Author: Lisa

Update: Garden Expansion

We had a few extra large blocks left over, so we expanded the first bed — now there are a few extra feet of growing space.

We used the smaller blocks to build a second bed to the south of the first one.

And filled both the new bed and the extra space in the first bed with dirt.

Today, we finished assembling the third bed. We’ll get the fourth bed together and fill them both with dirt.

That didn’t take long

Today, Trump managed to run up against the ramifications of his EO that I predicted yesterday. He quoted some police chief who was on the wrong side of the race riots back in the late 60’s. While his message was first just locked so others couldn’t interact with it (censorship, but not censoring him), my understanding is that the thing is now hidden. Which is censorship. Censorship that is more or less required if the Section 230 exception doesn’t apply to Twitter.

Twitter isn’t responsible for the content users post on their site. The social media business model becomes untenable if they’ve got to employ people and technology to police content sufficiently to minimize legal risk. If they are responsible for content posted on their site, then, yeah, they need to hide/delete posts inciting violence, libelous information, and a whole lot of other data they’ve been allowing to fly. Content that makes up a good bit of Trump’s Twitter usage.

On Censorship

Trump finally issued his Executive Order retaliation against Twitter “censoring” his free speech online. Now I know people who use “talk to the lawyer” as a threat — a lot of people don’t have a decent understanding of the law, and many more people don’t have the time and/or money to deal with litigation. This EO reeks of “empty threat”. Why? The implication of the order harms Trump. He’s a huge abuser of Twitter’s ability to ignore content based on Section 230. A great deal of his campaign strategy hinges on continuing to use Twitter as a platform to spread misinformation and hatred.

The legal basis for suspending Section 230 protection aside … Twitter hasn’t censored him. Slapping a label on free speech indicating said speech is factually inaccurate isn’t censoring. It could be considered editorializing. Or it could be considered fair warning. And I’m certain there’s a party-line divide on opinions there.

Future Idea — Anya Job

Scott had a business idea for Anya — mobile concession stand at the park next door. To me, it seems an easy sell in their off-season — have thermoses of hot cocoa and mulled cider. But he was thinking in the summer, selling their ice cream and bottled water.

Reasonable Doubt

America need an org that identifies police misconduct instead of DNA testing and will file motions for new trials to present the perfectly reasonable argument that flagrant misconduct is likely not an isolated incident. Somewhat like Project Innocence, but with a different basis for their requests. 

There were some cops in Philly (well, I’m sure this isn’t unique to Philly) who got fed up with not finding evidence on people who they “knew” were clockin … so they planted what they needed to find, ignored search and seizure laws, etc. The city had to go back through a whole lot of cases because, hey, that’s reasonable doubt as Bob has been saying for three years that it wasn’t his crack. If memory serves, the city also had to fork over a bunch of money in restitution.
Would an officer who is willing to kill someone take the mindset of the Philly cops? ‘Knows’ the person is guilty, frustrated that no evidence can be found. Even without extrapolating additional misconduct, how many *other* people were ‘resisting’ like Mr. Floyd? People who ended up incarcerated for resisting arrest and/or assaulting an officer. The actions of the individuals in Minnesota seems like new evidence that would create reasonable doubt in other cases where the officers involved claim someone was resisting. Bob says he wasn’t resisting arrest. Officer Fred, who has demonstrably lied saying a compliant person was resisting, says Bob was resisting. That’s a far different assertion than Bob says he wasn’t resisting, Officer Fred, who is an upstanding officer with a decade of service, says Bob was resisting.

Knowing the Law

We had some chap in the back yard on Saturday afternoon. Memorial Day weekend Saturday. He’s a surveyor, and the pins on the property he’s trying to survey aren’t there. So he’s getting other pins for reference. But he didn’t want to provide his name or the name of his company. Which … yeah, dodgy. Scott ended up calling the police out, and they claim that surveyors can just wander on your property whenever they want. But the chap said he didn’t actually need to be on our property and took off.

Turns out he actually does work for a survey/engineering company. The prospective buyer who engaged the survey company stopped by to chat a bit. It’s amazing what a little customer service knowledge would get you — providing your name, license number (you know, something we could look up), and a business card with your company’s info is a lot less suspect than “no, I don’t need to give you my name or the company’s name. I can just wander around your property any time I want”. Honey v/s vinegar. At that, why in the world would the company’s policy not be driving up to the neighboring property, ringing the bell, and asking first?! That’s just polite.

Funniest part of the whole thing, though? We looked up the actual laws for Ohio. ORC 163.03yes, a surveyor can wander onto your property. 48 hours after they notify you of their intention. They are not, however, allowed to randomly decide to wander around your property on Saturday afternoon with no notice. And, if you want to be a real jerk about it, you could still deny them access and adjudicate whether the pins in question are ‘necessary or proper for the purpose of the agency’.

