Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Memes

I followed some links around, and found this meme on North’s blog and had to copy it. How many have you read?

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (at least, I think I read this)
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King (I read a couple of these but not all)
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams (This is one of my fave books ever)
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44 Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien (didn’t enjoy this much; maybe I’d like it better now that I’m 
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59.The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks (a lot more than three books in this series)
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

This is a different list than the one I usually see, which is more focused on the easily recognizable classics. This is more of a sci-fi/fantasy bent. Some of these books I’m surprised anyone else has heard of; some of them I’ve never heard of; some of them are on my bookshelf and I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. I’m a big fan of Ursula LeGuin, Richard Adams and Terry Brooks. I have several Ray Bradbury books on my reading list that I have yet to read. Next up I plan to read George Orwell’s 1984 and The Animal Farm. I know, sad that I haven’t read them before.
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How about a new book meme, of the preparedness/survivalist/homesteading variety? Feel free to copy and paste on your own blog, and add to the list:
1.       The Solar Food Dryer by Eben Fodor
2.       The Wisdom of the Radish, and other lessons learned on a small farm by Lynda Hopkins (I look at this author’s blog occasionally)
3.       Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man's Solution by M.D. Creekmore
4.       Seed to Seed, 2nd Ed. by Suzanne Ashworth
5.       The Survival Template, by John A. Heatherly
6.       Possum living: How to live well without a job and with almost no money by Dolly Freed
7.       Vertical Gardening by Derek Fell
8.       100-day Pantry: 100 Quick and Easy Gourmet Meals by Jan Jackson
9.       Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series) by Steve Solomon
10.   The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times by Carol Deppe
11.   All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew
12.   The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You can do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster by Bernie Carr (I subscribe to this author’s blog)
13.   One Second After by William R. Forstchen
14.   Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley, Rawles
15.   How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Wesley, Rawles
16.   Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe in a Crisis by Peggy Layton
17.   When There Is No Doctor: Preventive and Emergency Healthcare in Challenging Times by Gerard Doyle (own this, haven’t read it)
18.   Where There Is No Dentist by Murray Dickson (own this, haven’t read it)
19.   Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late by Scott B. Williams
20.   A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game by Wilbur Eastman
21.   When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency by
      Matthew Stein
22.   The Illustrated Guide to Edible Wild Plants by The Department of the Army
23.   Just in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient when the Unexpected Happens by Kathy Harrison
24.   Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills, ed. By Abigail Gehring
25.   Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation by The Gardeners and Farmers of Centre Terra Vivante
26.   How To Bury Your Goods: The Complete Manual of Long Term Underground Storage by Eddie the Wire
27.   SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition: For Any Climate, in Any Situation by John ‘lofty’ Wiseman
28.   Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life by Neil Strauss
29.   Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family, 2nd Edition by Arthur Bradley
30.   Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on ¼ Acre by Brett Markham
31.   When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes by Cody Lundin
32.   Urban Survival Guide: Learn The Secrets Of Urban Survival To Keep You Alive After Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, and Breakdowns In Civil Order by David Morris
33.   Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth
34.   The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse by Fernando ‘FerFAL’ Aguirre (I’m reading this right now, and I subscribe to this author’s blog)
35.   Crisis Preparedness Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Home Storage and Physical Survival by Jack A. Spigarelli
36.   The Fifty Dollar and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler
37.   Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series) by Steve Solomon
38.   Homegrown Whole Grains: Grow, Harvest, and Cook Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rice, Corn and More by Sara Pitzer
39.   98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by Cody Lundin
40.   The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook: A Home Manual by James Green
41.   Surviving Off Off-Grid: Decolonizing the Industrial Mind by Michael Bunker
42.   The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! Ed by Carleen Madigan
43.   Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man's Solution by M.D. Creekmore
44.   Lights Out by David Crawford
45.   The New Seed Starter's Handbook by Nancy Bubel
46.   EMP Survival: How to Prepare Now and Survive, When an Electromagnetic Pulse Destroys Our Power  Grid (Volume 1) by Larry Poole
47.   Molon Labe! By Boston T. Party
48.   World Made by Hand: A Novel by James Howard Kunstler
49.   The Walk by Lee Goldberg
50.   Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven
51.   American Apocalypse series by Nova
52.   Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse by James Wesley, Rawles (to be published in October)
53.   Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
54.   Success with Small Food Gardens by Louise Riotte
55.   Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
56.   Summer of the Apocalypse by James van Pelt
57.   Tooth And Nail by Craig Dilouie
58.   What So Proudly We Hailed by James Howard
59.   One by Conrad Williams
60.   Stacey’s Quest by AK Steele

