Thursday, August 28, 2008

A new snake in Hugo

I've finally been caught with a snake I'm out of my comfort zone with. It's a two meter boa (BCI) that's three years old and of uncertain gender.

I've had him/her home now for a few weeks, but haven't had much contact as Hugo, the new snake, was just heading into a shed. I figured it wouldn't hurt to let it settle into the new surroundings before pestering it much. Hugo finally shed out and I was anxious to have a look at the beauty in it's new skin so I had the girls join me for the inspection.

He's a bulky snake with a very thick body. I would not like to exaggerate, but he's likely twice as thick as my JCP. Hugo seems thigh thick, but I really want a tape measure around him.

There's the rub though. He's not really aggressive as much as defensive. He looked uncomfortable when I was trying to get him
out of his enclosure, but I pushed the issue and lifted him clear of the door. It was that point when I had him raised above my head that he took a swing at me. I was hit a glancing blow on and above my right eyebrow. Damn that kid has a big mouth. I'm not used to defending myself against snakes his size.

I've been into the enclosure every day since as I try and get a feel for his reactions, but so far I'm just feeling like a chump. I remember when I first got Diego my California King snake. He put on quite a show too, but doesn't quite carry the same torque as this fella, I suppose there's less to learn on safe side than the risky one, but I just hope he doesnt' poop before I can figure out how I'm going to clean his enclosure. :D

Here he is in all his low profile defense. More will be revealed no doubt.
Shine on you crazy diamonds.


favourite tattoo

Our madfishmonger@lj is getting ink done! I'm so jealous.

I'd love to have this type of work done, but with maybe a Nhandu chromatus I'm also certain I'd have to travel to have it done. I haven't seen anything of this style in the Peg. If anyone knows of people I should talk to, I'm all ears. I've been looking and talking about this for a couple of years now with no real contenders locally. Maybe that's my excuse for a trip to Seattle?


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quote of the day

I've been struggling to commit to the possible differed gratification of training more endurance mileage to better take advantage of stiffer workouts later.

It's such an interesting game. This thread on runningmania produced a quote I like a lot. "I RUN NOT TO ADD DAYS TO MY LIFE, BUT LIFE TO MY DAYS"

Again, gratitude is the attitude.

Put in a six mile run yesterday and cut half the grass before bed last night. Today all that physical stuff over the last few days has caught up to me. I'm lacking that spring in my step. :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Try a Trail #3 / barn paint

What exactly was I thinking by running a lot of slow miles? Certainly not a performance improvement, surely! It cost me another thirteen seconds per kilometer to go from racing the 6km trail race to the 12.28km race on Saturday. I have been running a very monochromatic training pallet and it shows up in racing times that don't get any faster.

I know this will be the result of running a lot of slow distances in training and still I expect my times to get better. What a maroon. I write tonight to remind myself that I set out to work on my endurance this summer and not my times. I feel better already. I have impossibly bad recall.

Endurance it is then. The next race is in three weeks. I'll eat my humble pie and continue to push my mileage. A six mile run is my normal distance now and that's far beyond what I was able to do last year. Gratitude is the attitude!

This race involved some dancing with the devil technically speaking. What am I thinking when I sign up for these things? Like it's going to be fun? Karen and Jackie were great company, but I couldn't stay with them after the half way mark. They are marathoners and I am not... yet.

Here's a link to an image of the whole crew while we were were all still mud free

On another note, I'm feeling completely polluted after painting the barn today. Wow is it red! Went through 40 liters of paint and didn't manage to get the fourth wall covered. Did I mention that the colour is red? The barn looks like someone went loopy with lipstick. I feel like a toxic waste dump. What nasty stuff paint is. On the upside, the sprayer I borrowed rocked the house in all the right ways. Wow was that fast. I was all done painting in well under two hours. If the guy had known to put the sprayer away with some mineral spirits in the lines, valve and pump after using the spray unit for latex paint, life would have been much easier. As it was, there was quite a bit of time spent reclaiming valves and such from the demons of rust before we could get underway.

Lots of family help showed up for the day and there was a lot of food, wine and song to be celebrated with after the work was done. Meite was home, Bonnie is finished work and Manon is sleeping in a tent full time these days. She's on a roll, that one. Went fishing with frogs and Joe this past week and came home educated in lots of new ways. Life in the slow lane. Booyah!

Micho brought an interesting friend out with another sprayer and he was a welcome addition to the games today. Vince is a specialized mechanic and we shared many common interests. Unfortunately his sprayer didn't get a chance to shine much, but the company was welcome and appreciated and his help and experience was second to none. As usual, my sister in law was all energy all the time and helped a dirty job go along much faster than it would have gone without her.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The garlic report

I planted 2.5kg of garlic on November 7 2007 and harvested 9.6kg on August 7 2008. There is some kind of local garlic crisis going on where some stock has been damaged by something unknown and only produced 2.5% of what was planted. So I'll be planting double what I planted last year and hope my strain is resistant to whatever is striking some other local gardens.

I think it's hilarious that I set aside 4.5kg of garlic for canning and winter home use. That seems ridiculous! Here's the next trial for eats with a garlic bias, aioli:

Next year I'll aim to break the necks a week before harvest and to pull it all on August 1 or as close to that date as I can. I washed the bulbs this year and that has helped improve the presentation. I had very few culls this year, but a few split skins on some of the earlier stuff so it stayed in the ground a little too long even though I thought I was still a bit early on the 7th of August.

