Sunday, April 20, 2008

Upside down tomatoes

Every thing grows in southern California. Just need some dirt and a little water, stick it in and -- Voila!

The problem comes when I try to grow tomatoes. The plant gets huge. I've tried everything -- stakes, lines, cages, freestyle -- nothing keeps the darn things up.

This year I think I've solved it with my plant in a bag. I ordered the bag online from Gardener's Supply, stuck my plant through the bottom and filled it up with some time release fertilizer and dirt (I think the proper term is soil -- where I grew up in Kentucky, it was dirt).

Two weeks into the experience all's going well. The plants are healthy, growing, and the bugs can't get to them. They're still trying to decide whether to grow up toward the sun or down with gravity.

I think I'll be giving up the ground garden!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Getting Ready for the Big Hike

In less than three months, Kathie, Joan, and I will hike, along with Kathie's buddy Hisako and her hubby, the Hadrian's Wall National Trail end to end. I've wanted for years to walk across England so I am just as excited as I can be!

This particular trek is 84 miles from Newcastle on Tyne at the east end to Bowness on Solway on the west. We're planning to cover it in 7 days, which means I've gotta be able to walk twelve miles a day. (I've maybe covered eight miles in one day, and that was on the Inca Trail in October of 2000. I remember slipping and sliding around on the muddy rocks and wondering if maybe Kathie - usually at least 100 steps ahead of me - wasn't really my twin but descended instead from mountain goats.)

My hip joints aren't nearly as happy hiking as they used to be, so I've been doing laps at Citadel Mall to try to get myself ready. How humiliating is that? I'm officially an old fart, Kelly says. Then again, maybe she just says that to get out of walking with me - she may be only 21, but I doubt she could do eight miles if her life depended on it!

To keep myself from getting incredibly bored, I read a magazine or listen to Harry Potter books on CD or talk to Kathie on the phone while I walk. This week, I did 21 miles. Somehow, I have to quadruple that. So much for having a life.

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Forget the Prius...

Think 300 - MPG, that is. Carlsbad, just up the road here in San Diego, has its own King Leonidas at the Gates of Thermopylae with the "wingless flight" Aptera slated to begin production at the end of 2008.

The first vehicles...note that's not "cars"... to roll off the production line will be electric only and travel 120 miles from one plug in to the house electricity line. The next version, slated to roll out in 2009 will be an electric hybrid with a 2 gallon gas tank, getting 300 -- yes, 300 - mpg.

Watch the video to understand why this is not a "car".

Amazing. Now why didn't the big US car makers come up with something like this? Patty, cynic that she is, might say it has something to do with the oil industry connection.

Post script from Pat: The Aptera will only be available in California - for now. Go here to learn more about them.