Thursday, July 28, 2005

The First Melons

Today I picked two melons, one is a sugar baby (9 lbs, 9" diameter) and the other is a??? (looks like a Charleston Grey) but sized like a basketball (13 lbs, 11" diameter). The tendrils were brown, they had solid spots on the bottom and the skin was a dull color.

I saw a number of moon & stars melons and with their large yellow spot. I will get further into the patch later and see if they are ready. Next year I need to plant some Crimson Sweet melons.

Picked 5-6 squash and 2 tomatoes. The tomatoes are starting to ripen and there are probably 10 ready to picked.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Bicycling

Congratulations to Lance Armstrong for a feat never accomplished at the Tour De France.

I worked on my bicycle this weekend to install two new Continental (http://www.conti-online.com/generator/www/de/en/continental/bicycle/general/home/index_en.html) tires from Germany. The bike shop told me that these were less prone to flats. I decided to install them myself to get practice changing the intertube on the bicycle. It was a small disaster. I changed the flat on the rear tire but I must have punctured the tire because it went flat after 4 rides. So that is when I decided to get new tires. I also got more intertubes. The front tube stem was not fully extended from the rim. I tried to pull it more and broke off part of the stem (that tube is history). After I installed a new tube and put the tire back on, it would not inflate. I removed the tube and found two small holes. So I installed another tube and it seemed to lose air as well. AHHH! I removed that and could not find a hole just pumping up the tube. So I reinstalled it and found that not putting the pump head on correctly caused the problem. I then replaced the back tire with not too much of a problem (or I thought). I took the bicycle out for a ride and I found that I had the magnet on the wrong side for the bike computer to work. Later on in the ride was I was turning on a street my gears locked up right in front of a car. I pushed the bike into the grass and found that the back wheel was becoming detached from the frame. The quick connect was not properly locked down. Fixed that and the ride seemed to go okay.

Visited the watermelons today and they are coming along. The moon & stars melon has developed some yellow spots. My father found 3 more moon & stars melons hiding in the leaves on the plants in the back field. It looks like the plants will be producing late so it will be good if I can get a staggered harvest.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Fun With Nissan


Well, I went to the Nissan dealer to buy a new fan resistor board. I could not figure out how to fix the other one. I think there is a fuse inside the connector casing that has blown. The schematic shows a fuse but I do not see it on the board.




So I pull into the parking lot and get out. I go over to the passenger side and detach the circuit board from the place under the glove compartment. I take the board into the parts department and ask for the replacement part. The guy seems to be familiar with the part and pulls it from a shelf not far from his computer. It costs $26.86 and is part number 27150-62J60. I then took the part out to the parking lot and reattached it to the cable and bolted it back in. Started the engine and the fan works on all settings. It was kind of funny fixing it in their parking lot in about 3 minutes. Being hot outside I needed that fan with A/C in the car.

If you look at the new board (not really in focus), you will see a silver looking rectangle at the left of the board. I think this is the fuse. It will melt if too much current is put through it. The nice thing is it can be repaired but if it were to burn through, why?

I got new pedals for my bicycle and two new tires. The owner of the store told me another model was less prone to flats so I bought those. I think they were more expensive than my car tires! But I do not want a flat on that bike miles from anywhere so they will be worth it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cycling

I finally got my cycling computer a battery and it is nice know the distances I am traveling. My short trip tonight amounted to over 3 miles though I need to make sure my wheel diameter is set correctly in the computer. If that is a correct value then my longer evening rides are in the 5-10 mile range.

Watermelon prices at the grocery store were between $5-7 for seedless melons that looked to weigh about 10-15 lbs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Busy Day


I had quite a few things keeping me busy at work. My windows have come in so I made an appointment to have them installed.

The watermelons growing. The leaves seem to expand out more where the fruit did no seem so obvious. We had a sunny and humid day today so that may have something to do with it. The vine that I thought was wilting had opened leaves today so I am not sure what that means.

