The squirrels had messed with the wrong seedlings.
To entertain cats and people alike, we’d fed the squirrels throughout winter. Now we were paying for it with the consequences of population explosion: ravaged seedling beds, munched-on sprouts, and dug-up and discarded onion bulbs.
The stench of bloodmeal didn’t stop the marauding rodents from plundering our vegetable patches. We didn’t want to use hot pepper flakes and other painful irritants. We needed a plan.
We stapled chicken wire on our raised beds, which kept the scallions and other bulbs safe for the moment. When the strawberry plants grew tall enough to poke white and pink flowers through the mesh, we knew we needed something bigger.
I was about to experiment with circles of chicken wire held together with duct tape and string. But W- had an engineering decree, and he wasn’t afraid to use it.
After days of discussing diagrams on scratch paper, we decided to build a semi-permanent frame. We picked up spruce and hardware from Home Depot, and then set to work. W- taught me how to use a circular saw to cut the lumber. I told him that it felt a lot like sewing: marking my seams and following the lines. We sanded, measured, marked, leveled, measured, and fastened. We finished the frame just as the sky darkened.
This is what it will probably look like:
We’ve finished the vertical and horizontal supports, and we’ll work on the chicken-wire doors this week. I’m looking forward to it.
I’m making my peace with subjects I detested in school. Now that sewing and cooking have become enjoyable hobbies, I’ve set my sights on shop class and drafting.
Working on shelves and other small projects in high school shop/tech class, I had felt awkward and clumsy. I struggled to wrap my mind around the spatial puzzles of carpentry. The classroom was full of sweat and sawdust, and the lab coats we wore did nothing for either.
Drafting classes in fourth year were more refined, but not more enjoyable. My classmates drew neat lines that intersected at just the right places. My papers were full of smudges, distortions, and impossibilities.
Now, without the pressure of a classroom and with more developed spatial skills (thank you, sewing and drawing), I can find these long-forsaken subjects relaxing, even enjoyable. Working with wood, I found myself thinking of other things I’d like to build. Drawing the structure, I though
Helps to have the right tools, too. Axonometric grids in Inkscape for drawing isometric images? Yes! So much easier than erasing and redrawing segments.
It’s great to challenge my memories. I’m learning that sometimes things are better learned the second time around. It’s great to know it wasn’t me, it was then. Who knows? I may yet revisit the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and learn how to look at fiction and poetry with a critical eye.
But first, I have some squirrels to chase off the lawn.
I was checking out a few things on my blog today, and I came across my WordPress Post Notification administration page. “Hmm,” I said. “I seem to have misconfigured this.” No e-mail had been sent out since August 2009. I figured out that the configuration directory didn’t have write permissions, enabled it, and went on with the rest of my day.
In the evening, I checked my personal mail on my iPod Touch. Inbox…
323 unread messages. That wasn’t right. I read the e-mail subjects. Holy cow, my blog had sent out every single one of my posts in the past half-year.
Granted, the only people on the list had double-opted-in, but still. I’d be annoyed if that many messages showed up in my inbox too, instead of one at a time.
First step: Control the damage. I moved post-notification out of the way, automatically disabling the plugin.
Second: Figure out the impact. 50 e-mail addresses left. Two nasty-notes.
Third: Gingerly re-enable the plugin after removing the locking directory.
Fourth: E-mail everyone an apology.
Fifth: Write about what happened. Tradeoff: Personal embarrassment versus possibility of saving other people from doing this kind of stuff. Worth it.
Looking at the bright side (because there always is a bright side)… At least I’m learning this now instead of later. And with my blog instead of a customer site. And with a smaller list instead of a megafan community. And… umm… it’s e-mail instead of text messages. Which has happened before. I was writing a Perl script that sent messages, and I had a bug, and there was an infinite loop, and poof! there went the balance on my prepaid card.