | August 3, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

But sadly a large portion of the drownings are in pools or in waters much more calm than a raging river. Life jackets definitely help but you don't wear them in pools or at the beach.

There will sadly always be drownings but many can be prevented, through proper supervision, knowing how to swim and proper use of life jackets/PFD's. It takes the combination to make a difference not just one.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I was suprise when I first moved to the high Rockies how prevalent both adults and children died from drowning because they didn't learn how to swim. Apparently until the mid-70s there were so few public pools and the lakes and rivers so cold for swimming that many didn't ever learn and suffered the consequences.

Obviously that would translate to any demographic of folks without organized or parental swimming facilities and instruction.

Oddly, my son learned to swim in an old outdoor hotsprings pool (built by the Ute amerinds before the white men came) in Colorado when he was about two or three. We spent so much time there that it came naturally.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 3, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Our county government needs to cut spending by 28%, so there go the beach lifeguards.

Reminds me of how, in a city where I once live, installing a new traffic signal seemed to require the sacrifice of at least one very affluent citizen. Dead ordinary people didn't seem to count.

The much-loved Sensitive Plant, Mimosa pudica, is one of the "starter set" of scientifically-named plants. It's one of the species in Linnaeus's 1753 "Species Plantarum." That said, it's not growing in my lawn. This plant, like a number of other legumes, including Brazil's perennial peanut, takes well to mowing.

The name can be looked up at the Natural History Museum's website.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 3, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

scc: all misspellings/grammar manglings in the above. Typing and eating be stoopid.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 3, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Hi WB -- have taught swimming in high school mandatory settings. These classes offer many benefits to the population so the requirement, for say, high school graduation is a good practice for society.

Opting out can typically be worked out for special circumstances.

Since the ability to swim in this country assumes middle-class background or higher -- pool access -- I think high schools are a reasonable setting for a "swimming literacy" opportunity.

And, yes what you say about open water. However, in many open water settings, the ability to tread water, float, and not panic, can buy time for a rescue.

Big fan of swimming literacy, here.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | August 3, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Peas. I think peas would do well planted now. Not sure. A lot of effort to pick and hull them. Edible pod peas, not so much.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 3, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article here points out that we really don't recognize what a drowning person looks like. I was happy to find out that my daughter, the lifeguard, knew all of this from her training...

Posted by: -TBG- | August 3, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Jumper when I was young loved helping mom shell the peas for dinner, the reason I hated peas (still do), but I would eat them raw, even better was chewing the pea pods, if they were edible I just tossed the strings in the garbage after, stringless sugar snap peas and snow peas are a staple in our house - just don't love it when the "peas" are too big.

I am so odd :-)

Forgot to mention early, water safety instruction on land is as important as in the water, I am a very good swimmer but that just makes me more careful not carefree. The sentence above may apply again, re odd.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

It must be hard for a little kid to be confronted with the reality of natural life. Fortunately, I don't know anything about the fate of the chip monks. I just assume they moved out, favouring a less dangerous neighbourhood. And what is a fish monk?

Posted by: gmbka | August 3, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

The fish monk probably prefers the vinegar bath.

I have no chipmunks (Error Flynn would approve) but am, as I may have bitterly remarked a time or two, overrun with squirrels. The Ivansclan ecosystem also plays host to a varity of greater and lesser varmints. This offers occasional opportunities for practical lessons in Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw.

Long ago, before Beatrice the rabbit acquired us, the Boy celebrated one youthful birthday with a party at the Zoo. During the tour the kids were delighted to observe feeding time for the vultures. They were rapt at the sight of the raptors eating a rabbit.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 3, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Yoki | August 3, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

A monkfish?
A salmon who never returns to spawn?
A Trappist into fly-fishing?
The sound of one net slapping?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

DMD -- my swimming ability and lifeguard background just makes me more cautious too!

TBG -- we posted that info on our pool website, asking parents to read this about the "look."

I think the jumping in water clothed exercise is useful to practice this sensation, and then learn to remove shoes and heavy clothing...will help with initial panic.

Here are directions on the in-clothes water jump exercise, making flotation devices from clothing:

Sweat pants and other heavy-knit clothes are not so good....khaki pants are perfect for this!

This video illustrates the principle of fabric utilized as a flotation device...and, yes! That is the correct use of utilzed!

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | August 3, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

A sure sign that I am from another era.
"Heard" of this?


Posted by: talitha1 | August 3, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse


ballooning dress

Lesson on flotation device from pants:

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | August 3, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - The Wikimedia counsel's reply to the FBI was pretty amusing. That lawyer was obviously enjoying himself at work that day.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 3, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, Bob... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 3, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

WhackyWeasel - is this what you were looking for?

Or, did you have a small device in mind?

Posted by: russianthistle | August 3, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Basic water survival skills will be taught at all Dangerous Camp for Boys sessions because we are going to build rafts and actually take them afloat, before we blow them up. I've been fantasizing about this while away from the boodle because robotics camp, as fun as it is, is just so cerebral. Thrilling yes, especially when a tricky program finally works, but not the exciting rush you get when flames or whitewater are involved.