The picture I post today is of a variety of watermelon I am not sure about. I have misplaced my planting map. It has the skin of a Charleston Grey but I did not plant any of those this year. I have found about 5 of this variety that will probably reach maturity.

I continue to read about the new Harry Potter book. It amazes me that people were finishing it in 6 hours. I know on Friday night/early Saturday morning amazon.com had 47 user reviews and now they have almost 1000. Most reviews are favorable and some of the negatives ones have some good points though some people are just mean spirited. I probably read it too fast but I wanted to give it to my nephew since he is a big fan. The webpage I had for amazon.com was just refreshed and the review count is now 1002. So cheers to all the other readers who finished. Enjoy the movies while we wait for the last book to come out. One really good thing they did was release it on a Friday night during the summer when kids are out of school.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Jupiter

Well, I see that Jupiter is making an appearance in the south western sky so I am taking the telescope out to view it.

I inspected the watermelons today I finally spotted one moon and stars melon. It has a shiny green skin. I have 6-10 plants and only one melon. This production yield is disappointing though they have another 4-6 weeks to produce so maybe things will happen. The garden has quite a few sugar baby melons and the fungus infection on the leaves does not appear to be spreading too much. I did see one vine further in the patch start to have rolled up leaves so I hope that is not some sort of wilt problem.

Mowed the grass this evening and it was somewhat depressing in the front yard. The grass was pretty brown and it had mildewed/molded. I can only hope the sun will come out and get rid of that. The rain clouds are approaching from the west so we might be getting some rain tonight. It could be worse though, it could be drought.

I need to figure out how to get the pedals off my bicycle. I worked at a while this evening and I did not seem to make them budge. Maybe if I go to the bike shop, they will show me after I buy some new pedals. There was an interesting story done by a local TV stations investigative reporter about motorists and cyclists. He basically found that both groups abuse the law and are not respectful to each other at times. The story might still be found at this website in Real Player or Microsoft Media Player format: http://www.thelouisvillechannel.com/index.html

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Finished

Well, I finished the book and it is pretty good. I would recommend it to others. The character that got killed was who I thought would get killed. After reading how she is connecting some of the characters together, I have changed my mind about a dark ending for book 7. It will be stretch to see how good will triumph over evil in this series though. Now I will give the book to my nephew so he can enjoy reading it. Hopefully, the reading pace will be a little slower.

I was amazed at how fast some user reviews were posted on amazon.com. Our world has some fast readers. Readers in England have a 5 hour head start on American east coast readers so they might have been posting those reviews.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Reading What A Lot of Other People Are

Well, I am about 200+ pages into the book and it is following the previous formula for the most part. No big surprises so far but the author is bringing in foreshadowing (or is she) in the passages I have encountered so far. Only more reading will reveal or disprove my suspicions. The mystery I am trying to figure out is: who will she kill off? It will be interesting to learn how well the sales of the book did.

Here are some more watermelon pictures. The new imaging tool is definitely more convenient to use and allows image to be put into the text. The image on the left shows a melon that looks like a miniature Charleston Gray melon but I did not plant any of those. The image on the right shows some of the melons in the back field. They have flowers but no fruit that I can find. The ones in the picture are Moon & Stars.

So Mr. Potter... We meet again

Well, I joined the legions tonight buying the next Harry Potter book. I decided to avoid the parties at the bookstores and went to Kroger on my way home. I got there right at midnight and saw a young man leaving the store with a book. I saw the registers and there were more people leaving with bags with books in them. I heard the manager ask the people setting up the table, how many books had been sold. They said three boxes and looks like they unpacked maybe 20. I got some more groceries before getting a book so maybe another box had been sold by the time I left the store. The store I was at had no lines and with self check out people were getting out pretty quick. I think some places had it cheaper but the convenience was worth it. At almost 700 pages, I am not sure I will be able to finish before the weekend. I expect the story to get dark from here on out.

