Chapter 53: In Which Our Hero Escapes Certain Death, Tickles A Camel And Gives A Cat A Fish

…a mackerel, it was

Uncle Doc’s Gardening Tips

1: PLANT A VEGGIE GARDEN! In these tough economic times, why the hell are you paying $3.00 for a tomato? All the cool kids are starting Victory Gardens and you should, too! Yes, you do have room! Many veggies grow very well in pots or hanging planters.

2: Herbs will grow in all but the most terrible of soils. You can plant several herbs in a relatively small space.

3: When planting snap beans, plant the purple podded varieties. You can see them much easier among the plants foliage and thus will not miss any come picking time.

4: Cantalopes, squash and the smaller pumpkins/watermelons will grow just fine on a trellis. This will save you many square yards of ground space.

5: Mulch, mulch, mulch! Yes, even when growing in pots.

6: Heirloom (non-hybrid) veggies generally taste WAY better than hybrid varieties, but may not have as good a resistance to disease. Heirlooms also generally produce less. In the case of heirloom tomatoes, they can look rather ugly, but I promise you, the taste will more than make up for it.

7: You only need 1 (ONE) zuchinni plant! Trust me on this.

8: Newspaper makes great mulch. Just make sure you layer it 6-8 sheets deep.

9: Straw makes a good mulch only if there are NO WEED SEEDS in it. If you can get rice straw, get it. No seeds and is lasts a long time.

10: DON’T OVER WATER OR OVER FERTILIZE! Let the soil almost dry out before watering. As for fertilizer, mix some chicken or steer manure (say, 4 cups) with 5 gallons of water and let it sit for a day, stirring a few times. After that, use this manure tea to water your plants once every week.

My garden this year is a “modified square foot garden” that uses 12 X 12 X 12 inch plastic milk crates lined with a good plastic trash bag (with holes in the bottom for drainage) and filled with potting soil mixed 50/50 with good compost. I’ll be growing…

Tomatoes: 6-8 plants of 5-6 varieties

Spinach: Until the hot weather hits

Zuchinni: 1 plant

Cucumbers: 1 plant

Snap Beans, bush type: 14-18 plants

Italian Snap Beans, bush type: 6-8 plants

Pole Beans: 4 plants (these vines are going to provide green beans just for Winker, who loves ’em)

Cantalopes: 2 vines, 1 variety (Ambrosia)

Watermelons: 2 vines, 1 variety (Moon & Stars)

Chile Peppers: 8-10 plants, 6-8 varieties (Bells, Jalapenos, Anchos, New Mexicos,
Habaneros, Cayennes)

Winter Squash: 4 vines, 2 varieties (Butternut, Acorn)

Herbs (including the ones I have now): Sage, Cilantro/Coriander, Thai Basil, Genovese Basil, Lemon Basil, Chives, Garlic, French Tarragon, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, Common Thyme, Dill, Fennel, Summer Savory, Marjoram, Chocolate Mint, Spearmint, Common Oregano, Greek Oregano, Lemon Grass, Lemon Verbena, Stevia, Bay Laurel (a 15 foot tall tree) and Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

Potatoes (grown in a mound, not a box): 2-3 plants, 1 variety (Yukon Gold)

Corn: 32 plants, 2 varieties (Gold Queen, Silver Queen) (all 32 plants will grow in 2 square feet)

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but you get the idea.

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I’ll Kick The Troll While You Pimpslap The Ogre

…not a good plan

Quick RPG Session Report #1:

My home group, after a bit of final character creation work, started the first episode of the new “Magic Returns” series. As I mentioned before, they are a thief, a fighter and a mage working as agents for their governments version of the Secret Service. Their cover is that of traveling merchants dealing in tools and fabrics.

The first mission started with a briefing, during which they were told about tax evading smugglers working out of the frontier town of Jaffa. Their orders are to go to Jaffa, find out as much as they can…up to and including buying merchandise from the smugglers…then go back to HQ and report. No killing, no joining the smugglers for more info…just identify and report.

