This year's growing season has been the most challenging to date, partially due to the increased square footage, but also due to events outside of my control. Thus far: deer have devoured the tops off some of my strawberries and bush beans. The native soil in the Sebastopol is so chock-full of grass and clover seed that the only way the beets have had a chance has been to tediously hand-weed the bed. When transplants should have been soaking up sun to kick-start growth, the weather turned and stalled growth with sporadic days of rain. Once, it hailed in the west crop.
Based on my records, which is really just an orange spiral notebook, I have been gardening for a bit over three years. During that time, I have learned a tremendous amount about the biology that sustains us, and the tasks necessary to produce edible, and at times even tasty, food from soil, seed, and sunshine. This season is my most ambitious yet, I added an extra 200 sq ft. in the West Crop and I planted a variety of plants which I've never planted before including bush beans, summer squash, potatoes, leeks, beets, pumpkin, strawberries, okra, brussel sprouts, and scallions. Despite working at a frenetic pace to get everything going, I have had time to reflect and wanted to share some of the motivations for my gardening zeal.
This season I have been expanding my gardening with more variety, which I mentioned in my last post, and now with some more space. Thanks to a family member, who has generously granted me use of part of her property, I have prepared and planted a 20x10 foot plot with additional vegetables.
Spring has officially erupted in Sonoma county, with the immense amount of biological activity we have come to expect from one of the more productive regions of the country. On our meager parcel we have more plants, with more variety, than ever before going into the ground. With two seasons under our belts in the "south crop" and one season with the "north crop," I absolutely couldn't wait for the cold nights to pass, and am pleased beyond belief that Spring is finally upon us.
My neighbors must surely think that I am some kind of lunatic. Last spring I dug up half of the dying sod in the front yard and installed three 8x4 foot raised garden beds. Then, last fall, I started banging around with a few, bright blue, 55 gallon food-grade steel drums, in the car port, which I picked up to catch rainfall for my garden. In this post, I will detail my initial results using a home-brew system using these metal barrels.
Somewhere along the line, safety became a crucial part of my decision-making process. I always wear my bike helmet. I put on my protective safety glasses when wielding an axe or doing something which might splinter or launch debris. In my tool closet I have a big bag of ear plugs which I put in whenever working with a power tool bigger than my cordless drill. When riding a motorcycle I always wear my full-face helmet, armored jacket, and sturdy gloves. And of course, when I am driving a car, I always check my blind spots.
As part of SCaLE 15x, I took part in the first Open Source Infra Day where a number of other sysadmins and I shared stories and patterns which have helped us maintain open source infrastructure. As part of the "unconference" tracks, I suggested and then led the session "Running containers in production." As my luck would have it, in a group of roughly 10 people representing various groups, Jenkins was the only project running production services in containers. I thought I should share what it's like, and why you should stop standing on the sidelines and give containers in production a try.
Unfortunately the Jenkins project will not be participating in the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2017. While I am disappointed, I am not all that surprised. Last year, our inaugural year in GSoC, was tough insofar that we had to learn many things the hard way, did a poor job of selecting student proposals, and failed to recruit a satisfactory number of mentors.
I have been "farming" for a few years now and as the beginning of the 2017 season in northern California approaches, I wanted to share some advice to consider, regardless of whether you're a gardener or not.
Most people would consider me to be a nerd. I work in the tech industry, my laptop looks quite non-standard (a stickered Thinkpad), and I tend to travel with suitable amount of electronic kit. Within what I would call "the nerd community," I sometimes get looks as if I'm especially nerdy. I use a tiling window manager on my Linux desktop, I have strong opinions on free and open source software, and above all else, I use a myriad of "super nerdy" console-only applications like mutt and irssi.