Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hungry Chipmunk

A couple of days ago I complained about a chipmunk eating my tomatoes.  After some quick research I found a tip - the person suggested putting out a tomato for the chipmunk to feast upon, thus leaving the tomatoes on the vine alone.  After two hours said chipmunk took his first nibble on this Publix tomato.  The photo above is from day three.  None of my tomato plants have been touched since this experiment.  So, if you have something nibbling on your tomatoes, make a peace offering.  I think this chipmunk's next meal will be a .177" lead pellet.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Return of the $5 Tomato

Last summer I complained that my spouse was spending too much money on tomatoes from the Dunwoody Farmer's Market.  I acknowledge that locally grown tomatoes taste completely different than the 'standard' tomatoes offered at grocery stores.  After tasting one of those $5 tomatoes last year, I gave in and quit hassling over them.  Of course I grown my own tomatoes as well.  But there is a particular tomato I can't find in plant form (so I can grow it), so we have to buy them.  The tomato we need to ID is orange (not red).

The going rate for tomatoes at the Wednesday market are $5 a pound.    I think that's high, but we still buy a couple each week.  I was late getting my own tomato plants in, so mine are just now getting ripe.  Here's a photo of my first tomato from the Community Garden plot:
I ate that tomato (shown above) today for lunch.  Three slices on bread from Hardright Bakery (a vendor at the Dunwoody Market), with some Miracle Whip slopped on.  The rest of the tomato was eaten just plain.  It was awesome.  Once I figure the 'investment' of my plot over at the Community Garden (materials to build the box, my special square foot gardening soil mixture, plants, etc.) this tomato probably cost me about $40.  But I've spent more than that on a meal before, so it's okay.  As more tomatoes grow from that plot, my average cost will decrease.  I also have some hot peppers growing over there, and some lemony cucumbers.
the photo above is from a couple weeks ago.  The tomato plants have spread, as have the dumb bean plants with nothing on them.  I have an awesome cucumber plant at home so the ones grown here are donated or given away.  Farmer Bob took one home the other night - no feedback from him so I think he didn't like it. The cucumber plant at home provides two cucumbers a day, every day.  Those things grow quickly.  One day the plant looks like it's empty, the next day... bam.... another couple cucumbers appear.

I need some help to ID the purple pepper seen below:  I have a few of these growing, so the person to first ID this pepper gets a few.

On another garden note, something has been eating some of my tomatoes in the front yard.  I suspect a chipmunk.  I've had an ongoing chipmunk battle for a couple years now.  I've tried several things to rid my property of them (I have been successful in eradicating the squirrel population in my yard, but chipmunks are smaller and faster.  I read tonight on the internet that a chipmunk will eat the same tomato until it is finished, so I was wrong to pull their meal off the vine.  Tomorrow they may start another buffet. But I read that I should take a store-bought tomato (not a $5 tomato) and place it by their hole, and let them chow on that one so they will leave mine alone.  I'll try that and let you know.

 For the first time in about five years a saw a rabbit in my yard.  My compound is fenced, so not sure where he got in.

 Perhaps one of those sneaky fake stump tunnels like the guys from Hogan's Heroes used to have at Stalag 13 is his way in/out..
We used to have coyotes 'round here, but they seemed to have disappeared, so now the rabbits are back. But if I discover that rabbit eating anything from my garden boxes in the back yard, my next post will be about how to cook a rabbit in a Smoker Bag.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Election Night Results

See Updates at BOTTOM of post

I'm in the Vote 2010 Primary Bunker, getting results sent in from across the region.  It's 8:42 PM and I'm going to call the two big local races now.

Tom Taylor has won the primary, on the ballot in November for House Rep.  Early polling by DunwoodyTalk staffers show Taylor winning all precincts, some by a narrow margin, some by a 4-1 margin.  Look for a Taylor victory with about 72%.  Taylor's name recognition and experience propelled him to victory.  Hopefully Anderson will stay involved on the local level.  She is bright, has good ideas, and has a concern for the community.  Like Fran for several terms as House Rep, Taylor has a new stronghold for the seat.

Fran Millar will most likely replace Dan Weber as our State Senator come November.  Fran's margin of victory will be even greater than Taylor's, maybe even above 80%.

The big surprise to me?  Karen Handel kicking some butt in Dunwoody, beating all others easily.  Nathan Deal and Eric Johnson coming in 2nd and 3rd, the Ox not doing well.  Look for Ox to do better outside of the hard-core conservative like Dunwoody.  Handel will face Nathan Deal in a runoff.

After adding up all the Dunwoody votes, Taylor for sure is the winner, so we'll put that race to bed.  Updates will be on the Fran/Sibold race.

The race will tighten as the votes from outside Dunwoody pour in.  Back in 2008, Dan Weber won his race with 86% of the vote.  Fran won't have those numbers. Sibold winning a couple of precincts now. Duffie going to get 10% or so, probably enough to keep Sibold from getting anywhere near forcing a runoff.

Looks like Fran Millar will win with closer to 65-70% of the vote.  Lots of early votes for the area, but nothing to worry about for the Millar campaign.  I have an episode of Cake Boss and an episode of Pickers on the DVR just waiting for me to watch.  I'll check things out after Buddy bakes something spectacular.

Never made it up to watch Cake Boss, but it will be there tomorrow night.  Not considering absentee/early voting, Taylor won with 69%.  Fran won the Dunwoody precincts with over 80%, posting Weber-like numbers.  The AJC is catching up to speed and shows 57% reporting with Fran earning 65%.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Middle School Fails to Meet AYP

At first, not making AYP sounds like a bad thing.  But in the case of Peachtree Middle School,  I think it is for the best (not for the kids who failed, but for the overall of the school community itself).
You can read all about DeKalb's policy on receiving schools, transfers, etc. here.

