Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gopher Battle Update II

Gophers - 0 / Brian - 3

Ha Ha! I got the sucker! This guy wiped out an entire bed of lettuce and was making a bee-line towards the garlic. It took me days of hunting to finally get him, he outsmarted my trapping maneuvers on three separate occasions, but finally, FINALLY, I got him. So far, I'm going to say that the Old Reliable traps (the original macabee style) are better than the new ones.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gopher Battle Update

Well, darned if I haven't killed a single gopher since I wrote the manifesto. Recently, I've been stuck in an intense battle with a very wily critter. He started out eating some heads of lettuce which were bolting, so it wasn't too bad, but he was very close to the garlic bed.

I dug up his surface holes and set traps in them, despite knowing that finding a deep mainline hole is the most important part. At first, I was foiled because he came through a third hole which I hadn't noticed and filled in the area I had dug out. I re-dug and set another trap, but somehow he manages to push dirt past the traps without springing them. It may be that I'm using an inferior version of the macabee style traps, since they are new ones with two wires that have to be tripped.

He moved on from the holes I was setting traps in after filling them in a second time and killed a few more heads of lettuce by chewing the roots off. He's getting closer to the garlic, so I decided to dig back along the surface hole until I found a deeper route. I did so and set a trap, but he dug a parallel hole next to the one I'd dug up and filled it in from the other end, then ate some more lettuce. GAH!! This critter is getting frustrating.

Today I followed his new, parallel hole back to where it dives deep underground and used the "big shovel" to dig down and set a trap, but I still think that I haven't found his main thoroughfare because there is only one hole, and it pretty much led to the surface tunnels I've been digging up.

If failure was an option, I'd write this off and call it Gophers - 1, Brian -2, but it isn't an option, so I'll keep setting traps and digging until the entire garden is dug up if I have to.

On a side note, I've installed PVC irrigation and spigots in each bed so that we don't have hoses running all over the garden. Today I installed the solenoid valves to run each of the four sections, now I just need to run the power supply over from the garden shed and install the controller, then it'll be ready to run.

Smurf Hats

UPDATE:  Posted a tutorial on making the Smurf Hats

Project #73 for when I should be doing something useful

I made some smurf hats. It started out innocently enough, I'm playing in a spring frisbee league in Sac and the theme for picking team names was "cartoons from your childhood". Of course everyone starts in with various and assundry cartoons, animaniacs, looney toons, eco-panet-rangers (whatever they were called)... I bit my tongue, hoping someone might mention the obvious choices: He-Man and the Smurfs.

How is it that in a group of fifteen people aged between twentyfive and thirtyfive, I'm the only one with a fixation on such nerdy classics? I can almost recall doing a mathematical proof that the odds of having two people with a fixation on Smurfs looks something like this:

#people %(2 smurf fans)
1_ _ _ _ _ _0
2 _ _ _ _ 100
3 _ _ _ _ 100

It was probably a proof I did in my sleep at college, while I was taking the prob/stat course that I don't remember much of and didn't like very well. And it may have been true in college, too. But, I begin to realize that going out into "normal" society introduces strange twists into the equation.

So after the discussion goes on for many, many minutes, including having the modern, PC ultra hypenated team name (something like loony-maniacal-power-saving-mutant-explorers, though not nearly that cool), I slipped in a casual "or we could be the smurfs," then scampered off to play another margarita point.

It took almost literally one ultimate point for the full swing. I staggered back to the sideline after we'd scored the point (cuz I wasn't walking straight by then) and there were already three people assigned names: papa smurf, smurfette, and gargamel. Those are the only ones that anyone can remember.

Fortunately, people who are into smurfs are nerdy, as a prerequisite, so the internet (also being the domain of the nerdy) is full of smurfy information. Mel took it upon herself to dig some of it up and the corruption began. First there was the list of all the characters in the mushroom village. There are 98. They came the e-mail list of who's who. My name is Brian, I choose Brainy smurf because that's how most people spell my name anyway, and he's annoying, self-righteous, and gets hit in the head with a mallet for his qualities. Marion is farmer smurf for obvious reasons. Jeffro - jokey smurf. Melody - harmony smurf. It's almost too easy.

So smurfs are distinctive for two things: blue bodies and goofy looking white hats. Blue shirts I have, but goofy looking white hats? I'll just have to make them. So I found out there are not really any patterns on the internet, but a picture of a hat from the interweb was good enough. I started with the outline of a beanie, and added a big top knobby bit. Six hats later (and at midnight), I gave up for the day. But I promise, and this is especially for the Smurf team, I will make a team set of these before the season is over!

Which brings me to the whole point of writing this post. I did a facebook status update saying "I just made a half dozen smurf hats" at the end of my fabrication last night. This morning, DChun, a good, nerdy college friend commented, saying "I'm proud, but scared. How many minions are you authorized to have?"

I don't know that I have any authorization, but by the looks of it, tonight I will have fifteen!