Fall 2010

12-NOV-2010: Summer and fall are "done" and it’s time to retrieve the batteries from the garden tractor and motorcycles. They get stored indoors over the winter. The garden produced a good crop this year, and we ended up giving a lot of produce away again. The apple harvest is a totally different story, though. There was one apple about the size of an acorn on one of the seven trees. When I came up to look at it, it fell off onto the ground! The spring was difficult for the trees. The weather warmed up several weeks earlier than usual, the trees came out in blossom, then we got several days of freezing, rainy weather. Apparently we were not the only ones who suffered crop loss. Even the tomato plants were struggled along. In the spring I had signed up for a series of lectures on orchard maintenance. I used my newly acquired knowledge to prune the trees for better yield next year.

This summer was much better for the lawn, with ample rainfall so it did not burn to a crisp during August. It is on a good recovery path from 2009. Last year the sun and lack of water killed areas in the front yard. A bag of 46-0-0 nitrogen also helped green it up along the way. I raised the mowing deck to it’s highest level as well.

The garden has been hand tilled and covered with tarps again this fall. That proved to be very effective in the spring this year, when it came time to start planting. The ground was weed-free and easy to work.

There was only one motorcycle ride this year, less than 100 miles total!. Our German ham radio friend, Alexandra Raker – DL1QQ came to stay with us for a week. It was a beautiful day for a ride so we made a loop to the east of our home, along the St Croix River, stopping at many different places along the way. The original plan was to go for twenty minutes or so. It turned into an all-afternoon outing. It was a trip I will remember… especially the sunburn from all the hours in the sun! But she got to see many different things in the Minnesota countryside, some of which I frequently drove past but never stopped to visit myself.

So a couple of weeks ago I’m standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and I hear a big "boom". I thought a goose or pheasant had flown into the side of the house. But it turned out that one of the panels of the patio door had exploded! It was the outside of the double pane safety glass insert. That was an unplanned expense, just like the water heater that quit working about a month before. Hopefully we can finish 2010 without any other disasters around the house!

Last winter another ham radio friend, Mark – WAØMHJ stopped by with his bow and shot a string up into the tall poplar tree on the north side of the house. I pulled up a wire and created a new vertical antenna for the 160 meter ham radio band. It was late in October on a sunny afternoon that I drove a ground rod and laid out a ground plane using 36 wires. I enjoyed "tuning" the antenna length using my antenna testing equipment and plotting the graphs on the computer. I will use this antenna during the winter when the noise from summer storms is gone. That reminds me I need to string one more coaxial cable before the first snowfall. I "borrowed" a cable from an existing antenna (Beverage) and need to replace that connection.

I’m certain there is plenty more I could write about, but that’s it for this session.

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