Tuesday, April 28, 2009
But the truth is, I've been a bit pre-occupied...
For those of you who've wandered over to my Home Page, you may have already determined that I've got a bit of Crazy Boater in me. There's a lot of "background story" there - from my very first boat, Aesop the Snark sailing dinghy; Through assorted other small boats (inflatables and sailing dinks from 9-16 feet); "Graduating" to Solitaire, my 32-foot Custom Sedan Cruiser/Floating Home (I lived on my boat for six years); Fully succumbing to Boating Sickness when I added Tartan, a Luhrs 32-foot sportfisher, to my fleet; Then *thinking* I was going to offload a couple of boats and upgrade to SeaTease, a 36' aft-cabin trawler up in Seattle (That's a story that never got told, but I alluded to it on my New-Millenium Romance page)...
Well, when I got married, I gave up the boats and became a Landlubber. That lasted for several years. The Harleys kinda distracted me for awhile, but Boating Sickness is terminal, I'm afraid! Once you've got it, you're doomed for life!
Albatross was my last "Project Boat" and I had a total blast with her. I kinda/sorta attempted to blog my way through that project (so it's a big ol' honkin' long page!).
Anyway, it's not my intention to re-hash my boating history. Suffice it to say that I do know my way around boats!
So Rog and I had been going to boat-shows and talking about buying a sailboat for the past several years, right? We pretty much had our sights set on a MacGregor 26M, all along. They aren't the BEST boats in the world (not by a long-shot!), but MacGregor does make a reasonably-priced boat with a LOT packed into a relatively small, trailerable package. "It is what it is" as they say. And it should suit our needs, for now.
So anyway, we kept going to boat shows, and climbing around on the display boats. And every year we'd say "Next year..."
Year-after-year we said this until finally Roger decided "Enough already!"
I mean, the economy's down so it is definitely a Buyer's Market. And where, in years past, we couldn't find any 26M's on the "Used" market, now all of a sudden we were seeing plenty!
Rog found a 2006 listed on Yachtworld.com for $14,900.00 which - I'll be honest - was suspiciously cheap...
To Be Continued.............
Monday, April 13, 2009
I do remain "guardedly optimistic" however. Maybe, just maybe, our letter-writing campaign will work!
I have been a long-time fan of HGTV/DIY/Scripp's Networks. Seriously - to the point where HGTV was tuned in almost the entire time that my TV was on.
But, over time, I'm finding myself watching HGTV/DIY less-and-less. The main reason? Lack of Garden Programming.
I'd always thoroughly enjoyed your weekend-morning line-up with all of the Gardening and Landscaping Shows. It was my Weekly Ritual: I'd pour myself a cup of coffee, settle into the recliner with my remote-control, and watch a good hour (or more) of Garden and Landscaping programs. It always got me "motivated" to get outside and "Get it done!"
My All-Time Favorite? Paul James' "Gardening By the Yard."
But over the past several years, you've shuffled the weekend line-up around and virtually eliminated Paul James (Sorry, I don't consider 4:00am, Pacific, to be a viable time-slot). I don't even know what you ARE airing on weekend mornings anymore - I don't bother turning the TV on (or when I do - it's NOT tuned to HGTV).
Now, I've also heard that Paul's contract has NOT been renewed. Yes, you are now airing the "final season" now (2008 episodes), But when I heard that GBTY is no longer going to be featured on your network, I was devastated. I still am! That was THE most informative, most enjoyable Garden Show I have ever seen! I think cancelling it is a HUGE mistake (And no, airing re-runs does NOT count!).
I had written to HGTV, in the past, about the slow-death of the "G" in HGTV - and only gotten a "canned" response telling me, essentially, that "HGTV values viewer feedback" (or words to that effect). Yet there was no change in the weekend line-up.
I wonder - Do you really value Viewer Feedback? Are you truly listening?
The Latest Trend right now is to go "Back to Basics." The popularity of Vegetable Gardening is at an all-time high. Even Michelle Obama is "in on the action" (and, in fact, "Leading the Way" for the Next Generation of Gardeners), by planting the first Vegetable Garden on the White House Grounds in generations! The economy is "in the tank" right now, and people are looking for ways to cut back on spending. And "Organic" (Read: "Green!") is all the rage. What better way to bring healthful food to your dinner table than to grow it yourself?
Let me say that again, for emphasis: The popularity of Vegetable Gardening is at an All-Time High - and HGTV/DIY's response is to cancel the last Quality Garden Show...
It just doesn't make any sense!