The veggie garden Chez Frostbitten is a sorry sight. Planted amongst the perennials-tomatoes, peas, and peppers are really looking like afterthoughts. The flowers got ahead of them and they are fighting for sun. Too much rain even has the cherry tomatoes tasting a little bland. But a bad year always reboots my gardening interest so we will just start looking forward to next year a little early.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 3, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

bc phones in a report that noted astrophysicist Brian May (who also plays a little guitar on occasion) is currently appearing on NPR's "Fresh Air."


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 3, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

There are lots of water safety subtleties. The CDC is convinced that beach lifeguards are effective, something that our county commissioners should know before making cutbacks.

Rip currents are a peculiar problem because relatively small rips on days with little surf can surprise and panic people, even some who swim well, but presumably aren't adjusted to beaches.

That said, it's impressive what people can do relatively safely in the water.

You can even watch a manatee

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 3, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

DotC-yes indeed, swimming well is not equal to water safety. Here in Our Fair City, where no spot is more than a quarter mile from a navigable body of water, strong swimmers drown in very cold water. This year things warmed up early (mid-June) so we have been lucky, but it's not unusual in the fall to lose a duck hunter who had no intention of being in the water, and without a flotation device did not have enough time to get back in the boat before cold water shock killed.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 3, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

CqP, what's the flotation quotient of blue jeans?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Yikes. I have a distant cousin who survived an airplane crash into frigid Alaskan waters and managed to swim to shore. They were wearing those thick orange cold-weather overalls and no doubt those saved his and his partner's lives.

They took a couple days to get to an Inuit village to get help. Proper clothing is priceless in cold weather, never mind cold water.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

thistle, I'm looking for a simple manual device that'll slice a cucumber into 8 or so wedges, something I could keep in a cabinet drawer along with the garlic press and cheese grater. I figured a dohickey like this would be as common as an apple corer, and even Pampered Chef has something that'll do a pineapple, but the 2 stores I visited and tried to explain what I wanted, all I got were blank stares.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | August 3, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, assuming you were serious in your question about the floatation quotient of blue jeans - the denser the weave of the fabric (denim is) the better. But denim is much heavier than chino or broadcloth (traditional weaves for khakis) ergo the lighter weight, denser weave would be best.

I'm betting the fabric in the "ballooning dress" video was rayon or silk faille or crepe (said it was a vintage dress) but a tightly woven cotton would work. Parachute pants would be ideal!

Posted by: talitha1 | August 3, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, can I come to your Dangerous Camp for Boys? Or, better yet, could you hold a Dangerous Camp for the Usually Sedentary Middle-Aged? We could build rafts, ride them, blow them up, and then relax around the fire with marshmallows and an adult beverage.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 3, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I was serious. Those jeans be heavy in the water. I guess I'll look for ski pants or something more waterproof-- stripping in northern waters is not really recommended.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"Parachute pants would be ideal!"

Even better if you were falling out of an airplane!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 3, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

This state is the most screwed up for swimming I have ever seen anywhere. There is one of the most fractal lakes anywhere 20 miles from here.
and the Catawba River 10 miles from here.

No swimming allowed on these hundreds of miles of shore. Unless you own property there.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 3, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Whacky, I was just teasing. I know ... you want something like a handy apple corer

Posted by: russianthistle | August 3, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Add a "Pseudo-" before that Middle-aged, and I'm in, Ivansmom.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Some fleece clothing may provide a bit of thermal protection in cold water--a version of Polartec® had a bit of a run as a competitor to wetsuit-type neoprene. I like developments in "soft shell" jackets that stretch, breath, work well in light rain and aren't useless (but evidently can leave you wet) in heavy rain.

Dressing for really cold water is not entirely unlike dressing for ultra-cold air. Not something I want to think about, even on a 90 degree afternoon with 66% humidity.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 3, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, there are snowmobile suits that are also flotation devices. Weather permitting of course.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

This just seems appropriate.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

OMG, dmd, I watched it twice! "What is this fire feeling?"

Posted by: seasea1 | August 3, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"My p***s is actually inverted"? Hilarious - I'll bet it was!

Posted by: talitha1 | August 3, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

1. garden report: no tomatoes yet. Peas are best ever - too bad they grew tangled in the mesh I put over to save them from the sparrows.

2. cold water report: IMHO, the test is insulation vs. drag - if you're between a very short swim and your max swimming distance from shore I would say get out of the clothes and swim for shore. It's not completely impossible to swim in very very cold water, but the clock is ticking. Staying put in your clothes would probably only get you a couple extra minutes, especially if Kate Winslet is hogging the only floating debris nearby.

Posted by: engelmann | August 3, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, dmd, I laughed till I cried.

I'm glad I don't have HIS job!

Posted by: slyness | August 3, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Brett Favre (who signed a two-year contract last year) is making noises about retirement. Surely even he is tired of himself, eh?

Posted by: bobsewell | August 3, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

dmd-that has to be my new favorite Rick Mercer experience. I can't believe a US faux news show hasn't stolen the segment where he goes out and learns about some job or sport.

I-mom and Wilbrod-the last session of each summer's Dangerous Camp for Boys will really be for adult women.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 3, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Engelmann, I'd caveat that option if it means getting out of the water naked in -40 degree weather a long way from civilization... as long as the clothing is both waterproof and weatherproof.