Along the way to Jaffa, they spent the night in two villages and even sold a fair bit of stuff in the first one. Of course, that same night they also struck out at darts (the thief), a billiardslike game (the mage) and at a chance to boink a barmaid (the fighter).

When the session ended, they had just gotten to Jaffa. Unfortunately, it looks like our next gaming session is a month away.

Quick RPG Session Report #2:

The first session of the new D&D 4E game that I’mplaying in also began with character creation, but it was vastly sped up by using a software character generator. Once that was done, the PCs (who had all known each other ten years earlier) met up in the same small town they had grown up in. After a round or three of getting re-acquainted and trying to figure out what was up with ravens returning to a seemingly impregnable wizards tower on the edge of town, we were off to help a young elven lass who had gotten trapped in the local catacombs.

We battled a bigass rat, two giant fire beetles and three yard long centipedes, but had to end the session before we could rescue the elf babe. Not sure when we’ll play again.

I must admit, the D&D 4E combat rules flowed pretty smoothly and we did pretty well for ourselves…when we weren’t rolling too low (as in, a shitload of 1’s) and missing the targets. I still don’t think I’ll be buying any of the books, but I’ll keep playing the game.

Pudding On The Ritz

…yes, you are right to groan

So, in the D&D 4th Edition game, I’ll be playing a Human Fighter. Why? Well, for one thing, I enjoy playing fighters (and thieves). For another, since I do not own, or am ever likely to own, any D&D 4E material, I have no fucking idea what a Dragonborn or an Eladrin or any of those other things are. Human Fighter…that I know. Nice and simple. See enemy…hit with weapon…check to see if it lives…if living, hit again…if dead, take all of it’s stuff. Repeat as necessary.

Now, this does not mean I don’t want to roleplay…quite the opposite…but I have never been into the aspects of combat that 4E seems to offer. I prefer combats to go as quickly as possible so I can get on to the more fun stuff.

Fortunately, our GM, Pat, is very good at presenting lots of non-combat situations and has already given is background info that looks very meaty for roleplaying.

The Great Beer Battle And How It Brought Cousin Ollie To Religion

…fortunately for Ollie, he got better about 10 years later

Jeez, ya get sick and a little crazy in the head for a couple of weeks and your LJ content goes to shit. I’ll be trying to do better Real Soon Now, folks.

In other news, My Sweet Little Red Factor Canary Of Love and I will be going to see “Monsters VS Aliens” this weekend…after I go into work at 8 fucking AM on Saturday to take a TSA mandated test along with half of my co-workers.

On Sunday, it’s gaming and more gaming for me. Mostly, for both groups it’ll be character creation time, but still heaps o’ fun.

Now, I’m off to read some webcomics and then hit the hay. More (and hopefully better) bloggage tomorrow.

Miss Winker Takes A Bath

…actually, she was given a bath, which she enjoyed

The 15 Books Meme

Simple premise here…list 15 books (fiction or non-fiction) that have stuck with you over the years.

I list no authors here. Google titles for more info.

1: Green Eggs & Ham
2: A Princess of Mars
3: At The Earth’s Core
4: The Frugal Gourmet
5: The Hobbit
6: The Lord of the Rings
7: The Hound of the Baskervilles
8: Doc Savage, The Man Of Bronze
9: 1st Edition AD&D Players Handbook
10: My Family and Other Animals
11: IT
12: My Life And Hard Times
13: Lucifers Hammer
14: A Fine and Pleasant Misery
15: Square Foot Gardening

Doc Tempest VS The Nova Mob

…from the July, 1969 issue

Well, I was actually able to run my arena battle game at ConQuest Sac on Saturday. There were only 4 players…and two of them were Sam and Paul from my regular gaming group…but it still went well.

Even better, on Saturday night I finally got a really good nights sleep, so I’m feeling pretty good.

Alas, unless I fall into a pit of money, I won’t be going to any more cons this year.

Gotta go now. More blogging later.