Many of these are books that I’ve just heard about. Almost all of them (or maybe all, not sure) are available on Amazon. If you’ve read any of them and want to comment, feel free! I plan on eventually reading many of them, so your recommendations (or non-recommendations) are appreciated.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Squash Bugs

I’ve got squash bugs. This is the first time I’ve ever dealt with them, so I thought I’d share my research with you.

I had been noticing that squash would start forming on the plant, but then most of them would sort of shrivel up and die before they got very big at all, so I knew something was wrong but I just didn’t know what. Then a few days ago while I was weeding, I found a bug. I was pretty sure it was a squash bug, but wanted to be certain. I threw it in a bowl of water and it didn’t take long at all for him to stop swimming and sink to the bottom. As I continued my garden work, I began noticing some small, brown eggs on the underside of quite a few squash leaves. In all, I found about 12 leaves, each with ten to twenty eggs. I cut the leaves off the plant; but looking back on it, I think next time I’ll try to save the leaves. I finished my garden work and carried the bug inside with me. I image-googled “squash bug,” and found several good photos that proved my theory.

The best information I found was here and here, but I’ll try and summarize for you. Squash bugs suck vital nutrients from the leaves and stems of squash plants, eventually starving and killing the whole plant. If you notice some small, dead or yellowing areas on the leaves of your squash plant, this could be a sign of an infestation. The most effective way to get rid of adult bugs and nymphs is to hand-pick them off your plants. However, ideally you should keep an eye on your plants, looking for eggs on the undersides of leaves, and kill the eggs before they have a chance to hatch. The eggs hatch within one to two weeks. When the eggs are first laid, they are a light tan color. They darken with age. The eggs I found on my plants were a fairly dark brown, so I may have caught them just in time. I looked for information about ways to kill them, and the most oft-repeated tactic was to simply squish them, which I did. Appropriate for a “squash” bug, I suppose!

Squash bug eggs
To catch the adults, the method most suggested was to put a board down near the plant. The bugs will gather under the board at night for warmth, and in the morning you can just go out, pick up the board and eliminate the bugs. Another suggestion was to aim a garden hose at the base of the plant and soak the ground there, forcing the bugs to run up the plant stalk to escape the water, where again you can catch them. I did this with both of my squash plants, as well as my cucumbers, several times each. (Squash bugs prefer squash plants, but will settle for any member of the Cucurbitaceae family). I only found bugs on one plant. When I flooded the base of the plant, about 3 or 4 adults and only 2 or 3 nymphs emerged. I caught and killed those, then lightly dug around the base of the plant, unearthing a couple more nymphs and adults. I flooded the plant a few more times, but no more bugs emerged. So, either I didn’t yet have a bad infestation, or I didn’t get them all. I’ll have to keep an eye on the plants now and make certain I got rid of the bugs. 

Incidentally, that first bug I carried inside with me to identify on the computer? I had laid it on a piece of paper towel on my desk. I happened to glance over at it a few minutes after setting it down, and I didn’t see the bug. I picked up the paper towel, and there he was, hanging on the bottom side, alive as could be. I guess these bugs can play possum! Hmmm, maybe I didn’t flood them all out, then. Only time will tell.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Glass is Half Empty

I’ve had neither time nor inclination to write lately, although my thoughts wander to various and sundry topics, and sometimes I think, “That would make good blog fodder.” But if I don’t immediately write the thought down (and I seldom do), I’ll forget it before I have time to pontificate further.