In a couple of weeks school starts here in DeKalb.  8th graders from throughout the county can choose to attend Peachtree Middle if their home school failed to meet AYP.  But if Peachtree Middle fails to meet AYP next year (like it did in 2008) then it will NOT be a receiving school for the 2011-2012 school year. I know, pretty sad I would accept a 'failing' school as a good thing.  But this NCLB has done more harm than good.  This is one of a few things former president George Bush should not have signed off on back in 2002 or so. I'd actually wear one of those Obama 'Hope' T shirts for a day (please, no photographs) if he'd overturn NCLB.

Being at full capacity or 250% capacity means nothing when it comes to being a receiving school.  They could stack learning cottages to the sky on a school's property and continue to transfer kids in.  At least until the school fails to meet AYP for two consecutive years in the same category.  Over 50% of transfers happen in 6th grade for middle school and 9th grade for high school.  Once you transfer in (say as a 6th grader) you are welcome to stay at the new school through 8th grade

I'm not implying that any 8th grader transferring in to the Dunwoody middle school will be a bad student or a bad person, it's just that the school has enough kids already. This situation is not unique to Peachtree Middle.  This same scenario plays out all over DeKalb, all over the state, all over the country.

Dunwoody High School met AYP, as did Vanderlyn, Chesnut, Kingsley, and Austin.  Dunwoody Elementary met AYP as well, but will not be open to transfers for another couple years.  The 4th/5th grade school on Womack, when established, was exempt from transfers for the first few years (they threw us a bone on that one).

Dunwoody High School will most likely be a receiving school next year.  Good thing we are renovating the campus now as we'll be welcoming 100 or so transfers in August 2011, maybe more if the Board keeps those learning cottages around.  Just thought I'd give the parents of rising 8th graders something to look forward to next school year.  Maybe there was a mistake and Dunwoody High School did not meet AYP this year - one could only hope. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

RoboCalls & Endorsements

Lots of local folks will be glad come Wednesday morning.  No more robocalls, campaign literature, or meet and greets with candidates.  48 hours from this posting and it will be all done - the 2010 primary election that is.

I've heard there have been lots of robocalls lately.  I don't have a home phone so I guessed I missed out on all that.  Not having a home phone has been nice for the past few years.  I know there are some concerns regarding 911 service via mobile phones and the possibility that satellites could fail - I'll take my chances.

Tuesday's big election is for senator.  Sibold versus Millar versus Duffie.  As mentioned before, Sibold is hoping to keep Fran Millar from less than 50%, forcing a runoff.  Duffie's a nice guy, but he lacks the name recognition and the deep pockets needed to win this type of race.  Duffie will get some votes, but will he be taking from Fran or James' base?

Fran is the more popular man in the election, but not the most conservative.  He'll carry Dunwoody city limits easily, but it's the non-Dunwoody votes he's concerned about.  He should do OK in the Peachtree Corners area.  Will that be enough?

I've been getting messages regarding endorsements regarding this race.  Some have questioned the validity of endorsements for Millar in a recent article in The Crier. I'm told a robocall regarding endorsements (or lack there of) was sent out this weekend as well.  Not sure who is to blame.  Questions regarding endorsements have also touched the Tammy vs. Taylor race.

Endorsements are a double-edged sword, so they say.  The higher up in office (president, US Congress) the fewer endorsements you give.  Never know when an endorsement can come back to haunt you.  The local political folks do lots of endorsing.  Endorsing each other helps keep the status quo - until the status quo is a tarnished thing.  Then look for people to hide from certain endorsements.  When If  I ran for office, not sure I'd get many FarmHouser endorsements.  I would carry all the votes from my Fantasy Football league, maybe my wife's vote, Kent Tekulve, part of he Chicken Posse, maybe Farmer Bob (unless I continue making fun of his sorry Rutger tomatoes), and the people whom I gave Smoker Bags.  After that, I'd need to do some of those robocalls, meet n greets, and then claim to have endorsements from Elias Redfield, Stephen T Spruill, Major Charles Dunwoody, Roswell King, and The Chicken Whisperer.

Endorsements have meaning, and some people (as they should be) are very protective of their claimed endorsements.  Have endorsements mattered in this race?  If a certain council member or famous FarmHouser (I see that name in the comments section now - someone needs to pay me a royalty for use of that term) endorses someone in a local race, does it help?  Or, do you take notice of that well-respected neighbor, seeing whose political yard sign adorns his lawn?

I'm sure we'll never get to the bottom of who endorsed whom in Tuesday's races.  No local bloggers endorsed a person in the House or Senate race (not saying that would have a major impact on either race, unless King John came out with something, which I doubt he will).  However, the local newspaper, The Crier, has made it quite clear whom it endorses in each race.

Come Thursday afternoon (I'll allow for 24 hour grace period for candidates to clean things up) I hope the city sends out a big truck and crew to pick up all the political signs. 

It's only a primary (but a Democrat stands no chance come November) so I'm not sure there are any victory parties planned for Tuesday night.  I heard there have been hundreds of people either voting early or by absentee ballot, so looks like we will not know winners until Thursday or so.  (if there are parties planned, send me an invite or simply meet me at the Tavern or Mudcatz.  Mellow Mushroom closes too early during the week to be considered a good watering hole on a Tuesday night).