Just because a law enforcement officer tells you something is the law doesn’t mean it’s the law.

Books – Good and Not So Good

I got Anya a bunch of books to read during her remote learning experience. The school didn’t provide anything for the first few weeks, and I didn’t have much hope for the curriculum through the remainder of the year. While we have a number of books for younger kids, I’d been relying on library books. An approach which obviously wouldn’t work. And Anya does not seem to like eBooks — she’ll read them if she has to, but she’s not carrying her tablet for the Kindle app (my suspicion is that there are more fun options on the tablet. She’d rather watch Spirit on Netflix than read a book. But if she cannot watch more shows, reading and playing are great activities … so “read on your tablet” is a non-starter). So she’d keep reading when the library and school were no longer options, she needed her own library. Figured I’d keep track of the books Anya has been enjoying (and not enjoying). One thing I’ve noticed is that she’ll get immersed into a particular book or series for a time, then moves on to a new series. The first chapter books I read her were from the Magic Treehouse series — and she has a few of those books on her shelf. But they’re more nostalgic “ooh, I remember when you read me this” than current fav’s. I’ve color coded Anya’s Library so old favorites are grayed and current favs are purple.

She loved the Spirit series, but that was completely expected once I finally convinced her that chapter books aren’t boring. She’s loved the Ada Lace series (and is re-reading them repeatedly, plus anxiously awaiting the publication of another), the two Alien Math books,  as well as Chicken Squad (there are a bunch in the series, and I’d only purchased the one … just ordered two more for the summer). She loved the Mouse and the Motorcycle, and I didn’t even realize that was part of a series.

On the non-fiction side, she’s loved the programming books (especially the one with Python since both Scott and I program in Python) and Can You Crack The Code (she needed help to use the Arnold cipher on the last challenge, but she figured out the trick to turn the random set of words that made no sense into an actual message). And she loved the Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens (and has a few projects lined up for later this summer, when our chickens arrive).

She’s started the first book from the Genius Factor series, but hasn’t been sucked into it. It’s something she’ll finish reading eventually (halfway because I keep asking her how you do catch an invisible cat). Kind of surprisingly, since we do a lot of ‘homesteading stuff’, she hasn’t been into the Little House series. She hasn’t started the Time Twister series, although I think that’s one she’ll like once she picks it up. She didn’t like the Horse Diaries series, nor did she get into the history of Wild Horse Annie (she dressed up as Velma Bronn Johnston when they had a ‘dress up like a historic figure’ day at school).

Book Outlet has a referral – 10$ off your first order of 25$ or more (and I get a bonus 10$) — the books have a little black mark along one edge, but we’ve not had any damage or funky smells. And the prices are outstanding. I got another 20 books for just under 80$ so she’ll have plenty to read this summer.

More Progress: Raised Beds

We’ve got one raised bed completed — the soil raked out, blocks pretty much straightened (and all of the other blocks from the old garden beds have been transported to the new garden location, so we’re ready to get more raised beds started)

That means it’s time to get some plants in the ground — we brought the ten tomato plants and ten pepper plants that have been growing indoors since April 15th. I placed the tomato cages in the garden and set a pot inside each cage. Anya and I built the pepper cages (and then rebuilt the pepper cages because a few bent stakes + half a dozen in use to mark out the other bed locations mean I didn’t quite have enough to build squares … but we got ten triangles). Then it was time to dig. Anya was excited to use the gardening tools I got her a few years ago (and even let me keep my trowel in her bag).

85-90 degree days probably aren’t the best time to plant starter plants, but we had a couple five gallon buckets of water from the well and ensured the soil was nice and wet before planting. Lots of digging …

And still more digging … we have twenty plants outdoors.

Since it’s been so hot, I wanted to add some sort of mulch to keep the soil from drying out. About an inch down, it’s moist and cool … but the top inch is getting very dry. I told Anya about the first garden Scott and I had in Ohio — a friend of his ran a greenhouse, and the friend’s dad rented out plots of land for gardening. The guy’s dad told us to plant our tomatoes really deep because the stems would actually root out and make a stronger plant. Figure the stems would root out better if they weren’t in hot, dry soil!

We have grass clippings that I’ve been mixing with leaves from last year as I haul the leaves from the old garden beds (I threw a couple inch layer of leaves on top of the bed at the end of the season to act as a mulch until I was ready to plant again). But I’ve only got about half of our grass clippings incorporated, and the old garden is about 75% cleared of leaves. I’ve certainly got extra grass available. Now fresh grass can pull some nitrogen as it first decomposes — it’ll return that nitrogen eventually — and it gets hot as it decomposes. I’ve intentionally sprinkled a thin layer of grass mulch instead of heaping an inch or three of mulch around the plants. Now we’re ready to grow!