I’m feeling oppressed lately. This drought is oppressing. My job is oppressing. My concern over irresponsible loved ones is oppressing. The state of our nation is oppressing. It puts me on edge, makes me touchy.  Sometimes I wish I was still oblivious. I wish I was still young and invincible, and didn’t yet realize it’s a dog-eat-dog world.

I finished reading Alas, Babylon the other night. It seemed mild compared to One Second After. Had TEOTWAWKI happened back in the late 50s, more people might have survived. With today’s population, it would be a lot tougher for the survivors of such an apocalypse.

Something has to happen eventually, though. This planet simply can’t support the growing human population much longer. We need more land and more water, and there will never be more of either. Well, without space colonization. A massive human die-off is probably more likely.

The hubster and I decided to check out Sam's Club today. It's tax free weekend here, and Sam's was having an "open to the public" day, which means you can shop there without having a membership. We went with stocking up in mind. I've always heard good things about the prices at Sam's, but unfortunately, we were disappointed. It seemed like most of the stuff was more expensive than what we pay at the commissary. It was just bigger packages. We put a few things in our cart, but when it came time to check out, the lines were so long that we just put the stuff back and left. Oh well. It makes me more thankful for the commissary.

I have been an avid couponer for about a year now, and I really think it makes a big difference in our budget. I'm nowhere near as efficient as the people they show on that Extreme Couponing show. But I do try to combine coupons with sales. I've also learned to make good use of Homeland, a grocery store here that doubles coupons. Before I got into couponing I would never shop there because their prices are too high. But now I don't get pasta anywhere else, because I can frequently get it for free there with double coupons and a sale. In fact, we just put up a bunch of spaghetti noodles in mylar bags because I had more than we could eat. I've also learned to play the drugstore game at both CVS and Walgreens. It allows me to get brand name shampoos for cheap or even free occasionally, and I find other good deals there, too. It's kind of fun to see how small I can whittle down the payout to. There are lots of good couponing web sites, too. Two of my favorites are Simple Saving Savvy and The Consumer Queen. Both are mainly geared toward Oklahoma, but they show some good national deals as well. They would be a good starting point until you find some sites dedicated to your area.

Odessa vining squash
The garden struggles on. About the only thing I'm getting on a steady basis now are cucumbers and squash, and a few cherry tomatoes. But sometimes the cucumbers taste very bitter; I don't know if it's because of the heat or something else. Sometimes they're good and sometimes they're inedible. I'm losing the bug war, though I admit I haven't really gotten serious about it. I need to pick up some neem oil or something similar so that I can eat my chard, instead of just feeding the bugs with it.

The hubster made another roast in the sun oven yesterday. It was quite tasty and I've been munching on leftovers today. I made a cheesy potato casserole in the sun oven not too long ago. I'm getting better with angling it correctly, etc. Next I think I will try to make some bread.

We did get a little break from the heat today. Actually it started yesterday evening. We got some passing showers; the first rain we've seen in I don't know how long. We probably only got a quarter-inch or so, but I'm thankful for it. It also dropped the temperature about 20 degrees. Then this morning when I woke up it was overcast, and hasn't really cleared up all day. The rain has been limited to sprinkles, but again I'm glad for every drop. The temp has been hovering around 87 degrees with a breeze and it feels cool after 40-something straight days of temps in the 100s.

The hubster and I did something else today that we rarely do: we went to see a movie. We caught "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes" at a matinee showing. It's a treat for us because we rarely spend money on theaters, opting instead to wait for the video to come out and rent it then.  We were shocked that the cheapest matinee in town is now $6.50 per ticket! I think the last time we saw a matinee, it was $4.50 and we thought that was high. The movie was pretty good. I wanted to see it in the theater because I thought the special effects would be more impressive that way, but it probably would have been fine to watch it at home on the TV.