If it's not waterproof, you're pretty much going to die of hypothermia once you get out.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Adult women are indeed the most dangerous game for boys of all ages.

Posted by: engelmann | August 3, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, I'm in. Just let me know where, when, and how much.

Posted by: slyness | August 3, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

slyness-where is the question. I'd like to include scorpion races, which means we need to catch them first. I suppose it could be in a different location every year-to keep the adventures adventurous.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 3, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't heard of Rick Mercer. Got to see more.

A fine, entertaining book on how humans do in heat/cold/wet/dry is "Life at the Extremes". The author is not fond of hot-humid.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 3, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

For all things Rick Mercer, he provides me with endless amusement.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Keep an eye on the sky tonight/early morning, at least for those not too far south.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

new leash
spiffy trot
all dressed to kill--

airing dogs
by moving your


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Joel is on the lead story on the PBS Newshour again!

Posted by: -pj- | August 3, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

dmd-thanks for the heads up, just might have to shoot out my own yard light to get a better look.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 3, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Joel's hair is looking particularly fly-away tonight.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 3, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

"It's over. I broke up with him," Bristol Palin tells PEOPLE exclusively.

"He's just obsessed with the limelight and I got played."

At some point she will realize that when you put these two sentences near each other, they both look sillier than they already do.

Posted by: baldinho | August 3, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the BP well, I think Homer Simpson said it best.

Urge to kill..... rising.

Posted by: baldinho | August 3, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Kablooey! Dang, he's so much more informative and enjoyable to hear interviewed than all the rest of them put together. Glad he didn't sit on his hands, too. ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | August 3, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Did he borrow clothes from his colleagues like he did last time?

Posted by: -pj- | August 3, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

There are several days that the lights may be visible, tonight then again Wednesday and Thursday. I saw a link with estimated times (they were for tomorrow) but now I can't find it (from NASA or NOAA?)

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I was one of the last classes required to take Drownproofing as a graduation requirement. It had been developed to prevent the drowning deaths of sailors when their ship sank.

It was a ten week one-credit course where you had to test in ten tasks including treading water while holding a brick over your head, jumping off the high dive fully clothed and then using them to float for half an hour, swimming the length of the pool underwater, and retrieving objects off the bottom of the pool with your hands tied.

The only skill I failed at was blowing bubbles into my eyes to read the writing in the grout on the bottom of the pool.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 3, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

No times but a few more details, dmd:

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 3, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Other cool info site, the image of the current auroral oval puts it over my area (I think) but at a lesser intensity?

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

So two of the issues the GOP strategists have decided to press leading up to the election in the fall are redoing the 14th amendment to take automatic citizenship from people born in the US and looking to change laws passed in the 1960s that desegregated stuff like lunch counters.

Give you a warm fuzzy about what they'll actually do if they take over Congress, no?

Posted by: baldinho | August 3, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

No tomatoe plants this year,but the pot plants are going crazy man...........

just kidding yaw

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 3, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

hmm, we had a big pool in our high school and everybody had to take a swimming/drownproofing unit as part of the gym curriculum. There were a couple of exceptions made for disabilities, but we all really loved it.

I had had swimming lessons, and cottages on the lake, and the Zugersee all my life, but that was because I was a child of privilege. I think the High School requirement was a great way to promote water literacy among those not so blessed.

I have seldom run into a Canadian who doesn't know how to swim at least a little. It is sort of standard survival knowledge here, like fishing and reading a bus schedule.

Posted by: Yoki | August 3, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

and I could use a bite of that hotdog....back to work booooo..

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 3, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

How far south can those auroras be seen? Seems like I'm north enough to freeze, but not far north enough for the nocturnal rainbows.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

You should be able to see it Wilbrod - you are north of me.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

About the aurora, the local weather person said 3 am tonight and 8 pm tomorrow night. There was another time tomorrow night as well, probably 3 am again. I may just set the alarm for tonight as I've never seen the northern lights.

I am beginning to get nervous about all the rethug plans to gut the Constitution, raise the hatred of 'aliens' level to a new high and otherwise turn this country into something truly awful.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 3, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

badsneakers, to listen to a few folks I know, illegals are the root of all of our problems.

People can be funny that way, I guess. I have voted for Republicans a lot, though entirely of the NY/NE kind. They are mostly in denial now, about a lot of things. They won't accept that they cut taxes, adding to the deficit, while increasing spending, adding to the deficit, and fighting wars that they did nothing to pay for.

I guess I would look for a scapegoat issue or two if the other option was to be honorable and honest and own up to the bad stuff.

When I was six or seven and I had done something wrong, and my parents asked me if I had done something wrong, my first instinct was to deny and then maybe blame someone else.

I was six at the time, so I can cut myself some slack in hindsight.

Posted by: baldinho | August 3, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I-dosing sounds like the 21st century version of smoking banana peels.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 3, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

badsneakers, I have to think that there are so many right-wing radio types crowing about illegals that a large portion of Americans have just gotten silly by immersion.

One example: today the NH Union Leader ran an article about the NH Food Bank, the only food bank in the state. I just received a federal grant of 1.2 million or something to help expand to a larger warehouse, etc. It collects food from all sorts of places and then distributes it to over 400 pantries, soup kitchens, nursing homes, etc around the state. The majority of the comments were from people complaining about tax dollars being given to this place, with three or four complaining that it amounts to forcing taxpayers to give to charity at the barrel of a gun.