A new season of shows started on Sci-Fi. SG-1 looks to be interesting with a number of new people and some of the main stars missing. I thought Atlantis got off to a good start and hopefully the story lines will be better than last seasons. Battle Star Glactica is a dark show though I liked that it had more action than some of the ones I saw last season. Off to a good start and hopefully I will get a chance to watch some more.

The watermelon garden is looking pretty good. The fungus does not seem to be spreading too rapidly but it would be nice if we could get some sunny days to help fight off the infection. I brought some leaves back and I hope to look at them under the microscope.

Well, I need to get some reading in...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Watermelons in Peril?


Well, I visited the watermelon patch and found that the fungus was on the leaves of some of the watermelon plants. It may only be attacking some of the seedless melons right now.

I mixed a fungicide of canola oil, baking soda, sulfur and tap water into a spray bottle. I mixed it up and sprayed it on the leaves of the watermelon that had the brown spots. I tried to get under the leaves as well. The really bad leaves I cut from the stem and placed in a plastic bag. I probably trimmed 14 leaves. Hopefully, the fungus will not get into the stem where I cut off the leaves. The spray bottle jammed after a while, maybe too much oil? So I started pouring the mixture on the leaves. I ran out by the time I got to the last part of the patch affected by this outbreak. So now I have three groups: one set of leaves sprayed, one with the mixture poured on them, and another that was left pretty much untouched. I will collect a leaf tomorrow for closer examination.

The Ultra Cool and Moon & Stars varieties appear to be un-affected by the fungus so far. I might dig up a potato plant tomorrow as well if it is not too wet.

Cycled tonight and got in a good ride. I started a little late but I probably rode for about 30 minutes. Visited some areas of the subdivision I do not think I had been to before. We let the yard get brown when it was hot instead of paying for water to keep it green. Well, that might have been a mistake. The dead grass has started to mildew since we have had about 5 days of overcast and rainy weather. I went out and raked the front yard to de-thatch it and get rid of some of the mildewed grass. I hope it does not rain tomorrow so I can mow it and get a little more air down into the grass and try to promote some new growth.

My mother's flower garden is looking nice. Here are some pictures

More About Watermelons

This site talks about growing watermelons.
http://cuke.hort.ncsu.edu/cucurbit/wmelon/wmelonmain.html

This site has brix refractometers for sale. They are used to measure the sugar content of watermelons though I am not sure how to use one.
http://www.qasupplies.com/index.html

A maker of refractometers can be found at this site:
http://www.atago.net/english/index.html

I am also looking into what some brown spots that appeared on several watermelon plants are. I wonder if I should remove the leaves that are affected or let the plant take care of them. It appears to be on 3 of maybe 21 plants. The spots may be on only one variety of watermelon. According to the University of Georgia site (http://www.uga.edu/vegetable/watermelon.html) it could be Anthracnose. Reading the details of this Colletotrichum lagenarium fungus this does not sound good. It is on the oldest leaves at the center of the plants.

Of course, it might be a Cercospora citrullina fungus that can cause leaf spots described at this Texas A&M site (http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/southtex/info/Watermelon.html). It does not appear as harmful but the pictures at the Univ. of Georgia site look closer to what I am seeing. Here is a list of watermelon problems http://plantpathology.tamu.edu/Texlab/Vegetables/wmelon/wmmenu.htm

I think I am going to remove dying leaves and spray a mixture of baking soda/vegetable oil on leaves that have few spots and those near by. I might try sulfur and hydrogen peroxide as well. Fingers crossed this will not spread with all the overcast and wet weather that is occurring.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Rain... rain... mist...

We continue to get rain but it might be more like mist or a light shower. Driving home today the road was dry looking, then wet, then partially wet. The day was mostly overcast. Need to get out and cycle.

