Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Broken Seals on Windows

Today I had the window supplier for the house come and inspect some of the windows. I had noticed fog in the windows and I could not clean it off after wiping both sides of the window. After inspecting all the full size windows in the house we found that 8 of 8 top sections of windows had their seals broken. The thin tape/seal between the panes of glass had turned yellow and had begun to peel. He told me that was a sign the seal had broken. The bottom half of the window looked okay and those seals were still white. Luckily, the windows have 10 year warranties and replacement will be covered. Whew!

It will take 2 weeks for the new window panes to arrive and the installer will return to replace them. I think most windows carry a warrenty so it might be a good idea to check the seals between the panes from time to time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Thamnoptychia alternans Coral

Pieces of coral found in the yard. This fossil is pretty to find since it turns white Posted by Hello

This appears to be Thamnoptychia alternans branching coral described by geologist Carl Ludwig Rominger. It probably occurred in the Devonian period.

Part of Trilobite found in the Ohio River Valley. I have only found 3-4 of these. The only whole I found was rolled up. Posted by Hello

Monday, June 27, 2005

Mexoryl and Ozone

I just heard a story about Mexoryl and how it appears to block both UVA & UVB rays. L'Oreal has the patent on it and they sell it outside the United States. After doing a search, it appears that products containing this compound can be bought on Amazon and EBay. I will do some more research and see if this is something to buy.

Have not been bicycling this weekend. The temperatures have been in the 90s and we are under an ozone action alert. Working on more wiring projects this weekend. Also obtained more plastic for the watermelons.

Probably will start buying oxygen sensors for the vehicles this week.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A yellow melon called Lemon Ice from Parks Seed. This one was grown in 2004. Posted by Hello

Visit to the Watermelon Garden

Tonight after work I went to cover the watermelon plants in the garden with black plastic. They are growing quite well though a difference can be seen by what part of the garden they are in. The first picture is of the Moon & Stars variety. It is hard to see in this picture but the melon leaves have small yellow spots on them like the melons will have on them. These spots are the stars and there will be one large one which will represent the moon.

The potato plants had some orange bugs on them. I tried to pick the bugs off the plants. I then saw something very interesting. A praying mantis eating part of some brown bug. It might have been a grass hopper. So I went to go get my camera and the mantis had moved. I found it on the other side of the plant waiting for another bug to come along.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Vino Frizzante

Today I had a glass of wine after coming backing from an evening bicycle ride. The bottle is one we brought back from Italy. The label is in Italian and I had sampled the wine and decided to get it for 8 euro when in Siena. I am still trying to decode it but the main part of the label says Moscadello di Montalcino Vino Frizzante 2003. I assume it says its a sparkling wine created in 2003 at the winery named in that region of Italy.

The wine was quite sweet and so people who are serious about wines would probably not like it. It was very bubbly white wine. It was nice to drink though sweeter than about any American wine I have had. It might not be as sweet as an ice wine though.

There is a wine festival in Indianapolis, Indiana every year in June. I think about 15 wineries get together and for an admission price you get to sample their different wines. It is a great opportunity to try different wines and we really found some nice wines from Madison and French Lick.

Cycling was good but I was running out of sunlight which gave me a 30 minute ride. It has become quite hot and humid.

My NX-1600 muffler fix did not hold. I think I will try patching it will liquid metal next.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Another Day

Today I took the car to my father's house and we then went to my uncles to replace the brake pads. The car has 176001 miles and they were last worked on at the 130000 mark.

My uncle had helped me a while back by replacing the discs and pads on the Nissan NX-1600. Those brakes had some issues. The right pad had worn down to metal and it really grooved the rotor. I went to Pep Boys to get new rotors and pads. Well, they sold me a set of pads that were mismatched and the rotors were not for the car. We went back once after taking off the wheels and finding the pads did not match. After we got new pads from AutoZone, we found that the discs were not correct being too thick. Had to take them back to Pep Boys to get refund and buy some new ones at AutoZone. After 4 hours, the brakes were in good working order but this job should have only taken 30 minutes. So what did I learn: 1) Always check the parts you need on the on-line database (I found Autozone a good one on-line), 2) Check inside the package at the parts you receive to make sure they are there, 3) Don't buy car model specific parts at Pep Boys, & 4) Be patient.