The worst one, for me, was a woman who said she loves the food bank and has given to it in the past, but has stopped giving. Her explanation is that so much of her donation is being stolen by illegals taking up resources.

Ay caramba. This is New Hampshire. We are about 5-6% minority, with all of those being concentrated in about 2 or 3 towns and along the southern tier of the state. Only a small fraction of those are illegals. Not so to this woman. She envisions the 400 locations around the state as being raided by illegals. Sad.

Come on, people.

Posted by: baldinho | August 3, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Probably too many clouds here to see the lights. My BFF from high school called last night and we were talking about how we'd love to see them. Hadn't heard about this then - we were bemoaning the fact that we'd have to go north when it's cold.

The R's wanting to relitigate civil rights amendments and laws makes me really nervous. Which is why I don't think it's a good idea for the laws they champion to go into effect, not even for a little while.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 3, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

D'oh, my last post should have read "it" received a grant.

It would be kind of neat if I received that money, but I did not.

Posted by: baldinho | August 3, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

A new kit means a new city. Here are my pictures of Vienna, a city with more palaces per square mile than any other place I have ever been.

And I have always wanted to grope a sphinx, which I got to do at the Belvedere:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 3, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

The woman you mentioned is a good example of the problem, Baldinho. The rethugs gin up the populace, who don't take the time to check the facts for themselves and end up like this woman. A nation of sheep!

I understand that the states close to the southern border have issues with illegal immigration, but the solution they seem to be choosing isn't going to work and it just divides the country further. Amnesty is the only logical way to go, which is what a lot of rethugs wanted until Obama wanted it too. Talk about being 6 years old - good grief!

"S" laughed at me when I said I was getting up at 3 am. It might be too cloudy here too, but at least I can take a look...

Posted by: badsneakers | August 3, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

The Tea Party Nation is setting up a forum on their website where teabaggers can share stories about times they have been victims of crimes perpetrated by illegal aliens. Smacks of the Nixonian law and order subtextual campaign.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | August 3, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

If you give a man a ride, you help him for a day. Give him a bus schedule, he can ride for life, I say.

I saw one of those cooking shows where the "theme" - revealed at
the last minute before the cooking contests begin - was bananas.
It included plantains too. This inspired me to try a recipe
tonight: fried plantains with banana sauce on top. (no one of
the chefs on the show did anything like this.) Not bad for dessert.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 3, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

It may be dead by now
Top kill begun at 4 p.m.
Or not.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 3, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

*Snort,* Jumper.

Posted by: Yoki | August 3, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I like fried plantains, but I like them raw-- mealy if eaten too green, but they smell better.

I wonder how plantain bread goes.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 3, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Glad BP did all their tests and measurements before the Government gave them to go-ahead to try a static kill/kill shot (rather than, say, a dynamic tickle shot). I'm more comfortable that they have a better idea what they're doing down there now. Still crossing my fingers, though.

On another note, my own tomatoes are coming in slowly (thanks to the Nukes for tiding me over with some of their garden goodies), and I think one of the plants isn't going to render anything edible. Ah, well, 3 out of 4 ain't bad.

Saw the Northern Lights down here in the DC suburbs some 6 or 7 years ago. Ethereal. Eerie. Beautiful. Otherworldly. If we weren't socked down here, I'd be out looking for them now...


Posted by: -bc- | August 3, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Someone is going to discover that the Mexican citizens living in the US are descendents of the Muslims of al Andalus who have been secretly adhering to Islam all these centuries in anticipation of re-establishing the true Caliphate in the US. They'll build Cordoba Mosques everywhere.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 3, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Our three Genovese and one Early Girl are growing robustly and have lots of fruit getting ready to ripen. Like jumper, the rule here is not to plant before Mother's day due to late frosts. I started these from seed in March under a shop light in the shed and picked the most robust to set out two weeks after Mother's day due to daily frosts. Even then I had to cover them twice. I made cages out of 4 foot sheep wire but Early Girl has already toped that by a foot. Going have to double up. A champion tomato grower once told me tall plants mean smaller and less tomatoes due to too much water. Last year I really cut back on the water but the store bought Early Girl went up to six feet. I put up a visqueen tent when the rains began and we enjoyed tomatoes into November. Eating the last of the peas. The dogs picked all the low hanging pods. Planted a second row of radishes two weeks ago. Asian onions are getting over ripe.
We transplanted eight mammoth sun flower starts outside the wood fence yard where the laundry outflow would water them and they were really getting going when the deer topped three of them. Amazingly on the three topped ones the reaming highest leaf has taken over to make a new top. Hope they make a flower before fall. Susan wired a chunk of Irish mist soap by the tops of the others then and so far the deer haven't bothered them and they are starting to make a nice flower.
Meanwhile the eight sun flower seeds the birds have planted in the squash bed are doing nicely but they only get three tall.

Humm, google just gave me an add for Greek from Harvard extension School.

Posted via Safari to avoid multiple google multiple posts.