It's curing up well and looks like it will be very firm and sweet again this year. When I cull again sometime around the time of the winter solstice, I'll try preserving what we won't be able to eat like I do for the cold water dills in the summer. Hopefully that will work well. I've been told that vodka will work as a preservative too, but that's not first on my list.

62.5mm of rain this week and not a puddle to be seen on the yard. We're still cutting grass twice a week! We have not seen a 30C day this year yet, but it's been a glorious summer for those that walk on the sunny side of the street. I don't think there has been a summer more filled with friends and smiles than this one. Wish you were here, any and all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Try a Trail #2

Race Day News


9 August 2008 - Wow, what a day it was. The sun was shining, the wind was calm and the mosquitoes were in the woods waiting. Then the start, and the one missed turn by the lead runners and off into the hinterlands everyone went. After some ferocious riding on the mountain bike, we managed to find everyone and get them turned around, but we have decided not to post results on this race but rather treat it as a 'Pancake Run'. I will e-mail results to everyone who took part this morning, but only you will know your distance ran. Thank you for all your kind words this morning. It was odd to go back and pull the course markings knowing that only three of you saw them in the right order today :-) (Dwayne Sandall, 9 August 2008)


What a day to be out though. It was a pristine day in high summer on the prairie. Tyler and Trish came out. Tyler might have won the thing if we had run the course, but it wasn't to be.

I was properly sick on Monday and had a bit of a resurrection of whatever bug knocked me down last night so I wasn't particularly strong today anyway so it was fun to be light heart ed about the disastrous organization and enjoy the day. Gratitude is the attitude as some say.

T & T are out for dinner on Monday and I'm looking forward to feeding them. Half Pints issued their new Grewsome Scotch Ale today. I'd never been to the brewery before so I stopped to pick up some faves to share on Monday.

As Monty Python might have said, "It's a beer for lying down and avoiding" but that's not the case here, I just like saying that. Normally Scotch Ales are so much like drinking straight from the ketchup bottle that they hurt me. Half Pints issued this Grewsome Scotch Ale to celebrate two years in business in Winnipeg and the brew master focused his attention in a much more balanced brew than I was anticipating. Mind you, I've only had a sample from a tiny little plastic cup, so maybe I'll change my tune when I get a full mouthful of the stuff. No matter, I love this brewery and it's commitment to making big bold real ales, more akin to bread than what I grew up thinking of when the word beer comes up.

I'm not fussy though, I'll take that celebration in almost any format, but particularly with things that involve the senses like food and this brewery produces beer that qualifies as food I think. Michael Pollan might agree I expect.

I just finished his book In Defense of Food and enjoyed it quite a bit. I grew up with a lot of real food and both PU and I enjoy cooking. I think I'll make up some fresh pasta for Monday night. Yum! I finally figured out, or I should say that Boo figured out that I hadn't been cooking it quite enough and now it's so much better. The down side of this discovery is that the window of opportunity to get it cooked perfectly is tiny. In the time it takes to serve it I find it can get too soft. I'm loving the new challenges much better than the old ones in this particular game much more though.

Tonight we were out to friends that were camping in St. Malo. PU teaches in the school that Niki is working as a TA. They have become very close friends over the last few years and I find their simple pleasures in life predictable and consistent enough that I can relax and enjoy being social. I'm normally so hyper aware of group dynamics that it nearly kills me to be out having "fun" like that. We laughed a lot and their kids are young and unsophisticated while being brilliant intellectually. We ate, we drank and we laughed a lot. Niki's parents were there and although her dad is slowed up with a stroke it was a pleasure to have their humour and culture to stir the pot well. It's high summer and today was rich in many things.

I spent the afternoon attending to vehicle maintenance. I was crabby as a billy goat while I was at it, but soon figured I was short of calories and went off to get Niki to feed me and all was well again. I suppose I'll never learn how to cover all the bases and that's probably a good thing anyway.

I set up a new fish tank upstairs. It's a 100 liter narrow tall display tank which is new for me. I've always kept lab style tanks previously. To get the biology going and settled as quickly as possible I released about 300 guppies of various sizes into the almost virgin water and a week later the job is almost complete. The babies were obviously lacking some cover because I have a lot less of them now than I did when I first put them all in there. I picked up a heater for the smaller tank and I'll cull out the best of the guppies and keep them breeding for feeders when I move the others to the 100 liter tank. I haven't finished the landscaping, but Boo brought home some wonderful rocks she had found while she was breaching a beaver dam last week. Beavers are amazing, but I suppose anything in the natural world is if you look closely enough to appreciate it. If all goes well I should be the owner of a 6' boa next weekend. The price was right as my Dad would say. From all reports, this snake is a peach. More will be revealed, no doubt.

As part of the race kit today there was a new Canadian adventure racing magazine. The story that brought our evolution to my mind was one of a fellow racing the West Coast Trail and the Juan de Fuca trails, along with the bit of highway that separates them, back to back in under 24 hours.

Pam came out this week for dinner again. She's gearing up for her little sell the farm travel the world for a year adventure. The latest addition is an experiment with a tiny little computer called an eeepc surf running a Linux distribution (Xandros). What a gal! She was excited to know I was a Linux enthusiast and that lead to some wireless questions that I think we've solved already and I haven't even had the pleasure of playing with the darn thing yet. Go Pam!

Running is going really well. I've been so careful to allow plenty of time to adapt even the slowest body systems and it's paying off. This summer I have been able to sustain 20 mile weeks without much trouble. Go me!

OK, sleep now. My gut is still boiling. I'm amazed I had any run time today at all that didn't end up with a fast dash off the trail and and emergency deposit. Life could be worse.
One of many