So tonight I had all the parts before I went over learning from my past experiences. I had looked numerous times on the internet at the parts to buy for this job. I was late leaving work so it we started later than I expected. I had the rotors, pads, bleeding kit, and brake fluid. We get the front wheels off and they were hot from the trip over. My uncle removes the first set of pads and finds they do not quite match the ones coming off the car. So we box them back up and head off to AutoZone before it closes. I get there and explain the situation. Even though the day before I had given the salesperson the part list from the website showing part 562C, he had given me part 526C. I SHOULD HAVE CHECKED THE NUMBER ON THE BOX WITH THE NUMBER ON MY SHEET!!!

So the salesperson quickly exchanged them on and back we went to my uncles. He then changed out the pads and the fit. We re-greased these two bolts with a small package AutoZone sold me for $0.99. After studying the rotors, they decided they did not need to be replaced. It had been 45,000 miles since they last turned but they still had a smooth surface. He fitted the other wheel and then we put the tires back on. I tested the brakes out in the driveway and they seemed quieter and responsive. We did debate about bleeding the brakes but since it was so late decided to wait. Things I learned: 1) Check the part number, 2) ceramic pads do seem quieter, and 3) need to bleed the brakes.
Driving home I think I need to bleed the brakes to make them tighter. I might try to do this later in the week.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Different Items for Today

Today I learned that drinking a Mountain Dew will probably take 25 minutes of cycling to burn off. I cycled for about 45 minutes to help burn off this and other dietary lapses today. Lubricated the chain afterwards because the gears are starting to make some noises.

Had to patch the Nissan NX muffler again. The intake pipe is starting to break loose of the muffler assembly. Hopefully, this will hold if not I will have to go to liquid metal.

Finished installing the bedroom overhead light and all seems to be well. I am not found of the globe lights with their aluminum stranded wire and exposed insulation. I would prefer a solid base piece and better quality wire. It lights up the room quite nicely and works well with the dimmer. Still need to go into the attic and redistribute the insulation.

The beginnings of a bloom stalk on Corn Plant (Darcaena fragrans "Massangeana"). Posted by Hello

Wonderful Weather

The weather this weekend has been very nice. Spring like with temperatures in at night in the 60s and highs during the day in the low 80s. A breeze usually accompanies partly cloudy skies. I got some cycling in but no rides with greater than 10 miles of riding.

Visiting my parents for father's day, the corn plant (Dracaena fragrans "Massangeana") is blooming. It has been showing signs for several weeks and the bloom stalk has now fallen over. I have never seen the plant bloom before and it was quite a sight to be hold. The plant is now giving off a strong sweetly smell that really hits you when you enter the house. I will try to post a picture later of some of the blooms.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Wiring a new light and viewing Jupiter

I was up late tonight working on installing a new light in one of the bedrooms. Since I needed to be up in the cramped attic, I decided late at night was the best time. It was actually cooler in the attic than in the upstairs. Progress was made in that the wire was fished down to the switch box and the old switch removed. The spot where the new light was drilled in the ceiling and now I need a 2x4 to mount it on. Still need to 1) wire up new dimmer switch, 2) cut drywall for light box (got one for ceiling fan in case want to upgrade), 3) fit board and box to rafters, 4) wire up light, 5) remove outlet from switch circuit, and 6)clean up mess. Maybe this weekend will have a new light!