Posted by: bh72 | August 3, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt isn't kidding. At Georgia Tech, Drownproofing was (theoretically, anyway) a required class to achieve a college degree in any course of study. Didn't much matter to me, I took it as a first-year student and swam like a fish. But it was uncomfortable (at first, anyway) to share the class with nonathletic seniors who were approaching it with real dread. Two folks in my class had delayed their graduations specifically to put off the much-feared class.

We (and it really was a collective effort of the instructor and the more confident students) got them all through it, and some of them ended up sorta-kinda enjoying it, if only because they could look back and say, "Well, I survived it."

Posted by: Bob-S | August 4, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

At the top of my list of wished-for-but-never-seen things are the aurorae borealis. It would be Christmas in August if that were possible here this week.

Enjoyed the photos, yello, as always. What's with the American themes at the Vienna amusement park? Weird. And isn't I-dosing bizarro? Banana peels maybe, bananas definitely.

Goodnight, boodle

Posted by: talitha1 | August 4, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

The one aurora I recall was on a summer night, driving through the Bighorn Basin desert. Sort of a sky-wide red tipi, no waviness, no other colors.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 4, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

rye. the perfect fall crop. unless ergot is pervasive. then you really have to be careful grinding the rye into flour, making bread, serving it (cold corned beef w/tomato, of course, and a kosher dill), and risk the distinct possibility of turning someone into a witch.

Posted by: -jack- | August 4, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

I saw the Northern Lights most every night the last time mule deer hunting in BC camped out at 11,000 feet under the stars in October 10 years ago.

The most spectacular sighting was out the window of a 747 flying over the pole from San Francisco to London circa early 1980's. Took some photos and the processor commented they were impressive.

Posted by: bh72 | August 4, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Talitha - At both Oktoberfest in Munich and Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart, you can count on hearing the Oompah bands play a reasonable smattering of good ole American rock-n-roll.

Some themes are universal, or at least widely entertaining.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 4, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

saw the aurora a number of times outside of potsdam. possibly toward hannawa falls. the sky was shimmering. i was quite surprised that it was so quiet, expecting that noise would accompany the light show.

Posted by: -jack- | August 4, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: -jack- | August 4, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

jack - That was among my thoughts when I've seen them! "Seems like there must be some sound, if I just listen closely enough."

Of course, there are plenty of reports from folks who report various sounds associated with the light show. Could be, I suppose. I've seen them in a couple of situations where there was darned little masking background noise, and heard nothin'.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 4, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

I love the curtains of silent light, the upwelling.

Never thought there might be volume associated with it. That is a good insight, jack. Thanks.

Posted by: Yoki | August 4, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

At Coast Guard OCS at York Town in 1961 we had to pass a verrrry basic water survival test. I was the first one alphabetly in C company and was listed to do everything first (military logic first one in the middle is first in order.) First too jump off the high board and remain vertical in the pool holding nose to see if one floats. I floated with just my hair above the surface. Then to jump into the pool at twelve feet and swim down to pick up a black looking loaf of bread off the bottom and bring it back up. Surprise, a rubber coated chunk of lead. Made it back up barely but then everyone else wasn't surprised. Then we had only to swim 3 laps of the long pool anyway possible. Poor sharks had to do that every day wearing a PFD until the could do it without or flunk out in two weeks.
In the summer as a kid we used to swim in Shasta lake at the 300 foot depth. The top two feet of water was 70 degrees. Then 50 degrees under. Now with the leg cramps I get, I wouldn't dare. A good swimming high school friend drowned there from leg cramps swimming with his brother.

Posted by: bh72 | August 4, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

If (as a kid) you were swimming in three hundred feet of water, then I'll withdraw my claim of swimming like a fish.

THAT is fish-like. And not some wimpy trout, either.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 4, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

over, not under

Posted by: bh72 | August 4, 2010 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Unless you find yourself a hot spring or a hot tub, there's no warm water north of Sacramento.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 4, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Here's a sign one big company sees growth in the future.

Posted by: bh72 | August 4, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Bob-S, you must not have ever swam in Shasta Lake July thru October.

Posted by: bh72 | August 4, 2010 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Short rest I got there before being awakened by some of the loudest thunder I've ever heard around here. It is pouring buckets of rain, torrents of rain, cascades of rain. Loud on a tin roof.

Did anyone notice the comments under the Beer Barrel Polka link that jack posted? There were Mexicans and Spaniards talking about the melding of polka with their music. And there were other Europeans posting in their own languages (I only read French and a little Spanish). It was quite an international gathering under a rather unlikely but I guess universal tune.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 4, 2010 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Bob-S. Shasta lake too warm for rainbow trout.

Posted by: bh72 | August 4, 2010 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Check these Shasta lake temperatures.

Posted by: bh72 | August 4, 2010 2:29 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!

I guess I'll start the Dawn Patrol.

I've been up since 4:15. Gotta love Mr. Moose's construction worker schedule. Actually, I do love it. It means he's employed! FOr now, anyway.

Well, the laundry is in and coffee is on the ready room table. Maybe we'll have some fresh fruit, granola and yogurt to go with the coffee.

I guess I have no excuse not to iron something for work. Ha!

Have a good day all.

Posted by: Moose13 | August 4, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse

Regarding cold water, y'all ever been to Lake Chelan in Washington state? The wife and I hiked for a week near there a few years back. It is glacier fed. We walked a mile or so along its shore in 95-degree temps and decided we should take a dip.

