I ended up getting my Costco rebate check in the mail a few months ago. And since that time I’ve been struggling to figure out what to buy from Costco to use up the rebate check. I really hate to use my rebate on consumables such as foodstuff, cleaning supplies, booze, etc. Since if I’ve spent all this money at Costco through out the year on consumable stuff, I should at least be able to get some enjoyment out of my rebate if I use it on “durable good” of some kind.
Last year I ended up using my rebate to get an 11-cup Cuisinart Food Processor. So this year, I’m thinking about getting a new digital camera, since my current Nikon camera is kind of messed up. So this past weekend, I finally bit the bullet, and picked up the Panasonic Lumix FP3 digital camera in black (which was the only color available.) I ended up going with the Panasonic for two reasons:
1) Manual lens cover. This was the only item I wasn’t willing to compromise on, since I seem to do quite a bit of activities in sub-zero weather. And this was how I screwed up the automatic lens cover on my Nikon (sub-zero temperatures in Chicago.) So the next camera had to have a manual lens cover. And this Panasonic model has a manual cover.
2) Price. For $99.95, you can’t shake a stick at the price. Especially for a camera with 14.1 megapixels, which is totally nuts in my opinion for the price.
So theoretically going forward, the pictures on this site should look a bit better then before, but I offer no guarantees, since I’m not a professional photographer.
Since I had to cut the lawn this weekend, it gave me a good excuse to bust out the string trimmer, and get the garden ready for transplanting all my seedlings. It only took me about half an hour to chop all the weeds to the ground, so now the garden is starting to look a little bit more like a garden.
In just under a month after trimming out the seed heads from the main rhubarb plant, it generated two more seed heads. This plant must ready want to go to seed this year, because its generating seed heads like crazy.
The hops are still doing their whole “growing thing” up the A-Frame. I’m kind of curious this year, to see what kind of cone production I get out of the hops. Since last years diagonally hops, didn’t really produce enough cones for a 5-gallon batch of homebrew. So hopefully my fortune will change this year.
These weeds are turning into the bane of my gardening existence, since they seem to be going at an exponential pace. I’ve already gone with a stirrup hoe on the left hand side of the garden, since the soil was a bit loose. But on the right hand side, which has all the onion, that soil is as firm as hell, so using the stirrup hoe was a big waste of time. Maybe next weekend, I’ll bust out the string trimmer, and really go to town on the right hand side of the garden.
But check out the hops! The Centennial is already at the ~10ft mark on the A-Frame, and its only been about two weeks since the last set of pics. Even the Golding is doing better this year compared to last year. Maybe it has something to do with all the heavy shade being provided by the surrounding rhubarb.
So I went to the transplant sale a few weeks ago over at Turtle Farm, and picked up a whole pile of random seedlings, and here is what I ended up getting (I’ve included links with more info for some of the more off-beat items):
So I have a pretty good variety of random stuff for the garden. And we’ll see what does or doesn’t do well in the garden this year.
You’ll also notice that the seedlings that I started are looking better compared to a few weeks ago. I guess there really is something to using a bulb that is more in the blue spectrum. Since these seedlings are definitely looking hardier than they were two weeks ago. A few more days, and all these seedlings are going to be put into the ground, and the garden will then officially be up and running for the season.
Seeing how last year was a complete failure in trying to grow hops diagonally, I’ve reconstructed the old EMT conduit A-Frame, since it was just sitting in a pile of parts in the backyard. And the reconstruction was just in the nick of time, since the Centennial is growing like gangbusters. The Golding is going on the slow side, but so far it’s doing better this year, then it was last year.
You’ll also notice that the rhubarb has already gone to seed, which is earlier than I was expecting. But none the less, all I did was take my pruners and just cut off the seed heads, since I don’t need the seeds, and the seed head also takes away from stalk production. But as the pics can attest, I’m not really in a shortage of rhubarb stalks this early in the season.