Since I was up, checked out Starry Night and found that the Jupiter was out. Got out the Mead Polaris 4" telescope with a 15mm eyepiece. After focusing on the moon for a while, always neat to see the craters and grayish-white surface. I found Jupiter low in the southwest(?) sky. I could barely make out its segmented areas. It looks like there two of its moons on either side.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Random musings

The company I work for has instituted a summer dress code. We are now allowed to wear jeans and shorts to work. This policy is pretty cool. Recently, it has not been too hot but as the temperature goes up, having shorts on will definitely be nice.

I need to get the watermelons weeded and put black plastic down to control weeds, retain moisture in the surrounding soil, and increase heat to the plant. This weekend, I need to get these things done. I posted a picture of one of the large melons from 2 years ago. It was heirloom variety from a watermelon I saved the seeds from. I was surprised they grew so well. I planted 3 hills and did not realize how many plants would take off. They took over the garden plot and produced maybe 14-20 melons. All seeded with three varieties: a round Crimson Sweet like melon, a oblong/elliptical stripped melon, and Charleston Grey type melon (elongated). I find the the Charleston Grey melons mature the quickest. I did not plant any this year. I do not think I have any seeds. The ones I grew last year in Indiana started turning brown before the fruit matured (they were grown where the same melons grew the year before and from what I read, this is a no-no). The ones I grew in Kentucky became more rounded and were the size/shape of large pumpkins. I expected them not to taste very good since its seems they may have cross pollinated but they were sweet and held up well.

Last year, I grew several varieties: Indiana field: Crimson Sweet, Sugar Baby, Lemon Ice (seedless), Sweetheart (seedless), Charleston grey came up themselves:: Kentucky field: Crimson Sweet, Charleston Grey, Rattlesnake, Sugar Baby, Sweetheart (seedless), unknown seeds I saved. I will try to post some pictures from this harvest.

Walking in the parking lot, I saw a bee getting pollen from clover flowers. It is rare that see the honey bees any more working the flowers. Since watermelons need them to germinate, I hope the bees show up this year and help the plants out.

The last three days I have cycled for at least 25 minutes. I need to start wearing a heart monitor. The mountain bike has been what I have been taking out. The tire on the road bike is flat and it needs to be fixed. The neighborhood is one big obstacle course, cars moving here and there, kids playing pick up / street basketball or baseball games, people walking/running, kids biking/skating, and neighbors out socializing. It can be a challenge moving from sidewalk to road and back dodging these items, riding through the occasional sprinkler and ducking/twisting to avoid a Bradford Pear branch growing across the sidewalk. There is a practical side to riding as well. I installed a basket and go to the store and buy items. I rode to the bank, the post office, and to get a hair cut. I read in a google blog that one person rides 40 miles to work twice a week. If we had the proper trail system here, I would try more aggressive rides like that but this is an automobile society.

A melon from two years ago that ended up weighing about 30 lbs Posted by Hello

A vivid rainbow that appeared during a spring rain Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Three watermelons plants Posted by Hello

Row of potatoes growing along side the watermelons Posted by Hello

Growing Watermelons

Well, another growing season is up on us and I have not a very good job at getting the watermelon plants out. Earlier in the year I ordered a variety of watermelon heirloom seeds (Moon & Stars, Mountain Hoosier, Oranglo). I also picked up seeds at the store. The big surprise was finding a seedless variety at WalMart for $0.97 called Ultra Cool. I am use to paying almost a $1 a seed from Park for seedless melon seeds. I also buy Sugar Baby packets from time to time since they seem to be the preferred plant to pollinate the seedless plants.

So far I have planted Moon & Stars, Sugar Baby (two different lots), Sweetheart seedless, Ultra cool seedless, Mountain Hoosier, and Oranglo. I also planted some potatoes left over from last years crop. The Moon and Stars variety might be the most interesting. The leaves have little yellow spots on them which is what the melons have on their skins as well. I will try to post some pictures soon of how the plants are progressing.

I regret I could not get any Crimson Sweet melons out. I might try and plant some at my other plot. I would like to get some cantaloupe out as well.

Fragments from a metal spherical found in a slate bed Posted by Hello