We walked to a dock, where two people were sunning. I took off my shoes and dipped my toe. My wife just took off hers, ran to the end and jumped in.

It was the first time I ever heard her swear.

Posted by: baldinho | August 4, 2010 6:27 AM | Report abuse

The Prater in Vienna was delightfully retro, like Coney Island with a German accent. I think thrill rides are universal and perhaps the best companies making them were American. The giant swing (115 m tall) was a blast. I need to upload my video from the top. It's better than I-dosing.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 4, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Indeed baldinho, I have been to Lake Chelan. Aye' 'tis not for the weak of heart. Really, that water could totally put you into cardiac arrhythmia.

It's pretty though.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 4, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

I see the Demon Well is almost dead. They seem to have choked it off. Still need to put a few bullets into the head to make sure, though. Then, maybe dismember the thing, burn it, and spread the ashes to the four corners of the winds.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 4, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all!

The Atlantic Ocean in April/May along the Virginia coastline is as cold a dip as I can handle, and then some! The boodle has a small polar bear club, who knew?

About Mr. Stripey: Last summer I ate them again after what must have been a long long time ago. One of our farmer market farmer sells them. The taste is decidedly different from today's tomato, beefsteak being my current favorite. Anyway, somewhere in my far away memory I recognized the flavor, but not the time of the eating. Out of a grandparent's garden, I'llbetcha. The havesting of a memory. Thanks, Mr. Farmerman.

Posted by: VintageLady | August 4, 2010 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Forgot to add that I learned to eat raw okra and raw asparagus this year, two much milder flavors eaten uncooked.

RD, I probably will never totally believe the evil thing is dead.

Posted by: VintageLady | August 4, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Yay for the death of Macando! May it rest in eternal (ETERNAL) peace!

Good morning, all, hi Cassandra! Another scorcher in the Carolinas today. I suppose I should water the tomatoes and make sure the birdbath is full before I go to Bible study.

I've been by Lake Shasta and Crater Lake, but I didn't go in...the closest I ever came to drowning was at Lake Louise when I was six. It was the summer before I started swim lessons and I was floating with an innertube that sprang a leak. Fortunately, a nearby swimmer got to me. My dad was watching me, but he couldn't reach me in time.

Posted by: slyness | August 4, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

RD_P, make sure the bullets are silver and don't forget the garlic, holy water and stake through the heart, please.

As for cold swimming, even in the middle of summer certain northern Maine streams can be downright icy, even after a two-mile run down logging roads to work up a sweat. Ai chihuahua, what a memory!

*happy-to-have-survived-a-somewhat-off-normal-Dawn-Patrol-and-looking-forward-to-a-Happy-Hump-Day Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 4, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Ok, people, your jazz weather report here: Saw two neoturks last night at TwinsJazz club. Remember, you heard about them here!

Peter Wagner and his witty guitar

And, the fluid and rising sax man Elijah Jamal

Local boy!

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 4, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I never had formal swimming lessons (wish I had) but, as I spent my summers on the Cape, I was in the water from a very young age. My older cousins taught me basic swimming and floating techniques and water safety such as to always swim parallel to the shore. I still remember my mother checking on me by asking me to stand holding my arms out to the side. If the water was no higher than my armpits, I was safe in her mind.

I admire those of you who have taken the lifeguard or water survival course. #2, who is a very strong swimmer, took the lifeguard course years ago and said she barely made it thru parts of it. But the ability to keep oneself afloat while awaiting rescue is much less difficult and everyone should know at least that much!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 4, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Mule deer in BC at 11,000 feet seem 'way up there. The highest pronghorns in Wyoming were about that altitude in summer on a mountain south of Cody whose south-facing side had continuous grassland all the way down to Meeteetse.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 4, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

And, paging Frosti and others: Elijah Jamal started in JUNIOR COLLEGE! So, to all the naysers who dismiss the range of ways young people settled into knowledge's bosom and then soar!

Note: Frosti is NOT a nayser 'tall. in my camp of Education is a change of Heart deep inside the wanderer.

And, I sent my deposit in for danger camp. I will set up a zip line or two.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 4, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. I'm not ready to pop champagne corks, engage in back-slapping or smoke a victory cigar quite yet.

As I understand it, there's still work things to be done at the well before operations can cease there, including the relief well breach of the main, a couple of applciations of cement, etc. Then there's the hold-your-breath removal and recovery of the cap and the Blowout Preventer, with subsequent investigations. [Personally, I'd also ask to develop and deploy systems to establish long-term monitoring of the seabed around the well, the and maybe some monitoring and measurement of the well itself and waters around it.]

Then, ladies and gentlemen, start your lawers.

The criminal and civil processes will shift into top gear, and intersect with the investigative and governmental work (regulatory/legislative) already in flight.

I hope that the cleanups will continue until there's nothing left to do.

And then I believe there will be the book tours, Tony Hayward's and others.

I think there's a good reason to leave a buoy or something in the Gulf over the well, as a marker of the site.

There seems a distict possibility that there is a huge mass of oil lurking deep beneath the surface of the Gulf. Interacting with the magical waters and mysterious life down there, watching, waiting, maybe even Becoming.

