Week of April 18

New sprouts in the garden: Radishes, borage, calendula, bee balm, and more poppies. In the yard, wild violets are popping up and the forsythia and rhododendron look great. Black-eyed Susan volunteers came up all along the fence, self-seeded from the neighbor’s flowerbed on the other side. I’m going to leave them and weed around them.

I followed through on succession planting the French breakfast radishes and direct sowed kale, oregano, and seed potatoes. Also transplanted some fern roots by the shed.

I had to restart rosemary, lemongrass, tomatillos, Vietnamese peppers, Italian basil, Thai basil, and celeriac. The neighbor’s dog ate those seedlings while we were gone (neighbor was watching and watering the seedlings for us.) Now that those are a month behind, I’m going to buy a grow light to help them along.

I’m not mowing for a couple more weeks even though the grass is getting long because I want to save the violets and dandelions for the bees. 🐝


Neighbors on both sides of us are cutting (or have cut) down large trees, just on their side of the lot lines this month. I know they are their trees, but I can’t help but feel frustrated that 50% of the trees providing shade to our yard are going to be gone this summer. I have a good relationship with the neighbors, but we might need to feud. See: The Lorax.

Looks like I’ll be putting in some new trees this year.


We spent Easter and the following week in Ohio with our family. It was great to see them and even better to see Charlie with them.

I spent a day in Holmes County, Ohio, with my parents and saw something new: Amish (or Mennonites, difficult for me to tell the difference from dress alone) riding ebikes. Men, women, and children, typically solo (not riding in groups). This seems to be a recent adoption; three years ago I saw zero Amish on ebikes, but today I saw more ebikes there in rural Ohio than I have in NYC or SF in a single day.

Holmes County, the second largest Amish settlement in the US (Lancaster is the first) is quite hilly, so I can see the big benefit of ebikes there. At first I was surprised to see so many of them because ebikes are relatively expensive, but when compared to the cost of a horse and buggy and how easily they can be charged via diesel generator or solar, they seem like a great investment for getting to and from work. 

Next time I’m down there I intend to hunt down a bike shop and see which kinds are most popular and what kind of adaptations are sold with them.

A couple articles on Amish and ebikes:

I realized I don’t know as much as I’d like to know about the Amish. My family gets most of their firewood from an Amish mill that sells offcuts, and we also have some great Amish-made furniture, but those interactions have been very business-focused. So I put together a reading list to learn more:


You’ve probably seen Jarlsberg cheese at the grocery store. I knew it was from Norway and assumed it was only made there, but I didn’t know that it is also made in Holmes County, Ohio! We drove past the facility during our Amish country excursion.


My parents and I made char siu. We ate the first batch with rice and braised bok choy, then we used the leftovers in fried rice. Always nice to get the wok out. It was pretty good, though I think if it is going to be used in fried rice it needs to have more spice to stand out amongst the other ingredients. But eaten on its own it had plenty of flavor. We grilled it instead of roasting it due to time constraints, but I’ll roast it when I make it next time. Or smoke it with a bit of cherry wood.


Charlie is big enough to sit in the seat on shopping carts! He loves it.


I learned this week that cold weather affects baseball games. The density of the baseball changes, which affects how it interacts with the bat, and it travels differently through cold air, too.


Currently reading

Just finished Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter by Ben Goldfarb. Recommended. You know that viral video about wolves changing the Yellowstone landscape? They are only half of the story. Beavers are the other half.

Currently listening to A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage. The greeks cut their wine with water. Should we be doing that? 🤔

Around the web

AI

How DALL-E 2 Actually Works
How does OpenAI’s groundbreaking DALL-E 2 model actually work? Check out this detailed guide to learn everything you need to know about DALL-E 2.
www.assemblyai.com
A.I. Is Mastering Language. Should We Trust What It Says? – The New York Times
OpenAI’s GPT-3 and other neural nets can now write original prose with mind-boggling fluency — a development that could have profound implications for the future.
www.nytimes.com

Blogging

I like this idea of a public river of RSS content. Here’s my own personal river. This is the flow of content from the 280 feeds I follow: /feeds.

My personal feed is generated using a Google Docs script because it’s a technology I know how to code. It’s creaking at this point and I need something more robust – you know using a technology more advanced than a hyperlinked spreadsheet.

Turns out Dave Winer has the technology. River5 is his tech stack using NodeJS t

I like the idea of curated sets of feeds and I can subscribe to and changes to the source propagate down to me. I regularly publish an XML file of the feeds I subscribe to so others can check them out.

Publish Something Online
How to make things that live on the internet.
publishsomethingonline.com

Nice layout for a curated list of resources.


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