Oh, and I do want to make one point for clarification: There is a difference between "Gardening" and "Landscaping" Shows. This is an important distinction.
- "Gardening" is all about the ongoing care and maintenance of plants. That can mean flowers and trees; fruits and vegetables; composting; mulching; pest- and disease-control; and everything in-between. It can be a very economical Hobby (for many, it's a Passion!). And it certainly can be very "Green" (both figuratively and literally). Paul James focuses on "Gardening."
- Whereas "Landscaping" is bringing in backhoes, and truckloads of dirt, gravel and rocks. Oh, and plants, too. It's the "Instant Gratification/Backyard Makeover" that costs thousands of dollars and may (or in most cases, may NOT) last a Season or two. Ahmed Hassan is more "Landscaping." (Love "Yard Crashers" - just the same!).
We definitely need more of the former. If not Paul James (although he is, by far, The Best!), then someone "Younger and Perkier" - but it must be REALISTIC and PRACTICAL, too. *That's* what I love about Paul James - he gets down, gets dirty, and shows us how it's done in an entertaining, amusing, educational and realistic way!
* * * * *
There seems to be a belief that Gardeners are "too old" and that Garden Shows don't cater to your "Under-35 Target Demographic." I beg to differ. I have been gardening for more years than I care to recall (BTW, I am in the "35-45 Demographic"). I know I started well before I turned 35.
I'm also fairly active in our local Gardening Community and attend numerous events throughout the year. I observed that at least half of the attendees at a recent (City-sponsored) Composting Workshop were in their mid-30's and younger.
Here's another interesting detail: Even though I'm not in your Target Demographic, I've been known to spend a surprising amount of money on my Gardening Habit. Not only at local "Family-run" Nurseries (Love to support "The Local Guy!"), but also Home Depot; Lowe's; Sears (our Rototiller = Craftsman); Troy-Bilt (Lawnmower); And that's just to name a few. Along those lines, I will be contacting many of your Advertisers and letting them know how much I miss the "G" in HGTV. If simple letter-writing won't work, then perhaps my spending habits can help drive the point home...
Please reconsider your decision to cancel Paul James' contract. And please, please, please bring back more Quality Garden Programming (in a viewable time-slot!)
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Sooooo... I cleaned up the Undersea Garden and scored a whole bunch of fresh cuttings for the Donut Garden (I even have "extras" for P)! I think it came out pretty nice - and it should look even better as the plants start to grow!
Donut Garden on Umbrella Table
My last project for the day was finishing up one of my Self-Contained, Self-Watering, Not-An-EarthBox® Planters. I posted about that earlier (along with links to an instructional page on how to make 'em). I'm going to plant-up some corn in this one - super-duper-dense planting (so they can pollinate each other easily). I've never had ANY success with growing corn, so my fingers are crossed that maybe this method will work! I thought I had clear plastic - but it got sizzled in the sun - so I'm just gonna use red plastic mulch and see what happens...
Now I just need to remember to go out and spritz it daily until the cuttings take root. Thankfully, succulents are *very* forgiving. They love heat and don't require much water - so I think they actually stand a chance of surviving a summer on our patio! Hell, the Undersea Garden has been totally neglected - and sitting ON the [broilingly hot!] patio - for at least one solid year and *it* was overgrown!
Self-Contained-Planter "Under Construction"
Self-Contained-Planter "Complete, but Empty!"
But temps are still too cold at night to plant any summer crops outside. So everything is sitting in the greenhouse for now.......
In Other News: I'm helping to "Spread The Word" about the The Urban Garden Project™.
Quoting from their site: Our goal is to encourage and catalog the creation of 100,000 urban gardens by 2020. For the purposes of our project urban gardening will be defined as anyone growing food and possibly even other resources i.e. backyard chickens, rabbits,etc. within city limits and yes, we do mean vegetable gardens! This can be a container garden on a fire escape all the way up to a full back yard of raised beds and animal cages. Producing a large percentage of the produce that you consume or starting out on the journey to get you there qualifies you for this project! No garden is too small for this project so sign up today.
I don't feel particularly "Urban" since we're definitely on the suburban fringes of San Jose - but, technically, we *are* in City Limits - so I joined 'em!
Anyway, if this is something that might interest you, go on over and check 'em out. They're posting all kinds of interesting ideas. I especially like their compact chicken-coop - but I don't think I'll be able to convince Rog that "fresh eggs" are worth it! Hey - Hens *are* legal in residential San Jose!
So that's the Latest 'n Greatest from my backyard.............