And it may turn up when we least expect it, a gelatious toxic monster rising up out of the depths of the Gulf like a 200 ft long mudskipper (I used to think it was going to be a crawfish). May not sound scary -- until it lands on your beach.


Posted by: -bc- | August 4, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

During the Steve McQueen marathon yesterday they played The Blob. Lightweight as ever but holds up over the years. Except when I noticed that the off-camera barking dog was a human imitating a dog barking. ? We may never know.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 4, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Something like the Smog Monster, bc, only pre-combustion?

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 4, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Tomato report from Switzerland:
The local grocery store (Migros) has two kinds, 2.80 CHF/kg and 4.50 CHF/kg. I bought the former (looked like mutant twisted plum tomatoes) for cooking and the latter (vine ripe) to eat raw. Both were perfectly sweet and tart.
A favorite evening snack is fresh paneer sauteed in basil olive oil with tomato slices.
(Paneer = curd cheese: squeeze lemon into boiling milk until it curdles and the whey is clear, gather up the curds into muslin cloth, press out remaining liquid, hang the mass for a couple of hours...longer for harder cheese)

I'm stocking up DNAGuy's freezer and I haven't had this much fun cooking vegetables since India (except for a few veggies from farmers markets in the US); the onions are sweet, the cauliflower is sweet, the peppers are sweet, the turnips are...well you guessed it.

I told mum and she lamented that markets in Bombay are now full of "fake american vegetables", "big and gorgeous looking, but no taste".

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 4, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends. I got two tomatoes out of the whole lot. The worms ate one, and I got the other one. And it's small. Maybe one day.

There's a serious backlash going on here in the deep South, and I realize the Tea Party is part of this effort, but some of this has reached the corridors of local government. It's a serious grass roots efforts, and I realize most political time bombs come from this kind of thing, but breaking the law should be frowned upon regardless to what color dress its wearing and how good it looks. I also realize some people don't want to call this a backlash because then it puts the focus on our serious lack of coming to terms with our racial history. And perhaps there are some silly folks out there that believe all is well in the world because we've made tremendous strides in that area, but it isn't over yet, and if you're thinking my meds are doing overtime here, (and they might), ask anyone of those Tea Party members.

Slyness, we're still battling the heat, and suppose to be even hotter today. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Have a great day, folks. Try to stay cool if you're dealing with extreme heat. Love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 4, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends. I got two tomatoes out of the whole lot. The worms ate one, and I got the other one. And it's small. Maybe one day.

There's a serious backlash going on here in the deep South, and I realize the Tea Party is part of this effort, but some of this has reached the corridors of local government. It's a serious grass roots efforts, and I realize most political time bombs come from this kind of thing, but breaking the law should be frowned upon regardless to what color dress its wearing and how good it looks. I also realize some people don't want to call this a backlash because then it puts the focus on our serious lack of coming to terms with our racial history. And perhaps there are some silly folks out there that believe all is well in the world because we've made tremendous strides in that area, but it isn't over yet, and if you're thinking my meds are doing overtime here, (and they might), ask anyone of those Tea Party members.

Slyness, we're still battling the heat, and suppose to be even hotter today. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Have a great day, folks. Try to stay cool if you're dealing with extreme heat. Love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 4, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Ouch, DNA_Girl!

Posted by: slyness | August 4, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Shoot, Jumper beat me to The Blob!* As much as I'd like to, I'm not doing the Snoopy happy dance yet over the static kill of Macondo. While it will be a relief to break the habit of checking oil well news first thing every morning I'm with bc . . . . the aftermath will lurk unseen and the cleanup, literally and otherwise, may never end. Oliver Stone will probably make the movie and feed the conspiracy theorists for a century.

Hi, DNA_Girl! Good morning all. All this talk of tomatoes and icy water is blissful reading and I rejoice every day to have the storytellers here who share.

*[movie trivia - the actress who played McQueen's girlfriend in The Blob went on to play Helen, Sheriff Taylor's girlfriend on the Andy Griffith show. li'l Opie's almost stepmother. Took me a while to place her face - don't you feel enlightened now?]

Later . . . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | August 4, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

One of my childhood traumas is my New England mother forcing my brother and me to strip to our underwear and go wading in a cold mountain stream for the experience of it. The stuff I've got for my future therapist.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 4, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

There was talk at The Oil Drum about "placing the blowout preventers under arrest" when they eventually are retrieved from the killed well. Seriously; as evidence which needs to be preserved from "oops, where DID those go?" BP

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 4, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

My sister and I were forced to experience the ocean in Maine, since we had driven all that way to see it, it was cold and a very short swim. Pretty though.

DNAgirl, I am like your mom but in reference to fruit, love that I can get fruit year round but nothing beats local strawberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, apples etc. And local corn best I have ever had. Since just about everyone says that about their local produce, is it what we are used to, difference in soil that make the difference (like wine?).

Posted by: dmd3 | August 4, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Of course the last time she was here, mum was in heaven because it was raspberry picking season at the local orchard (don't get those much in Bombay), and the student-run farm nearby produced a ton of kaddu/lauki
(Calabash/bottle gourd?
and they didn't know what it was or how to cook it and no one would buy it, so we made out like bandits.

