Country Living Series

Friday, February 28, 2014

Blitzed with spam

I have two email addresses. I use one for personal reasons (contact with friends and family, etc.) and the other for business purposes. To my business email, I also get every comment that comes through the blog.

Lately my business email has been getting more and more and more spam.

Here's a sampling of the kind of junk I've gotten just today (certain emails arrive multiple time throughout the day as well) -- and as I post this, it's only 12:30 in the afternoon:

• Who's Who Among Executives and Professionals (two emails)
• Try a sub-prime credit card (two emails)
• Pastor kills high blood-pressure with one weird food
• Time to cut the phone cord and upgrade to VoIP
• Reverse mortgages
• VA loans -- $0 down -- pre-qualify today!
• More info on What *vydox Can make you do!
• Grow your audience with email! (two emails)
• Need natural-looking dentures? Find top dentists!
• Your February auto-insurance payment (a false attempt to get me to "click here") (four emails)


• Cloud hosting services
• Your credit score just changed -- please review! (by "clicking here") (three emails)
• Life is Short -- Have an Affair! (three emails)


• CEO Webinars (two emails)
• Save thousands on auto repairs (two emails)
• Let the government subsidize your solar installation!
• Reduce tax debt now!
• Information for medical-billing schools are right here!
• Business funding -- new business opportunities daily!
• Cut health care costs with cheap dental plans
• Revealed: #1 tip for perfect skin
• Gorgeous Russian women starved for love and affection! (yeah right)


• Private yacht rental quotes (three emails)
• Look 10 years younger in less than four weeks!
• Get DISH for only $19.95 per month!
• Arrive in style -- fly on private jets!
• Huge vehicle specials in your area!
• Discover great deals on walk-in tubs!
• Brazilian singles!

...and on and on and on. And these are the "G-rated" emails. I won't delve into the X-rated ones.

On top of this sludge, I get dozens, sometimes hundreds, of spam comments on my blog. Typical examples are as follows:

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or

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or

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...and on and on.

This onslaught seems to be getting worse. Last Tuesday, I had 149 spam emails and one legitimate comment.

I can't change my email address because it's tied to my website, so I guess I just delete 'em as I get 'em. I've even been known to accidentally delete legitimate emails in a fit of cleansing.

No point to this blog post, I'm just venting.

Postscript: Wanna hear the height of irony? Within two minutes (two minutes!) of posting this, I got my first spam post on this post. Grunt.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wanting spring

What is it about the lengthening days that make people long for their gardens? I don't long to garden in December. But even though there's still thick snow on the ground, show me the end of February and I'll show you my gardening plans.


Yesterday I walked out to the garden to start planning infrastructure improvements. The snow was pristine and untouched.


All of the smaller tires are coming out this spring. They were the first tires I installed when we first conceived the idea of tire gardening, and therefore they don't have a foundation of tarps and gravel for weed and pest control.



We've found that the larger tractor tires, placed over tarps and gravel (which allows drainage), have given much better results. We're transitioning to nearly all tractor tires. Some will be split in half for shallower beds, others will be whole (except for the sidewalls cut out) for deeper beds.


Here are the strawberry beds. Can't wait for oodles of fresh strawberries this summer!


One of the things I wanted to do yesterday was pace off our unused garden spaces and determine how many more tractor tires will fit. Then I counted how many tractor tires we have and tried to guesstimate how many more we'll need.



We have 36 large tractor tires on hand, which theoretically will yield 72 planting beds. But not all will be split in half. Some of the biggest tires -- huge three foot monsters -- will merely have the top and bottom sidewalls cut out, then planted with fruit or walnut trees. We're going to fence off a separate area for an orchard and keep the original garden space strictly for veggies and small fruits (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries).

In theory we can fit another 120+ tractor tire halves into the garden, though it's doubtful we'll get all of that done this year (we don't have enough tires for one thing). We'll also be installing a drip irrigation system, since a garden that big will take far too long to water by hand.

This also means that we'll be recruiting more tractor tires come spring!

Meanwhile, a friend sent me this photo which (ahem) I thought was apropos.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

More snow pix

Unlike yesterday's constant snowfall, we woke up this morning to absolutely clear skies and stunning sunshine. What's the old saying? "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes..."

It was so beautiful out that I carried my camera around all morning and took lots of shots, starting with a pearly opalescent pre-dawn.


We had two-foot icicles off the roof near the stovepipe.


Clear skies, about 6:30 am. It's getting lighter earlier, staying lighter later. Spring is coming.


Bright sun-lit cloud, just before sunrise.


Dawn's early light.



Peeking over the horizon.




Sneaking breakfast.


Those same two-foot icicles from the outside.


Six-foot snow donuts.


After I milked Matilda, I put her back in the barn and let Amy out of her pen, where she immediately dove for mama's udder. Breakfast!


The view out the back of the barn.




Shadows and sparkles.


Guard duty.


WOOF!!


Our log pile is buried.



Matilda and Amy are ready to get out of the barn.



Sparky and Polly.


By mid-morning the trees were beginning to dump their snow loads. The cascading snow looked like smoke.


Icicles were dripping.


It's supposed to get above freezing today. We'll see how long the snow lasts.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Unexpected snow

It has been snowing for two solid days. Not wildly, not massively, but very persistently. While the weather forecast called for a couple of inches, the amount of snow has taken everyone by surprise.

This is quite a change from last week, when we had bare ground and even some sunshine.



Here's Lydia, on guard duty.




Wait! Do I see something?


WOOF!!


As of yesterday (Sunday) morning we had bare ground. But the snow, while fairly light, hasn't let up in 36 hours.



We've barely had any wind, so the snow pretty much stays where it falls.



Often the snow obscured the view toward our neighbors.



This is excellent weather to stay holed up (an advantage to working at home), but I had an errand that took me to town. The drive was quite lovely...



...until I got clear of the trees. Can you see the road? Well guess what, neither could I.


It was a touch better on the way home. At least I could see some landmarks. Vaguely.


Once I was closer to home, I could once again admire the scenery.


Since I was already "suited and booted," as we call it, I decided to do some barn chores. Here the yearling calves patiently wait for dinner.



Snow on the last of the big tractor tires we got in last fall for the garden.


Here Matilda and Amy were very eager to get into the barn for the night.


Major looks like a reverse Dalmatian in this kind of weather.


Younger Daughter wiped him down with a towel.


Whenever we get snow like this, Lydia gets snowballs between her furry toes...



...which she proceeds to chew out, sorta like yummy snacks.



Then -- often with wet feet -- she'll climb onto somebody's bed and take a nap.


I went out and measured the snow depth at about 4 pm Monday afternoon. Exactly eight inches.


We aren't getting the huge whomping snowstorms the east and midwest are getting, but I'm grateful for the snow we do have. It means moisture for farmers this summer.