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Did I mention I race rally cars? Red Rocket Rally

Charger - Flash - Rally

Sunday, October 23, 2022
Something Sprouted
by brian @ 17:54:46 - [perma-link]

I was expecting to wait a few weeks before i saw any “action” in the saffron pots, but the smallest pot has 2 shoots visible! I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but they might be saffron flowers. Just sayin’.

Seriously just a barely visible pair of white points, but I’m so glad i caught it. Yesterday I started a time lapse recording on a camera above the pots. I set it for once every 12 hours. Two photos later, I see these sprouts! I stopped it and changed it to a 20 minute intervals. The initial phase of growth is “grass-like”, from what I’ve read, so i think 20 minutes will go quickly through that, at least until all of the pots get visible growth, or this one starts to look more interesting than grass.

The corm in the small pot is planted slightly shallower than the others, which are planted 4” deep. You can’t go 4” deep in a 4” pot! The other pots should start showing soon.

Friday, October 14, 2022
Wild About Saffron
by brian @ 13:32:08 - [perma-link]

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to Saffron Buns, a Swedish Christmas tradition (something like that). As you may expect, saffron was the dominant flavor. They were so sweet!
But saffron costs a freaking lot (though a little goes a long way!).
Several years ago I decided I wanted to try growing my own. I’ve read several versions of how to grow them, but they are a fall harvest, and I’ve always thought about it in the fall, when it is raining in portland, and not ideal for the dormant corms (the “bulbs”). Each year, i was disappointed that i forgot, and I’d vow to plant them next summer. Repeat for 4 years, and that brings us to last week.

This year, the weather is different. It is mid October and no rain. Highs are still in the 70s and 80s. How can the dormant corms I planted possibly know it isn’t still late summer!

Hopefully they will wake up when the rain starts next week. I planted 40 corms in two spots in my yard, and another 18 in these pots (9,5,2,1,1), that I will keep indoors under grow lights for “the warm dry summer”. Once the flowers start to show, i will move them into the garage where it is cooler.

The black bucket is a variation on a Dutch bucket, with dual root layers. Above the grommet is soil, with perlite for drainage underneath, and cheesecloth separating the layers. The small pots are self watering from bottom trays.

Oh yeah. I shoved the last two corms down into one of the Dutch buckets with a lone tomato. Diversify!

Blooms in about 40 days.

Monday, October 10, 2022
Using Up Old Spray Paint
by brian @ 14:32:07 - [perma-link]

I had a crate full of spray paint cans, accumulated over the years. Old, and stored improperly, most of the cans were rusted and clogged, or otherwise didn’t work, but a handful of them were adequate.
I used up all of them that worked painting most of my Playatech table. There are a few faces that didn’t get covered, and most of the edges are not painted.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Replanted Aquaponics
by brian @ 11:21:10 - [perma-link]

The indeterminate purple (not purple) tomato was not a good fit for this small growbox. I cleaned out the growbox, soaked the clay pebbles in aquarium treated water, let them dry overnight and put it back.
I planted 2 red and 1 yellow “indoor dwarf tomatoes”. I’m definitely going to need more fish to make enough “nutrients” for all these plants.

Thursday, September 22, 2022
One of these things is not like the other
by brian @ 12:55:16 - [perma-link]

After power washing my patio and furniture, i realized that the broken center leaf still works, it just doesn’t fold or stow properly. It was under a bunch of plants, so i didn’t wash it.

The rest of the table looked like that yesterday. I’ll pull that piece out next time I use the power washer. For now it makes a nice before/after. And I can cover it with plants until i clean it.

Monday, September 19, 2022
9/11 Tomatoes
by brian @ 08:16:10 - [perma-link]

I planted 11 tomato seeds, of 3 dwarf varieties, before i left on vacation. I came back to find 9 of them sprouted! I’ll let them go a little longer, the put the best one of each variety in my aquaponics grow box.
These dwarf plants should only get about 12-18” high, instead of “indeterminate” size, which was way too big and sparse for the aquarium. These ones should look better in the planter, and will probably make more, tiny tomatoes.
The two in the back are yellow, then 4 red dwarfs, and 3 black cherry in the front.

Space-flavored Egg Salad
by brian @ 19:11:04 - [perma-link]

I hard boiled a bunch (flock? Mess?) today and I wanted egg salad for dinner. But I’m out of mayonnaise! Instead of going to the store (again), I decided to make my own.

I googled some recipes and checked the fridge. 3 ingredients: an egg yolk, some lemon juice, and some oil. Should be easy.

But I’m out of lemon juice. And lemons. And limes. And i almost bought limes today!

What else can I use for 1 tbsp of acid? How about the half-bottle of Coca Cola Starlight I was drinking earlier?

It’s only a tablespoon, to a whole cup of oil and a yolk. Then two big spoonfuls of that mixed with 4 eggs (I didn’t eat all of it!). The mayo itself is pretty sweet, but I cant’t pick up the flavor. I really don’t taste the Starlight in the egg salad at all, but i know a speck of it is there. Space flavor is pretty subtle. Almost faith based at this point.

Saturday, September 3, 2022
by brian @ 10:42:22 - [perma-link]

I ran out of potting soil to fill this metal tray, so i scooped up some dirt from my compost bin. The chard seeds I planted before the last heat wave didn’t make it, but plenty of volunteer seeds from the compost popped up last week! I moved about 8 tomatoes elsewhere, and then these mystery sprouts popped up. I’m thinking kale or arugula (and maybe one chard that didn’t sprout two weeks ago).

Thursday, August 25, 2022
Roasting Coffee
by brian @ 12:35:27 - [perma-link]

Today's roast was 309 grams of Mexican Comunidad de Coatepec espresso beans.

The beans started green in the dog bowl. They turn yellowish brown after about 6 minutes, and start darkening. The last video is in second crack, right before I turned off the heat and cooled the beans with a fan.

I went a little long into second crack, taking a few short videos to try to capture the popping sound. These came out a little darker than I have been roasting lately. Roasted for 13m:51s at about 6.75 on the heat gun.

The beans are off gassing (or whatever) in the open can until tomorrow morning. I have just enough Espresso Monkey left for tomorrow, so I will seal the lid tomorrow and try these out on Saturday.

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Saturday, August 13, 2022
HomeKit Drape and Shade Control
by brian @ 22:18:02 - [perma-link]

Today i got the right gendered RS-232 connectors to hook up an ESP8266 to my motorized drape controllers. Now my drapes and a few more window coverings are controlled through HomeKit. It will look better with some sort of case, but it seems to be working well.

I copied one of the examples for controlling a Switch, and changed it to a WindowCovering, with more HomeKit Characteristics. That worked in one room, where all of the blinds are connected on the same circuit, and not individually controllable.
My bedroom has drapes on two walls and a window shade, all on separate circuits. For that i needed to use a bridge and multiple accessories. I hacked together a hard coded version, rather than trying to make one that scales to the number of devices available. Now that I have both of them working, that’s probably how it will stay. It was frustrating trying to get it to work with virtually no debugging info available.
I think it finally worked after I added a few more entries to each accessory information section. Or maybe having different names for the ummm…. Info and service sections? I don’t know. The devices would appear and disappear. Once i added manufacturer and model, they stopped disappearing.


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