Off to meet DNAGuy (coming off work) for a picnic by river with fried fish and peas/paneer curry, fresh bread and fruit yoghurt; aren't I the good wife? :-)

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 4, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I think the local stuff also is closer, so it can be allowed to ripen on the plant for longer. Grocery stuff tends to be picked green and ripens in transit so it doesn't bruise/go bad as much.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 4, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Sounds yummy DNA_Girl, bon appetit!

After 16 tries I'm finally on hold with MA unemployment, the wait time is 27 minutes but I don't care, the phone is on speaker so I'm just gonna hang here and wait!

Still haven't captured any chipmunks, they are very crafty little rodents! I'm feeling an Elmer Fudd moment coming on.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 4, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Migros has really good prepared rosti -- just open the envelope and fry it up.

Posted by: Yoki | August 4, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Good luck badsneaks.

My brother had chipmunks in his attic and spent considerable time trying to humanely rid the attic of the cute little guys, all attempts failed and if I recall correctly experts were called in.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 4, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Yoki, I'll try that before attempting to make it from scratch.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 4, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I like cats but not enough to get one, plus we have coyotes around here, so I really don't know what else I can do to combat the chipmunks. The use of firearms, which in addition to being illegal to use in such a manner, make me nervous. I tried shooting once and couldn't hit anything, given the size of the 'munks, I'd probably just drill holes in all the tomatoes. That would be pretty counterproductive ;-)

Still listening to recordings, but I must be at least halfway to a live person!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 4, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Routine, and not so routine, maintenance at the vacation rental is eating up a week that was going to be spent weeding and reading (books and the boodle).

CqP-good thing you sent in your deposit, looks like we might end up with a wait list. Zip lines, yes. We'll need the relaxation after the "adventures with chainsaws" block.

Thought in addition to his fly away hair, and sartorial splendor, that JA was one great explainer last night on the News Hour. Particularly liked his point that the actual well is not as clean as the animated illustration.

Later gators, the lawn tractor and way too long grass call. How can this stuff grow so well? I'd call our lawn philosophy Chez Frostbitten "benign neglect" but it connotes more effort than is expended.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 4, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Such a wonderful morning! I spent 3 hours on a never ending MicroSoft Vista upgrade loop--restart and crash.

Thank goodness for people posting solutions ... an hour of reading through bad suggestions, I found some good ideas and was able and lucky to recover.

Oh, boy.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 4, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Such a wonderful morning! I spent 3 hours on a never ending MicroSoft Vista upgrade loop--restart and crash.

Thank goodness for people posting solutions ... an hour of reading through bad suggestions, I found some good ideas and was able and lucky to recover.

Oh, boy.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 4, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Weed, I feel your pain. When I finally spoke to a human at unemployment, she told me I could have just signed on to the website as usual for my claim. No where in any of the information I received from the state was there any mention of that. She admitted as much and asked me why my crystal ball wasn't working. Gah!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 4, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks sneaks!

Cost me a business meeting that will be hard to re-arrange. Plus my morning for work on a pressing project. I have to say that I had feared the worst. I take this as a kick in the pants to take some safety steps.

Good luck with everything up there. I guess the state officials just like seeing people in their office. What would they do with all those waiting room chairs?

You wonder why the DMV is the way it is and I suppose your challenge is worse.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 4, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

About the Gulf....I can see the idea behind the dispersant was to stop the crude from reaching shore, but isn't that like trying to pick up every crumb off the kitchen floor without using a broom and then throwing it all over the dining room? Wouldn't it be better to get it all to glom together so that it's easier to pick up?

Glad there's points of success on the project. It's gotta be draining for those people to be vilified while continuing to work on finding solutions. Talk about a thankless task.

Have a happy day all!

Posted by: LostInThought | August 4, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Gah indeed badsneakers.

Even if you were an unemployed psychic, maybe there's a reason why you're unemployed, or you just prophesy true once a decade, and it doesn't do bureaucracy.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 4, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

sneaks, glad you got through finally. I have the hardest time understanding anything the unemployment folks here send out, especially anything having to do with extended benefits. I keep filing and hoping.

Hope everyone is making backups of their PC's! I'm much better about doing that on a regular basis after my virus experience.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 4, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

New-Almost-Ready-To-Sing-Ding-Dong-The-Well-Is-Dead Kit!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 4, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

LiT, that's a good point - if there really is a large mass of oil glommed together under the surface (as some suggest), if they can locate it, perhaps they can do something about it.

Perhaps bring it up into Kevin Costner's centrifuge boat (that'd be a heck of a Wet Vac), separate the oil from the water and then secure the oil... if the result can be processed, so much the better.

I know that they're looking for it - I hope they find it, if it's there...

That's got to be a tough gig - how does one go about finding something like that, perhaps thousands of feet below the surface of the Gulf. I imagine some interesting satelite imaging's already being employed.


Posted by: -bc- | August 4, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

bc and LIT: would the glommed oil globules resting on the sea floor be more apt to be buried by sediment and other dead stuff that sinks to the bottom? I think that was one of the discussions earlier. It is far from ideal... but it would be buried.

I am certain that I read a lot of reports about the IXTOC spill aftereffects. They mention layers of oily residue now buried beneath newer sediment/participate.

Posted by: baldinho | August 6, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

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