For some reason this year, the weeds are growing like crazy in the main garden. So I’ll have to finally bust out the stirrup hoe or string trimmer one of the nights and do some heavy duty weeding to get the garden ready for the May 20th transplant date.
As far as the peppers and the tomatoes, those are both on schedule to be transplanted around May 20th. But the herbs are looking VERY weak this year. So this year, instead of going to Goode’s Greenhouse or Menards, I’m heading up to Turtle Farm, to round out all the seedlings that didn’t come in this year. But I’ll also pick up a bunch of random plants, just for fun. Since I’m always up for growing something different.
So we’ll see what that farm has to offer this weekend!
One other this I did this weekend was to change out the fluorescent bulbs above the seedlings, since the seedlings were looking a bit “leggy.” I talked with my farmer neighbor, and apparently when you start plants, you are supposed to use a bulb that is more in the red spectrum. But then after the seedlings have germinated, you’re supposed to transition to a bulb that is more in the blue spectrum. Apparently this is supposed to mimic the sun in going from spring to summer. Talk about learning something new everyday, since I’d never heard of this before, so I might as well give it a shot.
It’s still a bit chilly outside, at this point in the year. But you can already see the hops, rhubarb & green onions starting to grow like crazy. I can just feel that summer is right around the corner.
At this point I’m shooting for a transplant date of May 20th, 2011, for all the seedlings that are growing in the house. And a few days after Mother’s Days, I’ll start the transplants for the corn & cucumbers, since they only need a day to germinate, and about 4 days before they are big enough to be transplanted outside.
We are now in full seedling mode in the house. Most of the time, I’ve been keeping the seedlings in the house, since its still in the high 40’s to low 50’s outside. But on the couple of days these past few weeks, it’s been in the high 60’s, so I was able to take both flats outside for a couple of hours of sun in the late afternoon and early evening.
For some reason the only seeds that haven’t germinated out of the two flats, are the bell pepper, rosemary & cilantro seeds. So it looks like I’ll just have to pick these plants up, when I go to the seedling sale at Turtle Farm up in Granger, in about two to three weeks.
The seedling sale starts next weekend (Easter Weekend) at Turtle Farm, but I’d rather wait until it’s a little bit closer to Mother’s Day, just so I don’t have a bunch of seedlings getting “leggy” in the house, when they would be better off in the greenhouse over at Turtle Farm for the time being.
As tribute to the Nick Cage/John Travolta movie…..we are going to have a Face (hand motion) Off.
Once again I picked up two crazy looking flavors, and surprisingly, I thought that these two chips would be very similar in taste, but they ended up being pretty different. Both in the intensity of the hot sauce hot, as well as the overall flavor.
First up are the Hot Sauce chips from Herr’s, and the description on the bag perfectly describes these chips, which is chips with a coating of dried hot sauce on them. You maybe get a little bit too much of the vinegar flavor, that you would have with a cayenne based hot sauce (such as Texas Pete or Franks.) But in actuality it’s the cayenne and vinegar that make these hot sauces who they are, so you really can’t fault Herr’s for trying to capture the full essence of a hot sauce on a wavy potato chip.
Lastly we have the Ruffles Molten Hot Wings, and these chips kind of surprised me, since I was expecting them to be close in flavor to the Herr’s chips, but they really weren’t. With the key difference being that the Ruffles have not only the hot sauce flavor, but they also have some chicken bullion added in, so that you actually kind of think that you’re eating a buffalo wing, even though you are eating a potato chip. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the flavor is “molten”, but they are mildly hot, and quite interesting for a chip flavor.
Unfortunately in the end I thought this challenge was going to be more like apples vs. apples, but it turned out to be more of apples vs. oranges. Both chips overall have a good flavor, it’s just that with the addition of the chicken flavor on the Ruffles, it puts them in the same category in my mind as the Baby Back Ribs chips from Herr’s, due to the addition of a “protein” flavor on the chips. But really, if you are looking for a chip with hot sauce flavoring, either one is more then adequate to satisfy your desire for hot sauce. I know it did for me.