Buenos Noche

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Monday, July 11, 2005

Visit to the Watermelon Patch

I was expecting more rain today from the remnants of the hurricane but the rain gauge only showed 0.25 inches. It looks like the storms went west instead. The melons plants are really thriving. I counted 23 melons in various stages of growth. It looks like at least six are the size of softballs and maybe approaching volleyball size. The 4 areas in the back field have fair sized plants but they have just began to bloom so no fruit yet. Where the old compost pile was and now a dumping ground for sawdust, three plants have come up. One has established a pretty good vine and the other two are somewhat small (5 leaves or so).

All the plants are looking good right now even though we have had such dry and hot conditions.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Reaction to Hurricane Dennis

Driving north on I-65 this afternoon I witnessed a number of small convoys of utility trucks with buckets heading south. I saw three groups of maybe 5-8 trucks driving. The names on the trucks did not look like a utility company. I am guessing they are expecting quite a bit of damage to be repaired in Alabama and Florida. As for our area, we hope that it will bring some much needed rain.

This weekend, I got a chance to inspect the watermelon plants. The plants that have good water supplies are thriving while the ones in drier areas are very small plants with 3-4 leaves. I am guessing there are about 5-10 fruit forming on my most mature plants. Since they are icebox melons, the fruit is somewhat small. See picture I posted earlier. Also the one grape plant of the five that did not get damaged by an early spring frost is producing grapes (picture posted earlier).

I am thinking the potatoes might be getting ready because the plants appear to be dying. Maybe it is the heat but last year the bugs killed the plants and after they looked dead I dug up the potatoes. About 10 pounds were produced from about 5 lbs of seed potatoes. I also collected about 5 lbs of green potatoes and stored them last year. They are this year's crop so it will be interesting to see what I find when I dig them up. The bugs were fought off this year with an organic bug repeller and it worked pretty good. It did not seem to kill the bugs but they seemed to quit eating once it hit them.

Largest watermelon I could find in the patch. It does not appear to be a Sugar Baby so it might be a seedless variety. Posted by Picasa

Concord grape plant growing on fence with several clusters of green grapes. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Blood Pressure Monitoring

I discovered a company that makes a blood pressure monitor that can interface to a computer to collect data it generates. This product has interesting potential for telemedicine use where patients can do tests on themselves and then that data is sent back to health professionals. The data collected can help doctors make better diagnosis and health studies get better results.

I also found a free program at the manufacturer site that helps keep track of blood pressure readings.

http://www.lifesourceonline.com/products/bp_diary.cfm

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

LED Therapy

Well, I have done some looking and have found research on using LEDs to promote healing. See this link showing some research done by/for NASA:
http://garm.dyndns.org/whelan_lab/1/index.html
I also found this page but I am not sure who the source of it is:
http://www.ledresearch.net/

I am curious if I can assemble an array of LEDs that can reproduce some of their results. I need to find out the following: 1) wavelengths of the light, 2) duty cycle of the light, and 3) exposure time.

I have some reading to do...

Monday, July 04, 2005


Corn plant late in the blooming cycle. Posted by Picasa

A Blast Out in the Solar System for the 4th of July

Congratulations NASA/JPL's Deep Impact probe for success in achieving contact with the Tempel 1 comet. It was especially neat to see the Hubble images of the meeting and the movie on the JPL website that shows the probe approach to the comet. I am glad that the mission was successful.

I was watching part of an infomercial this weekend and saw a product that claims to relieve pain by flashing red and blue leds onto the skin. This product looks kind of bizarre to me in that it appears to be circuit board with 20-30 leds that flash on it. It would be nice if they had some documentation on the exact studies that show this thing working. I have seen some NASA work using red/blue light to promote plant growth but this device seemed somewhat simple. When I get a chance I will research this for the sources that might show this light actually does what it says.

I will post some pictures of the corn plant blooming. The pictures will be after the bloom stalk has slumped over but the blooms are still visible.

The watermelon plants are growing well. There is one small marble size melon on one plant. The weather has been hot and humid this last week and the plants seem to be relishing it.